Declarative Sentence - Definition, Types, Examples

What Is a Declarative Sentence?

This list of guidelines should help students at either elementary or middle levels learn about the basics of the declarative sentence and its structure. Although we will start with the building blocks of declarative sentences, teachers should be able to use our guide as a nearly complete resource that will provide students with the answers to any questions they might have about declarative sentence examples and their use. Because this type of sentence is quite basic in English, the tips we write here may be of some help to English language learners at these grade levels, too.

The structure and use of declarative sentences in writing or speaking makes them the most basic or common type that people will use in English. Students might come across the declarative sentence by another name, the declarative clause. In either case, the sentence will start with a subject and include a predicate. As the name suggests, a sentence in the declarative will state something outright. Once students start learning about the basic structure of this sentence type, they can try to see if the words they read are making a general statement. If they are, the chances are high that they are dealing with declarative sentence examples.

declarative sentence

Basic Rules Governing Declarative Sentences

Before we get into the mechanics of how the English language creates declarative statements, it may be helpful for students to learn what kinds of things do not count as declarative.

In short, there are several things that sentences in the declarative form cannot do. They are not able to

  • ask any questions
  • issue commands
  • express strong emotions about something

For example, you could write sentences that say things like

  • Do you have any milk to spare?
  • Go and clean the carpet right away.
  • I really love sunny days all year round!

Each of the preceding sentences conforms to one of the basic rules we outlined in the previous list. As you can see, it may be difficult for some students who are new to the concept of the declarative to differentiate between this and other types of sentences. Although questions are easy to identify based on their punctuation, imperative or exclamatory sentences are also making statements. However, it is the way in which they do this that sets them apart from declaratives. As the name suggests, the exclamatory will make a statement using its own form of punctuation. For the imperative, students need to look at whether the speaker or writer is giving any kind of command. As they learn more, they can do this by taking a look at the specific verbiage the sentence uses. In our example, it is clear that someone would like someone else to go to a particular place where they can perform the action of cleaning immediately.

If you find that a sentence manages to do any of these things we listed in the first set of bullet points, the rules dictate that it is not a declarative one. However, this is not the only stipulation that applies to the declarative. These types of sentences will denote a state of being actively. Further, they typically do so in the present tense. Although it is not true in every case, they will almost always use a form in which the subject precedes the verb. Because they are making statements, declarative sentences almost always end with periods as punctuation.

Simple Declarative Sentence Examples

The previous sections should have helped to cement what declarative sentences are not. For this part of the guide, we will try to provide some basic and clear examples of what these sentences are, and we will focus on how they tend to look within the structure of English language mechanics. We’ll start this by giving a few examples of the main types of declarative sentences students might encounter in writing. For the most part, there are two main types of declarations that students may come across: simple and compound.

The simple declarative sentence will feature only a single clause. Let’s illustrate what that might look like using a few examples:

  • Robert enjoys reading.
  • April likes to sing.
  • I dislike sweating.
  • They enjoy chatting together.
  • Geoffrey likes to eat seafood.

In other words, the simple declarative structure has the subject and a predicate. We can see that the verb is a common form of predicate here that interacts with the subject. In the previous list of examples, Robert, April, Geoffrey, and the pronouns they and I act as the subjects for these declarative sentences. Similarly, components such as the words enjoys or likes act as verbs. As students should be able to see, the simple form of the declarative sentence can also take on objects as well. In our examples, seafood is what Geoffry likes to eat.

Compound Declarative Sentence Examples

The compound declarative form has more than one complete phrase in it. The pieces of this sentence can relate to each other in some way, and the mechanics of English use commas and conjunction words in order to connect them. In some cases, you can use a semicolon in order to achieve the same effect.

  • Denny wants to go to the shopping center, but Alison does not want to go.
  • Rachel needs a new way to care for her hair; she knows that it cannot handle the humidity.
  • Harry enjoys running outdoors, but only if it is raining.

The preceding list of examples shows students the contrast between simple and compound declarative sentences. Looking for things like commas, conjunctions, or semicolons is a good way to learn how to tell the two apart.

Conclusion

We make statements in English several times daily. When we do, we turn to the declarative sentence for our needs. However, there are other sentence types that students will encounter as they read, speak, or listen. Some of these might include the same ones we touched on earlier, such as the interrogatory, imperative, or exclamatory. Writers can break each of these types down further into categories such as conditional, compound, or complex.