Posted by: Jack Henry | January 25, 2018

Editor’s Corner: It’s or Its?

Good morning! Today we’re going to tackle an often confusing word pair. There is a lot of confusion about when to use the word its without an apostrophe and when to use the word it’s with an apostrophe. And there is a lot of judgement when people get it wrong, too. This is a pet peeve for many people. However, it is understandable that some people are confused. The confusion stems from the rules about using apostrophes.

We use apostrophes for contractions:

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Paris.
  • You’re not wearing that to my company Christmas party, are you?

We also use apostrophes for possessives:

  • That is John’s stapler.
  • The Smith’s car is parked in the driveway.

However, its is an exception—its is a possessive that does not take an apostrophe (For example, “The dog happily wags its tail.”) So, understandably, people have trouble remembering whether the contraction or the possessive gets the apostrophe.

I think the best way to be sure that you’re using the right word is to remember that it’s has an apostrophe because it stands for two words: it is. That’s how I remember it. I hope that helps you, too.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

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