Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's vs. Its

We all know that an apostrophe creates a possessive, right? In other words, Mandy possesses a dog, so it would be known as Mandy's dog.

But there is a time when this is not the case, and it trips up a lot of authors until they memorize the rule.

That is the curious case of "its" vs. "it's."

"It's" is never, ever a possessive.

Take a look at this sentence:  The dog licked it's bowl.

This is incorrect. The dog has a bowl, yes. But "it's" is not a possessive.

So, what is it, then?

"It's" is a contraction, just like "let's" and "wasn't" and "shouldn't." It's the joining together of the words "it" and "is."

Correct:  Mandy's dog licked its bowl. It's such a cute little dog.

My next few blog posts will be about punctuation. As a line editor, I spent most of my time correcting punctuation, so I know it's an area that is helpful to address. So stay tuned for that.  :)