Which are correct:

1) It is good taking these medications.
2) It is good, taking these medications.

3) It is good for me taking these medications.
4) It is good for me, taking these medications.

Gratefully,
Navi

Original Post
navi posted:

Which are correct:

1) It is good taking these medications.
2) It is good, taking these medications.

3) It is good for me taking these medications.
4) It is good for me, taking these medications.

Hello, Navi,

Only (2) and  (4) are correct. They use Right Dislocation, which some people find appropriate only in an informal register, as it can sound rather clumsy.

In these sentences, "it" is not an expletive (anticipatory) "it" but a full pronoun. That's why the comma is needed.

As you know, (1) and (2) can be fixed by changing the gerund to an infinitival, so that "it" can function as an expletive:

1a) It is good to take these medications.
3a) It is good for me to take these medications.

Thank you very much, David,

How about these sentences:

5) It is good staying here.

6) It is useless staying here.

7) It is not much use staying here.

Would you say they need a comma?

I don't know why '1' and '3' seem very bad to me and these three don't seem that bad.

I assure you that when I am speaking or writing I try to stay clear of this structure altogether and use the infinitive, just as you suggested.

Gratefully,

Navi

navi posted:

How about these sentences:

5) It is good staying here.
6) It is useless staying here.
7) It is not much use staying here.

Would you say they need a comma?

Hello again, Navi,

No, those sentences are perfectly fine without a comma.

navi posted:
I don't know why '1' and '3' seem very bad to me and these three don't seem that bad.

Yes, it's a tough nut to crack, Navi. I think a thesis or dissertation could be devoted to this topic. Hassan Hussein asked about it recently, and I really liked Gustavo's reply, which drew upon and clarified a much older GE thread -- one which occurred before I even knew of the site. Have a look at these two threads:

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...-with-preparatory-it
https://thegrammarexchange.inf...-is-necessary-gerund

I think Gustavo has given some good general guidelines. If we think of adjectives as lying along a semantic continuum from subjective/emotional to objective/rational, it is the subjective/emotional adjectives that have the best chance at working in the "it"-extraposition structure with a gerund.

I think the generalization may be a bit shaky in places. For example, I think it sounds equally acceptable to say "It is fun swimming in the river" and "It is dangerous swimming in the river," even though "dangerous" is more objective and rational than "fun," which is clearly subjective and emotional.

(Edit: I suppose I find the sentence with "dangerous" slightly less acceptable.)

What's clever about your question set (your opening gambit and follow-up)  is that, in terms of Gustavo's post, it shows that "good" can have objective/rational or subjective/emotional meaning, and that it's only when used with subjective/emotional meaning that this structure has a good chance of working.

I have it easy as a native speaker. All I have to do is not think about it and everything works out fine.

Thank you very much, David,

I feel I also have to thank Gustavo! And Hassan Hussain !

Gustave definitely has made a very good point. 

I am going to try out a couple of new sentences,

What do you think of: 

a) It is pleasant drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

b) It is nice sitting by the river in the evening, watching the sun set.

I am not sure about these two. Maybe when the participle clause is very long this structure becomes awkward. That's a theory I am testing, which if correct, would complement Gustavo's theory (which is obviously correct).

I suspect that my theory is wrong and (a) and (b) are correct grammatically, but I am not entirely comfortable with them. One minute, they seem fine, the next minute, they look wrong. (Duck/rabbit)

 

Gratefully,

Navi

PS. Sentences 5-7 would not be incorrect with a comma, would they?

Sorry about this!

 

navi posted:
What do you think of: 

a) It is pleasant drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.
b) It is nice sitting by the river in the evening, watching the sun set.

I am not sure about these two. Maybe when the participle clause is very long this structure becomes awkward. That's a theory I am testing, which if correct, would complement Gustavo's theory (which is obviously correct).

Hello, Navi,

That's an interesting theory, but I have to say that I think both of those sentences work perfectly. As a native speaker, I do not have the slightest sense that they they are in any way off. They are 100% correct.

Again, I do have slight misgivings about "It's dangerous swimming in the river," though I hesitate to give it a question mark, much less an ungrammaticality asterisk. However, it is clearly safer to say "It's dangerous to swim in the river."

I think your "length theory" might work better if it were applied to the predicate of the expletive. I think that the following example is incorrect -- at least without a comma, on the intended reading -- because of the length of the predicate:

a1) It is just about the most pleasant thing in the world drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

If that sentence means anything, "it" refers to something other than drinking a can of beer after a long day's work, and even then the sentence could be faulted for having a dangling participial modifier.

navi posted:
PS. Sentences 5-7 would not be incorrect with a comma, would they?

Yes, that's right. They would not be incorrect (double negative) with a comma. However, they would read as Right Dislocated structures, not as structures with "it"-extraposition.

Thank you very much, David, 

Well, there goes another one of my theories! 

I'd like to run a few other sentences by you before I close this chapter!

What do you think of:

c) It is pleasant for him drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

d) It is dangerous for him swimming in the river.

e) It is a dangerous thing swimming in the river.

f) It is a pleasant thing drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

My feeling is that only 'f' really works, but my feelings have proven very unreliable in this area. Needless to say this last post was prompted by your comments about the length of the predicate.

Gratefully,

Navi

"good" can have objective/rational or subjective/emotional meaning, and that it's only when used with subjective/emotional meaning that this structure has a good chance of working.

I completely agree, David. That explains why (1a) requires an infinitive and (5) allows for the more informal gerund. While in (1a) "good" is synonymous with "wise" or "advisable" (definitely more rational, objective adjectives), in (5) "good" is more like "great" (more emotional or subjective, so much so that we can also say: It feels good staying here.)

1a) It is good to take these medications.

5) It is good staying here.

c) It is pleasant for him drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

d) It is dangerous for him swimming in the river.

e) It is a dangerous thing swimming in the river.

f) It is a pleasant thing drinking a can of beer after a long day's work.

Hi, Navi,

To me, (c) and (d) sound wrong because "for him" calls for an infinitive:

c1) It is pleasant for him to drink...

d1) It is dangerous for him to swim...

I'm not sure that (e) is wrong. It might be less acceptable, as David suggested in one of his posts above, but not wrong.

I agree with you that (f) sounds fine. The presence of "thing" does not seem to interfere with the emotional "pleasant" being attributed to the gerund "drinking."

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