It vs. This
Updated: Mar 9
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“This” and “It” are both pronouns. “This” is a demonstrative pronoun. “It” is a personal pronoun. That makes choosing which one to use pretty easy. You just need to know if you are showing (demonstrating) something in front of you or if you are replacing a noun.
If you’re thinking, “Um, OK. What?”, keep reading.
Use “this” to refer to a noun that has already been spoken about.
Look at the conversation below.
Ming: Look. There’s a bag on the floor. Is this Monty’s? (“This” is referring to the bag.)
Coco: Oh, yeah! You’re right! Hey, Monty! Is this yours? (“This” is also referring to the bag, and is demonstrating which bag.)
“It” replaces objects or things in the same way “he” or “she” could replace a person’s name. If you say, “The game is fun. You should try it”, “it” is replacing “the game”. To see “it” in action, read the dialogue below.
Teri: Hey, guys! Last night my host family and I played a new game. It’s really fun. Do you want to play it with me at lunch today?
Hiram: Sure! I’ll try it!
Julia: Yeah, OK. It looks like it could be fun.
Each time we see “it” in this dialogue, it is referring to the new game Teri and his host family played.
Can you figure out why we use “this” or “it” in the sentences below?
Wow. This sandwich is huge. We can share it, if you want to.
You have to watch this video! This dog is so funny! Look!
I didn’t like the book I was reading so I threw it in the recycling bin.
Image Credits: Creative Commons.