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Chapter 14. Avoid the Grammar Minefield > The Trouble with "It" - Pg. 64

Avoid the Grammar Minefield singular nouns Jane Bess Plural nouns Directors Directors' stock options Jane's report Bess's report 64 Absolute personal possessive pronouns (hers, his, ours, yours, theirs, mine) do not use an apos- trophe. Note that the personal pronoun "it" does not use an apostrophe in the possessive form. The pos- sessive is "its"; the contraction "it's" is used in place of "it is" or "it has." Use Parallel Structure When you have more than one thought to express in a sentence, express those thoughts in parallel structure. Parallel structure is not only grammatically correct, but also more persuasive because it suggests order and thoughtfulness on the part of the writer. Consider the following examples. Not parallel The new commercial is persuasive and a 15-second spot. Parallel The new commercial is persuasive and short. Not parallel The research will identify within the facial tissue category · Consumer attitudes. · How consumers purchase. · If consumers use products more heavily than others depending on time of year. Parallel The research will identify within the facial tissue category · Consumer attitudes. · Consumer purchase patterns. · Consumer usage patterns. Tip Don't change tenses in the middle of a sentence or a paragraph. Pick a tense and stick to it. The Trouble with "It" My college editing professor, David McCann, brought to class one day a wooden sculpture of the word "it" and loudly placed the sculpture on his desk. He began the day's lesson by stating that, going forward, any time his students began a sentence with the word "it," he would assume the students were referring to the sculpture on his desk, for there was nothing else "it" could modify as the first word in the sentence. Consider the following examples: It comes as no surprise. (Well, I was surprised to see the sculpture on the desk.) It should never have turned out this way. (The sculpture looked fine to me.) It's a mystery to me. (But I understand now thanks to my good professor.)