What Is a Declarative Sentence (with Examples)
Declarative SentenceA declarative sentence is a sentence that makes a statement. For example:
- I am an expert in French cheeses.
Examples of Declarative SentencesHere are some examples of declarative sentences:
- Five million people are at risk.
- London is the capital of England.
- I am no wine connoisseur, but I know what I like.
- She asked whether I liked her dress. (Although this is an indirect question, it is still a statement and, therefore, a declarative sentence.)
The Word Order in a Declarative SentenceThe usual word order for a simple declarative sentence is subject-verb–object–place-time.
- The rabbits eat the vegetables in the garden in the early morning. Subject: The rabbits
Direct Object: vegetables
Place: in the garden
Time: in the early morning
- Just before the sun rises, the rabbits eat the vegetables in the garden. (This is a complex sentence, i.e., one with a main clause and a subordinate clause. You can see that the word order is different (specifically, the time comes first). You will notice, however, that the subject-verb word order is maintained in both clauses ("the sun rises" and "the rabbits eat"). This is a strong trait of the declarative-sentence structure.
Look at these two examples:
- Rachel is Irish. (This is a declarative sentence. The word order is subject-verb.)
- Is Rachel Irish? (This is an interrogative sentence. The word order is verb-subject.)
- She asked whether I liked her dress. (The word order of "whether I liked her dress" is subject-verb ("I"-"liked"). This tells us that it is not a question. It is, in fact, an indirect question.)
Other Sentence TypesHere are some examples of other sentence types:
An imperative sentence is a command or a polite request. It ends with an exclamation mark (!) or a period (full stop). For example:
- Fetch my umbrella!
- Please bring my umbrella.
An interrogative sentence asks a question. It ends with a question mark (?). For example:
- Can you find my umbrella?
An exclamatory sentence expresses excitement or emotion. It ends with an exclamation mark (!). For example:
- You've broken my umbrella!
Why Should I Care about Declarative Sentences?Declarative sentences are by far the most common type of sentence. For that reason, if you're learning or teaching English, it is worth learning how they are structured.
For native English speakers, there are two common writing issues related to declarative sentences.
(Issue 1) Don't use a question mark with a declarative sentence (even if it looks like a question).The most common mistake related to declarative sentences is using a question mark at the end of a sentence that isn't a question.
- The boss has asked when the party starts?
- I wonder if I can reach it?
- Mark wants to know whether he was selected? (These are not questions. There should be no question marks.)
- "The boss has asked..." (subject-verb)
- "I wonder..." (subject-verb)
- "Mark wants..." (subject-verb)
Even the word order in the indirect-question parts of the sentences is subject-verb:
- "the party starts" (subject-verb)
- "I can reach" (subject-verb)
- "he was selected" (subject-verb)
(Issue 2) Get the word order right in an indirect question.This point overlaps with Issue 1. Remember that the word order in an indirect question is the same as for a declarative sentence.
Question Word Order:
- Where is he? (The question word order is verb-subject: verb (is) then subject (he).)
- He is here. (The statement word order is subject-verb: subject (he) then verb (is).)
- I want to know where he is. (The word order is subject-verb: subject (he) then verb (is), i.e., the same as for a declarative sentence.)
- I want to know where is he. (It is a mistake to use question word order in an indirect question.)