Sentence Types by Function

Learn how to identify and use different sentence types for clear and effective communication. This guide explores declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences.

What is a sentence?

A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. Every sentence has the following four things:

  1. Meaning: It conveys a complete idea, whether a statement, question, command, or exclamation.
  2. Structure: It includes a subject and a verb.
  3. Capitalization: It starts with a capital letter.
  4. Punctuation: It ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark depending on its function.

Types of Sentences by Function

Sentences convey our thoughts, questions, commands, and emotions. Based on these functions, sentences are classified into four primary types:

  1. Assertive
  2. Interrogative
  3. Imperative
  4. Exclamatory.

Each serves a distinct purpose in communication, which we’ll explore in detail with clear examples and explanations.

1. Assertive Sentences

What Are Assertive Sentences?

Assertive sentences are statements that declare something. They are used to present information straightforwardly and end with a period.


In an assertive sentence, the subject is before the verb.

  • Structure: Subject + Verb [Predicate]
  • Example: "The cat is sleeping."
  • Explanation: This simple sentence states a fact about the cat's activity.


An assertive sentence always ends with a period (full stop).

  • Example: "The cat is sleeping."


Assertive sentences serve several essential functions in communication:

Stating Facts

  • Example: "The Earth orbits the Sun."
  • Explanation: This sentence states a scientific fact.

Expressing Opinions

  • Example: "In my opinion, summer is the best season."
  • Explanation: This sentence shares a personal opinion about the seasons.

Providing Explanations

  • Example: "She didn't come to the party because she was sick."
  • Explanation: This sentence explains why she didn't attend the party.

Describing Situations

  • Example: "The children are playing in the park."
  • Explanation: This sentence describes the activity and location of the children.


Assertive sentences form the majority of written and spoken communication, enabling us to share ideas, facts, and opinions assertively.

2. Interrogative Sentences

What Are Interrogative Sentences?

Interrogative sentences are designed to ask questions. They typically begin with a question word or an auxiliary verb and end with a question mark (?). 

Types of Interrogative Sentences

There are several types of interrogative sentences in English. But the following two types are most common:

Yes/No Questions

  • Structure: Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + ?
  • Example: "Are you coming to the party?"
  • Explanation: This question seeks a yes or no answer about attending the party.

Wh- Questions

  • Structure: Question Word (Wh-) + Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + ?
  • Example: "What time does the meeting start?"
  • Explanation: This question seeks specific information about the meeting time.


Unlike declarative sentences that provide information, interrogative sentences seek to obtain information from the listener or reader.

3. Imperative Sentences

What Are Imperative Sentences?

Imperative sentences are used to give orders, make requests, offer advice, or provide instructions. 

Form of Imperative Sentences

These sentences typically begin with the base form of a verb and often omit the subject, which is usually "you" understood.

  • Example: "Close the door."

Functions of Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences give orders, make requests, offer advice, or provide instructions.

Issuing Commands

  • Example: "Finish your homework."
  • Explanation: This sentence commands someone to complete their homework.

Making Requests

  • Example: "Could you open the window?"
  • Explanation: This request asks someone to open the window, phrased as a polite question.

Giving Advice

  • Example: "Stay hydrated during the summer."
  • Explanation: This sentence advises someone to drink plenty of water during hot weather.

Providing Instructions

  • Example: "Insert the card into the slot and enter your PIN."
  • Explanation: This instruction guides someone on how to use an ATM.

Offering Invitations

  • Example: "Come join us for dinner."
  • Explanation: This invitation asks someone to join the speaker for dinner.


Unlike declarative sentences that state facts or opinions, imperative sentences focus on prompting the listener or reader to perform a specific action. Remember, the tone and context in which you use imperative sentences can significantly impact how they are received. So, use them wisely to ensure your communication is both effective and appropriate.

4. Exclamatory Sentences

What Are Exclamatory Sentences?

Exclamatory sentences are sentences that express strong feelings or emotions. They are typically punctuated with an exclamation mark (!) and are used to convey excitement, surprise, anger, happiness, or other intense emotions. 

Forms of Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences often begin with phrases like "What" or "How" to add emphasis. 

Starting with "How"

  • Structure: What + a(n) + Adjective + Noun + Verb + !
  • Example: "What a beautiful day it is!"
  • Explanation: This sentence expresses admiration for the day’s beauty.

Starting with "How"

  • Structure: How + Adjective/Adverb + Subject + Verb + !
  • Example: "How wonderful the concert was!"
  • Explanation: This sentence conveys amazement at the concert's quality.


  • Structure: Interjection + !
  • Example: "Wow!"
  • Explanation: This one-word exclamatory sentence expresses surprise.

Expressing Strong Emotion

  • Structure: Subject + Verb + (Object) + !
  • Example: "I can’t believe we won!"
  • Explanation: This sentence expresses disbelief and excitement about winning.

Functions of Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences serve several vital functions in communication:

Expressing Excitement

  • Example: "We’re going to Disneyland!"
  • Explanation: This sentence conveys excitement about a trip to Disneyland.

Conveying Surprise

  • Example: "You got the job!"
  • Explanation: This sentence expresses surprise and happiness about getting the job.

Showing Anger or Frustration

  • Example: "I can’t believe you did that!"
  • Explanation: This sentence conveys anger or frustration about an action.

Expressing Joy

  • Example: "She’s finally here!"
  • Explanation: This sentence expresses joy about someone's arrival.

Emphasizing Admiration

  • Example: "What an amazing performance!"
  • Explanation: This sentence shows admiration for a performance.


Unlike declarative sentences that make statements, interrogative sentences that ask questions, or imperative sentences that give commands, exclamatory sentences are unique in their emotional impact.