it is what it is, Monty Python division

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Feb 25 16:09:27 UTC 2006

This "Miss Elk" skit was on the Graham Chapman retrospective I saw
this week.  I must not have been listening to this very carefully,
and less so to the repeat , when I missed it entirely.  I think now I
misheard "this is what it is" as "it is what it is".


At 2/25/2006 10:57 AM, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>Subject:      it is what it is, Monty Python division
>from All the Words, vol. 2, pp. 118-9:
>Miss Elk  Oh, what is my theory?
>Presenter  Yes.
>Miss Elk  Oh what is my theory that it is.  Well Chris you may well
>ask me what is my theory.
>Presenter  I _am_ asking.
>Miss Elk   Good for you.  My word yes.  Well Chris, what is it that
>it is -- this theory of mine.  Well, this is what it is -- my theory
>that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is mine.
>Presenter (beginning to show signs of exasperation)  Yes, I know it's
>yours, what is it?
>Miss Elk  Where?  Oh, what is my theory?  This is it.  (clears throat
>at some length)  My theory that belongs to me is as follows.  (clears
>throat at great length)  This is how it goes.  The next thing I'm
>going to say is my theory.  Ready?
>Presenter  Yes.
>Miss Elk  My theory by A. Elk.  Brackets Miss, brackets.  This theory
>goes as follows and begins now.  All brontosauruses are thin at one
>end, much much thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far
>end.  That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it,
>and what it is too.
>i don't see any occurrences of the formula "it is what it is" in
>there -- just literal "what it is".
>arnold (zwicky at
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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