A guide on how to use the four types of sentences

The four types of sentences correspond to the most common functions of our speech or writing. These are declarative sentences, imperative sentences, interrogative sentences, and exclamatory sentences.

The types of sentences are often overlooked by learners. They don’t seem necessary to English grammar and writing, but they are included in grammar guides for a reason. Knowing the types of sentences can help in writing sentences that accurately express one’s thoughts or emotions, whether it be for daily conversations or in essays and other writing tasks. In fact, they have a fundamental influence on each person’s writing style. Read on below to know the differences and some types of sentence examples.

The four types of sentences

Four types of sentences

Declarative sentence

As the name suggests, the declarative sentence is used when making statements. These are used for making a fact or a piece of information known. It can also be used for expressing opinions. This is perhaps the most used type of sentence in academic writing since declarative sentences tend to be simpler and easier to understand. The most basic way to spot a declarative sentence is to check if the sentence ends with a period.

Examples:

  • Students learn better when a variety of learning styles are incorporated.
  • There are four types of sentences.
  • I prefer studying early in the morning than at night, unlike most of my friends.

Imperative sentences

Imperative sentences give instructions or commands to the reader. Its goal is to get the reader to act on the command given. This type of sentence is usually present in everyday conversations, and rarely in academic essays. Depending on the urgency of the command, imperative sentences may be ended with a period or an exclamation point.

Examples:

  • Stop!
  • You need to be more open to criticism.
  • Listen to me when I speak.
  • Please read chapter 3 for the next meeting.

Interrogative sentences

An interrogative sentence is one that asks questions. This may come in the form of direct and indirect sentences. Nevertheless, they require some form of response. Typically, interrogative sentences end with question marks. In instances when an indirect question is asked, an interrogative sentence may end with a period.

Interrogative sentences are occasionally used by academic writers in their essays. These can be used to talk about a personal experience like in a narrative essay or to evoke an emotion from the reader. In such cases, where an answer is not necessarily expected, the question is called a rhetorical question.

Examples:

  • How did you feel after reading about the Holocaust?
  • Who is the dean of your school?
  • How often do you eat at this place?
  • Have you ever been so frustrated with a close friend?

Exclamatory sentences

The exclamatory sentence is the most emotional of the four types of sentences. It lets the readers know and relate to the emotions of the writer or speaker. Exclamatory sentences often employ exclamation points to convey strong feelings. This type of sentence is often discouraged in formal academic writing where objectivity is highly valued. However, exclamatory sentences are welcome in more informal writing, like blogs, articles, and creative non-fiction.

Examples:

  • How dare you cheat on the test!
  • I got an A on the finals!
  • I never want to see you again!

In writing

Add variety to your writing.

As with speaking, these four sentences are useful in writing a successful academic paper. Declarative sentences are the only type of sentences allowed in research papers since these require objectivity and detachment. However, other types of academic papers can benefit from a balanced use of the four types of sentences. Argumentative papers and persuasive papers, for example, can make use of interrogative sentences to pose questions or to evoke the reader’s empathy. Exclamatory sentences can add color to a narrative essay. Similarly, imperative sentences can come in handy in recommendations or calls for action in an essay. 

Together, with a balanced combination, the four types of sentences can add variety to your essay. Just make sure you use these four types of sentences correctly in your writing. In no time, you will be writing like a professional.

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