How can I use language to emphasise points

In spoken English, you can emphasise parts of a sentence simply by using stress on important words. In writing, of course, we cannot do this. Instead, we can emphasise particular words or phrases by putting everything into a kind of relative clause except the words we want to emphasise. These structures are called cleft sentences.

Röntgen discovered X-Rays in 1895. (no emphasis)

It was Röntgen who discovered X-Rays in 1895. (emphasis on the person)

It was in 1895 that Röntgen discovered X-Rays. (emphasis on the date)

It was not until 1895 that Röntgen discovered X-Rays. (emphasis on the fact that it wasn't earlier than this)

It was X-Rays that Röntgen discovered in 1895. (emphasis on what Röntgen discovered)

Other cleft sentence structures:

■ The reason why ... is that...

no emphasis

emphasis

Einstein showed that space-time and gravitational forces are profoundly related.

What Einstein showed was that space-time and gravitational forces are profoundly related.

The southern hemisphere shows little response to eruptions in the north because it is dominated by oceans that damp down any change.

The reason why the southern hemisphere shows little response to eruptions in the north is that it is dominated by oceans that damp down any change.

You can draw attention to the new information that you want to present by changing the sequence of the parts of a sentence, using such structural forms as:

One erasable system that is being considered by developers like IBM and 3M is a technology called magneto-optic recording._

The only time this effect has been reported was in 1995._

You can add emphasis by starting your sentence with a negative expression or one including only. Note that with these structures the subject and the main verb in the sentence have to be inverted, or changed round.

■ negative expressions such as Never., Seldom., Rarely.; Under no circumstances..., At no time., In no way.

no emphasis

emphasis

He did not allow his assistants to be absent under any circumstances.

Under no circumstances did he allow his assistants to be absent.

He had never managed to use his deductive skills so well as in this experiment.

Never had he managed to use his deductive skills so well as in this experiment

We will know the next steps to take when the report has been carefully analysed.

Only when the report has been carefully analysed will we know the next steps to take.

Scientists have recently discovered a cure for certain types of leukemia.

Only recently have scientists discovered a cure for certain types of leukemia.

You can also add emphasis by using balancing or parallel structures in a sentence, e.g. not only . but (also) ...; just as . so .

Not only was Rontgen's discovery of X-Rays important in itself, but it led directly to the discovery of radioactivity._

Not only was Rontgen's discovery of X-Rays important in itself, but it led directly to the discovery of radioactivity._

Just as Avogadro saved his idea that equal volumes of gases contain equal numbers of molecules by introducing a new idea, so Kekule rescued his idea that carbon is tetravalent by inventing the carboncarbon bond.

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