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 same thing, but the word "hate" is used slightly differently; one seems directed (they hate the bad thing) where the other describes the emotion.

Is one more correct, or is it just a case of common usage?

Is it related that I find the phrase "write me" or "I'll write you" odd? We tend to say "write to me" or "I'll write to you". Though we do say "[phone|email|text] me" not "[phone|email|text] to me"

  • To add to the consensus forming in the answers, I also hear "I hate it when" more than "I hate when" in the US.
    – MrHen
    Mar 29, 2011 at 15:24
  • baralong, you seem to have answered your own question when you wrote in the USA it's more common to say "I hate when ". It seems that it is a difference in American English.
    – Tristan
    Oct 19, 2013 at 16:04

5 Answers 5


I hate it when he does that.

I hate when he does that.

This is very common (22.8 million Google hits for “I hate when” this morning). It is informal and maybe not completely standard English.

As you note, whether it is present or dropped does not affect the meaning.

The verb hate in this case is still transitive. The phrase when he does that serves as the direct object of hate.

This quirk isn’t specific to the verb hate. There are 21.4 million hits for “I love when”, and I found these too:

Like any small boy, he resents when his mother shows him too much affection in public...

While it’s great to see any old horror movie projected in glorious 35mm, I really dig when it’s a movie that’s never been released on DVD.

I like when my scissors glide through the paper so I don't have to cut.

Is it related that I find the phrase "write me" or "I'll write you" odd?

No, this is standard, and it seems more verb-specific to me than the I hate when construction. Oxford Dictionaries Online gives this example:

Mother wrote me and told me about poor Simon's death.

There might be many other verbs that do this. The one that comes to mind right now is tell:

She told me a long story. (recipient is indirect object; story is direct object)

She told a long story. (story is direct object; recipient omitted)

She told me. (recipient is indirect object; story omitted)

Clearly many verbs that can take an indirect object don’t work this way (give, get, read, hand, bake).


"I hate when" and "I hate it when" mean the same thing. Hate is a transitive verb in pretty much all scenarios, so in both cases the hate is directed.

The objective of the speaker is to say what he or she hates, not that he or she hates (see how when there is no object the sentence sounds unfinished?).


I've always worked under the assumption that, in both cases, the hate was direction towards the situation. "I hate when blah happens", or "I hate it [it being the situation being described] when blah happens".

Upon contemplation, however, "I hate when" is describing a cource of action, the same has "I cry when" or "I laugh when", whereas "I hate it when" describes a transition in emotional state.


I think this is more a matter of mumbling or the 't' of 'hate' swallowing the 'it', than leaving 'it' out explicitly. I (AmE) don't not hear 'it' ('it' may not be articulated well enough to produce a change in the airwaves reaching the ear), but it sounds like it is there.

If an AmE speaker said 'I hate when...' clearly and distinctly, it would sound really wrong to me ('hate' doesn't feel intransitive at all).

  • I have no idea what this answer is trying to say. I think the "don't not hear it it" lost me.
    – MrHen
    Mar 29, 2011 at 15:22
  • @MrHen: Please pardon my inarticulation. I am using a double negative purposefully to mean they may not actually hear anything like 'it' in the utterance (the sounds waves didn't include it), but they'll mentally reconstruct hearing the sound (so that they think they heard it because it was expected). And when I say 'they' I mean 'me' with the (questionable) expectation that I am generic enough. I'll edit slightly to help.
    – Mitch
    Mar 29, 2011 at 16:11
  • I don't think mumbling can account for how common "I hate when" is on the Web, though. It is apparently more common than "all your base" (though certainly that doesn't make either one standard). Mar 29, 2011 at 17:15
  • @Jason: Oh. You're using actual data. Hm...then maybe I'm just not aware of that change.
    – Mitch
    Mar 29, 2011 at 18:07

I think American english misses out the 'it'/'to' - British English (and probably Australian and Canadian) include it.

I suppose that since phone/email/text were more common in America first that has become the standard without us noticing.

  • 2
    Americans usually say the it/to. We sometimes omit it. Mar 29, 2011 at 15:14

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