Part 11 out of 54
feminine: as, "Ask _him_ that fleeth, and _her_ that escapeth, and say,
What is done?"--_Jer._, xlviii, 19.
"O happy _peasant!_ Oh unhappy _bard!_
_His_ the mere tinsel, _hers_ the rich reward."--_Cowper_.
OBS. 11.--For feminine nouns formed by inflection, the regular termination
is _ess_; but the manner in which this ending is applied to the original or
masculine noun, is not uniform:--
1. In some instances the syllable _ess_ is simply added: as, _accuser,
accuseress; advocate, advocatess; archer, archeress; author, authoress;
avenger, avengeress; barber, barberess; baron, baroness; canon, canoness;
cit, cittess; coheir, coheiress; count, countess; deacon, deaconess;
demon, demoness; diviner, divineress; doctor, doctoress; giant, giantess;
god, goddess; guardian, guardianess; Hebrew, Hebrewess; heir, heiress;
herd, herdess; hermit, hermitess; host, hostess; Jesuit, Jesuitess; Jew,
Jewess; mayor, mayoress; Moabite, Moabitess; monarch, monarchess; pape,
papess_; or, _pope, popess; patron, patroness; peer, peeress; poet,
poetess; priest, priestess; prior, prioress; prophet, prophetess; regent,
regentess; saint, saintess; shepherd, shepherdess; soldier, soldieress;
tailor, tailoress; viscount, viscountess; warrior, warrioress_.
2. In other instances, the termination is changed, and there is no increase
of syllables: as, _abbot, abbess; actor, actress; adulator, adulatress;
adulterer, adulteress; adventurer, adventuress; advoutrer, advoutress;
ambassador, ambassadress; anchorite, anchoress_; or, _anachoret,
anachoress; arbiter, arbitress; auditor, auditress; benefactor,
benefactress; caterer, cateress; chanter, chantress; cloisterer,
cloisteress; commander, commandress; conductor, conductress; creator,
creatress; demander, demandress; detractor, detractress; eagle, eagless;
editor, editress; elector, electress; emperor, emperess_, or _empress;
emulator, emulatress; enchanter, enchantress; exactor, exactress; fautor,
fautress; fornicator, fornicatress; fosterer, fosteress_, or _fostress;
founder, foundress; governor, governess; huckster, huckstress_; or,
_hucksterer, hucksteress; idolater, idolatress; inhabiter, inhabitress;
instructor, instructress; inventor, inventress; launderer, launderess_, or
_laundress; minister, ministress; monitor, monitress; murderer, murderess;
negro, negress; offender, offendress; ogre, ogress; porter, portress;
progenitor, progenitress; protector, protectress; proprietor, proprietress;
pythonist, pythoness; seamster, seamstress; solicitor, solicitress;
songster, songstress; sorcerer, sorceress; suitor, suitress; tiger,
tigress; traitor, traitress; victor, victress; votary, votaress_.
3. In a few instances the feminine is formed as in Latin, by changing _or_
to _rix_; but some of these have also the regular form, which ought to be
preferred: as, _adjutor, adjutrix; administrator, administratrix;
arbitrator, arbitratrix; coadjutor, coadjutrix; competitor, competitress_,
or _competitrix; creditor, creditrix; director, directress_, or _directrix;
executor, executress_, or _executrix; inheritor, inheritress_, or
_inheritrix; mediator, mediatress_, or _mediatrix; orator, oratress_, or
_oratrix; rector, rectress_, or _rectrix; spectator, spectatress_, or
_spectatrix; testator, testatrix; tutor, tutoress_, or _tutress_, or
_tutrix; deserter, desertress_, or _desertrice_, or _desertrix_.
4. The following are irregular words, in which the distinction of sex is
chiefly made by the termination: _amoroso, amorosa: archduke, archduchess;
chamberlain, chambermaid; duke, duchess; gaffer, gammer; goodman, goody;
hero, heroine; landgrave, landgravine; margrave, margravine; marquis,
marchioness; palsgrave, palsgravine; sakeret, sakerhawk; sewer, sewster;
sultan, sultana; tzar, tzarina; tyrant, tyranness; widower, widow_.
OBS. 12.--The proper names of persons almost always designate their sex;
for it has been found convenient to make the names of women different from
those of men. We have also some appellatives which correspond to each
other, distinguishing the sexes by their distinct application to each: as,
_bachelor, maid; beau, belle; boy, girl; bridegroom, bride; brother,
sister; buck, doe; boar, sow; bull, cow; cock, hen; colt, filly; dog,
bitch; drake, duck; earl, countess; father, mother; friar, nun; gander,
goose; grandsire, grandam; hart, roe; horse, mare; husband, wife; king,
queen; lad, lass; lord, lady; male, female; man, woman; master, mistress_;
Mister, Missis; (Mr., Mrs.;) _milter, spawner; monk, nun; nephew, niece;
papa, mamma; rake, jilt; ram, ewe; ruff, reeve; sire, dam; sir, madam;
sloven, slut; son, daughter; stag, hind; steer, heifer; swain, nymph;
uncle, aunt; wizard, witch; youth, damsel; young man, maiden_.
