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Rated: 13+ · Book · Writing · #890221
A library featuring commonly committed errors of the English language.
#306910 added April 10, 2007 at 5:43pm
Restrictions: None
It’s vs. Its
Typically, when we want to indicate that something, physical or not, belongs to or is affiliated with a person or another thing, then we add an apostrophe and S after the owner: Kevin’s company or Katie’s creativity, for example. Following this pattern, if I am on the subject of the planet Mars, it seems I should write, “It’s moons are Phobos and Deimos.” But, as it turns out, that’s not correct. It’s is only used as a contraction for “it is” and, less commonly, “it has.” If we want to communicate that something “belongs to it,” then we omit the apostrophe and simply write its.

*Idea* We don’t use an apostrophe for the possessive of “it” for the same reason there is no apostrophe in yours, hers, theirs, and ours. Those are personal pronouns, which refer to a specific person or group of people. When we encounter indefinite pronouns such as one and everybody, which can’t be applied to a specific party (even though everybody theoretically includes…well, everybody), we would use an apostrophe before the S to indicate their possessive.


Examples:

*Note* It’s all Greek to me.
*Note* An animal known as a tuatara has a third eye on the top of its head.
*Note* I believe this is yours.
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© Copyright 2007 Davy Kraken (UN: kraken at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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