'It/this' ... is six o'clock. (... is raining.)

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novice_81

Senior Member
German
Hello

Why is it inappropriate to say: This is six o'clock instead of It is six o'clock.

OR: This is still raining instead of It is still raining.

thanks
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "This" always refers to something specific. This is an apple.
    There is no specific thing that is raining or six o'clock.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Loob's answer is right [as is Myridon's]. To amplify it, I would point out that 'it' isn't referring to anything. We're not saying something is raining - the weather is raining, or the sky is raining, or anything else that could be referred to as 'it' or 'this' or 'that'.

    The case with times is a bit different, because 'it' can be used like an answer referring back to something previously mentioned: 'What's the time?' - 'It's six o'clock.' (= 'The time is six o'clock.') That does make it look as if 'it' is a pronoun referring to the time. But against this, we can also say 'It's six o'clock' without any prior context. The 'it' doesn't point back to any previous referent.

    Then we have other uses of dummy 'it', where clearly there are no things being referred to: It is amazing that so many people believe in the Tooth Fairy. It seems that Mary still believes in the Tooth Fairy.
     
    Last edited:

    novice_81

    Senior Member
    German
    Then we have other uses of dummy 'it', where clearly there are no things being referred to: It is amazing that so many people believe in the Tooth Fairy. It seems that Mary still believes in the Tooth Fairy.
    But if I said, looking at a beautiful picture: This is amazing - that would be correct? And if in the same context I said: It is amazing - would it be wrong then?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "It/this/that is amazing" would be fine if you were looking at a picture, novice_81. The "it", "this" or "that" would refer to the picture.
     
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