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Difference Between Its and It’s

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A common error in English Language is the incorrect usage of Its and It’s. The apostrophe in It’s makes all the difference between Its and It’s. You come across these in Error Spotting, Phrase Replacement, Sentence Correction, and other types of questions in the Verbal sections of various competitive exams. You can expect these questions based on this in SBI Clerk, IBPS Clerk, SSC CGL, SBI PO, IBPS RRB, Placement Aptitude, NICL AO, LIC AAO, IBPS PO, SBI Associate Clerk, SBI Associate PO, CAT and others.

What’s the Confusion between Its and It’s?

The confusion arises in the fact that nouns take an apostrophe ‘s’ after it when used in possessive form.

E.g. Sheela’s children were disobedient and spoilt.

E.g. The book’s pages contained many mysteries.

So you would expect that pronouns like ‘it’ would do the same. But they do not. In fact, no pronoun in its possessive form, will use an apostrophe.

What is Its?

It is the possessive form of the pronoun ‘it’. The possessive form is used to indicate possession or ownership.

E.g. The dog was sleeping. It cocked up its ears on hearing the sound.

Here, ‘its’ is used indicate that the ears belong to the dog.

What is It’s?

It is nothing but a contraction (short form) for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.

E.g. It’s a beautiful piece of literature.

Here, it is the contraction for ‘it is’.

E.g. It’s been increasing in intensity since the morning.

Here, it is the abbreviation for it has.

A Trick to Remember Its and It’s

When you aren’t sure whether it should Its or It’s, simply use the following trick. The best way to figure out the difference is to replace the blank with ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. If grammatically and contextually they make sense, then the answer is It’s. If not, it must be denoting possession and the answer is Its. Though the difference is very simple, sometimes we use these simple words wrongly.


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