OBS. 13.--The people of a particular country are commonly distinguished by
some name derived from that of their country; as, _Americans, Africans,
Egyptians, Russians, Turks_. Such words are sometimes called _gentile
names_. There are also adjectives, of the same origin, if not the same
form, which correspond with them. "Gentile names are for the most part
considered as masculine, and the feminine is denoted by the gentile
adjective and the noun _woman_: as, a _Spaniard_, a _Spanish woman_; a
_Pole_, or _Polander_, a _Polish woman_. But, in a few instances, we always
use a compound of the adjective with _man_ or _woman_: as, an _Englishman_,
an _Englishwoman_; a _Welshman_, a _Welshwoman_; an _Irishman_, an
_Irishwoman_; a _Frenchman_, a _Frenchwoman_; a _Dutchman_, a _Dutchwoman_:
and in these cases the adjective is employed as the collective noun; as,
_the Dutch, the French_, &c. A _Scotchman_, and a _Scot_, are both in use;
but the latter is not common in prose writers: though some employ it, and
these generally adopt the plural, _Scots_, with the definite article, as
the collective term."--_Churchill's New Gram._, p. 70.
OBS. 14.--The names of things without life, used literally, are always of
the neuter gender: as, "When Cleopatra fled, Antony pursued her in a
five-oared galley; and, coming along side of her _ship_, entered _it_
without being seen by her."--_Goldsmith's Rome_, p. 160. "The _sun_, high
as _it_ is, has _its_ business assigned; and so have the
stars."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 138. But inanimate objects are often
represented figuratively as having sex. Things remarkable for power,
greatness, or sublimity, are spoken of as masculine; as, the _sun, time,
death, sleep, fear, anger, winter, war_. Things beautiful, amiable, or
prolific, are spoken of as feminine; as, a _ship_, the _moon_, the _earth,
nature, fortune, knowledge, hope, spring, peace_. Figurative gender is
indicated only by the personal pronouns of the singular number: as, "When
we say of the _sun, He_ is setting; or of a _ship, She_ sails well."--_L.
Murray_. For these two objects, the _sun_ and a _ship_, this phraseology is
so common, that the literal construction quoted above is rarely met with.
OBS. 15.--When any inanimate object or abstract quality is distinctly
personified, and presented to the imagination in the character of a living
and intelligent being, there is necessarily a change of the gender of the
word; for, whenever personality is thus ascribed to what is literally
neuter, there must be an assumption of one or the other sex: as, "_The
Genius of Liberty_ is awakened, and springs up; _she_ sheds her divine
light and creative powers upon the two hemispheres. A great _nation_,
astonished at seeing _herself_ free, stretches _her_ arms from one
extremity of the earth to the other, and embraces the first nation that
became so."--_Abbe Fauchet_. But there is an inferior kind of
personification, or of what is called such, in which, so far as appears,
the gender remains neuter: as, "The following is an instance of
personification and apostrophe united: 'O _thou sword_ of the Lord! how
long will it be ere _thou_ be quiet? put _thyself_ up into _thy_ scabbard,
rest, and be still! How can _it_ be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given _it_
a charge against Askelon, and against the sea-shore? there hath he
appointed _it_.'"--_Murray's Gram._, p. 348. See _Jer._, xlvii, 6.
OBS. 16.--If what is called personification, does not always imply a change
of gender and an ascription of sex, neither does a mere ascription of sex
to what is literally of no sex, necessarily imply a personification; for
there may be sex without personality, as we see in brute animals. Hence the
gender of a brute animal personified in a fable, may be taken literally as
before; and the gender which is figuratively ascribed to the _sun_, the
_moon_, or a _ship_, is merely metaphorical. In the following sentence,
_nature_ is animated and made feminine by a metaphor, while a lifeless
object bearing the name of _Venus_, is spoken of as neuter: "Like that
conceit of old, which declared that the _Venus of Gnidos_ was not the work
of Praxiteles, since _nature herself_ had concreted the boundary surface of
_its_ beauty."--_Rush, on the Voice_, p. xxv.
