I don't know the right way of analysing this, but it seems to me to have to do with grammatical aspect. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston and Pullum) interprets English as having two aspects, progressive and non-progressive. (The perfect is not considered to be an aspect; it's treated as a distinct system for various reasons.)
As far ...
The infinitive read
-- or to read if the complementizer to is retained (it's optional) --
is correct, and the gerund reading is not correct.
This is what's called a Wh-Cleft sentence (also "Pseudo-Cleft"); it's a variety of Clefting, which is a syntactic device to emphasize certain parts of sentences. Clefts come from simple sentences like
I want to read ...
When you start with "What", you're referring to an incident or object that you've seen. So it seems more appropriate to use the pair what ... was
like you were answering a question What was it that you saw?
So say it like this:
What I saw was a driver and an attendant.
But you could indicate that you're referring to the people and say it like this:
This is not an uncommon construction in academic English. For example:
What is certain is that more research is needed to improve modeling of the climate in the Great Lakes region.
What is certain is that a monetary value can only be applied to natural capital if it is considered on a smaller scale.
What is certain is that prolonged exposure to ...
To answer this kind of question I find it best to consult a large corpus. This enables me to answer the question based on what people actually do rather than offer an answer that is opinion-based and prescriptive.
Using Sketch Engine (https://www.sketchengine.co.uk) I did a search for what I am doing is to in the huge "English Web 2013 (enTenTen13)" ...
Hamid, I understand your question means: "which of these sentences would be used by a person who spoke English as his first language"?
The answer is "None of them"
A native English speaker (in the UK, Eire, Australia and New Zealand) would say
"What irritates me is going to school early in THE morning" or
"What irritates me is HAVING to go to school ...
Either "who" or "that" would suffice for most cases of it-cleft sentences you might encounter.
In some situations the two clauses are interchangeable, often leading to heated debates on whether to use one over the other.
i.e. It was I who made you into the man you are today! vs It was I that made you into the man you are today!
There are scenarios when ...
The examples used in the post are wh-type cleft sentences complement of the verb "be". We know cleft clauses relocate information in an otherwise straightforward sentence for emphasis. lt is just moving the stressed material before and after the predicate; the words to be emphasized are joined to the relative clause by 'is' or 'was'(Swan 139).
The focus of ...
What is certain is that . . ..
As a concluding thought in a line of reasoning, which is characterized by the existence of an uncertainty (or, uncertainties), the above phrase would be appropriate and not as stilted if its second word (viz., is) is emphasized by being italicized.
What is certain is that . . .."
So for example, if the line of reasoning ...
The plural 'names' in the comparison can be a red herring. It is 'much more [something]' that determines the agreement. Since 'much' is used (instead of 'many'), the missing noun is non-count and therefore non-plural (like singular). So you are correct with #1. cf: "It is water that makes us wet."
The bolded sentence is an example of the rhetorical device known as hypophora.
What does that mean, you ask?
[Hypophora is] asking a question and immediately answering it.
Here's a good example from Manner of Speaking, consisting of a quote by Winston Churchill:
“You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with ...
You are right. A cleft sentence is a complex sentence that could be expressed in a simpler form with a little rearrangement, so I will interpret your question as asking what part of the sentence would be integral to making the sentence simpler in construction.
The former is the more likely candidate. Think about how you would rearrange the sentence. Here's ...
Both bare infinitive and -ing form (leaving aside for a moment the question of whether it is a participle or a gerund) are correct, with a slight difference of meaning/focus (i.e. did you see the whole action, or the activity in progress?)
So: I saw a lady cross the street (whole event, from kerb to kerb)
and: I saw a lady crossing the street (perhaps just ...
In general, either the bare infinitive or the past participle is supposed to be possible in this kind of construction, with no special restrictions that I know of.
In English, [when a verb phrase is focalized], it can appear either as
a bare infinitive or as a to-infinitive, as shown in (1c). However,
when a progressive -ing form is used in the ...
Please forgive some more general notes, which I can't fit in a comment. I'd have to agree that the following sentence is ungrammatical:
[1a] *What I am doing is watch TV.
But if we can trigger the purposive nature of the infinitive, then I think it's acceptable:
[1b] What I am doing for distraction is [to] watch TV.
It also strikes ...
Is my understanding correct?
These are not cleft sentences. While they both contain a form of to be, it is not referring to phrase or similar. You can easily get rid of to be without changing the grammar:
The quality of air remains at its lowest since 1990.
Yesterday constituted their first free concert since 2003.
Somewhat analogous cleft sentences would ...
I assume that you want to state the following: Some people are complaining and you would like them to stop.
Let’s phrase this as a typically arranged conditional clause first:
If everybody stopped complaining, I would appreciate this.
This is a typical second conditional, using the past subjunctive (stopped) for the condition and the conditional mood (...
Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" is a classic example of man's stoic resistance against the cruelties of merciless sea and nature told in a simple yet forceful and lucid language. Here man is pitted against nature, youthful energy against elderly endurance.
It appears that that the sentence can not be reworded as the aloofness as well as the intensity ...
Yes it's correct, because 'it' is the subject of the sentence, and it is singular. It's the same kind of 'it' as:
It was raining. It was the reason why he couldn't bear to stay in
the house. It was the children who let the dog out, not the
Made is the verb that belongs with vespertine saunters.
You could leave out the 'it' part and the ...
We do not use who or that when describing where something or someone is placed or located.
It was my room in which he hid.
For sentences 6 and 7 ("It was her stupidity (that) I did not like"):
If we were talking, and I said, "What about her didn't you like, her stupidity or her overall personality?" You might answer, "It was her stupidity ...
Actually, I think your examples are a blend of oxymoron and the form of understatement called litotes, which negates the negative to create a positive. Some examples:
There was no small crowd at the accident site.
The engineers in Silicon Valley showed no little interest in the new invention.
Dr. Black's diagnostic skills may not have been the best, but ...
"It is terrible" is a regular subject-verb-predicate clause. "What it is, is terrible" is a wh-cleft, or pseudo-cleft: see Wikipedia's page on clefts. The example you give, with the repeated "it is", is also a kind of pseudo-cleft, though a rather more complex one.
Transformational accounts of pseudoclefts certainly exist. Chapter 2 of this 1979 ...
Based on my research,"It is terrible" and "What it is, is it is terrible" are not examples of cleft sentences. The phrases do not have the structure of cleft sentences.
An it-cleft sentence has this structure: It Cleft sentences:IT + BE (+ NOT AND/OR ADVERB) + EMPHASIZED WORD/PHRASE + THAT (WHO) CLAUSE
Mike took Sally to the party on Saturday.