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Here's the context:

A: Let me explain what's wrong with this long sentence.

B: No, thanks. Just show me the place where you see the mistake and I'll try to find out on my own what is wrong with it.

The question is, whether in the second part of the sentence (B's reply) the anticipatory "it" after "to find out" is needed:

"... I'll try to find it out on my own what's wrong..."

In my opinion the "on my own" phrase calls for it, whereas without it, there's no need for "it":

I'll try to find out what is wrong with it.

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  • "I'll try to find out what is wrong with it." is fine. Aug 2, 2021 at 11:20

3 Answers 3

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No, the "it" is not necessary there and would be non-standard.

"It", when added in the place you mentioned, would be a substitute for "what's wrong with this long sentence" from A's statement.

Having both "it" as a substitute for "what's wrong with this long sentence" and saying "what's wrong with it" is redundant.

It is also confusing as you would be using "it" to refer to two different things:

  • the long sentence
  • what's wrong with the long sentence

So use one or the other, but not both.

I'll try to find out on my own what is wrong with it.

I'll try to find it out on my own.

Additionally, I think most people would say "figure out" rather than "find out" in this case, as "find out" has more of an implication of "discover" while "figure out" means "determine" or "come to understand"

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Neither version requires 'it', but one version stongly suggests omitting the first 'it'.

The following quote is correct:

Just show me the place where you see the mistake and I'll try to find out on my own what is wrong with it.

The following quote is awkward, and the 'it' should be removed as it serves no purpose:

Just show me the place where you see the mistake and I'll try to find it out on my own what is wrong.

The following quote is problematic, as the two 'it's are confusing:

Just show me the place where you see the mistake and I'll try to find it out on my own what is wrong with it.

The two 'it's are referring to different things, and repeating the same word in close proximity always sounds awkward.

So, the first 'it' is the mistake. The second 'it' is the sentence that contains a mistake.

Given that English always encourages brevity, the best solution might be to say:

Just show me the place where you see a mistake and I'll try to find the problem on my own.

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  • Feel free to tell me why this is downvoted.
    – fred2
    Aug 1, 2021 at 16:44
  • Oddly enough, I was somewhat reflecting your original comment to the OP, which I think you've edited. I thought it sounded very strange, but maybe just about within the realm of 'grammatical'. But happy to edit to remove that implication tbh.
    – fred2
    Aug 3, 2021 at 15:00
1

"find it out on my own what's wrong" sounds exceedingly strange to me (American English speaker). I would say it without the "it". But other dialects may differ.

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  • Strange to me (UK) likewise. Not usual. Aug 1, 2021 at 19:22
  • @MichaelHarvey, Re: your previous comment, does this mean that it's not unacceptable or ungrammatical to use that damned "it" in the sentence how it is written? Or there's a better, more common, way to express the same idea? If there is, what is it? If you could elucidate your point, I'd be absolutely happy. Please, sir, do it :-)
    – Victor B.
    Aug 2, 2021 at 11:12
  • 1
    @VictorB. - "find it out on my own what's wrong" - remove the it and you have the right way to say it. Aug 2, 2021 at 11:21
  • I'll go stronger: it is absolutely ungrammatical, the same way that "I'll sing it the song" instead of "I'll sing the song" is ungrammatical — it's redundant. Whether or not you have extra phrases like "on my own" is irrelevant.
    – Josh Regev
    Aug 3, 2021 at 18:20

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