Cleft sentence

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chunganhvu

New Member
Vietnamese - Vietnam
Hi all, I hope to see your comments for this sentence. Could you tell me what the mistake is?

"(A)Historically, it (B)was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan (C)that tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey (D)were added."

In my opinion, the option C is incorrect but someone told me that it must be B.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Someone is correct - it is B which needs the word “at” to be inserted (after “was”) to make the sentence correct.
     

    chunganhvu

    New Member
    Vietnamese - Vietnam
    Thanks for your comment. However, is it correct if I rewrite the sentence like this:
    "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan when tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."
     
    Thanks for your comment. However, is it correct if I rewrite the sentence like this:
    "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan when tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."
    No that is not a good sentence though it's understandable.* To make sense, "It was 2010, at the Asian Games, when x y z were introduced."

    Note the time reference prior to 'when.'

    *Note: if you use 'where' instead of 'when' it would be ok.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    No, it's incorrect. You should listen to Glasguensis.

    It was [when we went to the Asian Games] that I met your father.


    As you rightly note, yours is a cleft sentence - like this one:

    It was at the Asian Games that I met your father. It was there that I met your father.

    It's not often possible to use "when" as a relative pronoun adverb. Some speakers might say "Wednesday 21st January was the day when we met" for "... the day that we met".
     
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    chunganhvu

    New Member
    Vietnamese - Vietnam
    Thanks velisarius, bennymix for giving me useful advice.
    I'd really appreciate all the comments. My problem is that I wonder my rewritten sentence is a grammartically one.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    *Note: if you use 'where' instead of 'when' it would be ok.

    Let's look at it:
    "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan where tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."

    I wouldn't find that acceptable. I'd have to use the original version with "at...that...".
     

    Floranguyen

    New Member
    Vietnamese
    No that is not a good sentence though it's understandable.* To make sense, "It was 2010, at the Asian Games, when x y z were introduced."

    Note the time reference prior to 'when.'

    *Note: if you use 'where' instead of 'when' it would be ok.
    Benny,
    What about this sentence: "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan to which tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."? Is it grammatically correct?
    Thanks in advance.
    Flora
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thanks for your comment. However, is it correct if I rewrite the sentence like this:
    "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan when tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."
    Here "the 3rd Asian Games in Japan when tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey" seems to be all one noun phrase, causing "it" to need an antecedent.

    The best subordinator for a cleft sentence is that, to make it clear that the clause is meant to be part of the subject (it qualifies or helps to explain the "it"):

    Historically, it was at the 3rd Asian Games in Japan that tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added.

    If you want to use when, use the pseudocleft form, without "it":

    Historically, when tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added was at the 3rd Asian Games in Japan.

    This when is the interrogative adverb, allowing the clause to work as a noun phrase (instead of "it").
    Benny,
    What about this sentence: "Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan to which tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added."? Is it grammatically correct?
    Thanks in advance.
    Flora
    I think what you are trying to say here is:

    Historically, it was to the 3rd Asian Games in Japan that tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added.

    or

    Historically, it was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan that tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added to.

    For a pseudocleft version, you could use the interrogative pronoun what:

    Historically, what tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added to was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan.

    And you could, theoretically, say:

    Historically, to what tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan.

    But to use "to which", you need to come up with an appropriate noun:

    Historically, the thing/event/Olympiad to which tennis, volleyball, table tennis and hockey were added was the 3rd Asian Games in Japan.
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    [when]
    relative adverb

    • At or on which (referring to a time or circumstance)

      ‘Saturday is the day when I get my hair done’
    • ===
    Oxford doesn't 'buy' the relative pronoun idea, it seems.
    The classification of a relative word depends on how it is used in the clause of which it is a part, not on the role of the relative clause in the larger sentence.

    Here, the relative clause is "when I get my hair done", in which "when" is an adverb, like "then" in "Then I get my hair done" or "I get my hair done then".

    "When" is still a relative adverb in "Saturday is when I get my hair done" and "I always go to the same place when I get my hair done" because it still plays the role of adverb within its own clause. The fact that the whole clause modifies "day" in the original sentence, acts as a noun phrase when we delete "the day", and modifies "go" in my last example does not change the role of "when" within its own clause: it remains an adverb.

    A relative pronoun is a pronoun, so it plays the role of subject or object (or subject or object complement) in the clause of which it is a part.

    In "Saturday is the day on which I get my hair done", "which" is a relative pronoun, the object of the preposition "on". The prepositional phrase modifies "get" as an adverbial of time, but the word "which" is still a pronoun.

    Replacing the prepositional phrase "on which" with "when" is replacing the (adverbial) prepositional phrase with an adverb, just like replacing "on that day" with "then".
     
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