What is the right sentence? ‘It was cats’ or ‘It were cats’

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1955

‘It was cats that drank up all the milk.’ is a correct sentence.
These types of sentences are called cleft sentences. Cleft sentences are used to add emphasis to what we want to say with a relative clause. If that sounds too technical, just have a look at the following examples:

  • John keeps an ostrich in his garden.
  • John is the person who keeps an ostrich in his garden. (emphasis on JOHN)
  • An ostrich is what John keeps in his garden. (emphasis on OSTRICH)
  • The garden is the place where John keeps an ostrich. (emphasis on GARDEN)
  • What John keeps in his garden is an ostrich. (emphasis on WHAT)

 
You can also use ‘preparatory it’ to build up to what you want to say:

  • It is an ostrich that John keeps in his garden.
  • It is his garden where John keeps an ostrich.
  • It is John that/who keeps an ostrich in his garden.

 
It’s also possible to emphasise a plural subject this way:

  • It is ostriches that John keeps in his garden.
  • It was cats that drank up all the milk.

 
Note: follow ‘ostriches’ and ‘cats’ with a PLURAL VERB:

Present Simple Tense Exercise | Grammar Quiz

Present Simple Tense Exercise | Gra...
Present Simple Tense Exercise | Grammar Quiz
  • It is ostriches that love chasing people around John’s garden.
  • It was cats that were lying on the sofa.

Scaredy Cat meaning & Who is a Scaredy Cat?

Scaredy Cat meaning & Who is a Scaredy Cat?

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