So-called ‘’it’ clauses are used to focus the reader’s attention on information or views that the writer wishes to emphasize. An ability to use such clauses in IELTS writing tasks 1 and 2 will provide evidence that you can use syntax to effectively organize your content to make your argument more appealing and impressive to the IELTS examiner.

 

Here are the main ways of forming ‘it’ clauses:

 

1. It is + adjective + (to-infinitive) (+ that)

Example: It is easy to underestimate this problem.

It is interesting to note that far more women are in management positions than in previous decades.

 

2. It + modal + passive verb + that

Example: It should be noted that far more women are in management positions than in previous decades.

 

3. It is + adjective or phrase +- ing

Example: It is worth pointing out that far more women are in management positions than in previous decades.

 

4. It is + adjective + that or question word

Example: It is obvious that/why some action needs to be taken to deal with global warming.

 

5. It is + noun / (adjective + noun) + that / to

Example: It is a pity that only a minority of young people seem interested in voting.

It is a pleasant surprise to see so many adults wanting to learn to play a musical instrument.

 

6. It is + adjective + for + object + infinitive

Example: It’s impossible for us to predict the outcome of this election.

 

7. An it clause can be used to precede clauses with if, as if and as though.

Example : It looks as if little is going to be done to reduce global warming.

 

8. ‘It takes …’ This construction is used to indicate how much time is need to complete a task.

Example: It took over ten years for the region to recover from the earthquake.

 

Exercise 1

Match sentences from the two columns that have the same structures as listed above.

 

It is no use trying to explain to someone who isn’t prepared to listenIt is obligatory for local authorities to ensure the well-being of all their citizens.

 

It is taking more time than anticipated to end the conflict.It is hard to imagine that such a young person can be a leader of a country

 

It is clear that we need to make more effort to deal with this problem.It is a shock to discover how many people in the survey admitted to having a drink problem.

 

It seems as if no-one is going to make an effort to change the status quo.It must be emphasized that most people reject any form of extremism.

 

It is important to listen carefully in meetings 

It took me several weeks to learn how to use this software.

 

It would be easier for voters to understand the issues if politicians avoided distorting their opponents’ points.It is understandable why no-one wants to take on such a job.
It could be said that the housing crisis was a crisis that didn’t need to happen.It is always nice meeting old friends again.
It is a surprising fact that only a small minority of the population were in favour if tax cuts

 

It looks as though any effort to reduce global warming is going to fail.

 

 

Using an impersonal ‘it’ clause can help to make your essay have a more academic tone. To get a better understanding of how to use such clauses try to read some academic articles in journals in your own field.

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Answers to Exercises

Exercise 1

Match sentences from the two columns that have the same structures as listed above.

Type 1 It is important to listen carefully in meetings.
Type 1 It is hard to imagine that such a young person can be a leader of a country.
Type 2 It could be said that the housing crisis was a crisis that didn’t need to happen.
Type 2 It must be emphasized that most people reject any form of extremism.
Type 3 It is no use trying to explain to someone who isn’t prepared to listen.
Type 3 It is always nice meeting old friends again.
Type 4 It is clear that we need to make more effort to deal with this problem.
Type 4 It is understandable why no-one wants to take on such a job.
Type 5 It is a surprising fact that only a small minority of the population were in favour if tax cuts.
Type 5 It is a shock to discover how many people in the survey admitted to having a drink problem.
Type 6 It would be easier for voters to understand the issues if politicians avoided distorting their opponents’ points.
Type 6 It is obligatory for local authorities to ensure the well-being of all their citizens.
Type 7  It seems as if no-one is going to make an effort to change the status quo.
Type 7  It looks as though any effort to reduce global warming is going to fail.
Type 8  It is taking more time than anticipated to end the conflict.
Type 8 It took me several weeks to learn how to use this software.

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