Identifying types of sentences is a skill kids need to be able to master in elementary school. And, it’s actually quite simple to teach if you use lots of types of sentences examples, interesting books, and engaging sentence activities.
But before you jump into any activities, you need to make sure your kids understand that there are four different types of sentences and each one has characteristics that make it unique.
The Four Types of Sentences Examples
When children are in early elementary, they are first introduced to two types of sentences called “telling” and “asking” sentences.
These declarative types and interrogative types of sentences are creating the appropriate foundation on which our learners will be able to build a vast knowledge of sentences and sentence structure.
The declarative sentence is the most common type of sentence and will be the one students grasp the quickest with interrogative sentence being next.
Once they’ve had the opportunity to master the first two types, the third type, exclamatory sentences, are introduced.
This one is always fun because students LOVE to express emotions and learning about this type of sentence gives them the ideal outlet.
Generally at this point, students also recognize that each sentence serves a different purpose and end with a difference punctuation mark including the period, question mark, and exclamation point.
Once they’ve mastered understanding of the three types of ending punctuation, they’re ready to tackle the proper names used when identifying types of sentences.
1. Declarative Sentences
Declarative sentences end with a period and these are the most common sentences we find in the English language.
They are statements that provide facts or information, and they are known as “telling” sentences to younger learners.
Here are a few examples of declarative sentences…
- My name is Jennifer, and I am a teacher.
- It is a beautiful day.
- She will walk to the store.
- The dog is running quickly to get away from the screaming children.
2. Imperative Sentences
Imperative sentences are very similar to declarative sentences because they also end with a period. However, an imperative sentence is a command (or a more assertive sentence) as opposed to a general statement.
While we think of declarative sentences as providing a direct statement, we can think of imperative sentences as providing direct instruction.
Here are a few examples of imperative sentences…
- Do your homework.
- Walk the dog before you leave for school.
- Wash your hands.
The best tip for helping students distinguish between these two is by adding the word “please” to the beginning of the sentence. If you can add “please” and the sentence still makes sense, then it’s imperative.
- Please, do your homework.
- Please, walk the dog before you leave for school.
- Please, wash your hands.
These are obviously imperative sentences because adding the word “please” had no impact on the sentence.
If you try to add “please” to the subject of the sentence and it doesn’t make sense, it’s declarative. Let’s revisit our sentences from above…
- Please, my name is Jennifer, and I am a teacher. (That makes no sense!)
- Please, it is a beautiful day. (What in the world?)
- Please, she will walk to the store. (Nope!)
- Please, the dog is running quickly to get away from the screaming children. (This is terrible!)
So as you can see, it is so easy to simply add the word “please” to the complete sentence and decide whether or not it makes sense.
3. Exclamatory Sentences
Exclamatory sentences are those sentences that are filled with strong feeling. Typically, we speak or write exclamatory sentences when we are experiencing extreme emotions or intense feeling.
Here are some examples of exclamatory sentences…
- Look out!
- The tornado is headed this way!
Every one of these simple sentences is said with strong emotion and that’s what qualifies each single one as an exclamatory sentence.
4. Interrogative Sentences
Interrogative sentences are those that ask a question. These are also known to very young kids as “asking” sentences.
The most common interrogative question words are “Who, What, Where, When, How, Why.”
Here are a few examples of interrogative sentences…
- What time is it?
- Who are you?
- Where should we meet?
- How long will you be gone?
Interrogative questions are usually fairly easy for kids to understand…but don’t be surprised if they have issues remembering the name of this particular type of sentence.
Identifying Types of Sentences with Books
Kids can become interested in almost any subject if you expose them to the right books.
And believe it or not, incorporating books is the simplest way to expose students to various types of sentences because authors have a gift for using English grammar and sentence structures in unusual ways.
There are an endless number of fantastic books, but these are five of my favorites for introducing students to types of sentences examples (and other punctuation marks).
This book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld is always a crowd-pleaser. My students used to beg me to read it over and over again. The story follows an exclamation mark who feels frustrated for being different. But, one day he meets a question mark who helps him discover just how special he is.
2. Frog. Frog? Frog!
This is an engaging story written by Nancy Loewen that follows a family with members who can only speak in one kind of sentence. And, even the characters names reflect the type of sentences they can speak.
(I actually bought this book many years ago in a set, and it isn’t currently available on Amazon. However, you can purchase it from other places by just Googling the title.) So, this would be a perfect book to introduce your kids to the different sentence types!
This book by Cari Meister helps students understand the significance of question words. In this silly story, a horse wants to fly, so he enlists the help of a beaver to help him create a flying car.
Throughout the story, the horse asks questions using different interrogative types of words. It’s the perfect companion to help students grasp the types of words associated with questions and how those words relate to sentences in general.
This story by Robin Pulver is about a teacher who lets punctuation take a vacation. But, the students soon realize just how important punctuation is! If your kids are really enjoying learning about the characteristics and types of ending punctuation, consider adding this book to your read-aloud schedule. It will get them thinking about other types of punctuation including commas, colons, apostrophes, and quotation marks, too.
This book by Lynne Truss is hilarious! Although the focus of this story is on the importance of commas, it would be an excellent extension text for students who need more rigorous activities or who are fascinated with different types of punctuation. But, honestly, it’s just a great read aloud book for everyone.
Interactive Sentence Activities
Incorporating interactive sentence activities into your teaching will provide your students with the opportunity to practice the new skills they are learning.
That’s why I created this Types of Sentences and Punctuation resource for my students.
It incorporates all of my favorite teaching techniques including movement, cutting, gluing, and collaboration.
4 Corner Game
One of my favorite ways to practice identifying types of sentences is with a “four corner” game.
To play this game, place individual anchor charts into the four corners of your room. (If you can’t actually stick them into the corner, just put them close.)
Each anchor chart should have one specific punctuation mark or the name of one type of sentence (declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory).
Hand out cards that have a group of words written on them. These words convey a complete thought, but are missing relevant punctuation.
Your students will read the words, determine the types of sentences examples they are reading, what corresponding punctuation is missing, and walk to that corner.
This is a super-easy activity, but a great way to incorporate movement into your lessons.
Another great way to add an interactive component to your sentence activities is to have your kids play the sentence matching game.
Each student gets a sentence without punctuation. Then they have to find other students with the same type of sentence.
By the end, there should be four groups of kids that represent the different kinds of sentences.
Trust me when I tell you that kids enjoy debating whether a sentence belongs in one group or another.
This often leads to excellent discussions about the fact that many sentences could qualify as an imperative type or an exclamatory type depending on how the person spoke the sentence.
Sentence Cut & Paste
The last part of this resource that students love is the sentence cut & paste. This can be completed as a partner activity or even as an assessment.
It is the perfect way for you to see which students have mastered identifying types of sentences and which students need more practice with this skill.
Students have to master a variety of sentences in the English language.
Using types of sentences examples in different ways will help learners develop individual writing skills and prepare them for more intense academic writing as they get older.
By introducing the sentence types and corresponding punctuation marks, giving your students time to practice the skill, and then allowing them to interact with their own sentences, you will have sentence identifying gurus in no time!