'It' as preparatory/empty subject doubt

blue canary

New Member
Spanish-Spain
Hello and thank you in advance:)

I find it hard to understand the fun different functions of 'it' as empty or preparatory subject. Is this sentence right? Why/why not? I would just make it a normal passive, but can't be sure. Please, help!

'I feel it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event'

Thanks a million

Blue:)
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Do you mean "I feel the valuable purpose of the event should be appreciated."?

    PS, what do you mean by "...the fun different functions of 'it'" ?
     

    blue canary

    New Member
    Spanish-Spain
    Sorry, 'fun' wasn't meant to be there. Is correct the first sentence?: 'I feel it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event'
    And yes, by passive I meant "I feel the valuable purpose of the event should be appreciated."

    sorry for my imprecision in the original question
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Is correct the first sentence? :cross: Is the first sentence correct? :tick: No, it isn't.

    If you want to use 'it' as a dummy subject, you could say "It is felt that the valuable purpose of the event should be appreciated."
     

    Sibutlasi

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Spain
    Hello and thank you in advance:)

    I find it hard to understand the fun different functions of 'it' as empty or preparatory subject. Is this sentence right? Why/why not? I would just make it a normal passive, but can't be sure. Please, help!

    'I feel it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event'

    Thanks a million

    Blue:)
    No, that sentence is not right. [And, by the way, it exemplifies one of the persistent errors Spanish students of English keep making until very late in their learning process]

    The reason is that 'dummy' it can only anticipate subordinate clauses in 'extraposition', i.e., clauses that should function as subjects (or objects! cf. examples infra) of another clause but cannot be realized internal to it and must be attached at its right edge, minimally adjoined to, and after, the verb, or after the whole predicate, if the verb is followed by objects, prepositional objects, or attributes.

    A 'dummy' it, on the contrary, cannot anticipate a noun phrase, cf. *It occurred a nasty accident, *It is necessary a new policy, or your own *it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event (all ungrammatical).

    Recall that the English 'word form' it corresponds to three different 'lexical words': 1) the third person singular neuter referential personal pronoun, as in It (standing for e.g. the bus) will be here in two minutes; 2) the 'semi-argument' of e.g., It is raining/late/hot in here (which does neither refer to anything obvious nor 'anticipate' any other constituent); and 3) the 'dummy' (non-referential, semantically vacuous) it of It is a pity that you cannot stay for the wedding (where it functions as a subject), I find it improbable that he be back in time for the wedding (where it is an object of the verb find), or You can depend on it that I will be back in time for the wedding (where it is the object of the preposition on). It is very important not to confuse them, because they have completely different syntactic and semantic properties, but there is one property they all share: none of them can anticipate (= function as the local antecedent of) a noun phrase occurring in the same clause unless that noun phrase is 'detached', i.e., separated by comma, added as an 'afterthought', and so, syntactically speaking, not really a constituent of 'the same clause' at all, as in e.g., It is amazing, that new iPhone of yours! I didn´t really like it at all, that new book by Martin Amis. [That, of course, is a consequence of Principle C of 'Binding Theory', if you are familiar with current theories of syntax, which, roughly, says that referential noun phrases cannot have local antecedents at all].

    Correspondingly, the other 'dummy' of English, 'dummy' there, always anticipates a noun phrase (cf. There is a student waiting for you in your office <> A student is waiting for you in your office) but never a clause, cf. *There is a pity that you cannot stay for the wedding, *I find there improbable that he be back in time for the wedding, *You can depend on there that I will be back in time for the wedding (all ungrammatical). The two English 'dummies' it and there can, therefore, be said to be in 'complementary distribution': the former is a pro-clause, whereas the latter is a pro-NP, and, of course, they cannot be interchanged.

    S.
     
    Last edited:

    blue canary

    New Member
    Spanish-Spain
    No, that sentence is not right. [And, by the way, it exemplifies one of the persistent errors Spanish students of English keep making until very late in their learning process]

    The reason is that 'dummy' it can only anticipate subordinate clauses in 'extraposition', i.e., clauses that should function as subjects (or objects! cf. examples infra) of another clause but cannot be realized internal to it and must be attached at its right edge, minimally adjoined to, and after, the verb, or after the whole predicate, if the verb is followed by objects, prepositional objects, or attributes.

    A 'dummy' it, on the contrary, cannot anticipate a noun phrase, cf. *It occurred a nasty accident, *It is necessary a new policy, or your own *it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event (all ungrammatical).

