words often confused with its
usage note for its
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH itsit's, its (see confusables note at the current entry)
Words nearby its
Other definitions for its (2 of 2)
usage note for it's
words often confused with it's
ITS VS. IT'S
What’s the difference between its and it's?
Its is the possessive form of the pronoun it—it means belonging to it. It’s is a contraction of it is or it has—meaning that it’s a combination of the two words, making it shorter to say.
The confusing part is that possession is often indicated by an apostrophe and the letter s (’s), as in That is Mike’s car or Is this anyone’s jacket? But some possessive pronouns—including hers, theirs, and its—just add s on the end, without an apostrophe. Its is the most potentially confusing because it is very commonly used with the verb is (unlike her and their, which are never used with is because they are never used as subjects).
As a possessive, its is typically applied to animals or objects in discussion of their parts or qualities, as in This container is missing its lid or Look at that bird—its beak is so long!
If you can substitute it is for the word you’re using, then you want it’s. Remember, the apostrophe part of the contraction is really standing in for the letter i in the word is.
Here’s an example of its and it’s used correctly in the same sentence.
Example: Have you seen my suitcase? It’s¹ black and its² zipper is red and it’s³ got a ton of stuff in it.
1 = It is
2 = possessive
3 = it has
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between its and it’s.
Quiz yourself on its vs. it's!
Should its or it’s be used in the following sentence?
The car is missing _____ front tires.
How to use its in a sentence
Many people have already written off ‘American Idol’ as a past-its-prime reality TV corpse.7 Ways ‘American Idol’ Revolutionized TV|Kevin Fallon|January 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The late-in-its-run success of Breaking Bad is the perfect example of that.Why We Binge-Watch Television|Kevin Fallon|January 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
One young woman had affixed Post-its to the wall reading “Welcome Home Annie!”A Tale of Thanksgiving Triumph|Michael Daly|November 28, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Over dessert, we look through the Post-Its full of squiggly pictures.Are the 40 Days Duo Really a Couple?|Abby Haglage|September 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
When Demi Moore was hospitalized last year, friends told TMZ she had seizure-like symptoms brought on by doing whip-its.Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Whip-Its|Winston Ross|March 22, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Jack probably learned more about the Bible during that trip-its history and its heroes-than during all his former years.
The world had nothing more to give him now except that which he had already long possessed-its honor and its love.
Didn't Wolfe say that he would rather have written what's-its-name than taken Quebec?
My heart just sank like a lump of what's-its-name, but my whole soul went out in sympathy for her.
Then Billings, who was already gasping like a jolly what's-its-name, dropped upon the arm of the chair and held his side.
British Dictionary definitions for its (1 of 2)
- of, belonging to, or associated in some way with itits left rear wheel
- (as pronoun)each town claims its is the best