Is it it’s or its?

Scream - It
Photo by Dominics pics

This one always makes me think. Should I use “it’s” or “its” in my sentence? The difficulty is that the ‘s (apostrophe s) is used to denote possession in most every usage I can think of. The exception is when the “s” is paired with “it“. So don’t feel bad if the exceptions mess you up.

The rule is “it’s” is a contraction of “it” and “is” or less frequently used, “it” and “has“:

  • It’s true. = It is true.
  • I am going without a coat even if it’s cold today. = I am going without a coat even if it is cold today.

When you want to say one thing belongs to another, you leave the apostrophe out:

  • Its paint is colorful.
  • Put the wrench in its proper place.

Here is both in one sentence: It’s the one with its door unlocked.

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