What is Syntax


Syntax refers to the arrangement and structure of words and phrases in a language. In the context of Large Language Models (LLMs), syntax in prompts can be demonstrated through the proper organization of words and grammatical rules. For example, a syntactically correct prompt would be “What is the capital of France?” with subject-verb-object structure. On the other hand, an incorrect syntax example would be “Capital France what is of the?” By ensuring syntactic correctness in prompts, users provide clear and intelligible input to LLMs, facilitating their understanding and improving the quality of the generated responses.

In the prompt “What is the capital of France?”, the subject-verb-object structure can be analyzed as follows:

Subject: “What” serves as the subject of the sentence, representing an interrogative pronoun that seeks information.
Verb: “is” is the linking verb that connects the subject to the predicate.
Object: “the capital of France” functions as the object of the sentence, providing the specific information being requested.
The subject-verb-object structure in this prompt follows a typical syntactic pattern, where the subject (interrogative pronoun) asks for information, the linking verb establishes the connection, and the object (phrase indicating the capital of France) provides the desired response.

Syntactic considerations refer to the rules and structures of language, including grammar, syntax, and punctuation. These rules govern how words and phrases are arranged to form meaningful sentences and paragraphs. In Natural Language Processing (NLP), syntactic considerations involve analyzing the structure of a sentence or piece of text to understand its grammatical and syntactical components, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and how they relate to each other.

A general prompt example “Tell me about dogs,” may not return much useful information.

Prompt: What are the common characteristics and behaviors of Golden Retrievers? in 50 words please.

AI Answer

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and gentle nature. They are intelligent, loyal, and highly trainable. These dogs exhibit a playful and outgoing demeanor, making them great family pets. Golden Retrievers are often friendly towards strangers, good with children, and have a strong instinct for retrieving objects. They require regular exercise and thrive on human companionship.

To ensure that a language model generates syntactically correct text, prompt engineers must consider the structure and syntax of the prompts they create. This includes ensuring that the prompts follow proper grammar and syntax rules and use appropriate punctuation. By doing so, they can guide the language model to generate coherent and grammatically correct text.

Prompt: please provide a 100 word conversation between a funny parrot and an angry robin

AI Answer

AI: “Hey there, Angry Bird!” squawked the funny parrot perched on a branch.
“It’s Angry Robin,” corrected the small bird, fluffing up its feathers.
“Right, right, Angry Robin. Why so angry today?”
The robin hopped closer, its beady eyes narrowed.
“I’m tired of everyone calling me ‘cute’ and ‘adorable.’ I’m fierce and mighty!”
“Ha! Mighty, you say? Why, you’re as small as a feather! If you want to be fierce, you should learn from me. I’m the most fearsome bird in the jungle!”
“The robin rolled its eyes. “Sure you are, Polly. Sure you are.”

Readers may roll their eyes and say oh no, not English language class again. Yes, it is all about your ability to manipulate language.
Semantic and syntactic considerations are two critical components of natural language processing (NLP) and text generation. Both of these considerations are essential for creating high-quality and effective prompts.

Accurate and coherent text IN will result in accurate and coherent text OUT,
as will the reverse.