This is a tribute to all of the people who hand me papers filled with the word it and give me a face when I tell them that all of the its must GO! Not later, right NOW! The its must go.
What is it?
It is what it is.
Unless it is undefined, defined poorly, or subject to interpretation. Then it can be anything it wants. A writer does not want readers to guess what it is. They want readers to know what it is and when it is there readers have to do some interpretation of it and that is not something you want. Some readers will get it right. Others will get it wrong.
What was it in the first place?
Why not write out what it was?
Is writing it really saving you that much time?
If you are writing it you may as well write out what it is, think of the word count you could have if instead of it you wrote out what it was? Think about the gloriousness of your writing if it was relegated the language trash bin where it should go.
Live by the it, die by the it or so it should be and I guarantee that it sounds better in the original Klingon.
yIn ‘oH, Hegh ‘oH-thank you Bing Translator
Yet for all that I despise seeing it on the paper I cannot help but admire it. It is simple. It is clean. It is tiny. It is cute. It really is where it is at. And yet, people do not know how to use it and when they do not use it right that is when it goes wrong. Nothing worse than a wrong it. It could have been this or it could have been that. We will never know because now it is a this or that. This or that are bastards sneaking into sentences and paragraphs, lurking there for the unsuspecting to find them.
Not it. It stands out and demands your attention. It is an attention whore. Oh, there you are it. Now what do you mean. What are you referring to you tarted up two-letter word. That’s not fair to all its, some its are well dressed, ready to go, and in the right place at the right time. Thus, I amend my statement that to me all its are two-lettered attention whores until I figure out what it is.
How long I spend figuring out what it is determines how much I despise it and then how much I have to say to the author of it. It should not be there. There are perfectly good words; words that have heft, that have weight, that roll off the tongue. Not like it which is often followed by spittle or a sour face like your word hole is gotten something sour or rotten stuck in it and must force it out with all due expediency.
And that is what it really is all about, expediency. I could have written, “And that is what really is all about, it,” but I did not I used a word. A beautiful word giving the sentence meaning without all of the searching for what does it refer to.
Don’t be an it, stop using it, and it will stop using you.