While I do not see myself as a stickler for grammar, there are some common errors that can get on my nerves sometimes. As such, I’ve decided to start a new series of posts here on Beyond the Rhetoric that will focus on these common English writing errors. You do not have to be an exceptional writer to be successful as a freelance writer, but you should have basic spelling and grammar skills.

A common mistake that a lot of people make is confusing the use of its with the use of it’s. These do not mean the same thing and cannot be used in place of one another.

Its Signifies Possession

You use “its” when you want to signify possession or ownership, using it much the same way as you would “his” or “her”. Just as you would say that a vehicle is his car, you would say that the round thing on the hood is its emblem. I can write about the Apple iPhone and its features, not it’s features.

It’s is Short for It Is

A lot of people have the tendency to use it’s to signify ownership or possession, because one of the ways, in general, to signify possession is with the use of an apostrophe. Here is Michael’s blog. There is John’s computer. This use of the apostrophe does not apply when the subject is it.

Instead, “it’s” is simply the contraction of “it is”. You would say that it’s a nice day today and not its a nice day today. The distinction between its and it’s is actually really straightforward, as the two words have very different meanings.

Improve Your Blog Quality with Better Grammar

Blogging is a place where you do not need perfect spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but it certainly helps when you are using proper grammar and punctuation. If you improve your writing ability in this way, you may be able to gain greater respect from your readers.

Be sure to check out “Top 10 Grammar Mistakes Writers Make” for a few other common errors. I’ll be back with another edition of Grammar 101 in the future too.