its

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See also: ITS

English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

  • it's (possessive form, obsolete or nonstandard)

Etymology[edit]

From it +‎ 's.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

its (possessive adjective)

  1. (attributive) Belonging to it. [from 16th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, trans. Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.43:
      The manner wherewith our Lawes assay to moderate the foolish and vaine expences of table-cheare and apparell, seemeth contrarie to it's end.
    • 1751, G. Burnett, trans. Thomas More, Utopia:
      since I have been at the Pains to write it, if he consents to it's being published I will follow my Friend's Advice, and chiefly yours.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice:
      They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the door; and, while examining the nearer aspect of the house, all her apprehensions of meeting its owner returned.
    • 1989, Jasper Becker and John Gittings, The Guardian, 5 Jun 1989:
      The Chinese government is at war with its own people.

Translations[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

its

  1. (rare) The one (or ones) belonging to it.

Quotations[edit]

Translations[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Its is now distinguished from it's (a contraction of "it is" or "it has"). For example, It's going to rain is equivalent to It is going to rain, and It's got three wheels is equivalent to It has three wheels.
  • Like it, its is usually avoided when referring to humans. Its is commonly used with animals when the gender is unknown or unimportant. With humans, person is used for a person whose gender is unknown or to describe something that could be possessed by either gender, body or corpse are often used to describe a dead person, and figure, shape, and silhouette are often used to describe what someone sees as a person but can't see clearly enough to determine an identity or gender, e.g. The figure moved behind a bush, but Josh could see its shadow from the moonlight.
  • Rank among most common English words: #72 (Gutenburg)

See also[edit]

Noun[edit]

its

  1. plural form of it

Anagrams[edit]