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I've always heard こいつ refer to a person. (That guy!) However, in my JLPT Reading workbook there is a line where it refers to a situation. The explanation says:

「こいつ」が状況を表し....ことに気づくこと。

It goes on to say two of the answers were wrong because they referred to people.

I got the answer correct because it "felt right", but I really don't understand the explanation. Is this a different こいつ? Is this a common usage of it?

The passage is about a group that got lost in the woods picking mushrooms. The narrator climbs a tree to find the way back.

*こいつ*はまずいと思って、俺はナラの大木に登って....

The question and answer are:

こいつ」とは何を指すか。

〇 変な場所にいるわたしたち

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@Dave: I hesitated to take out the middle of the sentence. I didn't want to confuse people and also didn't want to add extraneous information that would also confuse the question. In the dots are "....「まずい」がよくないという意味であることに....". And I also thought that about it still having to do with people in the end. –  silvermaple Jul 21 '12 at 5:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

こいつ as well as これ can be used to refer to a situation, and you can rephrase the line as 「これはまずいと思って、俺はナラの大木に登って・・・」. こいつ sounds more colloquial, blunter and maybe more masculine than これ. 岩波国語辞典 states "こいつ = このやつ。「これ」の乱暴な言い方。「こやつ」の転。".

岩波国語辞典 also states "これ ②今話題になっている物・事をさす語。「一夜のうちに大木になった。おじいさんはこれを見て驚いた。」"

(Btw, I think the answer to「こいつ」とは何を指すか should have been written as more like 「わたしたちが変な場所にいること」.)

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I agree, the answer “変な場所にいるわたしたち” is incorrect, although it could be less incorrect (?) than the other options which are not shown in the question. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 21 '12 at 11:43

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