2

I heard this kind of expression in conversation:

1)
A.- You should go to school and learn.
B.- All right, school it is.
2)
A.- Open the window unless there is better idea.
B.- (no response)
A.- Okay then, window it is.

I do not know what meaning "it" has in these contexts. I mean, I have hard time to find out which entry of "it" has exact meaning for this use. Through the already answered questions and answers ( "xxxx it is then!", what does it really mean? Comma or no comma in reaffirmation of answer? "____ it is" or "____, it is" ), now I know it comes from "[okay] it is xxx (then)" but the above examples do not have "then" at the end unlike the first page example. Even so, as the second page example, it does not have to have "then" at the end for this use, I understand.

Anyway, is this usage of "xxx it is" a mere inversion of "it is xxx"? Or is there a special grammar term for this "it (is)"?

  • 2
    It's a colloquial way of agreeing with the speaker, "it" referring to their request or statement of intent/preference. For example, if a friend said "I think we should get Chinese for dinner." you could respond with "Okay, Chinese it is." as a shorter way of saying "Okay, that's a good idea I agree with, so let's get Chinese for dinner as you suggested." – John Clifford Mar 16 '16 at 8:11
  • @John Clifford, funny that both your example and mine involve restaurant food. – Steve Mar 16 '16 at 8:23
  • 1
    @Steve well I did skip breakfast... – John Clifford Mar 16 '16 at 8:23
  • uenopanda: as for the "then", it's used to emphasise the decision more than simply saying "xxx it is." would, and isn't needed. – John Clifford Mar 16 '16 at 8:27
  • Thank you all here. I posted next related question below. TIA – uenopanda Mar 16 '16 at 15:30
1

The usage "xxx it is" typically connotes "xxx is the choice", after some sort of decision making process.

Here is a typical usage:

Restaurant guest: "Is the salmon wild or farmed?"

Waiter: "We only serve wild salmon here."

Guest: "Then salmon it is." (This would imply that the guest would choose something else if it had been farmed.)

The "it" in this construction would be a pronoun for "the choice", the selection", "the decision", etc.

The general term for this sort of construction is subject-object-verb (SOV) sentence, as opposed to the typical English subject-verb-object (SVO) word order. I don't know of a term for this specific type of SOV sentence, however.

  • 1
    The reason I posted my tidbit as a comment and not an answer is that I'm not aware of any term for this beyond "confirmation" or "summation" (both of which were used in the OP's linked question). – John Clifford Mar 16 '16 at 8:28
  • @John Clifford, that makes sense. I shouldn't try to answer questions unless I'm awake enough to read them carefully enough to catch all the details in the question. I used an answer partly because I didn't think I had space in a comment. I hope my edit to elaborate brings it up to a mostly complete answer. It may not be worth an upvote, but at least it's no longer worth a downvote. – Steve Mar 16 '16 at 8:50
  • The answer was flagged as low-quality because of length and content, but after the edit it appears to be fine, so I don't think I need to take any further action. - From Review – John Clifford Mar 16 '16 at 8:51
  • This is OP uenopanda. Thank you all for your inputs. They are very helpful indeed. Now that I understand the detailed meaning of this sort of expression, I have further question. If, one of the choices used in response is plural, do you still say "xxx it is." instead of "xxx they are."? Or in such case, do you say "xxx they are."? I have never encountered "xxx they are" response and I wonder that is because this "xxx it is" usages comes from cleft sentence "it is xxx that yyy." As for "a term for this specific type of SOV sentence," could you point out LGSWE or Quirk page where it is stated? – uenopanda Mar 16 '16 at 15:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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