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Types of Sentences

What Are the Four Types of Sentences?

In the English language, we can identify four types of sentences. They are classified based on their purposes:

  • The declarative sentence type is used for making a statement;
  • The interrogative type is used to ask a question;
  • Imperative sentences are used to tell somebody to do something (i.e. give a command or an order);
  • The exclamatory type is used to express (e.g. surprise).

Apart from their purposes, these sentence types require the use of different punctuation marks. Also, if we are talking about oral speech rather than writing, every type uses different intonations to highlight their purposes.

Declarative Sentence

What is a declarative sentence? The main goal of this type of sentence is to make a statement. So, in a nutshell, any sentence that tells us something can be attributed to this category. It doesn’t matter what kind of information it delivers, whether it is a proven fact or a theoretical statement, the only thing that matters is if it declares something – if it does, it is a declarative sentence.

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The standard order of words in such sentences is as follows:

  • Subject + verb + object… = where the subject is usually a noun or pronoun (a person, thing, place, etc.); the verb is the action or state of being; and the object is any word (or multiple words) that are influenced by the verb.

Interrogative Sentence

  • What is an interrogative sentence? A declarative sentence aims to share information, whereas an interrogative one strives to receive information. According to the interrogative sentence definition, any sentence that asks a question can be attributed to this category and will always end with a question mark.
    Unlike the other types of sentences, interrogative sentences have a different word order:
    (wh-word or how) + auxiliary verb + subject

 Imperative Sentence

  • What is an imperative sentence? The main goal of these sentences is to tell others to do something, or, in other words, give a command. Imperative sentences can end with either a period or an exclamation mark.
  • The word order and form of such a sentence are different from other types. It often doesn’t have a subject, because an imperative sentence, by default, speaks to the recipient or reader (if it is a written text). Generally, such sentences consist of a base verb + any additional details.
  • These sentences can also be negative and positive, here are a few imperative sentence examples to help you grasp the idea:

Exclamatory Sentence

What is an exclamatory sentence? The last of the four sentence types is the exclamatory sentence. It is used to express a strong surprise of emotion and always ends with an exclamation mark.
Here are a couple of examples of how the basic order of words in such sentences might look:

  • What (+ adjective) + noun + subject + verb
  • How (+ adjective/adverb) + subject + verb

Unlike previous types, exclamatory sentences do not have a negative form.
Look at these exclamatory sentence examples to see how they are formed:

  • What a beautiful painting!
  • I feel terrible!
  • What an excellent idea it was to throw him a surprise party!
  • How nice it was!

Exclamatory sentences express powerful emotions, and, respectively, strive to evoke the same emotions in readers. In many cases, using this type of sentence in academic papers is inappropriate. However, if you are writing a descriptive or narrative essay, exclamatory sentences are great tools for helping your story to become even more vivid by delivering the right emotions to the reader.

Extra Tips on Variety

What is the key to having the perfect writing style? Some may say it is a solid vocabulary, others may not and suggest that it is being able to include an abundance of details. Furthermore, people might suggest that it is the number of ideas, examples, and arguments you include in your writing. But, if you put it all together, it turns out that the true key to literary mastery is variety!

So, here is our best tip for empowering your writing – add more variety. It may seem a bit tricky at first. But, as soon as you fully understand the concept behind every sentence type and get a bit more comfortable with each, you can try experimenting with them.

Here are some of the best tips on how you can use different types of sentences to your benefit in writing:

  1. Make a hook with a question. The introduction of a paper should be intriguing and engaging to make the reader want to continue reading. A good way to draw attention is to put a hook, in the form of a question, at the beginning of your introduction.
  2. Use imperative sentences to establish the right guidance. The right command, presented in the right tone, can have a powerful effect on readers and stimulate their interest.
  3. Try different word orders. Although we have shared some basic formulas for shaping sentences with you in this article, they don’t necessarily always have to follow the “subject + verb” scenario. In fact, changing the order of words can occasionally add variety to your style and make your text look and sound better.
  4. Use a question to summarize key points. Here’s another way to use interrogative sentences – put them at the beginning of a paragraph to create a quick summary of your ideas.
  5. Use different structures. As a rule, most writing tips say the same thing – “Keep it Simple!” While this advice makes sense, sometimes adding a bit of variety won’t hurt. To keep readers engaged, writers often use this trick. They alternate simple, compound, and complex constructions. This tip helps to significantly improve the readability of the text. The thing is that people find it hard and tiring to read the same sentence types one after another.


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