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What it (it) in Options
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:08:03 AM

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I think this one is correct

1 What is in the sky?

Is this one wrong?

2 What is it in the sky?
thar
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:15:53 AM

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It depends what you mean.

It all depends on context of course, but just looking at those, I would say:

What is in the sky?
Air and water. Clouds. Birds.

What is it in the sky?
I think it's a bird. No, it's a plane.

'it' is something you have seen.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:22:09 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

They both mean different things.

1. "What is in the sky?" could just be a literal question, to which the answer could be "Clouds, and birds, and a plane." or whatever you see at that moment.

2. Would usually use "that" rather than "it": - "What's that in the sky?". You'd used it if you saw something specific that puzzled you.Is it a plane? Is it a UFO? Is it drone?
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:29:46 AM

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Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 144
Neurons: 3,846
Thank you. Why is "that" better than "it"? Is it because "that" refers to something in a distance? When would it be OK to use "it"?
thar
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:04:37 AM

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It is not really about distance, but about pointing something out.

Look at that. What is it?

Or

What is that?


The 'that' narrows your attention down to one thing. 'It' then just becomes a personal pronoun that refers to something you have already mentioned.

It is somewhat to do with distance whether you choose 'this' or 'that' - something in your hands or right on front of you could be 'this', but something in the sky is a 'that'.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:25:47 AM

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Yeah - it would be OK to use "it" if 'it' had already been pointed out. To name it and point it out at the same time is "that"

"Look at that! What is it?"
"Look up there! What is it?"
"Look! What's that?"

Alice said “It is usually a frog or a worm.”


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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