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7.7 Cleft Sentences

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7.7 Cleft Sentences


Cleft sentences are created by dividing a normal sentence into two parts, and bringing the part that needs the emphasis to the front:

I want to talk to you.(normal)

I want to talk to you that's why I have come.(two parts)

The reason why I have come is because I want to talk to you.(cleft sentence)

Cleft sentences are used to help us focus on a particular part of the sentence and to emphasise what we want to say by introducing it or building up to it with a kind of relative clause.

Cleft structures include the reason why, the thing that, the person who, the place where, the day when and what-clauses which are usually linked to the clause that we want to focus on with is or was:

What I really want to do is talk to you. (cleft sentence)

Cleft structures with what-clauses are also often used with does/do/did and with the verb happen when we want to give emphasis to the whole sentence, rather than a particular clause:

I cooked the chicken first.(normal sentence)

What I did first was to cook the chicken.(cleft sentence)

Sometimes ALL is used instead of WHAT in a cleft structure:

I want to talk to you. (normal sentence)

ALL I want to do is talk to you. (cleft sentence)

Sometimes IT is used to create a cleft sentence:

I wanted to talk to you. (normal sentence)

IT was you WHO I wanted to talk to. (cleft sentence)

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