Types of Sentences
1. What are the Types of Sentences?
When we are writing and speaking, we use different types of sentences to say what we want to say. There are four main types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory; each with its own specific purpose. Don’t be afraid of their fancy names—all of the types of sentences are actually pretty simple!
2. Declarative Sentences
a. What is a Declarative sentence?
Declarative sentences give information. We use them to share facts and statements, in other words, to declare things. In fact, it is probably the type of sentence we use most each day.
Here are a few examples:
- The dog went to the county fair.
- She saw the dog eat popcorn.
- Dogs don’t usually eat popcorn.
- The popcorn was hot.
- I like popcorn.
b. How to Write a Declarative Sentence
A declarative sentence is written like statement, basically, “A is B” or “A does B.”A declarative sentence has a neutral tone; so, it ends with a period. It can express feelings, but not very strong feelings. For example “I like popcorn,” is a simple sentence that “declares” something you like. If you write “I LOVE popcorn!”, it expresses a strong feeling, which makes it an exclamatory sentence (see below).
3. Interrogative Sentences
a. What is an interrogative sentence?
Quite simply, an interrogative sentence is a question. It is easy to recognize because it always ends in a question mark (?). Questions ask things like who, what, where, when, why, and how. Here are some examples:
- Why is the dog going to the county fair?
- Have you ever been to a county fair?
- What is your favorite snack?
- How do you make popcorn?
b. How to Write an Interrogative Sentence
Writing an interrogative sentence is simple and easy. Remember—it’s just a fancy name for a question! As mentioned, questions should ask things like who, what, where, when, why, or how. So, using those words, let’s try to ask some questions about popcorn:
- Who cooks fresh popcorn around here?
- Where can I buy fresh popcorn?
- What is the best flavor of popcorn?
- When do you usually eat popcorn?
- Why do you let your dog eat popcorn?
- How is it?
Or, you can change the word order within a declarative sentence. For example, the sentence below, can easily be made into a question:
The popcorn is delicious.
New Interrogative Sentence (or question)
Is the popcorn delicious?
3. Imperative Sentences
a. What is an imperative sentence?
An imperative is a word expressing a command, thus, an imperative sentence gives instructions, requests, or demands, or shares a wish or invitation. Basically, they tell someone what to do or reflect something you want to happen. Here are some examples:
- Have fun at the fair! (Expressing a wish)
- Come to the fair with me! (Sharing an invitation)
- Feed the dog once per day. (Giving instructions)
- Please don’t give the dog popcorn. (Sharing a request)
- Stop feeding the dog! (Giving a demand)
The verbs in imperative sentences are in what is called an “imperative mood,” meaning they give commands. Look at these two sentences:
Don’t feed the dog. Imperative verb “don’t” expressing a command
He didn’t feed the dog. Indicative verb “didn’t,” reflecting a lack of action
b. How to Write an Imperative Sentence
Writing an imperative sentence is easy, but it’s important to remember its role. Its tone can be fairly neutral; or, it can express strong emotions. Because of this, they can end in either a period or an exclamation mark. For instance, a forceful command should end with an exclamation mark, but a more neutral request only needs a period.
Even if it ends with an exclamation mark, an imperative sentence CANNOT be an exclamatory sentence, because exclamatory sentences do not share commands (see below).
4. Exclamatory Sentences
a. What is an Exclamatory Sentence?
Exclamatory sentences share strong feelings or excitement. They are just like declarative sentences in that they share declarations, but the difference is that the words are said with more emotion. They are powerful sentences, so they always end with an exclamation mark. Here are a few:
- I can’t believe how fast the dog ran to the county fair!
- Wow, he must really love popcorn!
- That popcorn isn’t for dogs!
b. How to Write an Exclamatory Sentence
You should use an exclamatory sentence to make your words exciting, “loud,” or full of emotion. When you want to write an exclamatory sentence, you should think of a more powerful way of wording what you want to say. For example, let’s take the declarative sentence “That dog is fluffy.” To make it an exclamatory sentence we just need to add some feeling: “Wow, that dog is so fluffy!”
To review, here’s a chart to help you remember the differences between the four types of sentences.