Itself or its self: Here’s the correct version (with 11 examples)

Let’s say you have a new washing machine, and you’re talking about how it doesn’t need you to add soap every time you wash because it adds the soap for you. Would you say, “my washing machine adds the soap itself” or “my washing machine adds the soap its self”?

In this article, we’ll be looking at when to use itself and when to use its self. Although both can be correct, there are some strict rules that you need to follow.

Is “itself” or “its self” correct?

“Itself” is the correct version, most of the time.

“Its self” should only be used in philosophy when talking about the potential being of inanimate objects.

Watch the video: Only 1 percent of our visitors get these 3 grammar questions right...


“Itself” is a compound noun

The word “itself” is a compound noun. This is a word (or phrase) made up of two words but acting as a single noun.

For example, a fisherman is made up of a verb and a noun. However, the word “fisher” is entirely a noun.

The word itself is made up of a pronoun and a noun. The pronoun is “it”, so of course, the noun is “self”. Even though “itself” has a pronoun as part of the word, “itself” will never be used as a pronoun, only ever a noun.

6 Examples of “itself”

“Why not hoard both?? At this stage both are clearly the cream of the crop. I still believe next market cycle ETH will un-tether itself from #BTC.”

“sorry if I’m speaking out first so that history won’t repeat itself.”

“Yes sometimes it’s the webpage itself not your phone or internet.”

“It doesn’t matter if he’s right or wrong. The strategy itself is not winning people over.”

“Whether they made it or not the concept in itself still stands. It has a negative impact on our community.”

“If the Aussie attack doesn’t get more than 50% votes then cricket twitter should ban itself.”

Its self

“Its self” should be used when talking about the self of “it”.

Does this mean that you should never use “its self”? Well, not necessarily. Although it has an entirely different meaning, there are times when “its self is acceptable”.

“Its self” is used in sociology and philosophy to talk about the self of an object. Although there are many books written about what a self is, Google defines it as “a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action”.

To make things easier, we’ll be sticking to Google’s definition.

Some philosophers argue that it’s not just people who have a self.

5 Examples of “its self”

“The Treasure began to find its self.”

“I was having a debate with my colleague about my computer. He told me that its self is in a bad place. I’ve never heard such rubbish!”

“The plant died. Evidence suggests that a plant can die when its self is not in conjunction with your energies”.

“I don’t know why my phone didn’t turn on. The screen and battery were fine. I suppose it was its self that made it not work.”

“A rock might seem boring. But when you connect to its self, you can become part of something bigger”.

Unlike “Its self”, “It’s self” is never grammatically correct.

We’ve already established that “itself” and “its self” can both be correct, but here are also times when “it’s self” is right too.

The reason why the previous examples are “its self” not “it’s self” is because “its” is a pronoun- just like his or her. Therefore, there is no need for a comma.

However, when you want to shorten the phrase “it is self”, you would say “it’s self”. So I might say, it’s not about aura or star signs, it’s self that determines how well you do in life”.

In some other Grammarhow article, you might hear that the rule of the apostrophe is “possessive not plural”. However, this is not the case for the word “its”.

Getting “itself” or “its self” correct is important.

There are some rules of English that only people who nobody likes cares about. This isn’t one of them. When you say “its self” instead of “itself”, you are changing the meaning of the word.

So even though it might not seem like it matters all that much, the purpose of language is to communicate your thoughts and ideas. So getting this wrong can cause your opinions to get lost in translation.

Remember, if an object does something, it has done it itself.

If you’re talking about the self of an object, you’re talking about its self.

And if you want to say it is self, say “it’s self“.