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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Yesterday this quotation by Robert Southey came by me:
    "If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they condensed, the deeper they burn."
    Can anyone explain the grammar about how does 'it is' work in the sentence and what does 'it refer to?
    I can grasp the meaning of the part - words are just like sunbeams but the 'it is' makes me curious.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop7 View Post
    Yesterday, I came across this quotation by Robert Southey: came by me:
    "If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they condensed, the deeper they burn."
    Can anyone explain the grammar about how does 'it is' works in the sentence and what does it refers to?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop7 View Post
    for it is with words as with sunbeams
    because it is the same case with words as it is with sunbeams

    case = situation
    Last edited by teechar; 23-Mar-2017 at 00:39. Reason: my usual problem with tags

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    #3

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Thanks. I think 'it' might mean 'to be brief'. Am I correct?

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    #4

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    As post #2 says, "it" is the case/situation.

  5. teechar's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop7 View Post
    Thanks. I think 'it' might mean 'to be brief'. Am I correct?
    In that sentence, "it" is a dummy. Take a look at the following.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/gram...dummy-subjects

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    #6

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    In that sentence, "it" is a dummy. Take a look at the following.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/gram...dummy-subjects
    I'm used to the usage of 'it' as a dummy subject like 'it's good to see you'(in this case, 'to see you' is the real subject').
    But I find myself confused to clarify the real subject of 'it' in the 'because it is the same case with...' which doesn't have the same structure compared to 'it's good to see you'. Can you give me another example?

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    #7

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    the case with words is [the same as] the case with sunbeams

    Does that help at all?

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    #8

    Re: The grammar function of "it is" in the "It is with words as with sunbeams..."

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    the case with words is [the same as] the case with sunbeams

    Does that help at all?
    Yes. That did much help and now it's clear to me. Thanks.

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