CAE :: Lesson 10

LOS CURSOS DE INGLES GRATIS PREFERIDOS POR LOS HISPANOHABLANTES

 

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Emphasizing 2: Cleft sentences

 

 

 

English is very rich in cleft constructions. Basically, a cleft sentence is a grammatical construction with information broken into two clauses, to emphasize one part of the sentence. We can do this by adding certain words or phrases to the beginning of the sentence.

First of all, let us check this chart...

BASIC
SENTENCE

Ann stole a book from the library last week.

Emphasizing
SUBJECT

It was Ann who/that stole a book from the library last week.

Emphasizing
OBJECT

It was a book that Ann stole from the library last week.

Emphasizing
TIME

It was last week that Ann stole a book from the library.

Emphasizing
PLACE

It was from the library that Ann stole a book last week.

And now let us see the grammar...

EMPHASIS # 1: Beginning with What or All

We can make some kinds of sentences more emphatic by beginning with What (= the thing) or All (= the only thing) + clause + be, and then the part of the sentence we want to emphasize. Check these examples:

I need a coffee.

What I need is a coffee.

I don't like the weather here.

What I don't like here is the weather.

I just want to travel.

All I want is to travel.

I only touched it!

All I did was touch it.

 

EMPHASIS # 2: Beginning with What happens is / was

To emphasize an event or sequence of events, we can begin with What happens is (that)... or What happened was (that)... Check these examples:

You do a test and then you have
an interview.

What happens is (that) you do a test and then you have an interview.

We left our passports at home.

What happened was (that) we left
our passports at home.

EMPHASIS # 3: Beginning with The person who... etc.

We can also make part of a sentence more emphatic by beginning with an expression like The person who..., The place where..., The first / last time that..., The reason why..., etc. + clause + be, with the emphasized part of the sentence at the end. Check these examples:

I spoke to the manager.

The person (who / that) I spoke to was the manager.

We stayed in a five-star hotel.

The place where we stayed was a five-star hotel.

I last saw him on Saturday.

The last time I saw him was on Saturday.

I bought it because it was cheap.

The reason (why / that) I bought it was that / because it was cheap.

 

EMPHASIS # 4: Beginning with It

We can also use It is / was + the emphasized part of the sentence + a relative clause. Check below how to do it:

A boy in my class won the prize.

It was a boy in my class who won the prize.

We had the meeting last Friday.

It was last Friday when we had the meeting.

They charged us extra for the wine.

It was the wine (that) they charged us extra for.

 

NOTE: If the emphasized part of the sentence is a pronoun, we normally use the objective pronoun after It is or It was. Example: It was him who paid the bill. NOT It was he who paid the bill.

On the next page you will be able to practise this grammar.

 
 

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