syntax

One of the hardest things about learning a new language is figuring out the syntax, or the basic rules for the way that words and phrases should be arranged in a sentence in order for it to make sense.

Syntax isn't necessarily something you think about when you're speaking, but the order of words in a sentence can make a huge difference to its meaning. If you aren't convinced, try telling a waiter that you'd like "a slice of dessert for cake." And then, as the waiter stands there looking confused, try explaining that you don't think "important is very syntax."

Definitions of syntax
  1. noun
    the study of the rules for forming admissible sentences
    see moresee less
    types:
    generative grammar
    (linguistics) a type of grammar that describes syntax in terms of a set of logical rules that can generate all and only the infinite number of grammatical sentences in a language and assigns them all the correct structural description
    type of:
    grammar
    the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology (and sometimes also deals with semantics)
  2. noun
    the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
    synonyms: phrase structure, sentence structure
    see moresee less
    type of:
    structure
    the complex composition of knowledge as elements and their combinations
  3. noun
    a systematic orderly arrangement
    see moresee less
    type of:
    scheme, system
    a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week