Lecture 29
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Lecture 29. It - Patterns. 29.1 Empty it and anticipatory it It may be useful to give a summary of the chief uses of empty it and anticipatory it .

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Lecture 29

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Lecture 29

Lecture29

It - Patterns


Lecture 29

  • 29.1 Empty it and anticipatory it

    It may be useful to give a summary of the chief uses of empty it and anticipatory it.


Lecture 29

Empty itEmpty it does not refer to anything, as distinguished from the third person singular, neutral pronoun. It is meaningless and is chiefly used as formal subject in sentences denoting time, place, distance, and atmospheric conditions.


Lecture 29

Empty it , as formal subject, also occurs in sentences denoting a general situation, e.g.:It has fared well with him.It was dull when Mary was away.


Lecture 29

Empty it also occurs in some idioms where it functions as formal object or prepositional complementation, e.g.:You will catch it for breaking the glasses.Jack has a hard time of it.


Lecture 29

2) Anticipatory itanticipatory it commonly occurs in sentences with a nominal clause as subject or object.


Lecture 29

The subject/ object clauses is usually shifted to the end of the sentence, leaving the vacancy to be filled in by an anticipatory it. The extraposed subject / object may be a finite clause or a non-finite clause.


Lecture 29

For this kind of subject/object, extraposition is more frequent than its natural position, e.g.:It was not known whether there was gold left in the mine.He made it clear that he didn’t want to speak to me.


Lecture 29

29.2 It as introductory word of cleft sentences1) Cleft sentence definedA cleft sentence is an emphatic construction with non0referring it as formal subject.


The general pattern of a cleft sentence is as follows it be focal element that who clause

The general pattern of a cleft sentence is as follows:It + be + focal element + that/ who-clause


A cleft sentence is commonly used to spotlight an element of an ordinary statement

A cleft sentence is commonly used to spotlight an element of an ordinary statement.


Lecture 29

Generally speaking, except the predicator, almost all the elements of a statement can be singled out as the focal element .


Lecture 29

The predicator may be a simple form of the verb be; it may also be a complex verb phrase with a form of the verb be as headword:It was then that he gave her a bag.It might have been then that he gave her a bag.


Lecture 29

There are restrictions on the use of subject complement as focal element, but in the case of object complement, there is no such restriction, e.g.:He is intelligent.*It is intelligent that he is.


Lecture 29

2) Introductory it in cleft sentence vs. anticipatory itThe introductory it of a cleft sentence is functionally different from an anticipatory it: the introductory it does not stand for any extraposed subject, while an anticipatory it does.


Lecture 29

3)Pseudo-cleft sentencesIf we want to spotlight the verb phrase, we will have to use what is called “pseudo-cleft sentence”.


Lecture 29

I gave her a handbag.What I did was (to) give her a handbag.He will be taking a plane to Beijing.What he will be doing is taking a plane to Beijing.He has given her a handbag.What he has done is to give / give / given her a handbag.


Lecture 29

Another type is composed of “what clause + be + noun phrase”:what he gave her was a handbag.A handbag was what he gave her.


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