on behalf of a researcher

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Feb 16 23:58:03 UTC 2006

here's what i said to aaron britt:

i would normally understand it to be conveying that there's nothing
more in it (whatever it is) than appears on the surface; you
shouldn't expect more.  so i might say of a piece of software, "it is
what it is", meaning that i does what it purports to do, even though
there might be a lot of other things you wished it would do.

probably, in the right context it could convey that things aren't
going to change; there's no sense in trying to change it.

my undergraduate research assistant offers a third, related,
possibility: there's no point in trying to explain it; it just is
what it is.

googling on "it is what it is" turns up a big pile of stuff.

as for paraphrases, i had no great inspiration.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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