When you’re trying to describe the fact that something is valuable enough or deserving of a certain amount of effort or cost, should you say “it worth it” or “it is worth it”?
The correct form of the sentence is always “it is worth it”, although you might also use a contraction in the phrase and say “it’s worth it”.
This is because you need to use the full form of the verb “to be” in the sentence before the adjective “worth”. Using the pronoun “it” by itself does not make a complete sentence, as there would be no verb to determine what is happening.
What Does “It Is Worth It” Mean In A Sentence?
To understand why this is the correct form to be using, we can break down its usage within a sentence.
When you use the phrase “it is worth it”, you are saying that there is a good reason to be doing something and it is deserving of whatever cost you are incurring. The “is” part of the sentence is your verb: the present form of the verb “to be”
- You should walk up to the lookout point to see the view, it is worth it!
To really see what is being said by this short phrase, we can substitute the pronouns in “it is worth it”. The phrase then becomes “the view is worth the walk”. Without the verb “is”, the phrase would be “the view worth the walk”, which simply does not make sense without the verb.
If we were to write the same sentence using the past form of the verb “to be”, it would look like this:
- I walked up to the lookout point to see the view, it was worth it!
Without the verb “is” or “was”, the phrase just does not work.
What Type Of Word Is Worth?
One of the reasons why people get caught out with a sentence like this is because “worth” is an interesting word that can be used in a number of different ways. There is even some debate about what kind of word it actually is!
“Worth” can be a noun with a similar meaning to “value”, as in:
- His net worth was over 20 million dollars.
In the phrase “it is worth it”, however, “worth” is not a noun. It is describing the value of something, in relation to something else.
Interestingly, some publications refer to the word as a preposition in this context (like Random House, Merriam-Webster, and Longman), while others define it as an adjective (including Oxford, Cambridge, and Collins).
Ultimately, however, whether it is a preposition or an adjective is purely academic because the grammar rules for the word do not change. You should always say “it is worth it” rather than “it worth it”.