How is "it's" different from "its"? They look pretty much the same. How do they work? For example, in sentences such as:

It's collar was shaking.

Its collar was shaking.

  • I agree that it can be confusing because the apostrophe "s" in "it's" looks like a possessive but isn't. I think the best way to remember the difference is to remember that "its" is the neuter version of "his" and "hers". "It's" is "it is" with a space and an "i' missed out.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 7:36
  • 2
    This question will be closed as a duplicate of Q605 on ELL, but it provides a stub on ELU with a good title. Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


"It's" means "It is". This is a verb "contraction" used quite often in English. "Its" (no apostrophe) means the subject or object is replaced by the indefinite noun "It"... and "Its'" is a possessive noun. Note: the word "is" in my last phrase denotes action. It is a verb describing the action of (ITS'), which is the subject. Just remember that It can apply to some undefined object (the planet). Eg: Freedom is fragile and if it is to survive, its foundation must be strong. Here, its refers to the noun Freedom, i.e. the foundation of Freedom must be strong.

A subject is the person, place, or thing that performs the action (verb). A noun or pronoun can be used as the object in a sentence. An object is the person, place, or thing that receives the action.

E.g. "Its going to be rainy tonight" i.e. "The weather or conditions will be rainy tonight. "Its" implies the weather. Here, it is an object, the conditions refer to the weather, making "Its'" a possessive pronoun. The weather is a subject. (THE subject) !