Tutor profile: Alexandra T.
What is syntax?
Put simply, syntax is sentence structure. It is the specific way certain words come together to form complete thoughts. For example, in English, our basic syntax is "subject, verb, object." This syntax can be seen in sentences such as "Lucy walked the dog" or "Julia picked up the paper." If our elements are out of order, the sentences don't make much sense. We wouldn't say "Picked up the paper Julia." However, syntax can vary between languages. If you have ever studied a foreign language such as Spanish, an obvious example of syntax difference from English is the ordering of adjectives. In English, we use "adjective, noun," such as "blue book." In Spanish, the order is reversed; the syntax "noun, adjective" would make the phrase "libro azul," or "book blue." While this order sounds strange to us in English, it makes perfect sense in Spanish due to the syntactical rules.
What is the difference between active and passive voice?
The difference in these two types of voice lies in who the action of the sentence reflects. For example, let's take the sentence, "John throws the ball." This wording uses the active voice. "John" is our subject, and "throws" is our verb. Since our subject is physically taking action, this sentence is in active voice. Now, let's reword our sentence to say, "The ball is thrown by John." This wording uses the passive voice. Here, "the ball" is our subject, and "is thrown" is our verb phrase. Since our subject is having something done to it instead of actually doing something, this sentence is in passive voice. One more helpful tip to distinguish active and passive voice is to pay attention to the verb. Active voice sentences will often contain action verbs, i.e. "talks," "jogs," "researches." However, passive voice sentences will often contain helping verbs, i.e. "was spoken," "did jog," "was researched."
What are the different types of speeches?
The four main types of speeches are informative, persuasive, demonstrative, and entertaining. An informative speech does just that: inform. This type of speech aims to provide the audience with valuable information on a certain topic. Examples may include a book report or a research study. A persuasive speech attempts to sway the audience's thinking to a specific point of view. You may hear a persuasive speech in a debate. Examples of persuasive speech topics may include the importance of not driving impaired or an urging to become an organ donor. A demonstrative speech serves to show an audience how to perform a task. Often, these speeches will come with an interactive element wherein the speaker physically shows the audience how to complete the task at hand. Examples may include how to bake cookies or how to craft a resume. Finally, an entertaining speech is a light-hearted piece intended to give the audience pleasure. Speeches of this nature often include personal anecdotes and can be less formal than the other three types of speeches. Entertaining speeches may include toasts at a wedding or the introduction of an award recipient.
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