English Composition


A sentence is the largest unit of grammar, usually containing a subject, a verb, an object, etc and expressing a statement, question or command:

Kinds of Sentences:

1. Assertive: An Assertive sentence is one that makes a statement or assertion. Such a sentence is also called an assertive sentence.  These are of two kinds-

a) Affirmative: An Affirmative sentence is one that expresses agreement, that is to say, it indicates ‘yes’:   E.g. He went to New York.

b)  Negative: A negative sentence is one that expresses denial or refusal, that is to say, it indicates ‘no’: E.g.  She is not a nurse or she isn’t a nurse.

2. Imperative: An imperative sentence is the verb form that expresses a command, request or advice:

E.g. please come in, Don’t Laugh, Let him play.

3. Interrogative: An interrogative sentence is one that is used for asking questions. The interrogative sentence can be affirmative and negative.

E.g. Am I not cute? , Does he pay well? , Who told you?

4. Exclamatory: An Exclamatory sentence is one that expresses sudden surprise, joy, pain or strong feeling:

E.g. Hurray! We have been successful, Alas! He expired.

5. Optative: An optative sentence is one that expresses wish:

                E.g. May our parents live long!

                      God save the world!

(The optative sentence is not new termed as one of the kinds of sentences, so there are chiefly four kinds of sentences only.)       


One kind of sentence or statement can be interchanged or transformed into another affirmative, negative and interrogative sentence in the way shown below:


1. The simple present third person with singular verb forms into negative with the construction of ‘does not’ {or doesn’t + infinitive (V1)}

   Affirmative: Tom works hard

   Negative: Tom does not work hard

   Affirmative:  She plays

  Negative: She does not play or she doesn’t play.

2. The simple present for all other persons singular or plural except third person singular has the construction ‘do not’ {or don’t or infinitive (V1)} in the negative.

 Affirmative: I go home

Negative: I do not go home or I don’t go home.

3. The simple past, for all persons singular and plural, has the construction ‘did not’ {or didn’t + infinitive (V1)}:

  Affirmative: We made a house

  Negative: We did not make a house or we didn’t make a house.

4. The negative of Tenses formed with auxiliaries has the construction auxiliary + not (or n’t) + infinitive (V1)

Affirmative: He is going.

Negative: He is not going or He isn’t going.

Affirmative: I have come

Negative: I have not come or I haven’t come.

 5. An auxiliary verb used as an ordinary (or main or action) verb takes not (or n’t) immediately after it:

   Affirmative: Rajesh is a doctor.

    Negative: Rajesh is not a doctor or Rajesh isn’t a doctor 

6.  When there are two negative expressions in the same sentence as in:

Nobody said nothing = (everybody/somebody said something)

The meaning comes affirmative because it has two negatives (nobody and nothing).For this reason never, no, no one, nothing, hardly, hardly ever etc are used with an affirmative verb:

 She didn’t say anything  ———-    She said nothing

He doesn’t ever laugh  ————-   He never laughs

I haven’t met anyone ————–   I’ve met no one

7.  no (adjective) is placed before a noun but not not(adverb):

E.g. I have no umbrella.

8. The Affirmative can be changed into the negative by changing a word. Thus we can change:

Always or ever            into     never

Some                           into       no

Anyone/everyone     into     no one

Somebody/anybody into     nobody

And so                         into    and neither

Either…..or                 into    neither…..nor

As……..as                    into    not so…….as

Already                       into    not yet

Somewhere               into    no where

Any of                         into     none of

Too                            into      not + ….either

Must                        into     need not

A lot of                   into    not many/not much

 Affirmative: Either you or he is guilty.

Negative: Neither you nor he is guilty.

Affirmative: Any of the children cried.

Negative: None of the children cried.

Affirmative: His Cap is as fine as mine.

Negative: His cap is not so fine as mine.


The Affirmative sentence can be changed into the interrogative sentence in the ways described below.

1. When the main verb is in the simple present third person singular, we take out the ‘s’ or ‘es’ from the infinitive and put Does before the subject to make the construction does + subject + infinitive(V1)?

   Affirmative: He goes to School

  Interrogative: Does he go to school?

  Affirmative: Robert eats an apple.

Interrogative: Does Robert eat an apple?

For other persons singular and plural except third person singular we have the construction do + subject + infinitive (V1)? :

Affirmative: Boys like sweets.

Interrogative: Do boys like sweets?

2. When the main verb is in the simple past, we take out the d or ed from the verb and make it the infinitive (V1) and put did before the subject for all persons singular and plural to get the construction did + subject + infinitive (V1)? :

Affirmative:  I/We/You/He/She/It/They arrived yesterday.

Interrogative: Did I/we/you/he/she/it/they arrive yesterday?

3. If there is an auxiliary verb accompanied by a main verb we pick up the auxiliary first and then put the subject to make the construction auxiliary + subject + infinitive (V1)? :

Affirmative: They are coming.

Interrogative: Are they coming?

Affirmative: You could help me.

Interrogative: Could you help me?

4. Certain words in the affirmative become entirely different in the interrogative.

   Some   into   any

  Already   into    yet

  Always    into    ever

 a lot of     into     many

Affirmative: She has always wept.

Interrogative: Has he ever wept?

Affirmative: He sold a lot of rice.

Interrogative: Did he sell much rice?        


The negative sentences can be changed into the Negative interrogative with the combination of auxiliary + subject + not + infinitive (V1)? Or auxiliary + n’t + subject + infinitive (V1)? :

Interrogative: Does he sleep?

Negative interrogative: Does he not sleep? / Doesn’t he sleep?

Interrogative: Did you go?

Negative interrogative: Did you not go? / Didn’t you go?


     An imperative sentence in the Affirmative can be changed in the Negative in the ways mentioned below.

1. The verb used for the second person subject (you understood but not mentioned) is precisely by do not (or don’t) + infinitive (V1) in the negative.

Imperative (affirmative): Go.

Imperative (negative): Do not go   or Don’t go.

2. The first person imperative form let us (or let’s) + infinitive (without to) becomes let us + not+ infinitive (V1) and let’s + not + infinitive (V1) in the negative.

Imperative (affirmative): Let’s play soccer.

Imperative (negative): Let’s not play soccer.

3. The third person imperative from let him/her/it/them (or me) + infinitive (without to) takes not just before the infinitive in the negative:

  Imperative (affirmative): Let them go home.

 Imperative (negative): Let them not go home.

In present day English, the following forms are considered more usual.

 Affirmative: They had better go home.

Negative: They had better not go home.

Affirmative: They must go home.

Negative: They mustn’t go home.


Transform the sentences as indicated:

1. They brought something yesterday. (Into negative)

2. You needn’t work now. (Into affirmative)

  3. The hunter killed a deer. (Into interrogative)

 4. There’s not anybody living here. (Into affirmative)

5. He teaches Sanskrit. (Into negative)

6. Have you ever been to London? (Into negative)

7. Neither of the girls will dance. (Into affirmative)

8. He has stolen her purse. (Into interrogative)

9. They don’t have to go there now. (Into negative)

10. We did not find the food in the hotel very good. (Into affirmative).