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Should it be it’s, its’, or its? How to choose the correct one

There are quite a few tricky words in the English language. Today, we’re going to discuss “it,” or more precisely, what is the correct form of “it” when you add an “s.” There are three variations of “it” that are commonly found in research papers. The following will help you choose which one is correct based on the information you are trying to convey to your readers.

Very simply put, it’s is a contraction for “it is.” It’s in more informal use is the contraction for “it has,” as in someone referring to a well-wrapped present: “It’s got a lot of ribbon tied around it.” You should avoid using contractions in formal papers, so if you see “it’s” in your paper, please change it to the more formal “it is.”

When an author uses its, they are using the possessive form of the word, as in: “The dog walked around in a circle three times before settling down on its bed.” No apostrophe is required for the possessive form of its.

As for its’, the rule is very simple: there is no such word as its’. If you see this word, please change it to one of the forms of the word listed above. If you faithfully use the spelling/grammar check on your computer, it should indicate that there is a problem and prompt you to select the correct form.

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