In the regular sentence order of English, the subjects come before predicates and verbs come before objects. In English, there are variations in sentence order. Although these variations cause some confusion, a speaker of English can use them to highlight an important point in the sentence. For example, a speaker uses a cleft sentence as a way to focus on a special element on the sentence. A cleft sentence is a complex sentence in which a simple sentence is expressed using a main clause and a subordinate clause. Pseudo-cleft sentence and it-cleft sentence are two major types of cleft sentences.
It- cleft sentence is defined as a construction in which some element in a sentence is moved from its normal position into a separate clause to give it a greater emphasis. The form of an it- cleft sentence can be illustrated in (a). It-cleft sentence consists of it, a form of be ,a focus noun phrase, and the rest of the sentence which is placed in a relative clause. In the construction of it cleft, it is assumed that it has no meaning. It is a copula that has a functional role of linking the major constituents of the sentence. If we take, for example, a sentence like sentence (b) below , we can put more focus on the subject by using an it-cleft sentence like sentence (c). Moreover, if we take for example, a sentence like sentence ( d) below, we use an it –cleft sentence to stress an object noun phrase.
(a) It+ be+ focus+ clause.
b) John studied English literature at Oxford.
c) It was John who studied English literature at Oxford.
d) It was English literature that John studied.
Another kind of cleft sentences is the Pseudo-cleft or wh-cleft sentence. A pseudo-cleft sentence is a kind of cleft sentence in which the subordinated clause is a relative clause headed by an interrogative pro-form .The form of the Pseudo-cleft sentence is illustrated in (a). A Pseudo-cleft sentence consists of a subject, a form of be , then followed by a wh-clause. If we take for example, a sentence like sentence (b) below, we can put more stress on the subject by using a wh-cleft sentence like sentence (c).
a) Focus+ be+ wh-clause.
b) John studied English literature at oxford.
c) What John studied was English literature.
The order of the wh-clause can be reversed, so we have a reverse wh-cleft or an inverted pseudo-cleft sentence. The form of the reserve wh-cleft sentence is illustrated in (a). A reserve wh-clause consists of a subject ,and a form of be that is followed by a wh- clause. .We can use the one who does that is as illustrated in the sentence (b).
a)focus +be form + wh-clause.
b)John was the one who studied English literature at Oxford.
According to johansson (2002), there are four main discourse functions of it-clefts. First, Contrast function which means that the clefted constituent marks a contrast to something previously mentioned. Second, the topic launching function which means that the clefted constituent becomes the topic of...