Types of Sentences

declarative | imperative | interrogative | exclamatory
simple | compound | complex | compound-complex

Sentences Classifed by Purpose

♦ Declarative Sentence

A declarative sentence simply makes a statement. It ends with a period.
John is president of the senior class.

♦ Imperative Sentence

An imperative sentences gives a command or makes a request in command form. It usually ends with a period, but can end with an exclamation point if the command is urgent.
Please, close the door. or Come here right now!

♦ Interrogative Sentence

An interrogative sentence asks a question. It ends with a question mark.
What time does the party begin?

♦ Exclamatory Sentence

An exclamatory sentence shows strong feelings, perhaps of danger, joy, surprise, or disappointment.
We've just won the lottery!

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Sentences Classifed by Structure

♦ Simple Sentence

A simple sentence is one with a single main clause, that is, only one subject-verb structure. Simple sentences come in a variety of patterns, some with complements.

Check Your Understanding:

Identify the sentence pattern used in each of the following sentences:

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♦ Compound Sentence

A compound sentence combines two or more (almost always only two) simple sentences into one longer sentence. Before two simple sentences can be joined into one compound sentence, the simple sentences must pass a test by answering "YES" to both these questions:

If either of these questions is answered with a "no," do not form a compound sentence!

Examine these two simple sentences:

These two simple sentences pass the test above: they convey related ideas, the preference for flavors of ice cream, and they are equally important. There are only three ways to properly form a compound sentence from these two simple sentences:

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♦ Complex Sentence

A complex sentence is one that contains one main clause (sometimes called an "independent clause") and one or more subordinate clauses. A subordinate clause is subject-verb structure that does not express a complete thought and can therefore not be written as a stand-alone sentence.

The idea expressed in the main clause is considered more important than the idea expressed in the subordinate clause, but a clear distinction is not always evident. The word "subordinate" means "beneath in rank" or "lesser than." The idea in the subordinate clause may be different in degree, in order, in time, or in importance.The following are examples of complex sentences:

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♦ Compound-Complex Sentence

A compound-complex sentence is, as you might guess, a combination of a compound sentence and a complex sentence. A compound-complex sentence has two or more main clauses (usually only two) and one or more subordinate clauses.

The following are examples of compound-complex sentences:

Check Your Understanding:

Identify the sentence type of each of the following sentences by its structure:

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