Here is a grammar refresher on using it’s/its and who’s/whose.
It’s extremely common to see mistaken use of it’s and its, but this is a simple rule:
It’s is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” Period. Only use it’s to replace “it is” or “it has.” Its is possessive and means belonging to it.
Who’s is a contraction for “who is” or “who has.” Period. Whose is possessive and means belonging to who.
Those are simple, right?
Other possessive pronouns don’t have apostrophes: theirs, ours, yours, my, his, hers. For instance, we don’t write: But we do write:
- The camping gear is their’s. The camping gear is theirs.
- Those kayaks are our’s. Those kayaks are ours.
- That assignment is your’s. That assignment is yours.
- My’s bicycle still looks new. My bicycle still looks new.
- His’s car barely runs. His car barely runs.
- Her’s prom dress is gorgeous. Her prom dress is gorgeous.
- It’s nest. Its nest.
- Who’s gloves are these? Whose gloves are these?
See if you can pick the correct answers:
- It’s/its time to give the dog it’s/its bath.
- Who’s/whose going to drive me to the mall?
- It’s/its the most versatile ingredient to work with.
- I don’t know who’s/whose dog this is.
- It’s/its siding had blown off during the storm.
- Who’s/whose cooking dinner?
- The truck was missing it’s/its door.
- Who’s/whose side are you on?
- It’s/its okay to be confused.
- An idea who’s/whose time has come.
- The tree has lost all it’s/its leaves.
- It’s / its
Does this help clarify when to use it’s/who’s and its/whose?
Thank you for the suggestions so far. What other grammar topics would you like help with? Let me know in the comments!
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer, editor, journalist, and chocolate lover. She loves working with words and helps businesses with theirs. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Biznik, Facebook, and Twitter.