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A question "Is this ... " towards a person. Is it valid to ask, for example, "Is this your doctor?" (Or only "Is s/he your doctor?") If it is, can we answer "Yes, it is" ? Or what is the proper answer? I mean, does "it" sound normal towards a person in this case? Thank you.
Jan 30, 2012 12:38 AM
Answers · 7
Liza, I say it all the time..."is this your doctor?". Let me give an example that points to this usage. You are walking through a medical facility of some sort with your friend. You approach a door above which is a nameplate that says, "Dr. Grayson". Your friend turns to you and asks "is this your doctor?". Your friend does not know if your doctor is male or female. She only knows that your doctor's name is similar to "Grayson". Without using this construct, her question would be a little more awkward. Whether it's correct English or not, to me, would be purely a technicality because it is so often heard in English. I say..."go for it!!!"
January 30, 2012
"This/that" are demonstrative pronouns and can be used in the place of personal pronouns to identify a person, an object or something abstract. "This" points to something which is closer in proximity or time, while "that" points to something which is further away. "Is this your doctor?" Indicates a very close proximity. Imagine holding something in your hand, or holding someone by your hand. If you were holding up a photo of the doctor, you could say "Is this your doctor?" fx. "Is this your son?" - indicates that you are holding the son by your hand, while adressing the parent "Is that your doctor?" Indicates a distance between you and the doctor. Imagine pointing at someone/something. fx. "Is that your son?" - pointing at the son from a distance "Is s/he your doctor?" Can be used in the same way as "That", for instance while pointing, but to specify the gender. Can also be used to refer to a previously mentioned person. fx. "I met Linda Hunter today. Is she your doctor?" As for the answers, "it" does not sound right when referring to a person. - "Is that your doctor?" - "Yes." or "Yes, that´s my doctor." or "Yes, that´s correct." - "Is this your son?" - "Yes, that´s my son" Notice the difference here, because the parent is not as close to the "son" as the person asking.
January 30, 2012
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English, Russian
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