It is that it is
The sequence can be understood as any of four grammatically correct sequences, each with at least four discrete sentences, by adding punctuation:
That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.
That that is, is that that is. Not is not. Is that it? It is.
That that is, is that that is not. Is not “is that” it? It is.
That that is, is that that is not, “is not.” Is that it? It is.
It is what it is
Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “fuck it.”
The client changed the deadline to today? Well, it is what it is.
“It is what it is”
It sounds to me as if this term is descended from “What it is”, a Black-American expression that goes back to the 1960s. Then it meant, “It’s part of The System”, or “It’s just part of how African-Americans have to live in the USA”, implying restriction, being the object of racism and prejudice, and adopting a philosophical and pragmatic way of living under pressure. “What it is” seemed to come from late 1960s black culture, including the Black Panthers, so-called “soul music” and more. It might come from a song.
‘There is’ and ‘it is’ are really common and useful phrases. In some languages, you can translate both these phrases with just one phrase, so they can be confusing. We show you how to use them in this video lesson and you’ll also learn how to use it and there as dummy subjects in lots of common English expressions.
It is and There is
Argh! Waiter, waiter. There’s a fly in my soup.
Shh. Don’t tell everyone. They’ll want one too.
Today we’re looking at how we use two really common and useful phrases – ‘there is’ and ‘it is’. In some languages, you can translate both these phrases with just one phrase, so they can be confusing. Also, we can use ‘there’ and ‘it’ as dummy subjects in English, so we’ll look at that too.
Is it ‘that makes sense’ or ‘that make sense’? Why?
The answer depends on what comes before these clauses. If nothing, then the correct answer is “That makes sense.” “That” is singular and therefore the verb is in the third person singular “makes.” However, if the examples are used as relative clauses inside a sentence then it depends on what the relative pronoun “that” refers to. Some examples:
“Here are some examples that make sense.” In this case the verb “make” agrees with “examples.”
“Here is an example that makes sense.” This time the verb is singular to agree with the singular “example.”
“He provided numerous arguments that make sense.”
“He only provided one argument that makes sense.”
‘it’ and ‘there’ as dummy subjects
English clauses always have a subject:
His father has just retired. > He was a teacher. (NOT
Was a teacher.)
I’m waiting for my wife. > She is late. (NOT
… except for the imperative:
Play it again, please.
If there is no other subject, we use there to talk about:
- where or when something is:
There’s an interesting book on the shelf.
There’ll be an eclipse of the moon tonight.
- a number or amount:
There is plenty of bread left.
There were twenty people at the meeting.
- something existing or happening:
There’s a small problem.
There was a nasty fight.
We use it to talk about:
- times and dates:
It’s nearly one o’clock.
It’s my birthday.
- the weather:
It’s a lovely day.
It was getting cold.
It’s great living here.
It’s nice to meet you.