The Features of the Expression of the Category of Focus in the Cleft Sentence of the English Language



The paper addresses the interaction of the focus category and the semantic and syntactic aspects of the cleft sentence of the English language. The features of the focus in a cleft sentence are discussed, taking into account the relationship between the information structure and the category of definiteness-indefiniteness. The authors present a review of studies that investigate the information structure of it-clefts in terms of generative grammar. Two groups of studies are distinguished: the one of the groups integrates the focus into the deep structure of it-clefts; the other group of studies attributes the focus to the surface structure of it-clefts. It is concluded that the study of the role of the focus of clefts in isolation from the discourse leads to the interpretation of the focus exclusively in terms of semantic and structural relations. Consequently, the transformational rules formulated in the studies reviewed may not be universal and differently describe the process of transition to the surface structure of a cleft sentence in different languages.

General Information

Keywords: syntax, generative grammar, information structure, cleft sentence, focus, equation sentence

Journal rubric: General and Comparative Historical Linguistics

Article type: scientific article


Received: 01.12.2023


For citation: Balygina E.A., Ermolova Т.V., Krukovskaya O.A. The Features of the Expression of the Category of Focus in the Cleft Sentence of the English Language [Elektronnyi resurs]. Âzyk i tekst = Language and Text, 2023. Vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 30–39. DOI: 10.17759/langt.2023100403. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena A. Balygina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign and Russian Philology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Тatiana V. Ermolova, PhD in Psychology, Head of the Chair of Foreign and Russian Philology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Oksana A. Krukovskaya, PhD in Education, Department of Foreign and Russian Philology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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