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  1. Chris from Germany

    Question anticipatory "it"

    I was trying to find out what the so-called anticipatory "it" is all about and came across the following sentences in my reference books:

    (1) "Whether things will remain like that it is too soon to say."
    (Example taken from the book "Grammatik der englischen Sprache" (Grammar of the English Language) by A. Lamprecht)

    Here are a few example sentences taken from a book called "Technik des Übersetzens" (Translation Techniques) by W. Friederich

    (2) "A conference was held which it was my duty to attend."
    (3) "This is a thing which it is easy to say but hard to do."


    Is the anticipatory "it" in these sentences really necessary or could I simply leave it out?

    Would the sentences make any sense without the anticipatory "it"? If so, what's the difference between the two constructions (i.e. with and without the anticipatory "it")?

    I would appreciate it very much if you could shed some light on this grammar problem.

    Thank you very much for your help in advance.

    With best wishes,


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211

    Re: anticipatory "it"

    Hi Chris.

    Yes, you may delete all those its. They add nothing, and actually trip up the rhythm and understandability of the sentences.

    Further, the last two whiches should be changed to thats.

    You know me... always on a which hunt!

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