cleft sentence with 2 objects

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sillydreamer

Member
Vietnamese
Hello everyone, I have a question about cleft sentence with 2 objects. Please look at my example below:
Original sentence: She sent the postcard to her friend. (This is taken from English textbook in my country)
Cleft sentence (direct object focus): It was the postcard that she sent her friend. (1) (This is the answer taken from the reference book for teachers and the reference book for students, too)
However, another person tells me that the correct structure is "send something to somebody", even in a cleft sentence, and the answer must be:
It was the postcard that she sent to her friend. (2)
A similar problem arises when the focus of cleft sentence is indirect object. I wonder whether it should be:
It was her friend that she sent the postcard. (3)
Or : It was her friend that she sent the postcard to. (4)
If anyone knows, please help me. Thanks very much in advance.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The term "cleft sentence" wasn't part of my schooling, so I'm not sure what you're trying to do.

    The original sentence is fine. Why, and how, are you supposed to change it?
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The terms 'direct object' and 'indirect object' often confuse meaning with grammar. There are two possible non-cleft sentences:

    (1) She sent a postcard to her friend.
    (2) She sent her friend a postcard.

    Grammatically, sentence (1) contains one object and a preposition phrase, while (2) contains two objects.

    If you make cleft sentences on (1), you get:

    (1a) It was a postcard she sent __ to her friend.
    (1b) It was to her friend she sent a postcard __.
    (1c) It was her friend she sent a postcard to __.

    I've indicated with a gap __ where the original position was of the item that is now focused in the cleft. (1a) focuses the object, (1b) focuses the preposition phrase, and (1c) focuses the noun phrase inside the preposition phrase (leaving the preposition in its original position).

    If you make cleft sentences on (2), you get:

    (2a) It was a postcard she sent her friend __.
    (2b) It was her friend she sent __ a postcard.

    All five of the cleft sentences are correct. I don't know why, but I prefer the (1-) versions to the (2-) ones.
     
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