In the Absence of Basketball News, Let's Discuss Grammar

So, Citizens Zhiv and pipedreams and others have, for years now, been on my case about my unfortunate tendency to screw up possessive pronouns:  its vs. it's, your vs. you're, etc.  So I found this post, 20 Tips on How to Write for the Web apropos. 

Tip number 1:  It's Versus Its.  So apparently, I'm not the only person who struggles with this.  I must say though, I was hoping for more help than this.  Let's be clear - I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.  It's not really that difficult - I'm a bright guy, I understand the proper usage, have since I was 12 I should think.  But I don't have an editor, and the simple fact is that most of the time when you put those three letters together in that sequence, you mean 'it is'.  So when I'm in the midst of a 3000 word post and I type i-t-s my fingers automatically slip an apostrophe in there.  It's just muscle memory people - so give me a break.  If you see one, let me know in the comments and I'll fix it.  And maybe someday I'll institute an automatic check.

Scanning the rest of this list, it's interesting that two other items are semi-related to this issue:  number 9 Their, There, and They're and number 14 Apostrophe Use.  So again I say, apparently this is not a bugaboo unique to me.

Of course, I don't necessarily agree with all the items on the list.  It would seem that tips that essentially boil down to 'use the word that you mean to use' like it's/its and then/than and their/there/they're are fundamentally different from those that are more about preference or style.  To wit:  I am an unapologetic fan of the less popular punctuation marks like semi-colons and colons.  "More advanced punctuation such as semi-colons and colons should be avoided completely by starting new sentences instead."  Really?  Well, if the overarching tip here concerns "Overuse of Punctuation" I hardly see how using a period instead of a semi-colon accomplishes that goal - and avoiding a colon by starting a new sentence simply misses the point of the colon completely.  I realize that the author is really talking about simplifying punctuation, but I'm not down with that.  My readers can handle the occasional semi-colon.

As for the whole 'one space after a period on the web' thing, I'll pass on that as well thank you.  For one thing, we're right back to muscle memory.  I've been at keyboards way too long to change that; you hit the period, you hit the space bar twice, that's just how it works.  Besides, what's the motivation? 'One space is preferred on the web.'  Really?  Why?  Is space more precious on the web than it is on paper?  No, it's not, quite the opposite.  Space is limitless.  The funny thing about this one is that when I served as the webmaster for my local AYSO, I spent countless hours  adding extra   tags all over the place because the damn html editor dropped the extra spaces that I wanted there.

And I love to begin sentences with 'and'.

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