I brought you very important news. It is the latest news.

It is used as a subject here. But is it personal,impersonal or emphatic?

It's probably personal, however there is some kind of emphasis on the fact that it's the latest news. So I'm not sure.

What do you think?

I need to know how does "it" function as the subject. Not what type of pronoun it is.

For example:

"It" as a formal subject (to denote аbstract idea. definite thing.)

If it is liberty, it isn't going to mean a thing.

The demonstrative "it"

They learn to speak English before they learn to read it.

The impersonal "it"(to denote natural phenomena, time and distance)

It is cold in winter.

It is morning already.

The introductory or anticipatory "it"(introduces a real subject)

It's no use disguising facts.

The emphatic "it"

It was he who had brought back George to Amelia.

  • It would be great if a test question reflected how native speakers actually use English. The odds of a native speaker saying those two sentences is low. I'd sooner bet on a three-legged horse.
    – user6951
    Feb 23, 2015 at 15:26
  • Aren't you learning that emphatic it takes the structure it is [noun phrase] that/who...? If so, is that structure being used here?
    – user6951
    Feb 23, 2015 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what you mean by "personal, impersonal, or emphatic."

In this case, "it" is referring back to "news" in the preceding sentence. What is the latest news? The "very important news" that "I brought you". The pronoun could be replaced with "news" or "this news", like "This news is the latest news". But most writers would avoid that because then you'd be using the word "news" twice in one sentence and three times in two sentences.

Note that if you just had the second sentence, "it" could be more of a placeholder, not relating to any antecedent. Like if you turned on the television and a news program was on, you might say, "Oh, it's the latest news!" In that case "it" is referring to what's on the television, but you haven't identified it verbally.

  • The type you have described is called demonstrative and it refers to a thing or thought contained in a previous statement. And this is what I thought it to mean. But in the test there are only 3 variants which I have already mentioned (personal,impersonal and emphatic),so maybe "it" can mean something else here?
    – user11312
    Feb 23, 2015 at 14:50
  • I knew this was a test question!
    – user6951
    Feb 23, 2015 at 15:24

"It" is a personal pronoun. Here is a reference on the definition of personal, impersonal, emphatic, and adjective pronouns. It contains the following information.

Types of Pronouns

  1. Personal

    I. Simple - I, thou, he, she, it, we, you, they.

    II. Reflexive - myself, himself, herself, etc

    III. Emphatic - Myself, thyself, etc

  2. Impersonal

    I. Relative - Who, what, which

    II. Interrogative - Who? Which? What?

    III. Demonstrative - This, that, these, those

    IV. Indefinite - one, none, some, any

    V. Distributive - each, either, neither, both

  3. Adjective.

    I. Simple - My, thy, his, her, its

    II. Emphatic - My own, his own, her own

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