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  1. SongYuxiang's Avatar
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    #1

    Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    A junior high school student asked me a question about English today, and when I told him the answer ,he said I was wrong.

    His question goes like this:

    Question: What's that?

    Alternative Replies: a) That's a pen. b) It's a pen.


    My answer was "a)", but the student told me I was wrong and it should be "b)".

    As I am not a native English speaker, I really don't know which one is correct. Please tell me.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SongYuxiang View Post
    A junior high school student asked me a question about English today, and when I told him the answer ,he said I was wrong.

    His question goes like this:

    Question: What's that?

    Alternative Replies: a) That's a pen. b) It's a pen.


    My answer was "a)", but the student told me I was wrong and it should be "b)".

    As I am not a native English speaker, I really don't know which one is correct. Please tell me.

    Thank you in advance.
    I don't see a difference; however, choice b) It's a pen is more common, while choice a) That's a pen might beused if there is emphasis on that. For example:

    Sam: What's that?
    Max: (pointing) That? That's a pen/It's a pen.

  3. SongYuxiang's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    Thank you, Soup, I understand it now.

    I just don't think it's proper to simply give a "Cross" to Answer a) in case such sentence appears on a test paper at a school, do you agree with me?

  4. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SongYuxiang View Post
    Thank you, Soup, I understand it now.

    I just don't think it's proper to simply give a "Cross" to Answer a) in case such sentence appears on a test paper at a school, do you agree with me?
    Yes, and no. It depends on what is being tested. In most cases with "tests", what's being tested is the standard form or, in other words, the default. In the test example question, b) It's a pen is the default choice. That's the one you choose when there is no context available to help you decide the answer. If you have to create a context to get the answer, then you know the choice is not the default; e.g., choice a) is not the default as a context must be provided in order to understand the answer:

    Max: (pointing) That? That's a pen.

    Hope that helps.

  5. SongYuxiang's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    Thank you, Soup, it's very helpful to me. I love such discussions that can solve my puzzles that had remained in my mind for long. Thanks again.

  6. Soup's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Any difference between"That's a ..." and "It's a..." ?

    You're most welcome.

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