Its vs. It's

What is the difference between Its and It’s?

Writing “it’s” instead of “its” or the other way around is a very common mistake that a lot of ESL students (and even English native speakers) make.

But what is the difference between them? When should I use “its” and when should I use “it’s”? Today I’m going to answer those questions. Here we go!

When to use It’s:

“It’s” is a contraction with the meaning “it is” or “it has”. In other words the contraction “it’s” is the abbreviated form of “it is” and “it has”. If you see the word “it’s” with apostrophe, you can replace it with “it is” or “it has.”

  • It’s high time for us to leave this restaurant.
  • It’s been a month since we met.

In the first example you can replace “it’s” with “it is”, in the second one you can replace “it’s with “it has”

When to use Its:

“Its” serves as a possessive determiner. Sounds complicated, right? We use possessive determiners to say that something belongs to something else. Here are some examples:

  • A bicycle is not good without its wheels.
  • The dog showed its teeth and ran away.

Note, that in both of these examples, you cannot replace “its” with “it is”.

Its and it’s are among the most commonly confused words. They sound the same and there is a small difference in how we write them. However, “it’s” is the same type of contraction as “there’s” and “where’s,” and “its” is a possessive determiner just like “your” and “my.”


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