Questions tagged [clefts]

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singular vs plural in demonstrative clefts

I saw the Youtube video where a girl was explaining the meanings of the word "actually" and at the end said: (1s) So that was the four ways that you can use "actually" but I've ...
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2 answers
182 views

He was a real genius that invented this. — What's the non-cleft counterpart of this cleft sentence?

A cleft sentence has a corresponding non-cleft sentence, as in: It was Tom that invented this. [cleft] Tom invented this. [non-cleft] A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Quirk et al.) ...
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Omitting a pronoun from a cleft sentence

I believe this is a cleft sentence: It was 10:18 ᴀᴍ when it happened. However, I cannot explain why the pronoun when can’t be removed when you rewrite that sentence into this one: When it (=the ...
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TO in cleft sentences [duplicate]

Can anyone explain me why we sometimes have TO in cleft sentences in the second part of the sentence and sometimes don't? *E.g. What I'd really love to do is Ø go hang gliding once in my life. What ...
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Question on the verb 'be' in it-clefts

This question is concerned with it-clefts: It was for this reason that he went to the shop. It was Jim who broke the car, not I/me. It was with great reluctance that he accepted her invitation. Thus ...
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0 answers
47 views

How does "that" work in this sentence by Ken Follett?

At the beginning of Ken Follett's book The Pillars of the Earth, he wrote: "It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt, that the common man shows eternal promise -- and one ...
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1 vote
3 answers
177 views

As Much As / Cleft Sentence

I have difficulty understanding the following sentence from President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural address. For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and ...
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54 views

It’s his manner I dislike, more than anything else. [comma]

ldoceonline.com: (1) It’s his manner I dislike, more than anything else. As I understand, it's an it-cleft deriving from "I dislike his manner more than anything else." But I can't understand why ...
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1 answer
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Does "it's ok to ..." count as a cleft construction?

I am wondering if "it's ok to..." (e.g. as in "it's ok for us to leave now") would count as an it-cleft construction. When I consider Quirk et al.'s (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English ...
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1 vote
0 answers
55 views

Is this sentence a cleft sentence or not?

People can agonize over the purchase of greeting cards. They will spend an enormous amount of time searching for just the right words to convey their thoughts. "It is usually an embellishment to the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
252 views

cleft sentences with base form of the verb and infinitives

Are we supposed to use the base form of the verb in a cleft sentence or an infinitive? or a gerund? or maybe it's a matter of personal choice? "What I really hate is _____ out." a. go b. to go ...
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2 votes
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case when "both ... and ..." is used with the single form of the verb

proofreadnow.com: If the subject consists of two or more words that are connected by "and" or by "both...and", the subject is plural and requires a plural verb. forum.wordreference.com: What is ...
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2 votes
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38 views

When using cleft sentence using 'it', do we use that or what?

Are these sentences grammatically correct? I looked at different sites, but none mention whether using 'what' would be wrong. "It was his lying what hurt the most." "It was the shrimp what made her ...
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1 vote
2 answers
98 views

What's that you say? [Syntactic role of 'you say']

An opinion article titled "Mattel and Margot Robbie's Barbie movie is not the film 2019 needs" has this passage: Yet I don't think Mattel gives a tinker's cuss whether we're hating on ...
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It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before

It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before. I think this is an it-cleft. Am I right? If so, what's the cleft clause? Is it that I do now or that I do now than I have ...
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4 votes
1 answer
4k views

“What I saw was…” vs “What I saw were…”

Someone says I need to use "was", someone says to use "were". Which one is correct? What I saw were a driver and an attendant. or What I saw was a driver and an attendant.
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Verb agreement in “It is you who has/have come” [duplicate]

Today I was playing the video game Assassin’s Creed Syndicate on my PC. In a mission where the player whose name is Evie Frye meets a guy, the guy says I thought Jacob was coming but that I am ...
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2 answers
2k views

Usage of: "What is certain is that...." common English?

Can you confirm the following expression is used in common and formal cases? "What is certain is that..." As a native German, studying academic English, it sounds slightly strange. May I ask ...
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1 vote
1 answer
196 views

"It’s much more than our names that {makes/make} us..."

