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Tidbits of Wit on Its and It’s

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Mixing up “it’s” and “its” can happen to anyone. We’ll teach you how to avoid this common mistake.

Its vs. It’s: Learn the Difference
“Its” vs. “It’s”
Correct Use

  • It’s is a contraction that stands for it is or it has:
  • It’s supposed to rain all day.
  • Its is an adjective that indicates possession:
  • The entire house is beautiful, but its backyard is what makes it stand out.

Occasionally, slipping in an apostrophe where there’s not supposed to be one can happen to anyone. That’s usually the case when it comes to these two words: it’s and its. Read on to learn what these words mean and how to use them correctly.


When to Use “It’s”

It’s is a contraction that stands for it is or it has.

It’s going to be a beautiful wedding. = It is going to be a beautiful wedding.
It’s been a long day. = It has been a long day.

Try to remember that the apostrophe signals that a portion of the words have been removed.


When to Use “Its”

Its is the possessive form of it, and is used to show possession or belonging.

The bird built its own nest.
After getting yelled at, the boy put the expensive model truck back in its place.

Note that while it’s is used for several tenses (going-future, present perfect, etc.), its is not.


Replacing “Its” and “It’s”

When in doubt, substitute the word in question with it is or it has. If the sentence makes sense, then an apostrophe is needed. If it doesn’t make sense, then there’s no need for an apostrophe.

It’s a great day for some baseball! = It is a great day for some baseball!

She put the plant back in its appropriate pot. ≠ She put the plant back in it is appropriate pot.

It’s been hard for him to accept. = It has been hard for him to accept.

Its engine is running loudly. ≠ It is engine is running loudly.


Remember

  • The apostrophe in its signals that two words (it is or it has) have been shortened into one.
  • Its is a possessive form of the word it.

The Difference Between “It’s” and “Its”

Mistakes like mixing up it’s and its happen often, even to the most skilled writers. That’s why using LanguageTool is so beneficial. Its editor automatically detects these blunders and offers corrections. It’s also capable of detecting grammar errors, and suggests improvements to enhance your writing.

“It’s” means “it has” or “it is”, “its” is the possessive of “it”.
Never mix up “it’s” and “its” again.

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