(was: Looking for the best way to translate an idiom)

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at
Mon Dec 15 06:50:01 CET 2008

James Stroud <jstroud at> writes:

> Yes. I think it was the British who decided that the apostrophe rule
> for "it" would be reversed from normal usage relative to just about
> every other noun.

Remember that “it” is a pronoun. I see no reversal:

    he      she     we      they        me      you     it
    he's    she's   we're   they're     I'm     you're  it's
    his     hers    ours    theirs      mine    yours   its

No reversal there; the apostrophe rule is consistent. All pronouns
take an apostrophe *only* for abbreviating the contraction of “foo is”
or “foo has” or some other two-word form. The possessive never takes
an apostrophe on a pronoun.

You can find plenty of inconsistencies and rules with exceptions in
the English language, but “possessive pronoun doesn't use an
apostrophe” isn't one of them.

 \       “Don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you |
  `\          free with my breakfast cereal.” —Zaphod Beeblebrox, _The |
_o__)            Restaurant At The End Of The Universe_, Douglas Adams |
Ben Finney

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