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Arts & Letters Daily


Grammar Tutorial – Kinds of Sentences

Whether we talk to a friend or write an email, we use different kinds of sentences to say what we want to say. Just look at the following examples.
Most of the time, we simply want to give information. We tell a story, share with a friend what happened today or give directions to a person who is lost. For example, Mary wants to tell us her name.

At other times, we want to ask questions. We ask a friend to help us with our homework; we ask for directions when we are lost or we ask a clerk for the price of something we want to buy. In the picture below, Bart Simpson is asking a question.

Occasionally, we ask or command someone to do something. We tell someone to shut the door. You might ask your brother to pick up the groceries. How often have you been reminded to do your homework by your mother?

When we are excited, we express that excitement in special ways. After your favorite baseball team has won a game, you might say, “WOW! That was a fantastic game.”  In the picture below, little children are looking at a very big globe of the world.

We call these four different sentences declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. Here are some examples of each.
  • Declarative sentence: We use declarative sentences to give information. (followed by a period)
–         I use the Internet every day.
–         Jet planes travel very fast.
–         My name is Joan.
  • Interrogative sentence: We use words like ’how’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘who’ to ask a questions. (followed by a question mark)
–         What did you have for lunch today?
–         How did you tie that knot?
–         When can we meet tonight?
–         Why do you use the Internet?
–         Who has a new computer?
–         Where did you buy your laptop?
  • Imperative sentence: We use imperative sentences to give a command or make a request (followed by an exclamation mark, question mark or a period) The verb is the first word in the sentence and frequently the subject (you) is understood.
–         Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
–         Stop!
–         Will you please stop that screaming at once?
  • Exclamatory sentence: We use exclamatory sentences to express our excitement. These sentences frequently begin with ‘what’ or ‘how’. Sometimes they start with an interjection such as ‘Wow’! (usually followed by an exclamation mark)
–         Wow! I made this great discovery on the Internet.
–         What a shame you missed the party!
–         How dare you question my idea!
Try the following activities to find out how well you understand how to use kinds of sentences:
After you have watched this Lesson, go to, for the NOTES, ASSIGNMENT and ANSWER KEY on KINDS OF SENTENCES.
Go to GRAMMAR in the top navigation bar; go to SENTENCES and move to the right to go  to KINDS OF SENTENCES  – click on it.
To send any questions you may have about grammar, go to and click on ASK Dr. OTTO. I will reply to your questions as quickly as possible.