The word “syntax” means the careful arrangement, order, and assembling together of words. A sentence represents an example of syntax in the same way that a sentence also represents a complete sentence. When your professor writes “Syntax” on your paper, the professor is calling attention to the fact that the arrangement of the elements of the sentence causes confusion.
Even though you are working with just one sentence, you must adopt the same methodology you use when creating more than one sentence. In other words, throughout your analysis, you will create multiple sentences to illustrate the sequence of the author’s work. You may construct up to five total sentences. However, when it comes to one sentence with a syntax problem, you still have to understand the chronology of the story. If one thing comes before another, then you have to convey this within the sentence.
As you construct the one sentence, think about what has happened first, then second, and last. Create the sentence with chronology in mind, without using these words, but by placing the elements within their respective places. In other words, don’t place something that happens last in the first position within a sentence.
For example, if Jane walks the dog, goes to the store, and later goes home, don’t place Jane goes home as the first element. By implication we know that Jane has left the house to walk the dog; and we also know by implication that Jane comes back or returns home. We don’t need the words first, second, and third. By using these words, you may have to construct three sentences, but it is unnecessary to do so when the sentence is simple. In essence, always think about each element in a sentence, its relationship to other elements, and its place in the sentence.
For an extended explanation, see the comment “Sequence.”
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.