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Thread: it II

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    #1

    it II

    Which of these is correct:
    1-It was your house which was broken into.
    2-It was last night when I saw him.
    3-It was your house the window of which was broken.

    4-It was to Jeff that I gave the box.

    5-It was your house I broke the window of.


    (I have to admit that I've managed to confuse myself pretty badly over this it thing.)

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    #2

    Re: it II

    All of them are correct, but #3 is quite awkward.

    1-It was your house which was broken into.
    It wasn't some other house.

    2-It was last night when I saw him.
    I saw him last night.

    3-It was your house the window of which was broken.
    A window was broken in your house.

    4-It was to Jeff that I gave the box.
    I gave the box to Jeff.

    5-It was your house I broke the window of.
    I broke the window of your house.

    8)


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    #3

    Re: it II

    Number 3 sounds too awkward. I don't think anyone would say that. I would rather avoid the construction altogether and say it without a relative clause: A window of your house was broken.
    If you really must insist on the relative, what about this option: It was your house whose window was broken.? Still awkward ...

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    #4

    Re: it II

    Would changing 'was' to 'got' make it any less stilted?


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    #5

    Re: it II

    Thanks everybody.
    I have managed to come up with three more of these confusing "it" sentences. What do you think of these?

    A-It was by John that the method was invented.
    B-It was John by whom the method was invented.
    C-It was John the method was invented by.

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    #6

    Re: it II

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan
    Thanks everybody.
    I have managed to come up with three more of these confusing "it" sentences. What do you think of these?

    A-It was by John that the method was invented.
    B-It was John by whom the method was invented.
    C-It was John the method was invented by.
    For both A & B:

    1. John invented the method. (active voice)
    2. John is the one who invented the method.
    3. The method was invented by John.
    4. It was John who invented the method.

    IMO, sentence C is not an English sentence.

    8)


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    #7

    Re: it II

    One of these years I'll work how this quote thing works, meanwhile I'll just ramble on ...
    I agree with you Ronbee in that C isn't English. Even though the others may be 'correct' I don't think anyone would use them. I much prefer your options.
    Navi, did you take those sentences from a book? If so, maybe you should buy a different book.

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    #8

    Re: it II

    Those "it" sentences (as navi tasan describes them) are used, but they aren't used very often.

    (I generally prefer active voice, altho passive voice is sometimes better.)

    8)

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    #9

    Re: it II

    Thanks for your replies.
    I didn't read these sentences. I made them up to find out what was acceptable and what was not.
    I think this type of sentence is technically called a "cleft" sentence, but I just call them "it" sentences!

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