It vs This
The difference between it and this can be a bit puzzling as sometimes they are both used in sentences as indefinite pronouns. In fact, It and This are two words that are often confused in terms of their meaning. They are actually two different words with different meanings. The word it is a third person singular pronoun. On the other hand, the word this is a demonstrative pronoun. This is the main difference between the two words It and This. Apart from this, the word It is used to emphasize an idea. It is also used as an empty subject in a sentence. The word This is used as a determiner, as well as a word to introduce or identify people.
What does It mean?
It is a third person singular pronoun. It is used to refer to animals or inanimate objects. One of the primary uses of It is its usage as a third person singular form like the other third person pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’. Observe the two sentences. You can only use it as a third person pronoun when we are referring to things or animals as mentioned above. Look at the following examples.
Look at this ring. It shines very well.
See that lion? It roars loudly.
In both the sentences, the word it is used as the third person singular form. In the first sentence, the pronoun it refers to ‘the ring’ and in the second sentence the third person singular form refers to ‘a lion’.
The word it is normally used to begin sentences that lay emphasis on a subject or an idea as in the sentence ‘It is important to follow the rules and regulations.’ In this sentence, the word it is used in the sense of laying emphasis on an idea. Sometimes the word It is used in the beginning of assertive sentences as in the sentence ‘It is raining heavily now’. You can see that this assertive sentence begins with the word It. We can also use it as an empty subject even when no noun precedes it when we are speaking about current situation, weather, time, temperature, and distances. Look at the examples.
It is 3.00 p.m. (Time)
It is 30 degrees today. (Temperature)
It is seven kilometers to the hostel from here. (Distance)
What does This mean?
On the other hand, the demonstrative pronoun This is used to refer something to somebody as in the sentence ‘This is the book I mentioned in my lecture’. In this sentence, the word this is used in a bid to demonstrate or introduce the book to someone by somebody. Sometimes the demonstrative pronoun this is used at the end of the sentence as in ‘I know this’. This is also used as a determiner for both people and things. For example,
This book is mine.
This girl is my daughter.
In the first sentence, this is used as a determiner for a thing (book). In the second sentence, this is used as a determiner for a person (daughter).
This is also used when we are introducing or identifying people as in the following examples.
I want you to meet my friend. This is Anna.
In this example, the word this is used to introduce a person.
What is the difference between It and This?
• It is used as a third person singular pronoun when we are talking about animals or inanimate objects. This is a demonstrative pronoun that is used to introduce an object. This is an important difference between the two words it and this.
• It is used as an empty subject when talking about current situation, weather, time, temperature, and distances.
• The word this can stress a point better than it. Look at the example.
It is a lovely meal.
This is a lovely meal.
This gives a clearer idea and an attachment to the present than the word it.
• It can only be used for things or animals. However, this can be used with both people and things.
• The word this is also used to introduce or identify people. Such a thing cannot be done using the word it.