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English Syntax: a brief tutorial

Why do we care about syntax?

Syntax is the study of the patterns that govern the way words combine to form phrases and phrases combine to form sentences.  The sentence is an essential unit of meaning. Language interventionists need to have the tools syntax provides to analyze the structure and function of the sentence, to target aspects that need remediation, and to plan remediation that is consistent with cognitive and linguistic science.

Form

Form refers to a word’s grammatical category independent of its role in a sentence, often called ‘parts of speech.’  We have eight ‘parts of speech’ in English.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parts_of_speech

Eight ‘traditional’ parts of speech:

 noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, determiner, conjunction, preposition

 

Function

Function refers to the role of a word or group of words in relation to the role it plays in a phrase, clause or sentence

Subject                       

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject_%28grammar%29

Verb                            

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verb

Object:                 a) direct object                          b) indirect object

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirect_object#Forms_of_object

Complements:        a)  object complement                b) subject complement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complement_%28linguistics%29#Object_complements

Adverbials:            a) adverbial complement             b) adverbial

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverbial

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complement_%28linguistics%29#Object_complements

 

References

Jacobs, R.A. (1995) English Syntax: A grammar of English language professionals.

Justice, L.M. and Ezell, H. K.  (2002) The Syntax Handbook: Everything you learned about syntax but forgot. Eau Claire: Thinking Publications.

Master, (1995) Systems in English Grammar.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Moats, L. C. (2010) Speech to Print., Ed. 2 Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishers.

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