In linguistics, a sentence is what’s called a textual unit. Linguistic sentences consist of groups of words that make a unit of meaning together. All sentences must end with a punctuation mark that signals their limit and in some cases, like with interrogative and exclamatory sentences, assigns their tone or meaning. In theory, a sentence should express a complete thought. However, more often, sentences act as only a part of a larger narrative, story or expression.
One type of expression that does function on its own as a sentence is the aphorism. An aphorism is a short, witty sentence that often expresses wisdom or a life lesson. Here is an example of an aphorism from Oscar Wilde, which is also an example of a statement sentence: “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
The Four Types of Sentences
In the English language, there are four types of sentences: the statement sentence (also known as the declarative sentence), the question (also known as the interrogative sentence), the exclamatory sentence and the command (also known as the imperative sentence). Readers can easily categorize the four types of sentence according to their set attributes. More complicated sentences can be identified by their main clause, or their primary sub-unit which contains a noun and a verb and can function as a sentence on its own. Punctuation marks also make handy clues.
A statement sentence usually has a structure characterized by a subject followed by a predicate.
Example of a statement sentence: Charlie delivers the newspapers twice a day.
Interrogative sentences (or questions) tend to fall into two categories: open-ended questions and closed questions. Open-ended questions elicit a broader range of answers, while closed questions can usually only be answered with yes, no and the like.
Example of an interrogative sentence: Will you please take out the trash?
Another example: How have you been feeling lately?
Imperative sentences (or commands) have an implied subject, and so the subject (most often “you”) is usually unspoken.
Example of an imperative sentence: Tim, grab that book for me.
Another example: Write your name on your paper.
Exclamatory sentences are the loosest type of sentence. They can range from single word exclamations, like Wow!, to longer observations: What a nice thing to do!
But be careful. Not every sentence that has an exclamation point at the end is an exclamatory sentence. Some of these sentences are just overly excited statements in disguise.
More Examples of Statement Sentences
Statements are by far the most common type of sentence. Knowing how to write them effectively will serve you well. Use these examples as templates to practice writing your own.
Example of a statement sentence: Summer is my favorite time of year.
Another example: When it rains, I have to stay inside.
Another example: Spending time indoors can be fun, too; my family has lots of books, games and movies to keep us entertained.
Rebecca Renner is a teacher and college professor from Florida. She loves teaching about literature, and she writes about books for Book Riot, Real Simple, Electric Literature and more.