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    #61

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    It would be better to step back, listen to English speakers for a few more years, and get a feel for whatever nuances there are.
    Please, don't get me wrong, I really appreciate your response. But I've said before that my educational needs can't be met just by feeling what works and what doesn't. I'm seeking explanations based on your (natives') understanding (not only feeling) of English grammar and usage. I would be glad if you would share with me your take on the subject being discussed in this thread.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 06-Jun-2020 at 16:43.
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    #62

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    But I've said before that my educational needs can't be met just by feeling what works and what doesn't.
    That's how native speakers do it. Only a century and a half ago, very few native speakers indeed knew of the existence of grammar or (grammatical) rules, but they could all speak English in a way that speakers of their particular dialect could follow easily.

    Even today, I would guess that over 95% of native speakers could not tell you why they used one of the it/this/that trio in most of the sentences you have asked about. I would also guess that quite a few would find acceptable some of the things that others have found unacceptable.

    If there were clear rules about how these words are used, one of us would have told you by now. A couple of very patient members have tried to find helpful answers for you, but they can't find absolute answers - they don't exist.
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    #63

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Even today, I would guess that over 95% of native speakers could not tell you why they used one of the it/this/that trio in most of the sentences you have asked about.
    That's why I came to this forum, a place for people interested in English grammar and usage. I hope you all belong to the remaining 5%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If there were clear rules about how these words are used, one of us would have told you by now. A couple of very patient members have tried to find helpful answers for you, but they can't find absolute answers - they don't exist.
    I'm not seeking absolute rules or answers. I'm asking for your personal understanding.
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    #64

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    That's why I came to this forum, a place for people interested in English grammar and usage. I hope you all belong to the remaining 5%.
    I don't.
    I'm not seeking absolute rules or answers. I'm asking for your personal understanding.
    I am not sure that I do understand this. I certainly don't understand it well enough to be able to give responses that you would find satisfactory.
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    #65

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I am not sure that I do understand this. I certainly don't understand it well enough to be able to give responses that you would find satisfactory.
    I've enjoyed some bits of this discussion, but I agree that you're unlikely ever to find an infallible explanation. If I remember right, the discussion was provoked by the desire to be able to explain these choices to learners. It has pretty convincingly demonstrated what can and can't be readily explained.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #66

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I've enjoyed some bits of this discussion, but I agree that you're unlikely ever to find an infallible explanation.
    I really can't understand why you and Piscean think I'm searching for an infallible, absolute, perfect explanation. I would be quite happy with your personal understanding.

    Of course, if you're sure that you've already tried your best, I won't insist on continuing this discussion. We can leave it at that.
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    #67

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Maybe somebody has something to say about the role of 'but/now' or any other reasons prohibiting using 'this' in (c)?
    I think you're on entirely the wrong track by thinking of 'prohibiting' and 'restrictions'. Why do you insist on trying to understand things that way?

    In c) I can't tell from the little context what it refers to. I don't think it refers to anything in the previous sentence. What do you think it refers to? What is true exactly?

    In b) I suppose the interpretation is that it refers to Apple's decision not to partner with other companies. The reference is not clear from the context given.

    To use this/that in those sentences would be a way to refer to the previous utterances. Neither of those its (in b and c) are referring to the previous utterances.

    We're starting to go round in circles.

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    #68

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    If there were clear rules about how these words are used, one of us would have told you by now. A couple of very patient members have tried to find helpful answers for you, but they can't find absolute answers - they don't exist.
    For the sake of the discussion, I'd just like to make it known that I strongly disagree with this.

    To my understanding, the issue here is largely because the questions are not right, not because there are no answers. There are clear rules, but Alexey86 is looking for the wrong kind of rules.

