A sentence is a group of words that has a finite verb and a subject.

What is a sentence? 

A sentence is a grammatical unit that consists of one or more words and conveys a complete thought. It is the basic building block of a language.

"A combination of words that makes a complete sense is called a sentence." -J.C. Nesfield. 

"A group of words which makes a complete sense is called a sentence." -Wren & Martin. 

In written English, a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period (.), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark(!).

Wrong: what is your name
Right: What is your name?

Wrong: they are sleeping
Right: They are sleeping. 

Types of Sentences According to Function

According to function, there are four main types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. Each type is used to convey different kinds of information or express different intentions. Let's explore each type with examples: 

1. Declarative Sentence

Declarative sentences make statements or provide information. They end with a period.


  1. I love to read books.
  2. The sun is shining brightly.
  3. She plays the piano beautifully.

2. Interrogative Sentence

Interrogative sentences are used to ask questions. They typically begin with a question word (who, what, when, where, why, how) or an auxiliary verb (is, are, can, do) and end with a question mark.


  1. Where is the nearest grocery store?
  2. What time does the movie start?
  3. Can you lend me your pen?

15. Yes/no question

A yes/no question is a type of question that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response. It is used to seek confirmation, agreement, or disagreement regarding a specific statement or proposition. Yes/no questions generally follow a subject-verb order, with the verb usually appearing before the subject.

Here are some examples of yes/no questions:

  • "Are you coming to the party?"

The response to this question can be a "yes" or "no" to indicate whether the person plans to attend the party or not.

  • "Is it raining outside?"

This question can be answered with a "yes" or "no" to indicate the current weather condition.

Yes/no questions are straightforward and often used to gather quick and direct information. 

14. Wh-question

A wh-question is a type of question that begins with a word from the wh-word family (also known as interrogative words). These questions typically cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response and require more detailed answers.

Here are some common wh-words used to form wh-questions:

Who: Used to inquire about a person or people.

  • Example: "Who is coming to the party?"

What: Used to inquire about a thing, an action, or an event.

  • Example: "What is your favorite movie?"

When: Used to inquire about a specific time or date.

  • Example: "When does the concert start?"

Where: Used to inquire about a specific location or place.

  • Example: "Where is the nearest coffee shop?"

Why: Used to inquire about the reason or cause.

  • Example: "Why did you miss the meeting?"

How: Used to inquire about the manner or method of doing something.

  • Example: "How do you make a pizza?"

Which: Used to inquire about a specific choice or selection from a set of options.

  • Example: "Which color do you prefer?"

These wh-words can be combined with auxiliary verbs, subjects, or verbs to form complete wh-questions. The response to a wh-question typically provides the specific information requested.

3. Imperative Sentence

Imperative sentences give commands, instructions, or make requests. They can end with a period or exclamation mark, depending on the tone.


  1. Please close the door quietly.
  2. Pass me the salt, please.
  3. Don't forget to water the plants.

4. Exclamatory Sentence

Exclamatory sentences express strong emotions or excitement. They end with an exclamation mark.


  1. What a beautiful sunset!
  2. I can't believe I won the lottery!
  3. Wow, that performance was amazing!

Understanding the different types of sentences helps to convey meaning, convey intentions, and add variety to our communication in English.

It's important to note that these are the main types of sentences, but there can be variations and combinations of these types. For example, a sentence can be both interrogative and exclamatory if it expresses a question with strong emotion, like "What an incredible goal that was!"

Types of Sentences According to Structure

According to structure, there are three main types of sentences: simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences. Let's explore each type: 

5. Simple Sentence

A sentence which consists of a single independent clause is a simple sentence. An independent clause contains a subject and a predicate and can stand alone as a complete sentence.


  1. She sings beautifully.
  2. They went to the beach.
  3. The cat is sleeping.
  4. I like to read.
  5. She is running.
  6. The sun is shining.
  7. They went to the park.

6. Complex Sentence

A sentence which consists of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses is a complex sentence. The clauses are joined by a subordinate conjunction. Dependent cannot stand alone as complete sentences and rely on the main clause for meaning.


"If it rains, we shall play the game of chess."

  • Main clause: "we shall play the game of chess."
  • Dependent clause: "If it rains."

"Since he worked hard, he prospered in life."

  • Main clause: "he prospered in life."
  • Dependent clause: "Since he worked hard."

"I missed the lesson because I was late."

  • Main clause: "I missed the lesson."
  • Dependent clause: "because I was late."

7. Compound Sentence

A sentence which consists of two or more independent clauses is a compound sentence. The clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunctions (such as and, but, or, so, yet), or conjunctive adverbs (such as however, therefore, nevertheless). Each independent clause in a compound sentence can stand alone as a separate sentence.


"I received the parcel, and I paid the bill."

  • Independent clause: "I received the parcel."
  • Independent clause: "I paid the bill."

"He received the parcel, but he did not pay the bill."

  • Independent clause: "He received the parcel."
  • Independent clause: "he did not pay the bill."

"Tell me the truth, or I will punish you."

  • Independent clause: "Tell me the truth."
  • Independent clause: "I will punish you."

