Writing: Sentence Functions


A sentence is a group of words that gives a complete thought. It contains a subject and a verb, usually expressing an idea or performing an action. The way a sentence functions in writing is determined by the intent or objective of the writer. In English, there are four main types of sentence functions: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. Each serves a distinct purpose and helps writers to effectively communicate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Understanding these sentence functions is key to improving your written communication skills.

Why Sentence Functions Matter

Knowing how to use different sentence functions can add depth and variety to your writing, allowing you to convey exact emotions and intentions. It enables you to express your thoughts more clearly, ask questions, give orders, and express strong emotions or surprise. By mastering the use of sentence functions, you can make your writing more engaging and effective.

1. Declarative Sentence (Statement)

Declarative sentences make a statement or express an opinion. They are used to share information or to declare something. A declarative sentence is always followed by a period. For example:

  • 'The weather is lovely today.'
  • 'I love reading novels.'
  • Structure of Declarative Sentences

    Declarative sentences usually follow the standard word order of a subject followed by a verb or predicate. They can be in the form of either positive (affirmative) or negative statements. For instance:

  • Positive: 'I like coffee.'
  • Negative: 'I don't like tea.'
  • 2. Interrogative Sentence (Question)

    As the name implies, interrogative sentences ask a question. They are used to gather information, and always end with a question mark. For example:

  • 'What is the time?'
  • 'Do you like traveling?'
  • Structure of Interrogative Sentences

    Interrogative sentences typically start with an auxiliary verb or an adverb, and then are followed by a subject and a verb. For example:

  • Auxiliary Verb: 'Did you finish your homework?'
  • Adverb: 'Where is the nearest station?'
  • 3. Imperative Sentence (Command or Request)

    Imperative sentences are used to make a command, give an instruction, or express a request. They usually end with a period, but can also end with an exclamation point if the command is forceful. Here are a few examples:

  • 'Close the door.' (command)
  • 'Please pass the salt.' (request)
  • Structure of Imperative Sentences

    Imperative sentences usually start with a verb and the subject is often omitted, as it is generally implied to be 'you'. For example:

  • '(You) Take out the trash.'
  • '(You) Please call me when you arrive.'
  • 4. Exclamatory Sentence (Strong Emotion or Surprise)

    Exclamatory sentences are used to express strong emotions or surprise. An exclamatory sentence ends with an exclamation point. For example:

  • 'What a beautiful sunset!'
  • 'I can't believe we won!'
  • Structure of Exclamatory Sentences

    Exclamatory sentences can start with 'what' or 'how', or they can start with 'so' or 'such' when expressing an extreme quality. For example:

  • 'How beautiful this flower is!'
  • 'Such is the beauty of nature!'
  • Conclusion

    Understanding sentence functions and being able to apply them appropriately is crucial for effective communication. By learning to use declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences correctly, you will be able to express different ideas, evoke diverse emotions, and add depth to your writing. Remember, variety is key. Mix and combine different sentence functions to lend vitality and richness to your prose, and avoid monotony in your writing. Happy writing!

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