In some approaches to syntax, an optional rule proposed to handle the way constituents permute in free word-order languages (e.g. Latin). The factors which influence scrambling (e.g. the elements which are effected, and the direction in which they move) may be stylistic in character. A distinction is drawn between ‘short-distance scrambling’ (within a clause) and the less usual ‘long-distance scrambling’ (across a clause boundary).