I’m going to try to not be mean here. The operative word is “try”, but I make no promises. Also, this is a special double edition of the oh-so popular series of “It Ain’t Grammer” posts. As it turns out, these actually seem to help people, so I figure I should keep doing them as there are so many mistakes that people make and they are really easy to figure out.
So let’s begin with it’s and its.
Super easy: It’s is a contraction for “it is”. Notice the apostrophe in the word. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, a contraction is a word that combines two words together using an apostrophe. The apostrophe takes the place of the missing letter (in this case the letter “i” from “is”).
So let’s review: It’s means “it is”. That’s all it ever means and that’s all it ever will mean. Here are a couple sentences: “It’s super easy to figure out.” “I can’t believe it’s over.” “It’s snowing again.”
Its on the other hand is a possessive word that basically means one that something owns (or one that something is in possession of [don’t mind the fact that that sentence ended with a preposition]). Without an apostrophe it has this whole new meaning.
Some sentences: “That’s its new paint job.” “Its main language is English.”
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, both your and you’re work in the same way as its and it’s.
Your is a possessive word, meaning something that belongs to you (the person you’re talking to) whereas you’re is a contraction meaning “you are” (notice how the apostrophe takes the place of the letter “a” in “are”). So why is this the most common error I’ve ever seen? I don’t know! It’s super simple! Some people just want to see the world burn.
Some sentences: “You’re all a bunch of ingrates.” “You’re so right.” “Look at your scalp!” “I can’t believe your dad is so mean.”
So, to recap:
It’s – it is
Its – possessive word, means it belongs to something.
You’re – you are
Your – possessive word, means it belongs to you (the person you’re dealing with).
Here are some practice sentences, see if you can figure these out:
1. “Look, (it’s/its) moving (it’s/its) head.”
2. “(It’s/Its) so not fair that (your/you’re) mom said you can’t go!”
3. “Looks like (your/you’re) going to jail and (it’s/its) going to be a long time before (your/you’re) out again.”
4. “The first time (your/you’re) going out on a date in over a year and (it’s/its) going to be a dud.”
5. “(It’s/Its) not (your/you’re) fault that (it’s/its) corrupted.”
6. “Last I checked (it’s/its) head was on (it’s/its) neck.”
Know someone who can’t seem to figure out even simple grammar like this? Share this post with them and then taunt them about how easy English really can be. Then afterwards, you know, get some ice cream or something.
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