noun \ˈsin-ˌtaks\

linguistics : the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences

Full Definition of SYNTAX

a :  the way in which linguistic elements (as words) are put together to form constituents (as phrases or clauses)
b :  the part of grammar dealing with this
:  a connected or orderly system :  harmonious arrangement of parts or elements <the syntax of classical architecture>
:  syntactics especially as dealing with the formal properties of languages or calculi

Examples of SYNTAX

  1. I saw that she a cookie ate is an example of incorrect syntax.
  2. Everyone has good days and bad days. Her syntax is sometimes a world unto itself. But George H.W. Bush occasionally sounded as though English were more foe than friend, and he was an astute president who managed complexity with skill and balance. —Jon Meacham, Newsweek, 13 Oct. 2008

Origin of SYNTAX

Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French sintaxe, from Late Latin syntaxis, from Greek, from syntassein to arrange together, from syn- + tassein to arrange
First Known Use: 1574

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Arrangement of words in sentences, clauses, and phrases, and the study of the formation of sentences and the relationship of their component parts. In English, the main device for showing this relationship is word order; for example, “The boy loves his dog” follows standard subject-verb-object word order, and switching the order of such a sentence would change the meaning or make the sentence meaningless. Word order is much more flexible in languages such as Latin, in which word endings indicate the case of a noun or adjective; such inflections make it unnecessary to rely on word order to indicate a word's function in the sentence.


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