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How we use impersonal pronouns “it” & “you”?

Level: B1
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“It” is one of the most commonly used impersonal pronouns in English. “It” can refer to many unspecified subjects depending on the context.


Mary has a new dog. It‘s a Bordeaux Mastiff.

Word “it” appeared in the above sentence and replaced a noun – “a dog” so that it appeared as a personal pronoun.

Here are some more sentences using “it” as a pronoun:

The Smiths bought a new house last week. It has three bedrooms.
I’ve read a great book. It was written by Stephen King.

“It” also has one more function – impersonal. Every sentence in English must include a subject.

The sentences beginning with predicate

What if there is no subject and the sentence begin with predicate? There are two ways.

When we are talking about material things, then structure we use “there is/there are”.
But when we are talking about abstract terms, we use impersonal “it”.

There’s no water.

what can we express with the impersonal pronoun “it”?example
timeIt’s nearly five o’clock.
It’s late.
What time is it?
distance How far is it?
It’s over 30 kilometres.
It was a five – minute walk.
weather conditionsIt was very windy yesterday.
It often rains here in autumn.
identityWho is it? It‘s me.
It‘s Ali.
general opinionIt‘s dangerous, living in a city.
It‘s great to have a lot of money.
It‘s essential, to be honest.
private opinion on a particular subjectIt’s great to meet you.
It’s nice to see you again.
It’s funny to see you dressed as a clown
It’s a good idea to stay here.
opinion on a particular personIt was kind of her to help me.
It’s kind of you to bring me a flower.
It was smart of you to tell him I wasn’t at home.
impersonal “it” in some other expressionsexample
it doesn’t matterI’m afraid I’ll be late.
It doesn’t matter. We won’t be leaving before nine, anyway.
it takesHow long does it take to get to the airport? It takes almost an hour if you go by bus.
it’s time toIt’s time to go to bed, children.
It’s time to leave. Hurry up, or we’ll miss the bus.


To express something referring to everyone in general, the pronoun “you” shall be used:

You have to show your passport at the border.
You mustn’t go in there.
You can’t swim in this river.

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