A sentence has different functions.
A declarative sentence makes a statement. If offers information.
An interrogative sentence asks a question. It seeks information.
An exclamatory sentence expresses an emotion, usually a strong emotion.
An imperative sentence gives a command. It tells someone to do something.
- The couple huddles together in the cold weather, wrapped in a single blanket, shivering, but waiting eagerly for the bus to take them to the board meeting.
- The public board meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the county courthouse to discuss the change in regulations regarding the use of county equipment.
- Nobody would be allowed to use any form of county equipment, including pencils and paperclips, without express permission from a county commissioner who has served on the board for at least six months.
- The new regulation is intended to protect county property and save the taxpayer money.
- Only the future will determine its success.
- Who is allowed to attend the meeting?
- What time did you read that the meeting begins?
- When will they discuss the change in regulations?
- Where will the meeting take place?
- Why are they proposing this new regulation?
- How do they intend to enforce it?
Negative tags follow positive sentences. Positive tags follow negative sentences.
- This new regulation is a little extreme, isn’t it?
- Board meetings always begin at 7:00 pm, don’t they?
- They can’t do that, can they?
- They don’t really care about paper clips, do they?
- It will work, won’t it?
- Will the public board meeting begin at 7:00 pm?
- Does the new regulation include pencils and pens?
- Has the new regulation been approved yet?
- Can it be enforced?
- Will it work?
- This new regulation includes pencils and paper clips?
- Board meetings always begin a 7:00 p.m.?
- They can do that?
- Paper clips matter?
- He hit me!
- Don’t do that!
- I have told you a million times not to hit people!
- The sky is falling!
If they appear to be questions of doubt, the interrobang (“?!” or “!?”) is gaining favor in occasional informal dialogue. Most readers will not expect to see it.
- The county commissioners are instigating a new policy to protect pencils and paper clips?!
- The sky is falling?!
- Make your bed.
- Hit a home run!
- Bring me that book from the top shelf, the brown one with the bookmark.
- I would like you to round up the cows in the north pasture before dark.
- I want you to take this message to the captain.
- You really ought to read The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.