Cleft sentences are one way we can show emphasis in written and spoken English. Today, we will look at “it-cleft” sentences. Next time, we will take a look at “wh-cleft” sentences.
An it-cleft sentence is formed using the following structure:
It + (be verb) + (subject / object) + (relative clause)
・I left on Monday. → It was Monday that/when I left.
・I am going to buy a car. → It is a car that I am going to buy.
Even if the subject or object is plural, we still use “it + is/was.”
・You forgot my fi les. → It was my fi les that you forgot.
・My parents sent this package. → It was my parents that sent this package.
The purpose of an it-cleft is to put emphasis on new or important information by putting it near the beginning of the sentence. The old information is at the end of the sentence.
B: No, it was Kyoto that I went to. (Not Osaka).
B: No, it was two weekends ago that I went to Osaka. (Not last weekend)
B: Actually, it is Sachiko that is going to order a new copier. (Not Susan)
B: Actually, it is a new computer that Susan is going to order. (Not a copier)