0

What is the grammatically correct sentence?

  1. That's nice of you to say so!
  2. It's nice of you to say so!

I've come across 1 many times, but I feel it seems not to be grammatically correct, strictly speaking as "that" cannot be used as a dummy pronoun, so it should be written as 2 as "it" can work as a dummy pronoun referring to "to say so". If you think of 1 as natural, could you tell me why?

  • 2
    Your first version isn't really idiomatic for native speakers. I think this is because that and so are effectively performing the same role, in that they're both references to what you said. Note that in this context, you say so isn't an adverbial reference to how you said it - it's still just another way of referencing was was said. This duplication / clash problem simply doesn't arise with you second version (where it is really more of a "dummy" reference, as in It's raining). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 12 at 18:43
  • 2
    I doubt you've actually come across the first sentence many times. Mainly because it would normally not be phrased that way. With it, the so would typically be dropped, making it simply that's nice of you to say. With that change, both versions are common. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica May 12 at 18:51
  • @JasonBassford Sorry, I just misunderstood that I might've seen 1 with "so" many times. As you said, I've come across such sentences like 1 without "so" many times. – SinK May 13 at 8:01
1

To better analyze both forms, you can replace "so" with "that," as the two of them function the same grammatically in this context. (For the purpose of organization, we will place our analysis in curly braces.) Now, the sentences become:

  1. That's nice of you to say that!
  2. It's nice of you to say that!

{Clearly, only the second sentence works in the context of proper English grammar, the first one being redundant. In order for the first sentence to make sense, you would have to get rid of "that."}

Now, in order to obtain the answer to your question, change "that" back to "so," and because both "so" and "that" are grammatically equivalent, our analysis will be the same, except all occurrences of "that" replaced with "so."

  1. That's nice of you to say so!
  2. It's nice of you to say so!

Finally, this answers your question:

{Clearly, only the second sentence works in the context of proper English grammar, the first one being redundant. In order for the first sentence to make sense, you would have to get rid of "so."}

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.