It’s vs its

It can be hard to know when to use “its” and when “it’s”; there’s only a difference of an apostrophe between them!

It can be hard to know when to use “its” and when “it’s”; there’s only a difference of an apostrophe between them! But we’ll show you a super easy trick you can use to always know which form to use correctly.

“Its” is what’s called a possessive pronoun. It’s a pronoun that shows that something belongs to someone/something. For example, look at the bulldog, its collar is pink! In this example, “its collar” means “the dog’s collar.”

“It’s” is a little more complicated. Firstly, it’s not a word, but two words—”it is”. This is called a contraction. Other contractions are “they’re, we’ll, I’ve, she’s”, etc. “It’s” is always a contraction and will most likely be the both the subject and verb of the sentence or phrase. For example, it’s raining really hard this morning. “It’s raining” here means “it is raining.”

So, what trick can you use to know which form you need in the sentence? It’s simple. It’s enough to expand “it’s” into “it is” and see if it fits. Here are some examples of how that works.

It’s (It is) my birthday today. Correct.
It’s (It is) the happiest day of my life! Correct.
The table is old, but it’s (it is) legs are still sturdy. Incorrect. Should be “its”, we’re talking about the legs that belong to the table.
I bought a new bag and it’s (it is) already ruined. Correct.

Hopefully the difference between “it’s” and “its” is now a whole lot clearer and you can use this knowledge to make your English writing better. It’s worth its weight in gold!

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