0

Can I use “it” in the role of placeholder in the following?

I'm afraid I can't make it to the meeting this afternoon.

I'm afraid I can't make it where we agreed this afternoon.

In this context, “make it” means “manage to come”.

  • Yes. The first sentence sounds totally perfect. The second would sound slightly better to me as I am afraid I can't make it to where we agreed this afternoon, but I hear it without the "to" in informal speech. – Adam Dec 23 '14 at 18:42
  • Actually, I would probably say I am afraid I can't make it to our agreed-upon meeting spot this afternoon to make it clear that the meeting was this afternoon, rather than the time when we reached agreement. – Adam Dec 23 '14 at 18:44
  • 1
    If your point is that you can't meet at the agreed-upon location, but could meet somewhere else then I'd probably say something like: "I'm afraid I can meet you < at the coffee shop >, but I could meet you at the bookstore." If the point is that you just won't be able to make it at all, then I'd say, "I'm afraid I won't be able to make our meeting this afternoon." In the first there's no reason to replace the location with a pronoun, and in the second, the location isn't important and doesn't need to be mentioned either implicitly or explicitly. – Jim Dec 23 '14 at 18:51
2

Your first sentence is correct, your second is not. In your first example, "make it" should be seen as a single verb unit, with a similar meaning as "arrive" or "reach" (depending on context). Here are some alternate ways of saying the same thing, for reference:

I can't make it to the meeting.
I can't get to the meeting. I can't be at the meeting.

In each case, the preposition ("to," "at") is required.

Your second sentence needs a preposition as well, so it would work if you changed it to:

I'm afraid I can't make it to where we agreed this afternoon.

However, it's a little clunky because it's unclear whether "this afternoon" is describing when you were supposed to meet or when the agreement to meet was made. It's better to just use the name of the meeting place, unless you are purposefully trying to avoid saying it.

I'm afraid I can't make it to the park this afternoon.

If you are trying to avoid saying the name (maybe you are being spied upon by government agents!), a longer but more clear phrasing would be:

I'm afraid I can't make it to the place where we agreed to meet.

or less formally:

I'm afraid I can't make it to the place we agreed to meet.

  • Last one should be I'm afraid I can't make it to the place where we agreed to meet." (Unless you are expecting to be introduced to a location.) – Adam Dec 23 '14 at 19:02
  • Formally, yes. But that "where" is often dropped in casual conversation, is it not? @Adam – Jesse Dec 23 '14 at 19:06
  • Maybe note that it is informal/casual in your answer. The rest of your answer is a succinct explanation of conventional "proper" usage. English learners might not want the government spies to think of them as ill-spoken. :-) – Adam Dec 23 '14 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Adam good point. As I would hate to have the arrest of a political prisoner on my conscience, I've edited my answer. – Jesse Dec 23 '14 at 19:25
  • @Marek: Ehhh… that's pretty awkward. It's easier and less confusing to start from the assumption that your listener knows when and where you had agreed to meet already and say "I'm afraid I can't make it to our meeting this afternoon." I don't see much reason to go into details unless you had multiple meetings in multiple places scheduled for the same afternoon with the same person. – Jesse Dec 23 '14 at 20:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.