Posted by: Mike | August 19, 2009

“It’s” and “Its”

Even native English speakers get these two words confused. So I’ll provide a guide on how to use them correctly.

“It’s” is a contraction (short form) of “it is” (它是/ia adalah). This short form is usually used in speaking, for example: “It’s a nice day today”. When you write formal letters or documents, it is better to use the full form “It is”.

“Its” is the possessive form of “It” (它的/ia punya). “His” is the possessive form of “He” and “Her” is the possessive form of  “She”. So “Its” is to “It” what “His” is to “He”. It is used when something belongs to or is associated with an animal or an inanimate object. For example: “The dog wagged its tail”. (“It” is often used to refer to animals, as their gender is often unknown, however, pet owners generally refer to their cat or dog with either “he” or “she” depending on their pet’s gender)

So if you want to say “It is”, then write “It’s”. If you’re referring to an inanimate object, an animal, a city, a country possessing something or having something associated with it, use “Its”.

See if you can correct the errors in these sentences (answers will be provided below in a comment). One of the sentences is correct and requires no changes.

Malaysia must protect it’s own interests.

“What’s that?” “Oh, don’t worry, its just my dog”.

“Oh, no! Its raining!”

See that small animal there? Its a squirrel. Notice it’s long, bushy tail?

The cat went over to its saucer and drank its milk.

“Its late – I have to go. Thanks for the dinner!”

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Responses

  1. Here are the answers to the exercise above.

    NO PEEKING!!!

    Malaysia must protect ITS own interests.

    “What’s that?” “Oh, don’t worry, IT’S just my dog”.

    “Oh, no! IT’S raining!”

    See that small animal there? IT’S a squirrel. Notice ITS long, bushy tail?

    The cat went over to its saucer and drank its milk. CORRECT

    “IT’S late – I have to go. Thanks for the dinner!”


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