After hundreds of thousands of years of language development, the phrase is possibly our most powerful manner of sharing a single notion.
When a single word isn’t enough, expressing ourselves lengthily is our go-to method.
When it comes to constructing sentences, we all have natural intuition, but few of us are aware of the right approaches and stylistic options accessible.
We cover all you need to know about sentences in this article.
Then, we’ll show you how to prevent typical blunders and improve your sentence writing skills.
What is a Sentence?
A sentence is a cluster of words arranged logically to express a complete thought.
As far as grammar and linguistics are concerned, it is the largest grammatical unit.
Depending on the type of sentence, it may contain one or more clauses. It’s worth noting that English sentences can be divided into various types based on their functions (meaning) and structures.
Some phrases function as statements, while others function as queries, and yet others may be used to order or shout something.
The core of sentence functions is these four diverse objectives.
In these instances, you should have seen that each phrase must undergo adjustments to its word order, verb form, auxiliaries or particles required, punctuation, and even how it is intonated when spoken by a speaker to generate these distinct roles.
Before delving more into each of these four sorts of sentence functions, it’s crucial to distinguish between informative and communicative sentences.
Declarative and interrogative sentences are two types of sentences that can be considered informative.
Both declarative and interrogative sentences serve both the speaker and the listener. Unlike communicative sentences, they are cooperative, considerate, and capable of discussing actions or ideas in the past, present, and future as well as the present.
Human language differs from animal communication primarily due to the flexibility of informative sentence functions.
Exclamatory and imperative functions are two types of communicative sentence functions, similar to informative sentence functions.
However, unlike informative sentences, communicative sentences are not intended to initiate a conversation between the speaker and the listener; rather, these sentences serve the speaker’s purposes, needs, and desires.
Communicative sentences are less considered and more emotional than informative sentences and are often spoken out of frustration or confusion.
As a result, such expressions are more primitive in nature and can only be used to describe situations that are currently occurring.
What are the Different Functions of a Sentence?
You must be able to grasp, recognize, and utilize a range of sentence clauses, structures, and functions in order to have advanced control over your sentences in English.
The four main forms of sentence function in English are discussed in this article, but before we go into the names of these four types, let’s look at some examples. What do these four phrases have in common?
The most frequent sort of sentence function accessible to a speaker or writer is the declarative sentence. Because declarative sentences are so common, they’re sometimes thought of as the default structure (or basic form) from which all further sentence functions are derived.
The simplest explanation of the purpose of a declarative sentence is that it provides an idea or statement with the main goal of communicating information between the speaker (or writer) and the listener (or reader).
These thoughts and utterances might be objective or subjective, truthful or incorrect, and objective or subjective.
We’ve included some samples below so you can see the various forms of declarative sentences in action.
- The Warsaw Pact is an excellent illustration of this.
- There are about 10,000 students and 600 professors at my institution.
- According to Smith (2016), student attendance is increasing year after year.
- The process of teaching and learning online is referred to as blended learning.
- Students should concentrate on foundation-year programs since they are so crucial.
Declarative sentences may contain a variety of internal structures (syntax), as seen in these examples, and can be used to offer facts, views, arguments, titles, headers, definitions, and more.
Declarative sentences may have any number of clauses since they can be made up of any simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex structure.
Declarative include three broad markers that might help you recognize and use this sentence form in your own speech or writing.
- It is always finished with a full stop (.).
- It adheres to the standard English word order of subject-verb-object.
- It nearly always needs a clear and fronted subject to be grammatically correct.
Interrogatives, like declarative, are rather common sentences in everyday English, while they are used far less often in academic writing and speech.
The speaker (or writer) uses an interrogative to ask the listener (or reader) an inquiry about something unknown or to seek further information or aid from that person. Simply said, an interrogative is a request for information, as seen in the instances below.
- What significance do these discoveries have?
- When did Germany invade Poland, and what year was it?
- What are the reasons for the trade war between China and the United States?
- In your research, which variables were the most important?
- What were the driving forces behind European colonialism?
A written interrogative is easily identified by the question mark (?) at the conclusion of the phrase, and similar sentences are often characterized by rising intonation in speech.
Furthermore, interrogatives often begin with an auxiliary verb, such as ‘do’ or ‘be,’ or with an adverb, such as ‘what, when, or why,’ which moves the subject out of the sentence’s first place.
The following diagram illustrates the transition from a declarative to an interrogative structure:
|Declarative Sentence||Interrogative Sentence|
|You are in needing of a new computer set.||Are you in need of a new computer set?|
|You want to eat dinner.||Do you want to eat dinner?|
The rhetorical question and the question tag are two further sorts of interrogative sentences worth considering.
