You may have come across this term while studying, or perhaps you’re in the process of learning about the different types of sentences in the English language. Either way, you’re here because you want to know what an assertive sentence is.
An assertive sentence is a useful way to express a belief or opinion in a non-forceful way, yet that leaves no room for ambiguity. It demonstrates that the speaker is confident about their statement and that they know it to be true.
This type of sentence can be used to convey the speaker's opinion, make requests, give information, or make statements about what they believe to be true. An example of an assertive sentence is "I'm happy to help."
Welcome! In this article we’ll dive into the topic, covering a range of relevant information, from what this type of sentence is and how to use one, to other types of sentences you might come across or want to use. Let’s dive in.
Let's begin by going a little deeper into what, exactly, an assertive sentence is. We will provide examples, and a summary of how to form an assertive sentence.
An assertive sentence is a sentence that conveys the speaker's opinion, makes requests, gives information, or makes statements about what they believe to be true. Assertive sentences are not aggressive or passive; they're often quite neutral. But they convey a strong attitude and tone.
An assertive sentence is a great way to express one’s opinion without making any judgments about another person's thoughts or feelings.
Usually, an assertive sentence ends with a period.
See? That right there was an assertive sentence.
So was that.
Assertive sentences are also called declarative sentences, so bear in mind that if you see that term, it’s simply referring to an assertive sentence. The two terms are interchangeable.
So what might you use an assertive sentence for? A few examples include stating facts or conveying information about history, views, events, feelings, and beliefs.
You’ll find assertive sentences in books, papers, and reports, or even in essays.
Is it starting to sound like assertive/declarative sentences cover quite a lot of ground? That’s because, as a matter of fact, assertive sentences make up the majority of English sentences.
The first thing to know is that they can be of pretty much any length. There aren’t any rules around that. This is because they can either be very simple, or quite complex. In their simplest form, assertive sentences are made up of:
subject + verb + object
You can add in other types of words such as adjectives, adverbs, transition words, and so on, depending on how complicated you want to make your assertive sentence.
Note that the verb can be in any tense.
A great way to understand the meaning of an assertive sentence is to understand the meaning of the word ‘assertive’ itself.
So let’s study the definition of the word. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘assertive’ as “disposed to or characterized by bold or confident statements and behavior”.
Note the keywords here: ‘bold’, ‘confident’, ‘statement’. Can you see how this meaning can be transferred to the meaning of an assertive sentence? This type of sentence should therefore convey confidence, and it should make a statement.
Now let’s illustrate by providing you with some examples of assertive sentences.
Note the difference in length between these sentences. Some are very simple, containing just a few words, and others are very long.
Did you know there are two types of assertive sentences in the English language? That’s right. These are affirmative assertive sentences and negative assertive sentences.
Let’s begin with negative assertive sentences. These are statements that express denial, disagreement, or refusal, or even that something is not present or does not exist. This type of sentence is characterized by negation words such as:
Or negation in verbs such as:
And so on.
An affirmative assertive sentence, as you may have guessed, is the opposite. It’s a statement that is positive. It could be used to show agreement or to state something true. Or at least, true to the speaker.
Now if you’re still a little confused about what an assertive sentence is, this could very well be because, with them being the most common type of sentence in the English language, it’s hard to see how all sentences aren’t assertive sentences.
So we thought we’d list the other types of sentences here, and give you some examples, so you can see how they differ - not only from assertive sentences but from one another.
Interrogative sentences, quite simply, pose a question. For this reason, you’ll usually see a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence.
To build an interrogative sentence, you’d usually invert the subject and verb order that you’d normally find in the structure of a typical statement sentence. So for instance, if an assertive sentence reads:
Nina is a friendly person.
Then the interrogative sentence would read:
Is Nina a friendly person?
Here are some more examples or interrogative sentences:
Imperative sentences, also known as commands, tend to give an instruction or orders to someone. You might use this type of sentence to give someone directions to a particular location, to get Alexa to play a song for you, or to train your dog.
Muhammad Ali famously said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count”. This is a great example of an imperative sentence.
Here are more examples of imperative sentences:
An exclamatory sentence’s purpose is to exclaim, which means to share information enthusiastically. There are strong emotions attached to an exclamatory sentence. You can usually recognize one in writing because of its punctuation, as it will usually end with an exclamation mark. Spoken, it will sound enthusiastic and possibly spoken louder than one usually would.
Here are some examples, so you’ll know what an exclamatory sentence resembles:
Does this help clarify the meaning of an assertive sentence, and how to use one? We certainly hope so.
To conclude, assertive sentences are very efficient for clear communication. They should not be confused with other types of sentences.
It’s also the most common sentence type in the English language, meaning you can safely use it in most situations.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to get assertive!