it

pronouns

In the English Grammar Profile, there are many points dealing with basic pronouns at the A1 level. 1 ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘we’ and ‘they’ in the subject position before a verb in statements. 2 ‘it’ before ‘be’ to refer to a first-person speaker or writer.  “It’s me.” 3 ‘it’ as a direct object …

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Academic IELTS grammar for writing task 2

I put this advanced student sample answer to the IELTS writing task 2 through our English Grammar Profiler looking for stand out features.  Here are the highest grammar constructions, that we have listed as C1: It is argued that volunteering should be made a part of the school curriculum. (This is the topic sentence) What you have done outside the classroom is often …

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Academic IELTS grammar for task 1

I’m often asked by my students just before they take an IELTS test for some quick tips on what to study before a particular task.  Therefore, in this post, I will summarise the salient grammar and vocabulary features I found in very good introductions and overviews in the Academic IELTS  Task 1 tests using our …

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‘would rather’ | ‘it’s time’ + PAST TENSE CLAUSE

Here we look at examples of using ‘the past tense’ in a way that is not referring to past time.  In these EXPERT EXAMPLES: It’s time we started to think about the environment and a little bit less about money. Isle of Man Newspapers As an environmentalist, we would rather that didn’t happen. TED ‘the past tense’ expresses a wish that is distanced from the real situation. In reality, they are not thinking …

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WHAT IS IT YOU WANT? (relative clause question)

Let’s analyse questions that have relative clauses to give emphasis.  So usually, we would say something like: What do we want to ask?  What are we trying to find out here? You can see the normal auxiliary verbs ‘be’ and ‘do’ get removed and relative clauses are added in the EXPERT EXAMPLES: What is it that we want …

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(SUBJECT) CLEFT CONSTRUCTION WITH ‘it’

Point 116 in PRONOUNS is defined as: a cleft construction beginning with ‘it’ to emphasise the subject of the main clause. FOR EXAMPLE: After all, it’s individuals who are to blame here, right? *Seems like religious contexts use this structure. An iWeb search for: It _V _N who _V 1 IT IS GOD WHO IS 218 2 IT IS GOD WHO …

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‘It should be noted that’ (passives to summarise)

C1 point 36 in the category of PASSIVES is defined as: ‘it’ as a dummy subject, to summarise or evaluate in discussions, usually in formal or academic writing. *This might clash with B2. A search of the formal patterns found in the EGP for the iWeb: it_P _V _VB _VVN that 1 IT SHOULD BE …

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It can | could + be + said | argued | concluded | considered

The pronoun ‘it’ can be used where the subject is unclear at C1, and verbs such as ‘conclude’ are only used by C1 learners.  For example: It was concluded that it never existed. However, this post is about reporting with modal verbs. C1 point 208 in MODALITY is defined as: ‘can’ in passive reporting clauses in a more formal impersonal …

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‘It is god who gives life.’ (It CLEFT CLAUSE)

The English Grammar Profile C2 point 15 in the category of FOCUS is defined as: ‘IT’ CLEFT + ‘be’ + noun + ‘that’ clause for focus. Pearson lists this at GSE 59 B2: clauses with ‘It’ + ‘be’ … to emphasise the topic or main point. It’s the money that keeps me in this job. It was his accent that made him hard to understand. If we follow the …

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WERE IT NOT FOR

‘were it not for’ + noun phrase expresses that someone or something prevented something from happening.  For example: Were it not for the cataclysmic events which overtook them, it’s entirely possible that raptors, rather than humans,  would have become the dominant species on this planet. Listen C2 point 132 in CLAUSES/conditional is defined as: ‘Were it not for’ + noun phrase to introduce conditions in formal contexts. *The big corpora do not …

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At the end of the day (FOCUS EXPRESSIONS)

‘at the end of the day‘ can be used literally, meaning the time of day, but is also an informal phrase that means:  when everything is taken into consideration.   *It contains the most common 5 part N-gram in English: ‘at the end of the’ iWeb 392146 English Grammar Profile C1 Point 8 in the category …

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‘It is said that …’ (IT + passive)

Let’s take a look at an IELTS writing task 2 example with this grammar: It is argued that volunteering should be made a part of the school curriculum. In the above example, ‘is argued‘ forms the passive part.  The active form of this is probably: ‘People argue that…” In our example, ‘people’ is not important or maybe we don’t know who …

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‘WH’ questions

‘WH-‘ questions expect a reply that supplies information. The wh-word can be a pronoun: What made you think that? (listen to this question) adverb: Where did it go? (listen) or a determiner: Which part? (listen) Here are many entries at A2 in the English Grammar Profile that catch the same question complexity. Point 2 in the category of …

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It’s + adjective + ‘that’ clause (focus)

When we look at the most common examples with the grammar pattern: ‘it is adjective that clause’ It is clear that he stole it.  It is possible that the police won’t find him.  It is likely that the man will get away. We see they all appear to have modal adjectives (clear, possible, likely) that show how sure we are about the following clause using ‘FOCUS’.  Two of …

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If it hadn’t been for / had it not been for + modal

Point 91 in the PAST category of the English Grammar Profile, we can give reasons with this structure which collocates with: If it hadn’t been for + up to 9 spaces to the right in the COCA corpus (I changed to this corpus because iWeb and NOW corpora were not allowing or providing much information): …

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