Context: suppose that I am looking at a family picture in an album in my friend’s house.

Who are they?

  1. It’s my family. (correct)
  2. That’s my family. (correct)
  3. This is my family. (wrong)
  4. They are my family. (correct)

Someone before told me that answer #3 is wrong. Do you agree? May I know why #3 cannot be a correct reply?

  • 5
    The person who told you that is simply wrong. May 17, 2022 at 11:03
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? When to use "this" or "that"? Also "This", "that" and "it" difference as asked on English Language Learners, in case this gets migrated to where it should have been posted. May 17, 2022 at 11:04
  • The words of #3 are not wrong, but something is off about This is my family at a friend's house. May 17, 2022 at 11:34
  • If you are looking at a photo album, it is presumably close to you, so it's fine to say "This [photo] is of my family". May 17, 2022 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


context: I'm looking at your family picture

Laurel inquires, "Who are they?"[Quoted]

Laurel inquired who they are. [Reported]

'Who are they?' - An interrogative sentence.

Wh- + an auxiliary verb (be) + subjective pronoun,

The answer would be, Subjective pronoun + verb (be) + object [Direct/Indirect]

i.e., They are my family.

Therefore, option 4 is right

We know, Family is a collective noun.

It could be treated as an individual unit or as a collective one.

Therefore, option 1 is right

since It [a subjective personal pronoun that agrees with singular verb]

We use the word 'this' to point out a person or an object which is close to you. On the other hand, 'that' is used to point out a person or an object which is farther from you.


Option 2 & 3 are right.

Thank you

  • Thank you very much. I have another question: Context: a friend is looking at someone else's family picture. Whose family is this? 1. It's my family. (correct) 2. That's my family. (correct) 3. This is my family. (wrong) Once a native English speaker said that #3 is not right. Do you agree with him? Do you agree that #3 is wrong? If yes, then why? Maybe the person who answers this question is near the photo and I feel that it's OK to use "this" here for "whose". What do you think? Thank you.
    – xiaoen
    May 17, 2022 at 15:15

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