It’s vs. Its

Lesson: it’s versus its

For such a little word, it can cause a lot of trouble—especially when you add an “s” into the equation. (But, please, this is a family friendly blog, so let’s leave the “h” out of it all together.)

There are two types of “it with an s.”

1. its: This word shows possession. Put another way, this word shows that whatever “it” is owns something.

Example: This is its cookie.

2. it’s: This word is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.”

Example: It’s a cookie! (it is)

Example: It’s been great eating that cookie. (it has)

Here’s a test to figure out which form to use: If you can replace your “it with an s” in your sentence with “it is” or “it has,” then use “it’s.” If you can’t, then use “its.”


The cat is eating its cookie.

Replace “its” with “it is” or “it has.”

The cat is eating [it is/it has] cookie.

Since this sounds funny, you would use “its.” This form shows the cat possesses the cookie.

Let’s test your knowledge with a quiz. Choose “it’s” or “its” to go in the blank.

1. I can’t believe how big _______ cookie is!

2. Now that the cat ate the whole box of cookies, ______ time for him to take a nap.

3. ______ been funny watching that cat eat all those cookies.

Answer key: 1. its 2. it’s (it is) 3. it’s (it has)

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