Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Where does this come from?

That is how it is.

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by StoneyB, FumbleFingers, tchrist, Lunivore, Mitch Nov 12 '12 at 3:08

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Maybe. But we would like to know more if we are to help. –  Kris Nov 11 '12 at 8:16
1  
@ethel I've edited the question to make it a little clearer. If I've misinterpreted it, please re-edit to put it right. –  Andrew Leach Nov 11 '12 at 8:48
2  
The earliest instance I find of this phrase tout simple is in the testimony of 'Cockerell, labourer' in the 1834 Report of the Poor Law Commissioners. I don't think it "comes from" anywhere but the language itself. That is how we say it. –  StoneyB Nov 11 '12 at 14:09
    
That up vote up there should rightly go to the brilliant @AndrewLeach :) –  Kris Nov 11 '12 at 14:42

1 Answer 1

I’m tempted to agree with StoneyB’s comment that that’s just how it is: language works that way. The repetition serves to emphasise the finality of the statement.

There is an early example of similar repetition in the Bible’s Gospel of John (John 19:22), which was originally written in Greek and translated into Latin before English:

ὃ γέγραφα, γέγραφα
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
What I have written, I have written.

It certainly has a finality in English that is presumably present in the other languages too (I haven’t studied Biblical Greek). Consequently the structure is ancient and common to many languages, not just English; and it can easily be applied to simple constructions such as “It (or that) is how it is”.

share|improve this answer
    
You can take it back another Testament: ´ehyeh ´asher ´ehyeh, I am what I am (Exo 3:14). It is what it is. –  StoneyB Nov 11 '12 at 16:46
    
This is all very useful. Thank you Andrew for clarifying my own statement.I do like the Bible reference.And Stoney's It comes from the language itself. Thanks Guys.Etheel –  ethel Nov 15 '12 at 23:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.