Home

It’s (or Its) more fun in the Philippines?

Mistaking it’s for its is one of our most common errors. Here’s what to do.

1. Understand the difference between the two.

It's and its

2. If all that is confusing, first try using it is, instead of it’s or its. If the resulting sentence is wrong, then use its (possessive).

For instance: The hamster gnawed at it’s/its cage.

Solution: Use it is first. Thus: The hamster gnawed at it is cage. Since this sentence sounds wrong and since there is a noun after it’s/its, then use the possessive its: The hamster gnawed at its cage [= the cage of the hamster].

Another example: Many people say that it’s/its more fun in the Philippines.

Solution: Use it is first. Thus: Many people say that it is more fun in the Philippines. Sounds right. Therefore it’s OK to use it’s: Many people say that it’s more fun in the Philippines.

3. Another tip: If you can replace it’s/its with her or his (also possessive pronouns), then you can use its.

Example: The saltwater crocodile preys on any animal within it’s/its reach.

Solution: Use her or his. Thus: The saltwater crocodile preys on any animal within his reach. Sounds right. Use the possessive its: The saltwater crocodile preys on any animal within its reach [= the reach of the crocodile].

Photo credit: Visual.ly

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “It’s vs. its

  1. Hi Janet, I agree that this is one of the most common mistakes that English language learners make. I have worked with a lot of international and Filipino students who have learned English for a long time and they still get it wrong frequently. I teach an explicit lesson about this…thanks for the table, I might use it next time!
    Lada

  2. Hi, Lada! True. We Filipinos also often err in distinguishing you’re from your, as well as they’re, their, there (my next post). Sure, please feel free to use the table!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s