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What is the best way to explain how to choose between “its” and “it's”?


I am always confused when is the usage of its or it's appropriate. Basically when should I use its and not it's (and vice versa).

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Ralph Rickenbach, Kosmonaut Oct 27 '10 at 13:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/653/…. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 27 '10 at 5:33
Was this not question 1 on this site? It should have been. – DanSingerman Oct 27 '10 at 12:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

"Its" is a possessive pronoun like "his" or "her", while "it's" is the short form for "it is" or sometimes "it has". Trying to replace it with "her" or "it is/has" helps. I use "her" because for many "his" and "he's" sound to much alike, and "he's" would be a test case for "it's".

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it's = it is or is has.

its = belonging (or pertaining) to it, in the same way that his means belonging to him.

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