Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » The difference between ‘this’ and ‘it’

The difference between this and it

Infographic comparing the usage of 'this' versus 'it' in English grammar, with examples and explanations, provided by test-english.com.

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When do we use this?

You can use this to talk about something near you. It is like pointing your finger at something in front of you.

  • This cat is cute. (The cat is right there with you.)
  • This is my house. (The house in front of you.)
  • I think this jacket is perfect for you. 

You can also use this to introduce a person to another one or to introduce yourself on a phone call.

  • This is my brother John. 
  • Hello, this is Linda. (On the phone)

The plural form of this is these.

  • These are my brothers, John and Edward.

When do we use it?

To talk about something again

We use it to talk about something that we mentioned, or that is known. It is a pronoun, like he or she, but we use he or she to talk about people, and we use it to talk about objects or animals.

  • This cat is cute. It is sleeping. 
  • This is my house. I bought it last year. 

Apart from objects or animals, we can also use it to refer to a situation or idea mentioned before.

  • There was a storm, and they cancelled the concert. It was a disaster. (It refers to the storm and the cancelling of the concert)

Times, dates, weather, distance

It is used to talk about times, dates, weather, and distances.

  • It‘s very late. 
  • “What day is it?” “It‘s Tuesday.” 
  • It was sunny yesterday.
  • It‘s not very far from here.

It’s + adjective + to-infinitive

  • It‘s nice to see you again. 
  • It‘s easy to get lost in this part of the city. 

It’s + adjective + that

  • It‘s important that you learn this.