Difference Between Syntax and Grammar

Languages are fun to learn. However, only those who can understand the Grammar and Syntax can easily write and speak any language in the correct sense. Many of us may think that the terms Grammar and Syntax are one and the same, however, there is a spring difference between the two.

Syntax vs Grammar

The main difference between Syntax and Grammar is that Syntax is a part of Grammar that mainly deals with putting together words in the proper sense, while Grammar is a set of rules that defines the grammatical structure of a language.

Syntax VS Grammar

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table Between Syntax and Grammar (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonSyntaxGrammar
MeaningSyntax deals with sentence structure only.Grammar is a group of rules setting forth the correct usage of language.
ScopeSyntax is mainly about the order of the words. Syntax does not include Grammar, hence it can be considered as having limited scope.Grammar includes Syntax and hence can be considered as having wide scope.
SubsetsSyntax does not have any further diversificationGrammar is further diversified into two types viz. Morphology and Syntax
Level of OperationSyntax operates at a micro level, that is, Syntax is all about word structuring or determining which word comes before and after another wordGrammar operates at a macro level, that is, Grammar is all about the correct structure of the overall language and not just focussing on words and sentences
CompositionSyntax is having a free and easy nature or in other words, can be considered as optional. Syntax does not tell anyone how to use any rules nor lays down any rules.Grammar is more authoritarian in nature. It lays down certain rules to be followed regarding the grammatical structure of language.
ApplicabilityMost people may not be aware of Syntax structures. Syntax is more of a deeper study which may be known to literature or language scholars.Most people will be aware of Grammar and rules related thereto. Grammar is something that is followed in daily use.
Order of PrecedenceSyntax is learned after studying GrammarGrammar is learned first before studying Syntax


What is Syntax?

Syntax is derived from the French term “sintaxe”. Syntax in simple meaning means arranging together. From a language perspective, Syntax can be considered as an arrangement of words.

Syntax is a part of Grammar. Syntax is how linguistic elements (such as words) are put together to form constituents (such as phrases or clauses). In other words, Syntax can be called a part of Grammar which specifically deals in structuring of words or sentences.

Syntax is all about words and how to arrange the words to create a perfect or well-organized sentence. Learning of Syntax is important to create well defined and structured sentences intended to convey the right meaning and perspective of the speaker or writer. Syntax is a linguistic discipline which studies the structure of a sentence.

Syntax is a subset of Grammar. In this sense, Syntax operates at a micro-level to understand and study a certain set of rules and principles for the formation of organized sentences. Syntax is often considered a point of concern in poetry. Syntax is also commonly elaborated concerning diction i.e. the choice of words of the poet.


What is Grammar?

Grammar means a certain group of rules or procedures that dictate how a language should be used (written/spoken) in the right sense. In simple terms, Grammar sets forth the ground law for creating right structured documents free of any construction errors in words or sentences. Grammar can be considered as a method to put the words in a way to create proper and organized sentences. Grammar lays down the rules of forming sentences.

Grammar is further subdivided into two categories. One is known as morphology and the other is known as Syntax. Morphology is mainly to do with  internal structure of words. Though the English language may not have that much morphology, other languages, especially certain European languages, have a lot of morphology in their languages. Syntax deals with the organization of words which includes ordering of words.

Grammar can be considered as having macro scope because it lays down the foundation and overall rules for the construction of sentences and words. Grammar can be known as a starting point for any person to learn to help write and speak in the desired language.

Grammar is a set of structural rules which dictates how to construct sentences, words, phrases in a language.Grammar can be regarded as something which puts forth a certain position or proposition. Further, Grammar also recommends certain approaches to be followed. The rules and Grammar vary from language to language. But at an overall level Grammar can be considered as prescriptive in nature.

Main Differences Between Syntax and Grammar

  1. Syntax deals with structuring of words or arrangement of words. Grammar deals with rules relating to overall sentence construction in a  language.
  2. Syntax does not include Grammar. Grammar includes Syntax.
  3. Syntax has limited scope. Grammar has wider scope.
  4. Syntax operates at a micro level i.e. only focuses on the arrangement of words. Grammar focuses on the macro level i.e. it deals with the rules regarding the construction of sentences, words, phrases.
  5. Syntax is not so common in daily usage. Grammar plays an important part in daily use.
  6. Syntax is optional. Grammar has a prescriptive approach.



Mastery over Syntax and Grammar is important if one wants to speak and write fluently in any language. Syntax and Grammar form an important and solid foundation for composing perfect sentences and structures. As Grammar includes Syntax, there may be a possibility in some cases that Syntax and Grammar may overlap due to the subtle difference between these two terms.

It is recommended that one should make it a point to master Syntax and Grammar of any language. The reason being mastering these aspects while studying a language can enable a person to construct clear and perfect sentences and words thereby leaving a lasting impression in the audience.


  1. https://hpsg.hu-berlin.de/~stefan/Pub/unifying-everything.pdf
  2. https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004368897/BP000005.xml
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