Grammar vs Syntax vs Semantics
Written language is a set of meaningful sentences. We know that grammar is the set of rules that governs the formation of sentences. These sentences should be meaningful and valid. The aspects of language that govern the validity of sentences are semantics and syntax. Many students of English language remain confused between these features of the language. This article takes a closer look at semantics, syntax, and grammar to come up with their differences.
Semantics pertains to the meaning of words and sentences. It is a branch of linguistics that studies meaning. Even if syntax and grammar are correct and according to rules, a sentence may have no meaning. In conversation, semantics is used to itself mean meaning of a concept or a word. Take a look at the following example.
• Semantics refers to the meaning which could be denotation, connotation, extension, or intention.
• I do not want to go into the semantics of the term used in the rule book.
Syntax is the art and science of arranging words in a sentence in a meaningful manner. Syntax deals with the structure of sentences. One cannot just place words in any order to make a meaningful sentence. There are certain rules for making sentences with the help of words and these rules are called syntax. It is a form of grammar of a language that is concerned with the order of words in sentences.
The spoken and written forms of language are governed by certain rules that make the expression systematic, consistent, and meaningful for the users of the language. Of course, there is no need to study grammar to speak a language as even illiterate individuals can speak a language very well. After all, kids start to speak even before they get to know what grammar is. However, to write in a meaningful and coherent manner, it is absolutely necessary to be aware of the rules of grammar of a language. But to learn a language that is not your mother tongue, you need to master its grammar to be able to read and write in a proficient manner. Semantics and syntax are just parts of the larger field called grammar that also includes punctuation and spelling.
What is the difference between Semantics, Syntax and Grammar?
• Semantics is the branch of language that deals with meanings of words and sentences.
• Syntax is the branch of grammar that deals with the order of words in sentences to make meaningful and valid sentences.
• Grammar is the set of rules that govern the spoken or written form of a language.
• Syntax and semantics are parts of grammar.