It's not "Its"
NEOPIA CENTRAL - Neopets.com has often been touted as not only an enjoyable,
but also an educational site. Undoubtedly, this is one of the site's finer aspects,
and most definitely a selling point for educators and parents who encourage,
or at least understand, their child's obsession with the site. However, while
practising addition with Maths Nightmare is admirable, and the Battledome is
a perfect venue for one's problem solving skills--there is one area of study
that the site does not seem to pay attention to. Unfortunately, it is also one
that can be easily improved – English.
I am not referring to games such as "Spell or Starve"(which I think
is a stellar game). Nor do I particularly care about the rampant chat speak
on the chat boards (Well, I do, but that's a different story). I am referring
to the simple, but abundant, grammatical follies found throughout the site.
"Who cares?", you might ask. After all, we all make mistakes. Yes,
we do, but considering the site's audience and impressionability of such, it
has a definite standard to live up to. The standard it currently holds could
use a few more commas, apostrophes and semicolons.
A glaring example is the appalling lack of distinction between "it's"
and "its". For instance, there is currently a blurb in the News Box
on the front page that reads "Its the month of Celebrating, and that means
a freebie every day at the Advent Calendar". Those who have spotted the
mistake may cringe, and those who didn't--allow me to explain. According to
accepted grammar rules, unlike other words in which an apostrophe followed by
an "s" usually signifies a word in its possessive form, the word "it's"
means "it is". Therefore, it would be proper to say "Its eyes
was blue", but not "It's eyes were blue". More importantly, it
is also not correct to say "Its the month...", but rather "It
is the month..." or "It's the month...". Unfortunately, this
mistake is constantly repeated elsewhere on the site. The news page is a regular
culprit--the News for this week (December 17) declares in relation to the results
of the Darigan-Meridell war "Its up to you.". Once again, it's "it's",
not "its". You can easily find more examples of this by going through
the News section--give yourself a cookie each time you find one, and you'll
soon be feeling sick. It is quite saddening to see one of the most common and
easily avoidable grammatical mistakes proliferate on a site as influential as
While we're on the topic of the New Features page, it couldn't hurt to point
out a number of other mistakes made during the week of 17th December. More specifically,
as I am writing this on a Tuesday, and there were no new features on Monday,
I'll be pointing out a couple of the grammatical mistakes made during ONE day
of New Features--the day of 17th December.
"No, the Lupe could not fly, or teleport, or in any way act not according
to the laws of physics :)"
The latter part of this sentence referring to the Lenny Conundrum is heart
breaking. I mean, "in any way act not according to..."? This is a prime example
of going way overboard with words. Technically, it is grammatically correct,
with the exception of ":)" not being a punctuation mark. However, wouldn't it
be easier to say "...or act against the laws of physics"?
"Today's Pet Spotlight goes to _Baby_Pooky_ a Baby Draik. "
Commas, people. As "a Baby Draik" describes "_Baby_Pooky_", it should be preceded
by a comma. Elementary [grammar class], Watson.
"The latest Caption Contest has just gone live, this time it seems someone
has become innundated with Snowbunnies."
"Inundated", not "Innundated". Two words: spell check.
Ooh just look at these pretty new Neggs, I wonder where you can get hold
Once again, the ubiquitous comma. Were it used after "Ooh", the
sentence would flow a lot better. Alternately, an ellipsis would suffice.
I can assure you that this is merely a small sampling of the grammatical atrocities
committed throughout this well respected "family site". I honestly
hope that none of these families have English teachers in their midst. Look
at what the Snow Faerie says after you give her your items. What about the Battledome
opponents? I'm not even counting all the small grammatical mistakes in the Neopian
Times that slip past our marvelous editor, Mr. Shankly (gasp!). And the chat
boards are a grammatical wasteland that I won't even bother discussing. Look
around the site--you'll find numerous instances of the English language being
mangled in minuscule but noticeable ways. Trust me, you'll find them. And if
you don't, then hopefully it means that it has all been fixed. That would be
a very, very good thing.
I also suppose that a rebuttal of sorts would be necessary. I can imagine the
statements that will be called on to defend the integrity of this site. One
that I have often gotten in response to my rant-like articles such as this is
"Well, if you don't like the site--don't play. It's just a small matter!"
Please don't get me wrong. I adore this site, I really do. However, the fact
is that the lack of grammatical consistency on the site IS a small matter. It
is something that I am reminded of every time I submit a piece to the Neopian
Times. "Spell check! Use proper grammar!", the auto-response proclaims.
And I do. If the staff can spend months working on a new game, a new war or
a new world, surely it would be an exceedingly small matter to run the New Features
and anything else through a spell and grammar check? "But, they're British!"
is another rebuttal that comes to mind. Tough. Grammar, for the most part, and
definitely in the examples I brought up, is standard. It is not a matter of
concern if impressionable young people decide to start spelling "colour"
or "centre" as opposed to "color" and "center".
However, it is a widely proven fact that people are influenced by what they
are most exposed to. As such, considering the huge draw and "return appeal"
the site holds, it would be a shame if kids who read the New Features page more
often than Harry Potter subconsciously begin to believe that "Its okay
to write bad english".
The author apologises for any grammatical atrocities that she may have