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In the long sentence below, "it" refers to "that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush." That is, the "that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush" is de facto the subject of the clause "it was obvious from the votes that had been thrown out for errors resulting from confusing ballots and flawed punch-card devices that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush. " Am I on the right track?

Context (the long sentence) :

The rest of November was consumed by the Middle East and the Florida recount, which was cut off with thousands of votes still uncounted in three big counties, a result unfair to Gore since it was obvious from the votes that had been thrown out for errors resulting from confusing ballots and flawed punch-card devices that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush.
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[The rest of November] [was consumed] [by] [the Middle East and the Florida recount], [which] [was cut off with] [thousands of votes still uncounted in three big counties], [a result unfair to Gore] [since] it was obvious from the votes that had been thrown out for errors resulting from confusing ballots and flawed punch-card devices that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush.

=>

... it was obvious from the votes that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote ...

Well, technically, it means nothing, it is an empty subject, but yes it is referring to "that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush." It is there because every English sentence must have a verb and a subject.
Aperisic
I am not that good in telling how, rather I am in telling why.

Sounds strange to me. Also, Yahoo:
1,030 for "good in telling "
128,000 for "good at telling "

But it's your signature.
Marius HancuSounds strange to me. Also, Yahoo:
1,030 for "good in telling "
128,000 for "good at telling "

But it's your signature.
Yes... I wasn't thinking much. I've planed to change it anyhow; this is just to look what it means to have a signature.

But since you've mentioned it I'll make a change. I guess it is time. It shouldn't be that difficult, anyhow:

  • I was good at chess.
  • I was good in Paris.
  • I was better at chess.
  • Saudi Arabia is rich in oil.


  • However better in telling or better at telling is statistically indecisive.

    Similar:

    • "that good in telling" 9.890 usages
    • "that good at telling" 4.000 usages


    • so I wasn't very far from the target, but this is the forum for English. However

      • "I am not that good at" 28.300 usages
      • "I am not that good in" 686 usages (only)


      • shows what is grammatically acceptable. Still I'll think more about why other feel the same for "that good in telling" not to be bad.
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Marius Hancu
1,030 for "good in telling "
128,000 for "good at telling "

The same patterns all over again

  • "not that good in telling" 7.930 usages

  • "not that good at telling" 1.460 usages
even other , walking... follow the same pattern.

Kind of a new Murphy law: "When people don’t know grammar they tend to make mistakes following the same error pattern."
Emotion: big smile
Actually this is anticipatory it (or preposed it).
Dummy it is the one we use for time and weather.

It's five o'clock. It's raining.

But I suppose both could be called empty it, although in linguistics empty usually means entirely missing. For example, the second clause below has an empty subject (and an empty verb phrase).

He will give his father a wallet and his sister a bracelet.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/minor/dummy.htm

CJ
I thought the same first but after I checked it in it ... that is an empty subject because of that.

It will be a long while yet before the poor thing can cope. it is an empty subject

The preparatory subject is used

  • it is better to define this => to define this is better
  • it is no use to… preparatory
  • it is no good to… preparatory


  • After a long thinking I concluded that empty and preparatory subject are similar but there is one important difference. If it is preparatory it is used to avoid awkward constructions when it is replaced by the subject which is completely present.

    • It is bad to have so many kilos.
    • So many kilos is bad to have (awkward but possible)


    • When we do not have a subject or when a direct replacement of it is not possible (even if we have something around that looks like a subject) then it is an empty subject

      • it doesn't matter
      • it was a chilly morning

        1. It was obvious [fact] that thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush. =>
        2. That thousands more Floridians had intended to vote for Gore than for Bush was obvious.


        3. In my opinion it does not work as much as this one doesn't

          1. It was obvious [fact] that I am hungry. =>
          2. That I am hungry was obvious.


          3. Even if these clumsy expressions look to someone acceptable I have to say that almost complete information is within that clause. it is only there to refer to the entire that sentence and only to add one adverb or adjective obvious. For the similar reason in

            It was the lady who crossed the street, it is here an empty subject though it looks that it stands for the lady or maybe for who crossed the street, a direct replacement is not possible.

            Only this logic covered all samples I have found, but it means not much. It is a matter of convention which one is called how.
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