Post by Jerry Friedman Post by email@example.com Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi,I would like to know what the *it* in the following passage refer to.
It’s very easy for humans to love domestic animals, who have
learned to live and play by human rules, but it’s much harder to
live together with the majority of animal species who don’t.
Those of us who live in wealthy countries make up a small fraction
of the world’s population, and we are incredibly fortunate to live
with an amazing array of animals and plants. We should never take
this for granted because *it* may not always be so. In theory,
when humans make conservation and environmental decisions
regarding nature, most people agree that animals must be factored
in; they are part of the equation. Yet, when profits are
compromised or people’s lives are affected or threatened, the
welfare of our fellow animals seems to count for nothing.
I wonder if "it" and the preceding "this" in " "We should never take
this for granted" refer to the same.
Sort of. I don't think it's very good writing. If you want to get
really technical, "this" stands for the array of animals and plants that
we live with or the fact that we live with them.
I say it has to be the fact, because to refer to the animals and
plants, you'd have to use "them".
If your parents are still alive, you're lucky; don't take them for
granted. -> them = the parents
If your parents are still alive, you're lucky; don't take this for
granted. -> this - the fact the parents are alive
Post by Jerry Friedman
"It" means something
like our living conditions. But as David Kleinecke said, they both just
refer vaguely to what the writer is writing about, namely biodiversity.
"It" is part of "it is so", therefore I say it vaguely refers to any
circumstances under discussion. In some cases, it could be the state of
the universe; here, the conditions mentioned before.
Post by Jerry Friedman
However, I'd write the whole thing differently. Maybe "We should never
take this diversity for granted, because we may not always have it."
I like that because it's more concrete.
If you kill one person, you go to jail; if you kill 20, you go
to an institution for the insane; if you kill 20,000, you get
political asylum. -- Reed Brody, special counsel
for prosecutions at Human Rights Watch