Syntax refers to the set of rules that dictate the structure, format, and organization of code in a programming language. It specifies the correct combination of symbols, keywords, and syntax patterns that need to be used to write instructions that a computer can understand.

A programming language has its own syntax, which determines how statements or expressions must be written to create a valid and meaningful program. The syntax acts as a grammar for the language, defining the rules for constructing valid code and identifying any errors or inconsistencies.

Understanding and adhering to the syntax of a programming language is crucial, as even a small deviation or mistake can lead to syntax errors, making the code non-executable or producing unexpected results. Syntax errors occur when the code violates the agreed-upon rules for the programming language being used.

Most programming languages provide strict guidelines for syntax, including rules about the placement of punctuation marks, the use of indentation, the order of statements, and the naming conventions for variables, functions, and other entities.

A well-formed program requires correct syntax, ensuring that the code is readable, unambiguous, and follows the established rules. Following proper syntax conventions also helps in making the code maintainable, as it allows developers to understand and modify the code easily, facilitates collaboration, and reduces the likelihood of introducing errors during development.