Types of Sentences

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A sentence is a group of systematically arranged words that makes a statement/order, or asks a question, or expresses a meaningful idea. Effective and efficient communication requires a strong knowledge of the types of sentences in English. The use of the right kind of sentences along with a proper structure is the key to informative writing. Now, to understand the right way of writing a sentence, you must know the characteristics of a proper sentence and the types of sentences that exist in English grammar. 

Read on to develop a solid concept of the types of sentences. 


Characteristics of A Sentence

  • A sentence consists of at least a subject and a verb comprising an independent clause.  

  • A new sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with an appropriate punctuation mark like a period (i.e., a full stop) [.], a note of interrogation (i.e., a question mark) [?], or a note of exclamation (i.e., an exclamation mark) [!].

  • It must express a complete idea, unlike a partial fragment.

Sentences can be classified into different categories, based on their structure and the function they perform. This article gives a detailed insight into the types of sentences with examples.


What Are The Types of Sentences?

On the basis of the function, the English language has five kinds of sentences-

  1. Declarative Sentence (The Statement)

This type of statement expresses an opinion or makes a statement. It is not associated with very strong feelings but rather has a neutral tone and ends with a period “.”. 

Example: 

  • I like to eat pasta.

  • Varun plays football in the evening.

  • The sun rises in the east.

Declarative sentences can either be positive, i.e. that affirms something or negative i.e., that denies something.

Examples:

  • I am looking pretty (Positive)

  • He is not cooking today. (Negative)

  1. Interrogative sentence (The question)

This type of sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark “?”. They begin with words like who, what, where, when, why, how, which or do. Some examples are:

  • How many kinds of sentences are there?

  • What are the kinds of sentences?

There are four types of interrogative sentences:

  • Yes/No Interrogatives

E.g. Are you at work?

  • Alternative Interrogatives

E.g. Do you prefer ice-cream or chocolate?

  • Wh- Interrogatives

E.g. Why did you spill the milk?

  • Tag Questions

E.g. She is a pretty lady, isn’t she?

  1. Exclamatory Sentence (The Exclamation)

These sentences express strong feelings and excitement or extreme dislike. These sentences convey strong emotions and are quite loud. One can easily identify such a sentence when listening. While writing, the exclamation mark “!” is used to identify them. Some examples are:

  • What a beautiful day!

  • How pretty is that butterfly!

  1. Imperative Sentence (The Command)

These sentences put forward demands in the form of a command, instruction, request or advice. They provide directions about anything you want to make happen, to anyone and so often termed as directives too. They have a period but can occasionally end with an exclamation mark. 

Example: 

  1. Please close the door. (request)

  2. Put your hands up! (command)

  3. Stop fighting with your brother. (demand)

5. Optative Sentence (A Prayer or Wish) 

These sentences express a keen wish or prayer or even curse, etc. They generally start with “wish” or “may.” Sometimes, the word “may” remains hidden. 

Example: 

i. May your dreams come true. 

ii. Wish everyone could be here on this happy occasion. 


Structurally Speaking, There Are 4 Types of Sentences

I. Simple Sentence

It is the basic structure of a sentence with one independent clause, a subject and a verb. It must express only one simple and straightforward idea. 

Example: 

  1. She went to the market.

  2. The dog runs very fast.


II. Compound Sentence

These sentences are constructed with at least two independent clauses that have a relation. These clauses are joined using a coordinating conjunction, correlative conjunction, semicolon, or a conjugative adverb.

Example: I went to the reception late; however, the bride was not yet ready.


III. Complex Sentence

It consists of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. They are introduced, and joined with the linking word, called subordinating conjunctions like as, as if, because, though, even, while, if, during, as soon as, as long as, since, until, unless, where, and wherever.

Example: You will not be going to bed unless you complete your homework.


IV. Compound-Complex sentence

A complex and a compound sentence are combined to form a compound-complex sentence. It contains at least two independent clauses, conjunction, and one or more dependent clauses (subordinate clauses). 

Example: The old lady was crying because she could not sell her candles till evening, but when the gentleman bought the entire set of candles, she became happy.

Knowing the kinds of sentences with examples, allows one to make the right choice of function and structure that will add interest to the writing and help to get the ideas across effectively. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How can we logically use the knowledge of different types of sentences in writing?

The use of the proper type of sentence depends on your target:

  • Use an imperative sentence when expressing a wish or demand

  • Use exclamatory sentences when you intend to hit hard with the strong emotional idea

  • To relay simple information or to answer a question, use a declarative sentence.

  • To interrogate the audience and involve inquisition, use interrogative sentences.

A clear understanding and accurate usage of all four types of sentences add value to your writing. Additionally, varying structure between simple, compound, and complex sentence construction helps to catch the reader’s interest and make the article engrossing.

2. Mention some activities that help to build a foundation on how many types of sentences are there in the English language.

A regular habit of reading enhances the idea of sentence construction and editing. While reading, the drill is to identify statements, questions, commands, and exclamations. Any medium of literature like magazines, web sites, song lyrics can serve the above purpose.

Playing with punctuation is an effective way to identify the impact of punctuation on the tone of the sentence. Try swapping the exclamation mark with a period in a sentence and observe the change in feelings conveyed.

Nonetheless, pick a topic of interest and arrange a group discussion. Note down all the creative responses.