Commands and directions
We are all familiar with commands. Most of us first heard them from our parents. The grammatical term for this type of sentence is imperative.
Directions tell us how to complete a process. We write directions for everything from how to cook a steak to how to change oil in a car, from how to plan a wedding to how to get a divorce. Many sentences included in a set of directions will be imperative. The subject of an imperative sentence is understood to be the person receiving the direction: you.
Here is an example of a partial set of directions. The sentences are all imperative:
The second type of sentence is exclamatory. This sentence expresses strong feeling and may be only one or two words.
Imagine you are an actor on stage and read the following exclamatory sentences aloud with feeling. Listen for the change in your voice as the meaning changes:
Use exclamatory sentences sparingly. They are the equivalent of shouting. If someone shouts all the time, people stop paying attention. The same is true of sentences ending in exclamation points.
The third sentence type is the question. The grammatical name is interrogative. We learn these sentences early in our lives.
Here are some examples of interrogative sentences:
Before examining the fourth sentence type, let's take a look at the end punctuation for the first three and see how changing the end punctuation changes the meaning of the sentence. Take the word run.
Look at these one word sentences again. Say them aloud in a tone that fits the meaning.
Always choose punctuation that fits meaning.
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