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Writing Tip from the Backs\ash Manual of Style: It’s vs. Its

You’ve done it again. You’re in the middle of typing up a business memo to send out to the entire company. You’re on a roll. The ideas are flowing. Right now, you’re all about getting this email sent before you head out for the night. Who cares if you miss a punctuation mark here or there? It won’t make that big of a difference, right?

Wrong. We’re all guilty of skipping a comma or an apostrophe when we’re in a rush, but something we don’t realize is that one little mark can mean the difference between two very different ideas.

One of the biggest mistakes we see is people mixing up it’s and its. That tiny apostrophe makes a huge difference in meaning.

Remember, It’s with an apostrophe is a conjunction for “it is.” If you can replace the word with “it is” or “it has” in your sentence, then you should have the apostrophe. “It’s time for a change in our grammar!”

Its, with no apostrophe, is a possessive, used when one thing owns another. Use its in a sentence when describing possession. “This company comes across as unprofessional. Its spelling is atrocious.”