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    gerund in extraposition

    We extrapose parts in sentence to make a sentence more balanced, and preparatory 'it' is usually used.
    In this part, I heard that 'gerund is not almost extraposed but a vert few cases,'
    (ex. it is nice seeing you today.)
    I know it is not usual as 'it is difficult studying Eng.' is not available.
    Then when can be exactly gerund used with preparatory it? by which standard?

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    Re: gerund in extraposition

    Quote Originally Posted by rockpoison View Post
    'It is difficult studying English.' is not available.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Rockpoison:

    Thank you very much for introducing me to the term "extraposition."

    I had never realized that there were limitations on gerund phrases being transposed.

    I have checked my books and the Web. May I share something with you?


    1. You say that "It is difficult studying English" is "not available." I assume that you mean it is not a proper sentence.

    a. I found a book by two experts who seem to have a different view.

    i. They say that in "at least some [my emphasis] speakers' dialects, the gerundives [gerunds] can also optionally undergo IT-inversion."
    They give these examples:

    (a) It is dangerous feeding bears.
    (b) It is fun climbing mountains.
    (c) It is difficult driving in heavy traffic.

    ii. It seems that some native speakers would have no trouble with "It is difficult studying English."

    -- Malmstrom and Weaver, TRANSGRAMMAR (1973).

    2. In a short post, it is impossible to tell you everything that I found. Here is another expert's opinion. He states that gerund clauses "generally resist [my emphasis] extraposition.

    (a) "It was easy understanding the lesson." (He does not accept that sentence.)
    (b) "It came as a complete surprise to his coach Herb's winning the gold medal." (Neither does he accept this sentence.)
    (c) "It would be no use protesting the new policies." (He DOES accept this sentence.)

    -- Cowan, THE TEACHER'S GRAMMAR OF ENGLISH (accessed in the "books" section of Google).

    3. Let me finish this short post with two scholars' opinion: "Extraposition of a participle [gerund / -ing word] clause is possible ... but is not very common outside informal speech."

    a. "It was easy getting the equipment loaded." (They accept this. Compare: "Getting the equipment loaded was easy.")
    b. Informal examples, they say, frequently involve negative + use / good:

    i. It's no use telling him that.
    ii. It wouldn't be any good trying to catch the bus.

    -- Quirk and Greenbaum, A CONCISE GRAMMAR OF CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH (1973).

    EDIT: I have decided to add just ONE more thing (I promise!).

    One scholar says "It was stupid telling my parents" is NOT acceptable but "It was stupid TO TELL my parents" is OK. / "It would make things worse calling the police" is NOT acceptable, but ""It would make things worse TO CALL the police " is OK.

    -- Callies, INFORMATION HIGHLIGHTS (2001). (Accessed in the "books" section of Google.)
    Last edited by TheParser; 06-May-2015 at 22:40.

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