cleft sentences

Freeguy posted:
- One of the first steps to learn about other cultures is to accept that there are many different cultures that exist other than our own culture.

Is it a kind of cleft sentence?

Hi, Freeguy,

No, it isn't a cleft sentence; it's a subject + subject-complement construction, and the main verb is "is."

The sentence is arguably inverted. I'd say that it begins with the subject complement. In other words, the basic sentence is this:

(1a) To accept that there are many different cultures that exist other than our own culture is one of the first steps to learn about other cultures.

Or, more naturally:

(1b) Accepting that there are many different cultures that exist other than our own is one of the first steps to learning about other cultures.

Here is one way you could convert that sentence into a cleft sentence:

(2) It is accepting that there are many different cultures that exist other than our own that is one of the first steps to learning about other cultures.

Freeguy posted:

Yes.

I mean can we say it's kind of a cleft sentence?

Yes, Freeguy, the sentence in your second post may be interpreted as a pseudo-cleft sentence. In the free relative clause "what I can add at the end," "what" is functioning as the direct object of "add."

There is an equation with the subject complement of the main clause: "the role of our parents' morals, values, and principles in our lives." Therefore the sentence you presented:

(1) What I can add at the end is the role of our parents’ morals, values, and principles in our lives. 

may be interpreted as deriving from (2):

(2) I can add [the role of our parents' morals, values, and principles in our lives] at the end.

which can also be phrased like this:

(2') I can add at the end the role of our parents' morals, values, and principles in our lives.

Freeguy posted:

David, can we say the following sentence is also a cleft sentence?

- It was only when electric motors had become sufficiently advanced to become portable that vacuum cleaners became common household items.

Yes, Freeguy, that is a cleft sentence. Below is the un-clefted version; however, I am changing "sufficiently advanced to become portable" to "advanced enough to become portable":

  • Vacuum cleaners became common household items only when electric motors had become advanced enough to become portable.

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