Semantics is studied for a number of different reasons but perhaps one of the main reasons could be:
“If we view Semantics as the study of meaning then it becomes central to the study of communication which in turn is an important factor in how society is organised.”
The aim of semantics is to discover why meaning is more complex than simply the words formed in a sentence. Semantics will ask questions such as:
For example consider the following sentences:
(1) a) Regina is an only child.
b) Regina’s sister is called Martha.
Without any knowledge about semantics intuitively we know that only one of these sentences can be correct, despite the fact grammatically they both make perfect sense.
Studying semantics will allow us to explain why only one of these sentences can be true.
Further Semantic Examples
Structural ambiguity can also give reason for the importance of Semantic research.
‘The chicken is ready to eat'
This sentence can be an example of structural ambiguity as there are a ranger of interpretation on what this sentence means.
(2) a. It could mean the chicken (itself) is hungry and so is ready to eat
b. the chicken is ready to be served and ate by something else.
Studying semantics will allow us to explain what it is exactly about the headline which is confusing and why readers could be lead to believe there are two possible meanings.
History of Semantics
As Semantics is a long standing topic of discussion, there has been a constant change of the meanings and interpretations words hold over time.
There are various circumstances for how a lexical item can change in meaning
 Leech, G., (1981). Semantics: The Study of Meaning, 2nd edition. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
 About.com: Grammar & Composition (2013) (online) Available at:
 About.com: Grammar & Composition (2013) Amelioration. (online) Available at:
 About.com: Grammar & Composition (2013) Pejoration. (online) Available at:
 About.com: Grammar & Composition (2013) Broadening. (online) Available at:
 About.com: Grammar & Composition (2013) Semantic Narrowing. (online) Available at:
 About.com: Grammar & Compostion (2013) Semantic Bleaching (online) Available at: