Different Types of Sentences in English Language

Posted by Sajit PS on November 20th, 2020

Different Types of Sentences

Different Types of Sentences

In English grammar, sentence is a set of grammatically arranged words that expresses a meaningful idea. It can be considered as a grammatical unit of language. There are different types of sentences in English language. They can be mainly divided to following two categories:

[1] Types of sentences based on their function.

[2] Types of sentences based on their structure.

[1] Types of sentences based on their function

 

According to the function they perform, the type of sentences based on function is further divided to the following four categories.

1.1.    Declarative Sentence

1.2.    Interrogative Sentence

1.3     Imperative Sentence

1.4.    Exclamatory Sentence

1.1.   Declarative Sentence

What is a declarative sentence?

A declarative sentence, also called a statement, is a sentence that makes a statement or a declaration. Declarative sentences are the most common type of sentences.

Example:

  • The boy eats a mango.

Declarative sentences can be positive or negative. 

  • He teaches English. (Positive)
  • He does not teach English (Negative). 

Declarative sentences can take any tense form.

Example:

  • She went to the school yesterday. (Past tense)
  • She is going to the school now. (Present tense)
  • She will go to the school tomorrow. (Future tense)

A declarative sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a period.

1.2.   Interrogative Sentence

What is an Interrogative sentence?

An Interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks question. It usually starts with a question word (how, why, when, what, where, which and who) or an auxiliary verb (do, will, would, can, etc.) and   ends with a question mark.

Example:

  • Who are you?
  • Where is your house?
  • What do you want?
  • Do you want me to come with you?

There are four types of interrogative sentences. They are:

1.2.1.   Wh- Interrogatives

1.2.2.   Yes / no interrogatives

1.2.3.   Alternative interrogatives

1.2.4.   Tag questions

1.2.1. Wh- Interrogatives

Wh- Interrogatives are questions that start with a question word.

Examples:

  • When will you go to your native state?
  • Who will come with you?
  • What is your name?
  • How is it possible?
  • Which is your brother?

1.2.2. Yes/no Interrogatives

Yes / no interrogatives are interrogative sentences that needs a “yes” or “no” answer.

Examples:

  • Can you come with me?
  • Do you drive a car?
  • Is it your house?
  • Are you studying in that school?
  • Would you like to have an ice cream?

Each of the above questions needs either “yes” or “no” for an answer.

1.2. 3. Alternative Interrogatives

Alternative Interrogatives are interrogative sentences that offer choice among two or more answers.

Examples:

  • Can you go to the shop or should I send someone else?
  • Will she wear a new dress for the party, or will she wear the best dress she has?
  • Would you like to have a soft drink or an ice cream?
  • Will you go there by car or by jeep?
  • Need I help you to complete the work or can you do it yourself?

1.2. 4. Tag questions

Tag questions are interrogative sentences formed by attaching question tags at the end of a statement. The tags are usually made with an auxiliary verb inverted with subject. A subject pronoun is used in the tag. If the statement is positive, we use a negative question tag and if it is negative, we use a positive question tag. Usually, we contract the negative question tags.

If the statement has an auxiliary verb in it, we use the same auxiliary verb in the question tag. But in the case of” I am”, there is an exception.  Then the question tag to be used is aren't I. 

Examples: 

  • I am his mother, aren’t I?
  • He doesn’t have a daughter, does he?
  • They won’t late, will they?
  • She will come with you, won’ she?
  • He is going today, isn’t he?
  • Your mother reached yesterday, didn’t she?

1.3   Imperative Sentence

 Imperative Sentence is a sentence that is used to give command, or instruction, to make a request, or offer some advice. In other words, an Imperative sentence tell others what to do. It also gives directions. So, sometimes it is called directive too.

Examples:

  • Don’t show me your face again! (Command)
  • Remove the skin. (Instruction)
  • Close the door. (Request or demand)
  • Turn left. (Instruction)
  • Go to your room. (Demand)
  • Please join us for dinner. (Invitation)

In all the examples furnished above, the subjects have not been expressed explicitly. The subject in an imperative sentence is always “you” which is understood.

Imperative sentences usually end with a period. But sometimes depending on the situation, it can end with an exclamation mark too, as in the first example, given above.

1.4.   Exclamatory Sentence

 

Exclamatory Sentence is a type of sentence whose function is to express strong emotion. It ends in an exclamation mark. Some exclamatory sentences start with “how” and some start with “what”. Some sentences are made exclamatory by including “so” or “such”.

Examples:

  • Happy birthday, Jill!
  • How slow he walks!
  • How fluently he speaks in English!
  • What a pretty woman!
  • What a silent atmosphere!
  • The girl is so pretty!
  • He is such a kind gentleman!

Exclamatory sentences are not to be used in academic writing. They must be avoided except when quoting someone else.

In academic papers declarative sentences are to be used for statements.

When questions are to be asked, interrogative sentences are to be used.

In academic writing, imperative sentences are also not to be used much.

2. Types of sentences based on their structure

There are four types of sentence structures. They are:

2.1    Simple Sentence

2.2.   Compound Sentence

2.3    Complex Sentence

2.4.   Compound-Complex Sentence

2.1    Simple Sentence

 

A sentence, that contains only one independent clause and no dependent clause, is called a simple sentence. A simple sentence, however, may contain a compound subject, a compound predicate or both. It can contain simple adjectives too. Only thing is that it must have only one independent clause and no other clause.

