Why no apostrophe in “its”‘ when it’s a possessive?

The grammar quesiton I probably get asked most frequently is this one:

“If you use an apostrophe to show possession – such as ‘John’s shirt’ or ‘mother’s new hairdo’ – why not in “its” – for example, ‘The dog chewed it’s bone’?

Well the answer is that it would be too confusing. In addition to denoting possession, an apostrophe is also used to denote a contraction – ie, that one or more letters are missing. For example: ‘It’s a nice day’ means ‘It is a nice day’.

So, ‘The dog chewed it’s bone’ means ‘The dog chewed it is bone’ – which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Get more great grammar tips in The Grammar Cookbook

This entry was posted in Grammar Tips, Punctuation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s