Syntax is the grammatical tool that deals with how sentences are put together and the relationship between words. It is a very methodical and logical sequence, ensuring that sentences are put together using subject, verb and object and that the words in the sentence all have agreement, so that the correct forms of words are used.
Without syntax to structure the language, it would simply be a string of words that makes no sense.
For example, correct syntax would state that, “The boy loves to eat sweets”. This follows the syntax of subject, verb, object and agreement. Without syntax, we could simply write, “Sweets loves to eat the boy”. These are the same words, but they have a totally different meaning. Yet we have a clue that something in that sentence is not right. The correct writing of that concept would be, ‘Sweets love to eat the boy”. “Sweets loves” is not correct syntax, so it highlights that something is wrong. Moreover, there can be no agreement in this sentence, because sweets are actually an inanimate object, so they cannot ‘perform’ a verb.
Even if you don’t think that you understand syntax and its rules, simply reading “Sweets loves to eat the boy” should trigger some alarm bells that all is not well and that there is something wrong. So people can understand syntax even if they don’t think they do.
Syntax can always be checked using an online grammar check program and consistent use of the package will help increase your understanding of what is appropriate and when ‘agreement’ has been reached.