Glossary: exclamative clause


This is a clause type which starts with an exclamative phrase containing what or how, and is typically used to make an exclamation. Examples are What a fuss he made! and How tall she is! The exclamative phrase comes first, so there is a special word order (compare with the usual order in He made a big fuss or She is very tall). Please note that having an exclamation mark after a clause is not enough to turn it into an exclamative clause (defined as a pattern with what or how), so the following sentence is not an exclamative clause, but a declarative clause, despite the exclamation mark: This is a wonderful event! We see in this last example that it's perfectly fine to add an exclamation mark after clauses that do not have what or how in them; it's just that they are not exclamative clauses, because these are defined as particular structural patterns. See also: declarative clause, imperative clause, interrogative clause.

Clause types: statements, questions, commands and exclamations

The National Curriculum recognises four clause types (also called ‘sentence types’ ). They are usually used to ‘do different things’. These are statements, questions, commands and exclamations.

Each clause type has its own typical pattern (i.e. word order).

In statements, the Subject comes in its typical position before the verb. Here are some examples:


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