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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 article about what you should leave behind when you pack:

let's me know Bad Apostrophe

let’s me know

Next, a piece in the Boston Globe on FM radios in smartphones:

Boston Globe - let's you tune Bad Apostrophe

let’s you tune

Last, a sign at a doughnut shop called Beyond Glaze in American Fork, Utah:

Beyond Glaze - lets make one Bad Non-Apostrophe

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 Bad Non-Apostrophe

kicking dudes heads

In a Wired story about Google’s AI:

Wired - know who’s photo Bad Apostrophe

know who’s photo

In Facebook’s API documentation about GraphObject:

Facebook - this objects underlying data Bad Non-Apostrophe

this objects underlying data

In CakePHP’s documentation about Internationalization:

CakePHP Book - file in it’s respective locale directory Bad Apostrophe

file in it’s respective locale directory

And in Sendgrid’s documentation about Email Deliverability:

Sendgrid - and it’s limitations Bad Apostrophe

and it’s limitations

Oh, programmers! Why can’t you get apostrophes right?!

No diggity.

Here’s another bunch of incorrect “its” examples.

From an NPR story about a new type of clock:

NPR - Maybe its because Bad Apostrophe

Maybe its because

From a HitFix story about Why Downton Abbey deserves one more chance:

Hitfix - Downton Abbey - it's flaws Bad Apostrophe

it’s flaws

From an Entertainment Weekly interview about Mythbusters‘ season 15:

EW - Mythbusters - what it's efficacy is Bad Apostrophe

what it’s efficacy is

From the download page of OSMC:

OSMC - for it's ease of installation Bad Apostrophe

known for it’s ease of installation

From Twitter’s developer documentation:

Twitter - use it's name Bad Apostrophe

use it’s name

From the Adblock Plus Android app:

AdBlock Plus - it's source Bad Apostrophe

it’s source

From an iPad memory matching game called MemoPics:

MemoPics - it's settings Bad Apostrophe

it’s settings

And lastly, from my kids’ school… again:

Greenwood Benson - it's tradition of academic excellence Bad Apostrophe

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 Bad Apostrophe

Cat’s Around the World

And on its Amazon listing:

Cat's Around the World Bad Apostrophe

Cat’s Around the World

On a Hitfix story about Downton Abbey:

skeleton's in Downton Abbey's closet Bad Apostrophe

skeleton’s in Downton Abbey’s closet

In a article about maps that will surprise you:

Country’s with aging populations Bad Apostrophe

Country’s with aging populations

On a video from The Big Bang Theory:

Two Wonderful Mississippi's Bad Apostrophe

Two Wonderful Mississippi’s

On a FastCo article about “Weird Al” Yankovic’s writing process:

artist's he's parodied Bad Apostrophe

artist’s he’s parodied

On a Kid Snippets News video about the GRAMMYs:

Celebs attend the GRANNY's | Many grandma's Bad Apostrophe

Celebs attend the GRANNY’s | Many grandma’s

Three examples In the Studio C “12 Days of Christmas” parody video:

(At 1:28)

Studio C - Now I have two Xbox's Bad Apostrophe

Now I have two Xbox’s

(At 2:37)

Studio C - Three Stephen's Bad Apostrophe

Three Stephen’s

(At 3:56)

Studio C - Nine Frani's dancing Bad Apostrophe

Nine Frani’s dancing

And finally, on a bunch of candy machines at the Provo Towne Centre Mall:

Chewy Spree's Bad Apostrophe

Chewy Spree’s

Candy - Nerd's Filled Bad Apostrophe

Nerd’s Filled

Seedling's Filled Bad Apostrophe

Seedling’s Filled

Reese's Piece's Bad Apostrophe

Reese’s Piece’s

Spotted in the title of a YouTube video posted by the official Olympics channel:

Katie Ledecky Win's Bad Apostrophe

Katie Ledecky Win’s

Seen on an listicle about Google and privacy:

Google let’s you export Bad Apostrophe

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.

From Gizmodo:

Gizmodo - this years award Bad Non-Apostrophe

this years award

From Wired Science:

Wired Science - confirm it’s legal status Bad Apostrophe

confirm it’s legal status

From FastCo:

FastCo - it's message about addiction Bad Apostrophe

it’s message about addiction

From Studio C (the second time we’ve had to call them out):

Studio C - freshness at it's freshest Bad Apostrophe

freshness at it’s freshest

From the cover to The Aquabats’ album Myths, Legends, and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2:

The Aquabats - The worlds best super buddies Bad Non-Apostrophe

The worlds best super buddies

And finally, from my new mortgage servicer’s paperwork:

Seneca Servicing - banks ABA routing number Bad Non-Apostrophe

banks ABA routing number

On the town

Spotted on a local Mazda dealer’s flyer:

Mazda - bank's Bad Apostrophe


Of course, car dealer Doug Smith uses the same ad for its Trunk or Treat that it has for the last several years, including the same dumb Bad Apostrophe.

Doug Smith - lot's Bad Apostrophe


And another “pizza’s” from Tenney’s Pizza, whom we’ve called out before.

Tenney's coupon - pizza's Bad Apostrophe


And spotted on a taco truck at Salt Lake Comic Con:

T'aco's Bad Apostrophe


“Taco’s” I understand — lots of people do it. But “T’aco’s”? Wow. Just wow.

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)

Kid Snippets News - Its so easy Bad Non-Apostrophe

Its so easy

View full article »

… how many people don’t understand the difference between “it’s” and “its”.

On /Film:

its more of a & its very unlikely Bad Non-Apostrophes

its more of a | its very unlikely

On Mailinator’s FAQ page:

Mailinator - Its important you know Bad Non-Apostrophe

Its important you know

On Facebook’s developer documentation:

Facebook - its your turn Bad Non-Apostrophe

its your turn

On ArsTechnica:

Ars - it's first public appearance Bad Apostrophe

it’s first public appearance

On OSTraining’s review of the Discourse forum system:

OSTraining - it's creator & it's niche Bad Apostrophes

it’s creator | it’s niche

On EatPlayRock:

Eat Play Rock - in it’s day Bad Apostrophe

in it’s day

On Stephen Colbert’s Twitter feed (again) — this one garnered a few corrections on Twitter.

Colbert Twitter - it's own energy drink Bad Apostrophe

it’s own energy drink

On a Wired Design story:

Wired Design - through it’s shorthand Bad Apostrophe

through it’s shorthand

On another Wired Design story by the same author:

Wired Design - expand it’s ecosystem Bad Apostrophe

expand it’s ecosystem

On Medium:

Medium - source of it’s data Bad Apostrophe

source of it’s data