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What is focus?



Focus is a term that refers to information, in a sentence, that

  • is new
  • is of high communicative interest
  • is marked by stress
  • typically occurs late in the sentence, and
  • complements the presupposed information typically presented early in the sentence.
Examples (English)

Here are some examples of focused elements:

  • You books are on the shelf.
  • It was math that gave him trouble.

Crystal 1980 148, 283, 397


Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 86, 1361–1363


Talmy 1985 79–80


Hartmann and Stork 1972 237

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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.]

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