In a piece of written text, sentences are connected and related to each other in ways that are not always obvious to the beginning reader. Sentences are connected to each other through the use of syntax and cohesive ties.
Syntax is the structure of sentences that governs whether a sentence can be considered to be complete, how the words in the sentence relate to each other, and grammatical rules. For example, a complete sentence must have a subject and a verb, and there must be subject-verb agreement (eg., he goes, they go). A cohesive tie such as a pronoun (such as ‘he’ or ‘they’ in the above examples) is a reference to the subject or object of a previous sentence.
When children begin school, their oral language skills allow them to understand the simple syntax of the first books they read. For example, they will know that the sentence ‘John to school walked’ does have not the correct structure and will be able to rearrange the words into the right sequence.
A good deal of syntactic development occurs during the primary school years, including
understanding of embedded clauses (eg., ‘Francis walked, and he sometimes ran, to schooxl’). Although a certain level of syntactic skill will be required for comprehension to develop, extensive reading and familiarisation with the sentence structures that are found in texts will be important.
Brief explainer by Khan Academy: What is a sentence?
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