    Recall that the English 'word form' it corresponds to three different 'lexical words': 1) the third person singular neuter referential personal pronoun, as in It (standing for e.g. the bus) will be here in two minutes; 2) the 'semi-argument' of e.g., It is raining/late/hot in here (which does neither refer to anything obvious nor 'anticipate' any other constituent); and 3) the 'dummy' (non-referential, semantically vacuous) it of It is a pity that you cannot stay for the wedding (where it functions as a subject), I find it improbable that he be back in time for the wedding (where it is an object of the verb find), or You can depend on it that I will be back in time for the wedding (where it is the object of the preposition on). It is very important not to confuse them, because they have completely different syntactic and semantic properties, but there is one property they all share: none of them can anticipate (= function as the local antecedent of) a noun phrase occurring in the same clause unless that noun phrase is 'detached', i.e., separated by comma, added as an 'afterthought', and so, syntactically speaking, not really a constituent of 'the same clause' at all, as in e.g., It is amazing, that new iPhone of yours! I didn´t really like it at all, that new book by Martin Amis. [That, of course, is a consequence of Principle C of 'Binding Theory', if you are familiar with current theories of syntax, which, roughly, says that referential noun phrases cannot have local antecedents at all].

    Correspondingly, the other 'dummy' of English, 'dummy' there, always anticipates a noun phrase (cf. There is a student waiting for you in your office <> A student is waiting for you in your office) but never a clause, cf. *There is a pity that you cannot stay for the wedding, *I find there improbable that he be back in time for the wedding, *You can depend on there that I will be back in time for the wedding (all ungrammatical). The two English 'dummies' it and there can, therefore, be said to be in 'complementary distribution': the former is a pro-clause, whereas the latter is a pro-NP, and, of course, they cannot be interchanged.

    S.
    Thank you very much, Sibutlasi. I totally agree with your first note on Spanish students of English and then, I find your explanation really thorough and insightful. I'll be able to convincingly correct this error onwards.

    This is a beautiful day. I've never seen this one before:) Maya Angelou
     
    Blue, I think what you're trying to say is this:

    I think it should be appreciated how valuable the goal of this undertaking is.


    A simpler example of anticipatory 'it': I think it should be realized what a valuable book you have [the one you just bought in a used book store].

    ADDED: This is similar to one of Sibut's examples:
    I find it improbable that he be back in time for the wedding



    Hello and thank you in advance:)

    I find it hard to understand the fun different functions of 'it' as empty or preparatory subject. Is this sentence right? Why/why not? I would just make it a normal passive, but can't be sure. Please, help!

    'I feel it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event'

    Thanks a million

    Blue:)
     
    Last edited:

    blue canary

    New Member
    Spanish-Spain
    Thank you, Bennymix, could you confirm if the previous attempt is correct?

    'I feel the valuable purpose of the event should be appreciated'
     

    blue canary

    New Member
    Spanish-Spain
    Yes, this is OK. I thought, however, that the purpose of the thread was to discuss use of anticipatory 'it', not how to avoid using it!
    No, not avoiding it, bennymix, just trying to understand its use and some correct alternatives. Your suggestion is very welcome, it certainly sounds more natural and widens my views. Thank you!
     

    Sakura-86

    Member
    Castellano, Argentina
    Hello, I have a doubt with the use of anticipatory it. I perfectly understand the explanation of Sibutlasi, but I still doubt with constructions similar to the one suggested by Bennymix:I think it should be appreciated how valuable the goal of this undertaking is.
    It is the same structure than a that clause?
    Is this sentence correct? It is analyzed how a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth.

    Thank you for your help!
     
    Your last sentence is rather awkward, non-native.

    Hello, I have a doubt with the use of anticipatory it. I perfectly understand the explanation of Sibutlasi, but I still doubt with constructions similar to the one suggested by Bennymix:I think it should be appreciated how valuable the goal of this undertaking is.
    It is the same structure than a that clause?
    Is this sentence correct? It is analyzed how a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth.

    Thank you for your help!
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It is analyzed how a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth.

    I think it's ungrammatical, not just awkward: it looks like a translation from another language which allows this construction.

    [QUOTE="Sibutlasi, post: 14996084, member: 652027"]A 'dummy' it, on the contrary, cannot anticipate a noun phrase, cf. *It occurred a nasty accident, *It is necessary a new policy, or your own *it should be appreciated the valuable purpose of the event (all ungrammatical).[/QUOTE]


    I think "how a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth" is a noun clause (it's a "wh- clause", which includes clauses beginning with "how").

    Try substituting a noun phrase in your sentence: *It is analysed a needed financial inclusion. That doesn't work, as explained by Sibutlasi in #5.

    You would need to write "A needed financial inclusion is analysed" and "[How a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth] is analysed" (very awkward) or "There is an analysis of [how a financial inclusion is needed to reach an inclusive growth]" (less awkward).
     

    Sakura-86

    Member
    Castellano, Argentina
    Thank you, velisarius, for your explanation.
    And what about this other sentence?: It is analyzed how she performed her role.
    It is ungrammatical too? I think that it isn't an It + noun clause
    Thank you!
     
    'It is analyzed' to begin a sentence is always awkward. This applies to lots of other similar attempts, to varying degrees.
    'It is discussed', 'It is elaborated'. Exceptions might be 'It is argued [that the President should quit]' and 'It is explained, [below, how this machine works].'
     
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