Construction It is…that (cleft sentences)


The construction It is… that is known as a cleft sentence, and it is often used to emphasize a specific part of a sentence.

Cleft sentences are typically formed by splitting a sentence into two parts: the clause before it is and the clause after that.


Here’s the basic structure of a cleft sentence: It is [clause before it is] that [clause after that].


Let’s break down the construction and provide some examples:





Emphasizing the Subject:


Original Sentence: She won the race.


Cleft Sentence: It was she who won the race.





Emphasizing the Object:


Original Sentence: He ate the last piece of cake.


Cleft Sentence: It was the last piece of cake that he ate.






Emphasizing the Time:


Original Sentence: They will meet tomorrow.


Cleft Sentence: It is tomorrow that they will meet.






Emphasizing the Place:


Original Sentence: We’ll have the party at the beach.


Cleft Sentence: It is at the beach that we’ll have the party.






Emphasizing a Particular Event:


Original Sentence: They arrested him at the protest.


Cleft Sentence: It was at the protest that they arrested him.



In each of these examples, the cleft sentence places emphasis on the part that follows It is, drawing the reader’s or listener’s attention to that specific element.

Cleft sentences are a useful tool for adding clarity and emphasis to your writing or speech.






Cleft sentences with until and till:


You can use the cleft sentence construction in negative with until and till.

This can be particularly useful for emphasizing the time or condition related to an action.

Here’s the basic structure for using until or till in a cleft sentence:


It is [preposition or conjunction + clause] that [main clause].


Let’s look at some examples to illustrate this rule:






Emphasizing the Time (with until):


Original Sentence: They will not leave the party until midnight.


Cleft Sentence: It is not until midnight that they will leave the party.






Emphasizing the Condition (with till):


Original Sentence: I won’t give up my search until I find the truth.


Cleft Sentence: It is not until I find the truth that I will give up my search.




You can adapt this structure to various situations, depending on the preposition or conjunction you want to emphasize. It’s a flexible way to draw attention to specific elements in a sentence.










Cleft sentence (It is……that)

“It” as a Formal Subject

Subject of a Sentence. Types for definition

Simple Sentence – Unextended and Extended sentences

What is Sentence? Definition of a Sentence