Full Thread: Is this wrong?
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Old September 27th, 2013 #25
Alex Linder
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,431
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder

Originally Posted by M.N. Dalvez View Post
I want to take this opportunity to point out the difference between grammar, which governs the use of words and phrases and clauses (and the relationship between them), and syntax, which governs sentence structure and meaning.

For example: a sentence can be grammatically correct, but if the meaning which is given by the sentence is different to the intended meaning, that's more than likely due to a syntactical error or (on the part of the reader) a lack of understanding of a syntactical feature in a given language.

Syntax is also a massive category, which governs many, many different features of language use.
The art lies in the syntax. Whatever idea you want to get across, there are 1,000 ways to phrase it. If there weren't I wouldn't have gone into writing because it wouldn't interest me.

The ideas I communicated in that sentence could have been put a different way. Could have been put ten different ways. You choose the words and the order of the words in order best to produce the effect you're trying achieve in the reader.

You've heard people say "music was better back then." You've heard that many times.

Now you see that same idea, but with a change. A change pregnant with meaning.

I feel I music was better back then.

What is that second I doing in there? If it's not a mistake, what does the writer mean by that?

Then you SEE. You THINK. It's not really hard to grasp, in this case, what he means by that, once you realize it's intentional.

Oh... hmm... interesting...

Then your next thought would be, well, when is my favorite music from. And then you realize it was stuff you listened to when you were, say, 16-20. So what he says is true in your case. What about others? Are they like you and me and the writer? Or do you find a lot of people whose favorite music is from before 1900?

Don't most people like the music of the period in their life in which they listened to music the most? Wouldn't that be high school and college with most people?

So there it is. We have an idea, true or untrue, or merely thought-provoking, delivered artistically, not merely communicatively, whether the art is at the level of fingerpainting or Carnegie Hall violining.

See...this is the shit that interests me a lot more than politics, which is 99% boring and obvious.