Its + It's

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Alxmrphi, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English

    Is this really true?

    "What's this?" - "It's a dog"
    "Whos'e is it?" - "its mine"

    If it is true, is it used like this?
  2. John Woodrow Junior Member

    Josselin, Brittany, France
    English, England
    I would always use an apostrophe but I claim no expertise. I would not however use an apostrophe in the word 'whose'.
  3. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Yes, that is the rule. The corrections are:
    "What's this?" - "It's a dog"
    "Whose is it?" - "It's mine"

    I like the dog's color. I like its color. If you can say "It is" then you can write "It's", otherwise write "its".

  4. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    No, it's mine is still a contraction of "it is mine." An example of the possessive would be: The dog and its fleas are mine. ;)

  5. John Woodrow Junior Member

    Josselin, Brittany, France
    English, England
    Good point well put drei.
  6. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    There are two uses of the same-sounding word.

    1. Whose - "Whose car is this?" "It's/It is mine."
    2. Who's - "Who's going to the party?" "I am going to the party."
    Who's = who is

  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    No, that's not the possessive case. Here's an example of the possessive case:

    'Is your dog dangerous?!'
    'No. Its bark is worse than its bite.'

    The possessive case of it is used as an adjective, that is, it must refer to some noun. Another way to see this is that you cannot replace its with it is, in sentences like the one above.
  8. maxiogee Banned

    My way of coping with this is to do the opposite of my gut reaction. If I was going to leave it out, I put it in - and vice versa. :D
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    You see, you said "Yeah that's true, Alex, here are my corrections" and then put the apostrophe in the possesive "its" ?

    This is why I am confused.

    also, is there a form of "its" that isn't derived from "It Is" ? like comments here have suggested?
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are no possessive it's with apostrophes in drei's post.

    "What's this?" - "It's a dog" = It is a dog.
    "Whose is it?" - "It's mine" = It is mine.

    In both cases it's is an abbreviation of it is.

    There is one form of its, the possessive.

    That cat has been licking its paws. It has lost its way and doesn't know where its home is.

    It would be impossible to replace any of those its with it is. So none of them can possibly be written as it's.

    [Apologies to all other cat-lovers. In normal circumstances I would use a personal pronoun for the cat, but I had to think of an example in a hurry.]
  11. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Eurika! *jumps out of bath*

    I don't even think I spelt that correctly, anyway, Yeah I see it now.
  12. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    It's your very own bath-sodden Eureka, so it's up to you how you spell it. Its own spelling is of no concern to a bath jumper.
  13. buddingtranslator

    buddingtranslator Senior Member

    English, England
    Ok, I understand perfectly well that you can only write "it's" in the case of "it + is". But this is still a problem to me when it shouldn't be. For example, why is London university "King's College" written with an apostrophe? Is that because the apostrophe can be placed before or after the "s" with plural possessive nouns?
  14. marget Senior Member

    For me, King's College refers to one king
    Kings' College refers to more than one king in the possessive
    A student's problem is the problem of one student.
    A students' problem is the problem of more than one student.
    The rule is harder for me to state if one noun ends in "s" and the next one begins with "s". Do we say "Thomas's students?, for example.
  15. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please open a new thread for a new question.
    Also, if you are interested in possessives and apostrophe use, please use the forum search first.
    Alternatively, check out the Apostrophe Protection Society or a punctuation guide SUCH AS THIS.
  16. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    What may be confusing you is the fact that normally it is the possessive that gets the apostrophe. Example: Alex's dog.

    In the case of its, the possessive does NOT get the apostrophe. That's confusing, I know. The contraction DOES get it. The apostrophe substitutes a dropped letter (the 'i' in "it is").

    So, as many have said, in the case of it's and its: If you could say/write it is, you need the apostrophe. Otherwise you don't (do not). That's (That is) how contractions work.

    I hope the red apostrophe will help to remind you to think about whether or not a letter is missing, so in the future you remember which is possessive and which is the contraction. :)
  17. nycphotography

    nycphotography Senior Member

    I do be learnin stuff
    John-Paul Miller, NYC
    The easiest memory device is this:


    I always get this one confused, and every time I write it... I ask myself "Is this usage a contraction? No? Then it must be its. Yes? Then it must be it's.
  18. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    it's sctratching its belly all over its bed and now it's stretching itself?

    like this?
  19. teqyre Senior Member

    You got it. :thumbsup:
  20. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Nicely Done!!!!!:D
  21. miaspanishgirl New Member

    It is your life.

    It's your life or Its your life

    Witch is the correct?
  22. diseña Junior Member

    UK / Eng.
    It's your life. :)
  23. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece
    It's your life.
    The monster lost its life the hard way.
  24. rsweet

    rsweet Senior Member

    English, North America
    I always remember this rule with the classic sentence
    "It's a wise dog that knows its own fleas."
  25. miaspanishgirl New Member

    Thank you. :)
  26. Iona Senior Member

    English England
    As others have said's is the contraction of the third person singular of the verb 'to be' 'it is' , whereas 'its' is a possessive adjective .. the dog wagged its tail .. as in my /your/his/her/its/our/your/their -Hope this helps
  27. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    Of course it should. Funny, I noticed this exact error in this same article yesterday.
  28. Phil-Olly Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    Or another way: there's no apostrophe in his or her:

    his place
    her mother
    its fleas

    But it has to be said that if you allow yourself to get upset everytime you see an apostrophe that has no business being there, you're going to have a sad life!

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