Chapter 4



The word syntax bothers a lot of people - including me, I might add! I find it slippery: it is difficult to pin down exactly what it means or can mean - an elusiveness confirmed when consulting The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:

(A) The arrangement of words (in their appropriate forms) by which their connection and relation in a sentence are shown Also, the constructional uses characteristic of an author.
(B) The department of grammar which deals with the established usages of grammatical construction and the rules deduced therefrom.

There is a fundamental difference between the two definitions. The first limits syntax to matters of word-relationship and word-order - a significant issue, certainly, but much narrower than B, which almost makes syntax synonymous with grammar itself.

It is definition A that governs the material here. The two previous chapters have already dealt with much that definition B encompasses, and there is further such material in the next chapter. This one looks at how words operate in groups - in phrases, clauses and various types of sentence - and how you can best arrange them to ensure the meaning required.


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The Good Grammar Guide


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