|Cleft means divided. In a cleft sentence, information which could be given in one clause is divided into two parts, each with its own verb. This way you give extra emphasis to part of the sentence.|
|1. Wh-cleft sentences (What I need is a holiday)|
Wh-cleft sentences are most often introduced by what, but we can also use why, where, how, etc. The information in the wh-clause is typically old or understood information, while the information in the following clause is new and in focus.
A. I don’t know what to cook for them. I don’t know what they like.
B. 'What' they like is 'smoked salmon'.
|Understood already (old information): we are talking about what they like to eat|
|Focus (new information): they like smoked salmon|
A. This remote control isn’t working.
B. 'What' we need to do is 'get new batteries for it'.
|Understood already (old information): there is something that we need to do to fix the remote control.|
|Focus (new information): we need to buy new batteries|
Instead of the person or what, we can use less general expressions.
You're 'the woman (that)' I'll always love best.
Casablanca is 'a film (that)' I watch again and again.
|A what-clause is normally considered to be singular; if it begins a cleft sentence it is followed by is/was. A plural verb is sometimes possible before a plural noun in an informal style.|
What we want 'is/are' some of those cakes.