3 VERY common mistakes with the English word “it”

YouTube video

Advanced English Grammar Course

200 Common Errors Course

#1 – Forgetting to use “it” when the sentence needs a subject

“I just bought a new computer. Was on sale.”

Every sentence in English needs a subject. In the second sentence, we need to say “It was on sale” – the word “it” functions as the subject, referring to the new computer.

We also use “it” as the subject with weather and time:

  • “Is raining.”
    “It’s raining.”
  • “Is cold today.”
    “It’s cold today.” 
  • “Is five o’clock.”
    “It’s five o’clock.”

#2 – Forgetting to use “it” when the verb needs an object

“What did you do with the document?”
“I sent to your secretary.”

“Where’s my jacket?”
“I put in the closet.”

In these sentences, the main verbs – sent and put – need a direct object:

“I sent it to your secretary.”

“I put it in the closet.”

Again, we need to use the word “it” in place of the specific name of the object (the document / the jacket).

#3 – Using “it” to repeat the subject that’s already in the clause

“This food it’s not very good.”

“The best part about English class it’s that we play a lot of games.”

In the first sentence, the subjects of the sentences (“food” and “part”) are already mentioned specifically, so we don’t need to include “it.” Many students make this mistake when the subject is a long phrase (“the best part about English class”) rather than just one word.

We could use “it” if we added a second clause to the sentence:

“This food is not very good, but I’ll eat it anyway.”