Declarative sentences typically present statements, but they may also present command. Moreover, some interrogatives can have the “force” of a declarative. A declarative sentence always contains a subject and a predicate. The word order in a declarative depends on whether it is a main clause or a subordinate clause.
Most informative texts which are descriptive in nature, contain very few direct questions or commands. Therefore you will find mainly declaratives in an informative text. A text like the one below reports on an issue in Dutch prisons. The entire text consists of declaratives.
De vakbonden van gevangenispersoneel hebben harde acties aangekondigd tegen het plan van de minister van Justitie om meerdere gevangenen in een cel op te sluiten. De cipiers denken dat hun werk veel gevaarlijker wordt als er meer dan één gedetineerde in een cel zit. Ze eisen meer veiligheidsmaatregelen en hebben om een overleg met de minister gevraagd.
The prison staff unions have announced tough actions against the plan by Justice Secretary to put more than several prisoners in one cell. The prison officers think that their work will become much more dangerous if there is more than one inmate to a cell. They demand more safety measures and have requested a consultative meeting with the minister.
Even though this text reports on demands (look at the verb eisen) and on questions/requests (see the verb vragen om), it does not give the exact demand or question in speech marks. The text only contains reported speech, not direct speech. It does not say: Ze eisen: “Geef ons meer veiligheidsmaatregelen!” or: Ze vroegen: “Mogen wij een overleg met de minister?”.
A declarative sentence always contains a subject and a predicate. The word order on a declarative depends on whether it is a main clause or a subordinate clause. In a main clause the finite verb always occurs in second position and any other verbal element occurs towards the end. In the examples above the subject occurs in the first position of the clause. However, it is quite normal in Dutch for another element to occur in first position, as in the example below, which starts with and adverb of time. The next place for the subject to occur is then immediately after the finite verb. This effect is called inversion (it is as if the order of subject and finite verb is turned around).
Morgenavond eten we pannenkoeken.
Tomorrow evening we are eating pancakes.
In a subordinate clause all verbal elements occur towards the end.
Some sentences that are interrogative in form, have the (pragmatic) effect of a declarative: even if they do not have the structure of a declarative, they still have the impact of one. The so-called rhetorical question is good example. A rhetorical question is a question which does not require (or expect) an answer. Even though it is a question in form, it is declarative in nature, because it presents a statement rather than a question. For example:
Hoe haal je het in je hoofd?
What were you thinking of? (= You have done a stupid thing.)
Heb ik het je niet gezegd?
Didn’t I tell you? (= I told you so! / You should have listened to me.)
Some of these rhetorical questions are actually visually presented as statements by placing an exclamation mark instead of a question mark at the end of the sentence:
Hoe haal je het in je hoofd!
Heb ik het je niet gezegd!
Declarative sentences with the modal verb moeten in the second person actually have imperative “force” because they express a command or an obligation:
Je moet naar de winkel lopen.
You must/should walk to the shop.