#WriteWellWednesday: It is/They are

Beautiful penmanship and poetic writing can be ruined by jarring grammatical errors. For today’s #WriteWellWednesday we will look at the use of it is and they are.

I live in a Dutch-speaking country (don’t be creepy) and commonly hear the expression it are, as in “it are fountain pens” to clarify some preceding comment about pens. To a native English speaker, this sounds jarringly incorrect, but it is a literal translation out of Dutch. (I’m not here to say whether it is technically correct in Dutch, but it is frequently used at any rate.)

In the example of “it are fountain pens,” the subject of the sentence is it, which is third-person singular. The verb are is plural. The word pens is also plural. They, not it, should be used to refer to the pens since they is a third person plural pronoun.

They are fountain pens.

It is should only be used when referring to a single item.

It is a fountain pen.


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