1. What is the difference between “is” and “it is” in a sentence?

Please make sure that the password is at least 8 characters long.
Please make sure that the password it is at least 8 characters long.

A boarding pass is required.
A boarding pass it is required.

Is raining today.
It is raining today.

The food is good.
The food it is good.

Is great.
It is great.

Thank you!

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    Welcome to the site! Can you give us more context and explanation? And can you give us example sentences? Your question is not entirely clear. – Cerberus Jan 8 '14 at 9:07

In the first, second, and fourth sample sentences, you already have a subject, the password, a boarding pass and the food, and therefore don't need to include an it. Although it may be more common to use in other languages, the it part is left out in English (I'm not sure if leaving it in is incorrect grammar, or just not done in practice).

However, if you add a comma after the subject, you can include it. The resulting sentence puts an added emphasis on the subject (though, this is quite uncommonly used):

The food, it is good.

Picture someone saying that sentence: The food *pause* it is good.

  • 3
    "The food, it is good" is an example of left dislocation. – snailcar Jan 8 '14 at 11:44
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    "The food, it is good" would be more of an idiom (and still an unusual phrasing) than good English sentence structure. In all the other cases, adding a comma would be bad to some degree. – Phil Perry Jun 10 '14 at 17:27

I wonder if I have understood your question correctly. However I'll try to answer.

In English verbs are normally used with the subject they refer to. This is because most verbs do not change their ending to adapt to a singular or plural subject. For example, we say "you are" both when we are talking to one person only or to a group of people, as much as we say "I have" and "they have". Without a proper subject we would not be able to correctly understand the meaning of a verb.

The verb "is" refers to a third person singular but this is not enough to make a sentence correct and complete, so we use it in conjunction with either he, she or it.

Coming to the sentences you list, it is only required in the third sentence (It is raining today) because in the other sets of examples there is a proper subject and adding it would be wrong.


The password, a boarding pass and the food are the subject of is in the given examples, so you do not need to add an extra subject it. In "it is raining", it is the subject so you cannot leave it out.

So in short, only in the phrase "it is raining" do you use "it", in the other examples "it" should not be there.

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