It's important to note that these sentence types can be combined and varied to create more complex sentence structures. Understanding these sentence types allows for greater clarity, variety, and sophistication in expressing ideas in English.

Other Types of Sentences

There are some other types of sentences which we need to know. They include the following. 

8. Optative Sentence

An optative sentence is a type of sentence used to express a wish, desire, or hope. It is often used to convey a sense of longing or a request for something to happen. The optative mood is not as commonly used in modern English as the other types of sentences we discussed earlier, but it can still be found in certain contexts or in older forms of the language.

In English, optative sentences typically begin with the word "may" or "let" and express a desire for a favorable outcome or a specific action to take place. Here are some examples:

  1. May you have a wonderful journey!
  2. May your dreams come true.
  3. Let there be peace in the world.
  4. May the sun shine on your path.

As mentioned earlier, the optative mood is not as commonly used in everyday modern English. Instead, we often express wishes or desires using other sentence types, such as declarative or imperative sentences. However, the optative sentence structure can still be found in certain contexts, literature, or when trying to convey a more formal or poetic tone.

9. Affirmative Sentence

A sentence which gives a positive or affirmative sense is called an affirmative sentence.

  1. Shelly is a wise man. 
  2. He lives in the village.

10. Negative Sentence

A sentence which gives a negative sense is called a negative sentence. Negative sentences contain negative words like- 'no', 'not', 'none', 'nothing', 'nowhere', 'never', 'neither', 'nor', etc. 

  1. Shelly is not an unwise man.
  2. He does not live in the town.

11. Run on Sentence

A run-on sentence, also known as a fused sentence, occurs when two or more independent clauses (complete sentences) are incorrectly joined together without appropriate punctuation or coordinating conjunctions. As a result, the sentence becomes long and confusing because it lacks the necessary breaks or connectors. Run-on sentences can make it difficult for readers to understand the intended meaning and can affect the clarity and coherence of your writing.

Here's an example of a run-on sentence:

"I failed in the exam I was very lazy."

  • In this example, two independent clauses, "I failed in the exam" and "I was very lazy," are fused together without any punctuation or conjunction to separate them properly.

To correct this run-on sentence, you have a few options:

  1. Use a period: "I went to the store. I needed to buy some groceries."
  2. Use a semicolon: "I went to the store; I needed to buy some groceries."
  3. Use a coordinating conjunction (e.g., and, but, or): "I went to the store, and I needed to buy some groceries."
  4. Use a subordinating conjunction (e.g., because, although): "I went to the store because I needed to buy some groceries."

By employing appropriate punctuation or coordinating/subordinating conjunctions, you can effectively separate the independent clauses and create clear, concise, and grammatically correct sentences.

12. Inverted Sentence

Inverted sentences are sentences in which the typical word order of subject-verb-object (SVO) is reversed or altered for various reasons. The purpose of using inverted sentences can be to emphasize certain parts of the sentence, create a specific tone, or adhere to a particular grammatical structure. Inverted sentences often involve the inversion of the subject and the verb, but they can also involve other parts of speech.

Here are some common types of inverted sentences:

1. Inversion for emphasis: This type of inversion is used to highlight a specific part of the sentence. For example:

  • Never again shall I go there.
  • Only when the rain stopped did we go outside.

In these examples, the subject and verb are inverted to emphasize "never" and "only," respectively.

2. Question inversion: When forming a question, the subject and verb are inverted. For example:

  • Is he coming to the party?
  • Can you lend me a hand?

In these sentences, the subject "he" and "you" come after the verb "is" and "can" due to question formation.

3. Conditional inversion: In conditional sentences, the subject and verb are inverted in the conditional clause. For example:

  • Had I been rich, I would have helped the poor.
  • Should you need any assistance, feel free to ask.

In these examples, the subject and verb are inverted to express hypothetical or conditional situations.

4. Adverbial inversion: Some adverbs and adverbial phrases can be placed at the beginning of a sentence, causing the inversion of the subject and verb. For example:

  • In the distance stood a majestic mountain.
  • On the table lies a book.

In these sentences, the adverbs "in the distance" and "on the table" precede the subject and verb, leading to inversion.

Inverted sentences can add variety to your writing and create emphasis or a different tone. However, it's important to use them judiciously and ensure that the meaning remains clear to the reader.

13. Cleft Sentence

A cleft sentence is a type of sentence structure that is used to emphasize or focus on a particular part of a sentence. It involves dividing a sentence into two clauses, where one clause provides background information and the other clause contains the emphasized or focused element.

Cleft sentences typically follow this structure:

It is/was + (emphasis/focus) + that/who/whom + (remaining information).

Here are some examples to illustrate cleft sentences:

  • It was Mike who broke the window.

This cleft sentence emphasizes the person "Mike" as the one who broke the window.

  • It is the sea where whales live.

Here, the focus is on the location "sea" where whales live.

  • It is the cost that concerns me the most.

In this sentence, the emphasized element is "the cost," indicating that it is the primary concern.

Cleft sentences allow speakers or writers to bring attention to a specific part of the sentence and highlight its importance. They can be useful for emphasizing new or contrasting information, shifting the focus of a conversation, or providing clarification. By using cleft sentences, you can create a more emphatic and impactful expression.