When we want to focus attention on or emphasize one part of a sentence, we can do this by adding certain words or phrases to the beginning of the sentence. This is sometimes called a 'cleft sentence' (cleft means divided).
1. beginning with What… or All…
more emphatic sentence
I need a coffee.
I don't like the weather here.
I just want to travel.
I only touched it!
What I need is a coffee.
What I don't like here is the weather.
All I want is to travel.
All I did was touch it.
a. We can often put the what-clause* either at the beginning or the end of the sentence:
What upset me most was his rudeness. or His rudeness was what upset me most.
b. Notice that the 'to' in the infinitive can be omitted.
Dave lost his job and was short of money, so what he did was (to) sell his flat and move in with his brother.
c. A what-clause is normally considered to be singular; it is followed by is/was. But a plural verb is sometimes possible in an informal style.
What we want is/are some of those cakes
2. beginning with What happens is ... What happened was ...
You do a test and then you have an interview.
We left our passports at home.
What happens is (that) you do a test and then you have an interview.
What happened was (that) we left our passports at home.
3. beginning with The person who…, The place where…, The first/last time…, The reason why.., etc.
I spoke to the manager.
We stayed in a five-star hotel.
I last saw him on Saturday.
I bought it because it was cheap.
The person (who/that) I spoke to was the manager.
The place where we stayed was a five-star hotel.
The last time I saw him was on Saturday.
The reason (why I that) I bought it was that/because it was cheap.
Instead of placing other wh-clauses (beginning when, where, who, why, how) at the beginning of the sentence we prefer to use a noun which has a meaning related to the wh-word (reason rather than why; place rather than where)
The only reason (why/that) I left the party early was that I was feeling unwell. (rather than Why I left the party early was...)
The place (where/that) you should play football is the playground, not the classroom. (rather than Where you should play football is ...)
Somebody (who/that) I enjoy reading is Peter Carey. (not Who I enjoy reading is...)
4. beginning with It..
A boy in my class won the prize.
We had the meeting last Friday
They charged us extra for the wine.
It was a boy in my class who won the prize.
It was last Friday when we had the meeting.
It was the wine (that) they charged us extra for.
If the emphasized part is a pronoun, we normally use the object pronoun after It is/was.
It was me who paid the bill. NOT It was I who paid the bill.
3. Give responses beginning No, what..., correcting what was said in the question. Use the notes in brackets to help. Example: 'Did you say that Bernard was going to live in Austria?' (holiday/ Austria) No, what I said was that he was going on holiday to Austria.
2 'Do you hope to sell your Picasso paintings?' (be put into/ public art gallery)
3 'Did it annoy you that Clare came so late?' (not apologise)
4 'Did you mean to give Erica your bike?' (could borrow it/ until needed again)