Is that who I think it is/ he is

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Suppose that you happened to run into your childhood idol (a male) at a restaurant. You were so overwhelmed that you screamed your head off with excitement, "Oh my god, Is that who I think it is?"

Hi, I'd like to know if it is more natural to use "Is that who I think it is" than "Is that who I think he is" in this kind of situation.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This is one of those situations where you can use neuter pronouns 'that' and 'it' for people, but they need to be consistent:

    Is that who I think it is?
    Is he who I think he is?

    The 'that'/'it' version is probably a lot more common.
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Is that who I think he is?" Would not be a phrase we'd use.

    If you use "that" then you must use "it".
    If you use "he" then you must continue to use "he".

    Regardless, "Is he who I think he is?" would also not sound natural to our ears.

    You must use "Is that who I think it is?" if you wish to sound native. :)
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    "Is that who I think it is" is more natural.

    Of course if you've spotted your idol and you're so excited that you scream, you'll be lucky not to squeal "Is that who I think I am?" or something equally dumb.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks entangledbank, Filsmith and Sparky~
    I guess "Is that who I think it is" could also be used for an animal that you're surprised to see, like your long lost dog shows up at your door out of the blue.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    "it" matches "that" (both fairly neutral).

    Is that who I think it is? is both idiomatic and also how we usually say it. (AE - and I suspect BE)
     
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