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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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  • scuttlebug purple style avatar for user Frederick Wang
    Is the plural form of "its" the same as its singular form?
    (16 votes)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user Mariksel Azemaj
    What if I just say "its" and nothing else. What does "its" is in this case?
    (7 votes)
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  • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user Ibrahim Dar
    basically "it's" is a shorter version of it is or it has.
    "its" is a possessive pronoun that doesn't use apostrophes.correct?
    (5 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Polina Vitić
      Almost. "It's" is a shorter version of it is, but not of it has*.

      And yes, "its" - the possessive pronoun - does not used apostrophes.

      What I do to check myself when I'm writing is quickly say the sentence to myself with "it is" substituted for "it's". If it works, apostrophe. If it doesn't make sense, no apostrophe.

      * The exception is when you're using the present perfect tense, and then you can use "it's" in place of it has:
      - It's been several years since I've seen them.
      - It's taken way too long to get the results I want.
      Substituting "it's" for it has is very casual usage though - fine for texts and personal emails, but not for essays or formal writing.

      Hope this helps!
      (7 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Rob Woodward
    AT The person says ITS is a possessive pronoun.

    In the examples given, ITS a possessive adjective and not a possessive pronoun.
    Possessive Adjectives go before a noun...
    My car, Her book, His bike, Its tail etc.

    Possessive Pronouns do not have a noun after it as pronouns replace the noun.
    It is MINE, it is HERS, it is HIS.

    Is that an accidental mistake in the video?
    (4 votes)
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    • ohnoes default style avatar for user Vinicius Pereira Fernandes
      At first I thought the same, however, in the sentence I like ribeye steak because of its rich flavor, its is being used as a substitute for ribeye steak, making it a pronoun.

      It's a good question, since some possessive adjectives and possessive pronoums are different (my/mine), but, at the same time, the possessive of 'it' is 'its', either as an adjective or as a pronoum. So you can say: Its tail or The tail is its
      (3 votes)
  • female robot ada style avatar for user dougrhondawhittaker
    I understand the difference between "It's and Its" but my question is what is the difference between "Its and Its'" because aren't they both possessive and show possession over something. For example "The school closed its stadium at 5 p.m." Or "The monkey peeled its' banana." What is the difference? Also how do I know which one to add in a sentence?
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      Do it this way: "It's" is a contraction of "it is" or "it has".
      "Its" (no apostrophe at all) is for all other things. This is irregular, but you have to get used to it. I make mistakes all the time. My finger on the keyboard automatically goes for the apostrophe, even when I KNOW that I don't want it.
      (4 votes)
  • marcimus pink style avatar for user Jenny
    Why is "its' " not a word? Could I say "it is the cats' toys?" (I am saying it is many cats toys). I say someone say in the comment to never use "its' ", so is cats', or toys', etc., the same?
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Courteney
      Each singular possessive form (hers, his, its) has the same plural possessive form (theirs). Therefore, there's no need for the word its'. Telling it's and its apart is difficult enough without throwing in another variation. :)
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user plus_zewo
    just treat it's as it is.
    (4 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Daniel Garcia
    How can one tell when the meaning is it is = it's, and when the meaning is it has = it's
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf orange style avatar for user Benny C
      Just context clues.

      In the sentence "It's been raining all day", the use is clearly "it has", because "it is" wouldn't make sense.

      In the sentence "It's a lovely day out", the use is "it is", because "it has" wouldn't make any sense.
      (6 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user 🌎EarthStudios🌎
    Why is its possessive?
    (3 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Naomi
      Great question! Let's dive in!

      'Its' is possessive, because it is showing that the thing owns/has something.
      Here is an example to break things down:
      "The cat licked its fur."
      This is showing the cat OWNS its fur, so it is licking it.

      Hope this helps, although you sent this a year ago, at least I hope it helps others!

      - Naomi
      (2 votes)
  • purple pi teal style avatar for user KONDRATSFOREVER
    Can "it's" ever stand for "it HAS"?
    Ex: It's been a long time.
    (2 votes)
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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.