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Declarative, imperative, exclamatory and interrogative sentences

  • Different types of sentences serve different purposes. In the English language, there are four kinds of sentences that are used for four different purposes. Many people who speak English as a second language as well as native English speakers are confused by this. Understanding the difference between these English sentences by looking at the sentence structure and punctuation used with each one will help improve one’s grammar and ability to communicate.  We will examine the declarative, imperative, exclamatory and interrogative sentences, how they are used, how to punctuate each of the sentence types with the correct punctuation mark and some examples of these types of sentences in English grammar.


     

    A declarative sentence makes a statement, gives an explanation, conveys a fact or provides information. This type of sentence is also known as a declarative statement, as it may be considered a declaration expressing a fact. The noun comes before the verb, namely the subject and predicate, in a declarative sentence. It is the most common type of sentence, most sentences in the English language are declarative sentences. Writers predominantly use the declarative sentence to convey information. A declarative sentence is punctuated with a period. (.)

    Examples

    The sun comes up in the morning.

    My neighbor’s dog chases cars.

    Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.

    An imperative sentence consists of a command, demand, instruction or request. These may seem like sentence fragments as the subject of an imperative sentence, the person being spoken to, appears to be omitted. In fact, the subject, you, is implied or understood. An imperative sentence often begins with the main verb, and is a complete sentence in composition. An imperative sentence is usually punctuated with a period (.)

    Examples

    Give me the money.

    Pass the potatoes.

    Be quiet.

    An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that expresses extreme emotion such as surprise, excitement, fear or anger. If the sentence is shouted with extreme emotion, it is an exclamatory sentence. Usually, an exclamatory sentence is punctuated with an exclamation point or exclamation mark. (!) The following sentences are known as sentences that are exclamatory in function, as they are sentences that end in exclamation points.

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    Examples

    Run for your lives!

    The tiger is loose!

    Surprise!

    An interesting variation on the exclamatory sentence is the type of sentence known as exclamatory in form. This type of sentence begins with the word what or the word how, but is not a question. It is an exclamation that ends with an exclamation point.

    Examples

    How you have grown!

    What big ears you have!

    What a mess!

    An interrogative sentence is a question, a request, or a plea for more information. An interrogative sentence usually begins with an auxiliary verb or an adverb, with the subject placed later in the sentence. Words such as who, what, where, when, how, why, did, would, could, etc., often begin interrogative sentences. An interrogative sentence is punctuated with a question mark. (?)

    Examples

    Would you take out the trash?

    How did you get so dirty?

    Where is the remote control?

    Writing sentences with the correct word order and punctuation is easier when one understands the difference between declarative, imperative, exclamatory and interrogative sentences.


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