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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Is it your niece?/Is she your niece?

    Is the sentence 'Is it your niece?' more natural to identify a person? (Michael Swan's grammar book 'Practical English Usage' says it is, but in the Wikipedia they say that it's regarded as not very polite to use it in this type of sentence.)
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is it your niece?/Is she your niece?

    It depends, as always, on context. 'It' is fine in such sentences as:


    Is that your niece over there?
    Yes, it is.

    There's a phone call for you. It's your niece.

    It was your niece who ran off with the local vicar, wasn't it?

    Who's that young lady talking to my wife? Is it your niece?



  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is it your niece?/Is she your niece?

    I generally wouldn't use "it". I'd use either "she" or "this/that".

    John: I'm going for dinner with Sarah tonight.
    Jane: Sarah? Is that your niece?
    John: No, she's my sister. Lucy's my niece.

    John: Hi Jane. This is my niece, Lucy.
    Jane: Hello Lucy. It's nice to meet you. Are you Sarah's daughter?
    John: Yes, she's my mother - John's sister.

    [Cross-posted with Piscean.]
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: Is it your niece?/Is she your niece?

    The only case I can think of to use "Is it your niece" would be if you do not know the gender of the child. If you knew, for example, that you were speaking to the Aunt of the child, then the question would be an indirect way of asking if it's a boy or girl.

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    #5

    Re: Is it your niece?/Is she your niece?

    All of Piscean's examples sound perfectly natural to me, as well your baby example.

    A: Who's at the door?
    B: It's your niece.

    She wouldn't work for me.

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