Personal pronouns make language flow by preventing you from having to repeat writing out an object or person’s name repeatedly. While the possessive form of proper nouns require an apostrophe, such as “Susie’s apple,” possessive forms of personal pronouns, such as “its top is red” do not. If you don’t pay close attention to the contextual grammar of a sentence, it’s easy to misuse the words “its” and “it’s.”

The Contraction

The word “it’s” is a contraction for the words “it is” or “it has.” The apostrophe in the contraction is used to take the place of the missing letters in the second word, joining them together into one word. For example: "It’s a sunny day out today, but it’s been raining for most of this month."

The Possessive Personal Pronoun

The word “its” without the contraction is used as a possessive form of a personal pronoun. For example: "That book has been used so much by the library’s patrons that its cover is faded and falling apart."