In this report news, there is a sentence about ports:
Seven Chinese ports made it into the top 10 ports in the world in terms of container throughput in 2018.
Why "it" is used? Should we use "them" because "ports" is plural?
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
To make it is an idiomatic expression meaning, as Macmillan has it,
to succeed in a particular activity
The "it" does not refer to the subject, but to the fact of some achievement, milestone, or cutoff being met. This may be compared with other uses of make meaning to attain an objective, like making a deadline or making the team. According to the OED, these uses are derived from the nautical sense of make it meaning to reach a certain place or cover an intended distance successfully.