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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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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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1answer
40 views

“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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1answer
102 views

“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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1answer
92 views

“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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1answer
33 views

'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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2answers
142 views

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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1answer
89 views

“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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1answer
2k views

“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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2answers
152 views

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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2answers
896 views

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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2answers
553 views

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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5answers
15k views

“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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3answers
25k views

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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3answers
4k views

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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1answer
481 views

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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2answers
148 views

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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1answer
824 views

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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3answers
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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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6answers
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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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1answer
199 views

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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3answers
4k views

“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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1answer
584 views

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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4answers
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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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1answer
193 views

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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2answers
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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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2answers
3k views

“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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2answers
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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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2answers
21k views

“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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1answer
12k views

“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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1answer
193 views

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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2answers
129k views

“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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3answers
2k views

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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3answers
202 views

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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7answers
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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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2answers
6k views

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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4answers
423 views

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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4answers
2k views

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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2answers
541 views

What do ‘it’ ‘on’ ‘off’ mean in “it’ll be on with the old Invisibility Cloak and off to find out what he’s –“

I have trouble understanding the bold part. Harry has a magical map by which he can see where others are. He is looking at the map and paying attention to his enemy schoolboy, Malfoy. ”Well, I’m ...
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2answers
3k views

Whence the “it” in “I like it here”?

What is the origin of the use of the object (it) in the following sentences, and what is its purpose? I like it here! and Did you like it there? In essence, the things we are saying we like ...
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2answers
3k views

Omitting “is”, like in “I think it strange”

What is the grammar behind the construction "I think it strange/necessary that ...", and when can and cannot this apparent omission of the copula be used? Do we always need the "that" clause? Also, ...
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3answers
5k views

“A guy whose job is to” vs “a guy whose job it is to”?

I've been hearing the phrase "whose job it is to" quite often lately. Consider these two sentences: We have a guy whose job is to clean windows. We have a guy whose job it is to clean ...
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2answers
4k views

“It’s the height of the season”?

The question is from the transcript of a podcast: Mmmm, blueberries. It’s the height of the season, and I’ve been tossing a handful onto cereal, into pancakes or just straight into my mouth. I don'...
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3answers
11k views

“I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed”

Because I am still in New Haven, I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed. What is the correct way of saying this? I am curious as to with or without it, and would be versus was?
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5answers
9k views

“I hate when…” vs “I hate it when…”

Growing up in Australia (and with an English mother) we would say "I hate it when " It seems, based on TV and movies, that in the USA it's more common to say "I hate when " The two phrases mean the ...
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10answers
27k views

What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”?

I wanted to leave the question title as is so as not to take away from my amusement :). Anyway, It's raining. What is raining? Is it the sky? The clouds? The weather? The rain? What is "it"? Any ...