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

Hi,
I read that "it"can be used to refer to a baby when the gender is unknown. So, is the use of "it" correct in the following sentences: "A father watches his baby wishing to reach a toy that is far from it. Then the father carries the baby and brings it closer to the toy so that it can play with it."
Thanks in advance

Hi zagrus,

Yes, your sentence is correct.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

There is someone waiting to see you.

Dear
Would you explain me about 'someone' here is countable or uncountable? I think 'someone' is people so can countable, is it right?
Thanks!

Hi Daniel,

You can find an explanation of someone and see examples of how it is used on our indefinite pronouns page. There you'll see that it takes a singular noun.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Which can we use It to give an opinion followed by to-infinitive in case? Which can we use It to give an opinion followed by an-ing in case?

Hello Minh Dang,

I'm not sure I understand your question, but I assume you are asking about the difference between these two forms - when to use one, and when the other. There is often not a great difference between the two, but the -ing form generally has a continuous meaning, and we use it when we are in the process of doing something, or imagine being in the process of doing something. The 'to infinitive' form is often used more to talk about the idea of doing something. However, these are very general concepts and in many cases there is no firm difference.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi I'm new user and I'm very happy to join with you because I want to learn English language so what to do?

Hi,
I am new user and I want to improve my English Language please advise what should I do.

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