Brief Study On Type Of Sentences I. Abstract
There are four major types of sentences in English: declaratives, interrogatives, imperatives and exclamatives.
The four sentence types are associated with four discourse functions:
It is the noum that the syntactic class matches the semantic class. However, ours is a very complex society, where the social functions performed by language are very much diversified. We often have questions that do not really ask, statements that do not really assert, imperatives that do not really command.
Key words: declaratives, interrogatives,
imperatives and exclamatives
Statements in the form of simple sentences are the foundation stone of all the English sentences. Their primary function is to convey information, in a positive way or in a negative way. Therefore, we have two major types of statements on a polarity - positive statements and negative statements.
Classification can also be done in a similar yet less extreme dimension: assertion vs. non - assertion. Sentences are seen as either assertive or non - assertive in view of their form and meaning. 1 Assertion vs. non – assertion
An assertive sentence is a positive statement and that a sentence can be non – assertive either by being
negative or by being interrogative.
Whether or not a sentence makes an assertion is associated to a substantial extent with words of a
particular kind involved in the sentence. These words break into three classes on the semantic basis: assertive words, non – assertive words and negative
words, as is shown in follows:
(1) Assertive words: some, someone, somebody, something, somewhere, sometime (s), one or the other, still, already, as well, too.
(2) Non-assertive Words: any, anyone, anybody, anything, anywhere, ever, either, any more, any longer, yet, either.
(3) Negative Words: no / none, no one, nobody, nothing, nowhere, never, no more / no longer.
Old course books often teach us that the some series of words are to be used in positive statements and the any series of words in negative statements or in questions and that the use of some in questions and other some / any usages are exceptions. Now we can explain the some / any distinction in a better way-in
terms of assertions and therefore use the some series: (1) I have some (any) news for you.
(2) Somebody (Anybody) is waiting for you.
Questions are usually non - assertive, but they can be assertive when a positive answer is expected. Therefore, both any and some are common:
(1) Did anybody \ somebody see you?
(2) How about buying something \anything to eat?
It is important to distinguish between
non-assertive and negative words. Negative statements often use either not plus a non-assertive word or a negative word, as in:
(1) There was nobody there.
(2) I know nothing about it.
There are a number of other non-assertive contexts where non-assertive words can be used, such as: (1) After words that have negative import:
It’s very difficult to find a job anywhere around
I’d rather do it without anyone’s help.
(1) If clauses:
If anybody comes, tell him to wait.
She’d love you only if you had any patience. (2) Putative should-clauses:
It’s strange that she should ever repeat the
It’s odd that he should say anything like that. (3) Comparative clauses:
He’s better than anyone else in this class.
This material is harder than anything else you can
A negative statement basically expresses the speaker’s negative attitude toward his proposition. The negation of a statement can be accomplished by inserting a variety of negative words, among which not
is by far the most commonly used either in writing or in speaking. When negation is applied to a statement, its coverage varies from sentence to sentence; it may extend from the negative word to the end of the sentence or it may stop somewhere leaving a number of elements outside its scope. Also negation may be transferred from one syntactic level to another.
a. Choice of negative words
The negation of a statement is commonly fulfilled by inserting not(n’t) between the operator and the
(1) They are working hard.
They are not working hard.
They aren’t working hard.
They’re not working hard.
(2) They have worked.
They have not worked hard.
They haven’t worked hard.
They’ve not worked hard.
(3) They will work hard.
They will not work hard.
They won’t work hard.
They’ll not work hard.
In each of the above positive statements, there is an item that can serve as operator. If not, we would have to introduce the auxiliary do:
(1) They work hard.
They do not work hard.
They don’t work hard.
(2) They worked hard.
They did not work hard.
They didn’t work hard.
Apart from not, its only strong competitor as expression of negation its no (which includes no - word series such as nothing, nobody and nowhere). No can often be converted into not„any; the same is true of
(1) He has no friends.
He does not have any friends.
(2) I know nothing about it.
I don’t know anything about it.
(3) There is nobody in the house.
There isn’t anybody in the house.
(4) She would go nowhere except to stay in her own
She wouldn’t go anywhere except to stay in her
Negation may be intensified in various ways. A common negative intensifier is never, as in I’ve
never been there before, which is stronger than I haven’t been there before. Besides, there are other ways of giving emotive intensification to a negative statement:
(1) I shall never stay at that hotel again.
(2) I’ve never in all my life seen such a swarm of
(3) Not a single candidate managed to pass the test.
None and neither are two related negative words. None corresponds to not any (of the three or more) and neither to not one nor the other (of the two). For example:
(1) They have tested several samples but none is
of the quality required.
(2) They proposed two solutions, but neither
seemed available to us.
Negation is also realized by semi-negatives, words which are negative in meaning but not in appearance. They include seldom, rarely, scarcely, hardly, little, few, etc. Their similarities to the ordinary negative items are such that they are followed by non-assertive rather than assertive words and that are followed by positive rather than negative
(1) We had hardly begun, when it began to rain. (2) You can hardly expect me to lend you money again. (3) I scarcely know him. Scarcely had she entered
the room when the phone rang.
(4) There’s little point in telling her now.
(5) Few people live to be 100.
(6) I’ve hardly ever spoken to him.
(7) John found a job in a park because he had little
interest in office work.
(8) There are fewer cars parked outside than
(9) The police found very few clues to the
(10) That few days were indeed the most memorable.
b. Scope of negation
The scope that a negative word governs varies from sentence to sentence. It may cover a whole sentence