Like your and you’re, been and being, his and he’s, this is yet another pair of words many Nigerians use inappropriately.
The misuse arose from how they’re pronounced. And I tell you, there’s no discernible difference in their pronunciation.
The two are pronounced the same way, which is what confuses many when it comes to writing.
The difference between the two, however, is very simple. One is a determiner/possessive pronoun and the other is a contraction of two words.
If you understand how words are contracted or how contraction of words work in English, this shouldn’t be a problem. I wrote an article about it here and another compiling a list of contracted words here.
ALSO READ: How to Use AM and I AM Correctly
IT’S is a contraction of IT IS. It is formed from joining the two words together. It is just like HE’S, which was formed from joining HE and IS together.
It is also used, occasionally, as a contraction of HE HAS.
Therefore, IT’S is suitable for use anywhere IT IS fits. Yes, “it’s” (did you see that ;)) fits anywhere IT IS fits.
Example: “It’s raining” is the same as “IT IS raining.”
The only precaution is that IT IS is preferred in formal writing. Other than that, use IT’S in place of IT IS; it makes more sense.
“ITS” is a determiner used to refer to something previously mentioned or something of unspecified sex, like a new born baby or animal.
It can also be used as a possessive pronoun to indicate ownership or possession.
When something belong to something or is a part of something it is ITS own.
Example: Please put the bag down on its side.
And that’s it for today on English Grammar.
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