My young mind’s confusion between when to use “it’s” and “its” was forever resolved, once upon a time, in a Year 5 Computer Studies class. We were made to do grammar exercises in a program consisting of dragging and dropping the appropriate words into empty spaces in sentences, having to choose between oft-confused words, e.g. there/they’re and their ilk. My very arrogant 11-year old self breezed through this program faster than everyone else as usual, enjoying all the flashes of 100% and “Great!”/”Well Done!” privately gloating to myself while presenting airs of humility and studiousness (I mean, I’d been reading gigantic tomes of multi-volume fantasy series for years by now, this was utter child’s play!) right until I was roundly slapped in the face by a big red 0% and all my choices tumbled back down to the selection box, accompanied by an incredibly condescending: “uh-oh”!
I tried again.
I think I tried at least 3 times before daring to doubt myself, flipping my binary choice, and then felt shame and incredulity wash over me in alternating wash cycles.
I still claim sometimes, until today, especially when I’m drunk and/or feeling particular argumentative, that the apostrophe of “it’s” should be interpreted as possessive rather than contractive. “I bet you it was “ites” once upon a time!”
As I’m still harping on about it until today, clearly I know I’m wrong.