Formal semantics is the study of the semantics, or interpretations, of formal and also natural languages. A formal language can be defined apart from any interpretation of it. This is done by designating a set of symbols (also called an alphabet) and a set of formation rules (also called a formal grammar) which determine which strings of symbols are wellformed formulas. When transformation rules (also called rules of inference) are added, and certain sentences are accepted as axioms (together called a deductive system or a deductive apparatus) a logical system is formed. An interpretation is an assignment of meanings to these symbols and truthvalues to its sentences.^{[1]}
The truth conditions of various sentences we may encounter in arguments will depend upon their meaning, and so conscientious logicians cannot completely avoid the need to provide some treatment of the meaning of these sentences. The semantics of logic refers to the approaches that logicians have introduced to understand and determine that part of meaning in which they are interested; the logician traditionally is not interested in the sentence as uttered but in the proposition, an idealised sentence suitable for logical manipulation.
Until the advent of modern logic, Aristotle's Organon, especially De Interpretatione, provided the basis for understanding the significance of logic. The introduction of quantification, needed to solve the problem of multiple generality, rendered impossible the kind of subjectpredicate analysis that governed Aristotle's account, although there is a renewed interest in term logic, attempting to find calculi in the spirit of Aristotle's syllogistic but with the generality of modern logics based on the quantifier.
The main modern approaches to semantics for formal languages are the following:
Linguists rarely employed formal semantics until Richard Montague showed how English (or any natural language) could be treated like a formal language. His contribution to linguistic semantics, which is now known as Montague grammar, forms the basis for what linguists now refer to as formal semantics.^{[2]}

