I love this Steve Jobs' interview, and would love to understand what he said throughly.


In this part, he told how much original members in developing the Macintosh had contributed to the Mac. I don't know why he chose "it" for a subject when saying "But if it hadn't been for computer science". What did this "it" stand for?

I guess this sentence should have been "the people working on it hadn't been for computer science", if so, "they hadn't been for computer science" is correct one and what Jobs intended to say.

Here's the script of the part:

I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that, the people working on it, were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. But if it hadn't been for computer science, these people would have all been you know doing amazing things in life in other fields

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/vkSCLvIaCcI?t=778

1 Answer 1


That is a dummy "it." The pronoun "it" in that sentence does not refer to anything; it is simply a way of rephrasing the sentence

But if computer science hadn't existed, these people would have all been, you know, doing amazing things in life in other fields.

  • 1
    "If it hadn't been for ___" is an idiom for talking about a hypothetical situation different from what actually happened.
    – nschneid
    Oct 22, 2021 at 2:30

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