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Thread: use of it

  1. #1
    Angela Toffolatti Guest

    use of it

    how can I explain to students the use of the subject "it "in this question:
    "Whose party is it?"

  2. #2
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Re: use of it

    I think this is something that would need background context to understand. Start it out as a statement, first.

    Mary has a party.
    The party is Mary's.
    The party belongs to Mary.
    Whose party is it? (The party belongs to whom?)

  3. #3
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Re: use of it

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Toffolatti View Post
    how can I explain to students the use of the subject "it "in this question:
    "Whose party is it?"
    Well, the word "it" here as a pronoun is used to identify something;
    For example,
    What is it? It is a dog.
    Who is it? It is Peter.
    So, whose party is it? It is Angela's party.

    (Not a teacher)

  4. #4
    JJM Ballantyne is offline Junior Member
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    Re: use of it

    As you know, it is the English third person singular neuter pronoun. It replaces all singular neuter nouns. This allows the language to reduce the amount of repetition required to communicate. Look at that question this way:

    Whose party is this party?

    Whose party is it?

    There is another aspect to the use of it as well. English, unlike many other languages, doesn't like "subjectless" verbs.* You can't make statements such as:

    Is cold

    Is important to attend the meeting


    So it acts as an expletive or "filler" subject:

    It's cold

    It is important to attend the meeting


    * Though it's not unusual to encounter "shorthand" English now and then. Here's an example of that from a hypothetical diary entry:

    May 5

    Went to the school. Saw Tom. Had lunch with him at Kelsey's.


    Reading this entry, any English speaker would immediately understand that the implied subject is the writer.

  5. #5
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Post Re: use of it

    Quote Originally Posted by JJM Ballantyne View Post

    * Though it's not unusual to encounter "shorthand" English now and then. Here's an example of that from a hypothetical diary entry:

    May 5

    Went to the school. Saw Tom. Had lunch with him at Kelsey's.


    Reading this entry, any English speaker would immediately understand that the implied subject is the writer.[/SIZE][/FONT]
    I've got a book on writing CVs, and in the book you can find information suggesting using such 'shorthanded' constructions:

    1978-1999 Budbarry Ltd., Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Permanent position
    Worked as an order picker responsible for...


    Last edited by engee30; 28-Mar-2008 at 19:14.

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