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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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14 votes
2 answers
4k views

'I think IT unlikely that our team can win'. <--Is IT the object?

We think it unlikely that our inexperienced team can win a single > game this season. Is "it" the direct object? If it is, what is the function of the noun clause "that our ...
cookie234's user avatar
  • 259
0 votes
0 answers
50 views

English words for describing ambient conditions

There are two uses for the temperature terms hot, warm, cold and cool. One use refers to the state of a person or thing anaphorically or deictically, and one refers to the ambient temperature and is ...
Zoltan's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
108 views

Why is "it" used instead of "he/she" for human being in "it becomes a wise and virtuous man…"?

Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times. —Thomas Aquinas Is the bold phrase ...
APK's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
61k views

"XXXX it is, then" with plural nouns?

Is it possible to use "... it is, then" with plural nouns? Example: "Apples or pears?" "Apples." "Apples it is, then."
gentledisplayofweakness's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
42 views

Who is your favorite singer? It is [duplicate]

A Japanese friend of mine recently asked me a question that I could not quite explain. A. Who is your favorite singer? B. It is Ed Sheeran. A. Who is the president of the United States? B. ...
Matt's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
108 views

"What is it(,) to be a hero?"

My friend and I have gotten into a rather passionate debate about whether Karen Paige's monologue at the end of season two of Daredevil was written in a grammatically correct fashion. On screen, we ...
SU2SO3's user avatar
  • 21
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to distinguish it-cleft and extraposition? 'It was Ben that found it' v 'It was clear that Ben found it'

I have a question about it-cleft and extraposition. For example the two sentences: It was in the apartment that Ben found something interesting -- a mouse eating cheese. It was obvious that whenever ...
Arlo's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
3k views

Choice of “it” versus “he/she”

I am not sure what is the underlying rule for when the use of “it” is appropriate and when “he / she”. Consider the following two examples: There is a lady at the door. It is my aunt. Do you know ...
Satish Vasan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
114 views

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...
Mahdi's user avatar
  • 35
3 votes
1 answer
301 views

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,'...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
41 views

” '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?
Lex Rex's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
216 views

What is the function of the first "it" in "it is worth it"?

Here is a sentence in which two instances of "it" appear in the same coordinate clause: This job involves a lot of hard work but it is worth it. Obviously, the second "it" refers ...
user421993's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
66 views

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.
Kandor's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
40 views

"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 ...
sho's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
0 answers
18 views

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 ...
mdslt's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

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 ...
jinku's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
149 views

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, ...
Jane's user avatar
  • 667
2 votes
1 answer
61 views

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 ...
mahmud k pukayoor's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
119 views

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] ...
Farshad Azizi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
196 views

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'...
Tony's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
54 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 ...
Jean's user avatar
  • 323
4 votes
1 answer
406 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 ...
Robusto's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
505 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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
232 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
360 views

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 ...
user7886229's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
199 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!" ...
Matt E. Эллен's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
184 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
5k 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....
lithium's user avatar
  • 123
5 votes
2 answers
229 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 ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
2k 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"...
michael_timofeev's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k 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.
KaareZ's user avatar
  • 143
1 vote
5 answers
26k 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 ...
Proson Cheng's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
42k 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 ...
Mehdi Haghgoo's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
Behzad's user avatar
  • 559
3 votes
1 answer
862 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."?
Centaurus's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
330 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 ...
JK2's user avatar
  • 6,613
2 votes
1 answer
1k 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".
Marra's user avatar
  • 123
4 votes
3 answers
875 views

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 ...
LucyR's user avatar
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74 votes
6 answers
18k views

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. ...
Marthaª's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
215 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 ...
Arun's user avatar
  • 578
7 votes
3 answers
10k 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 ...
Jose's user avatar
  • 805
2 votes
1 answer
717 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 ...
Karen's user avatar
  • 31
0 votes
4 answers
3k views

"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.
Tarek's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
1 answer
404 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.
Elizabeth's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
130k views

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?
james's user avatar
  • 719
3 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
Mireia's user avatar
  • 31
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

"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 ...
Laura's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
3 answers
42k 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 ...
york.beta's user avatar
  • 135
1 vote
2 answers
19k 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: ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 209
1 vote
1 answer
199 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 ...
David Faux's user avatar