Common Possessive Pronoun Mistakes
There are a few common errors that appear in students’ writing.
Its and It’s
Its is always a possessive pronoun. It's is the contraction for it is. One cannot be substituted for the other.
Ex. The bird built its nest. correct
The bird built it’s nest. incorrect
Explanation: Expanding the contraction by supplying the missing letters (it's=it is) makes it easy to see that the sentence no longer makes sense: In the second example, the contraction it’s would mean “The bird built it is nest.”
Ex. It’s the dawning of the time of revolution.
Self Test: When trying to determine whether to use it’s in a sentence, replace the contraction for the two separate words it is.
They’re and Their
They’re is a contraction for the words they are. Their is a possessive pronoun. One cannot be substituted for the other.
Ex. They’re the only ones who know the information. Correct
Their the only ones who know the information. Incorrect
Explanation: In the first sentence, the contraction They’re would
Expand to They are the only ones who know the information.
Ex. Their books were left on the table.
Notice: No possessive pronouns require an apostrophe.
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