Basic English sentence patterns that you can’t help knowing

Sentence types

There are four sentence patterns in English: declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamatory.

Declarative: Tom will be at the meeting tomorrow.

Imperative: Turn to page 232 of your science textbook.

Interrogative: Where do you live? Interjection: Great!


A declarative statement “declares” or states a fact, arrangement, or opinion. Declarative sentences can be positive or negative. The declarative sentence ends with a period

I’ll pick you up at the train station. The sun rises in the east. / He doesn’t get up early.


The imperative sentence indicates (and sometimes requests). The imperative sentence has no subject because you are the implied subject. Imperative sentence with period (.) Or an exclamation point (!) The end.

Open the door. / Finish your homework/clean up that mess.


Questions ask questions. In the interrogative form, the helping verb precedes the subject, which is followed by the main verb (e.g., Are you coming…. ?). Questions end with question marks (?) The end.

How long have you lived in France? / What time does the bus leave? / Do you like listening to classical music?


Use exclamation marks (!) for interjections. Emphasize the statement (declarative or imperative).

Hurry up! / That sounds great! / I can’t believe you said that!

Sentence Structures

English writing begins with a sentence. The sentences are then combined into paragraphs. Finally, paragraphs are used to write longer structures, such as essays, business reports, etc. The first sentence structure is the most common:

Simple Sentences

Simple sentences do not contain conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, etc.).

Rose soon finished his dinner. Jackson and Sue visited the museum last Saturday. / Are you coming to the party?

Compound Sentences

A compound sentence contains two declarative sentences connected by conjunctions (i.e., and, but, or, etc.). Practice compound sentence writing with this compound sentence writing exercise.

I wanted to come, but it was too late. / The company did so well this year that it gave everyone a bonus. / I went shopping and my wife went to class.

Complex Sentences

A compound sentence contains a dependent clause and at least one independent clause. These two clauses are connected by a subordinate (for example, which, who, although, despite, if, since, etc.).

My son was late for class and arrived as soon as the bell rang. / The woman who bought our house/It was hard, but the class passed the exam with flying colors.

Compound/Complex Sentences

Compound sentences/compound sentences contain at least one clause and more than one independent clause. Clauses are connected by conjunctions (e.g., but, so, and, etc.) and subordinates (e.g., who, because, although, etc.).

Jerry visited briefly last month, won the lottery and took a short vacation. / Tom forgot his friend’s birthday, so when he finally remembered, he sent him a card. The report prepared by Jim was submitted to the board of directors, but it was rejected because it was too complicated.

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