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On a language exchange app, a non-English speaker wrote the following:

Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love it because it's tasty.

This sounds very wrong to me, but the person I'm debating with insists this is a valid usage of "it", despite the fact that it's not identifying a specific soda float.

If this person had written "Whenever I go to the cafe near my house, I order the soda float. I love it because it's delicious", I could understand the usage of "it".

Similarly, I could understand "Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. It's my favorite drink."

Is he wrong, or am I missing something? Thanks in advance!

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    I would say "Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love them because they're tasty."
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 1:03
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    Why do you think “It’s my favorite drink” is different than “I love it.”
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 1:11
  • Stuart F - That is actually how I corrected the sentence and it's what precipitated the debate. "Them" seems like not only the obvious choice, but the correct one as well.
    – TFlo83
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 1:26
  • Jim - Good question. I'm not necessarily suggesting that it's different, but rather that it feels less strange than the original sentence.
    – TFlo83
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 1:30
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    It's perfectly fine. It's the sort of thing people do all the time. Native speakers never heard of all the rules about inconsequential things in English like pronouns and tenses that get inflicted on English language learners, so they don't understand why you're asking the question. Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 2:37

1 Answer 1

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The first sentence has two objects: 'a cafe' and 'a soda float'. The second sentence is clearly referring to soda floats with the pronoun 'it', since presumably the store itself is not tasty. So the speaker is expressing their love for the soda floats ordered in cafes, not their love for a particular float they recall enjoying. Since soda floats are a plural category one should use the pronoun 'them' to refer to them. So an edited version might then be:

Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love them because they're tasty.

Still, I think this is inelegant. Since the soda float is the last object mentioned in the first sentence, and because it is the only one that may take the adjective 'tasty', it is clear that the pronoun of the second sentence must refer to the floats and not the cafes.

Imagine if the sentence went like this, though:

Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love them because they're relaxing.

Which is relaxing, the cafe or the drink? It is better to write in a way that makes it clear which pronouns refer to which nouns. Why not avoid the pronoun issue altogether?

Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love floats because they're tasty.

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  • So what you're saying is that it should say, "Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love them because they're delicious"?
    – TFlo83
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 1:32
  • Agreed. I actually corrected the sentence using "them" initially, but also felt that it was, as you say, inelegant. At any rate, as long as everyone agrees that "it" is not the correct pronoun, I'm satisfied. Thanks for the input.
    – TFlo83
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 2:42

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