Sentences are formed by putting words next to each other, but we do not always need more than one word to make a meaningful sentence.

What Are Sentences in English?

What Are Sentences?

Sentences are formed by placing different words in a particular order to convey a specific meaning. Even a single word can convey a meaningful concept in English, so, we can have one-word sentences in English. But usually, sentences have a subject and a predicate.

Sentences: Types Based on Mood

Sentences are mainly categorized into four moods as follows:

Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences give information about something. They have a subject and a predicate which is made of a verb and sometimes a subject complement or an object complement. Here are the examples.

My mother used to have long straight hair.

His father isn't rational enough to bear this.

Declarative sentences are further divided into two groups:

  1. negative declarative sentences
  2. affirmative declarative sentences

Affirmative sentences have positive verbs. We use negation rules to form negative sentences. Check out the examples.

You should study to get a good job in the future.

We do not get a good salary.

Interrogative Sentences

We use the interrogative mood to ask questions or to ask for information about something. Usually, interrogative sentences are inverted. Here are the examples.

What was your name again?

Were you at the party last night?

Interrogative sentences are categorized into two groups:

Wh-questions start with an interrogative-word and yes/no questions start with an auxiliary verb. Check the examples.

Where do you live?

Did you talk to your teacher?

an example of declarative sentence

Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences are used to give orders. They are usually made of only one word which is actually the imperative verb. Here are some examples:

Sit down!

Have fun!

English Imperative sentences are also of two types:

  • imperative sentence using only one verb
  • imperative sentence using a subject and a verb

The subject of an imperative sentence is the pronoun 'you' that is usually omitted because it is implied in the meaning of the imperative verb. For example:

You shut up!


Imperative Verbs vs. 'Should' and 'Must'

Should and must are not imperative verbs. Imperative verbs can be used without subjects. However, you can never use modal verbs on their own as an imperative verb. So, If you can omit the subject without harming the formation of the sentence, then the verb is an imperative verb.

You start reading → start reading ✓

In this example, start is an imperative verb.

You must study → must study ✗

In this example the verb 'must' cannot be used without a subject so it isn't an imperative verb.

You should clean your room → should clean your room ✗

Negative Imperatives

Since imperative verbs are all main verbs, to form negative imperatives all you have to do is add don't to the beginning of the imperative sentence. For example:

Do not take my car!

Don't be jealous!

Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences are used to show surprise or other strong emotions. Commonly, exclamations are formed using the words 'what' and 'how'. Here are the examples:

What a nice day!

How amazing!

Punctuation Marks

Every type of sentence is followed by a particular punctuation mark. You can see the punctuations used for each sentence type on the following list:

  • Period: declarative sentences (.)
  • Question mark: interrogative sentences (?)
  • Exclamation mark: exclamatory and imperative sentences (!)

Sentences: Types Based on Structure

Based on their structure, sentences are categorized into four groups:

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences consist of a subject as the doer of activity and a predicate which represents the action. Simple sentences are not followed by any other dependent or subordinate clauses. For example:

Sara is beautiful.

My mother drank the tea gently.

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are two independent sentences that are joined together using linking words or conjunctions, and semicolons. Here are the examples:

This is too expensive, but I will buy it.

I want to gain weight, yet I don't like eating.

Complex Sentences

Complex sentences are formed from an independent clause and at least one dependent clause linked to the independent clause. Here are the examples.

I moved in since I finished high school.

You will pass if you study better.

Compound-Complex Sentences

Compound-complex sentences combine compound sentences with complex sentences. A compound-complex sentence has at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause. Here are the examples:

He cried when he left, but I didn't care.

I am beautiful and my mother is beautiful too, yet my grandfather says she is more beautiful than me.


Sentences are made from different words. Based on their mood they are categorized into four groups:

  • declarative
  • interrogatory
  • imperative
  • exclamatory

Based on their structure, they are categorized into four groups as well.

  1. simple sentences
  2. compound sentences
  3. complex sentences
  4. compound-complex sentences


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Simple Sentences

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Compound Sentences

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Complex Sentences

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Compound-complex Sentences

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Word Order

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Cleft Sentences

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Cleft sentences are complex sentences that have a meaning we can express by a simple sentence. They are used to emphasize one part of a clause. Let's see.
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