(Note: There is no proof that this conversation is canonical, nor do I know if this grammar rule applies in the Shire. Also, I don’t own Merry or Pippin. They just volunteered for the skit. 😉 )
It was a fine day for a walk in the Shire, and Merry and Pippin were taking advantage of it.
“Its a fine day for a walk, Merry,” said Pippin, while looking along the road for mushrooms.
“But Pippin, you’re wrong. Its not a fine day. It’s a fine day for a walk. You wouldn’t use its. At least, I don’t think you would.” said Merry, afraid his friend had made a horrible grammar mistake.
“That’s not what I remember learning,” protested Pippin. “I always use its.”
Well, this was certainly a dilemma, and one that neither Hobbit knew how to solve. Luckily, Merry and Pippin, all you have to do is read this post, and you’ll have the answer. 🙂
It’s a long walk to Mount Doom.
The best and easiest way to figure out which “its/it’s” to use is to remember that “it’s” is a contraction that means “it is” or “it has.” So, if you can replace the “its/it’s” in your sentence with “it is” or “it has” and have it still make sense, then you should use “it’s.”
It’s always been raining in Bree.
You can replace “it’s” in this sentence with “it has” and the sentence is still clear. So, in this case you would use “it’s.”
The map hung in its place on Bilbo’s wall.
If you replace “its” in this sentence with “it is” or “it has,” the sentence doesn’t make much sense. The “its” in this sentence is the possessive form of “it” and doesn’t use an apostrophe.
Sting earned its name in the forest of Mirkwood when Bilbo fought the spiders.
“It is” name or “it has” name doesn’t make any sense. Once again the possessive form of “its” is needed.
It’s a fine day for a walk in the Shire.
Sorry, Pippin. It looks like Merry was right. Since “it is” makes sense (It is a fine day for a walk), it’s the correct “its/it’s” to use.
“Well,” said Pippin, apologizing to Merry as they were walking back, “it looks like I was wrong. Its not a fine day for a walk. It’s a fine day for a walk. Now I know, and I don’t feel like such a fool of a Took!”
Hopefully this post has been as helpful to you as it has been to Pippin! Thanks for reading, and thanks to Merry and Pippin for their help! 🙂