Difference Between Grammar and Syntax

Main Difference – Grammar vs Syntax

Grammar and Syntax are two overlapping disciplines that deal with the construction of words, phrases and sentences in a language. Since both syntax and grammar deal with rules and structures of language, many people assume that grammar and syntax refer to the same concept. However, this assumption is not true; there is a marked difference between grammar and syntax. Syntax is a field of linguistics that studies the structure of a sentence whereas grammar is a set of structural rules that dictates the construction of sentences, clauses, phrases and words in a language. This is the main difference between grammar and syntax.Difference Between Grammar and Syntax - infographic

What is Syntax

Syntax is a field of linguistics that studies the structure of a sentence. Syntax refers to the arrangement of words and phrases used to create well-formed sentences in a language. It studies the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in any language. The meaning of a sentence can depend on its structure. For example, look at the two sentence below.

Example 1:

Cried she sad because was she.

Example 2:

She cried because she was sad.

If you look carefully at both examples, you’ll notice that both of them contain the same words. But, the first sentence has no meaning. The only difference between the two examples is the order of the words. Therefore, the word order is a major element in a sentence. Word order or structure of a sentence is a major component in syntax.

Any sentence can be divided into two major parts known as subject and predicate. Syntax typically studies sentences that have a clear inner division between subject and predicate. Words and phrases in a language can be classified according to their function within a sentence. These syntactical classes of words are called parts of speech.

Main Difference - Grammar vs Syntax

NP=Noun Phrase, VP= Verb Phrase,PP=Prepositional Phrase, N=Noun, V= Verb, D=Determiner

What is Grammar

Grammar is a set of structural rules that dictates the construction of sentences, clauses, phrases and words in a language. It studies classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence. Orthography (spellings), accidence (inflections of words), and syntax (the structure of sentences) all fall under the category of grammar.

Grammar can be either descriptive or perspective. Perspective grammar prescribes or stipulates how the structure of language should be used by the people whereas descriptive grammar describes how the structure of language is actually used the speakers and writers.

The grammar rules and structures vary according to different languages. For example, English follows the subject, verb, object pattern whereas Hindi follows subject, object, verb pattern.

Difference Between Grammar and Syntax

Difference Between Grammar and Syntax

Definition

Grammar is a set of structural rules that dictates the construction of sentences, clauses, phrases and words in a language.

Syntax is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in any language.

Content

Grammar is about the rules and structures governing the construction of sentences, clauses, phrases and words.

Syntax is mainly about the order of words in a sentence.

Areas

Grammar includes orthography, accidence, morphology, and syntax.

Syntax falls under grammar.

Usage

Grammar is a more general term used in everyday use.

Syntax is a discipline of linguistics.

Image Courtesy:

“Basic Syntax Tree” By FlordeFuego – Own work, via

“Image 2″ (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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