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

Section: 

Comments

In example "it's awful driving in this heavy trafic" , in task " it's stupid to drink and drive" why not write "it's stupid drinking and driving" ? Thanks.

Hello Liv,

Some adjectives are typically followed by an -ing form, others are typically followed by a to + infinitive and yet others can be followed by both of these forms. 'stupid' is typically followed by a to + infinitive ('It's stupid to drink and drive'). I'm afraid there's no easy rule that will tell you which form is used with each adjective – it's something you have to learn about each adjective or look up in the dictionary.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Generally we use "it" for non living things. In the above example " Look. It’s Sir Paul McCartney." we use "it" for Sir Paul McCartney. It is right? or we should use He for him.

Hello The_Unknown,

You can say 'He is...' but the meaning is different. When we use He's we are identifying something that we have already seen. When we use It's we are pointing out something that we have only just spotted. It's here is an example of a dummy subject used when we notice something for the first time (as it says in the information above).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Great!
At first I realize that my memory is worst than my English grammar. I hope they'll improve as I work in exercises.
Task 2 is very smart, thanks.

It's very usefull to improve English grammar....thank you ;)

Thank you very much Mr Peter

Hello Sir ;

I dont' understand this word in the sentence following : There’s a party at Nick’s tonight. Do you want to go?
what is : Nick's ???

Hello medmomo,

Nick's here is short for Nick's house. It is quite a common way to refer to people's homes in English.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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