Last updated 2023-03-11 03:50:45

What Is Syntax?

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The meaning of a sentence relies on getting the grammar right, this is true for programming languages [→] as well.

Syntax is a word that refers to the rules that govern the correct combination of symbols that may be used to produce a correctly written program in any programming language.

However, computers are quite particular about how people order their grammar or syntax. Programmers communicate meaningful instructions to computers by using the right syntax.

Use cases and Examples

To elaborate, we'll define syntax as a set of keywords and characters that a computer can read, understand, and turn into jobs that it knows it needs to accomplish.

Consider syntax to be a drive-through at a fast-food restaurant. You obtain what you desire if you perform a few basic things in the exact correct order.

You must speak into the microphone, pay at the first window, then pick up your food at the second window. It must be done in that sequence. You can't pay where you place the order or get your meal where you're meant to pay. Having this sequence in place also allows you to obtain what you want faster and with fewer discussions. Likewise, with computers, we need to provide the correct order of syntax to make any command get executed.

There are occasions when we do get the order right and the computer understands our request, but the outcome might not be what we expected. In this case, your syntax is good but your semantics is not.


Programming syntax contains string-like words, much like a human language. Correctly formed syntax strings produce syntactically correct sentences within a specified programming language.

Syntax is the basic structure of a programming language. It is one of the things you will have to learn for any particular language in other to write meaningful programs in them.

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