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Choosing between its and it’s

David and Paige explain the meaning of two English words that look and sound very similar but act very different: _its_ and _it's_. 

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians, and, hello, Paige. - [Voiceover] Hi, David. - [Voiceover] So, what are we working on today? - [Voiceover] So, today we're gonna talk about the difference between it's and its. - [Voiceover] Oh, oh, that sounds real tricky. - [Voiceover] Yeah, but we'll be okay. - [Voiceover] Okay. So, it's, with an apos-- So, we have these two forms in English and they mean very different things. So, let's go though them really quick. So, it's with an apostrophe is a contraction, right? What is it a contraction of? - [Voiceover] It is or it has. - [Voiceover] As in, it's a lovely day outside. Or, for it has, like it's been, it has been one week since you looked at cheese. - [Voiceover] (laughing) Sad, it's been a sad week. - [Voiceover] It's been a sad week. As opposed to its. Can you walk me through its. - [Voiceover] So, its is a possessive pronoun. And it's a little confusing 'cause possessive usually uses an apostrophe, too. But possessive pronouns don't use apostrophes. So, you would say something like, I like rib-eye steak because of its rich flavor. - [Voiceover] That's a pretty grody-looking steak. - [Voiceover] (laughs) I know, pink and green is not how you want your steak to look. - [Voiceover] So, we frankly just used its where we would use his or her or their or our. You would use its. - [Voiceover] Right, it's just that it's not a person, so. - [Voiceover] So, if I were asking you, can I borrow your book? That's kinda the same thing as I like rib-eye steak because of its flavor. - [Voiceover] Right, it's showing that the flavor belongs to the steak just like the book belongs to me. - [Voiceover] Right. So, flavor belongs to it, book belongs to you. So, this is the core distinction, is if you're talking about anything that would be about possession you use its. I-T-S, no apostrophe. If you're trying to contract something, it is or it has, like it's a lovely day outside or it's been one week since you looked at cheese. Then you would use I-T apostrophe S 'cause it's a contraction, you're trying to cram more information into this one little phrase. - [Voiceover] Precisely. - [Voiceover] Sweet. That's how you choose between I-T apostrophe S and I-T no apostrophe S. You can learn anything. David out. - [Voiceover] Paige out.