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Expletives: It and There

"It" Patterns
1. To denote condition: It + be V + adj + adv
It is cold in here.
It is noisy upstairs.
It is much colder this year than last year.

adjectives: cold, hot, warm, cool, noisy. quiet, crowded, clean, dirty, cheap,
expensive, (un)comfortable

2. To denote suitability/ evaluation of action: It + be V + adj + (for O) + to V

It is dangerous for children to go out alone at night.
It was so hard to shoot him in the head.

adjectives: important, necessary, advisable, good, easy, safe, dangerous, difficult,

(im)possible, convenient

3. It + be V + adj + that S + V
It is true that the police have identified the suspects in the crime.
It is so disappointing that my dog cannot do any tricks.
It is possible that he already knows where we hid the money.

adjectives: certain, true, strange, disappointing, probable, normal, -ing

4. It + be V + adj + (for O) + to V
It is boring to do the same thing everyday.
It is amazing to know that she could memorize the periodic table of elements.
It was so awful to see him looking gaunt and sickly like that.

adjectives: -ing, awful, marvelous, splendid, strange, fun, normal

possible noun: a relief

5. It + be V + N + (that) S + V
It is a miracle that she had overcome such a debilitating disease.
It is a nuisance that we had to pull over at the cafe to use the toilet.

nouns: a miracle, a wonder, a relief, a nuisance, a good thing, a (great) pity, a


6. It + V + that + S + V ( = S + V + to V)
It seems that he has a big crush on my girlfriend.
It turned out that her own daughter was behind the horrible murder.

verbs: seem, happen, appear, turn out, be likely

7. To indicate an emotion or sense in doing sth: It + be V + adj + of sb + to V

It was cruel of her to starve her dogs to death.
ajvilches. 6/ 2009
Severino Jose Arguelles IV. February 2007. Expletives.
It was foolish of him to leave his sensible wife for a younger woman.

adjectives: kind, cruel, stupid, generous, foolish, sensible, intelligent, wicked, rude,
silly, etc.

8. To indicate an attitude towards a situation: S + V + it + when/ whenever, etc.

I hate it whenever he yells at me.
I really can't stand it when she screams in pain from her cancer.
Don't push it when I give you some degree of freedom.

verbs: like, love, hate, regret, can't help, can't stand, push, etc.

9. To indicate an attitude towards a place: S + V + it + adv of place

I like it here.
I don't like it at Jeff's.
I like it wherever there is a lot of beer.

verbs: like, love, hate, etc.

10. To indicate weather conditions: It + V

It is raining.
It drizzles in the morning.
It snows a lot these days.

11. To indicate weather conditions: It + be V + adj + adv

It is so gloomy today.
It is cloudy in Tokyo.
It is sunny in the Mediterranean.

12. To indicate a definite time: It + be V + time

It's Christmas!
It is 4:30.
It's Monday.
It's my birthday!

13. To indicate the identity: It + be V + N + (adj clause)

Oh! It's just a cockroach (which made you scream).
It's me (who is knocking).
Maybe it's just the wind (that is making the howling sound).
Hey, it's that stupid guy again (that we saw yesterday).
What is it that you want from me?

14. To clarify a misunderstanding: It's not that S + V. It's just that S + V

It's not that I don't like you. It's just that I think you don't fit in the group.
It's not that I'm leaving you. It's just that I need some space.
ajvilches. 6/ 2009
Severino Jose Arguelles IV. February 2007. Expletives.
15. To indicate exclusivity or inclusion: It's not A but B + (adj clause)
It's not only A but also B + (adj clause)
It was not I but she who came first.
It was not only the old man but also his daughter who plotted to kill you.

16. To indicate a condition: It + ... + if S + V

It wouldn't look so good if I married her and ran away with another woman
the next day.
It's gonna be a disaster if we run out of food to feed 500 people.
It's better if we just move to another town.

17.Delayed time: It + be V + (high/ about) time + that S + V (past)

Right time: It + be V + time + (for O) + to V
It's high time you started saving your money and opened a bank account.
It's time for us to go home.

18. It + V + wh-/ how + S + V

It doesn't matter how much money he makes.
It shocked me when I got the news that she had died.
It really excites me every time I join the derby.
It gives her extreme pleasure whenever he brings her flowers.

'There' Patterns
1. Existence
There were about 500,000 people at the demonstration.
There's a big fat cat up on the tree.
There's an excellent restaurant at Smallville.

2. Event
There have been several blackouts since January this year.
There was a hurricane that swept the East coast last night.
Is there a debate today?

3. Proper Example
There is only one Jollibee here.
There are several Jins in Athena.
There is another SM on Delgado Street.

ajvilches. 6/ 2009
Severino Jose Arguelles IV. February 2007. Expletives.