What are the specific uses and differences of "it" and "that" in anaphoric reference? Sometimes they can be used interchangeably and sometimes they can't.
I am teaching back referencing as a conversational strategy next week, and I was trying to find a way to distinguish the uses of "it" or "that" as a anaphoric determiner. I did a few searchers, but could find no reliable information regarding these words. Looking at a few textual examples, I was able to conclude that
- "That" refers to a general idea or whole clause
- "That" can be used for emphasis, whereas the use of "it" would carry no specific emphasis
- "It" it refers more to actions
- "It" can also refer to ideas or clauses, but only if these ideas or clauses precede "it" almost immediately so that there is a more temporal reference
Here is an example, with anaphorics in bold:
D: I bet you were furious.
M: No, not at all, it’s just that…you know, I just don’t want our coffee shop to become another branch of Café Pronto. They’re all the same, aren’t they?
D: That’s true. I’m not keen on the idea either. You’re very fond of the place, aren’t you?
M: Of course. I know we don’t go there very often, but I think of all that work we did getting it ready.
D: How could I forget it? All the cleaning and painting and stuff we did with Rob. I quite enjoyed that, actually.
M: Yes, me too.