It: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
October 8, 2023

1. It (pronoun): Used to represent an inanimate object, previously mentioned or understood.
2. It (pronoun): Refers to an animal whose gender is unknown or irrelevant.
3. It (pronoun): Used to represent a situation, condition, or feeling, often as the subject of a sentence.
4. It (pronoun): Functions as an impersonal subject, typically for statements about time, distance, or weather.
5. It (pronoun): Used to emphasize a subject in sentences, as in "It is she who called."
6. It (noun): Refers to the game of tag, indicating the person who is "it" and must tag others.

"It" is a commonly used term that functions primarily as a pronoun. This simple two-letter word holds significant importance due to its versatility and frequent usage in various contexts. Let's delve deeper into understanding this essential term.

"It" Definition: What Does "It" Mean?

"It" is a pronoun that stands in for previously mentioned objects, animals, situations, or conditions, allowing for more concise and less repetitive expression in language. Its flexibility makes it one of the most frequently used words in English, catering to a plethora of scenarios and contexts.

  • Inanimate Object: "It" can refer to a previously mentioned or understood object, e.g., "I saw the book, and it looked interesting."
  • Animals: When the gender of an animal is unknown or irrelevant, "it" is used, e.g., "The cat licked its paw."
  • Impersonal Subject: "It" can describe time, distance, or weather, e.g., "It is raining."
  • Emphasizing Subject: Used for emphasis in sentences like "It is she who called."
  • Game of Tag: In the context of the game of tag, "it" denotes the person who must tag others.

Parts of Speech

The word "it" is primarily a pronoun, but it can also function as a noun, especially in the context of games like tag.

How to Pronounce "It"?

"It" is pronounced as a single syllable. The pronunciation is short and crisp, resembling the "i" in "sit" followed by the consonant "t."

Phonetic Pronunciation: ɪt

Synonyms of "It": Other Ways to Say "It"

Direct synonyms for pronouns like "it" are rare because of their specific grammatical roles. However, depending on the context, you can use alternatives or phrases that might serve a similar purpose:

1. This
2. That
3. The thing
4. The object
5. The matter

Antonyms of "It": Other Ways to Say "It"

"It" is a pronoun, and pronouns typically don't have direct antonyms in the same way that adjectives or nouns might. However, if you're considering "it" in terms of referring to a specific object or subject, potential opposite concepts might be:

1. None of it
2. Something else
3. The opposite
4. Not that
5. Anything but that

Examples of "It" in a Sentence

The word "it" is versatile and appears in a myriad of contexts. Here are examples that encapsulate its varied usage:

1. I found a lost puppy, and it was whimpering near the gate.
2. It is crucial to understand the basics before diving deep.
3. We do it for the good of the community.
4. When it rains, the girl feels nostalgic.
5. It was he who brought the cake for the celebration.
6. In the game of tag, once you're "it," you must chase the others.
7. When it is necessary, don't hesitate to kick down the door.
8. It seems like they have forgotten the meeting.
9. It did throw me off. I will never watch that movie again.
10. With kind regards, I offer it to you as a gesture of goodwill.

Frequency of Use

The word "it" is among the most frequently used English words. As a pronoun, "it" holds a pivotal position in constructing meaningful sentences, offering a reference point for objects, animals, situations, conditions, or feelings. Given its vast application spectrum, "it" is omnipresent in oral and written English. Numerous word frequency studies show that "it" consistently ranks among the top 10 most commonly used words.

Variants of "It"

Different pronouns or descriptors might be used in its place depending on context.

1. Itself: Refers back to a previously mentioned object or subject.
2. Its: Possessive form of it.
3. It's: Contraction of "it is" or "it has."
4. Item: An individual article or unit.

Related Terms to "It"

Several terms relate to "it," each reflecting its role as a pronoun and function in various contexts.

1. This
2. That
3. They
4. Them
5. Its (possessive form)
6. Itself (reflexive form)
7. Thing
8. Object

Etymology: History and Origins of "It"

The word "it" traces its roots to Old English, where it appeared as "hit." It originally served as the neuter of "he," a demonstrative pronoun. Over time, as language evolved, "hit" transitioned to "it" in Modern English, retaining its role as a neutral gender pronoun.

Derivatives and Compounds of "It"

While "it" stands strong in its primary form, the language features several derivatives and compounds that incorporate or derive from "it."

1. Itty-bitty: Informal and colloquial term referring to something very small.
2. Itinerary: A planned route or journey.
3. Do-it-yourself: Creating, modifying, or repairing things by oneself.

Common Misspellings of "It"

The correct spelling of "it" is fundamental for clear communication in English. Given its basic nature, errors are rare, but they occur, especially in contractions and possessive forms.

1. I't
2. I t
3. It's

10 Idioms and Expressions Involving "It"

While "it" itself might not prominently feature in idioms, its presence is felt across various expressions and idioms, underscoring its versatility.

1. Make it or break it
2. It's raining cats and dogs
3. Go for it
4. It's a piece of cake
5. It's not rocket science
6. It's all in a day's work
7. Keep it up
8. It takes two to tango
9. Take it easy
10. It's the thought that counts

10 Common Questions About "It"

The ubiquitous nature of "it" spurs several inquiries, ranging from its proper usage to its etymology.

1. How do you determine when to use "its" versus "it's"?

"Its" is a possessive pronoun, while "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has."

2. Can "it" refer to animals?

Yes, "it" can refer to animals when their gender is unspecified or irrelevant.

3. How did "it" evolve in the English language?

"It" evolved from Old English's "hit" and has retained its function as a neutral gender pronoun.

4. Why is "it" so frequently used?

Given its role as a pronoun, "it" offers a reference point for various entities, making it indispensable in conversation and writing.

5. Is "it" always neutral in gender?

In English, yes. "It" is a neutral gender pronoun.

6. Are there languages without an equivalent to "it"?

Some languages lack a neutral gender pronoun and might use gendered pronouns even for inanimate objects.

7. Can "it" be used to refer to people?

Typically, "it" isn't used to refer to people as it can be deemed disrespectful. Pronouns like "he," "she," and "they" are more appropriate.

8. How is "it" used in questions?

"It" can serve as the subject in questions, such as "What is it?" or "How is it going?"

9. Is "it" formal or informal?

"It" is neutral in tone and can be used in formal and informal contexts.

10. Can "it" be emphasized for clarity?

Yes, "it" can be emphasized in sentences like "It was she who called" for added clarity.


"It" is a core pronoun in the English language, representing inanimate objects, undefined entities, certain conditions, and more. Grasping the diverse applications and nuances of "it" is fundamental for effective communication. Exploring and engaging with words like "it" aids in refining language proficiency and comprehension.

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