it's + plural noun

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it's + plural noun

Unread post by jpy-france » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:27 pm

I'm proof-reading for a friend, and I find the following phrase strange gramatically but I can't find a rule to justify my gut feeling that the "it's" should be replace by "they're" :

"It's not anenomes, it's animals"

Any ideas please ?


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Re: it's + plural noun

Unread post by Graziela » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:32 pm

I guess...If the Pronoun It refers to a singular word. Yes, it is correct!
But maybe it could be written in a better way, to avoid misunderstanding by the readers, like "It is about the ...............not about the............" or "It refers to......"
I tried to look for an explanation on the Net, but I couldn't find one! If I find an explanation with a nice reference I will post here!
But for the moment, that's the conclusion I get!
Best Wishes,

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Re: it's + plural noun

Unread post by Syl » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:05 pm

"It's" in many cases is an impersonal expression, like in French "c'est".

Impersonal expressions are those which do not have a specific subject. In grammatical terms, "impersonal" does not mean cold, but rather invariable by grammatical person.


It's hard to speak. (Speaking is hard)
It's good to drink a lot of water
It's probable that David is doing it.
It / That is good to know.
It / That is impossible to find.
It's to be hoped
It's odd
It's good
It's certain
It's difficult

and so on.

"It's" might be followed by a noun in the plural, informally. In your example, "It's not anemones, it's animals", there's a strong possibility that the sentence has a subject. Hence, the correct way to say is:

"They are not anemones, they are animals.".


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