- Rhetorical questions resemble conventional interrogatives in appearance, but they are more communicative and less informative. They do not need a response from the listener or reader and are instead designed to elicit thinking.
- Question tags, on the other hand, take a declarative statement and transform it into an interrogative by appending an interrogative fragment after the comma to the end of it. This interrogative fragment is also available in opposite polarity to its corresponding declarative. A positive declarative would be accompanied by a negative interrogative question tag such as ‘aren’t you?’, as seen below.
|Rhetorical Question||Question Tags|
|Who doesn’t dream of being a millionaire?||You need assistance, aren’t you?|
|Do we really want our planet’s survival?||He is not going to stop, isn’t he?|
Imperatives do need the presence of an audience in order to fulfill their offer.
These imperatives may be used for orders and demands, requests, instructions, or directions and are often employed when a speaker or writer wants to tell the listener or reader about something without engaging in a dispute or discourse about it.
Although imperatives are most commonly about the present, they may also allude to the future when used with contextual hints, such as ‘Move out before I come home.’
- Go to page 53 of the student book.
- At the library, make a right.
- No chatting is permitted throughout the examination!
- Talk to your spouse about these three questions.
- Place your luggage and jackets at the room’s front.
These examples show that imperatives like these are seldom if ever, employed in academic writing.
For example, in an academic essay or presentation, there would be relatively few times when a student would need to employ imperative formulations.
However, they may be heard in controlled situations, such as when giving particular directions during tests or lectures.
The simplest way to recognize an imperative is to understand that these phrases virtually never include a subject.
- The subject ‘you’ is assumed but never stated in words like ‘Turn to page 53.’
- Due to the lack of a subject, the primary verb, such as ‘leave,’ ‘speak,’ ‘turn,’ or ‘discuss,’ will be the first part of the sentence.
- Finally, imperative sentences have specific punctuation, ending in either a full stop (.) like a declarative sentence or an exclamation mark (!) like an exclamatory phrase, depending on delivery.
Unlike imperatives, do not need a listener to be present at the time they are delivered — or to respond in any manner.
Unlike all other sentence functions, an exclamatory sentence cannot describe any tense other than the present. The expression of strong emotions or responses to a rapid realization or occurrence is called exclamation.
Exclamatory phrases, which demonstrate emphasis, are widely employed as a primordial release for emotions like fear, rage, excitement, or surprise on the speaker’s side and may include the following examples:
- Getaway of here!
- Don’t you dare talkback!
- The school has caught fire!
- Is it possible that there was an earthquake!?
These five examples clearly demonstrate that exclamations are seldom used in academic settings. You could hear an ‘ouch!’ when a teacher’s chair breaks or a ‘get out!’ when a student has been very nasty.
On the other hand, these sorts of statements would never be utilized in formal evaluations like essays or presentations unless the assessment was creative in character.
Recognizing Exclamatory Sentences
Pure exclamations of emotional reaction, such as ‘ouch! ‘ are readily recognized since they are not whole sentences but rather sentence fragments.
However, you may have observed that exclamatory phrases can seem a lot like declarative, interrogatives, or imperatives, as in the example below:
|Exclamatory Sentences||Similar Sentence Function|
|Don’t you dare talk back!||Imperative|
|The school has caught fire!||Declarative|
|Is it possible that there was an earthquake!?||Interrogative|
What’s essential to understand about exclamations is that they always finish in an exclamation mark (!) and that they’re all reactive, with the speaker reacting to a situation out of extreme emotion.
The interrobang (‽) (often represented by any of ?!, !?, ?!? or !?!), as in Is it possible that there was an earthquake!?’, is a punctuation mark that is occasionally used in phrases that operate as both an exclamation and an interrogative — and so need both the exclamation mark and the question mark.
However, despite its growing popularity, we do not currently recommend using this punctuation mark in academic writing.
Summary Table of Sentence Parts
Below is a summary of sentence function with examples:
|Sentence Function||Purpose||Ending Mark||Example|
|Declarative||States an idea||.||“Helga had a card for John, but he couldn’t deliver it since Tim was in the way.”|
|Interrogative||Ask questions||?||“Are you coming with us?”|
|Imperative||Gives a command||.||“Turn off the lights as you leave the room.”|
|Exclamatory||Shows a strong emotion||!||“Stay away from the shore!”|
What are the Grammar Rules in Creating a Sentence?
What is the structure of a standard English sentence? English sentence construction may be easy or challenging for you, depending on your first language. Some languages, like English, put sentences together similarly, whereas others are rather different.
