In Runaway Jury (2003), a jury member Nick Easter caught using liquor in jury pool:

Judge: You still trying to get off my jury, is that it?

Nick Easter: Your Honor, I took an oath to do my best, and I meant it.

Judge: Difficult as that is to believe...it's even more difficult to believe this is your liquor.

What does "it" before "even" refer to?

1 Answer 1


That is a "dummy pronoun", grammatically required but not really meaningful.

If it refers to anything it refers to "that this is your liquor" But you shouldn't really analyse this pronoun as having a reference. Instead treat this as an idiom:

It's difficult to believe [something]

These dummy pronouns are sometimes called "weather pronouns" from idioms like

It's raining".

The word "it" in that example doesn't seem to have any reference, but is grammatically necessary.

  • James K, How can you so sure that "it" not referring to "oath" in previous line? Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 7:45
  • 2
    Two reasons. Firstly there is an idiom "It's difficult to believe that...." Secondly the sentence "The oath is difficult to believe that this is your liquor" doesn't make sense.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 7:50
  • 1
    Or more generally the idiom is "It's difficult". You can say "It's difficult to play trumpet" which means "Playing trumpet is difficult". The same idiom can be used for "it's easy".
    – James K
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 7:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .