Grammar 101: it’s vs. its vs. its’
One of the most frustrating grammatical subjects on every ACT and SAT is it’s, its’, and its. If that sounds familiar to you at all, the first thing you need to know is that its’ is NOT a word! I repeat, its’ is not a word. Ever. Don’t ever pick it as an answer or use it in your papers. Because, again, its’ is not a word.
Now that we’ve narrowed down the topic down to a 50/50 it’s vs. its, here’s the grammatical difference:
It’s: a contraction of “it is” or “it has”
For example: It’s hot outside today = It is hot outside today.
Its: a possessive pronoun (singular)
Example: The milk is past its expiration date.
The easiest way to figure out which version belongs in a sentence is to do the same thing we did with who’s vs. whose and you’re vs. your: put “it is” in place of “it’s” or “its” in a sentence and see if it sounds right.
For example, let’s say you read this sentence: It’s going to snow three feet tomorrow. Substitute “it is” into the sentence and see if it sounds good. It is going to snow three feet tomorrow. That sentence should sound right to your ears, which means “it’s” is the right word.
However, try this sentence: The car needs to go in its garage. Substitute “it is” into the sentence and see if it sounds good. The car needs to go to it is garage. That sentence should sound really bad to your ears, which means “its” is the right word.
That’s it! Now you never have to get frustrated by it’s vs. its again. Thanks for reading, its’ been a pleasure.