Types of sentences in English

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4 types of sentences in English
4 types of sentences in English

This post helps us understand all different types of sentences in English we have, how they are different from one another, and how and when to use them.

What is a sentence in English?

A group of words that gives a sense is called a sentence. A sentence is a complete thought. It has a subject and a predicate. We have four types of sentences in which we can write a sentence.

Types of sentences in English

  1. Assertive/Declarative sentence
  2. Interrogative sentence
  3. Exclamatory sentence
  4. Imperative sentence

Let’s start with the most used type of a sentence: declarative sentence.

4 types of sentences in English
4 types of sentences in English

Assertive/Declarative sentence

Sentences that state facts, confession, or describe things or persons are known as Assertive or Declarative sentences. It is the most used sentence we have in English.

Punctuation used:  Period/full stop

Examples:

1. She lives in London.
2. He is a tough guy to beat.
3. Bengaluru is the hub of technology.
4. Sneha is wearing a black dress.
5. Max teaches English.
6. New Delhi is the capital of India.

NOTE: an affirmative sentence can either be positive or negative.

  • I did not steal your money.
  • You are not my friend.
  • We don’t have the tickets.
  • My mother does not like tea.

A declarative sentence can be simple, compound, or complex.

  • I know your problem. (simple sentence)
  • I know your problem, but I can’t help you. (compound sentence)
  • I can’t help you unless you tell me what your problem is. (complex sentence)

NOTE: don’t confuse simple, compound, and complex sentences with these ones. The former ones are different sentence structures, and also belong to ones of these types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory.

Interrogative sentence

Interrogative sentences or also known as question sentences are used to ask a question. We employ this sentence type when we want to confirm something or get some information out of someone. An interrogative sentence ends with a question mark.

Questions that intend to confirm something start with an auxiliary verb, and questions that seek information start with ‘WH’ words: what, why, where, when, who, whom, whose, and how.

Interrogative sentences that seek confirmation

Structure: auxiliary verb + subject + main verb?

The answers to these questions always end up in either YES or NO. In the structure, the main verb can have an object, modifier or a complement, based on the verb it is and information that is required to be there.

Examples:

  • Do you love me?
  • Does she work on Sundays?
  • Are you crying?
  • Is he your brother?
  • Don’t you want this job?
  • Will you help me?
  • Will they let me work here if I apologize to everyone?
  • Did he call you after the meeting got over?

Notice that these questions start with an auxiliary verb and can be simply answered in YES or NO.

Interrogative sentences that seek information

Structure: WH word + auxiliary verb + subject + main verb?

These questions can’t be answered in YES or NO. These are used to get the following information out of someone:

  • Reason of the action
  • Place of the action
  • Time of the action
  • Doer of the action
  • Receiver of the action

Examples:

  • What do you do?
  • What did they say about me at the party?
  • Whom have you chosen for the task?
  • Who teaches you English?
  • Who is your bestfriend?
  • What disappointed you the most about the trip?
  • What did you buy at the supermarket?
  • Why do you hang out with them?
  • Why can’t you come to the party?
  • Where are you going tonight?
  • Where has all the money gone?
  • When did you call me?
  • When will you have your own house?

Notice that these questions can’t be answered in YES or NO. They are looking for getting a specific piece of information out of someone.

Imperative sentence

Imperative sentences are used to express an order/instruction, command, warning, advice or make a request. They end with a period or an exclamation mark. An imperative sentence does not have an explicit subject in it; the subject is implied.

Structure: verb + object/modifier

Examples:

  • Go to my room and get me my laptop. (command)
  • Bring two glasses of water for us. (command)
  • Please bring the bill. (request)
  • Teach me how to do it. (request)
  • Please help me with this project. (request)
  • Don’t go there alone. (advice)
  • Start working on your communication skills. (advice)
  • Don’t come here again, or I will call the cops. (warning)
  • Open the CD player. (order)
  • Close the door. (order)

Exclamatory sentence

Exclamatory sentences express a strong feeling or emotion. A sentence that exudes a strong feeling (excitement, anger, amazement, shock, disgust, sadness) in the message it conveys is called an exclamation sentence. It ends with am exclamation mark. The only thing that makes a declarative sentence or an imperative sentence different from an exclamation sentence is the strong emotion the subject expresses in it. Take the emotion out of it and it will fall to a different category.

