The meaning of many adjectives can be intensified with adverbs such as rather, very or exceedingly.
– It was rather hot in the room.
– It only had a very short time to prepare for the test.
– It was exceedingly difficult to cross the road.
Some adjectives already have an ‘extreme’ meaning. These adjectives can only be further intensified with adverbs such as absolutely, completely or utterly.
– The plot of that film was completely impossible.
– She was utterly miserable when the holiday ended.
It as preparatory subject
It can be used as the subject of a sentence referring forwards to a word or phrase occurring later. This is a common structure in spoken English. It is often used:
to precede an infinitive clause
– It was really lovely to see Philip again.
– It makes me sad to see her so frail and thin.
to precede a wh- clause (with that/who/what, etc.)
– It’s unlikely that he’ll arrive on time.
– It’s terrible how many people are unemployed.
to give additional emphasis to the first piece of information in a sentence
– It was Sally who gave me the present, not Ann.
It as preparatory object
It can also be used as the object of a sentence, referring forwards to a word or phrase occurring later, in this pattern: subject + verb + it + complement + infinitive/wh-clause.
– They thought it undesirable to give him the prize.
– I found it puzzling that she’d not said goodbye.