- "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."(Linguist Noam Chomsky created this sentence—which is grammatically correct but incomprehensible—to demonstrate that the rules governing syntax are distinct from the meanings words convey.)
- Chomsky on Syntax
"Syntax is the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages. Syntactic investigation of a given language has as its goal the construction of a grammar that can be viewed as a device of some sort for producing the sentences of the language under analysis."
(Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures, 1971)
- Burgess on Syntax
"And the words slide into the slots ordained by syntax, and glitter as with atmospheric dust with those impurities which we call meaning. . . .
"It is syntax that gives the words the power to relate to each other in a sequence . . . to carry meaning—of whatever kind—as well as glow individually in just the right place."
(Anthony Burgess, Enderby Outside, 1968)
(William Cobbett, A Grammar of the English Language in a Series of Letters: Intended for the Use of Schools and of Young Persons in General, but More Especially for the Use of Soldiers, Sailors, Apprentices, and Plough-Boys, 1818)