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Hello, everyone,

Imagining how a stranger might act makes it possible for you to think of more radical and imaginative ideas than you might be used to, simply because it's not you acting them out, but someone else you're watching.

*source: https://books.google.co.kr/boo...think%22&f=false

In above sentence while I think the underlined part is the cleft sentence with "the reduced relative clause plus not [A] but [B]" construction, my question is whether this kind of abbreviation from the original "that(who) act them out" is informally possible or not.

So far, I haven't seen any explanation for this matter in the well-known grammar books.

Would hope to hear your valuable opinions.

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@deepcosmos posted:

Imagining how a stranger might act makes it possible for you to think of more radical and imaginative ideas than you might be used to, simply because it's not you acting them out, but someone else you're watching.

What an interesting question, Deepcosmos. I'm not sure that is a cleft sentence. I think "it" refers to "a stranger":

- Imagining how a stranger might act makes it possible for you to think of more radical and imaginative ideas than you might be used to, simply because it's not you acting them out, but someone else you're watching.

"(who are) acting them out" and "(whom) you're watching" are relative clauses modifying "you" and "someone else," respectively: that stranger is not you acting as a stranger but a real stranger.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

What an interesting question, Deepcosmos. I'm not sure that is a cleft sentence. I think "it" refers to "a stranger":

- Imagining how a stranger might act makes it possible for you to think of more radical and imaginative ideas than you might be used to, simply because it's not you acting them out, but someone else you're watching.

"(who are) acting them out" and "(whom) you're watching" are relative clauses modifying "you" and "someone else," respectively: that stranger is not you acting as a stranger but a real stranger.

What an interesting and unexpected answer, Gustavo!

I've been waiting upto now till the wonderful moderator shows up on this stage!

If we suppose the "it" might be a part of cleft sentence,  do you think this kind of abbreviation from the original "that(who) act them out" is informally possible or not?

@deepcosmos posted:

If we suppose the "it" might be a part of cleft sentence,  do you think this kind of abbreviation from the original "that(who) act them out" is informally possible or not?

Yes, I find the reduction of the relative perfectly possible in a cleft sentence used in any register of the language, for example:

- It's you acting them out that gives you a wrong idea of what they really think.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

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