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I read the following sentence in the book Word power made easy:

Charles C. Boycott was an English land agent whose difficult duty it was to collect high taxes from Irish farmers.

Is there a need for the it between duty and was?

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  • whose difficult duty it was to x is the same as whose difficult duty was collecting x – Lambie Aug 17 '18 at 12:50
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Both versions are grammatical. But perhaps slightly different in emphasis?

Charles C. Boycott was an English land agent whose difficult duty it was to collect high taxes from Irish farmers.

means

Charles C. Boycott was an English land agent. It was his difficult duty to collect high taxes from Irish farmers.

But

Charles C. Boycott was an English land agent whose difficult duty was to collect high taxes from Irish farmers.

means

Charles C. Boycott was an English land agent. His difficult duty was to collect high taxes from Irish farmers.

Both correct.

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    To me the difference between them is as follows: A, whose duty was to do X implies that X formed either the entirety of A's duty or the overwhelming majority of it whereas A, whose duty it was to do X implies that A had other duties and responsibilities as well as X. – BoldBen Aug 17 '18 at 14:58

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