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Giving Emphasis: Cleft Sentences

Giving Emphasis: Cleft Sentences

Date: Oct 17 2008

Topic: Grammar

Author: Pavlionka



The usual word order for a sentence in English is 


Ex.        I       enjoy  learning English [here at Ebaby!]

      (subject)  (verb)       (object)      (adverbial phrase)

However, if we want to emphasise that I particularly enjoy learning English (more that anything else), we can use a cleft sentence. It begins with a what clause and the verb be:

Ex. What I enjoy most is learning English.

Ex. What I like most about you is your sense of humour.

Similarly, if we want to emphasise a noun, we use a cleft structure with

it +  be + noun + that/who:

Ex. Jenny spends all her money on shoes.

     It is Jenny who spends all her money on shoes.

or: It is shoes that Jenny spends all her money on. 

We can also use an it- cleft sentence to focus on other parts of the sentence:

Ex. It was in London that he met his first wife. (place)

Ex. It was only when he phoned that I realised what had happened. (time)

Ex. It is learning English that I find most enjoyable nowadays. (gerund action)

It was just brief introduction to  cleft sentences. This topic, actually, is advanced but not that hard as you can see LaughingAnd now, please, write here in comments what you liked the most about this lesson (using the cleft sentence, of course) Wink 



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What I like most about English baby are  the lessons like this. Thanks a lot! it's a big help! Share us more!

05:22 AM Nov 06 2008 |




Thanx for the criticism too – I'll try harder next time Laughing

04:14 PM Oct 31 2008 |


Viet Nam

Very good, but not perfect on explanation. Thank you!

05:10 PM Oct 28 2008 |




Dignified, it is the comment (that) I am flattered with Laughing

07:06 AM Oct 18 2008 |

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