General Writing and Grammar Help/' to show possesion


I've been overseas for several years and while I was gone English grammar must've changed.  I've noticed people no longer use a ' to show possession (it's) or even use it to show a contraction of two words, (such as we've for we have).  Even my computer''s spell checker says I'm wrong when I use it's.  What changed?

Hi Mark, that's true for some cases. It is still used for contractions; can't, won't, etc. And it is still used in conjunction with a proper nouns; Mark's question, John's Coffee, etc. This rule changed specifically regarding the use of "its" as a means of differentiating "its" (possessive) vs. "it's" (contraction of it is). Apparently some people were confused by that and couldn't figure it out via context alone. I don't know exactly when the change took place, but I know that I started hearing about this first when I was in High School in the late 90's. It's changed and become more mainstream since then.

I hope that helps.

Kind Regards,

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Johnathan Clayborn


I can answer a broad range of questions about both academic and creative writing. I can answer questions about APA format, research and references, essay structure and more. I am particularly helpful in the areas of character development, storyline development, etc. and I can provide authors with an array of tools to help them organize their work.


I minored in English for my Bachelor's degree. I have also written several books and I run a small publishing company (before you ask, we're not accepting submissions at this time). I have written both fiction and non-fiction books and I have been published in newspapers and written articles for major internet websites.

Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, APA

MS, Educational Psychology, BS Psychology (English minor)

©2017 All rights reserved.