Grammar Its vs. It’s |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Its vs. It’s

Would you like to know the number one grammatical error?
The word involved is small and it’s contained in this sentence.

That’s right: its vs. it’s
Yet the two rules are actually quite easy to remember.

Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe.

It’s a nice day.
It’s your right to refuse the invitation.
It’s been great getting to know you.

Rule 2: When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.

The cat hurt its paw.
The furniture store celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Note: From what we understand, the possessive was also written it’s until a couple of hundred years ago. While we don’t know for certain, it is possible that the apostrophe was dropped in order to parallel possessive personal pronouns like hers, theirs, yours, ours, etc.”

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

133 responses to “Its vs. It’s

  1. Christopher says:

    Is there a reason behind why there is no apostrophe when “its” is used as a possessive?
    I think that part of the confusion is that an apostrophe is normally used as a possessive with a noun or proper noun.

    • You are correct for nouns but not for pronouns. Our Rule 9 of Apostrophes states “Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They already show possession so they do not require an apostrophe.” If an apostrophe is used, you have the contraction it’s which means “it is” or “it has.” This is a very common mistake.

  2. Maddie says:

    For the use of an apostrophe in Christopher’s comment, what if the noun ended in an s? Would it be “Mr. Williams’s house”?

    • Our Rule 2 of Apostrophes says, “Although names ending in s or an s sound are not required to have the second s added in possessive form, it is preferred.”

      Mr. Williams’s house is correct.

      • Curious says:

        When was your “Rule 2” created? I’m admittedly a baby boomer and was always taught through my entire education through college that words ending in ‘s’ or an ‘s’ sound should not have an apostrophe. When did that change?

        • The “Rule 2” of Apostrophes referenced in our response of December 18, 2012, to Maddie was part of the 10th edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. In 2014 we issued the 11th edition of The Blue Book in which we expanded the discussion of the accepted methods for dealing with possession. In any case, the notion that “words ending in s or an s sound should not have an apostrophe” is a misunderstanding of some sort. For example, would you not place an apostrophe in That is the boss’s decision? Readers would surely be confused with either That is the bosss decision OR That is the boss decision.

          Perhaps you are thinking of a situation where, instead of “words ending in s or an s sound should not have an apostrophe” you really mean “words ending in s or an s sound may not have an added s after the apostrophe.”

          For example, perhaps you have a teacher named Ms. Stephens. In that case, you have the option of writing either:
          That is Ms. Stephens’ decision.
          That is Ms. Stephens’s decision.

          Please see our full discussion in Apostrophes Rules 1, 2, and all their subparts.

  3. Kevin says:

    Wow, I now have new respect for my grammar school teachers. I’m 52, not a writer and knew all of those…although it is nice to be reminded of the rules now and then. I do have one question though. I recall being taught something called parsing in Jr. High school. I have never been able to find anything about this though. I have always assumed I remember the name wrong. It was a procedure where each word had multiple layers of definition in a sentence. For example, a word would first be identified as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.. and then there were additional levels, such as direct object and many, many more. Is this just standard grammar, or is there a specific area of study for this level of detail. I recall that it was very challenging, but rewarding as well.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Parsing is the correct term and you can find loads of information on the Internet about this detailed technique for learning grammar. Whereas parsing was generally done orally or using written-out explanations, sentence diagramming came later and used a diagram method for learning parts of speech and grammar. As Wikipedia states, “Parsing was formerly central to the teaching of grammar throughout the English-speaking world, and widely regarded as basic to the use and understanding of written language. However the teaching of such techniques is no longer current.”

  4. Eric says:

    Thank you very much – very useful. I also never understood why the possessive for “it” doesn’t require an apostrophe.

    • From what we understand, the possessive was also written it’s until a couple of hundred years ago. While we don’t know for certain, it is possible that the apostrophe was dropped to parallel possessive personal pronouns like hers, theirs, yours, etc.

  5. David Morenus says:

    I think that your reply of Jan. 27, 2013 (or June 22, 2012) adds value to the article, by providing the reason. Perhaps you should edit it in?

    As to your Rule 2 of Apostrophes’ suggestion, that “Kansas’s statute” be preferred to “Kansas’ statute”, I disagree. Not only is my mother with me on this, but so is the U.S. Supreme Court (Kansas v. Marsh, 2006). Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, leaving off the extra “s”; Justice David Souter wrote the dissenting opinion, wishing to add it on.

