English composite sentences with introductory «It» | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции


Рубрика: 5. Общее и прикладное языкознание

Опубликовано в

VI международная научная конференция «Современная филология» (Казань, март 2018)

Дата публикации: 07.03.2018

Статья просмотрена: 7 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Сатимова Д. Н. English composite sentences with introductory «It» [Текст] // Современная филология: материалы VI Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Казань, март 2018 г.). — Казань: Молодой ученый, 2018. — С. 39-41. — URL https://moluch.ru/conf/phil/archive/259/13947/ (дата обращения: 20.06.2018).

The article discusses the English composite sentences with introductory “it”.

Key words: introductory, coordination or subordination, anticipate, cataphoric function, polypredicative construction.

People began to speak many centuries ago, and since then they have been speaking different languages. Every language reflects the soul, behaviour and temperament of each nationality.

Now English is spoken practically all over the world; it has become the world's most important language in politics, science, trade and cultural relations. English is one of the official languages of the United Nation Organisation. Half of the world's scientific literature is in English. It is the language of computer technology.

To my mind English is worth studying. There is a proverb: «A new language is a new world». «Knowledge is a power», one great man said. Now I know that it is a must for XXI century professional no matter what job to choose. The world is getting smaller and international connections tighter. This article is devoted to one of the actual themes of modern comparative linguistics: “English composite sentences with introductory “It”.

The article is devoted to the analyses of the introductory “it” in composite sentences in Modern English. For the purpose of classifying introductory “it” and using in composite sentences I have analysed numerous works of foreign linguists, investigated various statistics on this field and observed the frequency of the introductory “it” in authentic materials and communication.

The composite sentence, as different from the simple sentence, is formed by two or more predicative lines. Being a polypredicative construction, it expresses a complicated act of thought, i.e. and act of mantel activity which falls into two or more intellectual affords closely combined with each other. In terms of situations and events this means that the composite sentence reflects to or more elementarysituational events viewed as making up a unity; the constitutive connections of the events are expressed by the constitutive connections of the predicative lines of the sentence.

Each predicative unit in a composite sentence makes up a clause in it, so that a clause as part of a composite sentence corresponds to a separate sentence as part of a contextual sequence. E.g When I sat down to dinner I looked for an opportunity slip causally the information that I had by accident run across the Driffields;but the news travelled fast Black stable..

As is well known, the use of composite sentences, especially long and logically intricate ones, is characteristic of literary written speech rather than colloquial oral speech. This unquestionable fact is explained by the three reasons: one relating to the actual needs of expressions; one relating to the possibilities of productions; and one relating to the conditions of perception. [4.288]

That the composite sentences structure answers the special needs of written mode of lingual expression is quite evident. It is this type of speech that deals with lengthy reasoning, descriptions, narrations, all presenting abundant details of intricate correlations of logical premises and inferences, of situational foreground and background, of sequences of events interrupted by cross — references and parenthetical comments. Only a composite sentence can adequately and within reasonable bounds of textual space fulfill these semantic requirements.

Composite sentences, as we know divide into compound and complex sentences. The difference between them is not only in the relations of coordination or subordination, as usually stated. It is also important to know what is coordinated or subordinated. In compound sentences the whole clauses are coordinated, together with their predications. [4.298]

There are different approaches to composite sentences, for example,

N. A. Kobrina, E. A. Korneyeva distinguish the following composite sentences types:

  1. The Compound Sentences.
  2. Linked Independent Sentences.
  3. The Complex Sentence.

1) The Complex Sentence with Substantive Clauses.

2) The Complex Sentence with a Subject Clause.

3) The Complex Sentence with a Predicative Clause.

4) The Complex Sentence with an Object Clause (The Complex Sentence with a Complement Clause).

5) The Complex Sentence with an Attribute Clause.

6) The Complex Sentence with an Adverbial Clause.

7) Cases of Structural Arrangements Intermediate between Coordination and Subordination

In treating the composite sentences N. E. Kobrina and N. I. Korneeva classify them into the compound sentence and the complex sentence. The complex sentences in their turn fall under the following functional subtypes:

1) the complex sentence with nominal clauses(subjective, predicative, objective and appositive(content) clauses.

