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Types of Sentences

Learn the Various Types of Sentences to Hone Your Literary Skills

There are 4 types of sentences that are generally used in the English language. These types help add some interest when used in written as well as oral communication.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Aug 16, 2018
Humans have the ability to speak. This ability to speak helps us express and convey our thoughts and feelings to others. When we speak, we use words. Words are put together to form a sentence. The words are placed in an order so that the sentence becomes comprehensible. There are different types of sentences that help us convey our feelings through them.
A writer can use only sentences to explain the different emotions in his/her write-up. There is no room for voice modulation that will help express these emotions. Use of different sentences helps in adding some interest and creativity in the articles or write-ups.
By Structure
Simple, complex, and compound sentences are used to frame words according to the basic rules of English grammar. One can understand sentences better by going through the different parts of speech.
Simple Sentence
A simple sentence contains a subject and a verb to express the complete thought or emotion. A simple sentence is also called an independent clause.
For example
  • Anna likes to dance
  • Betty goes to the church
Here, a subject and a verb help express the idea. The second example proves that a simple sentence can contain a compound verb or subject/s as well.
Compound Sentence
A sentence that contains two independent clauses that are connected with the help of a coordinator is called a compound sentence. The coordinators help build a relationship between the two clauses.
The coordinators used to connect independent clauses are: and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet. In most cases, a comma precedes a coordinator. However, in very short sentences, the commas can be exempted according to the rules of English grammar. One can play around with the coordinators and use them to express the basic idea.
Examples of a Compound Sentence
  • Ann wanted to study, so Tom went fishing alone.
  • Ann wanted to sleep, for Tom went bowling.
The independent clauses are connected with a coordinator. In both cases, the relationship between the independent clauses changes with the use of a different coordinator.
Complex Sentence
When an independent clause is connected with one or more dependent clauses, it is called a complex sentence. Complex sentences are connected using subordinators. These subordinators include: although, after, since, because, when. When the sentence contains a relative pronoun, the subordinators used include: that, which, who.
Commas are to be added after the dependent clause in cases when the complex sentence begins with a subordinator. You do not add a comma in sentences where an independent clause begins with a subordinator in the middle of a sentence.
Examples of a Complex Sentence
  • The model returned the clothes after she finished with the ramp walk.
  • When Ann woke up in the morning, she forgot to call her friend for notes.
Here, the first complex sentence example does not require a comma before the subordinator. Whereas, the second example needs a comma as the sentence begins with a subordinator.
By Purpose
Various sentences are used to convey the thoughts, such as expressing happiness, asking a question, etc. 4 types of sentences are used in the grammar and composition.
Declarative Sentence
Declarative sentence, also known as statement or a assertive sentence, is a statetement that states an idea. This sentence ends with a period or full stop. These sentences are either simple, compound, or complex sentences. These are mostly precise sentences. These sentences may contain prepositions, objects of prepositions, and direct and indirect objects.
Examples of a Declarative Sentence
  • I want tea.
  • The house was built by my grandfather.
  • Sara is late for work.
  • The movie, though funny, had some amount of dark humor that may not be appreciated by all.
Interrogative Sentence
An interrogative sentence is the one that asks a question. These sentences end with a question mark (?). They generally begin with who, what, how, why, where, did, do, or is.

For Example
  • Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
  • Have you seen Roger?
  • Will you pass me the sauce?
  • What time is the train?
Imperative Sentence
An imperative sentence is usually a command or order, wherein you ask someone to do something. These sentences generally end with a period like declarative sentences. The subject is usually an implied subject that is commanded or requested to do some task.

For Example
  • Come here.
  • Shut the door.
  • Stop laughing.
  • Clean your desk.
Exclamatory Sentence
An exclamatory sentence helps convey strong feelings and emotions like happiness, anger, excitement, surprise, etc. The emotions in the sentence are read out loud due to the presence of the exclamation mark in the end. Of course, the sentence should contain strong emotion(s), because an exclamation mark itself will not be able to convey the feelings.
Emotions need to be expressed in a sentence in order for it to be called as an exclamatory sentence.

For Example
  • Oh my God!
  • Run, it's a monster!
  • Help! Help!
  • I don't believe this!
When you try to identify a specific type of sentence, you should ask yourself the question, what is the sentence doing? Correct grammar usage will help you form correct sentences. This will help to differentiate between each type of sentence, which will be helpful for your exams, interviews, speech, quiz, games, etc.