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It / There

Referring to weather, time, or existence

rain on glass




In expressions of weather, time or existence


Use it as the subject of a sentence when talking about the weather, the time or a distance etc. It uses singular verb agreement.

There has no particular meaning besides the existence of something. It is a placeholder for the subject position in a clause.  There is commonly followed by a be verb or a modal.  In most cases, the sentence can be restated in a simpler way without there.

Is it still raining?  It's cloudy.   (the weather)

Is there rain on the street still?    (Rain is on the street.)

It was 4 o'clock.    (the time)

There was a clock on the wall.      (A clock is on the wall.)

It's my birthday today.     (the time)

There was a birthday party.   (A birthday party occurred.)

It is over 450 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles.    (the distance)

There are no high-speed trains between S.F and L.A.   (doesn't exist)

It gets dark very early in the winter.    (the time)

There isn't much daylight here in the winter.  (Daylight doesn't occur much in the winter.)

It has been three years since I last saw her.    (the time)

There must be a reason for her absence.   (A reason for her absence exists.)


Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.   (A knock occured on the door.)


There are several questions we need to answer. (Several questions exist that we need to answer.)


There must be easier ways of doing this.  (Easier ways of doing this exist.)

Related pages: There / It Subj Pronouns, "It is" Adjective + Infin, "It takes" + Infinitive





Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions



Common Mistakes


There had been a long time since they saw each other.

It had been a long time since they saw each other. (time expression)

It's nothing in the refergerator. It's empty.

There's nothing in the refergerator. It's empty. (existence)

It have over 10 million people in my city.

There are over 10 million people in my city.





Practice 1

A Play

Audience at a play




  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
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