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.

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right of this page. On the Activity page, each slide presents a different situation and three potential audiences. Display each slide on the projector, one by one. The students' task – in groups or pairs – is to create three different responses to each situation, one using a declarative, one an interrogative and one an imperative clause.

We’ll go through the first slide together first:

Situation: 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

Remember, students need to use one of each of the declarative, imperative and interrogative clause types and they need to think about which ones might be most appropriate for the target audience.

Example responses:

  1. It’s cold in here. (declarative)
  2. Would you mind shutting the window, please? (interrogative)
  3. Be a good little boy and shut the window for us. (imperative)

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