The sentence was written in a conclusion and the topic is about simple ways to keep healthy.

"By taking it one step at a time, you'll be on your way to a more fulfilling life in no time."

Does it sound more natural to leave "it" out?

  • 2
    Sometimes it's more natural to leave "it" out, sometimes it's more natural to have "it" there. You can take "it" or leave "it".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 2:34
  • 1
    (To know whether to use "it" or not, you have to consider whether there is an "it". "It" may be "life" or getting out of debt or some such. But if, say, putting together an IKEA bookcase, one just follows the instructions one step at a time -- there is no "it", really.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


The difference is small, however I would suggest the following nuances:

  1. Taking it one step at a time would be a reference to the general mindset of the person. For example, it would suggest making small changes, but does not preclude the possibility of taking several of the suggested measures simultaneously.

  2. Taking one step at a time would be to adopt only one of the suggested measures at a time, and conquer it before moving on to the next. But contrary to the first, it does not suggest a laid-back mindset. The reader could be an aggressive health nutter and still fulfil this condition as long as they only looked to change one thing at a time.


Either way is fine.

The "it" seems to refer to the changes in lifestyle you need to keep healthy, which can feel radical to some.

  • Thank you for your reply. I agree with you the "it" means the changes in lifestyle. So I assumed it here is referring to the mentioned above as a whole, rather than being a pronoun. Otherwise since changes are plural, will it be gramatically correct to rewrite as "By taking them one step at a time"?
    – Kuo Mel
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 2:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.