Impersonal Subjects Using Gerund and It + Infinitive

bored student in class

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Compare these two sentences:

  • Studying English is sometimes boring.
  • It is sometimes boring to study English.

Both of the sentences are used to make general statements about an activity - studying English. Here is an overview of the two forms:

First form: gerund + object + 'to be' conjugated + (adverb of frequency) + adjective

Examples:

  • Playing tennis is an excellent exercise.
  • Reading English newspapers is often difficult.

Second form: It + 'to be' conjugated + (adverb of frequency) + adjective + infinitive

Examples:

  • It is sometimes exciting to walk in the pouring rain.
  • It was strange to say that Russian is easier than English.

Two Exceptions

The phrases 'It is worth' and 'It is no use' take the gerund NOT the infinitive form.

It is worth / It is no use + gerund + object

Examples:

  • It is worth driving to the lake to have a look around.
  • It is no use studying for this exam.

Quiz

Change the sentences from the original to the other similar structure.

Example:

  • Original: It is sometimes easy to forget your cell phone number.
  • Changed: Forgetting your cell phone number is sometimes easy.

Original Sentences

  1. Playing chess requires great concentration.
  2. It is not easy to learn Chinese.
  3. It is difficult to understand the motives of many politicians.
  4. Interviewing applicants is often stressful and unrewarding.
  5. Speaking English is always useful when traveling abroad.
  6. It is never simple to move abroad.
  7. Thinking about danger is often illogical.
  8. It has been difficult to accept his death.
  9. Flying to Africa will be great fun.
  10. Working hard for so many years has been tiring for them.

Sentence Changes

  1. It requires great concentration to play chess.
  2. Learning Chinese is not easy.
  3. Understanding the motives of many politicians is difficult.
  4. It is often stressful and unrewarding to interview applicants.
  5. It is always useful to speak English when traveling abroad.
  6. Moving abroad is never simple.
  7. It is often illogical to think about the danger.
  8. Accepting his death has been difficult.
  9. It will be great fun to fly to Africa.
  10. It has been tiring for them to work hard for so many years.