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  1. #1

    Question dummy subject

    Re: dummy subject again!

    After reading all these great examples from all of you, I hope I am right this time!!!

    1: It is difficult to please everybody.

    "it" = dummy subject. = what's difficult?

    "It" is an expletive: It is not meaningful

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    Re: dummy subject

    It = to please everybody

  2. #3

    Re: dummy subject

    Isn't it just like the example in "It"is raining" but what is raining?
    "It" = dummy subject

    Therefore I assum "it" in this sentence will be a dummy subject
    "It" is difficult to please everbody. = "It" = dummy subject

  3. #4

    Re: dummy subject

    What about this sentence?

    "They"" all praised themselves.
    "They" = dummy subject.

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 248

    Re: dummy subject

    What you call a dummy subject - the first word in "it is raining" - is what some grammarians call "prop it. " It has no meaning, but it does have the grammatical function of sentence subject. It occurs in sentences that describe, or talk about, weather/atmosphere as in sentence (1); sentences to do with distance , as in sentence (2); and sentences to do with time, as in sentence (3), below;

    (1) it's stuffy in here
    (2) it's a long way to Tipperary
    (3) it's ten o'clock

    The "it" of "it's difficult to please everybody" is called "anticipatory it." That word too has no semantic burden, and it too is usually the grammatical subject of the clause. But it also points to - anticipates - a word or clause that is farther down in the sentence and has been shifted from its subject slot so as to make the sentence more agreeable (acceptable) to native speakers. Native speakers of English prefer a sentence to have its weightier, or newer, information toward or at the end rather than the beginning of
    the sentence. Hence, "That you should say that is odd" becomes "It's odd that you should say that" ; "to please everybody is difficult" can become "it is difficult to please everybody," etc., etc. Anticipatory "it" occurs in at leas twenty different sentence

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