Last night my husband and I went to a lovely concert, a tenor singing Shubert’s “Winterreisse” (“Winter Journey”) a series of beautiful and sad songs accompanied by a piano. The program seemed so fitting for a cold night. The songs were written and sung in German, but on the wall above the singer an English translation was projected.
Being the grammatically compulsive person I am, I had to bring myself back to the music and try to ignore the fact that every time the word “its” was needed, “it’s” was written.
If it doesn’t mean “it is” or “it has,” you want “its,” the possessive form:
“It’s been cold and snowy in the East.” <——It has
“It’s cold even here in Los Angeles.” <——-It is
“The tree dropped its leaves.” <——-Possessive. The leaves belong to the tree.
People get confused because in English possessive nouns do take apostrophes. But possessive pronouns never do:
Hers, his, ours, theirs, yours—hold the apostrophes!