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The difference between ITS and IT’S
Many users of the language often mistakenly interchange these two words in usage, including native speakers, however, they are never the same in terms of meaning, hence we cannot interchange one of them for the other in any context either is used.
It’s and its are pronounced the same way, but they do not have the same meaning, hence, they are homophones.

  1. It’s
    It’s is the contracted form of it is or it has.
    i. It’s wrong to insult elders. (it is)
    ii. It’s raining currently. (it is)
    iii. It’s claimed three lives so far. (it has)
    iv. It’s destroyed many buildings. (it has)

When the contracted form it’s is used, it is difficult to tell whether it is used as it is or it has,
Below are some guidelines that can help you determine whether it’s is used as it is or it has.
Guideline one; When an adverb or an adjective comes after it’s, it is used as it is.
a. It’s late. (it is)
b. It’s there. (it is)
c. It’s beautiful. (it is)
d. It’s simple. (it is)
Guideline two; When a present participle (i.e. -ing verb) comes after ‘it’s‘, it is used as ‘it is’.
A. It’s breastfeeding the cubs. (it is)
B. It’s causing a lot of fear and panic. (it is)
Guideline three; When an article plus a noun come after ‘it’s‘, it is used as ‘it is‘.
I. It’s a lion. (it is)
II. It’s a dangerous weapon. (it is)
Guideline four;
When a past participle comes after ‘it’s‘, it is either used as ‘it is‘ or ‘it has
‘. In this case, to know the correct form, we need to understand the context and meaning of the sentence as a whole.
a. It’s damaged the building. (it has)
b. It’s written in the Scriptures. (it is)

  1. ITS
    Its is the possessive form of the pronoun, it. It is used as either a possessive pronoun or a possessive determiner. Its usage as a possessive pronoun is not quite common in usage these days, so we will concentrate on its usage as a possessive determiner. When we say its usage as a possessive determiner, it means we expect a noun to come after it.

ITS means belonging to it. That is to say that, when we use it, it means we want to indicate belongingness of a thing we have previously mentioned in a sentence.

a. The dog barked and wagged its tail.
b. The lion looks dangerous to its enemies.
c. The phone looks bigger than its case.

Its is also used to refer to something belonging to a child or an unspecified sex.
i. The child fell and broke its leg.
ii. The woman gave birth to a bouncing baby. Its legs are very long.

iii. The baby babbled and grabbed its mother’s breast.


We use it’s at the beginning of sentences, the syntactic implication is that, when we use it in a sentence, it is likely to contain two key elements of the sentence; that is the subject and then a part or the whole of the verb phrase of that sentence.


a. It’s here. In this example, it’s contains the subject (it), and the whole (is) verb phrase (is).

b. It’s has damaged the building. In this example, it’s contains the subject (it), and part (has) of the verb phrase (has damaged).

On the contrary, we can use its at the beginning of a sentence if an earlier sentence has been used and we want to make possessive reference to a thing mentioned in the earlier sentence.


My father bought a dog. Its behavior is nice. Its as used in the beginning of the second sentence is only making reference to a thing mentioned in the earlier sentence, that is dog.

Also, its is also used as a determiner, the syntactic implication is that, a noun always comes after it, that is to say that it is one of the optional elements in the structure of a noun phrase.


The lion roared and ran after its preys. In this sentence, its is used as a determiner in the noun phrase its preys.


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