It as a preparatory subject

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When the subject is a phrase that includes a gerund, it is used as a provisional subject to begin the sentence. Instead of saying 'Your trying to deceive us is no good', we generally say 'It is no good your trying to deceive us'.

It + verb + subject complement + gerund phrase
Grammar notes

It is often possible to replace the gerund with an infinitive.

Some of these sentences can also be rewritten as exclamatory sentences.

It + verb + clause

When the subject is a clause, the sentence usually begins with it. Instead of saying 'That he was once a terrorist is true', we generally say 'It is true that he was once a terrorist'.

Introductory it with seem

Introductory it is also used with verbs like seem, appear and look when the subject is an infinitive phrase, a phrase with a gerund in it or a clause.

Sections in this article

Expressions without prepositions
Prepositions at the end of clauses
Prepositions: some useful points
Common prepositions: usage