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guide:its

It's vs. Its

One of the most common errors found on new wiki articles is a misunderstanding of the usage of the word it's. This guide will help you avoid the error.

The Basics

  • “It's” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.”
    • It's illegal to smoke on planet Yamatai.”
    • It's very strange.”
    • It's a trap!”
  • “Its” is the possessive.
    • “The ship fired its weapons”
    • Its teeth are huge”
    • “…moving under its own power.”

The reasons some people make the “it's/its” error is because 's can be added to most objects to show possession (Example: “Hanako's uniform”); however, its is a pronoun so its has no apostrophe. Other possessive pronouns do not have an apostrophe either:

  • Theirs
  • Yours
  • His
  • Hers
  • Its

How To Avoid The Error

The best way to avoid the error is to learn the rules above. If you're having trouble, try one of the following:

  • Substitution Method
  • Avoid “It's” Entirely

Substitution Method

The substitution method:

  • It's: Try swapping “it's” for “it is” and seeing if your sentence still makes sense. If it does not, then you should use its.
  • Its: Try swapping the gender-neutral “its” with “her” (Example: The ship fired her weapons). It should still make sense gramatically.

Avoid "It's" Entirely

Avoid using “it's” in wiki articles. There are two good reasons for this:

  1. Because “it's” is a contraction, it is informal and not suited to the somewhat encyclopedic tone of our wiki articles.
  2. Because “it's” is a contraction, you can use “it is” in its place. If you always use “it is,” you can avoid the error entirely.

More Resources

Here's some useful links to off-site pages:

guide/its.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/18 16:41 by wes