Its (Possessive Pronoun) and It’s (Contraction)

Today is September 2. Today is the anniversary of the implementation–in Britain and its colonies–of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, which made the “Georgian Correction” in 1752. On this day in 1945, the official ratification of Japan’s surrender to the victorious allies in World War II occurred aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. In Vietnam, today is National Day, which celebrates that nation’s independence from France.

Here are five homophone worksheets on its and it’s. I guess, strictly speaking, these aren’t really homophones, since they both employ it, a neuter pronoun with a fixed meaning. These worksheets really address the punctuation of these words. Students, particularly English language learners in my experience, accustomed to forming the possessive case of nouns with an apostrophe find the punctuation of these two words counterintuitive. Thus,  these worksheets to provide some practical experience using this pronoun in these two forms in sentences.

The worksheets themselves have a somewhat lengthy excursus, in their definition of its, on pronoun-antecedent agreement when using this possessive pronoun. That material derives from my study, a few years back, of the Trivium and its possibilities for use in my classroom. The book I read went on at some length, as I recall, about the importance to logic and grammar of not using locutions like “the committee did their work” and favoring “the committee did its work”.  I suspect that in some cases that material would be better deployed on an entirely separate series of worksheets that contrast its and their in pronoun-antecedent grammar exercises.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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