    • Thank you for your suggestion to elaborate on the grammar tip “Its vs. It’s“; we may very well do that. However, we stand firmly behind our Apostrophes, Rule 2 Note, which reads “Although names ending in s or an s sound are not required to have the second s added in possessive form, it is preferred.” The Chicago Manual of Style agrees and includes the specific example Kansas’s legislature. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court was not making a legal determination regarding apostrophes! You note that one justice left off the final s, one did not. While Supreme Court justices are no doubt very learned persons, they may have their own preferences regarding the nuances of grammar and punctuation.

  6. Katie says:

    Is there a reason why it seems that the autocorrect features say “it’s” grammatically incorrect when used as a contraction?

    • You may want to contact the software company with your question. The only other reason we can think of is that it is suggesting that you consider using it is rather than a contraction in formal writing.

    • Beth says:

      Actually I have noticed the same issue, that the grammar check function in Word consistently gives a correction when I use it’s for the contraction of it is, recommending that I use its. In fact, I searched out this article because I thought maybe the rules had changed and I wasn’t aware! Thanks for the article to confirm that I’m using it’s/its correctly.

      • Perhaps if enough people contact them about the error they will fix it.

        • Laura says:

          Well today I’m typing away in word 2010 and type “last 30 mintues at its longest” and the Grammar tools underlines this and recommends it’s. To me it is “its” so it would seem the grammar tool in Word 2010 has it backwards.

    • Julie Schultz says:

      5 years later…in case anyone is still wondering:
      Check your settings for the grammar/spelling check feature. There is usually an option to have the computer ignore specific parts of speech, words, etc.

  7. Emily says:

    It thought its’ represents the punctuation for showing possession. For example, the dog enjoyed playing with its’ toy. Is this incorrect?

    • As our Rule 2 above states, “When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.” The word it’s is the contraction for it is or it has. Its’ is grammatically incorrect since the word it is always singular.
      The dog enjoyed playing with its toy.

  8. Aman says:

    So there is no such word as “its'”?

  9. K says:

    Katie and Beth, I think there is an option in the grammer setting in Word to avoid the use of contractions. You may be able to change the setting to avoid this notice. (In Word 2007, look in the Office menu, Word Options, Proofing for the settings.)

  10. Jess says:

    What if the sentence is “…it’s been decided…” correct or not?

    • It is correct if you add a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and a period at the end. In this case, it’s is a contraction for it has.
      It’s been decided.

  11. Timster says:

    I still remember the very day in elementary school in the 1960’s in Illinois when my teacher taught on this subject. I loved grammar and parsing and sentence trees.
    But one day she wrote on the chalk board -its’- and explained it was the possessive for the third person nueter singular. It didn’t make any sense to me then and it doesn’t now! I am so glad to learn that the apostrophe was dropped and I don’t have to use it for the possessive of “it”. Thank you so very much for clearing this up. Now I just have to remember to use “it’s” as a contraction!

    • Mary V says:

      I respectfully ask if one should write 1960s or 1960’s; I am unable to find the answer on this site. Thank you.

      • The eleventh edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, which will be published in February 2014, acknowledges that there are different schools of thought about years and decades. Both of your options are in widespread use. We will be making this change to the website at that time.

    • Mary M Ritchie says:

      I was very happy to read this entry because I also learned (its’) was the correct form to use for possession. I attended school in the 1950s-60s in New York State. I’ve noticed the lack of (its’) so I found this website and have enjoyed reading all the comments. Were our teachers wrong? Was it that way once and then changed? I know you’ve said it was (it’s) at one time for possessive but wasn’t it also (its’)?

  12. Julian says:

    This was the funniest thing. I’m in ENG COMP first year and I feel so dumb reading these comments. where can I find information without feeling so ignorant! Lia, was it necessary to make an “attempt” to establish superiority?

    • We would love for our readers to feel smarter after reading the blog comments. You might want to begin your study by reviewing our English rules, starting with the ones on capitalization and punctuation. To gain more knowledge, read the blogs that correspond with the rules and try to master the quizzes. Hopefully our website will help you with your class. And, a new edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation will be available in February 2014, which we hope you will be eager to obtain! Good luck!

