Questions tagged [dummy-it]

The expletive or pleonastic "it" used because a noun or pronoun is required syntactically but which itself has no explicit meaning or reference.

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The identifying properties of "it/that" against the question of "who" [duplicate]

When I ask the question "who broke the bike?" and I respond with "it was Jane", is the word 'it' a pronoun identifying Jane? My understanding is that 'it' is referring to "the ...
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reversing extraposition

Let’s as­sume we have this sen­tence: It was the in­ven­tion of the hand-held cal­cu­la­tor that pro­vided the orig­i­nal tech­nol­ogy for the present gen­er­a­tion of small but pow­er­ful com­put­...
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Question on the verb 'be' in it-clefts

This question is concerned with it-clefts: It was for this reason that he went to the shop. It was Jim who broke the car, not I/me. It was with great reluctance that he accepted her invitation. Thus ...
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What is the grammatical explanation for an 'It looks like ...' clause? (dummy subjects)

Recently, I have been trying to understand the nuances of language to turn myself into a better writer. This has led me to the 'dummy subject' or 'dummy pronoun.' I am clear on the function of 'there,'...
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” 'it' was him”. Why do we use 'it' when referring to a person by this object pronoun (him)? [duplicate]

Why do we use IT together with HIM? Isn't IT only for non-people?
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Is there a linguistic reason why we sometimes use a singular pronoun and verb even when it refers to a plural subject? [duplicate]

Here is the exact quote from Why is a Red Herring Red? by Mitchell Symons (2020): Consequently, when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.
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"it" as a true/logical subject or preparatory subject

I have a difficult time to analyse "it" as the true/logical subject or preparatory subject in a article, like this sentence: In rejecting probability, and the larger area of mathematical ...
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Should "it/this" always refer to a specific noun? [duplicate]

I have a paragraph starting with the below sentence. "it" is not referring to any specific noun. Is there any problem with that? It has been estimated that health care costs accounted for ...
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omission of semantic subject

Toni Morrison began writing when she was in college, but she did not produce anything good enough to publish for many years. Her troubled marriage, divorce, and life as a single mother made it even ...
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What's the underlying grammatical structure of this sentence with three instances of "it" and two of "being"?

I just encountered the following sentence in The Oxford Guide to Style (p. 161) and could not figure out its structure: Since it⁽¹⁾ is being presented as a direct quotation it⁽²⁾ is treated as one, ...
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Using "it was" twice with "as if"

This sentence is from English Grammar Today by the Cambridge Dictionary: The floods were rising and it was as if it was the end of the world. My question is why should it was be there twice in ...
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What is the antecedent in this passage?

sample taken from a Toefl exam Just as painted designs on Greek pots may seem today to be purely decorative, whereas in fact they were carefully and precisely worked out so that at the time, [sic] ...
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2 answers
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What is the subject in the given sentence?

It's not easy to do the right thing. What is the subject in the given sentence? I don't think it's obvious in this sentence. I was taught that subject is something, that performs the verb. But I don'...
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"I found it a strain having to concentrate for so long." Why does this sentence use 'having'?

I read below sentence. I found it a strain having to concentrate for so long. I guess this sentence means 'I got pressure that I can't give all my attention for long hours'. My question is why ...
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"Git 'er done"—use of "her" as dummy subject

This site has a number of questions and answers (e.g. this question) on the use of the third-person feminine pronoun ("she" or "her") as a substitute for specific things like ships and hurricanes and ...
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"Whose duty was" vs. "whose duty it was"

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 ...
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'were there in the area' or 'were in the area'

I know that 'there' in the beginning of a sentence is called dummy subject but can it also be used somewhere else in the sentence? I came across this sentence "As the reports confirm that armed ...
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What is "it" in the following sentence: It is clear that Bob likes doughnuts

I am very confused. Unless I am mistaken, I know "it" has to be a noun of some sort, but I am unable to figure out what noun "it" is referring to. What is "it" in the following sentence: It is ...
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Dropping "it" in America

Before I embraced descriptive grammar it would really grind my gears when I heard, usually from someone with a US American accent, phrases like "I hate when that happens". "Hate is a transitive verb!" ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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"As becomes obvious" or "As it becomes obvious"?

An essay of mine has been corrected so that my original sentence: As it becomes obvious, going to the market has not been my favorite thing to do. becomes: As becomes obvious, going to the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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"It's cold outside" vs. "There is cold outside"

Why don't we use "there is" when we're talking about cold outside? What is the difference in meaning between "it's cold outside" and "there is cold outside"? Update. Let me explain my question a bit....
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Can dummy "it" occur as possessive "its"?

I don't want to get too bogged down in exactly what constitutes a dummy pronoun usage (personally, I'd include things like Who's there? It's John, even if not everyone else does). But on this recent ...
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When was "it" first used in weather sentences? [duplicate]

It is raining. It's a sunny day. I hate it when it rains. I'm prepared if it snows. It can be mighty cold at night! ... etc. My questions: When did English speakers start using "it"...
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Difference between "My" and "Of mine"

What is the difference between saying "a friend of mine once gave me a gift", and "my friend once gave me a gift". If there even is a difference of course.
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"There's no point" vs. "it's no point"

I came across this English test question: You aren't allowed to use your mobile so ________. it's no point in leaving it on [my answer] there's no point in leaving it on [correct ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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Can "it" be used with plural subject?

