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What is syntax?

Syntax is the way words are put together in a language to form phrases, clauses, or sentences. The syntax of a language can be divided into two parts: 1) syntactic classes such as: noun, verb, and adjective; and 2) syntactic functions, such as: subject and object. Syntax is the set of natural rules or patterns that govern how units conveying messages (i.e., words and word parts such as prefixes) are combined in a language to form meaningful sentences. The syntax of a sentence is actually a hierarchy and the analysis of a sentence's syntax is concerned with: 1) the ordering of the grammatical sequences within phrases; 2) agreement between concomitant entities (i.e., agreement of number and gender between subject and verb, noun and pronoun), and 3) case as mandated by the position and function of words within the sentence. English is a syntactic language, i.e., it uses word order to indicate word relationships. Inflected languages, such as Greek and Latin, use word endings and other inflections to indicate relationships.

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