Apostrophes are used for contraction, as in Tip 7: I can’t go, it isn’t true.
Apostrophes are also used for possession, as seen in Tip 6: Sipho’s photos, the boys’ bags.
However there is one word where you do not use the apostrophe for possession, and that is for ‘its’: The cat ate its food.
• The ‘its’ does NOT take an apostrophe when it shows possession.
• It only takes an apostrophe when it is a contraction: It’s hot today.
Read the sentences below. Which ones need an apostrophe?
1. The dog chases its tail.
2. The mouse ran as fast as it could to its hole in the ground.
3. Its the biggest building I have ever seen.
4. The schoolchildren get wet when its raining.
5. The river ran its course to the sea.
6. Its not fair – I want some of that.
Hopefully you said that 3, 4 and 6 needed an apostrophe, as in those sentences it’s was short for it is.
In 1, 2 and 5 its was showing possession – so it did not need an apostrophe.