Grammar vs Syntax: Find Definition, Examples & Differences


Writing and spelling words correctly is the key to personal and career success. It plays an important role in building your reputation and credibility in front of others.

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced in verbal or written communication, this question might have puzzled you – “is there a difference between grammar & syntax”.

In this article, I will explain to you whether grammar and syntax are the same or are different. In the last, I will reveal you a free and amazing tool which will help you communicate more effectively.

First, let us understand their basic definition.

Definition of grammar

As per Wikipedia,

Grammar is a plethora of rules and regulations which tell us how to use the composition of words, clauses, and phrases to form a sentence in any language. It can also be considered as research or study to form such rules. This includes morphology, phonology, syntax, phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.

From the definition of grammar, it is very clear that syntax is one part of grammar. Other parts are morphology, phonology, semantics, pragmatics, etc.

So, What is syntax?

Syntax is a field of Linguistics that involves the study and analysis of the construction of sentences. It is the set of all rules, principles, and theory which help in the structure of sentences in any language.

Still confused?

Learn some more difference between syntax and grammar using the table below:

Grammar is a plethora of rules and regulations which tell us how to use the composition of words, clauses, and phrases to form a sentence in any language.Syntax is a subset of grammar. It tells you how to arrange the different words to form a meaningful sentence.
Grammar includes phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.Syntax falls under grammar.
It has to do with the internal economy of words.It has to do with the external economy of words.
Grammar is more like (pedantically) defining the objective aspect of sentence-structureSyntax defines the philosophical aspect of grammar.
Grammar rules every aspect of sentencesSyntax doesn’t
Grammar is a normative/prescriptive approach to languageSyntax is a linguistic discipline, hence it tries very hard not to be normative or prescriptive.

Let us understand the difference between grammar and syntax in detail

Syntax is a subset of grammar. It tells you how to arrange the different words to form a meaningful sentence.

For example, consider the following sentence.

  • John hard works.
  • John works hard.

Both sentences have the same words but the first one carries no meaning. The only difference between the two is the order i.e syntax.

The order of words depends upon the types of sentences.

  • Statement/Declarative Sentence: “John works hard.”
  • Question/Interrogative Sentence: “Does John work hard?”
  • Exclamation/Exclamatory Sentence: “How hardworking John is!”
  • Command / Imperative Sentence: “John, try to do hard work.”

Using the above example, it is easy to understand the role of syntax. We can say that syntax has to do with the external economy of words. Word order or structure of a sentence is an essential component of syntax.

difference between grammar and syntax in detail

Whereas, grammar has to do with the internal economy of words.

It deals with everything like part of speech along with syntax. It is a set of rules that describe how the structure of language is actually used.

For different languages, grammar and syntax rules are different. For example, English follows the SVO (subject, verb, and object) pattern. Whereas, Hindi, generally, follows Subject – Object – Verb (SOV) order.

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Thanks for reading. If you know more such tools to improve your writing skills, mention them in comments. Also, suggest whether you were able to learn the difference between grammar and syntax or not.

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