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To me, sentences "I hate that you can swim and I can't" and "I hate it that you can swim and I can't" are both correct, and including an impersonal "it" is only a matter of personal style. However, from what I understood, the book is suggesting that it is wrong to exclude "it" and say "I hate that you can swim so well." I was wondering how native speakers of English would feel about this.

P.S. the name of the book is Grammar in Use -- Advanced

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    As a native speaker, both sound correct to me, so I agree it is a matter of style.
    – StephenS
    Aug 29 '20 at 21:43
  • They're so similar to me that I thought you'd written the same sentence twice by accident.
    – gotube
    Oct 25 at 3:20
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To me, sentences "I hate that you can swim and I can't" and "I hate it that you can swim and I can't" are both correct, and including an impersonal "it" is only a matter of personal style.

Both sentences sound perfectly fine to me. I would not have blinked at usage of either in a casual conversation. Even in writing I would use whichever I felt sounded best given the context.

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  • Google Ngrams shows that 'I hate that you V' is much more common than 'I hate it that you V', with no great difference in the verbs which are used. 'Love' and 'like' show very similar patterns.
    – Sydney
    Sep 1 '20 at 7:08
  • 1
    @Sydney what is your point? are you trying to say that uncommon constructions are incorrect?
    – yeah22
    Sep 10 '20 at 16:20
  • My point is that objective evidence of actual usage shows that one construction is much more common than another. I didn't use the word 'uncommon'.
    – Sydney
    Sep 11 '20 at 22:33
  • @Sydney Ah, okay. I thought you were presenting an argument against his answer. Also, yes, you didn't explicitly say "uncommon", but you did say "much more common", which is pretty much the same thing (just applied to the other statement.) If you wanted me to follow the exact wording, I could easily modify my comment to what is your point? are you trying to say that a construction is incorrect simply because another is much more common than it?
    – yeah22
    Sep 18 '20 at 1:09
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The second sentence is grammatically incorrect, because of pleonasm:

"The use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning (e.g. see with one's eyes), either as a fault of style or for emphasis."

So, the use of IT is excessive here.

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    I don't believe that it is grammatically incorrect--it doesn't break a rule--but I do agree that, unless you are making a point, adding it is excessive and distracts from the intended meaning.
    – dx_over_dt
    Aug 29 '20 at 19:24
  • In my several decades of speaking and teaching English, I have never heard anyone use either of those constructions. (I hope that's not a reflection on the company I keep!) Aug 29 '20 at 21:39
  • 2
    In my several decades of speaking and editing English I have often encountered the “I hate it that this shop is so noisy” or “I hate that it rains so much here” type of construction. Either is acceptable.
    – Anton
    Aug 30 '20 at 13:40

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