phrase: What is it that ~

Hi, I have a question on the coversation below:

The answer is definitely 2. But my question is,

  1. Should “What in 2” be “Who”?
  2. Instead of “What are you looking for” or “Who are you looking for”, why do you use “what is it that~?” I’m curious.

Thank you in advance,


In that question it should be ‘who’.

‘Who or what is it you are looking for’ is just a more precise/exact way of saying ‘Who or what are you looking for?’. You would ask the question in the first example if you really want to find out exactly what the other person wanted to know. Possibly you have tried several times to get an answer from the other person.