Functions of Sentences – Get to Know the Functions of a Sentence

Functions of sentences

Functions of Sentences

Functions of sentences.. Various functions of sentences will be outlined on this page. Sentences can also be categoriesed according to the functions they perform.  These include

  1. Statement or declarative sentence which is used to state a fact, an assertion or hypothesis. E.g I am an undergraduate Okonkwo is fifty hears old.
  2. Imperative sentences are used to give commands or forbid an action from being carried, out. E.g Don’t shout You must leave my house now.
  3. Interrogative sentences are used to ask questions. Eg. Are you tried?
  4. Exclamatory Sentences are used to show surprise express emotion or excitement. E.g Is n’t that baby lovely! God save mel

Apart from the structural and functional varieties discussed above, a writer can also use stylistic variation. That Is, he can deliberately rearrange the parts of a sentence to achieve* a desired effect. These stylistic variations Include:

  1. Periodic Sentence: Stating the qualifying phrases or clauses while keeping the main statement until the end. E.g As soon as the lorries that conveyed the police began to arrive, the rioters abandoned their placards and look to their hills.
  2. Loose Sentence: Stating the main clause before qualifying phrases or clauses. E.g The rioters took to their hills abandoning their placards as soon as the lorries that conveyed the police began to arrive.
  3. Parenthetical Expression: When structures that appear as side remarks are Injected into a loose or periodic construction. In order to achieve precision and clarity. They should be used with caution because they interrupt the flow of meaning and may result in errors of agreement. E.g It is not possible for the translator and here I mean the human translator – to arrive at an exactly X = Y equivalence between two languages.
  4. Variation of Sentence length is also a good stylistic technique. For instance, a series of long sentences could be varied with a short sentence for dramatic effect. The addition of   a long sentence to series of short sentences for instance will change the tempo of the movement of Ideas in the essay.
  5. Parallel Structure: Two or more parts of the sentence can be given a similar form so that the whole has a definite pattern. E.g It is not as If I don’t love you, nor as If I don’t appreciate your worth, nor as If I don’t know that you love me too.

Agreement and Modification pose problems of usage In writing. The following are some of the rules of agreement.

  1. Pronoun must agree in number with its antecedent. Thus a singular pronoun should be used to replace a singular antecedent. E.g “Tie boys wore their shoes.
  2. Two or more singular subjects joined by or nor must be referred to by singular pronouns while those joined by and must take plural pronouns.
  3. Collective nouns – words identifying a group – take singular pronouns, unless when used to identify individual members of the group. E.g The team has lost its chance some members of the team have left
  4. Some Indefinite pronouns (like each, every, everyone, nobody either, neither one, anyone, anybody, someone and somebody) take singular forms; while others like (both, many, several, few) require plural forms. Yet, others like most, some, all, none, any and more maybe either singular or plural. Usually a phrase following the indefinite pronoun will reveal the form it will take.
  5. There should also be agreement in gender. A masculine gender, for Instance, takes a masculine pronoun. A feminine gender also takes a feminine form. The same goes for the nenter gender. However, whose is used for the masculine, feminine and neuter genders. E.g This Is the house whose lock was broken
  6. In a sentence containing both a positive and a negative subject, the verb agrees with the positive. E.g The boys, not the girls, were asked to sing.
  7. When two subjects are joined by with, as well as, together with, not only but, neither nor, the verb takes the form of the first subject. E.g John as well as the wife was here the boys as well as the girl are here.
  8. The number of the verb in a sentence is also determined by the noun that is closest to it Eg. Neither of the students have come to school Either you or I am wrong
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This is called concord of attraction or proximity.

Modifiers have been defined as words phrases or clauses either adjective or adverb that limit or restrict words hi the sentence.   Careless   construction and placement of’ these modifiers may cause such problems as:

  1. Dangling Modifiers: Phrases that occur when the word the phrase should modify is hidden within the sentence or is missing. Eg. Holding the bat tightly, the ball was hit by the boy

Correction: Holding the bat tightly, the boy hit the ball.

  1. Dangling elliptical Clauses: If the understood subject of the elliptical clause is not the same as the subject of the sentence. Eg. After changing the gear the car still would not accelerate.

Correction: After the driver changed the gear, the car still would not accelerate.


We have come to the conclusion of functions of sentences. Stay tuned for our next article. You can like and share to friends and family menbers

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