It’s okay. It is okay if you don’t know when to use it’s vs its. It’s perfectly normal to see many English language learners use it’s (with an apostrophe) and its (without an apostrophe) incorrectly.
Often you might write a sentence like this, “Its a busy day today,” when you really mean to use “it’s” or a sentence like this, “The cat chases it’s tail,” when you mean to use “its”.
To avoid making this common English grammar mistake, you should know the difference between ‘it’s vs its’ and when to use which one.
What do “it’s” and “its” mean?
“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” and “it has”. The apostrophe replaces the vowel when you combine “it and is”, and “it and has”. [It + is = It’s]. When you shorten it and is, or it and has, you get it’s. Note that ‘it’s”, has an apostrophe which shows that the writer means to use the short form of “it and is” and “it and has”. This is why “it’s” is not the possessive form of it. The possessive form (its) doesn’t have an apostrophe.
It’s Vs Its – Correct Usage With Examples:
It’s time to go to the party. [it is]
Laila can’t go outside as it’s been snowing all day. [it has been]
Sam, thanks for your input. It’s a great idea. [it is]
It’s been six months since I last met you. [it has been]
“Its” is the possessive form of the pronoun “it”. We use “its”, a possessive determiner to show that something belongs to something. Usually, we use an apostrophe to show possession, such as Bill’s books, and Sam’s car, but in this case “its” (with an apostrophe) does not show possession, rather it is the contraction. So its, yours, hers, and theirs are some examples of possessive pronouns that do not need an apostrophe.
Perfection has its price.
Do not judge a book by its cover.
I like this dress, but not its color.
Sam could hear its muffled sound.
“It’s” is not the possessive form of “it”.
Its’ (with an apostrophe after the s), is always incorrect.
It’s Vs Its – Conclusion:
“It’s” is a contraction meaning “it is or it has”, and “its” is the possessive form of it meaning ‘belonging to it’.
Here is a graphic that may help you remember when to use it’s vs its.
Bonus: Download this FREE ‘it’s vs its’ practice sheet.
Suggested Books To Learn Grammar:
To up your grammar game, here are five most popular books for you to improve your English grammar:
- Practical English Usage
- Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English
- An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage
- The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
- English Grammar in Use Book with Answer
I am sure it’s easy for you to know that using “its” and “it’s” is not rocket science. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.
Take this free practice quiz to test your skills.