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    #1

    Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Members and Teachers:


    As I an English student I have learned that the pronoun IT may be used as a subject pronoun and as an object pronoun with impersonal things. Knowing full well that more than one question is not allowed by the forum rules ─ follow-up questions is the one established by the forum rules ─. I formally ask for permission to place the following three pre-questions because they're part and parcel of the final one-question regarding the same matter:

    PRE-QUESTONS:

    1) I would like to know if the pronoun IT other than as impersonal subject or object pronoun, may be also used in place of the subject pronoun ─ or personal pronoun ─ he or she in an unknown person's gender (sex) or person's name?

    a) Who is it?

    I don't know who person's gender, name or both is at the door

    b) The baby is crying; please, take it.

    I know the baby gender, but I don't know who the baby's name is; maybe I don't know both of them.

    2) I would like to know if this happens with animals too.

    c) The dog is barking outside. It must be hungry.

    I think the word dog may be used as a neuter gender for referring a male (dog) or a female one (bitch), but I don't know which the dog's name is.

    3) When an impersonal pronoun has a proper name, may be replaced by a personal pronoun?

    d) Google translate should be sued for mistranslating the Gettysburg Address, she generates lots of money for paying a personal translator and saving the translation for a future use.


    QUESTION:

    May an impersonal pronoun having a proper or its own name be replaced by a personal one?


    This means a very important thread to me, I ask for your kindly help and assistance in this issue.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 15-Aug-2014 at 13:58.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    a) Who is it? Yes, this is fine.

    I don't know who person's gender, name or both is at the door The meaning of this is obscure, and it lacks a full stop.

    b) The baby is crying; please, take it. This is possible if you don't know the name or gender.

    I know the baby's gender, but I don't know what the baby's name is; maybe I don't know either one.

    2) I would like to know if this happens with animals too.

    c) The dog is barking outside. It must be hungry. This is fine.

    I think the word dog may be used as a neuter gender for referring a male (dog) or a female one (bitch), but I don't know what the dog's name is.

    3) When an impersonal pronoun has a proper name, may be replaced by a personal pronoun?

    d) Google translate should be sued for mistranslating the Gettysbug Address, she generates lots of money for paying a personal translator and saving the translation for a future use. I don't see the connection between the two parts of this sentence.

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    #3

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    The baby's name is irrelevant. You would not call a baby "it" unless you did not know its gender. Assuming you are familiar enough with the baby to be taking care of it, you would say "please take him/her."

    Same idea with the dog. Whether you know the dog's name or not is irrelevant. It is less offensive to call a dog an "it" than a human, of course. If I did not know the dog's gender, I would refer to it as "it." If it was my dog, or some dog that I knew its gender, I would call it him/her. The dog is barking. He/she must be hungry.

    I don't know what you are trying to say with your sentence about Google. If you are referring to Google as "she," then that is wrong. Companies are not he/she.
    Last edited by SoothingDave; 15-Aug-2014 at 14:22.

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    #4

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    First of all, thank you for all the corrections Bhaisahab.

    The meaning of this is obscure, and it lacks a full stop. Because I don't know who person's gender or person's name is at the door ─ maybe I don't know either one, IT is used in this case.

    This is possible if you don't know the name or gender. Although I know the baby's sex, I still think (that) in this case IT may be used because I don't know the baby's name yet.

    I don't see the connection between the two parts of this sentence. Due to Google did a botched translation regarding the Gettysburg Address, I mean they need to pay personal translator and save this translation for future use rather than use a machine. I thought that in the case an impersonal subject pronoun with its own name might be replaced by a personal one.






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    #5

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Thank you SoothingDave for replying:


    1) In regard to Google, that was a silly question from me.

    2) So in case of human being, IT may be only used if the person's sex and name are both unknown, isn't it?

    3) Regarding animals, IT is only used if the animal's sex is unknown.

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    #6

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The baby's name is irrelevant. You would not call a baby "it" unless you did not know it's gender. Assuming you are familiar enough with the baby to be taking care of it, you would say "please take him/her."

    Same idea with the dog. Whether you know the dog's name or not is irrelevant. It is less offensive to call a dog an "it" than a human, of course. If I did not know the dog's gender, I would refer to it as "it." If it was my dog, or some dog that I knew its gender, I would call it him/her. The dog is barking. He/she must be hungry.
    I sometimes wonder if people in some cultures have different kinds of relationships with their pets than I am accustomed to. I frequently remind my Brazilian students that their own dogs are "he" or "she", rather than "it". I consider my dogs to be part of my family, but a friend here expressed surprise when she received a Christmas card from friends in the US, signed "Mary, Joe and Fluffy", with a photo of the three signatories.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 16-Aug-2014 at 14:28. Reason: Formatting

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    #7

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Quote Originally Posted by The apprentice View Post
    Thank you SoothingDave for replying:


    1) In regard to Google, that was a silly question from me.

    2) So in case of human being, IT may be only used if the person's sex and name are both unknown, isn't it?

    3) Regarding animals, IT is only used if the animal's sex is unknown.
    Again, the name of a person or animal is irrelevant. Whether you know the name or not does not affect the selection of pronouns. (Except where the name indicates sex, of course.)

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    #8

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    [QUOTE=riquecohen;1089078]
    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The baby's name is irrelevant. You would not call a baby "it" unless you did not know it's gender. Assuming you are familiar enough with the baby to be taking care of it, you would say "please take him/her."

    Same idea with the dog. Whether you know the dog's name or not is irrelevant. It is less offensive to call a dog an "it" than a human, of course. If I did not know the dog's gender, I would refer to it as "it." If it was my dog, or some dog that I knew its gender, I would call it him/her. The dog is barking. He/she must be hungry.

    QUOTE]
    I sometimes wonder if people in some cultures have different kinds of relationships with their pets than I am accustomed to. I frequently remind my Brazilian students that their own dogs are "he" or "she", rather than "it". I consider my dogs to be part of my family, but a friend here expressed surprise when she received a Christmas card from friends in the US, signed "Mary, Joe and Fluffy", with a photo of the three signatories.
    Wait till you tell them that more and more people in the US are buying health insurance for their pets!

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    #9

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Now I got you SoothingDave:


    I'd better use he/she rather than IT even if I don't know what the person or animal's gender is.


    Thank you.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 15-Aug-2014 at 16:36.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Use of IT as non-impersonal pronoun.

    Quote Originally Posted by The apprentice View Post
    Now I got you SoothingDave:


    I'd better use he/she rather than IT even if I don't know what the person or animal's gender is.


    Thank you.
    No, you haven't got it.

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