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In a worksheet we had the statement "I love it here. Let's return next year." A student asked what "it" refers to and I'm not exactly sure myself. Is the "it" here a kind of dummy it?

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    It's a dummy object inserted because love requires one. This happens with some verbs that refer to emotions but are transitive, like hate, like, love, etc. – John Lawler Sep 4 at 14:24
  • @John what would a non-transitive emotional verb be? – marcellothearcane Sep 4 at 16:03
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    "I worried." "He pined." – Eureka Sep 4 at 18:08
  • Although you can add objects with a prepositional phrase: "I worry about dying", "the parrot is pining for the fjords". – Barmar Sep 4 at 23:27
  • And "worried" can also be transitive by itself: "I worried my mother". – Barmar Sep 4 at 23:27
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Doesn't "it" represent "the experience of being", or just "being"? I think it is subtly distinct from loving the place in the abstract, which could be for other reasons.

"I like America. Its trade war against China has weakened the Chinese currency, making Chinese goods cheaper for my family in the UK. I don't like it in America, though. Guns make me anxious."

"Oh, I got used to the guns: I love it here!"

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