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Thread: Cleft sentences

  1. #1
    barnej0096 is offline Member
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    Default Cleft sentences

    I went to see my GP.
    My GP...
    It was my GP...
    My GP is who I went to see. (I think it sounds fine)
    But in the second: 'It was my GP who I went to see'
    Does it mean that in the first one should be 'was'?

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Cleft sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by barnej0096 View Post
    I went to see my GP.


    My GP is who I went to see.
    'It was my GP who I went to see

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Barnej:


    May I share a few thoughts?

    1. You used "went." So I think that we need to use "was," not "is," in both cleft sentences.

    2. "My GP was who I went to see." Personally, I would not use such a sentence, but I found a similar sentence

    in Mr. Michael Swan's popular Practical English Usage:

    "Mary is the person who keeps a pig in the garden shed." Come to think of it, your sentence would sound better to me

    if you said, "My GP was the person who I went to see." (Super strict teachers would require "whom," but there are

    very few strict teachers anymore, so we won't worry about it.) Anyway, probably most speakers would use "that."

    *****

    I think that the term "cleft sentence" usually refers to the kind of cleft sentence that consists of IT + THAT. Mr. Swan

    tells us that we may use "who" for a person if we want to emphasize the person. But usually, a so-called cleft

    sentence would use "that." It is almost a formula:

    "It was my GP that I went to see."


    *****

    Let's use this sentence: The Parser loves to eat ice cream every day.

    It is The Parser that/who loves to eat ice cream every day.

    It is ice cream that The Parser loves to eat every day.

    It is every day that The Parser loves to eat ice cream.

    The Parser is the person who/that loves to eat ice cream every day.

    What The Parser loves to eat every day is ice cream.

    Every day is (the day) when The Parser loves to eat ice cream.
    Last edited by TheParser; 03-Jun-2012 at 15:51.

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