To illustrate on `select` queries, you start listing the attributes then the table, while on `updates` you start by specifying the table and then the attributes on which on operate.
This illustrate the grammar problem: in one case, you start by bringing what table you will use and set on which attributes, the other the attributes you need, while keeping in mind on which table name since you specify it after.
It's not really a problem, but developer tends to hate any kind of cognitive load, and this one source of load.
I'm not an ORM fan, but developper often use the programming language of their application to build SQL queries string, and ie. with such tools you always start by specifying the target table.
Personally I really wished that RDMS would provide another intermediate language, or better, data structure, to interface with them.
I see it on a spectrum between declerative and imperative data structures, and where I think most people go wrong with it is trying to create a monolithic solution to a broad spectrum of problems. I think you need a graduated approach where each data layer is simplifying and satisfying the next, so you're using Tables, Procs, Views, and in-memory constructs in concert. The database is a powerful tool, and SQL is just part of that bigger puzzle :)
Updates aren't different from select statements: first you state what you want, update a table with some new column values, and then you state where this data should come from, and what data you want to update.
And this is why it sucks. Which is fine, the language comes from a different era when our understanding of computer languages was much more primitive. It is understandable that mistakes would be made. What is unfortunate is that there has been little to no progress in improving on those mistakes in this problem space.
In the procedural world, you could also say that C has some mistakes in its design. However, we've gone to great lengths to try and improve on C, for example in semi-recent times with Rust and Go. SQL could really benefit from the same. SQL gets a lot of things right. So does C. But we can do better on both fronts.
Unfortunately, it seems that people regularly confuse SQL with the underlying concepts that SQL is based on. Because there is no basically no competition in this space, it is assumed by many that this type of problem can be expressed in no other way, and that you simply do not understand SQL well enough if you do not see it as perfect. I guess it comes from the same place of those who argue that if you make memory management mistakes in C, you just don't understand C well enough.