What is a good definition of syntax?I have looked it up online and can't find a straight forward answer.

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The universal definition is as follows:

A systematic, orderly arrangment.

The definition that applies to literature and grammar is as follows:

The rules and/or patterns used to form sentences in a language.

For example, English uses the pattern of subject, verb, direct object in the creation of sentences.  Change the order of the sentence and you change the meaning:  "Dog bites man" means a very different thing than "man bites dog".  However, in other languages, there are different rules governing sentence order.  In some languages, reversing the order would not reverse the meaning - it depends on the syntax of that language.

jescka | Student
  • The study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure are combined to form grammatical sentences.
  • A publication, such as a book, that presents such rules.
  • The pattern of formation of sentences or phrases in a language.
  • Such a pattern in a particular sentence or discourse.
  • Computer Science The rules governing the formation of statements in a programming language.
  • A systematic, orderly arrangement.


sanjiwan | Student

The way of teaching one ,how the words should be used to form meaningful sentence .