English Language Blog

It’s or Its? Posted by on Feb 18, 2012 in English Grammar, English Language, English Vocabulary

If you spend a decent amount of time on Facebook, then you may have seen some of the posts about grammar that tend to make the rounds. Often these posts are sentences that highlight a regularly misused or misunderstood word, punctuation mark or grammar rule. For example,

“Let’s eat Grandpa! vs Let’s eat, Grandpa! (Commas, they save people.)”

So that you don’t fall into a similar trap with two words that often cause some confusion, let’s look at the difference between its and it’s.

It’s with an apostrophe is the shortened form of it is. An example sentence is, “It’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood.”

Its without an apostrophe means that something belongs to it. An example is, “The car beeped its horn.”

So how do you keep the two straight in your head? With these tips:

1.  Never use its’

2.  Try replacing it’s/its with it is. If the sentence makes sense, then you know you can use it’s. If it doesn’t make sense then you most likely need to use its.


It’s/its very windy outside. –> It is very windy outside. –> Makes sense, so use it’s.

Every dog has it’s/its day.  –> Every dog has it is day. –> Doesn’t make sense, so use its.


Here are some exercises for you to practise with:

Rewrite the sentences below, choosing the right word from the brackets.

1. [It’s/its] time to give the cat [it’s/its] dinner.

2. The spacecraft fired [it’s/its] rockets as it approached [it’s/its] landing site.

3. When [it’s/its] likely to rain, [it’s/its] best to take an umbrella.

4. [It’s/its] fascinating to watch the cat washing [it’s/its] kittens.

5. Before riding your bicycle, [it’s/its] a good idea to check [it’s/its] brakes.


Answers from Wednesday’s Post About Parts of a Car in English:

1. The driver in front of me keeps changing lanes.

2. There is always a lot of traffic on this road.

3. This road is so bumpy. There are so many potholes.

4. You turn the steering wheel to make the car turn left or right.

5. The road is under construction so we have to make a detour.


What sentences can you make using it’s and its?

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