  13. Mary V says:

    It’s been a pleasure reading about its usages. Correct?

  14. Lee says:

    In terms of transcribing something like a sermon, the speaker often uses the term “it’s”. If I want to publish a many sermons into a book, would it be proper to change the colloquial use of “it’s” into “it is” for publication purposes or is it better to use the original voice of the speaker. Thank you for reading.

    • If you are quoting the speaker directly, it is better to use the original words of the speaker.

      • J says:

        Regarding the SPOKEN word or unpublished notes, I recently learned that when editing for publication, the ‘editor’ can clean up grammatical errors and speech hesitations (uh; uhm; you know; And-and…, etc.). The same with, as an example, “a written sermon, that, uses, commas inappropriately, or, excessively, and, forgets to use end, punctuation” or puts the punctuation incorrectly (inside; outside) for a needed quotation mark.

        However, in editing spoken words or unpublished written notes, you must keep the tone, rhythm, and especially the message the speaker/writer intended.

        I had the same concerns about editing a speaker whose stuttering caused repetition, such as “rep-repet–repetition” in a sentence.

        It would be a disservice to allow a published work to unnecessarily embarrass the speaker. An editor’s job is to edit for a clean copy. Again, as long as you do not change the speaker’s intent, it’s fine to do an editing clean-up.

        Now, if a writer / publisher agreed that “Ths writier wans all miss takes left in the pub leassed coppie, den dat is differents.”

        My source: A publisher of a world-wide professional journal.

  15. Julia says:

    One thing to be aware of: Microsoft Office autocorrect often highlights “it’s”, even when it’s correct.

    I thought I already knew that rule, but it kept correcting me. So I had to look it up again.

    Thanks for posting.

    • Jonny says:

      And it’s still happening on the new version of Microsoft Word; thought I was going mental when it kept correcting me. So I second guessed myself and checked up on its correct usage here – now i have 15 pages to go back through and check my its-it’s.

  16. D. G. says:

    Thank you very much, this was helpful. I know how to use “it’s” (or it is/has) but I was a little confused about the other way “its”.

  17. Eleanor T. says:

    I have a quick question: is “its'” a figment of my imagination? I thought I
    had learned to put the apostrophe after the s to show possession, even
    including when using its’.

    • A couple of other people have written in saying they thought they remembered being taught in school in the mid-1900s to write its’ in certain situations. To our knowledge this has never been correct. When used to show possession, its has no apostrophe.

  18. mark rittmer says:

    Haha, are we all so bored that we engage in this kind of trivial banter? LOL

  19. Starburned says:

    Thank you for this. After hours upon hours of writing an essay on little sleep (and on an uninteresting topic) I forgot this basic rule.

  20. Shiblee Mehdi says:

    My little girl of 8 years wrote following sentences with Its. (by the way, English is not our mother tongue)
    Are any of the following incorrect?

    1. Its size is too big.
    2. Its name is sweety.
    3. Its colour is red.
    4. Its taste is sweet.

    • Your daughter did very well. The proper name Sweety in the second sentence should be capitalized. Also, in American English the word “colour” is spelled “color.”

      • Bill says:

        However, here in Canada, it’s colour, eh? I find it’s pretty amazing that, with all the bad habits associated with current texting practices and its tendancy to appear more like pictograms or a messages written in code, that anyone can recall, use, or recognize proper grammar, spelling, or capitalization.

        My goldfish recently left its diary out where I could read it. It’s been well written but its “its” and “it’s” were constantly misused. Anyway, it’s been fun reading your blog and all its comments.

  21. Shoba says:

    I have a question sort of may be irrelevant to the it here. I need some clarification as I am confused by ‘it’. If it is third person singular is it ok to use it in a sentence where it means a child? For example if avsentence says, “the child will be place in its level.” is it right or not. I am confused if it can be used for human being ( the confusion is due to the grammar in my native language where “it” can be used only for non living thing.)

  22. Shoba says:

    I am sorry, pls read, if the sentence says ” the child will be placed in it’s level”

    • Some writers have indeed referred to small children as “it,” but if that seems too cold and clinical, your sentence could read, “The child will be placed in his or her level.” Also, when using the possessive of the pronoun it, do not use an apostrophe.

