[QW5] “It’s” vs. “Its”

by | Sep 19, 2020

[ Quick Win posts – QWs – are brief items to help non-overwhelm your day. Enjoy! ]


Here is a problematic word puzzler where one outlier does not follow the rule.

[QW5] “It’s” vs. “Its”

We often find an apostrophe demonstrating ownership:

The dog‘s bone

A company‘s logo

A Ferengi‘s tooth sharpener (If you’re not a Star Trek fan, never mind 🙂 )

We can shorten these to:

Its bone

Its logo

(Ferengis are humanoids, so I can’t call them an ‘it.’)

Um. What happened to the (ownership indicating) apostrophe?!

‘Its’ breaks the apostrophe rule when demonstrating ownership.

Sorry. Grrrrrr.

“How do I remember which is which?”

Here’s an easy way to remember which spelling to use.

Add an apostrophe when you could use ‘it is’ in your phrase.
For example

It’s challenging to find a tasty bone for a dog nowadays.”
It is challenging to find a tasty bone for a dog nowadays.”

Do not use an apostrophe here:

“The dog loved its bone.”

“The dog loved it is bone” doesn’t work.

Oof! Quick Win 5 is a hard one!

We use the contraction “it’s” so often, it’s easy to forget about the other way these three small letters appear in our writing.

Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you need help with this ‘puzzler’: Kathie@KathieYork.com

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Click here to see the introductory post for this series.

Click here to access all [QW] posts.

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Kathie York, CSQE
Queen of Non-Overwhelm
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