Do the following sentences make sense and are they used commonly?

1) Listen to it rain. 2) Look at it snow.

  • 1
    What exactly is your concern? Is there a word that bothers you? Yes, those phrases make sense and are used.
    – Nicole
    Apr 23, 2015 at 2:37
  • 1
    The use of "it" like that is likely confusing to someone learning English. But those are perfectly valid English sentences.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 23, 2015 at 2:59
  • How about the following? 1) Listen to it raining. 2) Look at it snowing.
    – user49638
    Apr 23, 2015 at 3:46
  • Yup, "Watch it snow" and "Watch it snowing" are equivalent and equally acceptable sentences. Strange, though, that you can say, "it is snowing", but not "it is snow" (that would mean that thing over there, the pile of white stuff, is snow). Apr 23, 2015 at 4:14
  • (1) Sense verbs like listen and look can take either infinitives without to -- listen to it rain or gerunds -- listen to it raining. (2) The weather verbs rain, snow, hail, etc. have dummy it subjects. Apr 23, 2015 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


I am not sure I understand the question, but perhaps this will answer it:

Definitions for it in my Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary include:

2a used as an expletive subject of an impersonal verb that expresses a simple condition or an action without implied reference to an agent about the weather ... or time.

It is raining or It is two o'clock are examples of 2a.


Yes, both phrases are common (at least in New England, where snow is common. Not so much in Florida.) The distinction is that a heavy rain is distinctly audible, particularly on a hard surface such as a roof, while snow falling is essentially silent, so one looks at snow and listens to rain.

Also, individual snowflakes are larger and more visible than raindrops, and fall quite slowly, while raindrops fall quite quickly and are hard to see.

  • Of course when it does snow in Florida, people are more likely to make a big deal out of watching or looking at it.
    – pazzo
    Apr 23, 2015 at 3:46

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