4 Types of Sentences with Examples and Tips

author By Mary Boies

There are four key types of sentences used in Standard English. Each type has a unique purpose. For two key reasons, understanding the differences between the different types of sentences is important. One, it enhances your understanding of English writing. Two, it enhances your writing, whether it is essays, research papers, or other pieces of writing assignments.

As a college student, you will need to master writing in formal language to succeed. Knowing the main types of sentences and their differences is part of mastering writing in formal language. It will help you to become an expert at formal language writing. And this will make your college life easier by making your academic papers and exam answers much easier to understand.

Ready to learn about the four main types of English sentences? Let’s begin.

The Four Main Types of Sentences

There are four main types of sentences: imperative, declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory. Each type of sentence has a unique purpose.

In summary, imperative sentences are used to provide direct instruction or make a command, declarative sentences are used to relay information, interrogative sentences are used to inquire, and exclamatory sentences are used to express strong emotion.

It is important to remember that while different sentences have different purposes/uses, every complete sentence must have a noun and a verb or a subject and predicate. This is absolutely necessary for formal writing but not in informal/conversational writing.

1. Imperative sentences

An imperative sentence is one utilized to provide direct instruction or make a command. It often ends with either an exclamation mark or a period. Basically, rather than just relaying information, the purpose of an imperative sentence is to order.

Imperative sentences make commands, but the command doesn’t strictly have to be a command. It can be a piece of advice, an instruction, or something similar.

Imperative sentences are often utilized in casual conversations. They are also frequently used in dialogue with creative or fictional writing. However, they are generally not used in academic or essay writing unless when one is quoting dialogue.

When writing an imperative sentence, it is not necessary to include a subject. The reason is that you will often directly address the subject when writing an imperative sentence. So there is no need to include the subject in the sentence. Nevertheless, you can consist of the subject when necessary.

Below are some examples of imperative sentences:

2. Declarative sentences

A declarative sentence is one that is utilized to relay or pass information. Think of it as a statement about something or someone. It is the most common type of sentence in English writings and almost always ends with a period/full-stop.

The purpose of writing a declarative sentence is always to put a point across. Because of this, declarative sentences can be simple or complex. They can be straightforward to pass simple information or complex to pass complex information.

Most academic writing is declarative to communicate facts, evidence, claims, and so on. Therefore, it is vital to consider this when writing an academic paper.

Below are some examples of declarative sentences:

3. Interrogative sentences

An interrogative sentence is a sentence that is utilized to ask questions. It is usually addressed directly at the subject and almost always ends with a question mark.

Interrogative sentences usually begin with the following phases: do, how, why, when, where, what, or who. However, interrogative sentences are like imperative sentences in the sense that they don’t often include the subject since they are directly spoken or addressed to someone. This is the reason why they are usually not presented as complete sentences.

Below are some examples of interrogative sentences:

4. Exclamatory sentences

An exclamatory sentence is a special sentence utilized to express strong emotion. It is similar to a declarative sentence in that it also makes a statement. It is essentially a stronger impression declarative sentence.

Exclamatory sentences are often utilized in casual conversations. They rarely feature in formal writing. However, this does not mean they cannot feature in formal writing. They usually only feature when quoting other texts where they are used.

Nevertheless, in most academic writing, they are usually avoided and not recommended.

Why is it important to understand the types of sentences?

It is important to understand types of sentences because of several reasons.

The biggest reason is that understanding sentence types will help strengthen your writing. This is true because sentences are at the core of English writing.

In addition, once you understand sentences and how to write them, you will find it easy to write academic papers and other texts that require formal or professional English.

The second biggest reason is that understanding types of sentences helps you to understand English writings better. So, if you want to fully appreciate short stories, novels, textbooks, journal articles, and so on, you should strive to understand the different types of English sentences and their unique or specific purpose.

How to Craft a Good Sentence

You now know that there are four basic types of sentences: declarative sentences, imperative sentences, interrogative sentences, and exclamatory sentences. This knowledge is important. However, it doesn’t really teach you how to correctly write a sentence.

Constructing a proper sentence requires two building blocks: a verb and a subject. Therefore, a sentence cannot be considered complete without either of these two building blocks.

A verb, in a sentence, is a word that describes an action being performed. While a subject, in a sentence, is a person, an object, or a place, performing the action described by the verb.

An excellent example of a sentence that shows both these building blocks is: Luke loves to play soccer. In this example, “Luke” is the subject, and “play” is the verb.

The action performed in this sentence is playing, while the person performing this action is Luke. This makes this a complete sentence because it has the two building blocks of a complete sentence.

An excellent example of an incomplete sentence is: Because he plays soccer. This sentence is incomplete because it does not have a subject despite having a verb. And without a subject, we don’t know who plays soccer, and we really don’t completely understand what this sentence means.

It is important to ensure your sentences are complete when writing academic papers. This will help to make it easy for your teachers to fully understand what you are saying. You can use incomplete sentences when writing dialogue, quoting dialogue, or writing a blog. However, avoid them when in academic papers and other formal writing.

Independent and Dependent Clauses

Ever heard about independent and dependent clauses? Understanding them is essential to understanding sentences and proper sentence construction. Independent clauses are complete sentences, while dependent clauses are incomplete sentences.

More specifically, an independent clause is a complete sentence that makes total sense even when written alone. The easiest way to identify an independent clause is to look if it has a subject and a verb. Any sentence with both is an independent clause and a complete sentence.

Here are examples of independent clauses:

By definition, a dependent clause is an incomplete sentence. Because it is an incomplete sentence, it does not make sense. In other words, it does communicate clear thought. The easiest way to spot a dependent clause is to look for conjunction or a transition word at the beginning. If a sentence has a conjunction or a transition word at the beginning and does not express a complete thought, it is most likely a dependent clause.

Here are examples of dependent clauses:

Each sentence above expresses something but cannot be considered a complete thought. In other words, each sentence above does not provide full context. Therefore, there is a need for more information to understand the sentences or complete them.

You must ensure your sentences are complete and adequately constructed when writing academic papers. Incomplete sentences will make your essays look, amateur. But unfortunately, it will also make your papers challenging to understand.

Therefore, you should always strive to use independent clauses in your essays and other academic writings to make everything easy to understand. On the other hand, it is okay to use dependent clauses but only when you properly use them or integrate them into your writing to make complex but understandable sentences.

Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences

No article claiming to explain types of sentences is complete without talking about simple, compound, and complex sentences. So let’s do that. What are simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences?

Well, they are not types of sentences for sure. We already know the types of sentences: imperative sentences, interrogative sentences, declarative sentences, and exclamatory sentences.

Simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences are classifications of sentences. The classifications are based on a number of clauses.

1. Simple sentences

Simple sentences are sentences that contain just one independent clause and nothing else. They are the shortest type of sentence. Here are some examples of simple sentences:

2. Compound sentences

Compound sentences are sentences that contain more than one independent clause. They have no dependent clauses. Here are some examples of compound sentences:

3. Complex sentences

Complex sentences have one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. Below are some examples of complex sentences:

Final Remarks

You now know everything there is to know about sentences. You know the types of sentences (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, and imperative) and the classifications of sentences (simple, compound, and complex sentences). You also know how to construct a sentence.

The information we have shared above should help you to construct perfect sentences in your essay. Sentences that will make your writing sound professional and easy to understand.

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