Mundane grammar question Watch

faber niger
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#1
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Why is it proper to use an appostrophe to show possession with the pronoun one, but not with the pronoun it? For example:

One must try one's best.
It tried its best.
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Kink
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Apparently nothing belongs to an 'it'.
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The Lyceum
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Indeed, it's simply apart of the predicate.
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Imilan
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I think it's just to avoid confusion between possession and contraction (it is = it's).
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Muppety_Kid
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#5
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Why is it proper to use an appostrophe to show possession with the pronoun one, but not with the pronoun it? For example:

One must try one's best.
It tried its best.
I have no idea.

I'll look it up, but the best I can guess is that originally it was:

"it tried it's best"

until confusion arose as to whether "it's" meant "it is" or "belonging to it".

Good question
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faber niger
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(Original post by ObscenityTrials)
Apparently nothing belongs to an 'it'.
I suppose so. Because you can always use genders for animals.
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faber niger
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(Original post by The Lyceum)
Indeed, it's simply apart of the predicate.
I really did try to understand you, Lice, but as knowledgable as I like to think I am, even armed with a definition of predicate, I couldn't get my head around it. Could you explain as though you are talking to a 10-year-old child please. :p:
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alex-hs
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Why is it proper to use an appostrophe to show possession with the pronoun one, but not with the pronoun it? For example:

One must try one's best.
It tried its best.
who knows... it's just like that. I once read somewhere that possessive pronouns (in general) don't use apostrophes, a prime example being 'hers' (as in, it belongs to her). I think it was probably in Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Plus there's the distinction from it's, the contraction of it is / it has, but I'm not sure it was intentionally designed that way.
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mire
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Why is it proper to use an appostrophe to show possession with the pronoun one, but not with the pronoun it? For example:

One must try one's best.
It tried its best.
It's because it is a possessive. You say "I tried my best". That 'its' is a possessive, so that is why it hasn't got any apostrophe. It is just like you would say "Anna tried her best".
On the other hand, you say "one's best", because 'one' is not a possessive, so it needs a Saxon genitive ( ' ) to introduce the possession, which is already included in 'hers'.

Did I explain myself?
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faber niger
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(Original post by mire)
It's because it is a possessive. You say "I tried my best". That 'its' is a possessive, so that is why it hasn't got any apostrophe. It is just like you would say "Anna tried her best".
On the other hand, you say "one's best", because 'one' is not a possessive, so it needs a Saxon genitive ( ' ) to introduce the possession, which is already included in 'hers'.

Did I explain myself?
Oh, how very clever, I see now. Thank you. What's a Saxon genitive btw? Just a name for a punctuation mark first used by the Anglo-Saxons?

P.S. I see you're moving to my hometown -- welcome!
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faber niger
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Oh, how very clever, I see now. Thank you. What's a Saxon genitive btw? Just a name for a punctuation mark first used by the Anglo-Saxons?

P.S. I see you're moving to my hometown -- welcome!
Ah, I just looked it up -- don't worry! :p: I'll have to learn all those cases when I do Classics at university (i.e. I'll be learning Latin and Ancient Greek for the first time there).
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The Lyceum
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Ah, I just looked it up -- don't worry! :p: I'll have to learn all those cases when I do Classics at university (i.e. I'll be learning Latin and Ancient Greek for the first time there).
Haha cases are easy, I can list them if you like:

Nominative: Marks subject
Genitive: Marks posession
Accusative: Marks object
Dative: Marks indirect object
Ablative: Preposition

And the predicate is just the part of a sentence that is not the subject.
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Happiness
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On a kind of related note...

"The 18th century explanation that the apostrophe might replace a genitive pronoun, as in "the king's horse" being a shortened form of "the king, his horse", is debated. This his genitive appears in English only for a relatively brief time. The construction occurs in southern German dialects and has replaced the genitive there, together with the "of" construction that also exists in English. While modern English speakers might expect that plurals and feminine nouns would form possessives using '-r', such as "*The queen'r children", in fact "his" or "hys" could be used for speakers and writers of either gender throughout most of the mediaeval and Renaissance period."
-Wikipedia (Genitive)

Doesn't really answer your question, but it's an interesting related note about where the construction (with an apostrophe) came from.
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isi333
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I always believed it was simply to avoid confusion with the abbreviation it is or it was. (it's).
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mire
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(Original post by jismith1989)
Ah, I just looked it up -- don't worry! :p: I'll have to learn all those cases when I do Classics at university (i.e. I'll be learning Latin and Ancient Greek for the first time there).
did Latin and Greek at college. You will have well fun

-- And I can't wait to move to Salford!
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The Lyceum
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(Original post by mire)
did Latin and Greek at college. You will have well fun

-- And I can't wait to move to Salford!
Wow, you're the first person to ever say that, ever.
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faber niger
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(Original post by The Lyceum)
Wow, you're the first person to ever say that, ever.
:mad: How very dare you insult my hometown! And to think, I used to like you. :p:
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The Lyceum
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(Original post by jismith1989)
:mad: How very dare you insult my hometown! And to think, I used to like you. :p:
Sorry man, I met a girl from there once. She really soured me on the Salford experiance.
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mire
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(Original post by The Lyceum)
Wow, you're the first person to ever say that, ever.
You are not the first person to tell me that, ever. lol
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faber niger
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(Original post by The Lyceum)
Sorry man, I met a girl from there once. She really soured me on the Salford experiance.
Oh, in that case, and because I have the experience of living here, I will agree; it is, on the whole, a rather **** place! Though where the university is is rather cool as it's so close to Manchester.
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