A sentence refers to a word, clause, or a group of clauses or words that express a complete idea. Sentences are vital in writing since they help you express your thoughts. It is, therefore, very crucial to write sentences that are complete and which follow grammar rules.

Complete sentences typically contain a verb, can stand alone and still make sense, and they also clearly express a complete thought. This article discusses the various types of sentence structures and sentence types and provides some sentence exercises that can help you write complete and grammatically correct sentences. Take a close look.


What Is A Sentence?

A sentence refers to a clause, word, phrase, or a group of phrases, words, or clauses that give a complete idea/thought. A sentence can give a statement, ask a question, give a command, indicate an exclamation, express a wish or an assertion, and could also show action performance. When writing, a sentence always starts with a capital letter and a full-stop, exclamation, or a question mark ends the sentence.

Characteristics of A Sentence

First and foremost, a sentence must have a capital letter at the start and a period, exclamation mark, or question mark in the end. Secondly, a sentence should express a complete thought or idea; otherwise, it is not a sentence. Lastly, it must have a verb and a subject.

For example:

  • The happy father. (This is a phrase and isn’t a sentence since it doesn’t have a verb. It does not state anything about the happy father; hence the phrase does not give a complete thought. Remember, a phrase must give a complete thought or idea for it to be a sentence.)

Examples of Sentences

  • The girl is cooking some stew. (This sentence shows a statement.)
  • Is it raining? (The sentence asks a question. It has a capital letter at the beginning but ends with a period (question mark.))
  • What an incredible miracle! (The sentence ends with an exclamation mark as the period.)
  • You must do it. (The sentence expresses a command.)

Sentence Structures

There are four structures, namely: compound-complex sentences, simple sentences, complex sentences, and compound sentences.

Simple Sentences

These sentences have one clause (the independent clause.) The clauses usually express just one idea/ thought. Additionally, these sentences only carry a single verb.


  • The maid is cooking.
  • Sam is sleeping.
  • Her mother is sweeping the house.

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences refer to sentences whose independent clauses are more than one. Meaning, their minimum independent clauses are two, and they do not have dependent clauses. These independent clauses are joined together using conjunctions, or punctuation. The punctuation mark used is the semi-colon and conjunctions include: and, but, yet, for, so, nor, and or.


  • Michael studied at the US and Elizabeth studies in China. (The independent clauses are “Michael studied at the US” and “Elizabeth studied in China” and are joined by the conjunction “and”) They are independent clauses since they express a complete idea.
  • Mary is cooking, but Moses is washing the dishes. (The sentence has two verbs “cooking” and “washing,” hence two clauses. The clauses are joined together by the conjunction “but”)
  • My vehicle broke down; I arrived late. (The semi-colon joins the clauses in this sentence)

Complex Sentences

These sentences have a main clause and a dependent clause (at least one). Additionally, complex sentences have to subordinate conjunctions which indicate a dependent clause, such include, like because, after, as, although, how, before, since, if, once, then, where, until, whether, that, till, and while.


  • I missed my exam because I was late. (The independent clause is “I missed my exam,” whereas the dependent clause is “because I was late” and the subordinating conjunction is “because”)
  • I cooked hurriedly after his arrival. (“I cooked hurriedly” is the independent clause whereas the dependent clause is “after his arrival” and “after” is the subordinating conjunction)

Complex-compound Sentences

These sentences have multiple clauses, that is, a minimum of two independent/main clauses and a minimum of one dependent clause.


  • Mary didn’t sit the exam because she came late, so the teacher was angry. (The independent clauses in this sentence are “Mary didn’t sit the exam” and “The teacher was angry.” On the other hand, the dependent clause is “because she came late” )
  • The teacher, who is on duty, is incompetent, but the principal is competent. (The independent clauses are, “The teacher is incompetent” and “the principal is competent.” “Who is on duty” is the dependent clause.”) In addition to subordinate conjunctions, dependent clauses can also begin with relative pronouns like whose, whom, who, which, and that.

Types of Sentences

There are four types of sentences, namely, imperative, declarative, exclamatory, and interrogative.

Declarative Sentences

These sentences are the most common. They refer to sentences that make statements, describe things/ people, and also express feelings /opinions. They must end with a full-stop.


  • Mary loves eating cookies. (Statement)
  • I am excited because of the upcoming sports day. (Feeling)
  • His wife is smartly dressed. (Describes a person)

Interrogative Sentences

These refer to sentences that help people ask questions. They must have a question mark at the end. They can begin with words like do, why, what, how, when, did, where.


  • What is an interrogative sentence?
  • Did you complete your assignment?
  • Do you know the answers to the mathematics assignment?

Imperative Sentences

These are sentences that express a command, instruction, or request. They have a full-stop at the end but could also have an exclamation mark in case of forceful demands.


  • Please give me some tea. (a request)
  • Stop it! (Command)
  • Close the door immediately after cleaning the house. (instruction)

Exclamatory Sentences

These are sentences that express emotions. They thus must have an exclamation mark at the end.

  • Wow, he got a law degree!
  • What a great day!
  • How well she dances!
  • I can’t believe she is finally getting married!

A sentence refers to a clause, word, or a group of clauses or words that express a complete thought. A sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with an exclamation mark, full-stop or question mark) There are different types of sentence structures and types and help in writing correct and complete sentences.

Sentence Infographic


Sentence: Definition, Structures, Types and Useful Examples

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