We learn to form sentences at the very beginning of our school life. Sentences are the key to expressing our thoughts and giving meaning to words. Without sentences, grammar would be incomplete.
Sentences are formed by joining two or more words. That’s the basic formula. However, sentences are of different types. Different sentences have their own purposes and are used in variant ways. Interrogative sentences is one of the type.
When we state an independent clause that we learned in our kindergarten, we call it a simple sentence. But interrogative sentence is different. Although it can be simple in nature, its purpose is not to the state but to ask questions.
So, let us get into a detailed discussion with some examples to understand interrogative sentences and their usage.
What is an interrogative sentence?
An interrogative sentence is a type of sentence that we use to ask direct questions about something or someone. These are sentences that help gather information about a particular something by interrogating, as the name suggests.
Interrogative sentences are not only used to ask questions about something unknown. They are also used to clear confusion and help engage in deeper conversations with others. It is amongst the basic types of sentences that are very important in writing and speech. In a simple sense, we can say these types of sentences are the same as questions. They can be used in different ways.
Let us look at some examples;
- What are you doing with your bag?
- What is the national bird of Canada?
- Shall I proceed further?
- To whom shall I pass the pen?
- What type of flower is this?
These are some examples that interrogate something or someone to get proper answers.
Use of interrogative sentences
Interrogative sentences basically ask questions. And these sentences are incomplete without question (?) marks. It is because they never state anything or declare anything. Instead, they interrogate. And hence, they are different from declarative or assertive sentences.
Now, interrogative sentences can be formed like any other sentence. There needs to be a verb and a subject. But the questions can be formed in different ways. Such as;
Open-ended questions: Here, we need a verb and a subject. But since we ask questions in interrogative sentences, we do not use the subject first. We use a verb that precedes the subject to interrogate concerning that. And in an open-ended interrogative sentence, we put question words at the beginning such as what, who, whom, where, etc.
Where is the largest mall?
And sometimes, the question word itself can act as an unknown subject. In such cases, we make use of who, whom, whose, etc.
Whose notebook is this?
Close-ended questions: These are sentences that basically ask for a “yes” or “no” as an answer. They are used with helping verbs, and they do not intend to receive any detailed information.
Are you sleeping?
These are all direct questions present in interrogative sentences. It is important to realize that indirect questions are not interrogative sentences. Interrogative sentences only ask direct questions that look for an answer. Indirect questions are more like declarative sentences that indicate a question asked previously. For example;
He asked me if I wanted to dance.
So we see interrogative sentences can be easily understood. However, do not confuse them with other concepts.