Declaratives

A declarative sentence is one of the four main sentence functions in the English language and is most commonly used to make a statement.

Declaratives Declaratives

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    There are four main sentence functions in the English language. They are Declaratives (e.g. The cat is on the mat ), Imperatives (e.g. Get the cat off the mat ), Interrogatives (e.g. Where is the cat? ), and Exclamatives (e.g. What a cute cat ).

    Be careful not to confuse sentence functions (also referred to as sentence types) with sentence structures. Sentence functions describe the purpose of a sentence, whereas a sentence structure is how the sentence is formed ie simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences, and compound-complex sentences.

    Declarative sentences

    Of the four main sentence functions, declarative sentences are the most common and are used daily in written and spoken English. Declarative sentences don't ask questions or give commands; they simply declare something. These declarations could be facts, opinions or explanations, and usually end with a full stop.

    She likes chocolate.

    Declaratives She likes chocolate StudySmarterFig 1. She likes chocolate

    Be careful not to confuse sentence functions with sentence structures. Sentence functions describe the purpose of the sentence, whereas a sentence structure is how the sentence is formed, ie. simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences, and compound-complex sentences.

    When should I use a declarative?

    Declarative sentences are an absolute staple in the English language and can be seen and heard in literature, poetry, signs, the news, and in everyday speech ... just about anywhere!

    We mainly use declarative sentences to state facts, share our opinions, or offer an explanation.

    Declarative sentences examples

    Let's take a look at some examples of declarative sentences:

    • Tom likes to play video games.

    • Paris is the capital of France.

    • I think puppies are cute.

    • That outfit looks nice.

    • She asked me to water her plants.

    Notice how these sentences simply make statements. They do not ask questions, give any commands, or express emotions such as anger or surprise.

    Let's take a closer look at the last example:

    'She asked me to water her plants.'

    This is an indirect question embedded in a statement and is, therefore, still a declarative sentence. Be careful with your punctuation here! Indirect questions, or reported questions, always end with a full stop, not a question mark.

    He asked if I wanted to go to the cinema?

    He asked if I wanted to go to the cinema.

    Examples of declarative sentences in literature

    Let's take a look at some examples of declarative sentences used in English Literature.

    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go ... "

    -

    Dr Seuss

    Every sentence in this excerpt from Dr Seuss is a declarative sentence.

    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

    - Oscar Wilde

    This quote from Oscar Wilde is an excellent example of a compound declarative sentence.

    Declarative sentences structure

    There are two different types of declarative sentences: simple declarative sentences and compound declarative sentences. Typically, declarative sentences consist of a subject (I, he, she, we, Hannah etc.) and a predicate (a word or phrase which tells what the subject does or is). The subject usually comes first.

    This blog (subject) + is interesting (predicate)

    Let's take a closer look at the different types of declarative sentences.

    Simple declarative sentences

    A simple declarative sentence has a straightforward structure consisting of a subject and a predicate. It can even be as simple as subject + a verb

    Let's take a look at some simple declarative sentences:

    • She runs.

    • This coffee is cold.

    • The laptop is broken.

    Compound declarative sentences

    A compound declarative sentence joins two related declarative clauses or phrases together using either a comma, a conjunction (e.g. but, yet, and) or a semicolon (;). You will often see the semicolon accompanied by a transition word (e.g. however, therefore, moreover).

    Let's take a look at some examples of compound declarative sentences:

    • Lily doesn't like singing, but she loves dancing.

    • He has seen all eight series of Game of Thrones, yet he hasn't read any of the books.

    • I want to visit Berlin; however, I don't have the money.

    • The house was dark; nobody was home.

    Declaratives Man wants to visit Berlin StudySmarterFig 2. He wants to visit Berlin

    Positive and negative declarative sentences

    Declarative sentences can be both positive and negative. For example:

    PositiveNegatives
    I like coffee.I don't like coffee.
    She wants to move house.She doesn't want to move house.

    Declarative vs Interrogative

    The difference between declarative sentences and interrogative sentences can be easy to spot for two different reasons. First, interrogative sentences ask direct questions and always end with a question mark, whereas declarative sentences make a statement and end with a full stop. Second, when forming interrogative sentences, the word order is usually switched from subject + verb to verb + subject.

    • She is happy. (declarative sentence)

    • Is she happy? (interrogative sentence)

    Remember, reported questions, or indirect questions embedded in a statement, are declarative sentences, not interrogative sentences.

    Declarative vs Exclamative

    Declarative sentences are used to make statements, whereas exclamative sentences are used to make exclamations. Another way to tell the two apart is that exclamative sentences always contain the words what or how. Sentences that express strong emotions and end with an exclamation mark but do not contain the words what or how are called exclamatory sentences. For example, 'I hate taking exams! '

    • I like cheese. (declarative sentence)

    • Wow, what a delicious cheese! (exclamative sentence)

    Declarative vs imperative

    The difference between declarative and imperative sentences can be easy to spot once you understand their basic functions. To put it simply, declarative sentences make a statement, and imperative sentences give a command. Declarative sentences always end with a full stop, whereas imperative sentences can end with either a full stop or an exclamation mark. Imperative sentences will also contain an imperative verb, such as stop, give, sit, stand, and wait.

    • I have a book. (declarative sentence)

    • Give me that book! (imperative sentence)

    Declaratives - key takeaways

    • Declarative sentences are one of the four main sentence functions in the English language.

    • Declarative sentences always end with a full stop.

    • Declarative sentences are the most common type of sentence.

    • We use declarative sentences to state facts, offer our opinions, provide explanations, or convey information.

    • Declarative sentences consist of a verb + a predicate.

    • There are two different types of sentence in the declarative form; simple and compound.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Declaratives

    What is a declarative sentence?

    In simple terms, a declarative sentence is a sentence that makes a statement.

    What is an example of a declarative sentence?

     Here are some examples of declarative sentences:

    'That dress is pretty.'

    'Adele is a good singer.'

    'She likes broccoli but hates cauliflower.'

    What are the different types of declarative sentences?

    There are two different types of declarative sentences; simple and compound.

    What's the difference between a declarative sentence and an imperative sentence?

    Declarative sentences make a statement, whereas imperative sentences give a command.

    What is the difference between a declarative sentence and an exclamation sentence?

    While both sentence functions can express a fact, exclamatives tend to have more emotion and must include the words what or how.

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