Q: "It's" as the possessive?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Aug 10 19:35:56 UTC 2009

A correspondent on another list asks, when did "it's" as the
possessive come to be proscribed?

>I've looked for this a time or two before, and this discussion
>reminds me that I've never been sure about this: where did the
>prohibition of it's as possessive come from?
> > Yes, very common in the C18, though not universal.  The OED's
> > etymology begins "Formed in end of 16th c. from IT + 's of
> > the possessive or genitive case, and at first commonly written
> > it's, a spelling retained by some to the beginning of the 19th
> > c."
>I've delighted in telling the more persnickety among the grammar
>police I know that it's as a possessive has a long, respectable
>history, and pointing out that its status as a shibboleth for
>"literacy" is relatively recent, but I wonder if anyone on the
>learned list knows where it arose?
>Interestingly, it's use as a possessive is clearly on the rise
>again: I see it everywhere.


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