  23. Jan says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for explaining about placement of commas and periods WITHIN closing quotation marks in American English. I wish everyone knew that! There has been a noticeable change the past 10 years or so where most of the people in the USA leave the commas and periods outside of end quotes, like little orphans left out in the rain. I honestly do not think our public schools are teaching this anymore.
    And while I’m at it, here’s another recent, but incorrect practice: The use of “apostrophe s” to pluralize a word. Where did THAT come from?! We had rules telling us to “drop the Y and add IES,” or “add an S,” or “add an ES.” Outside of using “apostrophe s” to indicate, for example, that a student earned straight A’s on her report card, the “apostrophe s” is like using a dab of glue stick to attach an S and create the plural. “TV’s” is not the same as “TVs,” but people who do not understand how to pluralize won’t know the difference. Are people too lazy to pluralize correctly? Or are these basics just not being taught anymore? Do our teachers not even know? What has happened to the English language? It’s sad.
    Thank you for the work you do, for helping educate the writing world, and for letting me vent.

  24. Levin rojas says:

    when just using it’s as an affirmation to a question, for example:
    “is that my cup?”
    “it is.”
    can use “it’s” as an answer to a question like this? example:
    “is this my cup?”

    if I’m going with the logic of rule one this type of answer would be perfectly viable but it doesn’t roll off for some reason. please clarify

    • Using it’s as a contraction for “it is” is correct in some instances. Responding to the question “Is that your cup?” with the replies “It is” or “It’s my cup” is grammatically correct. We would not recommend responding to any question by simply replying “it’s.”

  25. Laurie Lee Oberg says:

    Wikipedia, though based in the US, eschews the American-style “punctuation inside the quotation mark.” I know, because I have made corrections that have subsequently been undone, and have been chastised when questioning the practice. Apparently, at Wikipedia, techie/programmer types make the rules regarding punctuation.

  26. Captain Obvious says:

    Apparently we are all somewhat ignorant or we wouldn’t be looking up the correct usage of its and it’s, let alone discussing how superior one another is, or rather battling it out with words! I found this incredibly farcical and just had to plug my thoughts in! Good day to all! At least we can laugh and learn all at the same time, or perhaps learn and cry for a few. I just noticed this website refuses to let me look incompetent, as it spell checks and auto capitalizes words for me! Hmm

  27. Dubya says:

    The first rule of grammatical Criticism is that one is guaranteed to make a grammatical error.

  28. Cara says:

    I searched to satisfy my curiosity as to why Outlook keeps spell-checking my “it’s” as in “it has” to “its” in my emails; What I found was a hysterical war of words. Thanks for giving me a giggle and proving Outlook wrong!

  29. Simon says:

    “And, a new edition of The Blue Book of Grammar…”

    I would like to point out that the word “and” did not require a comma, it could be considered grammatically incorrect. Not to mention that starting a sentence with that word is generally frowned upon, too.

    Sincerely, someone without an English background.

    • The writer felt that in this particular case a pause was appropriate after “And,” hence the comma. This is an experienced writer’s choice.

      To your second point, The Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 5.206 says, “There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but, or so. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.”

  30. Albert says:

    Regarding “its’s” or even “its'”, if you were writing about the count of the number of the word “its” in a sentence where there was only one “its”, but the font color was red for that word, could you correctly write, “That sentence has one its and that its’s color is red?”
    If another sentence had two “its” words, both red, could you correctly write, “The its’ color is red?” I apologize in advance for all my errors here and would look forward to any correct corrections.

    • Your sentences are quite eccentric, but we doubt they would be considered ungrammatical. We recommend rewriting your sentences to avoid confusion. You could write the following:
      The word its appears once in the sentence, and the font color of the word is red.
      The font color of the word its is red. (This sentence works regardless of how many times the word its appears in the sentence.)

  31. juanita says:

    Should the sentence read:

    Its levels to this OR There are levels to this? Or are both correct?

    • Your second option seems to make more sense. However, without seeing the phrase used in a complete sentence, it is difficult to make a recommendation.

  32. Tope says:

    I am obsessed with writing and speaking English appropriately.
    I actually knew the crystal clear difference between both, I just needed to read something educative. Thanks

  33. belinda says:

    Its’ vs its
    If I am referring to a Trust for example and then I state that:

    The trust has granted increases in excess of ABC’s declarations to meet its’ targeted objective.

    Is it not appropriate to show possession with the apostrophe after the “s”?

