its vs it’s
We ought to settle this war before the Grammar Nazis get to you first. Its vs it’s. These are two closely related terms that are often confused. Although most people have no trouble saying these words in the right manner. When it comes to writing them, a lot of people get confused when it comes to deciding the right places to use it’s instead of its. I am sure that you can see why this would be confusing? While some languages have a variety of words that can be used to say things, the queen’s English terms to throw us these curveballs.
If you consider that the Welsh language has over a dozen words for music. Surely, we could have come up with one way to distinguish between it’s and its? I mean, beyond adding the apostrophes. Such is English grammar. Not to worry, it’s no longer going to be a problem for you. Thankfully, this was drummed into me in school. I am always pleased to share my knowledge. You will shortly be able to understand these often confused words.
It’s and Its Difference
- It’s makes use of an apostrophe of omission. This tells the reader that there are some letters that have been left out this sentence. The assumption is that the reader can deduce what these words are based on the context of the sentence that they are reading.
- Its, without the apostrophe, indicates ownership. You will often find it referred to as a possessive pronoun.
Let us look at some example to make this clearer.
How to use it’s
As we have discussed above, the apostrophe tells us that there are additional letters that could be placed in that gap. There are two common contractions of it’s. These are “it is” and “it has”. Both of these can be shortened to it’s. Depending on what you are reading it is fairly easy to figure out which one of the two has been shortened.
It has been a long time would become it’s been a long time.
It is going to be a long time would become it’s going to be a long time.
The easy way to know which one of the two was meant above is to remember that “it is” present continuous while “it has” past continuous.
How to use its
We have mentioned that “its” is in possessive form. How you use it will follow this form. The context of any sentence in which you will find it will follow this pattern. Possessive pronouns tell us who or what something belongs to. In the case of “its” we will look at some examples that will ensure that it all makes sense.
The dog hid its bone.
The ball and its bat.
If you consider the two examples above, do you see where the possessive part comes into play? The first sentence tells us that the bone belongs to the dog. In the second example, we can tell that the bat belongs to the ball. How simple is the English language when it is put so plainly?
There are various other words that fall into this possessive category. They include (hers, yours, mine, ours, theirs, my, your and so on). Of these words, some are personal pronouns.
Its not the right time to call me.
The wall had it’s paint scrapped off.
Based on what we have covered above, what would you say is wrong with the two sentences above? How would you correct them? The simple answer is that in the first sentence, there is a missing apostrophe. The sentence is meant to mean that “it is not the right time to call me.” Yet the message is lost in grammar and punctuation. Adding the missing apostrophe would fix it.
In the second sentence, there is an element of possession. The paint belongs to the wall. Yet, in its current form, you would think that “the wall had it is paint scrapped off.” This would not make sense, of course.
An easy rule to follow is to consider ownership in any sentence where you use “its” and think about “it is or it has” when you use “it’s”. If in either case, those would not slot in well, you have made a mistake.
We have all received a dime and a dozen emails that contain these errors. If the email is a formal one, your credibility goes out of the window. Especially nowadays where there are so many correction tools. You may have to change your email address to recover from some of these errors. I joke.
Hope that has made things a lot clearer for you. Comment below if you have any questions or have some funny stories about where these words have been misused. That is all for our its versus it’s article.
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