Introductory It – Part II
November 24th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL, Improve English
When the subject is a clause
When the subject is a clause, the sentence usually begins with it. So instead of saying ‘That he was once a communist is true’, we say, ‘It is true that he was once a communist’.
It does not matter whether he comes or not. (Whether he comes or not does not matter.)
It is required that he should pay the fine. (That he should pay the fine is required.)
It is clear that he overheard our conversation. (That he overheard our conversation is clear.)
It is clear that you are not interested in this offer. (That you are not interested in the offer is clear.)
It cannot be denied that they tried their best to help him. (That they tried their best to help him cannot be denied. )
It doesn’t matter whether we buy it now or later. (Whether we buy it now or later does not matter. )
Introductory it with seem, appear and look
Introductory it is also used with seem, appear and look when the subject is an infinitive phrase, a phrase with a gerund in it or a clause.
It looked doubtful whether she would come
It seemed strange that she should behave like that.
It seems possible that she may quit the job.
It appeared unwise to offend him.
It does not seem much good going on with the work.
Introductory it as an object
It is sometimes used as the object of the verbs think, feel, deem, count, consider etc.
Don’t you think it dangerous to drive so carelessly?
I consider it a privilege to have this opportunity of welcoming you.
I think it odd that she doesn’t write to me these days.
I think it a pity that she could not win.
We think it improper that he should be so dictatorial.
He made it clear what he wanted.
I find it difficult to talk to him.
Introductory it in questions
The introductory it is sometimes used in questions.
Who was it that broke the window?
It is Peter who broke the window.
Why was it that he stole the bread?
It was because he was poor that he stole the bread.
When was it that the manager came?
It was at 10 am that the manager came.