Why if someone is knocking at a door, do we say:

Who is knocking at the door? And the answer comes:

  • It is me/him/her. Instead of saying: they are her/him/me.

On the other hands,

If someone is in my house, I would say:

  • There is someone hiding in my house. please, get them out. Instead of saying : “get it out”.

What I want to know is:

Why do we use “it” as an anaphora for someone, in the first example?

However, we do use “them” as an anaphora in the second example given above?

  • 1
    |It is| is used for impersonal statements. It is raining; it is snowing; it is a nice day; It's me. – Lambie Dec 21 '17 at 18:59

|It is| is used for impersonal statements similar to There is. It's raining; It's snowing; It's a nice day; It's me. The word It in those examples is not used in the sentence as a direct object pronoun.

However, if you want to get someone out of your house, you must use a direct object pronoun:

I want to get him, her, them out of my house. **If the thing is an animal, you would say: I want to get it out of the house.

Here the word it is the third person pronoun for a thing or animal.


For the first, I don't have a definitive answer, but I will try. I think we use 'it' here because we are referring to our physical presence.

It's (the thing you have detected out here) me/you/him/her/them...

Similar is the phrase:

Oh, it's only you/him/them...

Meaning that there is no reason to become alarmed as you now know what the disturbance is. I believe the first may be this, with the 'just' removed for simplicity.

For the second:

Saying "Someone is hiding, get them out" is a way of saying that there are known to be "one or more people" in the house and you want them out. You could also say "Someone or something is hiding, get it out" which now means that whatever is within your house, it isn't a person, but you want it out anyway. And if it is a person, then this is a fairly strong insult.

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