I found a good explanation here. Basically, you use "do it" when you are referring to a noun and "do so" when you are referring to an action or clause.

So by this logic, the following:

I won't ask to meet face-to-face again. We can do it/do so whenever you feel like it."

The correct choice is "do so" since it's referring to "meet face-to-face," not to a pronoun?

  • 2
    While that may be technically correct, in casual conversation either is perfectly fine and "do it" is arguably more common
    – Kevin
    Oct 8, 2020 at 14:51
  • 2
    I don't think I make the distinction myself. BTW, I would replace your second sentence with just "We can wait until you feel like it."
    – Justin
    Oct 8, 2020 at 14:51
  • The Picard way would use both it and so: Make it so ;) Oct 8, 2020 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


I think that defining 'it' too strictly is causing some confusion. The word 'it' has a whole range of functions, including to refer to facts, events, or situations. In the explanation you linked, the author claims that the sentence

Joe needs to prepare a list of all the projects assigned this year and to do it he needs to meet all the teachers.

is incorrect because 'it' is replacing an action (not a noun). However, I'd be surprised if any native speaker would consider this unnatural or ungrammatical. I do agree with the point that only 'do it' should be used in the case of a noun ('the project'), but I think that do it/do so are interchangeable in the case of an action ('prepare the project').

I need to plan out the month's schedule, but to do it / do so I have to find out my work rota.

  • I agree with this. In casual speech, "it" can be used to mean "that whole thing I just talked about at length" without strictly referencing an individual verb or noun. (Of course, if you're taking a language test, you have to be super-technical and say "it" is wrong.) Oct 8, 2020 at 22:14

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