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4
votes
3answers
223 views

Personal pronoun - Using 'it' when introducing a person

On the NPR radio program Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/) Peter Sagal introduces the week's panelists using 'it's,' as in "She'll be performing Friday at ...
45
votes
7answers
6k views

Is “Is it a girl or a boy?” really calling the infant an “it”?

So, my boss comes in, railing that "English is a stupid language!" Since this is pretty much a thrice-weekly occurrence 'round these parts, I barely raised an eyebrow, and waited for him to continue. ...
1
vote
3answers
207 views

“I like it that” vs. “I like that”

I want to express the following: You are blaming me for your lack of concern and I like that (in a sarcastic way). Which one of the following sentences would be correct? I like it that your ...
25
votes
7answers
2k views

Why “it’s turtles” not “they are turtles”

It is a third person singular and is used to refer to a thing. If that’s the case, then why do we say: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Inexplicable 'it'

I have myself used and been OK with it in sentences like: What is it that you're doing? What is it that it means? But now I can't quite understand why it is necessary here. Also a ...
1
vote
2answers
479 views

“Something suffices the condition that” vs. “it suffices that something”

In a book I am reading there is a sentence: Our initial version of Cauchy's theorem begins with the observation that it suffices that f(z) [a function] have a primitive in a region Ω In ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

“I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed”

Because I am still in New Haven, I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed. What is the correct way of saying this? I am curious as to with or without it, and would be versus ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

“I hate when…” vs “I hate it when…”

Growing up in Australia (and with an English mother) we would say "I hate it when " It seems, based on TV and movies, that in the USA it's more common to say "I hate when " The two phrases mean the ...
0
votes
4answers
114 views

“Makes them difficult to simulate” vs “makes it difficult to simulate them”

Which statement is correct? The complexity of these systems makes them difficult to simulate on computers. The complexity of these systems makes it difficult to simulate them on computers. ...
1
vote
2answers
17k views

“What day is it today?” vs. “What day is today?”

Which of the following is grammatical? What date/day is it today? What date/day is today?
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Grammaticality of “Is it today that…”

I would like to know if it is grammatically correct to ask the question, "Is it today that you are going to town?" My concern is specifically the "Is it" part.
4
votes
2answers
2k views

When is (it) a good time to call you?

When is it a good time to call you? When is a good time to call you? Everybody tells me that both are correct. What is the exact grammatical difference?
3
votes
2answers
103 views

“Make easy” vs. “make it easy” [closed]

I need to know which of these options is the correct one and why: The Spanish cooking makes it easy to have a nice meal. The Spanish cooking makes easy to have a nice meal. I don't know ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“It was my birthday yesterday” vs. “My birthday was yesterday”

Is there a difference between the following sentences? It was my birthday yesterday. My birthday was yesterday. When should I use "it was something yesterday/a few days ago/..." and when ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

“As is customary” vs. “as it is customary”

I more often see the first version being used, but to me, that doesn't sound right because I can't see the subject there. I would definitely use the second one. What am I missing here? Update: ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

How to avoiding starting with “it is”? [closed]

I have a sentence fragment I must make into a sentence: Late August at the Los Angeles Zoo. I use this sentence to begin a story. I really do not want to use “it is” though, because “it is” ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

“A guy whose job is to” vs “a guy whose job it is to”?

I've been hearing the phrase "whose job it is to" quite often lately. Consider these two sentences: We have a guy whose job is to clean windows. We have a guy whose job it is to clean ...
30
votes
10answers
7k views

What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”?

I wanted to leave the question title as is so as not to take away from my amusement :). Anyway, It's raining. What is raining? Is it the sky? The clouds? The weather? The rain? What is "it"? ...
5
votes
2answers
936 views

Omitting “is”, like in “I think it strange”

What is the grammar behind the construction "I think it strange/necessary that ...", and when can and cannot this apparent omission of the copula be used? Do we always need the "that" clause? Also, ...
3
votes
4answers
591 views

Avoiding “existential it” while referring to a past event?

I know the use of "existential it" is frowned upon, but I'm not entirely sure how to rephrase the following sentence to remove it: It is hard to tell what would have occurred if the battle had ...
1
vote
2answers
678 views

“It’s the height of the season”?

The question is from the transcript of a podcast: Mmmm, blueberries. It’s the height of the season, and I’ve been tossing a handful onto cereal, into pancakes or just straight into my mouth. I ...
4
votes
2answers
347 views

What do ‘it’ ‘on’ ‘off’ mean in “it’ll be on with the old Invisibility Cloak and off to find out what he’s –“

I have trouble understanding the bold part. Harry has a magical map by which he can see where others are. He is looking at the map and paying attention to his enemy schoolboy, Malfoy. ”Well, I’m ...
3
votes
3answers
998 views

Ambiguous use of infinitive after “It's needed”

After writing this sentence, I found myself thinking that its meaning may be a little confusing to other people: It’s needed to make clear some issues regarding absences. I used the phrase to ...
3
votes
4answers
288 views

It is an existential question

A question on another site asks, I have a laptop ... Now I am trying to install Windows 7 and it shows a message saying "Driver not found". Whereupon a commenter asks, What is the "it" that shows ...
2
votes
3answers
103 views

The general 'it' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”? Whence the “it” in “I like it here”? What is the grammatical term for ...
9
votes
2answers
799 views

Whence the “it” in “I like it here”?

What is the origin of the use of the object (it) in the following sentences, and what is its purpose? I like it here! and Did you like it there? In essence, the things we are saying we ...
1
vote
2answers
779 views

Is “it makes it easy to do …” good English?

There are two "it"s in this sentence, but they refer to different things. Is this considered good English? If not, what's a better way to express the same meaning?