I read an intiguing response to a question posed on Yahoo! Answers of all places.

The question was whether one can omit the 'is' when 'it' immediately precedes it:

The answer made sense, but I would just like confirmation I have understood it correctly.

Here are the question and answer:

Question:Do I need the 'is' in the following construction?

I enjoy using Yahoo! I think it a fine service.

2. "IT" as an object and as an expletive: *"I think it a fine service" versus "I think it is a fine service":

A. "I find it difficult to believe him": "it", in this case, is an EXPLETIVE, that is, it plays a syntactic role in the sentence without adding to meaning (it is in fact a "dummy object"). In other words, it occupies the position of an object (it answers the question, "what do you find?"; the answer is "it", which refers to "to believe him"). By association, in spoken English, one may hear a sentence like "I think it necessary to get it done at once" (instead of "I find it necessary to get it done at once").

B. as you can see, after the verb "find" (or "think"), there is an ADJECTIVE ("difficult", "necessary", etc.);

C. However, your sentence should actually be "I think IT IS a fine service", that is, "it" is not an expletive. It is the OBJECT of the verb "think" since it refers to Yahoo!, which has been mentioned before.

What seems confusing to you, apparently, is the fact that there are two similar constructions with the pronoun "it". In one of them, it has merely a syntactic function ("I think it + adj.": I find/think it necessary/difficult). In this case, "it" is an expletive, that is, it plays a syntactic role. Expletives do not contribute anything to meaning. They merely anticipate a word or phrase (" TO GET it done") that will clarify meaning. In the other construction, the pronoun "it" plays two roles: it functions as the object of the verb ("I think it is a fine service"), and it refers to something that has been mentioned before ("Yahoo!").

So basically, this answers states that there is no need for the linkning verb if the 'it' is a dummy 'it.' However, the 'is' is necessary if the it is the object pronoun; that is, it refers back to its antecedent.

Is this correct?

Though a little confusing, I would say that the explanation is basically right. I would change to the explanation "I _____ it + adj" to include "I ______ it + adj + verb".

Also, "I think it necessary" sounds strange to me. I don't think I would ever say a sentence like that although with "find" it sounds perfectly fine.

Now back to your statement, "I think it a fine service". It's not necessarily incorrect. I've heard sentences like that before. The problem with that construction (I _____ it + a/an + adjective + noun) is that it seems to be a particular way of wording for emphasis. Honestly, it sounds a little snobbish to me.

"I think it a fine day for sailing. What say we take the yacht out and enjoy some caviar and champagne while at sea?"

On the other hand, if you use I _____ it + adjective + noun WITHOUT the "a/an" you run the risk of sounding a bit like a caveman.

"I think it good food. Uggo like woolly mammoth. grunt grunt "
thanks for that. Yes, it is slightly confusing the way he or she explained it.

So I assume, technically, it is fine to omit the linking verb when following a dummy it. But it is also fine to leave it in.