How To Teach Cleft Sentences

TEFL Planet

In contrast to my last post on reported speech, Cleft Sentences are one of my favourites! It’s beautiful language that serves to emphasize and give particular attention to something important or something out of the ordinary.


There are three ways to form a cleft sentences.

  • A clause beginning with ‘what’ linked to the rest of the sentence by the verb ‘to be’. The verb in the ‘what’ clause is usually ‘do’. If this is the case, the verb ‘to be’ is followed by the infinitive, the ‘to’ is optional. Shown here in example 2.
  1. “I really like ice cream” – “What I really like is ice cream”
  2. .”He complained to the board of directors” – “What he did was complain to the board of directors”
  • A clause beginning with ‘All’

“You’re the only thing I want for Christmas” – “All I want for Christmas is you”

  • A clause beginning…

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