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It vs. This
It has two main functions:
1. As a pronoun, it refers to a singular, non-human noun:
I saw a movie yesterday. It was awful!
When you turn on your computer, it tries to connect to the Internet.
2. It sometimes appears at the start of a construction where it comes before the verb be or such
“linking” verbs as appear or
It is in the position of a subject, but it is not really a subject. It just fills that slot in the sentence.
In terms of meaning, the main idea of the sentence comes in a that clause or to infinitive.
The word it has no real meaning in these sentences.
Notice that it refers forward to a new idea in these sentences.
It is important to wear sunscreen.
It is believed that tea may protect against some diseases.
This also has two main functions, but it always refers back to a thing or
idea that has already been introduced:
1. As a determiner, this means this one (that the reader/listener can see
or already knows about).
In this class, you will learn about the history of musical theatre.
Look at this mess on the floor!
2. As a pronoun, this can refer back to an entire idea, not just a single
It is going to rain today. This means we can’t have a picnic.
The price of gas has fallen. This is one reason why people are driving