Kinds of Sentences/Sentence Purposes
Definition: Declarative sentences (also called assertive sentences) give information. They may state a fact or an opinion. Declarative sentences end with periods.
I like riding my bicycle around the park.
My essay is better than yours.
Declarative sentences can be positive (affirmative) or negative.
The sun is shining. (Positive)
It is not raining. (Negative)
Definition: Interrogative sentences ask a question. Interrogative sentences end with question marks.
In English, interrogative questions often begin with interrogative words like who, when, where, why, what, and how.
Why are you late?
What time is it?
Where is the library?
Interrogative sentences without question words are generally formed by moving the helping verb before the subject.
Do you have any more cough drops?
A question fragment can be added onto the end of a declarative or imperative sentence. This fragment is called a tag/tail question.
You have answered all the questions on this test, haven’t you? (After a declarative sentence)
Close the window, will you? (After an imperative sentence)
A question fragment can also be used by itself, either before or after a sentence.
What? You lost your wallet?
You are late. Why?
Hint: An indirect question is a declarative sentence that tells that information was asked. It is not asking the question. Indirect questions end with periods.
The driver asked if we knew which way to turn.
We wondered if it was going to rain.
Definition: Imperative sentences give a command, a request, advice, a suggestion, a warning, or a wish. They can be followed by a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark.
Be quiet. (a command)
Please have a seat. (a request)
Watch out! (a command)
Enjoy yourselves. (a wish)
The simple subject of an imperative sentence is usually the understood you.
Turn to page 37.
(You) turn to page 37.
Hint:If a person’s name is included in an imperative sentence, it is a direct address, not the subject.
Wayne, turn to page 37.
Wayne, (you) turn to page 37.
Imperative sentences may be written like a question, but they aren’t asking anything.
Will you please mind your manners?
Definition: Exclamatory sentences exclaim, or show great emotion. Exclamatory sentences end with exclamation marks. Use exclamation marks only when necessary. It’s easy to overuse them.
That magic trick was amazing!
Exclamatory sentences can begin with question words.
What wonderful weather we are having today!
How lovely to see you!
Fun fact: The is called the inter robang. It truly is a type of punctuation mark. It was invented by a journalist in 1962. Martin K. Speckter combined the ? and ! since he didn’t like using two end marks. It didn’t catch on. Most teachers don’t like two end marks either. Sometimes, though, you really need both. It’s okay in informal writing. Only one exclamation mark at a time is enough in formal writing.