  34. Anik says:

    Stupidity at its best or at it’s best? Which one is correct?

  35. Scott says:

    I wonder if you could comment about:

    “The cat hurt its paw” and “It is mine” otherwise written as “It’s mine”.

    In many senses “it’s” in place of “it is” is sensible as a possessive.

    What say you?

  36. Jenni says:

    I know that it’s proper to say “The company increased its contributions for employees”… but what if company is plural? It doesn’t sound right to say “The companies increased its contributions for employees.” And you can’t use “their” because the company is an “it.” What do you do in this case?

  37. Peter Stoller says:

    With regard to the following:

    ‘“An adjective may add a new idea to a noun or pronoun by describing it more definitely or fully {red wagon} {human error}”

    We used the term “grammar error” the same way one would use “human error.”’

    The problem with this reasoning is that, unlike “red” and “human,” “grammar” is not an adjective. In the case of “red wagon,” we’d definitely say the wagon is red; in “human error,” we could say the error is human. However, in the case of “grammar error,” we would never say, “the error is grammar.”

    I submit that “grammar error” as opposed to “grammatical error” is a bit like “person error” as opposed to “personal error.” Which is to say, “grammar error” is a grammatical error—and I’m fairly certain CMOS would agree with me.

  38. Paul says:

    I just wanted to look up the correct use of it’s vs its and think this was a very good discussion, though!

  39. David says:

    I was taught the same thing: [it’s] for [it is] and [its] for the possessive case.

    The purported status of this error as the most common in grammar must surely be aggravated by the fact that my Word for Mac 2011 is recommending I replace [its] in a possessive case with [it’s], which according to Jane Straus and my own education is diametrically incorrect advice.

  40. Susan Petrarca says:

    I was taught in grade school that whenever you see “it’s” say it as “it is.” if i makes sense in the sentence, leave it that way. If it doesn’t, take out the apostrophe!

  41. Natalie says:

    Thank you for so much lively and humorous learning! I came upon your site while looking for somewhere credible to reference my information on the use of its as a possessive pronoun and have been well rewarded.
    It has, however, taken quite some time out of my afternoon as I have trawled through the comments below the immediately required information. The banter is delightful.
    I noticed a discussion on the possessive form of names ending in s and wonder if you can please confirm the correct singular possessive form of James? For example, James’s shoes or James’ shoes? Reading the above discussion on the name Webster, I am assuming James’s shoes to be correct, but I was recently told this was incorrect.
    Thanks for your help. I will visit again!

  42. Sean says:

    Does anybody know why you can’t reply “Yes, it’s’, instead of ‘Yes, it is’?

    I realise it isn’t grammatically correct, but I can’t think of a rule or reason for this.

    Many thanks

    • It is not a matter of “grammatically correct.” Fluent speakers of English would simply never say “yes it’s” instead of “yes it is” when yes it is is a complete three-word sentence.

  43. John says:

    I find the blog to be one of my most important resources. Thank you. In my early years of study, I was told to read “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. Do you have any comment on that text?

    Thanks and Best Regards

  44. harita says:

    I’ve sentence which says
    “…and when the thunder came and decorated sky with its lights…”.
    Well my doubt here is,
    How can one use “its” with a plural.Is the sentence formation correct?

  45. Beatrix says:

    There are two cities in Canada. One is called St John (New Brunswick), the other St John’s (Newfoundland).

    When I talk about a bridge in New Brunswick. I would say: “This is St John’s new bridge.”

    How would I write this correctly when I would talk about a bridge in Newfoundland? This is St John’s’ new bridge????

    Thank you

    • Some may argue that “St. John’s’s” is technically correct, and in speech it may work just fine. However, in writing it looks awkward, and we would highly recommend rearranging the phrase as “This is the new bridge in St. John’s.”

  46. Brian says:

    I just want to say thank you for your help and clarity on this. No nitpicking just thanks for your willingness to answer.

  47. Jacque (pronounced like "Jackie") says:

    I don’t mean to be weird, but I must say… whoever is replying back and answering the questions of those who seek help is a gem. I mean, I am completely blown away, and in awe of such awesomeness. Thank you!