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    #69

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I think you're on entirely the wrong track by thinking of 'prohibiting' and 'restrictions'. Why do you insist on trying to understand things that way?
    Because there are contexts in which one or another pronoun just doesn't work. For example, demonstratives don't work in (c) (and GS agrees with that), which means that the choice of pronoun should mostly depend on the features of context: some contexts allow only 'it', some only 'this/that'. That's why it's hard for me to accept your psychological approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    In c) I can't tell from the little context what it refers to. I don't think it refers to anything in the previous sentence. What do you think it refers to? What is true exactly?
    Here's the link:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...-10336153.html

    To me, 'but now it's true' refers to the changed state of affairs: now, Batman and Superman don't necessarily have to be white.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    In b) I suppose the interpretation is that it refers to Apple's decision not to partner with other companies.
    That was my first thought too. But after rereading the whole passage I changed my mind:
    "Apple's announcement included no major partnerships and big publishers like Time Inc., Hearst and Condé Nast were muted or silent in their responses. It makes sense in a way. Mindful of the power of precedent when it comes to control over pricing— the music business is a most vivid object lesson — publishers are in no big hurry to hold hands with the folks from Cupertino."

    The green part explains why it makes sense that big publishers kept silence. GS says that 'this' could also work here in contrast to (c).
    On the other hand, 'it' doesn't work in contexts like: ''The Earth is flat" - "This is/That's not true." On the third hand, 'this' and 'it' don't work in contexts like: "The Earth is round" - "I know that." I want to figure out what determines this difference in usage.


    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    To use this/that in those sentences would be a way to refer to the previous utterances. Neither of those its (in b and c) are referring to the previous utterances.
    I just can't agree, sorry. 'It' in (b) is clearly referring to the previous utterance (the blue part of it).

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    We're starting to go round in circles.
    We can stop here if you want to.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 07-Jun-2020 at 12:19.
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  10. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #70

    Re: Is it correct? vs Is that correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Because there are contexts in which one or another pronoun just doesn't work. For example, demonstratives don't work in (c) (and GS agrees with that)

    Hmm. I don't like your idea that they 'don't work'. I think that's a deeply problematic way of thinking about this. What do you mean by that? Things only 'work' by virtue of whether the meaning is conveyed as the speaker intends, right?

    , which means that the choice of pronoun should mostly depend on the features of context: some contexts allow only 'it', some only 'this/that'.
    Well, I think that's false. Moreover, I believe that this may be the source of your questioning.

    We've reached a point of disagreement we should try to resolve, otherwise the discussion is over.

    To me, 'but now it's true' refers to the changed state of affairs: now, Batman and Superman don't necessarily have to be white.
    Ugh! You surely have to agree that that's an absolutely awful example. The changed state of affairs is true? As in 'has come true'?

    I don't disagree with your interpretation, but please, let's ignore this one. The reference is way too incoherent to be useful.

    "Apple's announcement included no major partnerships and big publishers like Time Inc., Hearst and Condé Nast were muted or silent in their responses. It makes sense in a way. Mindful of the power of precedent when it comes to control over pricing— the music business is a most vivid object lesson — publishers are in no big hurry to hold hands with the folks from Cupertino."

    The green part explains why it makes sense that big publishers kept silence. GS says that 'this' could also work here in contrast to (c).

    Okay, yes.

    I just can't agree, sorry. 'It' in (b) is clearly referring to the previous utterance (the blue part of it).
    Really? I don't think it's clear. Maybe we should ignore this example.

    On the other hand, 'it' doesn't work in contexts like: ''The Earth is flat" - "This is/That's not true."
    Ah, but this is a key point. Who says it doesn't work? This is where I think we're going wrong. We should say what it means to say it 'doesn't work'. Can we stay with this example? Because I think it can help us resolve our different approaches.

    I'd say that it could work. It's just like your example from before (1b). If anyone has said that it doesn't work, I think they just mean that it is not very likely, or very natural—nothing about the kind of linguistic restriction that you're thinking of. Let's be clear about what 'doesn't work' actually means.

    On the third hand, 'this' and 'it' don't work in contexts like: "The Earth is round" - "I know that." I want to figure out what determines this difference in usage.

    Who thinks that? Again, what do we mean by 'don't work'? You're invoking some kind of grammatic, or otherwise linguistic rule. I think that's an error. If your questions were confined only to anaphoric use of it, then I think there are linguistic rules to speak of, but since we're talking about deixis here, the explanation can only be psychological.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 07-Jun-2020 at 18:39.

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