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It's or its?

Since we already discussed the difference between their, there, and they're in a previous lesson, perhaps it is good to also cover another common point of confusion: the words it's and its. Even native speakers get these words mixed up, so master them and you will be ahead of the game. 

 

We are used to recognizing possessives by the use of an apostrophe, for example, my mother's car or the teacher's classroom. However, the word it's is not possessive, but rather a contraction of it and is used for convenience. In the sentences below, we see shortened versions of it is amazing, it is really exciting, and it is the most important part

 

And it's amazing, and they have one of the best sunsets in the world. 
Caption 25, Visit Isle of Wight: Mark King of Level 42

 

It's really exciting to know that I'm setting a good example for young people
Caption 24, peta2 Interviews: Vegan Surfer Tia Blanco 

 

That's how we know it's the most important part.
Caption 34, Rachel's English - How to Introduce Yourself: American English Pronunciation

 

The word its helps us to describe how something belongs to, for example, an animal, place, or object. The sentences below are about the bear's fur, the garden's street performers, and the vest's container

 

Its fur is almost silver with a blue sheen, the perfect adaptation to its environment.
Caption 19, Nature & Wildlife: Search for the Ghost Bear

 

Covent Garden is famous for its street performers.
Caption 3, Christmas in London: Places

 

To use, pull the tab to remove the vest from its container and then open the pouch.
Caption 69-70, Delta Airlines: In-flight Safety Video

 

So, as you can see, “it’s” with an apostrophe is the contraction for “it is” and is never a possessive, while “its” with no apostrophe can only be a possessive and is never the contraction for “it is”.

 

Further Learning
Take special note of examples of it's and its that you see while watching videos on Yabla English. Almost every video has one or both! 

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