The phrases that are part of a clause have different specific functions. Thus, each type of phrase or part of a clause corresponds to a certain function . There are three main functions: subject, predicate and complements. Syntactic Functions
Syntactic functions express the type of agreement that exists in words and that are grouped in phrases.
The main syntactic functions and some examples
The noun phrase can perform several functions. One is a subject, as in the following sentence “Your neighbor called you before.” In the sentence ” Drawing two faces” the noun phrase works as a direct complement. And in the phrase “It will come this afternoon” the nominal is a circumstantial complement of time. Syntactic Functions
The verbal has a specific function: as a predicate.
The adverbial can act as a circumstantial complement of place or time or else as an attribute.
The adjectival phrase has two possible functions: as an attribute or as a predicative complement (for example, “the waters descend cloudy”).
The prepositional has several different functions: direct complement (“He watched his friend on the beach”), indirect complement (“He gave his backpack to his uncle”) or circumstantial complement (“He went to the beach”). Syntactic Functions
The syntactic attribute function communicates a property or quality of someone (“Juan Gris was a great painter”). The direct complement has the function of specifying and limiting the meaning of the verb (“Manuel saw a car“).
The circumstantial complement is a syntactic function that provides secondary information in a sentence (“Your child sings in the backyard”). There are three phrases that can perform this function: the prepositional phrase, the adverbial phrase and the noun phrase.
The language is the discipline that studies the language and all its structures or systems: phonetics , morphology, lexicology, semantics and syntax. In syntax, the so-called parsing is performed. Syntactic Functions
In every syntactic analysis of a sentence there are two different levels. At a higher level the sentence functions are analyzed and at a lower level are the syntagmatic functions, that is, the internal functions of the phrases.
Anyway, this type of analysis allows us to define which syntactic function has each one of the words that make up a sentence.
The first step when performing the syntactic analysis of a sentence is to differentiate the subject from the predicate. To recognize the subject, it is necessary to ask the verb who performs the action. In order to identify the predicate of a clause, it is necessary to ask what the subject says.