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syntax ( n. ) A traditional term for the study of the rules governing the way words are combined to form sentences in a language. In this use, syntax is opposed to morphology, the study of word structure. An alternative definition (avoiding the concept of ‘word’) is the study of the interrelationships between elements of sentence structure, and of the rules governing the arrangement of sentences in sequences.
Crystal, David (2003) A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics . 5th Edition. Oxford: Blackwell
In a restricted sense (the traditional sense in linguistics, and the usual popular interpretation of the term), grammar refers to a level of structural organization which can be studied independently of phonology and semantics, and generally divided into the branches of syntax and morphology. In this sense, grammar is the study of the way words, and their component parts, combine to form sentences. It is to be contrasted with a general conception of the subject, where grammar is seen as the entire system of structural relationships in a language, as in such titles as stratificational grammar, systemic grammar and (especially) generative grammar. Here, ‘grammar’ subsumes phonology and semantics as well as syntax, traditionally regarded as separate linguistic levels.
This book is meant as an introduction to the sentence structure of English. [p. xi]
[…] grammar is not a very clear term, since some people use it to mean the same as ‘syntax’, and others take it to refer both to syntax and morphology. There are those who even use grammar to mean the whole system of language — namely, all the sounds, words and possible sentences. It is therefore more accurate to say that this book is about the syntax of English. It is, however, virtually impossible to study syntax without also considering at least morphology and semantics; so these fields will also play some part in the book. [p. 14]
Börjars, Kersti & Kate Burridge (2001) Introducing English Grammar . London: Arnold.
The concept of structure is fundamental to the study of syntax. But it is a very general concept that can be applied to any complex thing, whether it be a bicycle, a commercial company, or a carbon molecule. When we say of a thing that it is complex we mean, not that it is complicated (though of course it may be), but that
it is divisible into parts (called constituents),
there are different kinds of parts (different categories of constituents),
the constituents are arranged in a specifiable way,
that each constituent has a certain specifiable function in the structure of the thing as a whole.
When anything can be analysed in this way, we say that it has structure. And in considering structure it is important to note that, more often than not, the constituents of a complex thing are themselves complex. In other words, the parts themselves consist of parts which may in turn consist of further parts. When this is so we may speak of a hierarchical structure.
Burton-Roberts, Noel (1997) Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax. 2nd Edition. London: Longman. (p. 7)