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Are these sentences grammatically correct? (I feel as though "it" should refer to something in the first one.)

  1. It is certain that the weather will change.
  2. The weather is certain to change.

Thank you.

2 Answers 2

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I believe both are correct. The it in the first sentence is a placeholder for the statement avout the weather.

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  • What is associated with this downvote? Constructive criticsm is fine, but just a negative vote is not helpful? I've heard both sentences used before, and the only object in the first sentence is "the weather"... one of the uses of "it" is "used to refer to a thing previously mentioned or easily identified."
    – user58946
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 2:33
  • Probably because of the avoidable, incorrect reference to it. The it here is the existential it, not a pronoun "referring back" to a 'thing'. I'm saving my own down vote for later, though. Have fun!
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 7:36
  • @Kris Please see: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/it. The "existential usage", which is definition number 2, does not apply here. Certain is an adjective, while the existential is used for things like the example given in the dictionary "It is raining" (note, this is a complete sentence). "It is certain" cannot stand alone, because the reader will ask..."What is certain?". The answer? The weather. In existential "it" such a question does not make sense...there is no "what" to the "it" in "it is raining".
    – user58946
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 11:29
  • @Kris (con't) Here's a simpler example..."It is red." This sentence simply says something is red, not the existential state of "redness" being present in the world...at least that's how most people would read it. The antecedent could be from a preceding question like "What color is that car?" But in the poster's example, we have an obvious choice for what "It" refers to.
    – user58946
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 11:31
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    @Eupraxis1981: No. This is the existential it, and doesn't refer to the weather. It is closer to MW's definition 3, not 2.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 14:55
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Both are grammatical. It in the first sentence is sometimes called a ‘dummy’ it, because it doesn’t have an antecedent. It’s just there so that is can have a subject.

There isn’t much difference in meaning between the two, but they are rather artificial sentences, and, at least in conversation, a native speaker probably wouldn’t say either. More likely would be ‘Looks like the weather’s gonna change’ or ‘Don’t think this weather’s gonna last long.’

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