Interested in Language
"It is only by thinking about their interrelationship that we can understand processes of creativity and cultural change." (Creativity, Communication and Cultural Value)
I think the above sentence is the same meaning as the following
: We can understand processes of creativity and cultural change only by thinking about their interrelationship.
But I think 'That we can understand processes of creativity and cultural change is only by thinking about their interrelationship.' is incorrect. And in this reason I think "It is only by thinking about their interrelationship that we can understand processes of creativity and cultural change." is not correct either.
Do you consider "It is only by thinking~that we can understand processes..." correct? Is it common to use "It is only by ~that clause"?
1."It is only by thinking about their interrelationship that we can understand processes of creativity and cultural change."
3.'That we can understand processes of creativity and cultural change is only by thinking about their interrelationship.' is incorrect.
I think 1 is cleft sentence made from 3, and since its origin(3) is wrong, the result(1) is also wrong.
Michael Jackson popularized the moon-walk step. It is Michael Jackson who popularized the moon-walk step.(Cleft sentence)
OK. 1. "That I look after is my cat." (Wrong grammar). Let's cleave it -> 2. "It is my cat that I look after." (Right grammar, cleft).
3. "I look after my cat" (Correct version of non-cleft sentence, that also generates 2. when cleaved)
In making the cleft sentence from 3. - if you did - you have managed to put it into a correct grammatical structure. Your 1. above is correct.
Your sentence 3 is wrong. But it could have been right, just as the cat sentence can be put right.
"We can understand the processes of creativity and cultural change only by thinking about their interrelationship." (Correct version of your 3. which also generates your 1. as a correct cleft sentence.)
There are different types and structures of both cleft and non-cleft sentences. If you cleave or uncleave a certain sentence, there is no guarantee that it will remain in the same grammatical state. So your 1. is not wrong just because your 3 is. Similarly, my 2. is not wrong simply because my 1. is.
So your first two sentences in the original post are a correct cleft and non-cleft pair.
And yes, cleft sentence are often used in English, but we don't write a non-cleft sentence first and then cleave it.
Please look at these sentences below.
1. It is probable that we'll be a little late.
2. It is my cat that I looked after.
#1 and #2 use different constructions.
In #1, the 'that' is a conjunction introducing a noun clause and therefore it makes sense if it is converted into:
That we'll be a little late is probable.
However, it doesn't work with #2, because the 'that' there is not the same as the one used in #1 - 'that I looked after' is not a noun clause.
Yes. Do you think you could say more about the different sorts of that?
As for the 'that' in #2 in my previous post, I think it is a special kind of 'relative pronoun'.
Michael Swan, in his Practical English Usage Third Edition (on page 108), writes:- used to introduce a group of words that limits the meaning of a noun especially to a specific person, place, or thing
The person that [=who] won the race also won last year.
I'm no longer the man that I used to be.
Is it me that you are looking for?
This is all I can say/do about it.We can use prepartory it in cleft sentences. The words to be emphasised are usually joined to the relative clause by that.
( though I'm not sure I'd agree with your "special kind of 'relative pronoun'"). There are three sorts of 'that'; a subordinating conjunction ('I said that he was ready'), a demonstrative adjective ('I want that one') and a demonstrative pronoun ('Don't do that').
(But I'm not great in matters of grammar, so would welcome other teachers' corrections of my terminology [which may well not use the latest buzzwords - heck, I still say things like 'pluperfect'!])
Of those three, only the first one can be reduced to /ðət/ - but not always, of course.