Spelling Rule for Its versus It’s

Are you unsure when to use an apostrophe for the word “it’s?” Here’s the spelling rule for its versus it’s. This spelling mistake is so common now, it has everyone second-guessing which one is correct.

“Its” without an apostrophe – is a possessive, third person, singular adjective that typically relates to something other than a person. The noun it refers to was probably mentioned just previously (in this sentence, “it” refers to the noun “noun”), so you know what “it” is.

“Its” refers to something “it” possesses:

The dog was so agitated, its barks were deafening.

I picked a daffodil and its color reminded me of sunshine.

“It’s” with an apostrophe – is an abbreviation for (1) it is or (2) it has:

It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s raining.

It’s been proven long ago. Look at the daffodil; it’s gone to seed.

The main rule to remember here is – the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters and represents a shortened version of a pronoun and a verb: “it is” or “it has.”

No apostrophe means ownership of some kind -– and no missing letters.



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