Uses of It
|In the section on pronouns, we saw
that the word it is a third person singular pronoun. However, this
word also has other roles which are not related to its pronominal use. We
look at some of these other uses here.
It is four o'clock
It is snowing
It's going to rain
Here, we cannot identify precisely what it refers to. It has a rather vague reference, and we call this DUMMY IT or PROP IT. Dummy it is also used, equally vaguely, in other expressions:
Take it easy!
Can you make it to my party?
It's a pity you can't come to my party
In the first example, it "anticipates" to see you. We can remove it from the sentence and replace it with to see you:
Because of its role in this type of sentence, we call this ANTICIPATORY IT.
See also: Cleft Sentences