[Situation: I am talking with Jane, who is a native speaker of English, about the vocabulary size of native speakers of English.]

Kaguyahime: What's your passive vocabulary size?

Jane: About 30,000.

Kaguyahime: If you say "This word belongs to my passive vocabulary", does that/it mean that you know the exact meaning of that word?

Question: Which is correct, that or it?

I am confused because both that and it correspond to the same Japanese word sore. (My native language is Japanese.)

[Edit] My problem is that I do not know what pronoun I should use when I am referring to what I have just said myself.


1 Answer 1


There's no significant difference in meaning.

Both pronouns simply stand for a thing that has been identified. The difference is that "that" calls a little more attention to the specific thing. In your example you're only talking about one thing, so there isn't much difference. If you were talking about more than one thing, then "that" would become more useful, to distinguish between the thing you're focusing on and something else: "This is a dog; that is a cat."

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