Its vs. It’s – Proper English Grammar Rules

This guide will clarify the grammar rules and provide writing resources to assist you in using "its vs. it's" correctly, and will help you to use these words correctly in any writing projects.

When To Use "Its"

"Its" is a possessive pronoun that indicates possession or ownership. For example, "The cat licked its paw" means the paw belongs to the cat.

It is important to not confuse "its" with the contraction "it's" which means "it is". It's important to pay attention to the noun antecedent of "its" and to use it in proper context to avoid confusion with similar words.

The use of "its" can be tricky because in English, nouns do not have a gender-specific possessive form, unlike in some other languages. So, in a sentence like "The company raised its profits," "its" refers to the company, not to any specific individuals within the company.

In addition, it's important to be aware of the noun antecedent of "its", as the noun antecedent is the word to which the pronoun refers. In the case of "its" the antecedent must be a noun or pronoun that indicates possession or ownership. 

Here Are Some Simple Examples:

  • The dog wagged its tail happily.
  • The car had a flat tire and needed to replace its wheel.
  • The company is proud of its achievements in sustainability.
  • Despite its small size, the company has managed to establish its presence in the highly competitive market.
  • The new software has received positive feedback from its users, which has helped to boost its popularity.
  • The city government has been criticized for its lack of action in addressing the ongoing problem of homelessness.
  • The team's success is attributed to its strong leadership and cohesive teamwork, which has allowed it to outperform its rivals.

When To Use "It's"

"It's" is a contraction of the two words "it" and "is." It is used to indicate that something is true or to describe a current state of being.

Here are a few examples:

  • It's a cold day today.
  • It's been a while since we've seen each other.
  • It's time to go home.
  • It's getting dark, we should head back.
  • Although it's difficult to predict the outcome of the election, the polls indicate that it's likely to be a close race.
  • It's been acknowledged that the company's success is the result of its dedication to innovation and customer service.
  • Despite the challenges it's facing, the organization remains committed to its mission of promoting social justice.
  • It's clear that the new policy has had a positive impact on the company's bottom line, as it's reported a significant increase in profits.

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