Uses of It and Its

Let’s see some of the use cases of ‘it’ and ‘its’.

‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘It’. To be precise, ‘Its’ is a Possessive Adjective.

Uses of It and Its

We use Pronoun ‘it’ or ‘its’ for the following purposes:

Use 1

For non-living things

That was a nice book. It resolved all my doubts.
You expect us to do something about the apocalypse; as if it is true.

Use 2

For animals (but not when we want to speak of them as male and female)

The puppy fell from the staircase and broke its leg.

Use 3

For a young child (but not when we want to refer to the sex)

When I saw the child it was playing in the garden.

Use 4

To refer to some statement that came before.

‘Work is worship’. It is a protestant ethic.

Use 5

As an introductory subject before the verb ‘to be’. In such cases, ‘it’ works as a provisional and temporary subject. The real subject follows later.

It is difficult to find good friends. (to find good friends – this infinitive phrase is the real subject phrase of this sentence)
We can rewrite the above sentence as – To find good friends is difficult.

It is doubtful whether they will teach. (whether they will teach – real subject phrase of this sentence)
We can rewrite the above sentence as – Whether they will teach is doubtful.

It is clear that you are cheating. (that you are cheating – real subject phrase of this sentence)
We can rewrite the above sentence as – That you are cheating is clear.

So, we can often use ‘it’ to begin a sentence, instead of an infinitive clause, gerund clause, that-clause, or whether-clause.

So, if a sentence starts with ‘it’ followed by any form of ‘be’, then the real subject will follow. This subject can be a noun, noun phrase or a pronoun, and it must be in ‘subjective case’.

It is me who am to blame. (incorrect; me - Objective case)
It is I who am to blame. (correct; I - Subjective case)

Use 6

As an impersonal pronoun.

It happens.
It thunders.
It bites.

In the above sentences, the pronoun ‘it’ seems to stand for no noun. But the noun it stands for can be supplied by the verb and the context. For example, ‘It bites’ may mean ‘The dog bites.’

When we use ‘It’ in such a manner, it is called an Impersonal Pronoun. And the verb (e.g. happens, thunders, bites etc.) is called an Impersonal Verb.

Use 7

We sometimes use ‘It’ as a subject to put emphasis on the noun or pronoun following it.

It was she who ditched me. (‘It’ putting emphasis on ‘she’)

It was at Copenhagen that the climate treaty was signed. (‘It’ putting emphasis on ‘Copenhagen’)




Its vs. It’s

Its: Possessive form of ‘it’. To be more precise, it is a possessive adjective. We use it to show possession/relation.

It’s: Abbreviated form of ‘It + be’, i.e. It is / It was / It has

It’s beauty beggars description. (incorrect)
Its beauty beggars description. (correct)

Its a long way to the castle. (incorrect)
It’s a long way to the castle. (correct)

It and They/Them

The plural forms of ‘it’ are:

  • They (in subjective case)
  • Them (in objective case)
‘It’ is the singular form for both subjective and objective cases.

Sri Lanka is a developing country. It is facing the issue of terrorism.
Sri Lanka and India are developing countries. They are facing the issue of terrorism.

Shailey bought a few books and put it in her bag. (incorrect)
Shailey bought a few books and put them in her bag. (correct; them - plural pronoun)

I do have some sugar but I can’t give them to you. (incorrect)
I do have some sugar but I can’t give it to you. (correct; it - singular pronoun)

‘Their’ is the plural of ‘Its’.

Your dog seems to be in pain. I guess, its leg has been broken by someone.
Your dogs seem to be in pain. I guess, their legs have been broken by someone.




This vs. It

Now, let us have a look at a few differences between ‘This’ and ‘It’.

Difference 1

We use ‘This’ (instead of ‘It’):

  • to point towards a singular person or thing placed at a near distance.
    This is an amoeba.

  • for the introduction of a person.
    This is Anand, my cousin.

Difference 2

‘It’ denotes distance/time/weather etc. We do not use ‘this’ for such purposes.

It is 9 a.m.
It is noon here in Delhi.
It is spring.

Extra Books and Tools



Though the matter on our website is in-depth and comprehensive enough for the demands of most of the aptitude exams, but it may feel daunting for the same reasons. Moreover, some learners prefer paperback books over websites.

So, if you are a beginner level English learner, and prefer books, you may explore the following English Grammar books too.


1. Wren & Martin - This book has been around for long and is still considered one of the best. Though many concepts have not been dealt with in much depth here, but beginners may find it a breeze to read. Once you are done with it, the content on our website will work as a rich add-on. If you are getting this book, make sure you get the key to its exercises too.

Links for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries:

High School English Grammar and Composition Paperback

Key to Wren and Martin

Link for Indian readers: Wren and Martin


2. More advanced learners may refer to the following books. However, buy them only if you must. Most of your English Grammar learning needs will easily be met by our website.

A. Essential English Grammar by Raymond Murphy

Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: Essential Grammar in Use - with Answers

Link for Indian readers: Essential English Grammar

B. Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy

Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: English Grammar in Use - with Answers

Link for Indian readers: Intermediate English Grammar

C. Advanced English Grammar by Martin Hewings

Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries: Advanced Grammar in Use - with Answers

Link for Indian readers: Advanced English Grammar


So much so for Englsh Grammar. But what about Comprehension skills and Vocabulary?

We strongly believe that Comprehension skills and Vocabulary are more a matter of practice. The more you read, the better you will become in them. In fact, this will help you in Grammar too. Afterall Grammar rules are just in the nature of temporary scaffholding - the goal is to read, write and speak a language without consciously remembering even a single Grammar rule.

So, we suggest you to read vividly. Ideally, carry some tool with you that you may refer so as to learn the meaning of any word that is new to you. There are many ways you may go about it.

* The old method: Carry a good dictionary with you. But who does?

* Download a Thesauraus app on your mobile or just google it. Better, but we still need to stop reading, open the app, type and then search. Boring!

The methods mentioned above kill the joy of reading. Who wants to stop reading in the midst of an interesting plot and look for the meaning of a word? And if you are a lazy soul like me, Oh man! No chance!

That's why I prefer to read on gadgets like Kindle. We may just tap on any word and see its meaning there and then. It's also not taxing on the eyes.

Link for readers from USA, UK, Canada, and other countries:

Link for Indian readers:

There are a multitude of Kindle models and versions available. So, you may have to do some research on your own regarding which model serves your need the best. Though, any model will meet our basic reading needs.

If you guys know about any more such books, gadgets and technologies that are awesome and may help English learners, do share 😇
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