Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The 'I's Have It

Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


Today, we continue our alphabet series with grammar issues and words that begin with the letter "I." 

In, into

In indicates location, according to the Associated Press Stylebook 2016, whereas into indicates motion. 


The bear was in the forest.
The bear walked into the cave. 

Incredible, incredulous

Incredible means unbelievable. The Chicago Manual of Style notes it used to colloquially mean astonishing, but I guess not anymore. 


Brownie the bear caught a jumping fish mid-air in his mouth. Incredible!

How many of you learned what incredulous meant by reading any of  Harry Potter series? I sure did. Incredulous means disbelieving or skeptical and was often applied to Hermione Granger, one of my favorite characters. 


Mama bear eyed Brownie incredulously after he told her his story.

Ingenious, ingenuous

CMS notes that while these words are similar in form, they are not in definition. "Ingenious describes what is intelligent, clever, and original." On the other hand, "ingenuous describes what is candid, naive, and without dissimulation," according to the manual.


The hunter set up his ingenious trap near the tree.
Brownie the bear chuckled at this ingenuous attempt and sauntered away unscathed.

In vitro fertilization

Notice there is no hyphen between in and vitro. This was something I had to be very aware of while writing my first novel, A Whisper to a Scream, when Annie and John decided to try a round of in vitro fertilization to see if they could conceive.

It's, its

It's is the contraction for it is. Its is the possessive form of it. 


It's a well-known fact bears are intelligent, except for a professional football team that insists on keeping Jay Cutler on its roster.


These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


My daughter and I had the it's/its conversation last night when she was doing her grammar homework.

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