There is an example of sentence below.

What is it that you don't like about the subway?

And I'll give another sentence below.

I don't like it when the subway gets really crowded.

In second example, what is the meaning of 'when' and 'it'?

  • 1
    The first thing you should learn by heart is to capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence.
    – AIQ
    Nov 7, 2019 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


"It" can stand for a definite, obvious referent.

I see the ball. It’s over there. Go get it and throw it back to me.

"It" is impersonal at times.

It is raining.

Other times "it" stands for a condition rather than either of the two preceding cases.

I hate it when I slam the door on my thumb.

This is what your sentences are referring to.

You have "it" standing in for a condition or for specific circumstances.

"When" is only a way of connecting the condition to the feeling.

  • By the way, what about first example? Do you think that the example is correct in the aspect of grammar? I think that 'it' is object, and 'that' is conjunction. Then, Can we say that 'it' is demonstrative pronoun of explaining 'that clause'?
    – bak1936
    Nov 7, 2019 at 8:46
  • The first example is correct, natural English. Nov 28, 2019 at 3:55

Just as one example: reading the Wikipedia article on "impersonal verb" might help you with your question about "it" (but not entirely).

  • 1
    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review
    – mdewey
    Dec 24, 2022 at 14:03
  • @mdewey I took care to reply (partly) to the comment, by advising about how to learn about "impersonal verbs" (something the OP was clearly asking about, and had never heard of). I also criticised the question, validly, because it was not a fair question. But please re-read it slowly. I did provide a fair partial answer.
    – equin0x80
    Dec 24, 2022 at 14:42

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