Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 5 – Episode 13 – Grammar – Cleft Sentences

We use cleft sentences to make connections between known and new information. The information is divided into two clauses, so the focus can be on the new information.

Cleft sentences with it

The new information comes after it. The known information is in the clause after that. When talking about people, we can use who. When talking about times, we can use when.

It’s older people who volunteer most.

Cleft sentences with wh- words

These sentences can use what, where, why, that, etc, or they can start with phrases such as The reason why…..The new information can come in the first or second clause.

What is needed is people from the communities themselves.

Match the parts of the cleft sentences.

Volunteer workis these groups thatis at the heart of all communities
Itis the thing thatkeep communities going.
The reason why
is becausecan really help.
Itisn’t the
government that
they want to give something back

Rewrite the the following sentences as cleft sentences.

  1. Community groups provide valuable help for local people.
  2. Older people volunteer because they have more free time.
  3. Participation in volunteer work can help people to develop their skills.
  4. People like to collaborate to solve local problems.
  5. Prive donations account for community-group funding.
  6. Government funding should be spent on regional and national issues.


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