Its and It's

It's is short for it is or it has. For example: Its is the possessive form of it. For example:

It's and Its

There is often confusion between its and it's. If you delve deeper into this issue, you will see that there is good reason for the confusion. However, if you just want to know what is right, the matter is very simple.


It's is short for it is or it has. This is a 100% rule. It cannot be used for anything else.
If you cannot expand your it's to it is or it has, then it is wrong!


Its is like his and her. (They are all possessive adjectives.) Look at these examples:

Examples with It's and Its

Here are example sentences with it's and its: .

A Quick Test

Never Ever Write It's (The Easiest Way to Get It Right)

It's a bit severe fix, but you could get away with never writing it's.

Instead of writing it's, write the full version (i.e., it is or it has). If you cannot (because your sentence does not make sense), then use its.

Why Is There Confusion?

. For example, the possessive form of dog is dog's (as in the dog's teeth).

Therefore, somewhat understandably, many think that the possessive form of it should be it's. It seems to fit the pattern. To make matters worse, there is some evidence that the possessive form of it used to be it's. The word it's is used erroneously (by today's conventions) throughout the American Constitution.

Its Is a Possessive Adjective

The words his, her, and its are known as possessive adjectives. There are no apostrophes in any possessive adjectives (except for one's).

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See Also

Glossary of easily confused words Glossary of common errors Glossary of grammatical terms What are nouns? What are verbs?