People often get confused when trying to decide whether to use its or it's.

It's is a contraction for "it is", and not a possessive form of it.

Its — without the apostrophe — is the possessive form (like "his", "hers" or "theirs") of it, and can be loosely translated as "of it" or "belonging to it".

When trying to decide which to use, just remember this: it's is the same as it is. It's is a contraction like don't or won't. Only use it's when you are trying to abbreviate it is. In all other cases, use its (without the apostrophe).

Comparison chart

It's versus Its comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartIt'sIts
Meaning Abbreviated form of "it is" "Its" is the possessive form of "it". So "its" means "belonging to it"
Etymology Contraction of "it is" Combination of "it" with possessive ending 's. Written with an apostrophe until the 1800s, when it was dropped presumably to make it more similar to hers, yours, theirs, etc.

Examples of Its vs It's


Here is a limerick that was submitted in our comments section:

"It's" is a contraction, where apostrophe's the norm. 
Lo, it's not to be taken for a possessive form
of the pronoun "it"---now gather your wits:
its possessive form is unapostrophized "its".

-- Michael E. Skinner


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"It's vs Its." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 14 Nov 2017. < >