To a non-linguist (or someone who doesn't teach English), the distinction between prescriptivism or descriptivism is not helpful in understanding the
difference between syntax and grammar. The reason is that the definitions are much too vague. Is syntax a sub-set of grammar?
I am an English teacher, and I would love a crisp understanding of the difference between syntax and grammar. Would it be correct to say that syntax (word order) is a subset of grammar? For example, English syntax would be SVO, while in English grammar the 'V' might be inflected to agree with the S or change with tense.
I am currently reading (and teaching!) 1984 to my ESL students. In the novel, during 'hateweek' preparations the announcer changes the enemy from Eurasia to Eastasia. According to the novel, an announcer switches enemies mid-sentence. The announcer does not pause, nor does he break his syntax. (The crowd is not meant to know that the enemy has changed; they are only meant to believe that Eastasia has always been the enemy.) The announcer's ability to switch enemies mid-sentence shows his proficiency lying... (and/ or ability to internalize lies and spout them as truth.) I would love to explain the significance of this sentence to my students.... Any thoughts on how to explain it?