2) the complex sentences with adverbial clauses of place, time, manner, comparison, condition, concession, purpose, cause, result. (consequence)

3) pseudo-complex sentences:

a) emphatic (or cleft) sentences: It is John who did it

b) appended clauses (уточняющие предложения):

She is a clever girl, is your friend. He never told me anything, did your brother.

c) absolute (or emancipated) subordinate clauses (if only I knew his address! As though you didn't know!)

d) parenthetical clauses (parentheses)often called comment clauses

There is, as it were, a transparent barrier between myself and strong emotions.

He waited (which was his normal occupation) and thought, like other citizens

In the section on pronouns, I saw that the word it is a third person singular pronoun. However, this word also has other roles which are not related to its pronominal use.

Here, we cannot identify precisely what it refers to. It has a rather vague reference, and we call this DUMMY IT or PROP IT.

It is sometimes used to «anticipate» something which appears later in the same sentence:

It's a pity that you can't come to my party

Because of its role in this type of sentence, we call this ANTICIPATORY IT.

One possible analysis is to set up an independent third category anticipatory “it”, which is outside the dichotomy of referring it and prop it and takes the cataphoric function of anticipatory “it” to be an inherent property of the pronoun itself. This view seems to be implied in Curme’s observation that anticipatory “it” differs from impersonal it in that it has “a little concrete force, since it points to a definite subject”. [3.107]

Pronoun ‘it’ has no meaning. ‘it’ is use only to fill the subject position in the sentence. This, it’s called introductory ‘It’.

If we compare the two sentences below we can find their difference.

  1. While in Hawaii, Peter had a nice experience. Now he is telling his friends about it.
  2. It interesting to talk about a tourist object have visited.

‘It’ in the first sentence refers to something (the nice experience). We call it personal pronoun.

‘It’ in the second sentence refers to nothing. We usually use it to introduce the subject/object. We call it Introductory It.

Although an infinitive phrase can be used as the subject of a sentence, it is not common. It’s more common to use the “empty subject” it clause: [5.240]

To prepare a lovely holiday dinner is easy.

It is easy to learn how to use a computer.

If the subject is a long or grammatically complex structure (a that — clause,

wh — clause, to — infinitive or if — clause) “it”. This allows us to put those clause at the end of the sentence, which is the the usual place in English for information that is important or new.

For example we give you one simple sentence without introductory “it”.

Why Steve decided to resign is clear.

We can also use introductory “it” in composite sentences as an object:

It is sometimes used as the object of the verbs think, feel, deem, count, consider etc.

Don`t you think it dangerous to drive so carelessly?


– It +is+ clear +why + Steve decided to resign


– Verbs in this group include amaze, annoy, astonish, bother, concern, frighten, hurt, please, scare, shock, surprise, upset, and worry.


This structure is common with many adjectives expressing possibility, necessity, importance, etc. some of them are important, normal, common, un/usual, right, wrong, pointless, vital, etc.

–It + is + vital that + for+ her+ to be resilient to her job.

It is common with the passive voice. It makes the sentence seem less personal and more objective:

It was decided that we should all swim across the lake before breakfast.

My article is devoted to one of the actual themes of modern linguodidactics: “English composite sentences with “it”. I have tried to give a systematized study of the introductory “it” in composite sentences. It is hard to say exactly how people learn languages although plenty of researches have been done into this subject. Many methods have been proposed for the teaching the foreign language. And they have met with varying degrees of success and failure. Statistically, people learn languages in three effective ways: by acquiring the language, interacting with other people and by focusing on form.


  1. Кобрина, Корнеева, Осовская и др. “Грамматика английского языка: Морфология”.С-П., 1999.
  2. Bolinger, Dwight L dissertation on “The lexical value of “it””. Working papers in Linguistics (University of Hawaii): 1970. p57
  3. Collins, Peter dissertation on “Cleft construction in English” 1191,p107
  4. M. Y. Blokh “Theory of Grammar” Москва «Высшая школа» 1983
  5. p 288, 298
  6. Yerkes, P. Teaching and learning a second language. London: Longman. 1989 p 517
  7. www.educationuk.org

Ключевые слова

introductory, coordination or subordination, anticipate, cataphoric function, polypredicative construction


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