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In this sentence, the middle part "--who love you" is an attributive clause which depicts "the people", but how to explain the latter clause? Is it an emphatic sentence? Could someone explain the whole sentence in a detailed way? Much thanks.

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A similar sentence: "It's what we have we don't cherish." I think it's what's known as "cleft sentence". The latter part is a dependent clause. Rewritten as a regular sentence it would be "You're the hardest on the people who love you". You can take any simple sentence that has an object and rewrite it as a cleft one by starting with "it is/was".

The last part is usually connected by "what", "which", "that" or "who/whom", but such a word can be omitted, like in your case.

  • People say the pronoun"that/who" should not be omitted in any emphatic sentences, for example: it was he who went there. In this sentence if "who" is omitted, then "it was" should be omitted also. Is that right? Then back to the original post, you mean there should be a "that" in the latter clause, and could be rewritten as " it's the people who love you that you are the hardest on", I think here in this sentence the "that" shouldn't be omitted .... – user19792 Aug 12 '15 at 3:56
  • I do not know what "emphatic sentence" is, sorry. "It was he who went there" is a cleft sentence that, if converted to simple one, reads "he went there". The 'who' is a necessary connecting word and cannot be omitted. As to the 'that', it can be omitted often. In a spoken language it is fine. See the Wikipedia article and the examples it gives. – Victor Bazarov Aug 12 '15 at 4:19
  • Oh yes! That's exactly cleft sentence. Thanks for pointing it out. And I've check the link. I noticed one sentence which might be of help to me: "It was because he was ill (that) we decided to return." (the sentence is listed in the link) , he uses brackets which indicates the "that" could be omitted, but here comes the question: we now find there are two sentences but there aren't any conjunctions in between the two sentences. "It was because he was ill" and " we decided to return". They are two sentences, should there be any conjunctions? It does puzzle me... – user19792 Aug 12 '15 at 4:47
  • and in your example " it's what we have we don't cherish". Should there be a "that" which makes a complete cleft sentence? Like," It's what we have that we don't cherish." – user19792 Aug 12 '15 at 5:07

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