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The text shown in the image is:

However, at 34 years of age and with his future in international cricket on uncertain ground as it’s, any setback is bad news for the Australian all-rounder at this late stage of his career and Watson faces a nervous wait for the results of scans. (Source)

What is 'it' as shown in the image , clear from the title. Also it is not 'its', that should be noted well.

  • It should be its (possessive, therefore no comma). In this context, it refers back to international cricket (which has an uncertain future just as he does (i.e. - his future and its future are being compared). Either that or the writer is ignorant, since it's not grammatical to contract is if what he means is with his future as uncertain as it is. Jun 10, 2016 at 14:35
  • In either case, this sentence is plain horrible to me.
    – MadWard
    Jun 10, 2016 at 14:44
  • 4
    @FumbleFingers - Huh? "...with his future in international cricket on uncertain ground as its" doesn't make any sense. I suspect that the author wrote or intended "as it is", and it got "corrected" to it's.
    – stangdon
    Jun 10, 2016 at 14:57
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers - I'll grant that you can use "its" that way. Still, I feel like there's a bit of a difference in your sentence and the original that makes them not syntactically identical Hers obviously refers to someone in another sentence, but in the original sentence, "its" would have to refer to something in the earlier prepositional phrase in the same sentence, not even to the subject of the clause.
    – stangdon
    Jun 10, 2016 at 18:31
  • 1
    "as it is" can be paraphrased "already". This flaming bananas dish, which calls for a generous amount of saffron, is expensive as it is; setting a fifty-year-old scotch aflame puts its price through the roof. Jun 10, 2016 at 19:32

3 Answers 3


If the "as it's" is a typo for "as it is", then we can consider the "it" to be semantically empty.  This kind of "it" is sometimes called a dummy or expletive pronoun. 

The phrase "as it is" can be used as an idiom with a meaning close to "under current circumstances" or "in this situation".  In that case, the "it" doesn't refer to anything.  The same lack of semantic value can be found in the sentence "it is raining" -- there is no "it" which rains, but the predicate still requires a subject. 

Watson's future doesn't look good now.  His future will look even worse if his scan results contain bad news. 

When "it is" stands as a complete clause, it should not be contracted.  The "as it's" in your example must be a typo of something.  Replacing the typo with "as it is" makes more sense than replacing it with "as its".  The idiomatic "as it is" doesn't require an antecedent, and I cannot find a suitable antecedent for "as its" in this sentence.


I find "its" as a possessive pronoun here (like "mine" or "hers") hard to accept. The OED lists the pronominal use of "its" as "rare"; and I can't search for it in the corpora, because the UCREL Claws7 part-of-speech list doesn't have a category for it. ('PPGE' is "nominal possessive personal pronoun (e.g. mine, yours)", but doesn't match "its"; whereas 'APPGE' ("possessive pronoun, pre-nominal (e.g. my, your, our)") does match 'its'.

I think "it is" is a far more likely reading.


I believe that it's refers to uncertain ground, and the meaning is:

...on uncertain (as of now) ground

or, in a more meaningful way,

...on currently uncertain ground

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