• Someone has been calling me all morning
  • Don't worry, these are just spam calls

I realize that "calls" are in plular and thus we should use "these/those", but is it possible to use "it" here ("it's just spam calls") Of course "it" usually denotes something in singular, but from my understanding, "it" can be used here reffering to the action "calling"or to the sentence 1 on the whole.

I would also like to know why we can't use "they" here. Thank you!

  • 6
    Who says you can't use they? I would! Aug 18, 2022 at 8:00
  • 2
    Note that "these/those" are traditionally known as "demonstrative pronouns", and "it/they" are personal pronouns. Relative pronouns are the "that/which" in relative clauses (and modern descriptions don't consider them to be pronouns at all)
    – James K
    Aug 18, 2022 at 9:22
  • Thank you for you answers Aug 18, 2022 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


As a general rule, "it/this" refer to singular nouns; "they/these" refer to plural nouns.

As you're talking about spam calls in the plural, you should really use 'they' or 'these'.

The difference between the two pronouns is that 'they' refers to something distant, not present or presently occurring. Use 'these' when referring to something present, in view, or being highlighted. So, in your specific example, where the most recent call has ended and the others referred to are in the past, use 'they'.

  • 1
    I would interpret it here as referring to "the phenomenon of somebody calling me" or as kind of a dummy it.
    – stangdon
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:29
  • It seems similar to something like (answering the door) "It's John and Paul": "it's" can be used to announce the presence of one or more people or things.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 17 at 23:06

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