Using it as a preparatory subject

June 3, 2014pdf

In older English, it was a common practice to use an infinitive clause as the subject of a sentence.

  • To wait for people who would never turn up made him angry.

Here the infinitive phrase ‘To wait for people who would never turn up’ acts as the subject of the verb made.

In modern English, this structure is not very common. We are more likely to use ‘it’ as a preparatory subject and put the infinitive later.

Study the example given below.

  • It made him angry to wait for people who would never turn up.

Rewrite the following sentences as directed.

1. That you feel proud is only natural. (Rewrite the sentence so that it begins with ‘It’.)

2. My aunt gave me a bicycle on my birthday. (Begin with ‘It’.)

3. That she is a fine actress is well-known. (Begin with “It’.)

4. How they got into the room is still a mystery.

5. To remember your telephone number is easy.

6. To play with explosives is dangerous.

Answers

1. It is only natural that you feel proud.

2. It was my aunt who gave me a bicycle on my birthday. OR It was a bicycle that my aunt gave me on my birthday.

3. It is well-known that she is a fine actress.

4. It is still a mystery how they got into the room.

5. It is easy to remember your telephone number.

6. It is dangerous to play with explosives.

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