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It vs. This: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 19, 2023
"It" is a pronoun used to refer to a previously mentioned or easily identified object or experience, while "this" is a demonstrative pronoun used to specify a particular item or subject that is close at hand or being indicated or experienced.

Key Differences

"It" is often used to refer to an object, animal, or situation previously mentioned or known, often in a more general sense. In contrast, "this" is used to indicate a specific item or situation that is physically close to the speaker or in their immediate context.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
"It" can be used as a subject or object in a sentence to replace a noun mentioned earlier, helping to avoid repetition. "This," however, is used to draw attention to something specific and is often accompanied by a gesture or a direct look.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
In terms of distance or immediacy, "it" is neutral, not implying closeness or distance. "This," on the other hand, implies proximity, either physically or within a conversation or narrative.
Huma Saeed
Dec 19, 2023
"It" can be used for animals or things, and sometimes for babies or children when their gender is not specified or relevant. "This" is used to emphasize the thing being talked about, whether it's an object, a person, a situation, or even an idea.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
"It" is also commonly used in impersonal constructions, like "it is raining," where "it" does not refer to anything specific. "This" is often used to introduce or highlight an idea, as in "This is what I mean," where it focuses attention on what follows.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Reference

General or previously mentioned
Specific and immediate
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Usage in Sentences

As subject or object
To draw attention or introduce
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Implied Proximity

Neutral (no proximity implied)
Close proximity
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Typical Context

Animals, objects, general concepts
Objects, situations, ideas near speaker
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Example in Impersonal Use

"It is cold outside."
"This is important to note."
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023
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It and This Definitions

It

"It" can act as a placeholder in sentences about time, distance, or weather.
It is 10 o'clock.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

This

"This" can be used to refer to the present time or situation.
I can't believe this is happening.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

It

"It" is used for animals when the gender is unknown or irrelevant.
I saw a dog today. It was very friendly.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

This

"This" introduces subjects or topics in a conversation.
This is what I meant.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

It

"It" refers to a previously mentioned object, animal, or idea.
The book is on the table. It is quite old.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

This

"This" can indicate the closer or more immediate of two items.
This button turns on the light.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

It

"It" can refer to a situation or experience.
It was fun at the park.
Janet White
Dec 08, 2023

This

"This" is used to emphasize a particular point or item.
Look at this beautiful painting!
Harlon Moss
Dec 08, 2023

It

"It" is used in idiomatic expressions.
Take it easy.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 08, 2023

This

"This" refers to something close to the speaker or currently being indicated.
This is my favorite book.
Huma Saeed
Dec 08, 2023

It

An animal that has been neutered
The cat is an it.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

This

Being just mentioned or present in space, time, or thought
She left early this morning.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

It

The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an inanimate object, abstract entity, or non-human living thing.
Take this book and put it on the shelf.
Take each day as it comes.
I found a poor little cat. It seems to be half starving.
Sara Rehman
Dec 08, 2023

FAQs

How does "this" differ from "that"?

"This" refers to something close to the speaker, while "that" refers to something farther away.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can "it" be used for people?

"It" is generally used for objects and animals, but can be used for babies or when gender is unknown.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can "this" be used to talk about the past?

"This" is typically used for the present or immediate context, not for past events.
Huma Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Is "it" appropriate for formal writing?

Yes, "it" is suitable for both formal and informal contexts.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Is "it" used in questions?

Yes, "it" is frequently used in questions, like "Is it raining?"
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can "it" refer to a whole clause or idea?

Yes, "it" can refer to an entire situation or concept.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

When should I use "it" in a sentence?

Use "it" to refer to a previously mentioned or known object, animal, or abstract idea.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Is "this" formal or informal?

"This" is neutral and can be used in both formal and informal settings.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Can "this" be plural?

Yes, "this" becomes "these" in plural form.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Can "it" be used to avoid repetition?

Yes, "it" is often used to avoid repeating a noun.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Is "it" gender-specific?

No, "it" is gender-neutral.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

How does context affect the use of "this"?

The context of the conversation or situation greatly determines how "this" is used.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

Can "it" be used as an object?

Yes, "it" can serve as both the subject and object in a sentence.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Is "this" only used for physical objects?

No, "this" can also refer to situations, ideas, or time periods.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

How does "it" function in idiomatic expressions?

"It" often serves as a general subject in phrases like "it seems," "it goes," etc.
Sara Rehman
Dec 19, 2023

How do I use "this" in presentations?

Use "this" to introduce or refer to your current topic or visual aid.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

Does "this" always need a noun after it?

No, "this" can stand alone or be followed by a noun.
Janet White
Dec 19, 2023

How is "it" used in impersonal constructions?

"It" is used in expressions like "it is raining" or "it seems."
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023

Can "this" be used for emphasis?

Yes, "this" is often used to emphasize a specific point or item.
Harlon Moss
Dec 19, 2023

Is "this" used in a specific tense?

"This" is not tied to a specific tense but is generally used for current or immediate reference.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 19, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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