This week’s tip of the week follows on from last week – how to construct cleft sentences in English.
• All (that) and expressions with thing can also be used in cleft sentences to put emphasis on a particular aspect.
For example: All you need is love
All (that) I did was (to) touch the plate, and it broke
My first trip to England is something I shall never forget
• To emphasise time expressions you can use phrases such as It was not until... and It was only when...
For example: It was not until you showed me the report that I fully understood the situation
It was only when I looked at my watch that I realised I was very late
• This and that often replace emphasised here and there at the beginning of a cleft sentence.
For example: You pay here
→ This is where you pay
→ OR Here is where you pay
I live there
→ That’s where I live
→ OR There’s where I live
• Starting a cleft sentence with it is another way to emphasise a certain element. The words to be emphasised are usually joined to the relative clause by that.
For example, compare the following sentences which all put emphasis on different parts of the sentence:
My secretary sent the invoice to Mr Smith yesterday
It was my secretary that sent the invoice to Mr Smith yesterday (not somebody else)
It was the invoice that my secretary sent to Mr Smith yesterday (not something else)
It was Mr Smith that my secretary sent the invoice to yesterday (not to somebody else)
It was yesterday that my secretary sent the invoice to Mr Smith (not another day)