Is it possible to use "... it is, then" with plural nouns?

Example: "Apples or pears?"
"Apples it is, then."

  • 14
    Perfectly ordinary. The subject is it, the verb agrees with it, and all's well with the world. Oct 2, 2023 at 15:12
  • Probably close enough to be a duplicate: Here's + plurality question ("Here's Pete and Jill" / "There's a pub, a railway station and a shop in my village" / "It's us"). Oct 2, 2023 at 16:09
  • Note that after "Are those apples or pears?" ..."Good question. They're Pyrus pyrifolia!" it's quite acceptable to answer "Ah. Pears they are, then." Here, 'they' is clearly referential. Oct 2, 2023 at 16:23
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth That is not the same question. Yes, and there is still a choice.
    – Lambie
    Oct 2, 2023 at 17:17
  • 1
    @Edwin: No, it's not close at all. Your examples can be restated in the plural without changing the meaning: "Here are Pete and Jill" etc. But the OP's example can't: "Apples they are, then" means something quite different.
    – TonyK
    Oct 2, 2023 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


Context: Spoken language used in response to being told some other choice is not available or not germane to a situation.

Person 1: "I would really like to buy pears for pie as well."
Person 2 "Well, sir, we have no more pears and won't for another ten days."
Person 1: "Apples, it is then".

This is for speech. "it" here is a dummy pronoun.

A dummy pronoun is a deictic pronoun that fulfills a syntactical requirement without providing a contextually explicit meaning of its referent.

dummy pronoun

  • 3
    @GeoffAtkins It could be any manner of uncountable noun: Coffee, it is then. [as opposed to, say, tea]
    – Lambie
    Oct 2, 2023 at 19:31
  • 1
    @GeoffAtkins "An apple it is, then"? Oct 3, 2023 at 0:18
  • 22
    I don't think the comma would be used where you put it there. I would write it as "Apples it is, then."
    – Hearth
    Oct 3, 2023 at 0:53
  • 4
    Someone tried to edit this and take out well, sir as that person edited "for inclusive language". Unbelievable.
    – Lambie
    Oct 3, 2023 at 15:04
  • 4
    @lambie unfortunately it's very believable.
    – barbecue
    Oct 3, 2023 at 17:30

Is it possible to use "... it is, then" with plural nouns?

The example you give is somewhat idiomatic English. The "it" pronoun refers not to the apples, but to the chosen option.

"[Is your choice] apples or pears?" (implicitly asking to choose exactly one of the options)

"[I choose] Apples [from the options presented]."

"Apples it is, then."

So the referent of "it" is "your single option, from what was options were available". Hence, regardless of whether it's one apple or many apples, the option chosen is a singular noun; and so, "it" is appropriate.

In the dialogue, the plurality of "apples" and "pears" never matters, because the pronoun doesn't refer to them.

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