"it", "this" or "that", which one should I use in the context. Can any native speaker please help me?

  • John got a new mobile. It's/that's/this is the second one he's bought this year.

  • I got a new mobile last month. It/that's/this is the third one I have bought this year.

1 Answer 1


Each one is grammatically correct, but it is less common for someone to use "it."

When you use "that's," there is an implication that the phone isn't closeby (not close enough that you could point to it). Therefore the most common and natural versions are

John got a new phone. That's the second one he's bought this year.

Assuming John is not in the room looking at the phone right now. Also

I got a new phone last month. This is the third one I've bought this year.

Assuming you have the phone in your hand. Alternatively

I got a new phone last month. That is the third one I've bought this year.

If you don't have the phone with you and no one can see it.

There are other contexts in which you might use "it." For example

This is my new phone. It has a great camera.

Notice that in the US, native speakers do not normally use "mobile" as a synonym for "phone" in conversation. You might say "cell phone" if you want to distinguish from a land-line, but these days that is generally an unnecessary clarification.

You might use "mobile" to refer to someone's cell phone number if you were asking for it in a business context, like if you are a receptionist giving someone instructions on how to fill out a form. Most of the time that's just because the form says "mobile" in the space where they want your phone number.

  • 1
    I generally agree with your answer, but I'm not sure why you think it is less common. "John got a new phone. It's the fourth one this year" sounds perfectly natural to me.
    – stangdon
    Dec 15, 2017 at 18:37
  • I agree that it sounds natural. I do think it's less common, but it doesn't stick out or anything.
    – farnsy
    Dec 15, 2017 at 19:57
  • The word "it's" works just fine. I would choose it as the preferred usage.
    – EllieK
    Mar 13, 2018 at 13:55

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