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    #1

    Sorry if I keep on about this

    I know I have already posed this question and many of you have helpfully 'picked up the thread, so to speak,' and given their own valued contribution.
    Now, as I am trying to formalize this rule, I'd like you to take one LAST look at the following options and let me know if any of them may sound awkward. Some of you have provided me with the subtle differences in meaning depending on the context each of these sentences are spoken.
    (Yes, it's about the choice between IT or HE !!!)

    Who is it/that? >>> That's Mr Johnson (1)
    >>> It's Mr Johnson (2)

    Who is that man? >>> That's Mr Johnson (3)
    >>> He's Mr Johnson/ my boss. (4)
    >>> It's Mr Johnson (5)

    What I am particularly interested in is whether the use of IT in option number 5 is correct and can be used interchangeably with option 4.
    Thank you all very much.

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    #2

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    depending on the context each of these sentences are spoken IN.
    Sorry!

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    #3

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    .................. each of these sentences IS spoken IN
    .(I'm freaking out, sorry everyone!)


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    #4

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    Who is that man? >>> That's Mr Johnson (3)
    >>> He's Mr Johnson/ my boss. (4)
    >>> It's Mr Johnson (5)


    When you say (3), I hear you being matter of fact, objective about who it is. You may know who he is, but may or may not have ever actually spoken to him.

    When you say (4), you are being more 'personal', as if you know him and have or have had some kind of relation (boss/teacher/ manager) or he is an important person/important to you in some way - boss, teacher etc

    When you say (5), in this context, you feel indifferent to Mr. Johnson, or their is a tone in your voice to suggest worse than that - disdain!.

    e.g. "Hey. Look over there. It's your/my ex-boyfriend. The worm has crawled out from under his rock!" (Either of the girls talking could say this if the actual speaker believes the ex-boyfriend is a miserable louse.)

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    I know I have already posed this question and many of you have helpfully 'picked up the thread, so to speak,' and given their own valued contribution.
    Now, as I am trying to formalize this rule, I'd like you to take one LAST look at the following options and let me know if any of them may sound awkward. Some of you have provided me with the subtle differences in meaning depending on the context each of these sentences are spoken.
    (Yes, it's about the choice between IT or HE !!!)

    Who is it/that? >>> That's Mr Johnson (1)
    >>> It's Mr Johnson (2)

    Who is that man? >>> That's Mr Johnson (3)
    >>> He's Mr Johnson/ my boss. (4)
    >>> It's Mr Johnson (5)

    What I am particularly interested in is whether the use of IT in option number 5 is correct and can be used interchangeably with option 4.
    Thank you all very much.
    They mean the same same thing in terms of acceptability.
    In Italian, you might say Lui Mr. Johnson, or simply: Mr. Johnson.
    Since in English we can’t say “is Mr Johnson", we have to add It.
    That’s all it means.

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    #6

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    Well, I'm impressed! Do you speak Italian?
    Anyway, thank you. You see, my only concern was (and still is) how to present this grammar item to my students. Since their book only mentions the 'IT' option (Who's that boy? It's Peter), I will be able to contextualise the other options which you and the others have so PATIENTLY explained to me today.
    Thank you once again!
    Wace

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    4 and 5 are nearly interchangeable in most cases. One of the cases where 'it' is preferred is portrayed in David's example. In addition, "that" and "who" (not interchangeably) are used when talking about an unseen speaker:

    [To someone answering the phone] 'Who's that?'
    [The person holding the phone:] 'It's John.'

    (the exchange on the phone would have been something like 'Who's there?'/'It's John' [certainly not 'I'm John']; or 'Is that John?'/'Yes it's me - how did you guess?')

    b

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    #8

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    Thank you BobK
    The use of the pronoun IT in other contexts (answering phone calls, identifying oneself at the door etc.) was never a problem.
    My only doubt was related to the question 'Who is that boy?' and whether 'It's Peter' and 'He's Peter' could be used interchangeably.
    Your hugely appreciated advice and enlightening examples will help me explain this grammar item exhaustively.
    Thank you once again!

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Sorry if I keep on about this

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    Well, I'm impressed! Do you speak Italian?
    I like to think I could if my life depended on it

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