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If you're afraid of something, it probably means you should do it.

I read the above sentence and was curious about the significance of the first'it'. Is it a placeholder 'it'?
The second 'it' definitely points to 'something'.

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    The first 'it' refers to 'being afraid of something' ('this' could be used instead). So, "Being afraid of something probably means you should do it." – Dan Aug 23 '17 at 10:27
  • But shouldn't the antecedent be absolutely available in the sentence before replacing it.? @Dan – iajnr Aug 23 '17 at 10:31
  • @Dan This sentence is picked from an HBO series 'Six Feet Under' so it could be grammatically incorrect. – iajnr Aug 23 '17 at 10:34
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    I'm not entirely clear what the problem is. Your sentence might be paraphrased (clumsily) as "If you're afraid of something then the condition of being afraid ('the first it') probably means that you should do it." – Dan Aug 23 '17 at 10:36
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    The phrase is entirely idiomatic as you write it. – Dan Aug 23 '17 at 10:37

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