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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:48 pm
Posts: 67
Hello all

My son has to put an apostrophe in the following sentence:

'The dog gave its owner the ball.'

My son said it doesn't have one because 'its' is being used as a possessive pronoun, the teacher marked it wrong and said it should be 'it's owner etc' because the owner belongs to the dog.

Who is correct - I know which I think is right, but I'd like some back-up please.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:08 pm
Posts: 120
Location: Surrey
Your son is right, teacher wrong methinks,
it's=it is

:roll: pist


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 272
Mmm.. might have to side with your son...possesive pronoun, 'its'. Contraction..'it's'
But it is hard to question the teacher, I agree :?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
Posts: 2556
teacher needs telling. IS WRONG! Outrageous!!
Your son is bright, and needs a better teacher!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8201
Location: Buckinghamshire
Your son is absolutely right (as is pist) and the teacher is an idiot. (No offence meant, of course. :lol: )

This is a direct quote from "Practical English Usage" (Michael Swan, OUP, 1980 & 1995), a standard text used in TESL. From the section on apostrophes:

1. Missing letters: Apostrophes show where we have left letters out of a contracted form. can't (= cannot) it's = it is/has (I'd (= I would/had) who's (= who is/has)

2. Possessives: We use apostrophes before or after the possessive -s ending of nouns:

the girl's father; Charles's wife; three miles' walk

Possessive determiners and pronouns do not have apostrophes:

Has the cat had its food yet (NOT ... it's food ...)
This is yours (NOT ... your's ...)
Whose is the coat? (NOT Who's ...

"Excuse me Mrs Teacher, please can I show you this and ask you to look at Johnny's homework again?" :wink:

Oh, and buy her a copy of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" as an end of year present.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Absolutely "it's" is short for "it is".It should only be used when "it is " could be used as a substitute.Therefore :-

The dog gave it is owner the ball - this does not make sense neither then does "it's."

It should have been "its."
He could just say "I'm not sure about this as research on the internet said something different.He/she could say "O.K - will look it up" and no loss of face.Teachers aren't perfect. I didn't know I had been spelling "separate" wrongly until someone corrected me at 16/17. ("seperate" :oops: )

We all have our faults.No one is perfect!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:48 pm
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Totally agree, but how do I tell the teachers she's wrong :!:

Its parents evening next week and I don't know whether to mention it or not.

I know for a fact that my son's friend put IT'S and it was marked as correct; what about all the other poor pupils who now think they were right, when in fact they were wrong :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:16 pm
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brummum wrote:
I know for a fact that my son's friend put IT'S and it was marked as correct; what about all the other poor pupils who now think they were right, when in fact they were wrong :shock:


I am sure they will still live meaningful lives.

I would say "hmmm not sure but is that correct? Saw something different on the internet/book." This will give her time to look herself and learn something.
Surely we all get the occasional thing wrong ...perhaps that's just me then. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:16 pm
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Just for the record, re your concerns over raising it that you mentioned, that should be "It's parents' evening". I don't mean that horribly - really at all - honestly.Perhaps you are tired.Perhaps she was? I know I am, so would not offer this offering as my best....


Last edited by Chelmsford mum on Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:20 pm
Posts: 4660
I had it a couple of times with the teaching assistant marking my daughter's spelling as wrong. She's an excellent speller, always has been and she was quite distraught at the time, enquiring of me as to whether or not it was right (she knew fine well it was right, which is why she was looking for my support).

I told her she was right of course. I was really quite ready for going in to school and discussing it with the teacher, but didn't want to make things uncomfortable for my dd. I know I find it hard to control my emotions when dealing with things like this, no matter how good my intentions are at the start, so decided against doing so. I did explain to my daughter that she was right and sometimes adults make mistakes either because they're rushed and not paying attention, or they really do believe that's how to spell something. As long as my dd knew how to spell it then she should take pride in her own ability.

It's very difficult knowing what to do, only you can decide :(

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