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What Are the Types of Sentences?

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/8/2012

The four types of sentences are exclamatory, imperative, interrogative, and declarative sentences. They each have a certain function and end with a specific punctuation mark. This study guide will help you review the difference between the four kinds of sentences.

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    Declarative Sentence

    One of the types of sentences we use the most in the English language is the declarative sentence. Declarative sentences, also known as statements, present a fact, an opinion, or a piece of information. They end in a period. Here are some examples:

    • I like pepperoni pizza the best, but Sally loves cheese pizza.
    • Barack Obama is the president of the United States.
    • A whale lives in an ocean habitat.
    • Jodi reads the newspaper every day while she eats breakfast.
    • When George turned five years old, he went to kindergarten.

    Look in a book you are currently reading, and you will see how most of the sentences are declarative. They may look different--some start with an introductory clause, some are longer with a conjunction (such as and, or, but) in the middle, and some are short and simple. Declarative sentences ALWAYS end with a period, but they may tell how someone feels or an interesting fact about your favorite sport or hobby.

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    Imperative Sentence

    The next type of sentences is imperative sentences. An imperative sentence is more commonly known as a command. The "you" subject is understood. This means that the command is given to someone, and he understands who the speaker is talking to without the speaker saying "you." These sentences start with an action verb. They usually end with a period. But if it is a command given in an exciting situation, then an exclamation mark can be used. For example, commands may be given during a fire drill or a sporting event that would end in exclamation marks instead of periods.

    • Shut the door, please.
    • Turn in your homework before you sit down.
    • Run to first base!
    • Give the paper to me.
    • Be quiet!

    These are the first two types of sentences that end with periods (usually): imperative and declarative sentences. They are often confused with each other. One easy difference is that imperative sentences tell someone to do an action. A declarative sentence gives information.

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    Interrogative Sentence

    Another one of the four kinds of sentences is interrogative. Interrogative sentences are also known as questions. When you use an interrogative sentence, you are expecting an answer to your question. These sentences end in question marks and usually start with a question word or an inverted subject-verb structure such as "do you go. . ."

    • What are you doing over the weekend?
    • Which one of the pizzas is your favorite?
    • How does the washing machine work?
    • Do you have any more pencils?
    • Are you going to the fair next week?

    It is easy to forget the question mark when you are writing and accidentally put a period at the end of an interrogative sentence. So make sure to check over your writing before you turn it in or ask someone to read it.

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    Exclamatory Sentence

    Exclamatory sentences are usually the most favorite of the four kinds of sentences. These sentences show excitement and end with an exclamation mark. People love to use exclamation marks when they write. But actually, exclamation marks should be used sparingly and only to emphasize certain statements. If a writer uses too many exclamation marks, then it is hard for the reader to discern what is actually exciting and what is not.

    • I can't believe you won the lottery!
    • I am so happy that today is Friday!
    • John is here!
    • Watch out for that tree!
    • What a great idea!

    Exclamatory and interrogative sentences are the two of the four kinds of sentences that use different punctuation marks at the end of the sentences. Just as it is easy to forget the question marks at the end of interrogative sentences, it is also easy to forget the exclamation points at the end of exclamatory sentences. So, double check your work!

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    Quick Review

    Four kinds of sentences:

    Declarative: The storm clouds rolled in.

    Imperative: Put your paper on the tray.

    Interrogative: What are you doing tomorrow?

    Exclamatory: I can't wait for my vacation!


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