‘IT’ used as the subject or object.


The word ‘IT’ in English is often used as the subject or object
at the beginning of the sentence.

We call this the Preparatory IT.

Preparatory (pronounced: pre-p’a-ra-to-ri) is an adjective which means:
introductory, preliminary, previous, before.


With an infinitive or with the ‘ing’ form of the verb.
  • It’s a good idea to do the exercises. – Doing the exercises is a good idea.
  • It is important to be on time. – Being on time is important.
  • It is difficult driving in the fog. – Driving in the fog is difficult.
  • It’s good seeing you again. – Seeing you again makes me feel good.


When to use the preparatory IT
  1. Use with times, dates, weather, measurements, distances etc:
    • The time of day – It’s midnight (the time / hour is midnight)
    • The day of the week – It’s Monday (the day is Monday)
    • The month of the year – It’s January (the month is January)
    • The weather – It’s raining (the rain is falling)
    • The temperature – It’s cold (the temperature is very low)
    • Distance / Journey – It’s a long way / It’s an hour’s drive.
  2. Use to begin the sentence when the subject of a clause is an infinitive.
    • It was nice to talk to you. (Talking to you was nice.)
    • It is nice to travel at Easter. (Traveling at Easter is nice.)
    • It’s necessary to do these lessons. (We must do these lessons.)
  3. Can also be used when the subject is a ‘that’ clause:
    • It’s not certain that we will be able to attend the meeting.
    • It’s fantastic that you are feeling so well after the accident.
    • It’s amazing that I managed to pass the exam.
  4. Can sometimes be used as an object, when the object is a clause with an adjective or noun complement.
    • It is easy to talk to John, when he’s happy.
    • I thought it was silly, the way she behaved at dinner.
    • My lack of money makes it difficult for me to go out often.

To sum up:
IT is often used in place of the subject or object in a sentence,
in order to make that sentence shorter and easier to understand.


Related Content:

BBC Learning English – There and It as preparatory subjects.
Random-Idea-English – Read all about it.

Why not get a full course of English lessons in PDF eBook format?

There are 12 lessons in each booklet, (every lesson has exercises with answers).

Sign up for your 'How to teach English' Guide
and claim your first eBook FREE!