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It takes the earth a little more than 365 days to travel around the sun.

According to the sentence, I think the structure of it like the following:

  • It = Preparatory "it"
  • takes = Verb
  • the earth = Indirect object
  • a little more than 365 days = Direct object
  • to travel around the sun = Subject

If there is something wrong, please explain it to me.

  • 1
    You are right except that "it" is the subject, not the infinitival clause "to travel around the sun" This is called an 'extraposed' construction where the subject of the basic (non-extraposed) version is 'extraposed' to the end of the sentence, outside the verb phrase, and replaced by the dummy pronoun "it" which becomes the subject. The basic version would be To travel around the sun takes the earth a little more than 365 days. – BillJ Aug 2 '16 at 6:38
  • Bill, can't the "it" be a dummy-it and the sentence be understood as "The Earth travels around the sun in a little more than 365 days"? – SovereignSun Dec 4 '17 at 17:39
  • However, even "The Earth takes a little more than 365 days to travel around the sun" is also possible. – SovereignSun Dec 4 '17 at 17:40
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  • It takes the earth a little more than 365 days to travel around the sun.

It is the subject of this example sentence, but that's the only easy part. This example sentence is a transformation of an original sentence

  • [For the earth to travel around the sun] [takes a little more than 365 days].

The subject of this original sentence is the subordinate infinitive complement clause for the earth to travel around the sun, which has the earth as its subject (keep your eye on that noun phrase the earth; it's gonna move around). The verb phrase of this original sentence is the construction takes a little more than 365 days, which is an idiom referring to the perceived temporal duration of its subject.

This original sentence is transformed by Extraposition (which adds the dummy subject It, and moves the original infinitive clause subject to the end of the sentence) into:

  • It [takes a little more than 365 days] [for the earth to travel around the sun].

This resulting sentence (which is completely grammatical and means the same thing as the original) is then transformed again by raising the earth, the subject of the infinitive clause, to become the object of take, the verb of the main clause. This moves it over the time phrase to follow takes, producing the example sentence (which is also perfectly grammatical and means the same thing as the other two):

  • It takes the earth a little more than 365 days to travel around the sun.

What you want to call the various constituents of these sentence is between you and your English teacher. But labelling things does not help much in using or understanding English, unless one has all the labels to refer to.

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I think it is like this:

  • It = Subject
  • takes = verb in third person of singular (it)
  • the earth = indirect object
  • al little more than 365 days = Direct object
  • to travel around the sun = Complement

You can check this out

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  • If "it" is the subject, what does "it" refer to? – thein lwin Aug 2 '16 at 0:51
  • I think it refers to the action of taking a little more than 365 days. – Manuel Sayago Aug 2 '16 at 1:50
  • You are right, except that the infinitval clause "to travel around the sun" is not a complement, but an extraposed subject outside the verb phrase. Please see my message to the OP. – BillJ Aug 2 '16 at 6:36
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    'OP' means 'original poster'; the person who asked the question in the first place. In this case, the OP is thein Iwin. – BillJ Aug 3 '16 at 12:28
  • 1
    The infinitival clause "to travel around the sun" is the subject in the basic non-extraposed version. In the extraposed construction, the subject of the basic version is moved to the end of the sentence and is called 'the displaced subject'. It is outside the VP (verb phrase). Here's a link that may help you: link – BillJ Aug 3 '16 at 12:46

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