Misused Words: Its and It’s

Its and It’s are words that get confused all the time, so here is a short explanation between the two:

Misused Words: Its and It's

Its (without the apostrophe) is a neuter (non-gender) possessive pronoun that works similar to his or her. (a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a  noun.)

For example: The dog likes its purple toy.

For example: The committee is writing its response to the board of directors.


It’s (with the apostophe) is a contraction for it is or it has.

For example: It’s been a week since Karen wrote in her journal. (In this case, the it’s is a contraction for it has.)

For example: It’s time to send the draft to the publisher. (In this case, the it’s is a contraction for it is.)


HINT: If you can’t decide whether to use it’s or its, substitute the word with “it is” or “it has.” If the substitution works, than you know to use it’s. If the substitution doesn’t work then you know to use its.


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Misused Words: Your VS You’re

The words Your and You’re confuses a lot of people and I know this because I see them mixed up all the time. 🙂 Therefore, I thought I would share a simple explanation of the difference between the two words:

Misused Words: Your VS You're

Your is a possessive pronoun. Example: Your book is on top of the book shelf.

You’re is a contraction of the words you are. Example: You’re a very talented writer.

Here is an example of the two words in the same sentence: You’re going to regret it if you don’t bring your laptop to class.


If you are not sure which one is correct, just substitute the word with you are. If it makes sense then use you’re, if it doesn’t, use your.

For a silly example: _____ dog is eating the notebook!  If you weren’t sure which word to use in this sentence, try the contraction first and break it up into both words. “You are dog is eating the notebook!” Clearly this doesn’t make sense, so the correct use of the word is “Your dog is eating the notebook!”

Another example: _____ are a fast typist! Here, again, break up the contraction  into you are first. “You are a fast typist! This makes perfect sense and it is correct.

It is helpful to remember that your, as a possessive pronoun, can usually only possess nouns. For example: your book, your idea, your home, your sister) You’re (you are) contains a linking verb; thus, it usually connects with another verb. For example: you are silly, you are talented, you are going.

I hope this explanation helps!


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