Declarative clause

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The declarative ( latin declaratio , announcement ',' Revelation '; also: declarative sentence , declarative sentence , declarative sentence , narrative sentence , Konstativsatz ) is next question sentence and call set one of three fundamental record types .

The declarative sentence in German

Declarative clauses are types of sentences that make an assertion , that is, make a statement that could be true or false; This can also be signaled explicitly through the additional use of expressions such as opinion, assert, state, say ... that

„Sie machte schnell die Tür zu.“
„Paul hat gestern nicht zu Mittag gegessen.“

Linguistic consideration

Outdated definition

Ross developed the term for transformational grammar in 1968 . The declarative sentence is thus a sentence which (in the deep structure ) depends on verbs of the saying (verbum dicendi) or perceptual verbs (verbum sentiendi) . So verbs like "be of opinion, assert, determine, say, etc."

„Ich bin der Meinung, dass etwas geschehen muss.“


In the period that followed, however, there were problems with Ross's definition. An unmarked utterance could be derived from an imaginary declarative clause by means of performative analysis from the deep structure.

„Die Preise fallen.“ ← „Ich sage dir (hiermit), (dass) die Preise fallen.“

Difficulties arose in the derivation of sentences such as:

„Kinder zu bekommen ist sozial.“ ← „Ich behaupte, dass Kinder zu bekommen sozial ist.“
„Chomskys Minimalismus ist radikal.“ ← „Ich behaupte, dass Chomskys Minimalismus radikal ist.“

Grewendorf and Fries, among others, rejected this derivation as inadequate.

In the meantime there seems to be an agreement on the redefinition, which amounts to defining the sentence mode declarative sentence as a sentence type

  • whose word order is identical to the normal word order of the language concerned (i.e. not marked )
  • and makes a statement (so the utterance is an assertive ).

The German language marks the declarative main clause by a combination of verb-second position (but occasionally also Verberststellung ) topicalization and verb form (ie mode ). Other languages ​​signal declarative clauses by means of intonation with rising and falling tones. Others (such as Welsh ) explicitly supplement (declarative) function words , which are only allowed in the main clause in sentence construction, but not in dependent or embedded clauses.

dt.: „Er kommt ja.“ – vs. – „Ich weiß, dass er ja kommt.“


  • Hans Altmann (Ed.): Intonation research. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1988, ISBN 3-484-30200-3 ( Linguistic Works 200).
  • Margareta Brandt, Marga Reis, Inger Rosengren, Ilse Zimmermann: sentence type, sentence mode and illocution. In: Inger Rosengren (Ed.): Sentence and Illocution. Volume 1. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1992, ISBN 3-484-30278-X , pp. 1-90 ( Linguistic Works 278).
  • Norbert Fries: Syntactic and semantic studies on the freely used infinitive and related phenomena in German. Narr, Tübingen 1983, ISBN 3-87808-821-3 ( Studies on German Grammar 21), (At the same time: Cologne, Univ., Diss., 1983).
  • Günther Grewendorf: Language without context. On the critique of performative analysis. In: Dieter Wunderlich (Ed.): Linguistic pragmatics. Athenaeum, Frankfurt am Main 1972, ISBN 3-7610-4712-6 , pp. 144-182 ( focus on linguistics and communication science 12).
  • Jörg Meibauer (Ed.): Sentence mode between grammar and pragmatics. Lectures on the occasion of the 8th annual conference of the German Society for Linguistics, Heidelberg 1986. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1987, ISBN 3-484-30180-5 ( linguistic work 180).
  • Olaf Önnerfors: Verb-first-declarative sentences. Grammar and pragmatics. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm 1997, ISBN 91-22-01741-0 ( Lunder German Research 60), (At the same time: Lund, Univ., Diss., 1997).
  • Wilhelm Oppenrieder: Of subjects, sentences and subject sentences. Investigations into the syntax of German. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1991, ISBN 3-484-30241-0 ( Linguistic Works 241), (At the same time: Munich, Univ., Diss., 1987/88).
  • John Robert Ross : On Declarative Sentences. In: Roderick A. Jacobs, Peter S. Rosenbaum (Ed.): Readings in English Transformational Grammar. Ginn and Co., Waltham MA et al. 1970, pp. 222-272.
  • Werner Zillig: Natural languages ​​and communicative norms . Tübingen 2003. § 12 Types of statements . P. 88ff.

Web links

Wiktionary: declarative clause  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Statements  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations