grammar tip

Grammar Grappler #10: Its and It’s and Its’

You will see this word written one of three ways:




How do we know when to use which one correctly? Even seasoned professional proofreaders can get in a hurry and miss this commonly confused and misused word. It’s not tricky when you use this quick and easy proofreading hack.


If you ever see it like this, get rid of it. 

Its’ isn’t a word. It doesn’t even make sense, but it becomes a problem because spellcheck doesn’t flag it. 

Now you have narrowed the selection down to two: its and it’s.


When you are proofreading and see it typed like this, stop and read it aloud as “it is.” It’s is not possessive; it is the contraction for “it is.”


That leaves its, the possessive pronoun.

Test these simple guidelines on this sentence:

Captain Luke returned the patrol car to (its, it’s, its’) reserved parking spot behind the garage.

The correct answer is:











You wouldn’t say, “Captain Luke returned the patrol car to ‘it is’ reserved parking spot,” so that leaves its.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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