  48. John says:

    I saw a novelty t-shirt that had, “My other body’s in the shop” printed on it. It just looked wrong. I feel like the apostrophe has to be possessive in that sentence. Shouldn’t it be, “My other body is in the shop”? Or does it change depending on the context of the sentence: “My body’s aching.” and “My body’s silhouette.”

    • Using a contraction in this manner is considered informal when used in writing. It is acceptable in speech. We agree that writing “My other body is in the shop” is preferred in formal writing.

  49. Robert says:

    Is not a contraction by definition poor grammar?

    • A contraction is not inherently bad grammar; in some cases, depending on the medium, it can help develop trust and familiarity. Sometimes writing can be unnecessarily formal, which may sound stilted
      and create mental distance from the reader.


    Can I ask is it “why its so early” or “why it’s so early”?

  51. Ericka says:

    I am trying to frame a quote from one of our favorite songs…it is “it’s well worth the time that its taken to get here now”

    I know the first it needs an apostrophe as it is short for “it is” but for the second it is confusing because you can say “its” in regards to time and it being possessive, but maybe the writer meant “it has”….. thoughts?

  52. Mark says:

    I was in the middle of an email and realized I wasn’t certain about the usages of it’s and its. Your answer was understandable and concise, thanks. Unfortunately, I started reading the comments. It’s been 45 minutes, and I haven’t gotten back to my email yet!

  53. Abigail Volcy says:

    Are these sentences correct?
    It’s a beautiful day. Its the dog house.

  54. giang says:

    Could you please explain why we cannot use “its” as a pronoun ?

    Thank you so much!

    • The word it is always a singular pronoun. If you add an s to the word, it becomes possessive, not plural, similar to his, hers, ours, theirs, yours. If you add ‘s, it becomes a contraction for it is or it has.

  55. Dan Mjolsness says:

    Here’s another question:
    What ever happened to the use of the apostrophe when indicating a possessive following instead of “interrupting” (I like that word to describe what a contraction causes, namely, “it’s interruptus” or something like that!” as in “its’ own” rather “its own” as an option?

  56. FY says:

    Which one is correct, Its will not function or It will not function?

    • If you are referring to a singular noun, write “It will not function.” The sentence “They will not function” is correct when referring to more than one noun.

  57. Gary Shapiro says:

    I think I found a sentence where either it’s or its will work:

    Five dollars is more than it’s worth.
    Five dollars is more than its worth.

    • We agree with your observation as long as the pronoun “it” has a clear antecedent, e.g., “toy.”

      Five dollars is more than it’s (the toy is) worth.
      Five dollars is more than its (the toy’s) worth.

  58. Lw says:

    I have a question. Which sentence is correct? I want to be sure before recommending a correction to our town’s social media page.
    “It’s a great place to live.”
    “Its a great place to live.”

  59. Becca says:

    Wow- I am a total grammar nerd and I could swear that I learned it’s means it is but one is supposed to use an apostrophe to show possession, as in its’. The gopher went into its’ hole. If the apostrophe was after the s- it showed possession. If the apostrophe was before the s, it was a contraction and a place saver for a letter being removed. Wasn’t it this way back in the eighties or nineties? If not, I’m losing my mind.

    • says:

      As the post states, “When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.” The gopher went into its hole.
      Writing s’ with a noun such as gopher indicates plural possession. Example: We could see the gophers’ holes at the bottom of the hill.
      Please see our Rules for Apostrophes.

  60. Stuart Steedman says:

    It doesn’t really parallel possessive pronouns though:

    Your coffee. This coffee is yours: this is your coffee.
    The dog’s bone. This bone is its: this is its bone.

    • says:

      The word “its” creates an exception in form between the possessive pronoun and the possessive determiner (adjective). “Yours” is a possessive pronoun and “your” is an adjectival possessive determiner. “Its” is both the possessive pronoun and the possessive determiner. In addition, we would typically avoid using “its” alone as a possessive pronoun; instead, we would pair it with “own”: This bone is its own.

  61. Joyce says:

    Is there any rule about using “it’s” with words that start with s in speech? Someone told me this; I never heard about that before, and I couldn’t find anything.
    For example: He said I can write “It’s sunny today,” but if I say it I need to use “It is sunny today,” because I can’t use “it’s” with s words.
    Is this correct? Does this rule exist?

  62. Adel Ete says:

    This article has been very useful for me! Many thanks!

  63. ESR says:

    Very helpful. Thank you.

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