We use it when emphasizing that we refer to one particular thing. For instance, "It is Lawrence you should be talking to". Or, "It was malaria that killed him." What pronoun should we apply when we want to emphasize plural things? it does not look all right in such scenario. Should we use "they"? For instance, "It is we that will win this match." Here I doubt I can still use "it", but I do not find another pronoun. If "it" can be used here, that means sometimes "it" refers to plural things.

  • You seem to be making things more difficult for yourself than necessary. The word "it" can be overused in a number of ways. In your sentence "It is we that will win this match," for example, why not say simply, "We will win this match," or "We, not they, will win this match"? Dec 3, 2014 at 3:27
  • You don't need it, unless you want to use it. Malaria was what killed him. Lawrence is the person you should be talking to. We are the ones who will win this match.
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2019 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


You can use "it".

It was a wolf that killed him.

It was wolves that killed him.

both of these work, to give you an example.

  • Or, "A wolf killed him" (in answer to the question, "What killed him?"). Or, "Wolves killed him" (in answer to the question, "What killed him?"). Simpler is sometimes better. Dec 3, 2014 at 3:29
  • 1
    He wasn't asking for a simpler solution, he was asking whether or not he can use "it" to refer to more than one entity of something.
    – J_LV
    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:29
  • True enough, and your answer is more "on point" than mine. Nevertheless, I stand by my comments (notice they are not answers) and I hope the OP will take them to heart, if only to simplify his acquisition of English. People use too much periphrasis, IMO. They say, e.g., "It gives me great pleasure to introduce my next guest," instead of "I take great pleasure" [or, "I am pleased to introduce . . ..]. They say, "I would like to thank Jim," instead of "Thank you, Jim!" See what I'm getting at? "It" can become a habit. "It was in the dead of winter . . ." instead of "In the dead of winter . . .." Dec 3, 2014 at 13:51
  • Now I would not bust someone's chops for using "it" or "I would like to thank . . .." By the same token, however, I try to de-clutter my sentences, unless I'm deliberately beating around the bush, struggling for words (in live conversation), or adding an artistic and/or rhetorical flourish to my sentences. Sometimes, "It was the dead of winter when . . ." is fine. After all, Dickens began perhaps his most famous work with the words, "It was the best of times and the worst of times"! I have no problem with that! Dec 3, 2014 at 13:57
  • I totally agree with every last thing you're saying. Forcing yourself to express something in a very particular way rather than trying to work from context is more often a hindrance than it's beneficiary. On the other hand I also believe that answers (or comments for that matter) such as yours have the potential to confuse someone further if he's really only looking to have something very specific (like whether or not "it" can be used a certain way) explained to him.
    – J_LV
    Dec 3, 2014 at 19:57

Yes, 'It' refers to plural things in those contexts. Those are correct in grammar as well. Good luck.

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