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    Role of "it" in the following phrase..

    Hello !

    I have a question from a Practice Test for an American English exam - why it appears here ?

    "Calculators certainly have made it simpler for students to do complicated problems."

    I am puzzled mainly because I think that it's a redundancy here..."to do complicated problems" is anticipated by that "it" and, for my ears, it doesn't sound correct.

    What do you think ?

    Thanks in advance for your answer !

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
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    Re: Role of "it" in the following phrase..

    (Not teacher)

    This use of "it" is correct and is frequently used. It is simply an alternate way of saying "Calculators certainly have made the working of complicated problems simpler for students." As a subject pronoun, "it" abstractly represents an unspecified (or unspecifiable) agent, as in the famous "IT is raining." (What is raining?). In your sentence, "it" is an object substituting for "the task" or "the calculation of complicated problems." Sometimes using "it" in this way makes the sentence more concise. Certainly, the "it" can be removed but the sentence must be rewritten, as in the above example.

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