Are both sentences correct? If so, what is the difference? My English books contain such examples. The first book was published in not English speaking country.

Whose pen is this? - This is my pen. It's red.


Whose pen is this? - It is my pen. It's red.

1 Answer 1


The only difference is that the second speaker uses a demonstrative pronoun "this" in the first example but the second uses the simple personal pronoun "it". Both can be correct.

It makes sense for the first speaker to use a demonstrative pronoun as they are (figuratively) pointing to an object that hasn't been referred to previously. The second speaker could use either a demonstrative or personal pronoun, as they are referring an object whose identity has already been established. It would be more likely for the second speaker to use "That's my pen", because if it is close to the first speaker, it must be (relatively) distant from the second.

Demonstrative pronouns exist in many languages, including most (all?) Indo-European languages.

In actual English, the last part "It's red" is weird and unreal: "I know it's red. I can see it!". The response could have lots of different forms: "Mine", "That's mine", "I think it's my pen" and so on.

  • As to your last part, it could be intended to indicate that they know that it’s their pen because it’s red — as in ‘it’s my pen; it’s red’ — that just isn’t properly signposted. But most of the time, I agree, the last part would be weird. Oct 4, 2020 at 5:20
  • If sentence "It's red." not so good, how is better to say that the pen contains in itself red ink?
    – Sergei
    Oct 4, 2020 at 9:12
  • No. The sentence is fine. But why would you say that ?? Think in Russian (because there is nothing about English here "- Чья это ручка - Это моя ручка. Оно красное" Why would the person say "Оно красное" It doesn't have anything to do with the question. We all know the pen is "красное". So why would anyone say that?
    – James K
    Oct 4, 2020 at 9:22
  • We often have such examples in English books. It is only an additional description about a pen.
    – Sergei
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:28
  • Perhaps, but do you agree that it is unnatural. If a teacher asked the class (in English or your native language) "Whose pen in this?" You wouldn't put your hand up and tell her that it is red! That would be ridiculous!
    – James K
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .