Closeup Of Young Woman With Doubtful LookThe wrong use of the apostrophe “s” is one of the most common errors in the English language.

Here are 4 simple rules to understand how to use the apostrophe “s” and to understand the difference between its & it’s.

  • Only when the apostrophe “s” is used after any word except “it”, it shows possession (i.e. John’s, the cat’s, the dog’s, etc.)
  • Only when “s” is used without an apostrophe after “it”, is shows possession. (i.e. its finger, its eye, its leg, etc.)
  • Only when the apostrophe “s” is used with “it”, it is a contracted form of “It is”, “It was” or “It has”. (i.e. It’s time to go home, It’s a reason to leave, etc.)
  • Its’ is NEVER correct.

In fact, it is easy to know when to use the apostrophe “s” correctly by memorizing the short sentence below and remembering that the apostrophe “s” only appears twice in the beginning of the sentence and does not appear in the second half:

It’s the cat’s tail, its tail is its.

  1. The first ‘s is actually a contraction of “It is”.
  2. The second ‘s indicates that the cat possesses the tail.
  3. The third s (without apostrophe) indicates that the cat possesses the tail.
  4. The last s (without apostrophe) ALSO indicates that the cat possesses the tail.

Here are a few random example of using its/it’s & various the apostrophe “s”.

  1. It’s easy to see in bright sunlight.
  2. The child’s toy was broken.
  3. The hawk eyed its prey before swooping down on it.
  4. John’s car is blue in colour.
  5. The dog’s fur keeps it warm.
  6. It’s difficult to study in noisy places.
  7. Benjamin’s love for soccer motivates him to play every other day.
  8. The dog whined after it lost its toy.
  9. The parrot is known for its ability to mimic human voices.
  10. It’s easy to learn to speak English!

I hope this article was helpful to you and will allow you to avoid making mistakes with the apostrophe “s”. If you have any comments or requests, feel free to leave a comment below!

Brought to you by the KidsEnglishCollege™ Editorial Team.

Check out our English Short Story Collection & our Teaching Aids/Resources.


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