I am wondering what's the word that refers to the form, structure of a sentence? By form, I mean the number of predicates, the length, the subject, verb, object order, etc.

For example:

This sentence has a complex ___; it contains several commas, several vanity words like "therefrom" and "whereamong", and several verbs.

1 Answer 1


Most generally, syntax

Per Merriam-Webster:

syntax noun

1a : the way in which linguistic elements (such as words) are put together to form constituents (such as phrases or clauses)

b : the part of grammar dealing with this

Coming from a great distance and wholly unrelated to the Teutonic, Latin and Slav languages that fence it in, Hungarian has remained miraculously intact. Everything about the language is different, not only the words themselves, but the way they are formed, the syntax and grammar and above all the cast of mind that brought them into being.

— Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water, 1986

“I saw that she a cookie ate” is an example of incorrect syntax.

Sentence structure is also used with this meaning (see thefreedictionary), but may also refer to the more specific clausal structure of the sentence.

In your example, these might also be combined as syntactic structure, which is an unambiguous means of referring to the structure of a sentence as a whole, rather than its clausal configuration.

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