- On June 17, 2014
“It’s so easy to fall in love.” So sang Linda Ronstadt in 1977. (Go on and enjoy a little of it.)
Who would have thought falling in love would be easier than using it’s and its correctly?
We often write it’s—which is short for it is or it has—when we mean its, which is the possessive form of the pronoun it. Here are some examples of it’s used incorrectly.
- In it’s past, San Francisco was a renowned center for shipbuilding.
- The school has global reach through it’s network of alumni.
- Yoga is restorative. I first experienced it’s healing potential when I was recovering from surgery.
In all three cases, it’s should be its: In its past, through its network, its healing potential. In each case, its refers to a noun in its possessive form—San Francisco, school, and yoga, respectively.
When you proof your copy and see it’s, read it aloud as it is or it has. If it makes sense, you have it right. If not, you likely meant to write its.
It’s that easy.
Listen to Linda. If you tend to make this mistake, put her song in your head. It may well do the trick.