View table of contents for this book View table of contents for LinguaLinksLibrary Go to LinguaLinks home page
 

What is a pseudo-cleft sentence?

 
by Kent Spielmann (contributor)
 

Definition
 

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. In English they are of the form:

 
  • wh-relative clause + be + X
  •  

    X can be a constituent of one of many varieties.

     

    The so-called 'inverted' pseudo-cleft sentence reverses the order of the two constituents:

     
  • X + be + wh-relative clause
  • Examples
     
    Pseudo-cleft Inverted pseudo-cleft
    What John gave to Mary were flowers Flowers were what John gave to Mary.
    Generic
      A pseudo-cleft sentence is a kind of
     
    Sources
     

    Crystal 1980 63

     

    Levinson 1983 182–183

     

    Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 1383–1384

     

    Sornicola 1988 343–344

     

    Bromser 1984 327

     

    Jespersen 1949 147–148

     

    Delahunty 1984 74–88


    Context for this page:

    Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

    Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

    © 2004 SIL International