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If I am sharing a (specific, identified) status update, which would be the most appropriate way of informing people that I will be sharing it:

I am sharing it.

or

I am sharing this.

In both cases I'm going to share the status update at present.

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No "this" and "it" refers to the same thing in my question. –  Abhinav Pandey Dec 21 '11 at 19:48
    
Can we edit the "status update" so I don't have to read there? –  Mr.Wizard Dec 21 '11 at 20:18
    
I have removed the status update, and reworded the question accordingly. @AbhinavPandey - check that I haven't lost the essence of your question. –  Marcin Dec 21 '11 at 21:38
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closed as general reference by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Matt Эллен, Barrie England, Daniel, simchona Dec 21 '11 at 21:43

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The word "it" requires an antecedent, that is, something that you have just recently mentioned. The word "this" can be used in the same was as "it", with an antecdent, or it can be used when you are identifying the object by holding it up to view, pointing it,

That is, if you walked up to someone and, as the first thing out of your mouth, said, "I am sharing it", their natural respone would be, "Sharing what?" Even if you were holding the object in your hand and held it up in front of them as you spoke, I think the natural reaction would be, "You mean you're sharing that?"

If you identified the object in question first, then "it" makes sense. Example, "I have a new book. I am sharing it." Obviously, then, you are referring to the book.

On the other hand, if you walk up to someone with a book in your hand and say, "I am shring this", "this" would be understood to refer to the object you were holding. Likewise if you pointed to the book where it is, say, sitting on your desk, and said, "I am sharing this," people would understand you to mean the thing you're pointing at.

You could say, "I have a new book. I am sharing this." But that would generally be considered a somewhat odd usage unless you had just distinguished it from some other things you might share. Like, "I have two new books. One of them is about horses. I am sharing this." Then we would understand you to mean that you are emphasizing that you are sharing the book about horses and not sharing the other book.

If you walked up to someone with no object in your hand, not pointing to anything, and without any introduction, both "I am sharing it" and "I am sharing this" would leave the listener wondering what it is that you are sharing.

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Some people might take "I have a new book. I am sharing this" to mean that the speaker is sharing the fact that he has a new book. –  Jim Dec 21 '11 at 20:18
    
@Jim: True. It occurs to me that if someone said, "I am dying of hepatitis. I am sharing this," I would hope he is sharing the information and not the hepatitis, but just from the grammar it would be difficult to say. –  Jay Dec 21 '11 at 21:17
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The latter emphasizes the identity of whatever you're sharing. In other words, it's not just an it; it's this precise it.

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