Grammar 4 min read

Its vs. It's: What's the Difference?

Main Takeaways:

  • Its is the possessive pronoun for it.
  • It’s is a contraction meaning it is.
  • Its’ is not a word.

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Choosing between its vs. it’s is a bit challenging for some people. Sometimes, even seasoned writers use its and it’s incorrectly in their writing because the words sound the same. Luckily, choosing the right one is easy after you learn a few simple rules.

Don’t mix up its and it’s in your work. Read our practical tips below so you can always choose the correct word.

What is the Meaning of Its?

Its is the possessive pronoun for it, which describes an object, person, or other entity.

its definition: (pronoun) relating to it or itself; the object, agent or possessor of an action

It’s is a contraction that means “it is.” People often use it’s instead of its because they assume an apostrophe plus ‘s’ always signifies ownership. Remember, many other possessive pronouns omit the apostrophe as well. This is true for my, your, hers, and his.

it’s definition: (contraction) it is

You may have also seen some people write its’ with an apostrophe at the end. This is a grammatical error because its’ is not a word.

Its vs. it's:
“Its” is a possessive pronoun, while “it’s” is a contraction of the phrase “it is.”

Which Is Correct: It’s or Its?

Use its when expressing possession, and it’s when you want to say it is. The words are not interchangeable.

Jose started the car after unlocking its doors.
She turned the onion on its side before grabbing her knife.
The door was jammed, so Landon broke its lock to get inside.
It’s cold outside, so wear your jacket.
Actually, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to use contractions.

What Is the Difference Between It and It’s?

It is a pronoun. It’s is a contraction for it is. It usually references an inanimate object, such as a car, book, or beverage. You can also use it to describe a person, animal, or plant.

Let’s break things down a bit more. It is a third-person singular neuter pronoun. Generally, the word it appears as the subject, indirect object, or direct object of a verb. It can also be the object of a preposition.

“Yeah, I’ll try it,” Kathy responded when the waiter asked if she’d like a sample of pecan pie.
I don’t like when it gets hot in Chicago.
It looks good,” Tyler’s mom said when she saw his clean room.

It’s is a contraction that combines this pronoun with the verb is. Is expresses a state of being.

It’s too windy today,” complained Cynthia.
I’m not sure it’s a good idea for you to do that.
It’s another exciting day at the office.

It’s is not the plural or possessive form of it. Writers should use its when they need a possessive pronoun.

It’s a fun event.
The bug flapped it’s wings.

It’s vs. Its: How to Decide Between the Two

It’s always takes the place of it is, while its signifies ownership or possession. You can check for accuracy of it’s by substituting the phrase it is in your sentence.

It is a hot, sunny day.
It’s a hot, sunny day.
Its a hot, sunny day.

If you can’t substitute it is, then you should use its rather than it’s.

We hope this clears up any confusion you have about it’s vs. its.

Read More: Among vs. Amongst: Their Differences and Proper Usage

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