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2017 Word of the Year

cleft sentence

noun, Grammar.
1.
a sentence in which a simpler sentence is paraphrased by being divided into two parts, each with its own verb, in order to emphasize certain information, especially a sentence beginning with expletive it and a form of be followed by the information being emphasized, as It was a mushroom that Alice ate instead of Alice ate a mushroom.
2.
Also called pseudo-cleft sentence. a two-part sentence in which a subject or subject complement expresses information being emphasized and an indefinite relative clause corresponds to the rest of a simpler sentence that has been paraphrased, as A mushroom was what Alice ate or What Alice ate was a mushroom.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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