Practice English Speaking&Listening with: IT'S vs. ITS - What's the Difference? - When to Use It's and Its, with Example Sentences

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Hi and welcome back. My name is Ganesh, I'm from LearnEnglishLab.com

And in this lesson we're going to discuss the difference between its and it's.

Of course I know it sounds like I'm saying the same word

and that's because the pronunciation is the same for both of these

but their meanings are very different.

And this is actually an area where a lot of native speakers make mistakes

because these can be really confusing.

But today, I'm going to teach you the difference between these two forms

and how to use them correctly.

So let's start with it's with an apostrophe.

This mark is called an apostrophe.

So when you have it's with an apostrophe, what you have is a short form.

And these are all some examples of short forms in English

You're is you are. She'll is she will. He'd can be "he would" or "he had" depending on the sentence.

They've is "they have," and didn't and couldn't are "did not" and "could not."

The apostrophe in these words shows that some other word has been shortened.

So when you have it's with the apostrophe the shortened word can be "is" or "has"

So this it's can be "it is" or "it has" depending on the meaning in the sentence

Here I have some examples, and in the first two examples we have "it is"

Number one is "It's time to start the meeting."

What we're saying here is "It is time to start the meeting."

In fact, if you want you can put "It is" here and the meaning would be the same.

In number two, we have a question-and-answer "How's your new job?"

The answer is "It's great. I love it!"

What I'm trying to say is "My new job is great," so I'm saying "It is great."

In speech we just say "It's great. I love it."

In the next two examples we have "it has"

Number three - "It's been raining for two hours"

Here, the meaning is that the rain started two hours ago and the rain is still continuing

So we're using the present perfect continuous tense - that is "has been" and -ing

So what we're saying is "It has been raining."

In the shortened form, it's just "It's been raining for two hours" - it's easier to say it that way

In our final example once again we have a question-and-answer

The question is - "Have you seen Ellie lately?"

And the answer is "No, it's been a year since I last saw her."

So I saw Ellie a year ago, and after that time I have not seen Ellie

So, I'm saying "It has been a year" or "It's been a year since I last saw her."

So when you have it's with the apostrophe,

it can be "it is" or "it has" depending on the meaning in the sentence

Let's now talk about its without the apostrophe.

When you have this word - that is its with no apostrophe,

you have a possessive pronoun.

I know that sounds like a difficult couple of words to say but all that is, is this family of words

my, your, his, her, our, their etc.

Possess means to have something.

So these words just show that something belongs to something or someone else.

For example, when I say "This is my pen"

I mean that this pen belongs to me. If we talk about your car

we're talking about a car that you own. We use these kinds of words so that

we don't have to repeat ourselves when we speak or write.

For example, "If I said Tom loves Tom's wife" - sounds a little strange, doesn't it?

"Tom loves Tom's wife" - are we talking about the same Tom or different Toms?

Well, in order to avoid this kind of confusion,

and to make our speech less repetitive, we can say "Tom loves his wife."

You probably guessed that. "His wife" just refers to Tom's wife

And in the same way, we can say "her sister" or "our home," "their school" etc.

But what about when we want to talk about an animal, place or thing

and we want to use a possessive pronoun with an animal, place or thing?

Well, that's why we have its, and it comes from it which is also a pronoun

Its is just the possessive form of it. For example, the dog wagged its tail.

Here, it refers to the dog and its means the dog's tail.

Now one very very important thing to notice here,

and this is key to understanding the difference between the two forms

When there's no apostrophe, there's no short form

That means, remember we said if you have it's, you can put "it is" or "it has" in its place

and the meaning would be the same. Notice here you cannot say "The dog wagged it is tail"

or "it has tail" - that makes no sense

That's because there is no short form

This word is just a possessive pronoun of some other noun and in this case, it's dog.

Similarly, in the second example, "Liechtenstein," Liechtenstein is a small country in Europe

It's a small country but it's very wealthy and it's very well-developed

"Liechtenstein does not have its own army."

It's here talks about Lichtenstein's army. There's no army in Liechtenstein.

So Liechtenstein does not have its own army. And in the last example

"The company is planning to expand its operations in Asia."

"Expand operations" means to develop or build the business

So the company wants to build its business or expand its operations in Asia

Its here means the company's operations.

Alright, in a moment I'm going to give you a test to see if you can use these two forms correctly

but before we do that, let's quickly recap what we've learned here

When it's has an apostrophe, so you have it ' s

It can be "it is" or "it has" depending on the meaning in the sentence

And when there's no apostrophe, what you have is a possessive pronoun

of some other noun - an animal, a place, a business, a company, or a thing

Alright, on the screen, you see six sentences and I'd like you to

fill in the blank in each sentence with it's with an apostrophe or its without the apostrophe

based on the rules that we just discussed.

Now take a moment, pause this video, and think about your answers, and then I'll show you the answers

Alright let's discuss the answers.

In number one, "How are you, Wilson?"

Here we want to say "It has been a long time."

When we shorten "it has" we write it as it's with the apostrophe.

In number two, we're trying to say "Switzerland is famous for Switzerland's chocolate."

That is, the chocolate of Switzerland.

So here, we need the possessive form and that is its without the apostrophe.

In number three, "Have you seen Finding Nemo? It is a great movie."

We shorten "it is" to it's with the apostrophe.

Alright, number four - "We should throw this sandwich out. It has been in the fridge for a week."

Again, we shorten "it has" to it's with the apostrophe

Number five - here we're trying to say

"Before buying any medicine, always remember to check the expiration date of the medicine."

That is the medicine's expiration date.

Once again, here we want the possessive form which is just its without the apostrophe

So "Before buying any medicine, always remember to check its expiration date."

And number six, "It is very hot outside" - that is it's, so "It's very hot outside."

Alright did you get all of them right? I hope you did.

Remember to subscribe to this channel. I have lots of new lessons coming for you

I hope you enjoyed this lesson and I'll see you in another lesson soon.

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