Example:

  • The girl is reading a book.
  • We are going home.

2.2.   Compound Sentence

        

compound sentence is a sentence structure that contains two or more independent clauses only. These independent clauses are joined together using one of the seven  coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS-For, And, Nor, But, Or ,Yet, and So),  conjugative adverb or a correlative conjunction .If the clauses are closely related, we can use a semicolon instead of conjunction to join the two clauses.

Examples:

 

  • She walked as quickly possible, yet she missed her bus. (The two independent clauses are joined with the coordinating conjunction, “yet”)
  • Yesterday was parent’s day, and we went to our son’s school to meet his class teacher. (The two independent clauses are joined with the coordinating conjunction, “and”)
  • The door was open; I went inside without knocking. (The two independent clauses are joined with a semicolon)
  • My boss was engrossed in reading some urgent papers; however, he asked me to sit down. (The two independent clauses are joined with the conjunctive adverb,” however”)
  • Neither I wanted to go to see him off, nor he wanted me to go with him. (The two independent clauses are joined with the correlative conjunction, “however”)

Punctuation notes:

 

  1.  When we use a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses, the coordinating conjunction is preceded by a comma.

 

  1. When we use a conjunctive adverb to join two independent clauses, the conjunctive adverb is preceded by a semicolon and followed by a comma.

 

  1. When we use a correlative conjunction to join two independent clauses, the conjunction that introduces the second clause is preceded by a comma.

 

2.3.   Complex Sentence

 

A Complex Sentence is one of the four types of sentence structures. It consists of one or more dependent clauses (also called subordinate clauses) and one independent clause. The dependent clause and independent clause are connected to each other, mainly, with the help of subordinate conjunction. Relative pronoun and relative adverbs are also used to connect adjective clause (a type of dependent clause) to independent clause.

The dependent clauses of the complex sentence can be adverb clauses, adjective clauses (also called relative clauses) or noun clauses.

 

Complex sentences - examples:

 

  • As I have a test tomorrow, I must study at night. (The highlighted clause is an adverb clause, connected to the independent clause (not highlighted) with the subordinating conjunction, “As”.)
  • Although Alex went to the market, he forgot to buy clothes.  (The highlighted clause is an adverb clause, connected to the independent clause (not highlighted) with the subordinating conjunction, “Although”.)
  • I know the place where he has built a house.  (The highlighted clause is a relative clause, connected to the independent clause (not highlighted) with the relative adverb, “where”.)
  • The man who threatened me yesterday, was arrested by police. (The highlighted clause is a relative clause, connected to the independent clause (not highlighted) with the relative pronoun, “who”.)
  • I kept my son home from school because he was running a fever. (The highlighted clause is an adverb clause, connected to the independent clause (not highlighted) with the subordinating conjunction, “because”.)

  

Punctuation note: If the dependent clause is placed first, it is usually followed by a comma as in the examples above. However, if the independent clause comes first, we usually do not need a comma.

 

2.4.  Compound-Complex Sentence

 

 A compound-Complex Sentence is one of the four main sentence structures. It consists of two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses (or subordinate clauses)

As a compound-Complex Sentence is like a combination of a complex sentence and a compound sentence, we must observe all the rules applicable for both type of the sentences when we form a compound-Complex Sentence.

In a compound-Complex Sentence, a  dependent clause is linked to the  independent clause by a subordinating conjunction, making this portion of the sentence  a complex sentence and this complex independent clause is then linked to the  other independent clause  in the same way as for normal compound sentences. In other words, the two independent clauses can be joined using a coordinating conjunction, a correlative conjunction, conjunctive adverb, or a semicolon. For example, the three simple sentences (three independent clauses) given below, may be considered.

  •    I love to read. I go to the library regularly. I visit book shops too.

At first, we join the first two simple sentences using a subordinate conjunction, making them one complex sentence: “As I love to read, I go to the library regularly.” This complex independent sentence is then linked with remaining independent clause using a coordinating conjunction, a correlative conjunction, conjunctive adverb, or a semicolon.

  • As I love to read, I go to the library regularly, and I visit book shops too. (coordinating conjunction is used to join the independent clauses.)
  • As I love to read, not only I go to the library regularly; but also visit book shops too. (correlative conjunction is used to join the independent clauses.)
  • As I love to read, I go to the library regularly; besides, I visit book shops too. (Conjunctive adverb is used to join the independent clauses.)
  • As I love to read, I go to the library regularlyI visit book shops too. (Semicolon is used to join the independent clauses.)

More examples:

  • Though I prefer reading fictions, I bought the book, “Physics for Entertainment”, and I enjoyed it very much.
  • My brother forgot my son’s birthday, but he   sent him a beautiful gift when he finally remembered.
  • It is important you express your preference openly when the time comes, or others will not know about your likings.

Note: The compound-complex sentence is flexible, and the dependent clause can be at the beginning, middle or end of the sentence.  No matter wherever it is placed, the punctuation rules applicable for both compound sentences and complex sentences, must be followed. Thus, you must put a comma before the coordinating conjunction and, another comma after the dependent clause when it occurs at the beginning of the sentence.

Sajit PS

About the Author

Sajit PS
Joined: November 16th, 2020
Articles Posted: 1

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