Difference Between Diction and Syntax


Main Difference

The main difference between Diction and Syntax is that Diction is the optimal selection of words for the context, whereas Syntax is the perfect arrangement and alignment of words according to grammatical rules.

Diction vs. Syntax

To choose words carefully and appropriately is called diction, while arrangement or positioning of words is called syntax. Lists of formality level, language, etc. are related to diction. On the other hand, subject-verb agreement, word order, etc. are relevant to syntax.

The purpose of diction is to communicate and share a specific message or create a particular writing style, while the goal of syntax is to make grammatically correct sentences by paying attention to order, arrangement, words, clauses, and phrases. Diction is just the approval of words that will refer to the idea, but the syntax is the real message delivered to describe the relationships between terms and syntactic rules.


When diction pertains to the understanding of words, syntax mentions the structure and framework of the sentence. Diction can be categorized as high, middle, and low. On the other hand, the length of the sentence and focus of its structure is implicated by syntax.

Diction does not clarify either simplicity or complexity of the sentence’s structure, whereas syntax implies defining the plainness or complication of the structure of the sentence. Diction is a piece of writing, while syntax is like a social contract to describe every grammatical sentence or proper application of it.

Comparison Chart

The selection of words for the context is called diction.The alignment and arrangement of words in a sense-making way is called syntax.
Access to Words
For selection purposeFor arrangement purpose
To effect the reader’s viewsTo make an effective way of conveying a complete thought
Set of Rules
In literatureIn a language
Grammatical Accuracy
Not observedObserved deeply
Billie just makes me mad( Billie annoys me)I like eating, playing and sleeping

What is Diction?

Diction is generally defined as the choice of words. The main idea to which it refers is clarity of speech. The word selection should be such that a common man can understand it efficiently without any difficulty.

Diction refers to the appropriate consideration of words as well as clarity of pronunciation, which means that the terms should be offered clearly so that the next person can understand it efficiently and effectively.

As the speakers use a formal or informal way of talking, the authors also make conscious and unconscious word choices. Diction is a masterpiece of literature, having many aspects of the author’s views in different operative ways.

Diction mostly differentiates good writing from a bad piece of writing. Diction rest on various factors, which include righteousness and correctness of words, appropriateness of words according to the context in which they are used, and suitable choice of words so that the reader or listener can understand it easily.

To communicate and share your thoughts, you must use proper diction, which is the appropriate usage of words. Wrong representation and usage of words can cause mutations in what you mean and what you say, resulting in total misrepresentation.


Usage of proper, sophisticated, and mannered language without slang is called formal diction. Formal diction is mostly observed in business documentation, professional manuscripts, and legal credentials. “I am very grateful to you, Sir,” shows the example of formal diction.

Conversational and colloquialisms way of communication without slang is called informal diction. This casual diction represents people’s communication in real life. “Hey, buddy! Wat’s going on,” shows informal language and usage of slang. Hence, this is an example of informal diction.

Other examples are Pedantic diction, Colloquial diction, Slang diction, Abstract diction, Concrete diction, and Poetic diction, etc.

What is Syntax?

The complete set of rules in languages is called syntax. It describes the pattern of using the syntactical regulations and parts of speech to put together all the words for conveying the whole idea or concept.

In simple words, the syntax is an arrangement of words in an effective way. The primary purpose of using syntax in a context is to make correct grammatical sentences, to express the creativity of the author, and to maintain a balance of words.

The syntax makes sure that words are balanced in a sentence, and a parallel structure is followed. i.e., “she likes to watch TV, washes clothes, and run errands.” In this example, a parallel arrangement of an infinitive is used with all the verbs, which is balancing the whole sentence.

Syntax refers to punctuation or pronunciation, the extent of a sentence, and mainly sentence concentration. A speaker can use any kind of sentence, which can be simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentences.

If the author writes long sentences, it is referred to as if he wants to create his massive impression and show his master dexterity in language by using syntax.


  • Agreement: He is an ideal person. Vs. He am an ideal person.
  • Case: He made me feel embarrassed. Vs. He made I feel embarrassed.
  • Reflexive Pronouns: I wrote this letter myself. Vs. I wrote this letter my.
  • Word Order: We played basketball for refreshments. Vs. Basketball, we played refreshment for.

Key Differences

  1. Diction is a complete set of word selection, while syntax is a complete set of language.
  2. Diction has the involvement of a variety of words to affect the reader, whereas syntax has syntactical rules to follow grammatical errors and balancing the sentence’s framework.
  3. Diction has three levels, high, middle, and low to distribute the words in three categories; on the flip side, the only level for syntax is implying the magnanimity and intensity of the sentence.
  4. The author’s choice of words to convey his thoughts in an expressive and intensive way is called diction. On the other hand, the balancing structure of the sentences is called syntax.
  5. Diction includes vocabulary usage to enhance the writing skills and make the statement easy to understand, while syntax is a construction of sentences putting stress, or slower, or faster speed.
  6. Diction is careful usage and application of words to convey the right information and avoid misrepresentation, whereas syntax is poising parallel ideas in the sentences and making them comprehensible.


Cautious collection and selection of words to interpret an idea is called diction, whereas perfect positioning and orientation of words in a grammatically correct manner is called syntax.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson