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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pet Peeve: It’s vs. Its

Stop confounding these two! I’ve seen this mistake three times in one week and that’s my limit.

it’s = it + is OR it + has
It’s raining in London this morning,” said Her Majesty with some surprise.
Thank God it’s Friday.
It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.
It’s been three days since I pulled my hair out and it still hasn’t grown back.
It’s been lovely seeing you again.

its = possessive
The zoo was forced to close its doors once the tiger escaped.
The tiger brought its prey to the cinema to eat during the movie.
I don’t see how the bomb exploded if its timer stopped working.
You’ll never open that file cabinet. Its drawers are all double-locked.

Foolproof Hint: Try substituting it’s or its with “it is” or “it has.” If neither one makes sense, you’re dealing with a possessive.

And thank you for letting me rant.

Read more on apostrophes here.

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