Publication details [#63957]

Hartmann, Jutta M. 2018. A focus analysis of apparent predicational clefts. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 32 : 121–144.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper discusses a specific subclass of English it-clefts posited in the theoretical literature, so-called predicational clefts. The main point of the paper is to show that there is no need to postulate such a separate class. Predicational clefts look special because of the narrow focus on the adjective within an indefinite pivot, but their special properties can all be derived from this narrow focus in a focus analysis in which it-clefts express contrasting focus. Contrasting focus means that besides the assertion of the proposition expressed in the cleft, there is one contrasting proposition which is excluded. The focus on the adjective in apparent predicational clefts gives rise to a narrow set of relevant alternatives, all of which differ only in the adjectival property within the pivot. The analysis developed here can account for many of the observations for apparent predicational clefts. Other properties are shown to be not conclusive. Thus, predicational clefts need not be considered a special subclass beyond their special focus characteristics.