Look around at business literature (ads, brochures, flyers, even vehicle lettering and billboards) as well as newspaper print. Guaranteed, after reading this blog, you will see its and it’s misused. To prevent yourself from falling victim to the its/ it’s trap, remember these points:

when to use its:

  • the possessive form of it, even though it does not have an apostrophe s like other possessives
  • shows ownership of something
  • example:  The playful puppy chased its tail. (tail belongs to the puppy, so use its, the possessive form of it)

when to use it’s:

  • the contraction of it is
  • used instead of it is (try substituting it is in place of it’s; if it works, you chose the right one)
  • example:  If it’s spoiled, the milk will smell.  (If it is spoiled, the milk will smell.)

Christa Riddle, All About Writing, Howell, NJ, www.allaboutwritingconsulting.com