Topic: Clause type

These resources look at different types of clauses which are typically used to perform different actions.

Clause types and discourse functions

Analysing declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamative clauses

In this activity we will look at text examples drawn from our corpus and think about the clause types used within the extracts (for example, declarative, imperative, interrogative or exclamative clauses).

Click on the interactive whiteboard icon (top right) and work through the following slides with students. Read each extract and analyse it by answering the accompanying questions. After each extract, there are some suggestions and pointers.

Clause types in context

Exploring how different clause types help to construct social meaning

The four clause types are a central part of English grammar. An understanding of declarative, imperative, interrogative and exclamative clause types can help students recognise how writers use these structures to create meaning in different ways, and can help them develop a better repertoire of structures in their own writing.

Clause types in context: Activity

You’re visiting a friend’s house. You’re in a cold room and the window is open. What can you say to each of the following to get the window shut?

  1. your friend
  2. your friend’s grandmother
  3. your friend’s annoying little brother

You’re carrying several boxes of DVDs and books. Then you drop one, spilling its contents all over the floor. You need help and there are people around who could be of assistance. What do you say to each of the following?

Politeness and directness

This task is about using verbs and modal verbs in different ways. We all know that people can be direct or indirect in the ways they phrase things. We often use imperative forms to give instructions, but sometimes these might be seen as too direct and blunt. We sometimes soften them with modal verbs, among other tools.

Politeness and directness: Activity

Try to make the following expressions less direct. Compose alternative sentences for each one.

  1. Shut the window.
  2. Tell me your name.
  3. Stop talking.

What changes did you make to render the expressions less direct? 

Now, make the following expressions more direct. Compose an alternative sentence for each example.

Word salads (primary)

In this lesson, students arrange words on the smart board in order to create acceptable sentences.

Goals

  • Use implicit grammatical knowledge to arrange word tiles on a smart board into sentences.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will arrange words to make sentences. All of the example sentences here have been drawn from our corpus.

Word salads (primary): Commands activity

Look
what
I
found
.

Enjoy
the
show
.

Word salads (primary): Questions activity

Have
you
seen
her
?

Can
you
tell
me
?

Word salads (primary): Statement activity

He
talked
to
people
.

I
saw
him
in
London
.

Y2 GPaS Test: Question, command, statement or exclamation

Work out the clause type of each example

Indicate whether each sentence is a question, command, exclamation or statement (punctuation has deliberately been left out):

Y6 GPaS Test: Question, command, statement or exclamation

Identify the type of clause below. The punctuation has been removed to make the answers less obvious.

Y6 GPaS Test: Question, command, statement or exclamation: Advanced

Identify the type of clause highlighted in each multi-clause sentence below.

The punctuation has been removed to make the answers less obvious.

Questions in spoken language

Spoken language is usually seen as being more interactive than written language. As speakers, we address each other directly (Hey guys), indicate our attention to each other (Mmm), and respond to each others’ comments (Really?, You didn’t!). These are all examples of interactive features.

Another interactive feature associated with spoken language is question–answer sequences. In this investigation we will explore this feature, using data from ICE-GB (our corpus, or database of real language).

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’:

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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