it and there

 

English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. Was a teacher. > He was a teacher.
I’m waiting for my wife. Is late. > She is late.
Look at the time! Is half past two.> It’s half past two.

except for the imperative (see more)

Go away.
Play it again please.

If we have no other subject we use there or it.

there

We use there as a dummy subject with part of the verb be followed by a noun phrase. (see Clauses, sentences and phrases):

• to introduce a new topic:

There is a meeting this evening. It will start at seven.
There has been an accident. I hope no one is hurt.

• with numbers or quantities:

There was a lot of rain last night.
There must have been more than five hundred in the audience.

• to say where something is:

There used to be a playground at the end of the street.
There are fairies at the bottom of the garden.
I wonder if there will be anyone at home.

• with an indefinite pronoun or expressions of quantity and the to-infinitive:

There is nothing to do in the village.
There was plenty to read in the apartment
There was nothing to watch on television.
There is a lot of work to do

If we want to show the subject of the to-infinitive we use for:

There is nothing for the children to do in the village.
There was plenty for us to read in the apartment
There was nothing for them to watch on television.
There is a lot of work for you to do.

• with an indefinite pronoun or expressions of quantity and an -ing verb:

There is someone waiting to see you.
There were a lot of people shouting and waving.

We use a singular verb if the noun phrase is singular:

There is a meeting this evening. It will start at seven.
There was a lot of rain last night.
There is someone waiting to see you.

We use a plural verb if the noun phrase is plural:

There are more than twenty people waiting to see you.
There were some biscuits in the cupboard.
There were a lot of people shouting and waving.
 

It

We use it to talk about:

• times and dates:

It’s nearly one o’clock.
It’s my birthday.

• weather:

It’s raining.
It’s a lovely day.
It was getting cold.

• to give an opinion about a place:

It’s very cold in here.
It will be nice when we get home.
It’s very comfortable in my new apartment.

• to give an opinion followed by to-infinitive:

It’s nice to meet you.
It will be great to go on holiday.
It was interesting to meet your brother at last.

• to give an opinion followed by an -ing verb:

It’s great living in Spain.
It’s awful driving in this heavy traffic.
It can be hard work looking after young children.

  

Using "it" to talk about people

We use it to talk about ourselves:

• on the telephone:

Hello. It’s George.

• when people cannot see us:

[Mary knocks on door] It’s me. It’s Mary.

We use it to talk about other people:

• when we point them out for the first time:

Look. It’s Sir Paul McCartney.
Who’s that? I think it’s John’s brother.

• when we cannot see them and we ask them for their name:

[telephone rings, we pick it up] Hello. Who is it?
[someone knocks on door. We say:] Who is it

 

Task 1

 Exercise

Task 2

 Exercise

Comments

I registered this web I was happy because it can help to improve my grammar. I afraid and shy if my grammar is wrong.I don't have confident when I write in English.I hope I can learn well.

I want to improve my communication skill .My skill to English language is intermediate level.

please advise.

Hello shashikant m,

The most important thing you can do is to speak English as often as possible. To do this a partner is very helpful, so think about the people you know and consider if any of them could be a practice partner for you. It may be that you know someone else who is also learning English and who would like to practise with you, or perhaps you know some people who do not speak your language but do speak English.

However, if you do not have a practice partner it does not mean that you cannot practise because it is possible to practise alone. Just speaking English to yourself while you are at home, going about your normal daily activities, can help a great deal with your fluency and can help you to feel more confident, which will help you to cut down your hesitating.

You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish (e.g. the Elementary Podcasts, Word on the Street - look under Listen & Watch) to improve your fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then try saying the text yourself, and finally try saying it with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency.  You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

This is my first comment, I have just registered so first of all I would like to thank you for your excellent job. I really think I will improve my English by learning on your website.

I have 2 questions regarding first exercise:

- In question 8, could you please tell me why we use the -ing form in the sentence "It isn't easy being a nurse" and not "It isn't easy to be a nurse"?
- In question 9, do you confirm me we use "there" because we are introducing a new topic? Or is it an other rule?

Thank you in advance for your answer ! ^^

Hello Mypink,

Thanks for your nice comment - we're certainly glad you found us. Regarding your first question, you could also use the infinitive form (as in your alternative). Both infinitives and -ing forms can be used in this kind of sentences, though infinitives are probably more common (as your intuition seems to know already).

As for your second question, you could look at it this way. It's not specifically mentioned above, but 'there is/are' is used simply to say that something exists. That's how I see this sentence.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
Just wanted to know from which tense this sentence belongs to. "There must have been more than five hundred in the audience"

Hello archit jain,

You can learn more about 'must' on our certain, probable or possible page, and about 'must have been' on our modals + have page. After reading those explanations, please let us know if you have any other questions in the comments on one of those pages.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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