Uses Of It

It is a pronoun used for lifeless things and animals.

  • I have bought a table; it is made of teakwood.
  • The dog is ill; it should be taken to the hospital.

It is often used to refer to a young child. This is particularly common when the sex of the child is not mentioned.

  • The baby cried because it was hungry.

It can be used to refer to some statement in the preceding clause.

  • He created the trouble; and he knows it.
  • He was telling a lie; and he knew it.

It can be used as impersonal pronoun.

  • It is raining.
  • It has been snowing for hours.

Note that it is also used in speaking of the weather or the time.

  • It is fine weather now.
  • It is time they started work.

It can be used to refer back to a collective noun when it is viewed as a single unit.

  • The committee has decided to hold its next meeting on the 25th.
  • The jury gave its verdict.


We do not use it to refer back to a collective noun when it is used to refer to the separate members. Instead we use they.

  • The committee were divided in their opinion. (NOT The committee were divided in its opinion.)

Note also the use of the plural verb.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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