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Punctuation Amazon

Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem areas:

The Amazon drains water from a region that is large, tropical and flat. This region is 13 times the size of France but little of the river water comes from mountain snow melt. Most of it's water comes from rain in the vast lowlands. This rain forest, located on the equator experiences the equivalent of two summers each year. The result is two seasonal peaks of rainfall and streamflow. In an area as flat as the Amazon basin, these peaks can cause widespread damage. Floods are common in the city of Manaus, which is 1200 kilometers inland but only 26 meters above sea level.


- Itís an Apostrophe -

The third sentence in the opening paragraph contains a very common mistake:

    Most of it's water comes from rain in the vast lowlands.

Possessive pronouns, like its, hers, theirs, yours, and ours, have no apostrophe:

    Most of its water comes from rain in the vast lowlands.

The difference between its and it's is so easily forgotten we should review the rule carefully. Unfortunately, this rule must be memorized. For the case of its versus it's, we have two memory tricks that may help:

    "The s belongs to the t."
    (Say it out loud to yourself -- try it on.)
    In other words, in the 'belonging' or possessive case, put the s right next to the t - it belongs to it.
    "Squeeze the i, but leave the dot."
    (Again, say it out loud to yourself.)
    Picture the expression, it is, being squeezed together. Eventually we form the contraction it's where the i has been squeezed out, but leaves its dot, which turns into an apostrophe from all that squeezing. Yes, this is a bit of a stretch, but the more outlandish we make our memory tricks, the more likely we are to remember them.


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