it's vs its

It’s vs Its

There are many grammatical mistakes that writers struggle to overcome. However, the most common challenge is distinguishing it’s vs its. The two words are pronounced in a similar way (and almost spelled the same), so you can see why writers tend to make the mistake of interchanging them.

Differentiating its and it’s


“Its” is used as a possessive determiner that for the pronoun “it.” It is used to express that something belongs to the noun represented by the pronoun “it.” When used in this manner, it has a similar meaning to “his,” “her,” “my,” or “your.”

The confusing part for many people with “its” is that a possessive should have an apostrophe when it is used to refer to a noun or pronoun. For instance, you should use an apostrophe to refer to a name; “Tom’s pencil was in his pocket.”


When used with an apostrophe, it means “it is” or “it has.” These short forms are referred to as contractions. They are used to shorten spoken text but are usually discouraged when used in formal texts. Other contractions include “here’s,” “there’s,” “where’s,” “there’s,” and “why’s.”

Should you use it’s or its?

The easiest way of remembering which word you should use is to replace “it’s” with “it is” in a sentence. If it makes sense, then you can use the word “it’s.” If not, use “its.”


It’s (as a contraction)

· It’s always snowing in the morning during the winter.

· It’s melting down the cone.

· It’s always cosy in the house when it is raining outside.

· It’s a good day.

As earlier mentioned, to know if you should use “it’s,” replace it with “it is” or “it has” in a sentence. If either of the two forms sounds correct, you have used them correctly.

Its (used for possession)

· The cheetah was looking after its cubs.

· The drink was spilled on the couch and stained its cover.

· The elephant was very aggressive when its calf was attacked by the lions.

· The car had one of its windows open when the robbery happened.

Note that the word “its” is always ahead of the noun it has been used to describe.

The possessive “its” and the nouns in the above examples can be understood better when you look at them this way:

· “the cubs” belong to “the cheetah.”

· “the cover” belongs to “the couch.”

· “the calf” belongs to “the elephant.”

· “the window” belongs to “the car.”

Verdict on it’s vs its

In case you are having trouble understanding why the “its” is possessive, use the method we have demonstrated above to use it as a contraction. This will clear out your doubts. In our examples, to know if the use of each “its” is correct, use it with “it is” or “it has” the same way we did in the case of contractions. If it sounds incorrect, then it was correctly used as a possessive.

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