So, here’s a list of some fundamental guidelines to remember while speaking and writing English.
Rule #1: A noun and a verb must be present in a full sentence.
A noun is a term used to name a person, place, object, or concept. A verb is a term that expresses activity.
- Matt is leaving.
- The students are studying.
|The students||are studying|
Rule #2: A subject and predicate must be present in a full sentence.
- The students are studying in the library.
- The angry mob protested on the streets.
|The students||are studying in the library|
|The angry mob||protested on the streets|
It becomes clearer how subject and predicate vary from noun and verb as the phrase grows more sophisticated.
Rule #3: The imperative sentence is the lone exception to the preceding principles.
The speaker commands or directs the individual to whom they are speaking in this sentence form. Only the predicate is necessary for this form of a statement.
- Stay away!
- Come back here!
This is a full sentence without a subject or a predicate.
Because the person being taught is the subject of an imperative statement, the subject is inferred.
Rule #4: Adjectives may come before or after the noun they describe, depending on whether the noun is preceded or followed by a verb.
A noun is described by an adjective, which is a word that characterizes it.
A preposition is used when an adjective appears before a noun in the subject area of a sentence.
|The furious mob protested on the streets.||The subject is “The furious mob,” like in Example 2, and it contains both the noun “mob” and the adjective “angry,” which defines it.|
However, if the adjective is the sentence’s predicate, it may come after the noun.
|The mob is angry.||The subject in this example is “The mob,” while the predicate is “is furious.” |
The verb “is” plus the adjective “angry” make up the predicate.
Rule #5: Two or more subjects make up a compound subject.
The usage of conjunctions is used to generate compound topics.
Conjunctions link words such as “and,” “or,” and “but.“
- Monica and Rachel are friends.
There are two simple subjects and one simple predicate in this statement. The statement, in other words, has a complex subject and a simple predicate.
“Monica” and “Rachel” are two easy themes. The conjunction “and” links them together. They generate the compound topic “Monica and Rachel” when combined.
Rule #5: Two or more verbs make up a compound predicate.
- The actress sang and danced.
There is just one simple subject and two simple predicates in this phrase. “Sang” and “dance” are two simple predicates. They produce the composite predicate “sang and dance,” which is connected by the verb “and.”
Are Sentence Functions Challenging for Students?
Any piece of formal academic writing requires the ability to construct a meaningful sentence.
Sentence structure errors will not only make your work difficult to understand, but they will also drop your respect rating dramatically. We’ve enumerated some of the most frequent grammar and construction issues, as well as how to remedy them to help you make sure your work is error-free.
Too Much Adverbs Usage
Adverbs are modifiers of verbs that generally end in -ly. They’re OK once in a while, but too many of them indicate poor verb choices.
The adverb “really fast” modifies the verb “run” in our case. Is “very rapid,” on the other hand, a more vivid word picture for the reader? Instead, use a more enticing word like “dashed.”
|Incorrect||The youngster ran really fast to collect the loose ball.|
|Correct||The youngster dashed to collect the loose ball.|
Too Much Use of Prepositions
Prepositions are words that are used before nouns and pronouns to denote direction, location, or time.
“At the crest” and “of the hill” are two prepositional phrases in the first sentence. If you use too many prepositional phrases in your writing, it will become wordy. Wherever possible, keep things simple.
|Incorrect||The caravan arrived at the crest of the hill.|
|Correct||The caravan reached the top.|
A squinting modifier is a misplaced modifier that, depending on where it comes in the sentence, might alter either the phrase before it or the phrase after it.
Shift the squinting modifier to a different location in the sentence so the reader understands which word you intend to alter.
|Incorrect||I get a headache by slowly listening to loud music.|
|Correct||When I listen to loud music, I get a headache gradually.|
Pronoun References that are Unclear
When you use the pronouns “she” or “he,” readers need to know whom you’re talking about. When a pronoun lacks a clear antecedent, there is uncertainty.
In our sample sentence with an ambiguous pronoun, the reader is unsure who the second “he” is. Was it John or another “he” who got in the way? As noted in the updated example, the pronoun “he” refers to Tim, who is card-blocking Helga. At all times, be sure your pronouns are referring to a specific antecedent.
|Incorrect||John had a card for Helga, but he couldn’t give it to her since he was in the way.|
|Correct||Helga had a card for John, but he couldn’t deliver it since Tim was in the way.|
Using a Lot of Words (inflated sentences)
If you’ve got anything to say to the readers, say it (figuratively, not literally). Filling sentences with extra words or filler merely confuses what you’re trying to communicate.
