C1 Grammar News Time with Emphasis

Welcome to our third C1 grammar meeting point! Previously, we have covered the following Advanced grammar structures:

If you still haven’t read up on these C1 structures, check them out.

This time, we are going to deal with different ways to create emphasis, like cleft sentences, fronting and inversion. A few times have you come across these terms before, haven’t you? You might have already found these structures while reading English pieces or heard them in English podcasts, movies and songs without you knowing these grammar terms. So, today, creating emphasis is in the limelight!

What if you first get to know me a bit better?

childhood memories

My childhood, everlasting, memories!

What I ever dreamt of was to become a teacher. For this reason, all I really wanted, as a kid, was to join my mother at school. Only then was I on cloud nine, tickling the pupils from under their desks. So, seldom did I go to the nursery school. What I would do, the few times my parents had somehow managed to persuade me to finally join my little peers, was staring at the fence and waiting for my family to pick me up. Long was the day! Back home, it was in our front yard that I was floating on air. What was I doing? Three clues I can give you 😉

I was teaching. This I was doing.

What kept me busy before my neighbourhood pals came to my improvised school was to arm myself with enough courage to enter the hen house and, as quick as lightning, spot and grab some good feathers. Then, climb up the mulberry tree and pick some fruits. Next, safe and sound, back on the ground, I used to smash them and prepare the ink. Only then was I ready to teach. Wait! I needed books as well. Angry my mother got when she found her Physics books scribbled! Being told off was secondary. My readiness was first.

Why am I sharing with you the earliest recollections of my childhood?

These memories are sacredly important to me. For this reason, I have used some special grammar structures to create a well-deserved emphasis.

Can you identify them?

creating emphasis C1 advanced grammar

Creating Emphasis C1 Advanced Grammar Theory

The table below shows examples in which various ways of emphasis have been used. They are followed by an explanation of their function and structure. 

Example & Function KEY-WORD and structure
CLEFT SENTENCE: It was the thrill of adventure that first appealed to him when he first started mountain biking. What first appealed to him when he started mountain biking was the thrill of adventure. It can't be my sister who you saw at the town hall. She's on a business trip.
Emphasize a thing or a person IT IS/WAS ... THAT/WHICH/WHO ... ; WHAT ... IS/WAS ... ; IT + modal verb + BE ... THAT/WHO ...
CLEFT SENTENCE: It was while she was in the UK that they met. It wasn't until the plane took off that I started to worry.
Emphasize a period of time IT IS/WAS WHILE ... THAT; IT WASN'T UNTIL ... THAT ...
CLEFT SENTENCE: All we really want is happiness.
Emphasize "the only thing that" ALL ... IS/WAS (TO) ...
CLEFT SENTENCE: Perhaps it's because he is an old hand at chess that he always wins.
Emphasize reasons IT IS/WAS BECAUSE ... THAT ...
CLEFT SENTENCE: What we did was (to) start from scratch, though with much more confidence.
Emphasize the action WHAT + subject + form of DO + form of BE + (TO) + infinitive
FRONTING: This we resisted. Onto the stage walked the king of rock'n roll. Along he came to introduce his colleagues. And then came an invitation to the festival.
Emphasize a particular part of a sentence by moving it to the front, most common in spoken and written narrative Fronting adverbials and prepositional phrases of place and movement, e.g. THIS, INTO, ALONG; FIRST / NEXT / NOW / THEN + a form of BE / COME / FLY / GO / LIE / MARCH / ROLL / RUN / SIT / STAND / SWIM / WALK + subject. Note: We don't usually invert subject and verb when the subject is a pronoun.
FRONTING: Playing musical instruments I find as a fundamental part of a child's development of manual dexterity.
Emphasize the object by moving it to the front of the sentence Fronting the object, e.g. playing musical instruments
INVERSION: Rarely have I met anyone with such perseverance. No sooner had I boarded the ship that I realized I missed my family.
Emphasize certain words and phrases, after the negative adverbs, mainly in formal speech and writing Invert the word order (auxiliary + subject + verb) after: NEVER (BEFORE), RARELY, SELDOM ... ; BARELY / HARDLY / SCARCELY ... WHEN / BEFORE ... ; NO SOONER ...THAN; NOWHERE ...; NEITHER ... NOR ...
INVERSION: Only after he heard the news did he become aware of the danger. At no time have we ever got cold feet. Not only have we done up our old farmhouse, but we also turned it into a guest house. Little did she realize when she took on the project that it would be an overnight success.
Emphasize certain information Invert the word order (auxiliary + subject + verb) after: ONLY + AFTER / LATER / THEN ... ; AT NO TIME ... ; ON NO ACCOUNT ... ; UNDER / IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES ... ; IN NO WAY ... ; NOT ONLY / UNTIL / SINCE / FOR A MOMENT / ONCE / A + noun ... ; LITTLE ...

Download the PDF below. It contains the above grammar chart.

c1 conditionals practice

Creating Emphasis C1 Advanced Grammar Practice

Paraphrase the following sentences using the above ways to create emphasis. Emphasize the information underlined. Continue the second sentence when given.

  1. We missed the train because our car broke down. It was … .
  2. I don’t need anything else except your presence. All … .
  3. The person who first unveiled his plans was my best friend. It was … .
  4. Although the painting may seem expensive, it is good value for money. Expensive … .
  5. I really hate waiting in the queue. What I can … .
  6. In the end I made up my mind. In the end what … .
  7. Her nervousness made me think she was lying. It was … .
  8. We have never been informed that the insurance company would not cover these injuries. Never … .
  9. We had no idea that our findings would be so important. Little … .
  10. We loved the views.
  11. He went away, without saying a word.
  12. It took my parents one week to set up the machine.
  13. No one apologized once the whole time I was there.
  14. She hated paparazzi so much that she always fled. Such … .
  15. We had just signed the agreement when we realized we didn’t consider one important matter. No sooner … .
  1. It was because the car broke down that we missed the train.
  2. All I need is your presence.
  3. It was my best friend who first unveiled hos plans.
  4. Expensive though it may seem, the painting is good value for money.
  5. What I cannot stand is waiting in the queue.
  6. In the end what I did was make up my mind.
  7. It was her nervousness that made me think she was lying.
  8. Never have we been informed that the insurance company would not cover these injuries.
  9. Little did we realize that our findings would be so important.
  10. The views we loved.
  11. Away he went without saying a word.
  12. One week it took my parents to set up the machine.
  13. Not once did anyone apologize the whole time I was there.
  14. Such was her hatred of paparazzi, that she always fled.
  15. No sooner had we signed the agreement than we realized we didn’t consider one important matter.

The PDF below has got the activity above. 

From all these three ways to create emphasis, inversion is the trickiest. Learners must know which words and phrases allow the inverted word order, as well as other grammar nuances required in the clause.

For this reason, I have created a fun way to tame inversion. Invite your English buddy or classmate and try out for the battleship!

The grammar structures you’ve learnt this time will give you the chance of beautifully playing with the English language by highlighting in both written and spoken pieces the information that is worth giving attention to. 

Let’s end up today’s grammar meeting point with an example from an actual Yoda utterance:

“Much to learn, you still have.”

Truly wonderful the ways to create emphasis are!

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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