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Introductory It

Average: 3.4 (29 votes)

It is unusual to have an infinitive or a that-clause as the subject of a sentence in English. As an alternative we use 'introductory it' as the subject and put the infinitive or that-clause later.

That the Americans are friendly is a common belief.
It is a common belief that the Americans are friendly.

To be punctual is polite.
It is polite to be punctual.

These are some phrases that are used with the 'introductory it':
It is true/not true that...
It is likely/unlikely that...
It is essential to...
It is probable that...
It is better/best to...

We also use 'introductory it' to introduce ideas that we just thought of:
It occurred to me that... It struck me that...

'Introductory it' is usually used to express general ideas or beliefs:
Some people say that the environment is beyond saving.
It is believed that the environment is beyond saving.
They say that most people enjoy traveling.
It is said that most people enjoy traveling.

'Introductory it' is used to give extra emphasis to the subject it introduces.
Peter not John bought a new car.
It was Peter who bought a new car.

Lesson by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta English school

Now choose the correct version of the following:

  • 1. Which is correct?

  • 2. Which is correct?

  • 3. Which is correct?

  • 4. Which is correct?

  • 5. Which is correct?