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]

Equivalent to it +‎ s. From the earlier form it's (it +‎ 's), which is now considered nonstandard. Began to displace his as the possessive of the neuter pronoun in the Middle English period; had fully displaced it by the 1700s.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Determiner[edit]

its

  1. Belonging to it. [from 16th c.]

Translations[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

its

  1. The one (or ones) belonging to it. [from 17th c.]

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 refer to something that could be possessed by either gender, body or corpse are often used to refer to a dead person, and figure, shape, and silhouette are often used to refer to 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 of it

Anagrams[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ its” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).