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Neuter Pronoun It

Neuter Pronoun It

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Neuter Pronoun-It



Hello! In this lesson, we will learn about the neuter pronoun, “it”. Remember that personal pronouns are words which refer to ourselves and the people around us without using names. In this lesson we will learn about the neuter pronoun “it” which refers to a wide range of places, things, and ideas. The neuter pronoun is neither formal nor informal.

 

Let us look at several examples to become familiar with this new pronoun. We may have a declarative statement such as “The car is red.” We know from previous lessons that the adjective “red” is referring to “the car”.

If we know from the context of the conversation that we are talking about “the car” , it is equally correct to make the statement “It is red.” where the pronoun “it” refers to “the car” in this case.

We may change this statement into a simple question “Is the car is red?” The answer to this question may either be given as “Yes, the car is red.” or equally as “Yes, it is red.” where the pronoun “it” is known to refer to “the car” by way of the context of the conversation.

The neuter pronoun “it” may be used in place of any noun, except for people. Referring to a person as “it” is considered extremely rude and will not pass unnoticed.

The use of “it” in English is extremely widespread and you will encounter its usage in every conversation you have. “it” is used in expressions as diverse as explaining the weather and telling time.

We will be examining weather and time in much more detail in future lessons, however we will look briefly at examples of each to see how the pronoun “it” is used.

“It is raining.” uses “it” in a declarative statement about the weather.

“Is it snowing?” uses “it” in a simple question about the weather.

“Is it two o'clock?” uses “it” in a simple question about the current time.

“It is two o'clock.” uses “it” in a declarative statement about the current time.


The neuter pronoun “it” may be used in place of any noun where the identity of the noun is already known by way of the context of the conversation. For example, if a person is eating breakfast they may be asked “Is it good?” where “it” is known to refer to the food by way of the context of the conversation.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what the neuter pronoun “it” is and how to use it, let us become more familiar with the use in a short dialogue. In this dialogue Jennifer and David meet each other for breakfast at a restaurant. While listening to this dialogue, pay special attention to the pronouns that are used.

Jennifer: It is a beautiful day today.

David:Yes, it is very hot. There is a boat on the lake.

Jennifer: It is very big. I like boats.

Jennifer: Are you thirsty? I have a cold water.

David: Yes, I am thirsty. Please pass me it.

Jennifer: Here it is. It is very cold.

David: Yes, it is. Thank you.

Jennifer: Is it two o'clock?

David: Yes, it is. Let us go now.

Now let's look at each sentence more closely. The first sentence is a declarative statement about the weather where “it” is refers to the current weather.

In David's response “Yes, it is very hot.” the pronoun “it” refers again to the weather.

The conversation then switches to the subject of a boat on the lake, so when Jennifer says “It is very big.” she is referring to the boat with the pronoun “it” We always look to the context of the conversation to determine exactly what the pronoun “it” is being used to refer to.

Jennifer then offers David some water.

David responds “Please pass me it.” where “it” now refers to the water that he has been offered.

Jennifer then says “Here it is. It is very cold.” and David responds “Yes, it is.” In each of these three sentences, “it” is still referring to the water.

Finally, Jennifer asks “ Is it two o'clock?” and David responds “Yes, it is.” In both instances, “it” is now referring to the current time.
Let us listen to this dialogue once again and pay special attention to the pronoun “it” is used.

Jennifer: It is a beautiful day today.

David:Yes, it is very hot. There is a boat on the lake.

Jennifer: It is very big. I like boats.

Jennifer: Are you thirsty? I have a cold water.

David: Yes, I am thirsty. Please pass me it.

Jennifer: Here it is. It is very cold.

David: Yes, it is. Thank you.

Jennifer: Is it two o'clock?

David: Yes, it is. Let us go now.


Very good. Now that you have a basic understanding of the conversation, it is your turn to practice speaking in English.