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  1. Just Joined
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    #1

    Question Why is there an it?

    Hi,
    I was wondering why is there an “it” in this phrase?

    Why is it written like that:
    Groups, whose function it is to express the things, processes, qualities, and circumstances of our experiences.

    And not like that:
    Grouos, whose function is to express the things, processes, qualities, and circumstances of our experiences.

    Why is there an it after whose function?

    Thanks in advance :)

  2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #2

    Re: Why is there an it?

    Where did you find this? It's not wrong to use it, but this seems a clumsy piece of writing. What's the context?

  3. teechar's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Why is there an it?

    Here's an interesting article about this point.

    https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/04/pleonasm.html


    Welcome to the forum, RashaF.

    I have moved your thread to our Ask a Teacher section.

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    #4

    Re: Why is there an it?

    Welcome to the forum, RashaF.

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    #5

    Re: Why is there an it?

    The article Teechar has cited presents a very interesting historical overview. I think, though, that there's a simpler way of looking at Rasha's two sentences.

    Without a subordinate clause, there are two ways of saying much the same thing:

    The function of these groups is to express the circumstances of our experience
    It is the function of these groups to express the circumstances of our experience.

    The difference -- and it is a subtle one, I think -- is that the expletive "it is" puts a greater emphasis on the concept "function". It's really a matter of rhetoric, not of grammar.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

  6. teechar's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Why is there an it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RashaF View Post
    Groups, whose function it is to express the things, processes, qualities, and circumstances of our experiences.

    Groups, whose function is to express the things, processes, qualities, and circumstances of our experiences.
    For the benefit of our learners, those are fragments; neither of them is a complete sentence.

  7. teechar's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Why is there an it?

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    The difference -- and it is a subtle one, I think -- is that the expletive "it is" puts a greater emphasis on the concept "function".
    Yes, "it" is a dummy, at best.

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    #8

    Re: Why is there an it?

    RashaF, if you have found any of the above replies helpful, you can thank the writers for their trouble by clicking Thank in the bottom left-hand corner of every post.

    ***

    I see you also posted the same question on WordReference forums.

    Please do not post the same question simultaneously to more than one forum. Doing so wastes our valuable time. Instead, post your question to one forum and wait for replies. If you're not satisfied with those replies, you can try another forum, but please indicate in your thread that you've already asked the same question elsewhere (provide a link), and outline why you were not satisfied with the answers you received already.
    (teechar)

    Please click Like to acknowledge that you have read and understood this message.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 29-Jul-2019 at 21:22.

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    #9

    Re: Why is there an it?

    In some cases, the version with "it" is much more natural than the version without "it."

    (1) Whose responsibility is it to take out the trash?
    (2) Whose responsibility is to take out the trash?

    I think most of my fellow natives will find (1) more natural than (2). Sentence (1) seems (at least to me) to presuppose that someone must have the responsibility of taking out the trash, though he or she may have additional responsibilities, whereas (2) seems to suggest that the person responsible for taking out the trash has no other responsibilities. BTW, British speakers can substitute "rubbish" for "trash" if it makes them feel more comfortable.

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