Grammar is such a broad topic and everyone is writing about it. Why? This is certainly not because it is an easy topic. The reason is its importance in everything written and spoken. This isn’t simply about a misspelled word or a typo. Syntax and word choice are often the most important and the most overlooked aspects of grammar.
What is syntax?
Merriam – Webster defines syntax as “the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, and sentences.” Surprisingly, or maybe not, syntax over the years changes. This helps give writing a distinct style to the time period in which it was written. However, some things over the years in syntax have not changed.
The Oxford Comma
The Oxford comma is one of the most debated grammar topics of the time period. In fact, comma use, in general, is up for debate. However, this is not the only punctuation war boiling. Commas, Semicolons, and colons have given way to shorter sentences in the recent generation. Did you know that British syntax still retains longer sentence structure compared to American syntax? So, it stands to reason that use of grammar and syntax varies by region in other parts of the world as well.
Syntax matters when choosing your words
Syntax comes into play when you are structuring your sentence. In many cases, picking a different word to avoid ending a sentence with a prepositional phrase is a must. Some incorrect syntax and structure are dealt with in these common phrases:
- Grow up
- Where did you go to?
- I am going out
- Are you going to be around
- Where is that at?
- Get in/out
- We went way up
The way one talks is not necessarily proper syntax. In my childhood, I was always hearing phrases such as:
- “It’s behind your at”
- “In what?”
- “Dangling your participle again? How quaint”
What are some commonly accepted phrases that you have heard over the years that don’t follow proper syntax? (Or interesting phrases to correction of bad grammar) Let me know in the comments!