Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,554
    #1

    it/that

    Why didn't you argue with him?

    1-Are you kidding? It was a gun on the table.
    2-Are you kidding? That was a gun on the table.


    Are "1" and "2" both acceptable as a reply to the original sentence?

  1. freezeframe's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2011
    • Posts: 2,113
    #2

    Re: it/that

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Why didn't you argue with him?

    1-Are you kidding? It was a gun on the table.
    2-Are you kidding? That was a gun on the table.


    Are "1" and "2" both acceptable as a reply to the original sentence?
    2. sounds more natural.

    Also, you could use "there was a gun on the table".

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,554
    #3

    Re: it/that

    Thanks a lot Freezeframe.

    I like "2" better myself as well. But would you say "1" is incorrect?

  2. freezeframe's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2011
    • Posts: 2,113
    #4

    Re: it/that

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Thanks a lot Freezeframe.

    I like "2" better myself as well. But would you say "1" is incorrect?
    Language isn't math. You can make many technically correct sentences that native speakers would never say. A better question is "would a native speaker say this?"

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,554
    #5

    Re: it/that

    I am sorry. You are right. So you think that "1" is not something a native speaker would say?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,820
    #6

    Re: it/that

    Probably not, but guns are frightening so people may use less expected forms when shaking with fear.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,554
    #7

    Re: it/that

    I did not expect such an answer from such a courageous moderator!
    All you need to speak coherently when facing guns is guts.

    Thanks Tdol.

  3. AlexAD's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Belarus
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 668
    #8

    Re: it/that

    That was classic! Thank you, Tdol

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #9

    Re: it/that

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    All you need to speak coherently when facing guns is guts.
    That's all? No problem, then - for others.

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

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #10

    Re: it/that

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Why didn't you argue with him?

    1-Are you kidding? It was a gun on the table.
    2-Are you kidding? That was a gun on the table.


    Are "1" and "2" both acceptable as a reply to the original sentence?
    If we look at your examples from a strictly structural view, a wonderful pattern emerges.


    First, if we interpret 'It' as a pronoun meaning, say, 'That thing we saw', then sentence 1- works (given Tdol's suggested context):


    1- It (That thing we saw) was a gun on the table.

    On the other hand, if we interpret 'It' as an expletive, the sentence reads awkward because the phrase 'on the table' is interpreted as part of the semantic subject (i.), but it is not. It is an adverbial complement (ii.), structurally separate from the noun it modifies, and as such requires a pronoun with adverbial properties, which is why 'There' is used (iv.):


    i. It was a gun on the table. expletive
    ii. A gun was on the table.
    iii. There is a gun on the table.

    I see a similar pattern in your second example:


    2. That was a gun on the table.
    i. That was a gun.
    ii. That (there) was a gun on the table.

    The pronoun 'That' refers to 'a gun', whereas the omitted pronoun 'there' refers to 'on the table'. In your example 2-, 'That' is short for 'That (there)' as evidenced by the symmetry in ii. directly above.



    In sum, and from a strictly structural view, the symmetry is as follows:

    • It was a gun.
    • It was a gun on the table. expletive-it
    • It was a gun on the table. pronominal-it


    • There was a gun on the table.


    • That there was a gun on the table.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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