It As A Preparatory Subject | English Grammar
- It is difficult to accept your advice. (More natural than To accept your advice is difficult.)
- It is easy to learn English.
- It is not easy to understand his motive.
- It must be tempting to get such an offer.
- It could be dangerous to drive so fast.
We also normally use preparatory it when the subject of a clause is itself another clause.
- It is true that he was once a terrorist. (More natural than That he was once a terrorist is true.)
- It does not matter whether it rains or not. (More natural than Whether it rains or not doesn’t matter.)
- It is certain that he left the place in haste.
- It is clear that he overheard our conversation.
-ing form subjects
When the subject is a phrase that includes a gerund, it is used as a provisional subject to begin the sentence. This is usually rather informal.
- It is no good your trying to deceive us. (More natural than Your trying to deceive us is no good.)
- It is no fun having so many children to look after.
- It is just silly throwing away your chances like that.
- It was a tough job starting the car with such a weak battery.
It is often possible to use the structure for + infinitive instead of the gerund.
- It won’t be any good for me to talk to him about it. (=It won’t be any good my talking to him about it.)
- It is no use for us to try to convince him of this.(=It is no use our trying to convince him of this.)
With seem, appear and look
Introductory it is also used with seem, appear and look when the subject is an infinitive phrase, a phrase that includes a gerund or a clause.
- It seemed strange to see him there.
- It seems that he forgot to buy the tickets.
- It appeared unwise to offend him.
- It looks improper to behave like that.
With if, as if and as though
It is used to introduce some clauses with if, as if and as though.
- It will be a pity if we have to ask her to leave.
- It looks as though we may have to go.
It as a preparatory object
We can sometimes use it as a preparatory object. This happens when the object of a verb is an infinitive expression or a clause with an adjective or a noun complement.
Note the word order: subject + verb + it + complement + infinitive/clause
- He made it clear what he wanted.
- We think it odd that she never visits us these days.
- Don’t you think it dangerous to swim in these rough waters?
Note that this structure is not normally used when there is no adjective or noun complement after the verb.
- I remember that she was very upset. (NOT I remember it that —)
- I cannot bear to see people crying. (NOT I cannot bear it to see —-)
But note the structure I love/like/hate it when —
- I love it when she smiles.
Its and it’s
Its is a possessive word like his and my.
- Every country has its traditions.
It’s is the contracted form of it is or it has.
- It’s raining again. (NOT Its raining —)