Technologically speaking, texting is a marvel of the modern world. We’re all so familiar with it now, but try to view it from a fresh perspective for a moment. Texting allows us to instantly send our thoughts, and even images and short videos, across vast expanses of space in the blink of an eye to a recipient – almost no matter where they are. This is some Star Trek stuff, right here.
Grammatically speaking, texting might have set us all back 50 years. For this reason, and also because I have a general misanthropic streak toward anything “everybody else” is doing, I was a texting holdout for a long time. When I finally came onboard, I saw to my horror the effects texting had on grammar: punctuation and capitalization fall by the wayside, spelling is wildly erratic and homophones are misused with painful regularity. It’s a battlefield out there, people.
For the most part, I try to accept texting as the most informal of communication settings, and therefore not take grammatical errors too seriously. There are a few, however, which I think bleed over into more formal use simply through their repetition in the texting world. One of the most egregious is the confusion of “it’s” and “its.”
Not every phone has auto-spell check, and sometimes it’s just too much work to hunt down an apostrophe, I suppose. But mixing these two up in the “real world” will make you look lazy, or uneducated. It’s an impression you don’t have to make.
“It’s” with an apostrophe is a contraction of the words “it” and “is.” You could say, “It’s a nice day out,” or, “It’s time for lunch.” If you’re talking about a subject “being” something, odds are you want “it’s.”
“Its” without the apostrophe indicates possession. “The dog wants its bone.” “The robot recharges its battery.” If you’re talking about a subject owning something, you want “its.”
It’s a simple error to avoid, which is why people will expect you to do so. Don’t let something as small as an apostrophe get in the way of a good first impression. And don’t let the ease of texting ruin all your good grammar habits.