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Its Versus It's


Writers often make mistakes when using its and it's in their writing. For teachers, explaining the rule is quite easy.  However, for learners, understanding the rule can be more difficult.


it's is a contraction that means it is or it has.  This follows the same rule for creating other contractions with is and has.

          it's = it is, it has

          there's = there is, there has

          that's = that is, that has

          he's = he is, he has

          she's = she is, she has

Here are some examples of it's used correctly:

          It's raining outside.

          It's great to see you.

          It's been a rough week.


Its is a possessive adjective.  Its is the possessive of it.  This confuses many learners because it strays from the rule for most possessive words.  

          The dog bit its tail.  --Here, it possesses tail.

          My house needs new doors, but its windows are still in good                                shape.  --Here, it possesses windows.


Most words require an apostrophe to show possession.

         Sumayo's computer crashed.  --Here, Sumayo possesses computer.

         The door's hinges creaked.  --Here, door possesses hinges.