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Anne Sloan

on 29 January 2014

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Transcript of Syntax

In other words, syntax is sentence structure.
Syntax includes these important elements:
• Sentence parts
• Word order
• Sentence length
• Punctuation
Syntax-Just the Basics, for now...
Syntax is the way words are arranged in sentences.
Expert writers understand how our language is put together. They learn about language and experiment
with the way we express ideas.
You need to understand basic sentence vocabulary: subject, verb, clause, phrase, and fragment.
The subject is the part of a sentence that expresses what the sentence is about.
The verb is the part of a sentence that expresses action or connects the subject with the other words in the sentence.
A clause is a group of related words that has a subject and a verb.
A phrase is a group of related words that has no subject or verb.
You have probably been told never to use sentence fragments in your writing.

That's certainly true in very formal writing, but expert writers know how to use sentence fragments and often do.
The normal word order in English is to have the subject first, then the verb and other details.
The sentence above are both in the normal order of the English sentence.
But word order is a little more complicated than that. Look at how changing word order changes the
While word order in English is pretty inflexible, there is room to change things around.

Expert writers sometimes do this for special effect or for emphasis.
Am I ever happy about my report card!
Pizza I want-not soup.
The first sentence reverses the order of the subject and the verb. In other words, the verb (am) comes before the subject (I). The second sentence puts the detail (pizza-what I want) in front of the subject and verb (l want). Putting the words of these sentences in an unusual order catches the reader's attention and emphasizes the ideas.
is another important part of syntax study. Sentences come in all shapes and sizes from one word (Help!) to very long and complicated sentences.

It helps us understand the written word.

In speech, we pause and use expression in our voices and on our faces to help the listener understand us.

Writing has to depend on punctuation.

Punctuation helps us fine-tune language and say what we really want to say.

A SEMICOLON joins two or more clauses when there is no connecting word (and, but, or)
A COLON tells the reader that something important will follow
EX: He is my best friend: he helps me through hard times and celebrates good times with me.
A DASH marks a sudden change in thought or sets off a summary.
EX: John-my best friend-lives right down the street.
ITALICS are used to talk about a word as a word or for emphasis

At its best, a sentence fragment is used for emphasis, to point out the importance of an idea,
The fragment really wild makes the reader stop and think.
Sentence fragments are powerful in writing, but only if you do not overuse them.
It is OK to write a sentence fragment for emphasis, but don't fill your writing with them. Overuse reduces effectiveness. That's a good general rule for syntax.
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