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    #1

    Smile Struggling with it's and is

    Hello! I'm new and I was wondering If someone could clarify something for me about the usage of 'it is ' and 'is'. I generally use them correctly, but I'm struggling with some sentences:

    'If there is something I know, (it is or is) that....'

    'If someone can do this, (it is or is) ....'

    'whatever he's planning, (it is or is) in that folder...'

    When should I use 'it is' ? And when 'is' ? why?

    Thank you !

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Welcome to the forum, Berni.

    I have underlined the subject of the verb 'is' to help make things clearer.

    1. 'If there is something I know, it is that....'

    2. 'If someone can do this,
    it is ....'

    3. 'w Whatever he's planning, it is in that folder...'

    4.'Whatever he's planning is in that folder...'

    #3 means roughly Whatever thing he he planning, it (that thing) is in that folder.
    #4, which I have added. means roughly: The thing [that he is planning][,whatever that thing may be,] is in that folder.
    Last edited by 5jj; 17-Feb-2012 at 20:55. Reason: mistake

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    #3

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Thank you for your reply :) !

    But I'm still confused... I can't understand the difference between #3 and #4, they sound the same to me. That's why I don't really understand why I should use 'it is' in sentences #1 and #2.

    I mean, why can't it be, 'if There is something I know is that....' for example? I don't really see the difference between both types of sentences (the one with 'it is' and the one with 'is'). I hope I'm making myself clear.
    Last edited by Berni94; 17-Feb-2012 at 20:44.

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    #4

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    3. 'w Whatever he's planning, it is in that folder...'

    4.'Whatever he's planning is in that folder...'
    I think 5 means:

    3. 'w Whatever he's planning, it is in that folder...' (underlined the IT)

    Not sure if that helps you.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Quote Originally Posted by Berni94 View Post
    Thank you for your reply :) !

    But I'm still confused... I can't understand the difference between #3 and #4, they sound the same to me. That's why I don't really understand why I should use 'it is' with sentences #1 and #2.
    Let's leave the difference between 3 and 4 until you understand 1.

    1. 'If there is something I know, it is that....'
    You must write the subject in English. This differs from Spanish where "Es ..." can mean "It is ..." This can't happen in English.
    Looking at sentence 1. "If there is something [that] I know" is not a subject. It's a complete clause with its own subject and verb. So this leaves the next clause without a subject if you just write, "If there is something I know, is that....'" Usually (but not always), if you're Spanish and you have a clause with a verb "is" and no subject, the subject will be "It" (or sometimes 'that', or something else). But there must be a subject.

    4. doesn't need it because "Whatever he's planning" can be the subject.
    By the way, in #3, 5jj has crossed out 'it' instead of underlining. He might want to fix that because it could confuse you. "It" belongs in 3, but not 4.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Thanks to BobSmith and Raymott for pointing out my mistake. I am sorry if my carelessness confused you, Berni.

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    #7

    Smile Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Mr. 5jj, don't worry, it's okay :) In fact, I never noticed that you had crossed out "it", I thought you had underlined it. :D

    I think I'm beginning to understand. But why can't "Whatever he's planning" be a clause? There's a subject (he) and a verb (planning), right? and based on what I've understood, you can use both "it is" and "is" with the "whatever he's planning" sentence. Why is nº 3 so special?

    Or did I just get confused again? :S

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    #8

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Quote Originally Posted by Berni94 View Post
    Mr. 5jj, don't worry, it's okay :) In fact, I never noticed that you had crossed out "it", I thought you had underlined it. :D

    I think I'm beginning to understand. But why can't "Whatever he's planning" be a clause? There's a subject (he) and a verb (planning), right? and based on what I've understood, you can use both "it is" and "is" with the "whatever he's planning" sentence. Why is nº 3 so special?

    Or did I just get confused again? :S
    There's nothing special about these sentences. Study these and see if you tell why the phrase before 'es' in 4 can be the subject, while in 3, the last clause needs a subject,"it", which refers back to "lo que" in the first clause.

    [Loose translations only, but sufficient for illustration.]
    4. Lo que está planeando es (is) en esa carpeta.
    (What he is planning is in this folder).

    3a. Independientemente de lo que él está planeando, es (it is) en esa carpeta.</SPAN>
    (Regardless of what he is planning, it is in this folder.

    3b. No importa lo que él proyecta, es (it is) en esa carpeta.
    (No matter what he's planning, it is in this folder)
    </SPAN>
    Can you detect any difference at all?

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    #9

    Smile Re: Struggling with it's and is

    Yes, I think I see the diference.

    The thing is that sometimes I can't identify the subject of a clause because I 'think in spanish''. For instance, I thought the subject was 'he', but it's 'what'. So in the 'if there is something I know' sentence, the subject is 'something'?

    What I noticed is that the first sentencie is an independent clause ( what he's planning is in that folder), but there is still something I don't understand. 'what he is planning' is a clause on its own, right? That's what I think. But somehow, using 'is' sounds better to me in this case. Usinf 'it' again sounds repetitive to me, but then again isn't 'what he is planning' a clause? Then the rest would need a subject too....

    About 3a and 3b, I think these are dependent clauses. I mean, if you omit the 'it', the entire sentence doesn't make sense at all. I mean,

    'regardless of what he's planning, is in that folder' -> that doesn't make sense to me.

    But

    'regardless of what he's planning, it's in that folder ' -> this sounds better to me.

    Wait, I just noticed something else. The 'if there is something...' sentence is similar to the 'regardless of what he's planning sentence'. problem is that in the first sentence I keep thinking that the entire clause is the subject.

    But at least I noticed some differences between the sentences :) I'm starting to understand.
    Last edited by Berni94; 18-Feb-2012 at 05:00.

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    #10

    Re: Struggling with it's and is

    If you reverse the word order, it might help:

    It is in the folder, whatever it is. (I'm sure you recognise that "Is in the folder, whatever it is" does not sound natural.)
    The thing he is planning is in the folder, whatever it is he is planning!

    When you looked at the examples that the others gave, did you notice that when a comma comes before the part you have a problem with, it was followed by "it is" and when there was no comma, it was followed by "is"?

    What he is planning (no comma) is in the folder.
    Whatever he is planning, it is in the folder.

    What she said (no comma) must have been very rude.
    Whatever she said, it must have been very rude.

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