Impersonal “It” and “There”


In many kinds of English sentences, you will find the word “it” or the word “there” in the subject position. These are usually “impersonal” sentences — sentences where there is no natural subject. This introduction will help you to understand when to use “it” and when to use “there”.

1. Impersonal “it”

When to use it Examples
Talking about weather It’s raining.
It’s cold.
It was sunny yesterday.
Identifying something “Who is it?”
It’s me.”
“What is it?”
It’s a cat.”
Talking about time “What time is it?”
It’s five o’clock.”
“What day is it?”
It’s Thursday.”
Talking about distance “How far is it to Toronto?”
It’s 4000 kilometers.”

2. Impersonal “there”

Impersonal “there” is used to say that something exists in a particular place:

Singular There is a book on the table.
Plural There are three men in the car.

When you are sure that you understand the lesson, you can continue with the exercises.