Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Know your english!

  1. Jun 26, 2006 #1
    Okay, quick question.

    Can the word "it's" be used to signify ownership?

    e.g.

    "To argue whether or not secularisation is occurring, or has occurred, in our society today one must first define religion itself, then define secularisation- how influential is it now, compared to that of the past, and finally define it's significance."

    Would this be proper usage, or must it be used without an apostrophe despite signifying property or ownage?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2006 #2

    J77

    User Avatar

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  4. Jun 26, 2006 #3
    The way I learned is that the possessive form of it is "its" without an apostrophe, so that "it's" with an apostrophe is always it is.
     
  5. Jun 26, 2006 #4

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    J77 and d_leet are correct unequivocally.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2006 #5

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    It's a rule! Follow its dictates!
     
  7. Jun 26, 2006 #6

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For completeness, "english" should be written with a capital letter.
     
  8. Jun 26, 2006 #7

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Even when used for the spin on a tennis ball or ping-pong ball?
     
  9. Jun 26, 2006 #8

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    Ooh interesting one. I suspect not, though I don't know the etymology of this use. Anyone?
     
  10. Jun 26, 2006 #9

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I had a look at the OED, doesn't which say much about its origin. It did give a second-hand (or more) apocryphal-sounding story about an English pool player named English coming to the U.S., with english being named after him.

    I then found the website of the Online Etymology Dictionary, which states

    English (2) (Look up English at Dictionary.com)
    "spin imparted to a ball" (as in billiards), 1860, from Fr. anglé "angled," which is similar to Anglais "English."
     
  11. Jun 26, 2006 #10

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Excellent! Thanks George, that's a much more rational explanation.

    I don't know what the rule would be now regarding capitalisation; if the ambiguity is all in the French language, and your story is the truth, I don't see how you could get away without spelling English with a capital E. But I don't know!
     
  12. Jun 26, 2006 #11

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Okay, but which one?

    Edit : Nevermind. I see you anticipated the extent of my illiteracy in your subsequent post.
     
  13. Jun 26, 2006 #12

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Agreed. Good one, George.

    Actually, if it's from the French it would be spelled with a capital 'A'. :tongue:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Know your english!
  1. Know your Seasons (Replies: 10)

Loading...