It’s or Its? What’s the difference?

Confusing “its” and “it’s” is one of the most common mistakes I see in amateur writing. I will try to explain the difference between these two words so that you’ll never again have to wonder if you used the correct one.

You might be tempted to lay all the blame for your confusion on the apostrophe, but it’s not really the apostrophe’s fault. Let me tell you a story.

Long ago the Apostrophe got a job filling in for missing letters wherever there was a contraction. A contraction is when two words are smashed together to form one word.

For example when you put “does” and “not” together, you squish out the “o” and you get “doesn’t.”

Other examples are:

would + not = wouldn’t
they + will = they’ll
let + us = let’s
it + is or it + has = it’s

Did you catch that last one? Good. You use “it’s” when there’s a contraction. There’s no messing with the contraction rule; it’s concrete.

If you take two words, slap them together to make one word while squishing out some of the letters, you must always use an apostrophe to take the place of the missing letters.

Now, back to my story. As often happens when someone does their job extremely well, management decided the Apostrophe needed something else to do. They decided that, not only would the Apostrophe appear every time there was a contraction, he should now also show possession of something.

For example, if the cock belongs to Joe, you write:

Joe’s cock

Other examples:

Jane’s luscious tits
the Master’s whip
Daddy’s girl
Charles’s buttocks

Now, you might ask, “What happens if the dildo belongs to Tracy and Stacy the lesbians? Do I write, “the lesbian’s dildo?”

No. This is where it gets a tiny bit tricky. We’re now in the crazy land of plural possessives. To go back to the basics, plural means more than one, and in that example we’re talking about more than one lesbian.

THIS is the situation where the apostrophe is forced to go after the s, otherwise everyone gets all confused. If you put the apostrophe before the s, people start thinking, “Wait a second! I thought there were TWO lesbians. I thought I was reading a story about a threesome! What the fuck?”

Best not to anger or confuse your readers. If the item in question belongs to more than one person, put the apostrophe at the end of the word.

So, just to make sure you understand, here are some more examples of plural possessive:

Dave often watched his parents’ porn videos. (The videos belong to BOTH parents.)

The sultan adored fucking his wives’ pussies whenever possible. (We’re talking about more than one wife.)

The twins’ sense of rhythm was so in tune that they had no problem fulfilling their mother’s wish for double penetration.

But I’m forgetting my story again.

Let’s recap. Remember way back when the Apostrophe took that first job? The Apostrophe said, “Okay, whenever there’s a contraction, I’ll show up to take the place of the missing letters.”

Then management, in its mysterious wisdom, gave the Apostrophe his other job and said, “Now you also need to be there when something belongs to someone.”

Because he needed this job, the poor apostrophe sighed and said, “Okay.”

For a while, everything was fine and dandy. The Apostrophe worked like a dog, and he did it without complaint because at least he didn’t have to do what the Comma had to do!

But then someone decided they wanted to write this:

Betty sucked the cock. Its tip touched the back of her throat, making her gag, but she kept sucking.

Now, the poor apostrophe had been working his ass off going from possessive to contraction and back again. When this “its” situation came up he didn’t know what to do.

The apostrophe said to himself, “If I appear in the word ‘its,’ people might think I’m there doing my job as a contraction and not as a possessive. ‘It is tip touched the back of her throat…’ That doesn’t even make sense! And of course, everyone will blame me for the screw up. I’ll get demoted and then I’ll never be able to pay off the doctor bill for my wife’s new tits.”

All pissed off now, the Apostrophe went to his boss and blew his stack.

“You know,” said the Apostrophe, “I’ve given my all for this company. I show up every damn day doing the job of two punctuation marks while those slackers the Question Mark and the Exclamation Point sit around all fucking day with almost nothing to do. But not me. Hell no. I’m out there busting my butt with contractions AND possessives twenty-four seven.

“So now, this whole ‘its’ problem comes up and I have no idea what you people want me to do about it. So here’s what I’m going to do. From now on, my job as contraction is going to take precedence over my job as a possessive. End of story. Working with contractions was the job I was hired to do first anyway! So write a little memo or whatever and let everyone know what’s going on, because I’ve had it.”

Because the Apostrophe did indeed have a spotless record, his boss accepted his decision and upon reviewing his file, even gave him a promotion. And as for the Apostrophe, he was thrilled. He’d finally gotten the recognition he deserved. Soon after, the Apostrophe’s wife got new tits AND a tummy-tuck and they lived happily ever after.

So, I hope that clears things up for you.

“It’s” = it + is or it + has
“Its” should indicate possession.

Once again, it’s been a blast teaching you about the apostrophe and its dual job. 🙂