There are four main types of sentences:
Declarative – used to convey information or make statements.
Interrogative – used to ask questions.
Imperative – used to issue orders or directives.
Exclamatory – used to make exclamations.
These are the most common type of sentences. They usually provide information, and are used to make statements. Here are some examples:
- I can play the violin.
- We hope to see you tomorrow.
- She is studying English.
These are used to ask questions. You form a question when you want to ask someone something, either to make a request, offer something, get information, or clarification.
It is a type of sentence that always has a question mark at the end. There are a few different sub-types of interrogative sentences:
1 . Yes/No Interrogatives: These questions usually start with an auxiliary verb, such as DO/DOES, CAN or WOULD (these can also be called ‘closed questions’) and the answer would generally be yes or no. Here are some examples:
- Do you like my house?
- Are you English?
- Can you help me?
- Have you done your homework?
2. Alternative Interrogatives: These questions usually offer two or more alternative responses, and give the other person some options. These also start with auxiliary verbs. Here are some examples:
- Shall I call her or send an e-mail?
- Do you want tea, coffee or juice?
- Will you tell him or shall I?
- Do you prefer long hair or short?
3. Wh- Interrogatives: These questions generally start with words beginning with wh- such as WHAT, WHO, WHEN, WHERE. HOW can also be used even though it doesn’t begin with wh-
(These are also known as ‘open questions’). The answer would generally be explanatory and open-ended. Here are some examples:
- What happened?
- How did you do that?
- Where did you go?
- What are you doing?
4. Tag Questions: These questions usually have a declarative statement in the question. Generally, the question is tagged onto the end of such a statement. They consist of a main or auxiliary verb followed by a pronoun or existential ‘there’. Here are some examples:
- Gina plays the piano, doesn’t she?
- You’re lying to me, aren’t you?
- There’s something wrong with her, isn’t there?
These are used to issue orders or directives, or make demands. In this type of sentence the main verb is usually the base form.
This an exception to the rule that matrix clauses (a clause that contains a subordinate clause) are always finite. Here are some examples:
- Do your homework.
- Close the door.
- Wait for me!
- Call me tomorrow.
Tag questions can sometimes be added onto the end of imperative sentences.
- Do your homework, will you?
- Send me an e-mail soon, won’t you?
- Buy some milk, will you?
As the title suggests, these sentences are used to make exclamations. Here are some examples:
- You look so beautiful!
- What a silly man!
- Run! He’s coming here!
A FINAL POINT
I think it is worth mentioning that, there is not necessarily a direct relationship between the form of a sentence and its function. Here are two examples:
1. This is a declarative sentence:
- You need some help.
But if it is spoken with a rising intonation, it becomes a question:
- You need some help?
2. Rhetorical questions have the form of an interrogative sentence, but they are really statements, and do not require an answer!
- Who cares? (Meaning = I don’t care)
- Who knows? (Meaning = I don’t know)
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