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It's and Its

Distinguishing between It’s and Its can be confusing for both native English speakers and ESL students, but really it’s pretty simple to learn the difference. AND you absolutely must learn that difference because the words have distinctly different definitions.


The words it’s is a contraction. A contraction uses an apostrophe to replace one or more letters. Replacing the letters with an apostrophe makes the word easier and quicker to say. The contraction “it’s” is the short way of saying “it is.” The apostrophe replaces the letter i from the word is.


Other contractions:

cannot = can’t

do not = don’t

will not = won’t

has not = hasn't

should've = should have

you would= you'd  (AND there are many others.)


Its is a possessive pronoun, not a contraction. A pronoun replaces a noun. You already know many pronouns: he, she, him, her, it, they, we, us, and so on. Pronouns replace words to make sentences easier to say and to remove repitition.


Josh is wearing a hat. Josh looks nice.


Josh is wearing a hat, and he looks nice.



Something that is possessive shows ownership. A possessive pronoun shows that the person or thing owns something else.


The dog’s collar is too large.


Its collar is too large.



Remember that it’s always means it is because it's a contraction : ) 




Grammar and Writing Guide


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