It's vs. Its: A Review

Monday, July 27, 2009

I read a lot of blogs. I thoroughly enjoy them. But one trend I've noticed among a shockingly large percentage of my subscriptions, which has stuck out lately like a sore thumb, is the trouble blog writers seem to be having with it's and its.

(I don't think my aversion to this stems from my study of literature or my personal interest in the Enlish language; this should offend everyone's intelligence who knows better.)

Let's review.

1. "it's" {with an apostrophe} stands for the words "IT + IS"
you see how this contains a verb (is, ahem)?

*Remember that apostrophes don't just appear out of nowhere. They stand for something, like possession or a verb contraction. (ex: "do" + "not" = "don't")

example in a sentence:
It is correct to assume that everyone knows this language rule.
It's correct to assume that everyone knows this language rule.

The apostrophe in this case stands for the "i" in "is" ... just like the apostrophe in "don't" stands for the "o"

2. "its" shows possession of a noun (person, place, thing or idea)
example in a sentence:

The dog always showed its owner who was boss.
The knife wasn't sharp enough to do its job.

Does this help? If in doubt, think to yourself, "Would it make sense to say 'it is' here?" If the answer is no, then go with its (possession).

We'll leave on a positive note: this adorable terrarium print, found here.


  1. THANK YOU for appropriately drawing attention to this tragedy in the blogosphere (Perhaps later this week you could highlight the proper use of you're vs. your?!) Although I'm sure I, too, am guilty of making the mistake once in a while (my fingers move too fast for my brain sometimes)... IT'S nice to know someone else out there appreciates the little things in the English language.

  2. I'm pretty proud of my ability to maneuver the it's vs its and the their, there, they're, you're vs your. But whose and who's throws me. How about a tutorial on that? :)

  3. same deal for whose/who's as it's/its

    who's=who is/who has

    "who's the one in charge here?"
    "i don't know whose car that is"

  4. Yay. It's so lovely that you put "it" in its place. :)

  5. I am so guilty. I know better. I just blog in the wee hours of the morning. My brain isn't awake. Forgive me! :)

  6. I know I'm bad, probably REALLY bad. If I were a rich woman I would hire someone who is skilled and without error to type while I narrate. Until that day comes, please forgive all of my grammatical errors. I'm often too excited to re-read, spell check, etc.

  7. I love this Leslie. I KNOW I am guilty. I often blog really late at night or during naps. So, forgive me. And, keep the lessons coming! :)


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