It is easy to beat him.

Here, 'It' is used as a Subject placeholder.

To beat him is easy.

My question is in 'It is easy to beat him'....the Infinitive clause ' to beat him' is modifying and describing(giving more information) the predicative Adjective 'easy' ?

Like in this sentence,

He was ready to go to the movies.

Or, it is just an extraposed subject not modifying anything in the sentence?

1 Answer 1


[1] It is easy to beat him.

[2] To beat him is easy.

The infinitival clause in [1] doesn't modify anything.

In Extraposition the "it" is a dummy element serving the syntactic purpose of filling the subject position; the extraposed element doesn’t give the meaning (reference) of it but serves simply as a semantic argument of the VP.

Note that the subordinate clause is not part of the PC. The PC is just "easy", just as it is in the non-extraposed [2].

He was ready to go to the movies.

Here, the subordinate clause is complement of "ready", the element that lexically licenses it.

Note that you can say "He is one of those ready to go the movies".

  • I searched the topic argument, it is an expression that helps complete the meaning of a predicate. But I think this definition is on the basis of Syntactic argument. But What is semantic argument?
    – RADS
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 2:22

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