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Adding the syntax package causes \cite commands to break with the following error:

Argument of \@citex has an extra }.
<inserted text> 
            \par 
l.5 ...high ceiling") \cite{resnick_lifelong_2017}
                                              .  enter code here
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The underscore character is made active by the syntax package and this confuses \cite.

You can disable the special treatment of the underscore by calling the package as

\usepackage[nounderscore]{syntax}
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  • Better than the other answer I found - thanks – Chris Apr 20 '18 at 12:50
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This turns out to be due to the syntax package altering the way that underscore characters are treated. The underscores in the reference name are the cause of the error.

I finally found the answer here:

https://www.ppsa.dk/article/backus-naur-form-latex

Adding a line to return the underscore behaviour back to normal fixed the problem:

\usepackage{syntax}
\AtBeginDocument{\catcode`\_=8 }

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