Actually, "Is it she?" is more grammatically correct than "Is it her?". It was not until about the 19th century that this form of question (and its counterpart statement "It is she.") began to shift in common use. Other responses on this post hint at this, and some people may consider the "Is it she?" form to be more "formal"; it's really just the historically correct form.
A question of the form "Is it X?" or statement "It is X." actually requires a noun in the nominative (subject) case, while "her", "him", "them", "me" are in the accusative (object) case. But in modern English, the personal pronoun is the only remaining noun with different nominative/accusative cases, so the rules have become relaxed over time.
Russian use of the (usually absent) copulative verb works the same way. This question is "Это она?" which uses the nominative case. It would be incorrect to ask "Это её?", using the accusative case.
This is why people still say things like, "It is I.", and "This is he." in English. In short: all combinations of "Is it/It is/Is this/This is" "she/her?" should be considered correct.
For a very detailed explanation, see this: http://www.alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxitsmev.html
I'm not an expert, by any means, but I think an "о" sounds more like the sound in "more", "oar", and words of that sort, where as "А" sounds like "Ah". Edit: I just found this in the tips & notes for Basics 1: " In Russian, unstressed syllables have vowels reduced:
А and О become the same uh-sound".
That's not entirely correct, I'm afraid.
"Этот" is exclusively the determiner 'this' used to qualify masculine nouns, and it cannot be used on its own as a demonstrative pronoun. In other words, it's 'this' in phrases like 'this man' or 'this ship' or 'this ocean' - it always needs a noun to govern. So saying "этот человек - мой друг" ('This man is my friend') is fine, but saying "Этот - мой друг" isn't.
Conversely, "это" is used both as the determiner 'this' for neuter nouns, and also as a demonstrative pronoun 'this'. Meaning either of these is fine:
1. "Это существо - мой друг" ('This creature is my friend') - here it's used as a determiner for the neuter-gender noun "существо".
2. "Это мой друг" ('This is my friend') - here it's used as a pronoun, acting as the subject of the sentence in its own right, without any nouns. This is common usage when you're introducing something or someone to someone else - you can think of "это" as a substitute for 'this thing here'.
I've been learning for a roughly 2 months but on and off and it's only now that I'm starting to look into detail with it and thank you for the great response!
You cannot say "Is it a she" in proper English grammar. That is slang for "Is it a girl or is it a female?" She is a pronoun used as the object of a verb. She runs, She is, she eats. Her is a pronoun used to identify a female previously mentioned. Where is Anna? Will you tell her I miss her?
You also cannot say, "Is it she?" even though that is the literal translation of the sentence. This is just not proper English in any format. The only correct translation of Это она? Is "Is it her?"
It's not a stupid question. This construction may look a bit confusing. However if you look closely you'll see that the Russian sentence is structured just like the English one.
Is it her? - Это она?
Just note that "это" is not masculine but neutral = "it". Masculine would be "этот".
I thought it was "Is she?" As in someone says бабушка жить вот Россия and you reply with "это она?" Silly i know, of course you know where babushka lives, but this was the example i came up with because im still a beginner lol. Would it be more proper to exclaim "Она это?" as in "She is?" Rather than "Is she?"
That is a great question, and I don't know if Duolingo addresses it. I'll do my best here.
Ignoring the questions begun by interrogative words (что, кто, как, когда, etc.), where the sentence can be close to monotone, there is a noticeable change of pitch in the stressed syllable of the word that is in question. Unlike Spanish, the pitch does not continue to rise toward the end of the sentence. In Russian, that would indicate confusion. Given the "she/her" conflict in the English of this thread's example, I'll use "у тебя есть собака?" instead.
If you hear "у тебя ЕСТЬ собака?", noting that only "есть" is risen in pitch, you are being asked whether or not you have a dog. Appropriate responses would be "да, есть" (yes, I have one) or "нет, нет" (no, I don't). Собака should be lower in pitch than у тебя.
If "у ТЕБЯ есть собака" is spoken, noting that only -я is actually risen in pitch, the question is if it is you that has the dog, or someone else. Responses would be "да, у меня" (yes, I do) or "нет, у его" (no, he does). "Есть собака" is a monotone lower than "у те-".
The final option, "у тебя есть СОБАКА?", asks if it is a dog that you have, or a different pet. The stress is really closer to со-БА-ка. Low-high-low(er), with "у тебя есть со-" as a monotone. You could respond with "да, у меня есть собака" or "нет, у меня есть кот".
Do you have a dog? Is it you that has a dog? Is it a dog that you have? У тебя есть собака? Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with Russian literature to say how their authors deal with this. Also, in looking back over this, English can do something similar. Do YOU have a dog? Do you HAVE a dog? Do you have a DOG? Although, the English stress changes seem to be with relation to the length of the word rather than the pitch. But, it's late for me. I need to go to bed. I hope I sufficiently answered your question.
I've never heard anyone say "Is it she?" but "Is it a she?" is correct. You usually say it when you are unsure of someone's gender. For example if someone shows you a picture of their Cat, you could say "Is it a she?" or is it a he?" you could also say "Is it a girl or a boy?"
This phrase is used quite often when somebody tries to recognize some concrete woman among other women. Don't forget also that all objects in Russian have gender so the same phrase could mean not only a woman but a shirt (рубашка - она, feminine) for example or exhibition (выставка).
Here is a simple situatuion. Man says to his wife that he cannot find his blue shirt which was presented him by his father (some specific shirt). Wife founds a blue shirt but not sure if it was the shirt that he meant. So she asks: "Это она?" Her husband answers: "Да, она!"
Like most languages, but unlike modern French and contemporary English, Russian uses the nominative predicate. That is, when you're saying what something is rather than what something does to something else, then the second thing is still the subject of the sentence and so is still in the nominative case.
It does, but this sounds weird to us because English has changed so that we say "Is it her?" rather that "Is it she?", which - grammatically speaking - is how it's technically supposed to be.
"I am" or "She is" is supposed to be followed with the nominative case, as in the German "ich bin ein Mann" rather than "ich bin einen Mann".