Grammar Matters: It's vs. Its

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As a branding and marketing agency, we know that proper grammar is crucial; although it can sometimes be tricky. Often, it’s the simple things that can be the most difficult.  A very common grammar mistake that we have noticed is made over and over involves a very tiny word: “its.” While it may not seem like a big deal, misusing an apostrophe can drastically change the meaning of a sentence.

ISSUE: When to use it’s vs. its

Even though many people are confused by how to distinguish between these two little words, there is actually a very simple rule to follow.

When using a contraction for it is or it has, it’s important to remember to use the apostrophe. In this instance, the apostrophe implies the combination of two words. When the word it becomes possessive, there is no need for the apostrophe. In these cases, “its” implies ownership by one noun over another.

EXAMPLES:

To put this rule into practice, take the following sentence as an example: “It’s important that you remember this rule.” In this case, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is” and allows the sentence to clearly convey its meaning. This differs from sentences like, “The dog lost its bone.” In this situation, “its”, is implying the ownership of the dog over the bone.

Since the solution is so simple, it can be easily overlooked. However, a simple misplaced apostrophe can make a big impact on the meaning of a sentence. For example, if the apostrophe were added to our second example, the meaning would change to “The dog lost it has bone.” By including the unnecessary apostrophe, the sentence no longer makes sense and cannot convey its message. 

QUICK TIP: Replace “it’s” in your sentence with “it is” or “it has.” If the sentence doesn’t make sense, then be sure to use its.

At BrandTuitive, we value attention to detail in all aspects of our work no matter how big or small. We hold all of our projects to high standards which means we focus on every word, even if it’s just “its.”