Readers are irritated by long sentences, so keep it short and sweet. Use powerful verbs and nouns instead of cliched adjectives and adverbs to simplify your phrases.
Brevity, according to William Shakespeare, is the spirit of wit. Never use ten sentences when two would be sufficient like the Bard did.
Use terms like “that,” “just,” and “quite” sparingly. To maintain your sentences crisp and toned, proofread your work!
|Incorrect||We’ve noticed that your tax returns are overdue, and we encourage you to submit them as soon as possible.|
|Correct||You haven’t filed your tax taxes in a long time. Please file them right away.|
Use of Tautologies
Tautologies is a kind of idiom in which the same idea is expressed twice using different words.
The verb “made” in this case suggests that Jack created the pail with his own two hands.
Redundancy is created by the prepositional phrase “with his own hands.” It’s easy to find tautologies once you know what they are: decrepit ruins, near vicinity, extra bonus, huge crowd.
|Incorrect||Jack built the well for Jill out of his own hands.|
|Correct||Jill received a water pail from Jack.|
What is the Significance of Different Sentence Types?
In your writing, using a variety of phrases can add interest and help you communicate your thoughts effectively. Continue reading for examples and explanations of each sort of phrase so you can make your argument.
And also, you can develop an acceptable tone for your writing by having a firm command of the various forms of sentences.
Though declarative sentences are by far the most typical sentence form, relying on them entirely might result in uninteresting writing. As an example, consider the following paragraph:
I’ll demonstrate how to build a snowflake. Paper snowflakes are simple to produce and, if you master the skills, may become addicting. The steps listed below will assist you in getting started.
The work starts to seem flat since all three of these phrases are declarative. Consider what happens if you use a range of sentence kinds instead:
Are you ready to master the art of making snowflakes? It’s simple to construct paper snowflakes, but be cautious! Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, they can become addictive. To get started, follow the instructions below.
The second paragraph, as you can see, used one of each of the sentence types, resulting in a more interesting piece. This is appropriate for writing in a relaxed, friendly tone, as well as in many creative works. When writing in a more formal tone, be cautious. Declarative sentences are the most appropriate choice for expository writing.
Exercises in the Different Sentence Functions
Read the following sentences thoroughly and identify the function of each sentence.
- With his buddies, Shaun enjoys watching movies.
- If the lion tries to harm you, don’t shoot it.
- John couldn’t remember where he used to reside.
- Mom, do you mind if I go outdoors and play with my friends?
- You must not speak to me in such a tone!
- For over two hundred years, the English dominated and oppressed half of the globe.
- I’m pleading with you to give me three days of sick leave.
- Who dares to challenge me?
- What an enthralling battle!
- If you want to perform well in your tests, return as soon as possible.
Unscramble the following sentences correctly.
- old / How / you? / are
- toy / What / a / beautiful / is! / it
- best / Nature / physician. / the / is
- is / well. / not / My / mother
- this / How / the / did / from / books / library / many / take / you / week?
- the / cupboard / and / chalk / the / where / we / Is / duster? / keep
- was! / crash / a / What / terrible / it
- book / the / shop. / stationery / this / Get / from
- garden / rose / How / is! / beautiful / your
- faces / drawing / Please / on / book. / new / my / stop
Read and punctuate each sentence accordingly.
- Preheat the oven before baking ___
- Before the conclusion of the week, provide a detailed report to your boss ___
- Wait ___ I’m making progress ___
- Is it possible for a long-term smoker like you to do that — blow smoke rings ___
- Bullfights are something that my folks like seeing ___
- She said that I am not as fond of dogs as she is ___
- He isn’t quite as friendly as he seems ___
- Do you think I’m going to believe what you’ve just said ___
- Who’s heading to the scary castle with us tonight ___
- We were hoping you wouldn’t show up ___
Additional Reading — ENGLISH GRAMMAR
- What is British English?
- What is American English?
- What is Canadian English?
- What is Australian English?
- 30+ Tips to Speak English Without Grammar Mistakes
- What Are Idioms?
- What Are Verbs?
- What Are Nouns?
- What Are Adjectives?
- What Are Pronouns?
- What Are Adverbs?
- What Are Tenses?
- What Are Punctuation Marks?
- What Are Prepositions?
- What Are Loanwords?
- What are Phrasal Verbs?
- What Are Collocations?
- What Are Conjunctions?
- What are Modals?
- What is Subject-Verb Agreement?
- What Are Sentence Structures?
- What Are Sentence Parts?
- What Are Clauses?
- What are the Common Slang Words in the English Language?
- What are the Commonly Misspelled Words in English?