Plural of " It "

Novich

Senior Member
Castellano, Argentina
Is they the plural form of it ?



e.g. Are computer games bad for our heath? computer games = they ????
 
  • Gabriel

    Senior Member
    Argentina / Español
    Yes, it's "they" as a personal pronoun and "them" as an object pronoun:

    What is this? / What are these?
    It is a pen. / They are pens.

    I'll throw you this ball. Grab it. / I'll throw you these balls. Grab them.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When "it" is the subject of the sentence then the plural is "they".

    When "it" is the object of the sentence then the plural is "them.

    (cross-posted with Gabriel)
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's interesting that we have a gender-neutral and non-human pronoun for singular nouns, but not for plural nouns, in which case we use the same pronouns that we use for humans.

    When my sister fell, I caught her.
    When my dog fell, I caught it.
    When my sisters fell, I caught them.
    When my dogs fell, I caught them.

    English is strange.
     

    MeLlamoGodzilla

    Member
    English
    Yes.

    An example would be that my friends are going to invite some other people to a party.

    "They (my friends) are going to invite them to the party."

    Another example would be if my friend asks me if I like cats.

    "Yes, I like them. They are cute and cuddly."
     

    Gabriel

    Senior Member
    Argentina / Español
    gengo said:
    It's interesting that we have a gender-neutral and non-human pronoun for singular nouns, but not for plural nouns, in which case we use the same pronouns that we use for humans.
    Not really, unless you consider that it's also interesting that you have a gender-sensitive set of human singular pronoun, but not in plural:
    I'd say that the singular pronouns are gender and nature specific but the plural pronoun is universal. It's sort of coherent within its own logic.

    When my sister fell, I caught her.
    When my brother fell, I caught him.
    When my do fell, I caught it.
    When my sisters fell, I caught them.
    When my brothers fell, I caught them.
    When my dogs fell, I caught them.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yeah, I have friends who think their dogs are human.

    But more seriously, I believe the rule of thumb is that any animal may be referred to as "it," or a gender pronoun may be used if you want to treat the animal with more, er, humanity.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm concerned that we may be getting way off-topic by discussing gender when the original question is specifically about 'it' and even more specifically about computer games! :p

    Returning to the question:

    This computer game is fun - I like it. It is the best I have ever played.

    These computer games are fun - I like them. They are the best I have ever played.

    ______________________________________________________________________
    With regard to gender, I agree with the others that when talking about pets, 'it' should only refer to an animal whose gender is unknown to the speaker/writer. However the same is true for babies and indeed adult humans!

    Example
    Who is coming?
    I don't know - I can't see who it is.
    Is it a man or a woman?
    I can't tell.

    When speaking of wild animals the convention is different.
    Example
    See that female rabbit?
    Yes.
    What's it doing?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Wildcat1

    Senior Member
    Amer. English
    With regard to gender, I agree with the others that when talking about pets, 'it' should only refer to an animal whose gender is unknown to the speaker/writer. However the same is true for babies and indeed adult humans!

    Example
    Who is coming?
    I don't know - I can't see who it is.
    Is it a man or a woman?
    I can't tell.
    I don't think the above "it" has anything to do with failure to know whether a given person is male or female. Suppose you and I invite several male friends to dinner. The above conversation would be equally natural:
    As the first person arrives, you might say:
    Who is that in the driveway?
    I don't know - I can't see who it is.
    Is it Joe or Bill?
    I can't tell.


    You would not say, "Is he Joe or Bill?" even though you know the personal is male.
     
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