Examples of Syntax?


Syntax is the body of rules that govern sentence structure and formation in a language. A sentence is usually defined as a grammatical unit that is composed of one or more clauses that expresses a thought. It also may be composed of elliptical constructions, a single word or short phrase that has meaning within a given context.

Syntax primarily deals with phrases, their structure and how they are assembled together. The basic building block phrases are noun phrases, which have a noun as a head word, and verb phrases, which have a verb as a head word. These may contain adjectival and adverbial units and prepositional phrases, as well as dependent, subordinate phrases.

Here is an example sentence:
'The clever young girl adeptly tripped the burglar in the hallway before he could turn on the light.'

The noun phrase is 'the clever young girl,' while the verb phrase is 'adeptly tripped the burglar'. The adjectival unit is contained within the noun phrase 'clever young'. The adverbial unit is contained within the verb phrase 'adeptly'. The prepositional phrase is 'in the hallway'. The subordinate clause is 'before he could turn on the light'.
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