What pronouns should be used to refer to the whole content of a preceding "if" clause? For example, Which pronoun should be used in the sentences below?

i) If the vase did not fall over, it/this/that means that the earthquake yesterday was not that strong.

ii) If I don't hear from him by Saturday, I'll take it/that as sign that he is not interested in the proposal.

If more than one pronoun is possible, would you detect any difference in meaning?


1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, I am not sure there would be a rule to the instances where determiners or this, that, or it is used. To answer your question.

i. There is a subtle difference but this may be contextually changeable. Seemingly, using 'it' implies some deduction, using 'this' similarly implies deduction although you may find one has more surety than the other. Finally, 'that' seems to mean the same but again, with decidedly less surety than the previous two pronouns.

ii. Either can be used, the strength of feeling conveyed perhaps stronger in 'it'. Additionally, it should be 'as a sign'.

You must log in to answer this question.

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