Types of Sentences

There are four types of sentences in English: declarative,  interrogatory, imperative, and exclamatory. Each sentence type serves a different purpose and has a unique structure and punctuation. Using a variety of sentences makes writing more interesting.

Declarative Sentence

The most common type of sentence makes a statement, provides a fact, offers an explanation, or conveys information. These are declarative sentences. The are usually written in the simple present or past and end with a period.

Word Order = Subject + Verb + Period

  • Statement: I like country music.
  • Fact: The moon orbits the earth every 28 days.  
  • Explanation: I can't eat peanuts because I am allergic to them.
  • Information: Tomorrow will be Thursday, September 5th.

Interrogative Sentence

An interrogative sentence asks a question to get more information. It may begin with a question word (who, what, when, where, how), helping verb (auxiliary), or pronoun. It may be a direct, indirect, or tag question. Interrogative sentences always ends with a question mark. Different questions have different word orders.

Word Order = Question Word + Verb + Subject + Question Mark

  • Question Word: What is your name?
  • Question Word: How is it made?
  • Question Word: Where is the salt and pepper?

Word Order = Helping Verb + Subject + Verb + Question Mark

  • Helping Verb: Are you doing your homework?
  • Helping Verb: Did you eat a sandwich?
  • Helping Verb: Have you eaten lunch?
Word Order = Sentence, Negative Contraction + Subject + Question Mark
  • Tag Question: You are going, aren't you?
  • Tag Question: You like pizza, don't you?

Imperative Sentence

Sentences that express a direct command, request, invitation, warning, or instruction are imperative sentences. They do not contain a subject but a second person subject is implied. They usually end with a period or exclamation mark.

Word Order = (Subject) Verb + Period

  • Command: (You) Eat your sandwich.
  • Request: (You) Give me some fruit.
  • Invitation: (You) Come to my house tonight.
  • Warning: (You) Watch out! Be careful!
  • Instruction: (You) Open your books to page 45.

Exclamatory Sentence

Sentences that express strong emotion and end with an exclamation mark are exclamatory sentences. Interjections are also exclamatory sentences. These are appropriate in informal speech but are not used in formal or academic writing. 

Word Order = Subject + Verb + Exclamation Mark

  • That was a tasty sandwich!
  • That's great!
  • What a terrible day!
  • How about that!
  • Interjection: Yippee! Ouch! Ugh!

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