Grammar 101: Its vs. It’s

by IELTS Australasia — July 17th, 2018

Its and it’s: These two words cause a lot of confusion and it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference between the two.

Its (without an apostrophe) is the possessive of the pronoun “it”. You will also come across “it’s” (with an apostrophe). This is a contraction of “it is” or “it has”. They are pronounced the same, but have different meanings. So how does this work out in practice?

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between its and it’s.

Its or it's: the difference
Its

Is a determiner: A modifying word that determines the kind of reference a noun or noun group has, for example a, the, every.

It’s

A contraction: The process of shortening a word by combination or abbreviation.

Its or it's: the definitions
Its
  • Belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned or easily identified
  • Belonging to or associated with a child or unspecified sex.
It’s
  • Contraction of “It is” and “It has”
Its or it's: the synonyms
Its

Could also mean (synonyms): Owned, hers, his, theirs, yours

It’s

Does not have any synonyms

Its or it's: in a sentence
Its
  • I loved the cutting of the dress but had issues with its colour.
  • In the dead of the night, all we could hear was its footsteps.
  • Bingo lost its footing and fell to the ground.
  • The laptop is too big for its case.
  • The movie is surprisingly better than its book.
It’s
  • It’s so cold in Melbourne.
  • Choose what you want but it’s all the same in my opinion.
  • I hope it’s not too difficult for you.
  • It’s been almost a week of waiting.
  • It’s nice to know that my work is recognised.