What are the Four Different Kinds of Sentences?

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Sentences can be simple, compound, complex, or compound complex. We discussed that in a post about sentence types. This post is about the different kinds.

4 Different Kinds of Sentences

The four different kinds of sentences are declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. They all contain subjects and verbs, are capitalized, and have end punctuation. So how are they different?

The biggest difference is the intent of the sentence. Let’s explore that in more detail.

Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences are used to make a statement or express an opinion. These are the most commonly used sentences. Indeed, when people hear “sentence,” the first thought is a declarative sentence.

A declarative sentence has many purposes, but all are based on making a statement—declaring something to be true. Another common definition is to “make something known clearly or officially.”

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Thesaurus.com lists 110 synonyms for declare, and those synonyms show the kind of things we can declare. These are a few examples:

  • claim
  • confirm
  • inform
  • insist
  • notify
  • testify

Of course, not all declarative statements are true. I can declare that the earth is flat, but that doesn’t make it true.

Interrogative Sentences

Police officers often interrogate suspects, and the most common form of interrogation is asking questions. Interrogative sentences are commonly called questions. They contain a subject and verb, but we invert–or reverse them–and put the verb in front of the subject.

Hyperbaton is the rhetorical term for a subject-verb inversion.

becomes

Is hyperbation the rhetorical term for a subject-verb inversion?

Often the helping verb starts the sentence, leaving the subject and main verb in the same order.

We will go to the movies.

becomes

Will we go to the movies?

A tense change typically requires an additional helping word.

My sister voted for the cutest cat.

becomes

Did my sister vote for the cutest cat?

She couldn’t have voted for the cutest cat.

Why?

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My cat wasn’t in the competition, that’s why.

Imperative Sentences

Imperatives give instructions, requests, or commands.

Request

Please read the rest of this article.

Command

Close the door.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the brownie pan inside.

An imperative sentence can include a subject,

George, please close the door.

However, since a sentence must have a subject and verb, imperative sentences have an implied subject, usually [You].

If the command requires immediate attention, use an exclamation mark.

The bear is behind you. Run fast!

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Exclamatory Sentences

These are the last of the four kinds of sentences. Use them if you want to express emotion, excitement, or a strong statement. Exclamatory sentences are easy to spot because they end with an exclamation point.

Exclamatory sentences can have a subject:

The water is leaking everywhere!

Some sentences with exclamation marks are really imperative:

Turn off the faucet!

I don’t know if exclamation marks are flirty, but I did ask an AI writer, and it didn’t have a good answer either. If another AI writer is to be believed, a new exclamation mark was added to the English language in 2010.

Don’t believe.

And as always, shares are appreciated.

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