Is it yours or is this yours? These two questions are easily confused in English. They're very similar to it's easy to see why they pose much confusion. In this quick lesson I hope to clarify the different between these two questions. The differences are very subtle, as you will see. An example like this highlights the nuances of the English language.
While you might hear and use “is THIS yours” more frequently, there are some use cases for “is it yours?” This is more likely, and it’s what we call more probable language.
When you are pointing something out or holding something up, you’ll say is THIS yours? You’re not voicing the subject in question, you’re only non-verbally pointing it out. And when you do you can accompany that motioning with “is THIS yours?”.
(Hold up a pen) Is this yours?
This is my pen.
(Hold up some sunglasses) Are these yours? (as in “Are these sunglasses yours?” )
These are my sunglasses! They're not yours. You pair is in your closet upstairs.
(You are holding up a glass of water) Is this yours or mine?
Oh, this is my water. This is mine, not yours.
No, this is not mine. This is yours.
When could you use “is it yours”?
When someone asks a deliberate question with the subject already voiced. Meaning, we have a shared understanding of what we are talking about.
For example, if we ordered a pizza and everyone has a slice but the plates got all mixed up, we might ask:
Who’s pizza is this?
We could also say: Whose is it?
Another way to ask this question could be “Is it yours?” as in “is it your (slice of) pizza?”
Is this your glass or mine? Is it mine or yours? Because you could say yes it’s mine or no, its yours. But if you don’t voice the subject, and just hold up the glass and motion to it, then you’d say “Is this yours?”
Whose pen is this? Is it yours or mine?
This is my pen.
This is not my pen. This is your pen.
Watch this as many times as necessary so that it sticks :) With practice you’ll get there!
Ah, the nuances of the English language :)