"Its" and "it's," "you're" and "your," ...

"You're" vs "your," "they're" vs "there" and "their"

If a pronoun has an apostrophe in it, it's a contraction. "You're" means "you are," always. "Your" means "belonging to you."

The same is true of "they're" and "their." "They're" has an apostrophe; it is a contraction. It means "they are." "Their" means "belonging to them." "There" means "somewhere that is not here."

"Its" and "it's"

This is probably the single most common grammar mistake on earth. People get confused about this one because they remember a rule from their childhood days: possessive nouns get an apostrophe. "That is Bob's car." "That is the horse's barn."

Problem is, the word "it" is not a noun. It's a pronoun! Pronouns never, ever, ever get an apostrophe to indicate possession. Think about it: You don't say "mi'ne" or "hi's" or "her's"--and you don't say "your's" or "it's" to indicate possession.

"It's" means "it is" or "it has." If you get confused, take out "it's" and put in "it is." If the sentence makes no sense, don't use the apostrophe.

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