Hopefully someone on here will be able to help me resolve a language (grammar) question that came up at work today. Which of the two sentences below is correct? It’s much more than our names that ...
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8 votes
2 answers
758 views

Pseudo-cleft sentences with the verbs of perception

I know we must use bare infinitives with these verbs in the Active. e.g. I saw a lady cross the street. There are other verbs with which we are supposed to use a bare infinitive in the Active. e.g. ...
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1 vote
2 answers
6k views

Verb do + verb to be + ing form

What are the correct tenses to use in the following sentence between gerund and infinitive? What I do at this point is ____ home and _____ dinner. Should I write: What I do at this point is ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
634 views

What irritates me is "going" vs. "go" vs. "to go" to school in the morning [closed]

I have a problem with using "what clause". Which of following sentences is correct? What irritates me is going to school in early morning What irritates me is to go to school in early ...
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2 votes
0 answers
67 views

All I'm askin' / Is about the interesting preposition placement in the song "Respect"

The Aretha Franklin song "Respect" has the interesting lyric "All I'm askin' / Is for a little respect" [link] where in everyday English, I would expect "All I'm askin' for / Is a little respect". I'...
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2 votes
2 answers
703 views

What I've done is [past participle or bare infinitive]

What I've done is plant an idea in your head. What I've done is chosen the products of several investment companies with proven track records. I was wondering why the bare infinitive sounds right in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is "What I'm doing is" followed by an infinitive or gerund form? [closed]

Title says everything. American English please (but if it's different in British English, please point that out as well)
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1 vote
1 answer
887 views

“Since” without present perfect due to cleft sentence?

I am trying to explain why the use of present / simple past with since (when used to introduce a starting time, not to mean because) is fine in the following sentences. The quality of air is at its ...
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2 votes
1 answer
267 views

Cleft sentence with subjunctive

Which of the two is more correct and why? What I'd really appreciate right now is that everybody would stop complaining about it. What I'd really appreciate right now is that everybody stopped ...
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6 votes
2 answers
476 views

Hemingway's sentence

Here is a sentence from The Old Man and the Sea: It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or ...
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14 votes
8 answers
3k views

"What I'm doing is watching TV." — Why does it have to be the gerund-participle ('watching')?

What I do is watch TV. What I did was watch TV. What I had done was watch TV. ... But, What I am doing is watching TV. The only possible form of watch in the last sentence is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
13k views

it was/it were + plural noun

Which of the following is correct? It was the memories he made that mattered. It were the memories he made that mattered.
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4 votes
1 answer
15k views

"You who is" OR "you who are" [duplicate]

In the following sentence should it be "you who is" or "you who are"? I can make a case for either in my mind. For example, if you turn the sentence around a little bit, you could say, "Tonight, you ...
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0 answers
53 views

cleft/emphasis on this sentence: travelling is said to broaden the mind

What is the emphasised/cleft transformation of this sentence? Travelling is said to broaden the mind. (I'm going crazy on this one)
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2 votes
1 answer
989 views

Were or was, and why? [closed]

I've written the following sentence: It were those vespertine saunters that made him survive the work week My grammar checking tool would like me to replace 'were' with 'was'. Is this correct and ...
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0 votes
0 answers
2k views

Is the sentence "what he did was climb a tree" grammatical? [duplicate]

In the textbook An Introduction to Language (10th Ed.) by Fromkin, Rodman and Hyams, the authors used the sentence What he did was climb a tree on page 7 to illustrate the difference between a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
578 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct? "Isn't it only you who have that book?"

Instead of saying: "It's only you who have that book, isn't it?" can we say, "Isn't it only you who have that book?"
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2 votes
3 answers
552 views

What conjunctions can I use in an it-cleft sentence other than 'who' and 'that'?

Are all of the following sentences correct: It is me who made you happy. It is you that broke the pen. It is a poem which you read. It was Monday when you called me. It was my room where he hid. It ...
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2 votes
1 answer
181 views

Is "What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive" an oxymoron?

This is a very slightly tongue in cheek question with some interesting, hopefully, grammatical side-effects: Is the following an oxymoron? What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive. ...
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5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Transformation? Cleft?

I am wondering if the difference between "It is terrible." and "What it is, is it is terrible." can mostly be described in terms of transformations, grammatically. Is it a kind of cleft sentence?
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2 votes
1 answer
16k views

Is this sentence correct? "What I want to do is read this book."

"What I want to do is read this book." Is it correct? Or, can I say: "What I want to do is to read this book." "What I want to do is reading this book." Are all of the three sentences correct?
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0 votes
2 answers
8k views

"What I have to do is" + verb inf [duplicate]

I'm confused about the following examples, and I'm pretty sure I've seen both of them in books and white papers. What I have to do is find her. What I have to do is to find her. What I would like to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
15k views

It is I who am at fault? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “It is they who lied” or “it is them who lied?” What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical? Which one of these is correct? It is I who am at fault. It is me ...
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  • 355
13 votes
4 answers
26k views

Is "It is you who are mistaken!" correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical? This is a line spoken by the Emperor to Luke in Star Wars. I always wondered if this is grammatically correct. ...
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