What is an Interrogative Sentence? Definition, Examples of Interrogatives

Interrogative sentence definition: An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question.

What is an Interrogative Sentence?

What is an interrogative? An interrogative sentence is one that asks a question. Interrogative sentences are punctuated with question marks.

Interrogative Sentence Examples:

  • What are you wearing?
  • Where are my keys?
  • Would you like some tea?
  • Did Sarah buy a present for the party?

Interrogative sentences will often begin with one of the following words.

Interrogative Words:

  • Do/Did
  • How
  • When
  • Where
  • What
  • Which
  • Who
  • Why

What is a interrogative or interogativeIf you see one of these words starting off a sentence, you are probably looking at an example of an interrogative sentence.

Outside Examples:

  • How many companies had Bill Gates started before he started Microsoft? Zero. How many phones had Steve Jobs created before he invented the iPhone? None. Did that stop them? No. –USA Today
  • When you can’t afford to pay your federal student loans, what should you do? Call your loan servicer and explain your predicament. –Chicago Tribune

Sentences With Indirect Questions

What is a interrogative sentenceWhat is an indirect question? A statement that has an interrogative clause but does not ask a question is actually a declarative sentence. These are statements, not questions.

Examples:

  • I wonder how that was built.
    • “how that was built” is an interrogative clause
    • the independent clause is “I wonder”
    • Therefore, this is a declarative statement.
  • He asked me why I called.
    • “why I called” is an interrogative clause
    • the independent clause is “He asked”
    • Therefore, this is a declarative statement.

Indirect questions can also be a part of interrogative sentences.

Examples:

  • Direct question: Where is city hall?
  • Indirect question: Could you please tell me where city hall is?
  • Direct question: What time is it?
  • Indirect question: Will you please tell me the time?

Subjects in Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative examples and question sentencesFinding the subject in an interrogative sentence can be difficult. However, there is a good general outline that should help you find the subject.

Identifying the subject in interrogative sentences:

  1. First, change the question to a declarative statement.
  2. Second, identify the main verb.
  3. Third, ask “who?” or “what?” followed by the verb.
  4. Whatever answers who or what is the subject.

Example sentences:

  • Do you want milk with your dinner?
    1. Declarative: You want milk with your dinner.
    2. Verb: want
    3. Who? or What?: You want
    4. Subject: you
  • May we buy a new toy?
    1. Declarative: We may buy a new toy.
    2. Verb (phrase): may buy
    3. Who? or What?: We may buy
    4. Subject: we

Other Sentence Types

Thus far, we have only talked about interrogative sentences. Now that you have seen a few examples of interrogative sentences, we can look briefly at the other sentences types in English.

Declarative Sentences

Interrogative questions and interrogative definitionWhat is a declarative sentence? A declarative sentence is a statement that makes a declaration. It does not ask, demand, or exclaim.

Facts are declarative sentences.

Examples:

  • Jared bought three oranges.
  • My dad wore a tie to work today.

Imperative Sentences

What is an imperative sentence? An imperative sentence is a statement that makes a command or gives a direction.

Examples:

  • Travel while you’re young.
  • Take a left at the sign.

Exclamatory Sentences

What is interrogative sentence exampleWhat is an exclamatory sentence? An exclamatory sentence is a statement that presents an exclamation.

Examples:

  • The party was awesome!
  • You are the best!

Summary: What are Interrogative Sentences?

Define interrogative sentence: the definition of interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question rather than making a statement.

In summary, an interrogative sentence:

  • asks a question
  • has a question mark for end punctuation
  • often begins with the words who, what, when, where, why