Sentence types

Students need to recognise that different types of punctuation, including full stops, question marks and exclamation marks, signal sentences that make statements, ask questions, express emotion or give commands. The activities below reference the quality teaching model.

Activity 1 – modelled

Introduce students to the sentence types through role-playing. Use content from a current topic to make up 4 sentences. Ask 4 students to read a sentence each, using expression and relevant actions.

  • Preserving water is important for our survival. (statement)
  • Don't waste water. (command)
  • Is water important? (question)
  • What a fantastic way to recycle water! (exclamation)

Examine the grammatical structures of a command with the students, for example, subject-verb order, subject (you) that is understood (not stated).

Tell students that meaning is conveyed in speech not only through what we say (spoken words), but also through facial expression, vocal intonation, tone and body movements.

In writing, different writing markers are used. These writing markers include:

  • the use of punctuation
  • expressive speaking verbs.

Encourage the development of these understandings through talking and listening and writing.

Activity 2 – exploring metalanguage

Determine what students know about sentences by asking probing questions.

Write a simple sentence on the board. Students have to work out what the sentence says. Model the grammatical changes necessary to alter the statement into a command and a question. Write the sentences on the board using the punctuation markers. Students identify what was the same and what was different about the sentences.


Students work in pairs. One student reads their narrative to the other student. The second student devises a number of questions to ask about the narrative. Support the pairs as they work on developing questions around the texts.

The students answer the questions their buddy has asked.

Discuss with the class how the questions helped to build the information about their narratives.

Independent – hot seating – exploring deep understanding

Write three topics that have been developed from the narratives on the white board, for example:

  • dragons
  • lost
  • swimming in summer.

Nominate 4 students for the hot seats. These four students randomly choose a chair to sit on, not knowing its label (exclamation, command, statement or question). Alternatively, distribute cards with sentence type labels according to each student's instructional need. For example, give the question card to a student whose language focus is forming questions.

Choose a class member to nominate a topic.

Each student in the hot seat, having looked at the label, must then give the type of response matching the label on the chair that the student is sitting on, for example, an exclamation.

  • an exclamation about dragons: I see a dragon!
  • a question about dragons: Are you sure it is a dragon?
  • a statement about dragons: It is a big dragon.
  • a command about dragons: Catch that dragon!

Determine a time (depending on the ability of the students) in which students have to answer or they lose their hot seat. They then nominate a replacement student.

Activity 3

A. Copy out the sentences below and write beside them what type of sentence they are – statement, exclamation, question, command.

  1. Have you been swimming?
  2. Go and get the work bags.
  3. Oh no!
  4. The boy was running.
  5. He went to the shops.
  6. Can you think of another sentence.
  7. I don't believe it!
  8. Put your chairs on the table.

Students choose any two of the sentences and illustrate them as the image above (using each type of sentence).

B. Students look through a book they are currently reading. Find 3 examples of each sentence type and record on a table.

Sentence type Example 1 Example 2 Example 3

C. Students can work in pairs. Together they identify the different types of sentences in the passage below and underline each type of sentence using different colours. Create a key which shows which colour stands for which type of sentence.

Jamie went out to play. 'Stop!' called his mum, 'Make sure you don't get dirty.' Jamie went to the park. He saw his best friend, Bob. 'Hello', said Bob, 'Do you want to play football?' Jamie and Bob kicked the ball around the parl. Jamie slipped over. 'Oh no!' said Jamie. What a mess! Jamie had mud all over his new jeans. How would he get them clean again?

D. Change these sentences into a different type of sentence.

  1. Get the ruler.
  2. Do dogs eat cornflakes?
  3. I've been an idiot!
  4. I am going to the shops.
  5. Can you pass me the ruler?
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