There is this situation that:

A boy saw a silhouette in the moonlight. Not sure what it actually was, he thought "was it/there really a Martian in his room tonight?"

(Actually the boy is scared of aliens and before this above mentioned scene his sister scared him saying that a Martian would come to his room soon)

How would "it" and "there" change the meaning of the sentence?

  • 2
    Do not put quote marks around the text representing what the boy thought unless that text is "verbatim". In your example, that would be ...he thought "Is there really a Martian in my room tonight?" And if you're not going to write his thoughts down verbatim like that, thought probably isn't the right verb anyway - it would be better to use a different verb, such as ...he wondered if there was really a Martian in his room that night. Oct 26, 2021 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


"Was it really a Martian?" means 'was the apparition really a Martian (or something else)?' ("in his room" would be a bit superfluous here.)

"Was there a Martian in his room?" means 'was a Martian present in the room?"

NB If you are directly quoting his thoughts, they would be "Is there a Martian in my room?"

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