The Cambridge Dictionary's article "be in for sth" gives two examples:

The weather forecast says we're in for heavy rain this evening.
You'll be in for it (= you'll be in trouble) if you don't do what she tells you.

The first example is clear: the object to "to be in for sth" is "heavy rain".

But the second one appears a bit enigmatic to me.
Does "it" refer to any part of the sentence or context?
Or is "to be in for it" just a fixed expression for "to be/get in trouble"?

  • A dread consequence (typically punishment). – RonJohn Dec 26 '17 at 19:43

In for it is a fixed expression, meaning retribution or punishment will follow. From MW:

in for it


certain to be punished

If his parents find out what he's done, he'll be in for it.

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    Which is to say, the "it" in this sentence is a pronoun to stand in for whatever trouble is expected. – Andrew Dec 26 '17 at 16:55
  • I agree, referring to past or current actions someone did. – Zorkind Dec 26 '17 at 16:56
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    it => consequences of some action that (triggered) the consequences. Makes sense? – Zorkind Dec 26 '17 at 16:57
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    A variant is "now you're really gonna get it". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 26 '17 at 20:58
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    @Alvaro I suppose one could say “yes, we’re really in for it” if someone points out a bad weather forecast (e.g. in response to them saying “we’re expecting thunderstorms tonight”). – Tim Dec 27 '17 at 4:14

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