Grandma's Tales

October 8, 2006

Grammar 6 Still in its domain

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 1:30 pm

Today I begin another round of English classes for students preparing for their Law entrance exams. This is a class of about 35, perhaps the brightest school-leaving students in Chennai. Locking wits with them is something I look forward to. As a preliminary to the class we gave them topics to write essays on. I spent the morning reading some delightful student essays.

All of them write well, have a good understanding of the topic chosen. Years of writing essays under the watchful red ink of their English teachers has given them basic competence in putting their thoughts together in readable form. Great!

So it is surprising that some of the very good writers are careless about the word “its”. I assume they were in a dilemma at some point in their school years – “its” or “it’s”? And they have solved it easily. Like shedding their puppy fat as they entered their teens, they have simply shed the apostrophe. If it’s confusing , if you can’t get the hang of it, just throw it, man! Drop it on the wayside. Make it history!

Here are the samples:
After all its the government’s job
Its a foolish dream with no solid footing
Its almost time for the new dawn

As you know by now, all the three “its” here should be written as “it’s”. They all stand for “it is”.

The same student writes: “The true measure of a country lies in the happiness of its people, not in its growth rate.”  These are perfectly made “its”, both standing for “the country’s”.

I saw this in all the papers I went through. You can be sure this will figure prominently in my discussions this afternoon along with legal topics like “The Death Penalty” and “Sting Operations – Are they Legal?”

BTW, did you take the quiz in the previous blog?


  1. Hi mam
    This is Seshasayee…and “Its” almost time for the new dawn… was my sentence.
    Anyway, can I have your email id, so that we continue our correspondance over there…
    Btw, please check out my website : , when you are free.
    Thnkng (all consonants and no vowels!) You

    Comment by Seshasayee Gopi — October 8, 2006 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  2. ma’m tanq 4 goin thru our papers nd guidein us….ur class was really great..u must’ve got tat 4m umptee number of people….still i cant stop tellin u nd d whole lot of people readin tis…it was d most lively class i’ve ever been in…i guess tats d same 4 d rest of ma frenz thr…eagerly awaitin ur next class ma’m…

    Comment by pramoditha.k — October 8, 2006 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  3. For One who HATES Maths more than anything else your class was like a whiff of fresh air. Your class was terrific ma’am and we are looking forward to more intensive debates like the one we had on Afzal on Sunday.

    Comment by Srinivasan — October 9, 2006 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  4. it was a great class,we all enjoyed it and thank you for guidein us..we came to know about many things..waiting for your next class..

    Comment by nanditha — October 9, 2006 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  5. Your class was really refreshing after we had those long sessions of mathematics that we had already practised in school. It was a lot different from other classes and just couldnt those two hrs running away. Looking forward for more of those classes

    Comment by S. Avinash — October 12, 2006 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  6. Thank you, Srinivasan, thank you, Nanditha, thank you, Avinash. It is you guys who made the afternoon so joyful for me. Be ready to take me on and match me argument for argument. That makes for a delightful class!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — October 12, 2006 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  7. BTW Avinash, where would you place the apostrophe in “couldnt”? It’s a word made out of omission, right?

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — October 12, 2006 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  8. Hi Ma’m!
    Karishma here!I hope you remember me as a student of your class and not some forgetful incorrigble writer who forgot to dot her I’s and cross her T’s. It was an egregious error of the apostrophes and I duly apologise as a budding writer can’t site ignorance or lack of knowledge of punctuations as an excuse.I guess my attempt at whipping up an essay on the spot on such a topic of mass proportions was not very pleasing to the reader nor satisfying to the writer.This is my first virtual visit to the blog and in my typical style I would say it’s “Kool”! The name of the blog is kind of puzzling,any particular reason? The classes are terrific and like a rare treat to a starved ardent student of the language ;)The hope to master the language reigns!Adios!

    Comment by Karishma.D.Dodeja — October 17, 2006 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  9. Hi Karishma,
    Thanks for stopping by. For a budding writer, you write very well and do not allow criticism, mine or others’, to stop you from doing what you want to do. Continue to write and you’ll find a voice that is distinctly yours. And do dot your i’s and cross your t’s!:-)
    Thanks for finding the blog “Kool”. Do send in topics that you want covered. I’ll do my best.
    BTW, would you like to check the meaning of the word “site” in your comment? (Sorry, once a teacher, always a wretched teacher, haunting the real and the virtual world with red ink in hand!)The word you need here is “cite”.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — October 17, 2006 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  10. t

    Comment by Uma — October 18, 2006 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

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