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What is Syntax?
Presented by Mrs. Mary Acevedo, M.Ed., TESOL

GRAMMAR: the study of language structure
3 components of gra...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.




Syntax has a predictable, rulegoverne...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.
Syntax rules for the English language inclu...
Syntax: the rules that determine how words
combine into phrases and sentences.

(Rule 7 continued) Adjectives and adverbs ...
Syntax – Implications for Instruction
ESL learners from certain native
languages will have a hard time writing
English sen...
Syntax – Implications for Instruction
English language learners have a hard time differentiating
between in, on, and at, s...
Syntax – Implications for Instruction
Students need to learn how to fix awkward
and cumbersome word order. The goal is to
...
Syntax – Implications for Instruction
ESL students need to learn the
various rules governing commas.








Use a com...
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What is Syntax?

This Power Point presentation defines syntax and describes seven syntax rules for the English Language. The Presentation also discusses four issues English Language Learners find so difficult when it comes to learning and acquiring ESL.

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What is Syntax?

  1. 1. What is Syntax? Presented by Mrs. Mary Acevedo, M.Ed., TESOL GRAMMAR: the study of language structure 3 components of grammar: phonology, syntax and morphology Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences.
  2. 2. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences.   Syntax has a predictable, rulegoverned order. Every language has different syntax, so explicit discussion is helpful.
  3. 3. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 1. A sentence must contain a subject and a verb, and the order of those two parts of speech must be subject-verb (S-V).   The subject can be a noun or a subject or indefinite pronoun. John loves Susan. The subject may be a “dummy” subject, but a subject must be in the sentence. It is hot today!
  4. 4. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 2. Subjects and verbs must agree (match) in number.  For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be in singular form.   Singular: He drives too fast. He is driving too fast. He was driving too fast. He is going to drive too fast. He has driven too fast for too many years now. Plural: They drive too fast. They are driving too fast. They were driving too fast. They are going to drive too fast. They have driven too fast for too many years now.
  5. 5. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 3. Verb tenses must be consistent throughout the paragraph and/or document.  Do not switch between tenses.   Incorrect: Anthony and Kadeem listened to Hip-hop music and practice their dance moves. Correct: Anthony and Kadeem listened to Hip-hop music and practiced their dance moves.
  6. 6. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 4. A sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with one of these punctuation marks:    Period (.) for a declarative statement or an imperative (command) sentence. Question mark (?) for an interrogative sentence (question). Exclamation point (!) for a statement with extreme emotion, either positive (excitement) or negative (anger).
  7. 7. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 5. Articles are used with nouns.   A and an describe singular nouns; the may be used for singular or plural nouns. When introducing a singular noun for the first time, always use a or an. In follow-up sentences, use the.  This is normally because the first usage introduces the general topic and the follow-up sentences become more specific.   A school should be a happy, safe place for children. The school my brother goes to is a perfect example. A lizard is a reptile. The gliding lizard has rib extensions that allow it to fly.
  8. 8. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 6. Prepositions are words used only with nouns or pronouns to form a phrase. Prepositions are important for meaning; they show the relationship between the nouns in the sentence. Notice the difference in meaning caused only by the choice of preposition:  My pencil is under my book.  My pencil is in my book.
  9. 9. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. Syntax rules for the English language include: 7. Adjectives and adverbs can be used in the base form, in the comparative form, or in the superlative form.   The base form of the adjective is used to describe one noun. The base form of the adverb is used to describe one verb, adjective, or other adverb. The comparative is used to compare two. The number of syllables in the base form is important.    One syllable – add –er suffix Two syllables – use “more … than” The superlative is used to compare three or more. Again, the number of syllables is important.   One syllable – add –est suffix Two syllables – use “the most … of all”
  10. 10. Syntax: the rules that determine how words combine into phrases and sentences. (Rule 7 continued) Adjectives and adverbs can be used in the base form, in the comparative form, or in the superlative form. ADJEC TIVES ADV ERBS 1 SYLLABLE 2 SYLLABLES 1 SYLLABLE 2 SYLLABLES BASE FORM She is a nice girl. The daisy is a beautiful flower. I will type it soon. The Post Office sends mail quickly. COMPARATIVE Julie is nicer than that girl is. The rose is more beautiful than the daisy is. I will type the letter sooner than I will call you. UPS sends mail more quickly than the Post Office. Charlene is the nicest girl of all. The lily is the most beautiful flower of all. The soonest I can type it is 1:00. Fedex sends mail the most quickly of all the companies. FORM SUPERLATIVE FORM
  11. 11. Syntax – Implications for Instruction ESL learners from certain native languages will have a hard time writing English sentences in subject-verb-object order (SVO), so teach it!    English = SVO: Jack sees the book. Korean = SOV: Chung book see. Selayarese (Indonesian) = VOS: See the book Baso.
  12. 12. Syntax – Implications for Instruction English language learners have a hard time differentiating between in, on, and at, so teach them the difference!  In: used with general categories, or literally “in a container”      the bathroom the corner 1955 May On: touching the surface of something, or making some other type of contact; more specific than in      In In In In On On On On the bathroom counter the corner of Broadway and Main Main Street May 2, 1955 At: an exact point; even more specific than on    At the coffee shop on the corner of Broadway and Main At 6384 Main Street At 7:30PM on May 2, 1955
  13. 13. Syntax – Implications for Instruction Students need to learn how to fix awkward and cumbersome word order. The goal is to be precise and concise without sacrificing meaning.    Possessive forms: It is better to write my uncle’s house than to write the house of my uncle. Dummy subjects: It is better to write I wasn’t the only Republican. than to write It wasn’t only me as a Republican. French and Spanish are SVO, but adjectives follow nouns  Jose has a pen red. instead of Jose has a red pen.
  14. 14. Syntax – Implications for Instruction ESL students need to learn the various rules governing commas.     Use a comma after introductory words and phrases. Use a comma (or commas) to set off an appositive. Use a comma to separate two sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction. Don’t overuse commas; avoid comma splices.

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