Verhagen (2005, 2007) argues that in order to understand linguistic phenomena it is essential to consider the ability of human beings to engage in “deep cognitive coordination with others (2005: 4)”. That is to say, intersubjective interaction between the speaker and the hearer should be taken into account when linguistic expressions are analyzed. Incorporating this view, this paper analyses the use of two referring expressions in English, it and that, especially when they refer to clausal antecedents, events or propositions. It and that are often considered as belonging to different grammatical categories: it to personal pronouns and that to demonstratives. However, in many cases these two anaphoric expressions are interchangeable. The same antecedent can be referred to either by it or that without significant difference in meaning. On the other hand, there are many other cases where it and that are not interchangeable as follows:
Vivian: You know your foot’s as big as your arm from your elbow to your wrist? Did you know that/*it? (Pretty Woman)
The paper proposes the hypotheses based on Verhagen’s construal configuration, and it is shown how the hypotheses can account for the anomalous cases that were not able to be accounted for by previous theories.