I read this on someone's Facebook page, it has no relevance to me but its construction both intrigued and baffled me...

Thank you, Lord, for letting it rain!

Please explain, if possible, what "it" refers to here.


"It" here is a dummy pronoun filling a grammatical slot, and doesn't necessarily refer to anything. That's because "God let rain" doesn't work; you have to grammatically specify what He let <verb>, even if it's something general like "existence".

There are a few verb phrases that start with "let" or "letting" that have become idiomatic without an "it". For example, an archer can "let an arrow fly", or they can simply "let fly". Someone can "let go" of what they're holding without having to mention it specifically. But these are all specific phrasal verbs that have built up from old customs, and there's no general way to do the same thing.

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