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Hi, everyone.

1. It is fair to criticize and question the mechanism—that is the culture of research, after all—but it is the prize-givers' money to do with as they please.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik..._Fundamental_Physics

Does "it" refer to anything? Or is the sentence just a variant of a cleft sentence:
It is the prize-givers' money that they can do with as they please.

Thanks in advance.

Context:

As much as some scientists may grumble about the new awards, the financial doping that they bring to research and the wisdom of the goals behind them, two things seem clear. First, most researchers would accept such a prize if they were offered one. Second, it is surely a good thing that the money and attention come to science rather than go elsewhere. It is fair to criticize and question the mechanism—that is the culture of research, after all—but it is the prize-givers' money to do with as they please.

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Hi, Robby zhu—In the independent clause "It is fair to criticize and question the mechanism," there is extraposition, the "it" functioning as a dummy which anticipates the the infinitival clause "to criticize and question the mechanism." There is no cleft sentence here. The sentence may be rephrased as follows:

  • To criticize and question the mechanism is fair.
  1. @David, Moderator posted:

Hi, Robby zhu—In the independent clause "It is fair to criticize and question the mechanism,"

Sorry, David.  I made a mistake.  I wanted to ask about the "it" in

... it is the prize-givers' money to do with as they please.

Does "it" refer to anything? Or is the sentence just a variant of a cleft sentence:

It is the prize-givers' money that they can do with as they please.

Last edited by Robby zhu
@Robby zhu posted:

Sorry, David.  I made a mistake.  I wanted to ask about the "it" in

... it is the prize-givers' money to do with as they please.

Does "it" refer to anything? Or is the sentence just a variant of a cleft sentence:

It is the prize-givers' money that they can do with as they please.

Hello again, Robby zhu—In that clause, "it" refers to the prize money. Before the prize givers give the prize money to the winner(s) of the prize money, the prize money is the prize givers' money, with which they may do as they please.

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