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  1. #1
    Ikarashi is offline Newbie
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    Default 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.

  2. #2
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Default 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?"

  3. #3
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  4. #4
    Ikarashi is offline Newbie
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    Default 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??

  5. #5
    Ikarashi is offline Newbie
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    Default 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)?

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  7. #7
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  8. #8
    Ikarashi is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

    Thank you, fivejedjon.

    Your explanation is very helpful.

  9. #9
    jack4321 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Please tell me how to use "it is that" constructions

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

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