Several it(s) referring to different things: Poor style?


To asks my question I’ll write an artificial example:

If you happen to find out a rare (postage) stamp in your family archive, what would you exchange it for and how would you do it?

As you can see, my sentence contains two its each of which refers to different things.

I quite often meet sentences of such kind in English texts.
Generally, the meaning is clear, but to me it requires some additional efforts to understand of what the second (third, fourth,… :)) it refers to.

How does that its sound/look to you? Normal?
Or such style leaves much to be desired? :slight_smile:

Hi Tamara,

Yes, there could be some confusion in you sentence if you were looking for it but I think that’s looking for trouble. To satisfy the nickpicker, the easiest thing is to make the second it a this.

Talking of nitpicking I would say you should use discover rather than find out.


Hi Alan

Thank you.
(The only tiny uncertainty is: what would happen (if anything) if I use ‘that’, not ‘this’.)

…Yes, you’re right, in this case I sought troubles having intentionally modelled ‘the problem’.
As one of the famous Russian commanders (of XVIII) said:
“Difficult on drill - easy on the march.” :slight_smile: