How long? How long must I sing this song?

The hill on which I guess I’ll die is the difference between “it’s” and “its.”

I’ve fought this battle for decades. I’m losing and I will always lose, but I’ll fight on, because that’s how crazy I am.

“It’s” means “it is” or “it has.” 

“Its” is the possessive.

“Its’ does not exist. There is no such thing. Never write “its’.” 

Why is this so hard to grasp? Why?

There are still people who don’t know the difference and refuse to learn, which is OK as long as they never write a word as long as they live. But thousands more are  getting paid for writing news, sports and ad copy, inflicting error on the world, spreading disease like a sneeze in an elevator.

I’ve tried for years to make this clear to the news-writing world. I’ve gently informed the fresh-faced journalistic youth of today that “its” is a possessive pronoun, just like “hers, his, yours, ours and theirs.” None of them need an apostrophe, especially not ‘it.”

Did they listen? No.

Nevertheless, I persist.

From the top, one more time.

If you even care, and if there’s a doubt in your mind whether to use that apostrophe or not, and if the concept of ownership eludes you:

Always write “it is” and “it has.” Every single time. Mix them up. Have a ball.

“It is time to go.”

“The dog chased it is tail.”

“It is cold outside.”

“Boxing has lost it is appeal to Americans over the years.”

“Little darling, it has been a long, cold lonely winter.”

“Virtue is it is own reward.”

If it sounds right, leave it.

If it sounds idiotic, replace it with “its.”


Also NEVER write its’. No such thing.