I found this sentence on a book. As I feel the part, 'having me for a brother' describes the pronoun, 'it', not 'she'. Shouldn't the sentence start with 'she'?


It in this sentence is a dummy subject, only a placeholder for the real subject that comes later in the clause: having me for a brother.

Every English sentence except for imperatives (Visit us often!) must have an explicit subject.

It's hot today. It's snowing in Aspen. It was raining hard when we left.

A dummy subject can also be used to change the topicality — what's important to the speaker — by reordering the sentence:

But it was my car he wrecked, not yours.

The speaker wishes to stress whose car was wrecked, i.e., the direct object, by placing it first, not the subject he.

Now your example sentence pulls a few tricks to show what's important to the brother. The order chosen is likely designed to elicit an emotional response.

Normal word order for your sentence in active voice would be:

Having me for a brother embarrasses her.

The speaker can give the sister more importance by using a passive construction:

She is embarrassed [by] having me for a brother.

The speaker can also stress the sister's embarrassment instead of the sister herself:

It is embarrassing for her, having me for a brother.

I would suggest that most would respond to the first two examples by wondering why the sister found her brother so embarrassing. The third sentence, however, is likely to elicit sympathy for the brother.


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