Someone gives me some information that I didn't know. I say, "That's interesting. I didn't know that."

How would the nuance differ if I said "It's interesting. I didn't know it."

It sounds like "that" sounds you are more impressed than when you use "it", carring a stronger tone.

Am I correct?

Mitsuko

mitsuko

Last edited {1}
Original Post
The use of IT in the response would not be correct. Only the demonstrative pronoun that is correct.

When referring for the first time to a previously stated whole idea the speaker (or writer) must use a demonstrative pronoun, not a personal pronoun. The function of the demonstrative pronoun is to "summarize" or "encapsulate" the content of the idea.

When the idea has been supplied by someone other than the speaker, the appropriate pronoun to represent the idea is that, to mark the item as being distant from the speaker. Once the idea has been represented by that, however, the speaker may refer to it subsequently as it. For example:

1) A: How about taking the bus instead of driving to the lake tomorrow?

B: THAT sounds like a good idea. IT will let us enjoy the scenery much more than if we were driving.

2) A: I hear you and Laura are getting married next month. Congratulations!

B: Who told you THAT? IT'S not true--we're not even thinking about IT yet!

One exception: There is a currently popular saying, "Don't even think about it," which is often used as a retort to a suggestion that the speaker rejects totally. For example:

A: I'm going to ask Prof. X to review my exam and maybe give me a higher grade.

B: Don't even think about it! She's famous for never changing grades, no matter what, and she'll just consider you a troublemaker.

Otherwise, the demonstrative that must be used to refer to an idea expressed by someone other than the speaker.

Marilyn Martin
Last edited {1}
Thank you for your kind reply.

**** Marilyn states****
1) A: How about taking the bus instead of driving to the lake tomorrow?
B: THAT sounds like a good idea. IT will let us enjoy the scenery much more than if we were driving.
**********
Would I be wrong if I used THAT instead of IT in B's reply, which would be "That will let us enjoy the scenery much more than if we were driving.

mitsuko
You would not be wrong. You can always repeat THAT after the first use. The repetition of THAT makes the idea more forceful than the use of IT. THAT can be repeated as long as it doesn't start to sound unnatural. You could, for example, say, as you did in your previous post,

"THAT'S interesting. I didn't know THAT."

You could then add

"THAT means that we aren't in much danger of running out of supplies."

Marilyn Martin

Last edited {1}

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