There are two meanings of the word “lets”, with two different ways of writing it. (Okay, three meanings if you count the TV prop potato chip brand “Let’s,” which spoofs the “Lay’s” brand.)
First, you have a verb that means “allows,” e.g. “He lets his son eat too much candy.” This meaning should never have an apostrophe.
Second, you have a contraction of the words “let us,” as in “Let’s all go to the lobby.” This meaning should always have an apostrophe.
You know what’s coming next: examples of bad writers breaking the rules of “lets.” Let’s get this over with.
First up, from an About.com article about what you should leave behind when you pack:
let’s me know
Next, a piece in the Boston Globe on FM radios in smartphones:
let’s you tune
Last, a sign at a doughnut shop called Beyond Glaze in American Fork, Utah:
lets make one
Possession is one of the most problematic categories of BA that I find in the wild.
In a HitFix interview about The Americans:
kicking dudes heads
In a Wired story about Google’s AI:
know who’s photo
In Facebook’s API documentation about GraphObject:
this objects underlying data
In CakePHP’s documentation about Internationalization:
file in it’s respective locale directory
And in Sendgrid’s documentation about Email Deliverability:
and it’s limitations
Oh, programmers! Why can’t you get apostrophes right?!
Here’s another bunch of incorrect “its” examples.
From an NPR story about a new type of clock:
Maybe its because
From a HitFix story about Why Downton Abbey deserves one more chance:
From an Entertainment Weekly interview about Mythbusters‘ season 15:
what it’s efficacy is
From the download page of OSMC:
known for it’s ease of installation
From Twitter’s developer documentation:
use it’s name
From the Adblock Plus Android app:
From an iPad memory matching game called MemoPics:
And lastly, from my kids’ school… again:
it’s tradition of academic excellence
I see a lot of irony in the outgoing principal highlighting the school’s “tradition of academic excellence” while using “it’s” incorrectly.
You’d think that I’d eventually run out of poorly pluralized problems, but as long as people keep writing, they’ll keep coming up with them.
Spotted on a Michael Dowdle puzzle at my local CostCo:
Cat’s Around the World
And on its Amazon listing:
Cat’s Around the World
On a Hitfix story about Downton Abbey:
skeleton’s in Downton Abbey’s closet
In a Vox.com article about maps that will surprise you:
Country’s with aging populations
On a CBS.com video from The Big Bang Theory:
Two Wonderful Mississippi’s
On a FastCo article about “Weird Al” Yankovic’s writing process:
artist’s he’s parodied
On a Kid Snippets News video about the GRAMMYs:
Celebs attend the GRANNY’s | Many grandma’s
Three examples In the Studio C “12 Days of Christmas” parody video:
Now I have two Xbox’s
Nine Frani’s dancing
And finally, on a bunch of candy machines at the Provo Towne Centre Mall:
Spotted in the title of a YouTube video posted by the official Olympics channel:
Katie Ledecky Win’s
Seen on an Orrazz.com listicle about Google and privacy:
Google let’s you export
I admit that possession gets a bit tricky with “its,” but in general, it’s not too difficult. You wouldn’t know it based on this crop of possessive-related BAs and BNAs.
this years award
From Wired Science:
confirm it’s legal status
it’s message about addiction
From Studio C (the second time we’ve had to call them out):
freshness at it’s freshest
From the cover to The Aquabats’ album Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2:
The worlds best super buddies
And finally, from my new mortgage servicer’s paperwork:
banks ABA routing number
Kid Snippets is a series of silly videos produced by Bored Shorts TV that I’ve enjoyed watching for years. Recently they started producing Kid Snippets News, where the kids talk over viral videos, with pretty funny results. The only thing that I’m not laughing about are the “lower-third” graphics that they add to the phony newscasts. Every instance of the word “it’s” has been rendered as “its”.
One in their “Viral Sports Clips” video (2:24)
Its so easy
View full article »
… how many people don’t understand the difference between “it’s” and “its”.
its more of a | its very unlikely
On Mailinator’s FAQ page:
Its important you know
On Facebook’s developer documentation:
its your turn
it’s first public appearance
On OSTraining’s review of the Discourse forum system:
it’s creator | it’s niche
in it’s day
On Stephen Colbert’s Twitter feed (again) — this one garnered a few corrections on Twitter.
it’s own energy drink
On a Wired Design story:
through it’s shorthand
On another Wired Design story by the same author:
expand it’s ecosystem
source of it’s data