The Elusive Word ‘It’

One of the most common mistakes I see from English learners is the absence of the word ‘it’.

This word just appears magically in English sentences and corrections, doesn’t it?!

Don’t worry, even advanced learners that I speak to still leave it out sometimes! Here is my little rule to help you remember.

‘It’ refers to a subject. If your sentence or phrase does not already include a subject, it probably needs the word ‘it’.

Let’s look at some examples:

WITH THE SUBJECT: The house (SUBJECT)  is red.
WITHOUT THE SUBJECT: It is red.
ALTERNATIVE: It is a red house.

 

Note: if you have already mentioned the subject (in this case, the house). The next sentence should use ‘it’)

Look at that dress in the window! It’s (it is) beautiful.
I bought a toy for my niece yesterday, it was very expensive.
It‘s a great idea!
It is not (isn’t) important to me.

Weather is one exception where the subject is implied and you can immediately use ‘it’.

It‘s cold today! (referring to the temperature).
Do you think that it will rain tomorrow? (referring to the day).

‘It’ is also used in the same manner by which Spanish speakers use ‘lo’.

She will do it tomorrow.
I watched it last night.
I saw him give it to her.

Just remember to ask yourself: “Is my sentence missing a subject, or have I mentioned the subject already? If the answer is YES, use ‘it’.

This is a difficult rule to explain, because it (referring to the rule (SUBJECT) comes so naturally to me, so if you are left with any confusion after reading this, please ask a question below!

Cookie Chef.

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