Results 1 to 9 of 9
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Hello.
    I am a graduate student of linguistics in Japan.
    I am now interested in "it is that" constructions and their use. Please help me with my research.

    I assume that B's utterances (1) and (2) are both acceptable in their context. However, (3), which is "it is that" constructions, is odd in its context, while (4), which is also "it is that" constructions, is acceptable.
    I would like to confirm my assumption. Please tell me your judgement.

    [conversation 1]
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (1) Is he in good health?
    A: Yes. But he is busy with his work.

    [conversation 2]
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (2) Is he busy with his work?
    A: Yes.

    [conversation 1']
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (3) Is it that he is in good health?
    A: Yes. But he is busy with his work.

    [conversation 2']
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (4) Is it that he is busy with his work?
    A: Yes.

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 5,988
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikarashi View Post
    Hello.
    I am a graduate student of linguistics in Japan.
    I am now interested in "it is that" constructions and their use. Please help me with my research.

    I assume that B's utterances (1) and (2) are both acceptable in their context. However, (3), which is "it is that" constructions, is odd in its context, while (4), which is also "it is that" constructions, is acceptable.
    I would like to confirm my assumption. Please tell me your judgement.

    [conversation 1]
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (1) Is he in good health?
    A: Yes. But he is busy with his work.

    [conversation 2]
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (2) Is he busy with his work?
    A: Yes.

    [conversation 1']
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (3) Is it that he is in good health?
    A: Yes. But he is busy with his work.

    [conversation 2']
    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? (4) Is it that he is busy with his work?
    A: Yes.
    Welcome to the forum, Ikarashi.
    You are correct. In the third exchange, it is unlikely that you would ask if Tom is in good health as a reason for his not going to the gym. More logically, you might ask "Is it that he is in poor health?"

  2. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    The phrase 'is it (because of the fact) that' is used when looking for the answer to a question, which isn't the case in conversation 1' and 2': The fact that Tom hasn't been working out lately really isn't a question, implied or otherwise, which is why both (3) and (4) sound awkward.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Thank you, riquecohen.

    Can I ask you another question?
    What is the difference between (2) Is he busy with his work? and (4) Is it that he is busy with his work??

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Thank you, Soup.

    I found the following conversation at Corpus of Contemporary American English.

    [conversation]
    Thompkins: [...]Ten years ago, let's say about, let's say 7,000 people went to Antarctica as tourists. This year, 40,000 people are going.
    MARTIN: And is it that all that travel is changing the environment, all these folks coming through there is actually having an effect on the environment there?

    In this conversation, the utterance before "is it that" isn't a question. What is the difference of the use of "is it that" between this conversation and my examples (3) and (4)?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,167
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Ikarashi, I think that your original sentence #4 is fine. I think 'is it that...?' means 'is the reason for this that...?' rather than dealing with an explicit question:

    A: Tom hasn't gone to the gym recently.
    B: Really? Is it that he is busy with his work?
    A: Yes.


    I have decided to stop seeing Mary. It isn't that I don't like her; it's just that I think we're becoming a bit too intense.

  4. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Ikarashi, I think that your original sentence #4 is fine. I think 'is it that...?' means 'is the reason for this that...?'
    Oh, I like that. Thanks.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Thank you, fivejedjon.

    Your explanation is very helpful.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Bihari
      • Home Country:
      • Bangladesh
      • Current Location:
      • Bangladesh

    • Join Date: Mar 2011
    • Posts: 42
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #9

    Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Well my english is also week so i also want to know this....

Similar Threads

  1. [Vocabulary] Difference between "health" and "wellness", "Diagnosis" and "Analysis"
    By tobysky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-Dec-2010, 23:43
  2. [Vocabulary] How do you pronounce "Cotton", "Button", "Britain", "Manhattan"...
    By Williamyh in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2009, 09:36
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2008, 09:27
  4. very "tense" constructions
    By poorboy_9 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 29-Apr-2008, 08:59
  5. confusing words "expressed" or "express" and "named" or"names"
    By Dawood Usmani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 20:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •