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Explaining Declarative Sentences

When you come across the sentence "You are learning about declaratives," you are reading an example of a declarative sentence. However, do you thoroughly understand what declaratives are and why they are used? In this informative article, we will delve into the concept of declaratives as a type of speech act, their significance, as well as the various ways they can be formed.

Understanding Speech Acts

A speech act is a statement made with the intention of communicating effectively. Every time we speak, we are also performing an action - known as illocutionary acts. These acts can be divided into five categories: assertive, directive, commissive, expressive, and declarative.

Defining Declarative Speech Acts

According to Searle's classification, a declarative is a statement made by a speaker with the objective of bringing about a change in the situation. Declarations possess the power to alter the world, as demonstrated in examples like "I now pronounce you husband and wife."

There are two types of declarative acts: verdictives and effectives. As per Herbert Clark (1996), verdictives refer to judgments and decisions made in institutions based on the actions of the person being addressed. Effectives, on the other hand, refer to events that occur as a result of an utterance being made - for instance, being fired as a consequence of someone saying "You're fired".

Direct versus Indirect Declaratives

Consider the following example of a direct declarative sentence: "You opened a book." This sentence conveys straightforward information and is easily understood. However, not all declaratives are direct - some can be presented as a request, such as in the sentence "You haven't done the dusting yet." In this case, the declarative is an indirect request.

Defining Declarative Sentences

A declarative sentence is a type of sentence that conveys information through a statement. It is the most commonly used sentence structure in the English language.

When to Use Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences are used when someone wants to state a fact, provide information, or explain something. They are always followed by a period and can be written in the past, present, or future tense. They can also be simple, compound, or complex sentences.

The Structure of Declarative Sentences

A declarative sentence always consists of a subject and a verb. The subject refers to the person or thing performing the action, while the verb can be a main verb, auxiliary verb, modal verb, or a combination of these. In the sentences "Jack is swimming," "I will write," and "She was laughing," the subject is highlighted in red and the verb phrase is highlighted in green.

However, not all declaratives are direct - some are indirect and may contain different types of objects and modifiers. Here are some examples of declarative sentences with direct objects:

  • David is drinking a beer.
  • Polly dislikes dogs.
  • She wants a pizza.
  • The dog is watching television.

These structures can also be presented in two different ways, for example: "Hannah gave a present to Betty" and "Hannah gave Betty a present".

Now that you have a clear understanding of declaratives, can you think of other examples? Challenge yourself by creating declarative sentences with different objects and modifiers.

The Structure of Declarative Sentences

A declarative sentence can be constructed in two main ways. The first way is by placing the subject, followed by the verb, and then the direct object. For example:

  • Jessicapassedan appletoHallie.
  • Andrewboughta watchfor Richard.
  • Sheoffersa drinktothe cat.

The second way is by placing the direct object first, followed by a preposition (such as 'to' or 'for'), and then an indirect object. For instance:

  • SubjectVerbDirect objectPrepositionIndirect object
  • Jessicapassedan appletoHallie.
  • Andrewboughta watchfor Richard.
  • Sheoffersa drinktothe cat.

Declarative sentences can also incorporate modifiers after the verb phrase, such as adverbials, to provide additional information about the verb.

Understanding Declarative Sentences: A Guide

A declarative sentence is a type of sentence that is used to make a statement or provide information in a direct manner. It is commonly used in written and spoken language, and is an important aspect of our daily communication.

In a declarative sentence, the verb phrase is placed after the subject, and an adverbial can be added to provide more information about the verb. For instance, "I am walking slowly," "Mary was sleeping in her bed," "George reads quickly," and "My dog was waiting in the car" are all examples of declarative sentences with adverbials.

Another way to form a declarative sentence is by adding the adverbial after the direct object. For example, "Betty is holding an egg carefully," "My cat bites the mouse viciously," "I place a pillow on my bed," and "He will eat his dinner in an hour" are all valid declarative sentences with adverbials placed after the direct object.

In some cases, the direct object or adverbial can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. For example, "He will eat in an hour" and "He will eat his dinner" are both grammatically correct declarative sentences.

Complements, unlike objects and adverbials, are essential for the sentence to convey a complete meaning. They serve to complete the statement and provide important information. For instance, "The food was delicious," "The car is red," "My homework is boring," and "I will start first" all have complements that are necessary for the sentences to make sense.

It is important to note that removing the complement from a declarative sentence would result in an incomplete statement. For example, "The food was" is not a grammatically correct declarative sentence.

Key Takeaways

  • Declarative sentences are used to make statements or provide information directly.
  • Adverbials can be placed after the verb, direct object, or both in a declarative sentence.
  • Complements are necessary for a declarative sentence to convey a complete meaning.
  • The minimum requirements for a declarative sentence are a subject and a verb.

Reference: H. Clark. Using language. 1996.

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