Impersonal It and There

In many kinds of English sentence, you will find the word "it" or the word "there" in the subject position. These are usually "impersonal" sentences -- sentences where there is no natural subject. This introduction will help you to understand when to use "it" and when to use "there".

Impersonal "it"

When to use it
Talking about weather
It's raining.
It's cold.
It was sunny yesterday.
Identifying something
"Who is it?"
"It's me."
"What is it?"
"It's a cat."
Talking about time
"What time is it?"
"It's five o'clock."
"What day is it?"
"It's Thursday."
Talking about distance
"How far is it to Toronto?"
"It's 4000 kilometers."

Impersonal "there"

Impersonal "there" is used to say that something exists in a particular place:

There is a book on the table.
There are three men in the car.