Friday, July 5, 2013

ITS or IT'S?

Recently, I have noticed a tremendous increase in the use of "it's" for the neutral possessive adjective instead of the correct form its, especially online and surprisingly especially among native speakers, and even on official websites. My English is far from perfect since I'm not a native speaker, but as a language teacher and past student of English I know that "it's" is the short form for it is or it has, while its is a possessive adjective (for example: the color of this necklace = its color). Anyway, seeing the use of it's instead of its becoming so widespread, I started thinking: maybe the rule has changed and I don't know??? NO, of course not... it hasn't changed :) It's is still the short form for it is or it has (that is, a VERBAL form), while its is a possessive adjective exactly like my, your, his or our.

I found this page really great!

It's is short for it is or it has.
Its is the possessive form of it.

There is often confusion between its and it's. If you delve deeper into this issue, you will see that there is good reason for the confusion. However, if you just want to know what is right, the matter is very simple:


It's is short for it is or it has. This is a 100% rule. It cannot be used for anything else. If you cannot expand it's to it is or it has, then it is wrong.


Its is like his and her.

His is used for a masculine possessor (owner). (These are his pies.)
Her is used for feminine possessor. (These are her flowers.)
Its is used for neuter possessor. (These are its footprints.)


 It's been raining for a week, and now it's starting to snow. 
(It has been is starting to snow)

 It's one of the hardest courses in it's history. 
(The first it's is correct. The second should be its.)

 I think the company wants to have its cake and eat it. 
(its – possessive form. This is correct.)

 The reef shark chases it's prey through the coral. 
(should be its, i.e., the possessive form. You cannot expand this to it is or it has.)

 I'm astounded by people who want to know the universe when it's so hard to find your way around Chinatown.  (Woody Allen)

 A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.  (Winston Churchill)

 There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about.  (Oscar Wilde)

 Whenever cannibals are on the brink of starvation, Heaven, in its infinite mercy, sends them a fat
missionary.  (Oscar Wilde)

 Constant company wears out its welcome. 

 A frog can't empty its stomach by vomiting. To empty its stomach contents, a frog throws up its stomach first, so the stomach is dangling out of its mouth. Then the frog uses its forearms to dig out all of the stomach's contents and then swallows the stomach back down again. 

 A completely blind chameleon will still take on the colours  (colors ) of its environment. 

Read more about it's and its here.

Select the correct version:

Well, it's / its got to be true. It's / Its the best evidence yet that the Moon landing was a hoax.It's / Its a ridiculous thought - of course they landed on the Moon. 


Never write it's.

Instead of writing it's, write the full version (i.e., it is or it has). If you cannot (because your sentence does not make sense), then use its.


As covered here, apostrophes are used to show possession. For example, the possessive form ofdog is dog's (as in the dog's teeth).

Therefore, somewhat understandably, many think that the possessive form of it should be it's. It seems to fit the pattern. To make matters worse, there is some evidence that the possessive form ofit used to be it's. The wordit's is used erroneously (by today's conventions) throughout the American Constitution.

Many, including some very prominent companies, still get this wrong. An it's error by the Co-operative Bank is discussed in Grammar Monster's grammar court.

The words hisher, and its are known aspossessive adjectives. There are no apostrophes in any possessive adjectives. This is another 100% rule.

Read more at 

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