Difference of ‘it’s & its’

(How to differentiate between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ – explanation and rules)

Table of contents – difference of ‘it’s & its’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Use of ‘it’s’ and ‘its’
  2. Further explanations and exercises

When are ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ used?

Whenever you use ‘it’s’ or ‘its’, pay close attention if you are a learner of English grammar. There is a high risk of confusion. While ‘it’s’ is a short form of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’, ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun and thus shows ownership or affiliation. Therefore, compare the following cases:

  • On the one hand, ‘it’s’ can be utilised as a short form where the shortened ‘-’s’ either …
    • … stands for ‘is’, the short form of the verb ‘to be’ in the third person singular:
      • It’s time to go.”
        • shortened form
      • It is time to go.”
        • regular form
    • … or for ‘has’. Then, it is the short form of ‘to have’ in the third person singular:
      • “Look at the cat! It’s got such a beautiful colour.”
        • shortened form
      • It has got such a beautiful colour.”
        • regular form
  • On the other hand, ‘its’ is used to express ownership and affiliation:
    • its’ is a possessive pronoun. For this reason, the ‘s’ does not stand for any other word but signals the genitive, which means possession or relationship:
      • “Look at the cat! Its colour is lovely.”
      • “I love France and its culture.”

Further explanations relating to the ‘Difference of ‘it’s & its’’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘How to differentiate between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’’ and may be interesting as well: