Difference Between Its and It’s
In spelling, the only difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ is the apostrophe. In meaning the differences are much more significant. Apostrophes have two common usages. The first usage is the creation of a possessive form of a noun (for example ‘that man’s word’) and the second is to create a contraction or combination of two words (example: ‘that’ll’ which is a contraction of ‘that will’). In the instance of ‘it’s’ the apostrophe is used to create a contraction of ‘it is’, while ‘its’ is the possessive form of ‘it’.
You may note that most pronouns involve a complete change of the word to create a possessive form. One example of this is the possessive form of ‘You’, which is changed to ‘Your’. Likewise beginning for the basic pronoun ‘it’ the possessive form is created by adding only an ‘s’ to make ‘its’.
Contractions are the combining of multiple words into one using an apostrophe (‘). This is what occurs in the word ‘it’s’. Two separate words are combined. The words ‘it’ and ‘is’ are combined with an apostrophe to create the shortened word, or contraction, ‘it’s’. There are multiple implementations of the apostrophed contraction. The more common involve the verbs ‘is’, ‘will’ and ‘have’. These result in the contracted add-ons apostrophe ‘s’ (‘s), apostrophe ‘ll’ (‘ll) and apostrophe ‘ve’ (‘ve).
While these are two different forms of the pronoun ‘it’, they have very different uses. The similar spellings and the use of an apostrophe ‘s’, which is also used to create possessive forms, may make for words that you simply will have to memorize instead of discern with rule-based logic. It’s always a good idea to use a dictionary if you have any doubt; its wealth of information can make it an excellent reference for ensuring better communication.
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