Q. Could you please give a definitive answer to the “its” versus “it’s” issue? I just came back from a writing conference, and the advice we received was contradictory to everything I was taught previously, as well as contradictory to what I can find online on college websites. Most writer’s websites that I’ve checked out are claiming that the ONLY time “its” is written as “it’s” would be when the meaning is “it is.” What happened to possessive nouns?
A. True, this can be confusing, but the possessive “its” is an exception to the rule that possessives have apostrophes. Possessive pronouns lack apostrophes: her glove, my glove, your glove, its glove. Remembering that “its” is a possessive pronoun should help.