Prepare yourself for a journey through the labyrinth of modern language and terminology. The compact yet resourceful guide “And When Should I Use It?” is designed to enlighten you with the practical understanding and appropriate usage of commonly confused words, phrases, sayings, jargons, and acronyms. You will no longer find yourself puzzled by a word or term, instead, you’ll master exactly when and how to use it in your conversations! So, let’s embark on this linguistic adventure!


Understanding Context

Language is an engaging tool that provides multiple layers of understanding. Using the correct words and grammar can significantly influence your message. Among the simplest but most essential words in English is ‘it.’

Looking at the question in different scenarios

Understanding context is vital when you’re deciding when and how to use ‘it.’ Context involves the circumstances, situations, or surrounding information related to an event or instance. In other words, context is the information that aids in enhancing the understanding of a word or sentence. Therefore, knowing the context will help you decide when ‘it’ is appropriate to use.

Exploring more about when you should use ‘it’

‘It’ is used in several scenarios. Whenever you want to refer to a certain thing previously mentioned, known, or understood, you can use ‘it.’ Or, if you’re speaking about a situation or condition that you want to comment on, ‘it’ becomes your go-to word.

Pronoun Usage

In the English language, pronouns play a fundamental role in crafting sensible sentences without unnecessary repetitions. Understanding pronoun usage is vital for clear, effective communications.

Definition and understanding pronouns

A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns are commonly used to prevent repetition within a sentence and provide continuity. They play a significant role in giving conversations and writings a smooth flow.

Specifically understanding ‘it’

Now, coming to the pronoun ‘it.’ ‘It’ is a third-person singular pronoun used to represent a specific thing that is previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or understood. This pronoun can also refer to a certain fact, situation, or condition that is under discussion or consideration.

Use cases of ‘it’

In English, ‘it’ has many uses and senses. For instance, it can be used to denote time, temperature, distance, or a specific task or activity, among others. For example, ‘It is 9 PM,’ ‘It is cold today,’ or ‘It is necessary to complete the task.’

And When Should I Use It?

Referential Usage

One of the most common usages of the pronoun ‘it’ is in reference to a previously mentioned subject.

When ‘it’ is used to make reference to a previously mentioned subject

Referential ‘it’ ensures a smooth flow of conversation or writing by avoiding unnecessary repetitions. It’s used to point back to a specific thing or individual that has been mentioned earlier.

Examples of referential usage

For instance, in the sentence, ‘I have a cat. It is very playful,’ the word ‘it’ refers to the cat mentioned earlier. Here, ‘it’ effectively prevents the repetition of the word ‘cat.’

Idiomatic Usage

In English, idiomatic expressions are frequently used. These phrases often have an established meaning that’s different from the sum of the literal meanings of the individual words.

Understanding idiomatic phrases with ‘it’

‘It’ is commonly used in idiomatic expressions. Idiomatic phrases with ‘it’ lend themselves to expressive and fluent conversations.

Knowing when to use these phrases

Using idiomatic phrases with ‘it’ can often depict competence and familiarity with the language. Expressions such as ‘take it easy’ or ‘it’s not my cup of tea’ are popular idiomatic uses of ‘it.’

And When Should I Use It?

Exophoric Usage

The exophoric usage of ‘it’ is another exciting facet to explore.

How ‘it’ is used outside of the text or discourse

Exophoric ‘it’ is used when ‘it’ refers to something mentioned or understood outside the current text or conversation. Such uses are common in casual conversation and usually rely on shared knowledge or gestures for clarity.

Examples of exophoric usage

Imagine you are chatting with a friend while watching a movie. You might say, ‘It is so suspenseful!’ Here, ‘it’ refers to the movie you’re both watching – an element outside the current conversation but understood by both parties.

Avoiding Ambiguity

Clarity is of the utmost importance in effective communication. Using ‘it’ properly can assist in maintaining your message’s clarity.

How to prevent confusion through careful use of ‘it’

Avoiding ambiguity involves using ‘it’ in a way that clearly refers to a specific noun, subject, or situation. The antecedent of ‘it’ should be obvious to the reader or listener to prevent confusion.

Practicing clear communication

Clear usage of ‘it’ aids in concise communication. For example, in a sentence like, ‘I have a dog and a cat. It is very playful,’ the use of ‘it’ is ambiguous since we can’t tell whether ‘it’ refers to the dog or the cat. Rewriting the sentence as separate sentences like, ‘I have a dog. It is very playful. I have a cat too’, makes the usage clear and precise.


Using ‘it’ As Placeholder

In English grammar, ‘it’ equally serves an important function as a placeholder subject in sentences.

Understanding placeholder ‘it’

Placeholder ‘it,’ sometimes known as ‘dummy it,’ is a way to facilitate specific word orders and constructions. It doesn’t refer to a specific thing; rather it allows specific sentence patterns to exist.

Examples of situation where placeholder ‘it’ is used

Placeholder ‘it’ typically occurs in sentences like, ‘It is raining.’ Here, ‘it’ has no specific antecedent to refer to — it merely serves as a subject that the construction of the sentence requires.

Using ‘it’ in Passive Constructions

Another common usage of ‘it’ is in passive construction or passive voice sentences.

Understanding passive constructions with ‘it’

In passive construction, the subject of the sentence is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed. ‘It’ is frequently used as a subject in such sentences.

Proper usage of ‘it’ in passive sentences

For example, statements like: ‘It was decided that the meeting will be held tomorrow,’ where the decision-maker is unspecified, the usage of ‘it’ facilitates a passive sentence formulation.


Conventions and Exceptions

Just like any other English grammar rule, there are conventions and exceptions when working with ‘it.’

Different common rules around using ‘it’

Common rules include using ‘it’ to represent an entity discussed in the conversation and using ‘it’ as a placeholder ensuring some sentence constructions are feasible.

Distinctive exceptions that you should know

Exceptions, on the other hand, may occur in a variety of circumstances. For example, when we speak about animals, we tend to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ instead of ‘it,’ especially when the animal’s gender is known.

Wrapping Up – ‘It’ and Communication

In the bigger picture, ‘it’ plays a crucial role in smooth and effective English communication.

The role of ‘it’ in effective communication

The subtle but powerful role of ‘it’ can never be underestimated in English. From acting as a pronoun and a placeholder to facilitating idiomatic, referential, exophoric usages, ‘it’ performs several roles, contributing to the language’s overall efficiency and expressive capacity.

Key takeaways about when to use ‘it’

So, when should you use ‘it’? You should use ‘it’ when you want to reference a previously mentioned subject, express an idiom, facilitate a sentence structure, or refer to something outside of your textual or discourse context. Carefully using ‘it’ contributes to the proper flow, clarity, and effectiveness of your communication.