Chapter 4

Syntax

4.1 PRELIMINARY

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:

syntax:
(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
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exercises x
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xviii
  • A Brief Note on the Text xx
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Parts of Speech 21
  • Chapter 3 - Inflections 64
  • Chapter 4 - Syntax 77
  • Chapter 5 - Parts of Speech (Advanced) 88
  • Chapter 6 - Punctuation 119
  • Chapter 7 - Finale 132
  • Appendix I 169
  • Appendix II 186
  • Appendix III 193
  • Index 195
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