Put an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence and make it exclamatory if the renders a strong feeling. Also, note that the structure of an exclamatory sentence does not look any different from a declarative sentence.

Structure: subject + verb or verb phrase + object/modifier/complement

What comes after the verb is decided by what kind of verb the sentence has and what information the subject intends to share.

Examples:

  • You are a lifesaver!
  • His mother is extremely beautiful!
  • What a match it was!
  • We love you!
  • I love you more than anyone in the world!
  • Wow, you look like an angel!
  • Man, he is bloodied up.
  • Thank you, Ashish!
  • You are welcome, Joe!
  • Holy moly, the guy is huge!
  • Jesus, stop talking already!
  • How beautifully you spoke at the meeting.
  • How nice you are!
  • What a man he is!
  • What an incredible day it was.
  • It is amazing how fast he runs!

Sentences that start with ‘what’ or ‘how’ and end with an exclamation mark are exclamatory sentences.

Exclamatory sentences starting with ‘HOW’

These exclamatory sentences start with ‘how’ followed by an adjective, the subject, and the verb or verb phrase.

Structure: how + adjective + subject + verb/verb phrase

Examples:

  • How sweet you are!
  • How beautifully you danced at the wedding!
  • How gracefully she sings!
  • How lovely your mother is!

The word ‘how’ can also be followed by an adverb.

  • How rudely she talks with us!
  • How confidently he speaks!

Exclamatory sentences starting with ‘WHAT’

  • What a car it is!
  • What a good looking man he is!
  • What a house it is!
  • What an exhausting day it was!
  • What a fight that was!

Exclamatory sentences with so, extremely, and such

  • You are so smart!
  • The fight was so good!
  • It was such a good class!
  • This is such a good party!
  • His house is extremely expensive!

A sentence can also be divided into 4 categories based on its structure:

  1. Simple sentence
  2. Compound sentence
  3. Complex sentence
  4. Compound-complex sentence

Simple sentence

It is a sentence that has only one clause in it. In other words, a simple sentence has a subject and a predicate.

Examples:

  • She cries.
  • I love my family.
  • India has many languages.
  • Jon does not live with us.
  • We’re sorry.

NOTE: The length of the sentence doesn’t decide if it’s simple or any other type. A simple sentence can be long too, most of them are not.

  • The problem of the team has nothing to do with the staff of the hotel in Pune.
  • My website, sitting at the top of the industry at the moment, has the most advanced topics for people preparing for IELTS.
  • Sachin Tendulkar, a man who is worshipped amongst cricket lovers, has opened a hospital for the poor near my colony.

Compound sentence

A compound sentence is a combination of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.

Examples:

  • I love you, and I can die for you.
  • Ashish gave up his love for his father, but he never loved him.
  • Take our offer, or be ready to be homeless.

Complex sentence

A complex sentence is a complex of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

Examples:

  • Charu left the job because she got a better offer.
  • Though I am tired, I will come to the party as it’s my best friend’s birthday.
  • While we were watching TV, someone put my car on fire as he hated me.
  • We never thought that you would come to see us before we apologize to you for what we did to you.

Compound-complex sentence

A compound-complex sentence is a combination of both sentences. It has what it takes to call it a sentence compound or complex.

Examples:

  • Though it was my dream job, I did not take the offer, for the employer was into some illegal things.

This sentence has two independent clauses and one dependent clause. We call it a compound complex sentence because it has two independent clauses in order to be called compound and one dependent and one independent in order to called a complex.

  • We ate a lot though we weren’t hungry, for we wanted to respect aunt Nancy.
  • He kept looking at the girl even after we told him not to do it, but he didn’t listen to us.

Practice set!

Find out the category of the following sentences:

  1. Come here.
  2. I need some money.
  3. I did go there!
  4. What a brilliant plan it is!
  5. I got the job! Yay!
  6. Open this for this.
  7. How can you do this to me?
  8. We are working on something really important.
  9. How are you, sir?
  10. Let me help you with this.

Answers:

  1. Imperative
  2. Declarative
  3. Exclamatory
  4. Exclamatory
  5. Exclamatory
  6. Imperative
  7. Interrogative
  8. Declarative
  9. Interrogative
  10. Imperative

Now we know what 4 types of sentences we have in English and when to use them. Do share the post with others to help them grow, and leave your question, doubt or any feedback to help us get better.

4 types of sentences in English

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