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 relativeclause.
Because there are two parts to the sentence it is called cleft (from the verb cleave) which means divided into two.
Cleft sentences are particularly useful in writing where we cannot useintonation for purposes of focus or emphasis, but they are also frequently used in speech.
Cleft structures include the reason why, the thing that, the person/people who, the place where, the day whenand what-clauses which are usually linked to the clause that we want to focus on with is or was.
Compare the following sets of sentences and notice how the cleft structure in each case enables us toselect the information we want to focus on:
Compare the following sets of sentences and notice how the cleft structure in each case enables us to select the information we want to focus on:
* I'vecome to discuss my future with you.
* The reason why I've come is to discuss my future with you.
* Your generosity impresses more than anything else.
* The thing that impresses me morethan anything else is your generosity.
* The jewels are hidden under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road, Epping.
* The place where the jewels are hidden is under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road,Epping.
* Under the floor at 23 Robin Hood Road is the place where the jewels are hidden.
* Mary works harder than anybody else in this organisation.
* The person who works harder thananybody else in this organisation is Mary.
* Mary is the person in this organisation who works harder than anybody else.
* The Second World War ended on 7 May 1945 in Europe.
* The day (when)the Second World War ended in Europe was 7 May 1945
* 7 May 1945 was the day (when) the Second World War ended in Europe.
* We now need actions rather than words.
* What we now need are...