Several years ago I heard of something called dummy subjects in high school. It was then stated that, for example, it is a dummy subject when it starts many instances of sentences, e.g. It is ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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What is the meaning of "it is to..." [closed]

What is the meaning of it is to in the following: It is to the Director [of Central Intelligence] that the assistant first turns to learn the facts in a crisis and for analysis of events, and since ...
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Should we say "they are high enough as they are" or "they are high enough as it is."?

I've heard on TV: "We really hope property taxes won't be increased; they are high enough as they are." Would it be ungrammatical to say "...they are high enough as it is."?
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Finding the extraposed subject in "It is plain to see that you don't like dogs."

It is plain to see that you don't like dogs. Here, what does it refer to? To see that you don't like dogs or that you don't like dogs? If it refers to the former, then the sentence means: To see ...
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Is the phrase "There are many hungers it is better to deny than to feed" correct?

The "it is" seems out of place to me. I'd rather have it written as "There are many hungers that/which are better to deny than to feed".
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Personal pronoun - Using 'it' when introducing a person

On the NPR radio program Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/) Peter Sagal introduces the week's panelists using 'it's,' as in "She'll be performing Friday at ...
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Is "Is it a girl or a boy?" really calling the infant an "it"?

So, my boss comes in, railing that "English is a stupid language!" Since this is pretty much a thrice-weekly occurrence 'round these parts, I barely raised an eyebrow, and waited for him to continue. ...
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Inexplicable 'it'

I have myself used and been OK with it in sentences like: What is it that you're doing? What is it that it means? But now I can't quite understand why it is necessary here. Also a very ...
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"I like it that" vs. "I like that"

I want to express the following: You are blaming me for your lack of concern and I like that (in a sarcastic way). Which one of the following sentences would be correct? I like it that your ...
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What grammar does ‘it’ in: “It's Amy” fall under?

Q: Who is in the room? A: (1) Is Amy (2) It's Amy (3) Amy is (4) Amy Please explain the reason why each answer is right/wrong. I normally answer with (2), but however, the proper answer according ...
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"Makes them difficult to simulate" vs "makes it difficult to simulate them"

Which statement is correct? The complexity of these systems makes them difficult to simulate on computers. The complexity of these systems makes it difficult to simulate them on computers.
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Grammaticality of "Is it today that..."

I would like to know if it is grammatically correct to ask the question, "Is it today that you are going to town?" My concern is specifically the "Is it" part.
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8 votes
2 answers
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When is (it) a good time to call you?

When is it a good time to call you? When is a good time to call you? Everybody tells me that both are correct. What is the exact grammatical difference?
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"Make easy" vs. "make it easy" [closed]

I need to know which of these options is the correct one and why: The Spanish cooking makes it easy to have a nice meal. The Spanish cooking makes easy to have a nice meal. I don't know if ...
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"Something suffices the condition that" vs. "it suffices that something"

In a book I am reading there is a sentence: Our initial version of Cauchy's theorem begins with the observation that it suffices that f(z) [a function] have a primitive in a region Ω In this ...
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3 answers
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"It was my birthday yesterday" vs. "My birthday was yesterday"

Is there a difference between the following sentences? It was my birthday yesterday. My birthday was yesterday. When should I use "it was something yesterday/a few days ago/..." and when ...
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2 answers
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"As is customary" vs. "as it is customary"

I more often see the first version being used, but to me, that doesn't sound right because I can't see the subject there. I would definitely use the second one. What am I missing here? Update: ...
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How to avoiding starting with “it is”? [closed]

I have a sentence fragment I must make into a sentence: Late August at the Los Angeles Zoo. I use this sentence to begin a story. I really do not want to use “it is” though, because “it is” does ...
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8 votes
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"What day is it today?" vs. "What day is today?"

Which of the following is grammatical? What date/day is it today? What date/day is today?
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Ambiguous use of infinitive after "It's needed"

After writing this sentence, I found myself thinking that its meaning may be a little confusing to other people: It’s needed to make clear some issues regarding absences. I used the phrase to ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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The general 'it' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”? Whence the “it” in “I like it here”? What is the grammatical term for the 'it'...
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28 votes
7 answers
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Why "it’s turtles" not "they are turtles"

It is a third person singular and is used to refer to a thing. If that’s the case, then why do we say: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on ...
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Is "it makes it easy to do ..." good English?

There are two "it"s in this sentence, but they refer to different things. Is this considered good English? If not, what's a better way to express the same meaning?
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3 votes
4 answers
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It is an existential question

A question on another site asks, I have a laptop ... Now I am trying to install Windows 7 and it shows a message saying "Driver not found". Whereupon a commenter asks, What is the "it" that shows ...
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Avoiding "existential it" while referring to a past event?

I know the use of "existential it" is frowned upon, but I'm not entirely sure how to rephrase the following sentence to remove it: It is hard to tell what would have occurred if the battle had been ...
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