In a movie scene, a lady is with 3 others and are chatting. Suddenly, the lady finds a piece of hair on the ground. She picks it up and holds it in her hand and asks 3 others. - "Hmmm, whose hair is this?

One of the other ladies says: "That would be mine".

In this sentence, the word "that" catches my attention and because it refers to piece of hair. I have wondered why the answering lady did not say "It would be mine" instead of "That would be mine"?

So, I began to think about is there any difference "That would be mine" and "It would be mine"? And I can't find a difference.

And what we taught at school that the pronoun "It" is used for objects, animals, and things. But now, in the sentence "that would be mine", we see the word "that" is used instead of "It" and it functions as a pronoun.

So, I can put my question like this: Is there any difference between "It" and "That", when referring to objects which can normally be referred to by the pronoun "IT"?

Thank you.

  • "That would be …" is a common phrase (a pretty ugly one, but never mind). She could just have said "It's mine", but the "That would be mine" expression has caught on. It has a certain nuance to it that "it's mine" doesn't carry. It's usually said in a kind of self-effacing or dismissive tone.
    – ralph.m
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


This is standard use of "that" as demonstrative pronoun. The use here is not specific to hair.

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