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Difference between its and it’s

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"Its" and "It's" must be two among the most confusing words in English. Even those who are very proficient in the language have admitted to have been confused about the usage of these words at some point or the other. In the article here I have tried to summarize the meanings and the basic differences between these words.

Sample Usage


The word 'it' denotes the third person singular pronoun and is used to refer to a thing or animal which has already been mentioned or whose identity is already known or to a person in question or an understood situation etc.

I am not going into details because our topic is basically about the difference between the words "its" and "it's".

Its and It's

Even some of the most prolific writers have been said to get confused at the correct usage of these words. The simple reason behind this confusion is that the difference between these words is seldom noticed or may be taken seriously, by the writers as well as the readers.

“Its" is a possessive pronoun and denotes a belonging to or in relation to a known thing or animal. It is a neutral pronoun which does not directly indicate a species or gender.

Example: a) The bicycle looks new, but its seat appears old.
b) The cat was snarled by its reflection in the mirror.

It may be noted that while we usually use an apostrophe while using a word to denote possession, the case is not so in the case of “its" and “it's".

“It's" is a contraction of ‘it is' or ‘it has' and cannot be used in any other sense or context. The simple method to check out the correctness of the usage of “it's" is to put the words ‘it is' or ‘it has' appropriately in place of “it's" and read your sentence again.

Example: 1) It's time to go to school (it is).
2) It's been a long time since we met (it has).

So, as you must have noticed, though the difference between "its" and "it's" is very minute, one should be careful because an incorrect usage can change the meaning of your sentence. Let us not consider the fact that such things are often not taken seriously and make sure that we use the words "its" and "it's" correctly.

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