What is it? It's my cat.

englishhobby

Key Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Russian Federation
Current Location
Russian Federation
Could you please help me change the following exchanges (if necessary) to make them sound more natural?

Model 1:
“What is it? (What’s this?)” “It’s Pepsi, my cat.” (“It’s my cat, Pepsi.”)
Model 2: “What are these? ( What are they?)” “They are Wheels and Whiskey, my cats, .” (“They are my cats, Wheels and Whiskey.”)

Or should I ask "Who is it?" and "Who are these?" about cats?
 

teechar

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Iraq
Current Location
Iraq
"What" certainly doesn't work here, because the answer to that is a cat (or cats).
"Who" is possible, but if you actually think about it, we don't even say that when we're introducing people!
Let's say I'm invited to someone's home, and a cat walks in. I might say: "What's the name of your cat?"
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
If I were in someone else's house and a cat strolled in, I would bend down to stroke it and probably say "Awwww. Who's this?"
 

bubbha

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
Taiwan
If the cat was in another room, out of sight, and caused some disturbance, "what" is more natural.

"What was that?" "Oh, it's just Pookie, my cat. He must have knocked something off the table."
 

englishhobby

Key Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Russian
Home Country
Russian Federation
Current Location
Russian Federation
If I were in someone else's house and a cat strolled in, I would bend down to stroke it and probably say "Awwww. Who's this?"

And if two cats strolled in, woud you say "Awwww. Who are these?"?
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
And if two cats strolled in, woud you say "Awwww. Who are these?"?

Hmmm, I'd probably add something after "these" - maybe "beautiful creatures" or "cute kitties".
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
And if two cats strolled in, would you say "Awwww. Who are these?"?

I would. I use who for pets. I would, like Emsr2d2, probably add something more.
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Two question marks are required, one for the main question and one for the quoted question:

And if two cats strolled in, would you say "Awww. Who are these?"?
I prefer to follow The Chicago Style Guide:


When the question mark in a title or question comes at the end of a sentence that would itself require a question mark or period, the additional question mark or period is omitted.

Have you read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
 

Skrej

Key Member
Joined
May 11, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Chicago can't even assemble a pizza in the correct order, so why should we trust it for anything else? :silly:

As for the topic, I'd probably address multiple animals with something like "And just who are you" or "What are you called?"
 
Last edited:
Top