Re: it's

Eric Crump (wleric@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 17:41:18 -0500


If you spot an errant "it's" in my posts I assure you that it's not
because of any sophisticated rationale supported by the latest theory;
it's because I don't often edit email and when I do it's to make sure I
haven't said something stupid, not to forestall stupid punctuation errors.

(am I doing ok so far? :-)

Comes down to a profound lack of motivation to spend time preventing or
rooting out such things. Other fish to fry & all.

I think errors being relative to context, it's worth factoring in *where*
we're writing. That *kind* of mistake isn't such a serious mistake in a
venue where speed and (for lack of a better term at hand)
*macro*rhetorical concerns assert. The same folks who use "it's" where
they (in print) ought to use "its" probably *would* take the time to
correct the problem if they were preparing text for print. Print is a
slower, more careful medium and writers often go slower and take more care
for it. And they should. Things like that *matter* more in print than they
do in more dialogic spaces like this list.

Likewise, I'd suggest that reading in this venue is a different experience
requiring different expectations. I've lost whatever sensitivity I had to
violations of minor conventions and I don't miss it in the least. But if I
come across the same sorts of errors in a book, I still notice & still, I
admit, wonder about the commitment the writers & editors had to quality.

--Eric Crump