Syntax is a word from the Greek meaning, “arranged together,” nearly “composed,” id est, “put together,” but not quite, for the words have been put but not yet arranged in greater structures to acquire and deliver greater meaning. “Syn” is a Greek preposition and adverbial prefix meaning, “with” or “together,” and, “tax,” is from the Greek verb, “tasso,” meaning, “to arrange.”

Syntax in Grammar thus means the arranging together of words, so as to make more meaning or sense out of them.

To be meaningful Grammar must be put in a way that conveys meaning. The semantical difference between the English sentences, “dog bites man,” and, “man bites dog,” is great; yet in Grammar it is only the swapping of the subject and object. Because the Grammar conveys meaning, no matter how silly it sounds, the grammatical difference, though small, produces great semantical difference, for the subject has changed, and the predicate has changed, and, so, the meaning has changed.

To give deep and real meaning to text (music included) is the mark of a great composer, wordsmith, genius. It is the use of syntax and syntactical relationships that can really draw out emotional depth in the listener and reader. Confer the words of “Joe Bloggs” trying hard to get back with his girlfriend, “Don’t falsely tell me I don’t have a heart,” with Shakespeare’s sonnet 109, “O, never say that I was false of heart,” etc. The incredible love in Shakespeare’s sonnet (to his woman) is not just the meanings of the words, themselves, but the way those words are put together in phrases and sentences to really draw out the depths of the words and the phrases and the sentences and the poem more than the individual meaning of the words. That’s composition! And that’s syntax!

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