phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"For all it's worth" or "all its worth"

Posted by TheFallen on June 10, 2003

In Reply to: "For all it's worth" or "all its worth" posted by R. Berg on June 10, 2003

: : I am trying to determine the proper spelling of a marketing slogan: "For All It's Worth"

: : I know the grammatical difference: It's worth (the apostophe indicating contraction and meaning it is worth) implies external criteria. Its worth (the lack of apostrophe indicating possession and meaning the worth of the home) suggest intrinsic, almost absolute value.

: : I could avoid the problem by changing worth to value: marketing your home for all its value or, a little downmarket, marketing your home for all it's got. Worth, however, is better.

: : SO my question is, what's the source of the expression and hense the "proper" spelling?

: : Thanks for your help!

: The popular expression, at least here (U.S.), is "for what it's worth." We discussed that one here recently, and you may be able to find the discussion in the archives. It's slightly self-deprecating: a tag line with the implication ". . . but it may be worth nothing," something like "Just putting in my two cents' worth."

: I'd say use "for all it's worth" if your message is "We'll get you the best possible price," and use "for all its worth" if your message is "We value your home--in a nonmonetary sense--as much as you do."

I'd be careful. "For all it's worth" is short for "for all that it is worth", and it is, as R. Berg highlighted, full of connotations of futility. Example:-

"I got dumped by my girlfriend last week, and she's already dating a new guy. I'll give her one last call though... for all it's worth."

On that basis, I'd avoid the apostrophe like the plague. In fact, I'd avoid the whole slogan, because of the definite negative undertones - "Marketing your home... for all its worth" may grammatically have no downside implications, but it'd be seen as having such, even if only subliminally.