It's and Its
Mixing up "it's" and "its" is one of
the most common writing errors. Train your brain to remember that "it's," with
an apostrophe, is a contraction of the simple subject-verb "it is." On the
other hand, "its," without an apostrophe, is a possessive.
Here are quick tips on telling the
If you can restate the sentence with
"it is," then use the form that's a contraction: "it's".
If you can't, then use the form
that's a possessive:" its".
It's too bad you can't come. (You
could rewrite it as: It is too bad you can't come.)
Its chief attraction was the roller
coaster. (You couldn't write: It is chief attraction. . . .)
Once it gets started, it's hard to
stop. (. . . it is hard to stop.)
Once it gets started, its most
difficult challenges begin. (Couldn't write: . . . it is most difficult
Another tip: it's harder for a lot
of people to remember NOT to use the apostrophe in the possessive form - "its"
- than to remember to use it in the contraction form - "it's". But this might
"His" and "her" are also common
possessives. Would you ever use an apostrophe in them? "He took hi's time" or
"She gave he'r best."
Of course not! That's how you can
remember not to use an apostrophe with "its" when it's used to convey ownership
or belonging . . . because "it's" just doesn't belong there!
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
005 • © 2006