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In Today's newspaper, I have read a sentence given below.

Can anyone please tell me, what is meaning of It is learnt that clause in the sentence or what that has been used/added in the sentence as i believe without clause it makes sense.

It is learnt that Mr. Prakash flagged the issue of autonomy of the corporation as the Ministry appointed Ms. Jain without consulting the Prasar Bharati Board.

Thanks,

Charmi

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2 Answers 2

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Grammatically, the clause:

It is learnt

Follows the pattern it + be + adjective + that-clause and uses the it as Damkerng points out in his comment as a preparatory subject with the real subject a that-clause.

Or simpler, this it can be regarded as a dummy subject of an impersonal verb like in:

It rains.

or

It is windy

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    @Charmi Sapariya, I feel flattered that you selected my answer but you should have waited for a day or so. By doing so you may discourage other answerers. Don’t accept an answer too quickly Jun 3, 2015 at 7:52
  • Technically, "it" here isn't a dummy subject like "it rains". It refers to the thing that was learnt - namely the knowledge of Mr. Prakesh's actions. The subject isn't featured at all - that is, the sentence states what was learnt but not who learnt it. This is typical of passive voice, which is commonly used for legal proceedings, academic papers, and similar formal writings. The knowledge of Mr. Prakesh's actions was learned by an unspecified person or persons. Whoever did the learning would be clear from context - usually, the writer, or whoever's behalf the writing is on (eg. a court). Jun 3, 2015 at 11:58
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"It is learnt that" is equivalent to "It has been learnt that" in this context. This is a passive construction that indicates that what follows is new information has been gained without naming the source. This is common in journalism where sources often wish to remain private. Equivalent constructions are "It has come to light that" and "It has come to our attention that...".

As Lucian points out, this usage of it is often thought of as a dummy subject, although in my opinion it can also be said to be referring to the information that comes later in the sentence.

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