Declarative Sentences: What Are Declarative Sentences? Definition and Examples

By Carly Forsaith, updated on September 7, 2023

Did you know that you use declarative sentences all the time? It's true; even if you don't realize it, your writing is filled with them. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about them and how to use them in your writing.

In short:

  • A declarative sentence is one that makes a simple statement about a fact, opinion, request, or information.

This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.

What Is a Declarative Sentence?

So, what exactly is a declarative sentence? If you use them all the time, you ought to know what they look like, how to make them, and when they can be used. Let's dive in.

Definition of a Declarative Sentence

Declarative sentences cover a broad range of uses. You can use them to state an opinion, share a fact, request information, make an observation, explain something, and the list goes on.

Of all four sentence types, assertive sentences are the most used, probably due to their flexibility. They are the default sentence type. If your sentence isn't asking a question, exclaiming, or giving a command, it's probably a declarative sentence.

The other three are:

  • imperative
  • interrogative
  • exclamatory

Also called assertive sentences, they always end with a period, which is one of the ways you can tell them apart from the other types of sentences (more on that later).

You'll find declarative sentences in books, papers, reports, or essays.

How to Make Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences can be any length or level of complexity, as we'll find out later when we look at sentence structure types. Just like any sentence, at the very least, they must contain a subject and a predicate. Your most simple declarative sentence will be structured as such:

[subject] + [predicate] + [object]

For example:

I like cake.

But a more complex one might also contain modifiers, conjunctions, adverbs, prepositions, and all manner of other parts of speech.

For example:

I really like eating chocolate cake for breakfast. 

What Does 'Declarative' Mean?

We can better understand the function of declarative sentences by looking at the meaning of the word 'declarative.'

This adjective comes from the verb 'declare,' which means, according to the Cambridge Dictionary:

  • to announce something clearly, firmly, publicly, or officially

Note from this definition that a declaration is made with confidence. Declarative sentences are not aggressive or passive; they're often relatively neutral. But they convey a strong attitude and tone.

Examples of Declarative Sentences

Now we've covered the basics, let's take a look at some examples of declarative sentences:

I've never been to New Jersey.

We're going to have lunch in the cafeteria.

Your home is beautiful.

I don't know where John is.

That exam was very difficult.

Types of Declarative Sentences

Now, we've covered the meaning of declarative sentences, and you've seen some examples of what that looks like. Let's look at the different types of declarative sentences that you can make.

Sentence Structure

There are four types of sentence structure, all of which can take on any function, whether declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, or imperative. Of course, in this article, we'll just be looking at the declarative sentence function.

Simple sentences are the first type of sentence structure and, as the name implies, the most simple. They're made of just one independent clause and need only one subject and one predicate. If there is more than one clause, it's no longer a simple sentence.

Here's an example of a simple declarative sentence:

I went to the store and bought some apples.

Next in line are compound sentences. These comprise two independent clauses joined together with a semicolon or a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction.

Here's an example of each format:

I went to the store to buy some apples, but it was closed.

I went to the store to buy some apples; it was closed.

Then, you have complex sentences, which are made up of one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. A dependent clause can't stand alone because it doesn't convey a complete thought. That's why it needs to be attached to an independent clause.

You can use subordinating conjunctions (after, before, since, while, as, etc.) to join a dependent clause to an independent one.

Here's an example of a declarative complex sentence:

I'll go to the store while you wash the dishes.

Finally, compound-complex sentences have at least two independent clauses and one dependent clause. They look a little something like this:

I went to the store to buy some apples, but it was closed since it was already 10pm.

Negative Sentences

Declarative sentences can also be negative. 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:

  • ever
  • anybody
  • anyone
  • anything
  • anywhere
  • instead of
  • never
  • nobody
  • no one
  • nothing
  • nowhere

Or negation in verbs such as:

  • don't
  • didn't
  • can't
  • wouldn't
  • won't
  • will not
  • and so on

Here are some examples of negative declarative sentences:

You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

She's never tried skydiving because she doesn't like heights.

These aren't the right batteries; they don't fit.

Other Types of Sentences

While this article focuses on teaching you about declarative sentences, I thought it would also be worthwhile to give you a short introduction to the other sentence types. Plus, it's helpful to see what declarative sentences are not, considering they are so common.

If you want to learn about those in more depth, you can click on the link to a longer article in each section.

Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences ask a question. You can use interrogative sentences to request absolutely any type of information.

You can use them to:

  • request information
  • introduce a topic
  • make a persuasive point (rhetorical questions)

They end with a question mark and can be closed or open.

Here are some examples:

What would you like to do on Saturday?

Shall we move on to the next section where we will discuss alternative solutions? 

Who wouldn't want to be a millionaire?

Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences express a command.

You can use them to:

  • Give your dog commands
  • Request something
  • Make to-do lists
  • Extend invitations
  • Give warnings
  • Give instructions

They end with a period or, sometimes, an exclamation mark. They can be extremely short or relatively long. The shortest possible sentence is imperative because you don't have to mention the subject; it's implied. You jump straight into the predicate, starting with the verb itself.

NOTE: It's the only type of sentence in English grammar that doesn't require a subject. 

Here are some examples:

We request your presence at our wedding reception.

Don't sit so close to me.

Pass me the salt, please.

Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences express a reaction or strong emotion to something and always end with an exclamation point. You can use them to express emotions and feelings such as surprise, pain, anger, disgust, or disbelief.

Exclamatory sentences are very similar to declarative ones. The difference is just that an exclamatory sentence also conveys some emotion through its use of an exclamation point.

Here are some examples of exclamatory sentences:

I can't believe it's already Monday!

What a delicious meal!

He still hasn't returned the book he borrowed!

Concluding Thoughts on Declarative Sentences

That concludes this article on declarative sentences. I hope you found it helpful and feel you now understand clearly what they are, how to make them, and when to use them.

Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • Declarative sentences allow you to make confident statements and share facts and opinions.
  • It's one of four sentence types, the other four being interrogative, imperative and exclamatory.
  • You can make simple, compound, complex and compound-complex declarative sentences.
  • Declarative sentences can also be negative.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our Grammar Book, which contains many more articles like this one. And they're all free!

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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