‘It's called' vs 'It called': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 21, 2023

Do you need to know the difference between 'it's called' and 'it called?' If so, I can help!

Here is a quick answer: 

  • 'It's called' is a popular English term people use to tell someone the name of something. 
  • 'It called' is most often a grammatical error; however, you can use it to say that something called someone something or made a call to them. 

You can learn much more about these terms and essential grammar rules in this guide. Reading this entire post will help you remember how to use these terms correctly.

What is the Difference Between 'It's Called' and 'It Called?'

The most significant difference between 'it's called' and 'it called' is that the former is grammatically correct, while the latter is not if you are trying to tell someone the name of something. The reason 'it's called' is correct is that it's is a contraction for it is. People use the term it is called to tell someone the name of something.

You do not say 'it called' when telling someone the name of something. Furthermore, if you are telling someone that they received a call, you would usually use he, she, or they. You have to choose the noun that matches the gender of the person who called.

There are some situations when you can use 'it called,' though. We will cover them in the next section.

When to Use 'It's Called' vs. 'It Called'

'It's called' is usually the grammatically correct term between these two for telling someone the name of something. So, how do you know when to use each term?

  • Always use 'it's called.'

For example, you might say:

It's called a bonsai tree. Isn't the miniature tree adorable?

  • Use 'it's called' to give the proper name of something.

For example, you could say:

They got a new puppy. It's called Stanley, which is an interesting name for a dog. 

  • In most cases, 'it called' is not grammatically correct.

For example, you would never say:

It called an induction burner. It is supposed to distribute the heat more evenly than traditional heating elements. 

  • You can use 'it called' to say that an organization or group called someone.

For example, you might tell someone:

The organization made its decision. It called this afternoon to tell us that you will be the new president. 

As you can see from the example above, its is the correct way to show that an organization has possession over something. In the example above, the decision belongs to the organization, which is why you use its.

  • You could also use 'it called' to say that a publication, business, or group called something by a particular name.

For example, someone might say:

The newspaper made a mistake, it called the business Windy's Wondrous Waffles, but the correct name is Wendy's Wondrous Waffle

Definition of 'It's Called': What Does 'It's Called' Mean?

You know that 'it's called' is correct. So, let's look at the definitions of the words that make up the term to help you gain a deeper understanding.

Definition of It's

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of it's is:

  • A contraction of it is, and it has.

Definition of Called

According to the same dictionary, the definition of called is:

  • The past-tense form of the verb call.

It also means:

  • To get someone's attention by saying their name loudly.
  • To contact someone by phone.
  • Say the name of something.
  • To give something a name other than its proper name.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'It's Called'

Pronouncing contractions can be challenging for some people. So, here is a guide to help you correctly pronounce these terms.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'it's called' correctly:

itz kald

  • To pronounce 'it called' use this phonetic spelling:

it kald

Examples of 'It's Called' vs. 'It Called'

Now that you know how to use these terms correctly, take a look at these sample sentences:

It's Called

  • It's called a watercolor painting. As you can see, the colors are more muted than other paint mediums.
  • The school is one of the most prestigious in our area. It's called Baylor College of Medicine.
  • It's called a separation for a reason. We are not together anymore, and we are working on separating our lives.
  • It's called a nutritional drink. It helps people who may not get eat enough fruits and vegetables replenish essential vitamins and minerals.

You only use 'it's called' to say the name of something or what it is.

It Called

  • That program is incorrect. It called the bridge the longest pathway over water, but that is untrue. There are at least two or three that are longer.
  • The school accepted you! It called this afternoon to give you the news, but you were out running errands.
  • Your school will remain closed for the rest of the week. It called early to give parents the message.
  • The restaurant was known for its unhealthy dishes with strange names. It called its pancakes 'paincakes,' and it sold 'heart attack hamburgers.'

As you can see, there are a few ways to use the term 'it called.'

Final Thoughts on the Difference Between 'It's Called' vs. 'It Called'

You should have a clear understanding of the difference between 'it's called' vs. 'it called,' but here is a quick recap:

  • 'It's called' is a common English term people use to give the name of something. 
  • 'It called' is a term you can use to say that an organization or group made a call or that they named something. 

So, if you are trying to say the name of something or tell someone what something is, you use 'it's called.' If you want to say that an entity called someone something or made a call in the past, you use 'it called.'

If you have trouble with these terms in the future, you can always return to this lesson for a review. You can also learn about other commonly mistaken and misused terms in our confusing words section.

Each guide gives important details about the terms it covers, as well as definitions, examples, and usage tips. So, they are an excellent way to expand your vocabulary and learn how to use words and phrases correctly.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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