Writing Wednesday: Its vs. It’s

The words its and it’s are often confused. The good news is that the difference is pretty simple.

Its is a possessive pronoun. That means you use it to show that an object owns something. For example: To keep the coconut fresh, store it tightly sealed in its bag. (The bag belongs to the coconut.)

It’s is a contraction joining the words it and is. For example: I’m baking a cake, but I’m not sure if it’s done yet.

If you’re not sure which one to use, just try substituting the words “it is.” If “it is” makes sense, then use it’s (with the apostrophe). If “it is” does not make sense, do not use the apostrophe. For example:

  • This cake has no vanilla in its frosting. (No apostrophe in its because “This cake has no vanilla in it is frosting” would not make sense.)
  • It’s going to taste yummy. (You want the apostrophe in it’s because “It is going to taste yummy” does make sense.)
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2 Responses to Writing Wednesday: Its vs. It’s

  1. Lisa G says:

    I like what you’re doing with your blog. The balance of book reviews and grammar is nice.

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