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Sentence types

German has five different types of sentences:

Declarative sentence Er geht weg.
Interrogative sentence  Geht er weg? Wann geht er weg?
Imperative sentence Geh weg!
Exclamatory sentence Endlich geht er weg!
Optative sentence Wenn er doch bald wegginge! 

This classification is based on the form of a sentence and on the meaning it has in a text or conversation.

However, a certain meaning can be expressed by more than one form. In a text or a conversation, a request or command cannot only be expressed by an imperative sentence. It is also possible to use a declarative or an interrogative sentence:

Example Formal sentence type  Meaning  
Geh weg! Imperative sentence command
Du gehst jetzt sofort weg! Declarative sentence command
Kannst du bitte weggehen!   Interrogative sentence  command 

When the meaning of a sentence corresponds to its formal type, we speak of a true sentence type. In this sense, only the first example Geh weg! is a true imperative sentence.

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