Posted by: episystechpubs | November 25, 2013

Editor’s Corner: It’s vs. its

Good morning or afternoon. It’s Monday and oh what a Monday it is!

Today’s topic is rated as the number one grammar error by The Blue Book of Grammar and many of you put it in your top ten peeves. The words it’s and its are frequently confused, but they don’t have to be. Here are the simple rules from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation:

Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe.
(KC – Sound it out using the two words instead of the contraction. Does it make sense? If it is or it has makes sense in the context, you should use the apostrophe.)

Rule 2: When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.
(KC – Not sure if it is possessive? Try reading the word as two words [it is or
it has, depending on the verb]. If it doesn’t make sense sounded out as two words, it is possessive. Don’t use the apostrophe.)

Examples:

You should return that book to its/it’s owner.

· You should return that book to its owner. (Sweet bells ring and an angel gets its wings. Yes, its wings—possessive.)

· You should return that book to it’s (it is) owner. (A gong should be ringing in your head saying NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)

Its/it’s been ten days since I last had hot cider.

· Its been ten days since I last had hot cider. (Hmmm. The spell checker doesn’t like it. Does it sound possessive? Not sure? Try reading it as two words to figure out if it is a contraction.)

· It’s (it has) been ten days since I last had hot cider. (Ah. “It has been” sounds nice; use an apostrophe because it is a contraction!)

She said that its/it’s her Hello Kitty decoder ring.

· She said that its her Hello Kitty decoder ring. (Uh oh. She says it is hers, so could this be possessive? Try reading it as two words. Which way does it sound right?)

· She said that it’s (it is) her Hello Kitty decoder ring. (This makes sense and it needs an apostrophe because it’s a contraction!)

Still confused? Go to your favorite browser and type “it’s vs. its” and you will find a host of grammarians willing to explain it in other ways that might work better for youT.

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  1. […] https://episystechpubs.com/2013/11/25/editors-corner-its-vs-its/ […]


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