Syntax is one of the core areas of linguistic research, and is the study of how words are ordered in human language. What rules are necessary to describe a particular language, and how can these rules differ across languages?

To use the formal OED definition: Syntax is concerned with ‘the set of rules and principles in a language’, which relate to how ‘words and phrases are arranged to create well-formed sentences.’ (Oxford English Dictionary: 2015)

This section of the website is here to offer you an insight into some of the most common structural processes that occur. In addition to this, information will be provided on how syntax relates to other areas of linguistics, like language acquisition and language change, and also how it applies to daily life, in areas ranging all the way from politics to law. If at any point you feel unsure about any terminology used throughout your progression of the following pages, please follow the links to the glossary page, where even the most complex of terms are defined.