#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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s