We can use different grammatical structures to add emphasis, either to a whole sentence or to highlight one particular part of it.

Cleft sentences

We use cleft sentences to emphasise different parts of the sentence, they usually begin with it or by a clause beginning with what.

‘It’ Cleft sentences.

A simple sentence might be:

You spoke to the manager on the weekend.

We can add emphasis by moving the information we want to emphasise to the front of the sentence and adding it + be.

It was you who spoke to the manager on the weekend.
Emphasis: you (not another person)

It was on the weekend that you spoke to the manager.
Emphasis: on the weekend (not another time)

It was the manager that you spoke to on the weekend.
Emphasis: the manager (not another person)

”What” cleft sentences

What, where, why, who, how, clauses + be emphasise the part of the sentence that is outside the clause. This clause can be at the beginning or end of the sentence.

What I hate is when people use their phones while driving.

How they will adapt is not yet known.

The food at the Chinese restaurant was what I liked the most.

Inversion with negative adverbials

We can invert, change the order of, sentences to add emphasis.

To invert a sentence, we put the adverbial (e.g. neverrarelynot only, etc.) at the start and move the position of the subject and verb.

Never have I seen such an amazing performance
(I have never seen such an amazing performance)

Little, no sooner and not

You can use words like littleno sooner, never and not when speaking about negative things.

Little did I realise that he was a polive officer
(I didn’t realise that he was a polive officer)

No sooner had we met than he left.

Not a single positive comment did I hear from Karen.

No sooner ___ the tickets gone on sale than they sold out.

The screenplay was ___ I liked most about the film.

It was incredible! Never ___ I seen such an exciting tennis match.

Never again ___ I trust him after he told them my secret.

Your grade is: __

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