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English definition of “it”


pronoun (TIME/WEATHER)    /ɪt/
A2 used to talk about the time, date, weather, or distances: What time is it? It was October, so it was quite cold. It rained all day. It's ten miles to Leeds. Grammar:ItWe commonly use the pronoun it as both a subject and an object pronoun:See moreGrammar:It as an ‘empty’ or ‘dummy’ subject and objectWe can use it as an ‘empty’ subject or as an ‘empty’ object. It is ‘empty’ because it doesn’t refer to anything in particular:See moreGrammar:Anticipatory itWe also use it to introduce or ‘anticipate’ the subject or object of a sentence, especially when the subject or object of the sentence is a clause. Most commonly, such clauses are to + infinitive and that clauses. We also call this use of it a ‘dummy’ subject, since the real subject is another part of the sentence (real subject underlined):See moreGrammar:I find it amazing thatWith verbs such as find or consider, it + adjective + that clause or it + adjective + to infinitive, are commonly used to anticipate an object:See moreGrammar:It and cleft sentences (It was my friend who …)We use it in cleft sentences. It emphasises the subject or object of the main clause:See moreGrammar:It with the passive voiceIt is common with the passive voice. It makes the sentence seem less personal and more objective:See moreGrammar:It’s or its?It’s is the contracted form of it is or it has:See moreGrammar:Pronouns: personal (I, me, you, him, it, they, etc.)We use personal pronouns in place of noun phrases. We often use them to refer back to people and things that we have already identified (underlined):See moreGrammar:Subject and object pronounsPersonal subject pronouns act as the subject of a clause. We use them before a verb to show who is doing the verb. We do not usually leave out the pronoun:See moreGrammar:I, meWe use I and me to refer to the speaker or writer. I is the subject form and me is the object form:See moreGrammar:YouWe use you to refer to the listener or reader. It is both the subject and the object form. You can refer to one person or more than one person. It is usually clear from the context whether you is singular or plural:See moreGrammar:He, him; she, herHe, him, she and her are singular third person pronouns. He and him are the masculine forms. She and her are the feminine forms:See moreGrammar:ItWe use it to refer to things:See moreGrammar:We, usWe use we and us to refer to different groups of people, but always including the speaker. We and us can refer to the speaker + the listener, or the speaker + other people but not the listener, or people in general including the speaker:See moreGrammar:They, themWe use they and them to refer to specific groups of people, things and animals:See more
(Definition of it pronoun (TIME/WEATHER) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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