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BBawlight's avatar

English homework help. What kind of sentence is this?

Asked by BBawlight (2400points) April 17th, 2012

I don’t know if this is either a declarative or exclamatory statement.
“What a disappointment for Peter Cooper”
Any help will be fine.
Note: Declarative makes a statement while exclamatory expresses strong feeling.

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16 Answers

Eggie's avatar

I believe it is an exclamatory statement.

CWOTUS's avatar

I would punctuate it with an exclamation point and call it an exclamatory sentence.

marinelife's avatar

Three for exclamatory!

Moegitto's avatar

Declarative, it ends with a period. Exclamatory ends with an exclamation.

Lucky i’m in school right now :P

SavoirFaire's avatar

It is an exclamatory sentence.

@Moegitto The sentence as written in the OP contains no terminal punctuation, so we don’t know if it ends with a period or an exclamation mark. It may be part of the assignment to figure out which kind of sentence it is and then punctuate appropriately.

If it were a declarative sentence, however, there would be some proposition—that is, some statement being put forth as true—that we could extract from it. As there is no such proposition in this case, we can be sure that it is an exclamatory sentence.

The sentence, after all, does not say what the disappointment is. It is a reaction to something. One could easily imagine an announcer at a baseball game watching a player make some blunder that loses his team the World Series saying “What a disappointment for Peter Cooper!”

BBawlight's avatar

@SavoirFaire Thank you, I was thinking just that. Part of the assignment was to find out what the punctuation was.

submariner's avatar

Short answer: Exclamatory is probably the answer the teacher wants.

Long answer: The question is poorly framed. The difference between an exclamatory sentence and an emphatic declarative sentence depends on the intentions of the speaker and the situation more than the words or syntax.

Another complicating factor is methodological: when we analyze language, do we only look at what is explicitly uttered, or do we take into account elements that are elided or taken for granted? In the example, “What a disappointment [that is] for Peter Cooper”, the subject and the verb are elided, but I would say they are still part of what is being said, i.e., it is a sentence and not a fragment.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@submariner A question is necessarily framed relative to a background of assumed knowledge. I could just as easily say that your answer is poorly framed because it ignores numerous issues in the philosophy of language concerning the relationship between grammatical form and logical form, and the ways in which grammatical function are determined more by the latter than the former. The question is surely framed well enough for a 13-year-old audience.

CWOTUS's avatar

For that matter, if it is up to the reader to punctuate, it could be an interrogative:

What, a disappointment for Peter Cooper?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@CWOTUS I’m guessing it’s only the ending punctuation that’s up for grabs, and that it’s a forced choice between declarative and exclamatory. That’s how the OP seems to present the question, at least.

submariner's avatar

@SavoirFaire I have ignored no such issues.

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SavoirFaire's avatar

@submariner I didn’t say that you ignored them; I said that your answer ignored them. It did so by omitting any discussion of them—which is completely understandable given that there are too many to discuss in one post. The point, then, is that your grounds for calling the teacher’s question poorly framed are equally good reasons for calling your response poorly framed. But your response is not poorly framed, so neither is the teacher’s question. It is, in fact, properly framed given that it is asked in a way appropriate for its intended audience.

dabbler's avatar

There is no verb. That is not a sentence! It’s incomplete.

BBawlight's avatar

Okay, I didn’t give any of you much detail on the context before the question. The book was talking about railroads. It said that Peter Cooper made a locomotive named the Tom Thumb. The train raced against a horse and lost due to an engine belt becoming loose. The question said “What a disappointment for Peter Cooper” saying that he must be disappointed.
I say exclamatory. It doesn’t make a blunt statement and it expresses a feeling through the word “disappointment”.
Thank you all for your answers,

Response moderated (Unhelpful)

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