"It is ... that" emphatic?


Senior Member
in an English textbook (I'm French), it is written that "it is ... that" has an emphatic sense.
But though his position as chancellor of the Exchequer during the Blair years made him intimately familiar with domestic issues, it was on foreign policy that Gordon Brown showed great range
Is it true? Can you give me other examples?
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, it is true. :)

    "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of X."
    "It was only by treading water for nearly two days that any passengers of the ship managed to survive."
    "It is the one mistake that I cannot undo."
    "You are afraid and with good reason: it is death that stalks us."


    Senior Member
    Well I can't make myself understood :(
    I asked if there is an idiom (which I called "structure", because it is in French and I thought it was in English too) which has the same sense as "it is ... that". Is there any?


    Senior Member
    "It is... that" is not an idiom. It's simply a stylistic choice, much like putting "It is true that I haven't done my homework". It doesn't really impart any more information than "I haven't done my homework" but it changes the impression that is given.

    I made one mistake I cannot undo.
    I cannot undo one mistake.
    There is one mistake I cannot undo.
    It is the one mistake that I cannot undo.

    To me, these are ordered in degree of emphasis. All of them provide the same information but different levels of intensity.
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