OBS. 17.--"In personifications regard must be had to propriety in
determining the gender. Of most of the passions and moral qualities of man
the ancients formed deities, as they did of various other things: and, when
these are personified, they are usually made male or female, according as
they were gods or goddesses in the pagan mythology. The same rule applies
in other cases: and thus the planet Jupiter will be masculine; Venus,
feminine: the ocean, _Oce=anus_, masculine: rivers, months, and winds, the
same: the names of places, countries, and islands, feminine."--_Churchill's
Gram._, p. 71.
OBS. 18.--These suggestions are worthy of consideration, but, for the
gender which ought to be adopted in personifications, there seems to be no
absolute general rule, or none which English writers have observed with
much uniformity. It is well, however, to consider what is most common in
each particular case, and abide by it. In the following examples, the sex
ascribed is not that under which these several objects are commonly
figured; for which reason, the sentences are perhaps erroneous:--
"_Knowledge_ is proud that _he_ has learn'd so much;
_Wisdom_ is humble that _he_ knows no more."--_Cowper_.
"But hoary _Winter_, unadorned and bare,
Dwells in the dire retreat, and freezes there;
There _she_ assembles all her blackest storms,
And the rude hail in rattling tempests forms."--_Addison_.
"_Her_ pow'r extends o'er all things that have breath,
A cruel tyrant, and _her_ name is _Death_."--_Sheffield_.
Cases, in grammar, are modifications that distinguish the relations of
nouns or pronouns to other words.
There are three cases; the _nominative_, the _possessive_, and the
The _nominative case_ is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which
usually denotes the subject of a finite verb: as, The _boy_ runs; _I_ run.
The subject of a finite verb is that which answers to _who_ or _what_
before it; as, "The boy runs."--_Who_ runs? "The _boy_." Boy is therefore
here in the _nominative_ case.
The _possessive case_ is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which
usually denotes the relation of property: as, The _boy's_ hat; _my_ hat.
The possessive case of nouns is formed, in the singular number, by adding
to the nominative _s preceded by an apostrophe_; and, in the plural, when
the nominative ends in _s_, by adding _an apostrophe only_: as, singular,
_boy's_; plural, _boys'_;--sounded alike, but written differently.
The _objective case_ is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which
usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition: as, I
know the _boy_, having seen _him_ at _school_; and he knows _me_.
The object of a verb, participle, or preposition, is that which answers to
_whom_ or _what_ after it; as, "I know the boy."--I know _whom_? "The boy."
_Boy_ is therefore here in the _objective_ case.
The nominative and the objective of nouns, are always alike in form, being
distinguishable from each other only by their place in a sentence, or by
their simple dependence according to the sense.
OBS. 1.--The cases, in grammar, are founded on the different relations
under which things are represented in discourse; and from which the words
acquire correspondent relations; or connexions and dependences according to
the sense. In Latin, there are six cases; and in Greek, five. Consequently,
the nouns and pronouns of those languages, and also their adjectives and
participles, (which last are still farther inflected by the three genders,)
are varied by many different terminations unknown to our tongue. In
English, those modifications or relations which we call cases, belong only
to nouns and pronouns; nor are there ever more than three. Pronouns are not
necessarily like their antecedents in case.
OBS. 2.--Because the infinitive mood, a phrase, or a sentence, may in some
instances be made the subject of a verb, so as to stand in that relation in
which the nominative case is most commonly found; very many of our
grammarians have deliberately represented all terms used in this manner, as
being "_in the nominative case_:" as if, to sustain any one of the
relations which are usually distinguished by a particular case, must
necessarily constitute that modification itself. Many also will have
participles, infinitives, phrases, and sentences, to be occasionally "_in
the objective case_:" whereas it must be plain to every reader, that they
are, all of them, _indeclinable_ terms; and that, if used in any relation
common to nouns or pronouns, they assume that office, as participles, as
infinitives, as phrases, or as sentences, and not as _cases_. They no more
take the nature of cases, than they become nouns or pronouns. Yet Nixon, by
assuming that _of_, with the word governed by it, constitutes a _possessive
case_, contrives to give to participles, and even to the infinitive mood,
_all three of the cases_. Of the infinitive, he says, "An examination of
the first and second methods of parsing this mood, must naturally lead to
the inference that _it is a substantive_; and that, if it has the
nominative case, it must also have the possessive and objective cases of a
substantive. The fourth method proves its [capacity of] being in the
possessive case: thus, 'A desire _to learn_;' that is, '_of learning_.'
When it follows a participle, or a verb, as by the fifth or [the] seventh
method, it is in the objective case. Method sixth is analogous to the Case
Absolute of a substantive."--_Nixon's Parser_, p. 83. If the infinitive
mood is really a _declinable substantive_, none of our grammarians have
placed it in the right chapter; except that bold contemner of all
grammatical and literary authority, Oliver B. Peirce. When will the cause
of learning cease to have assailants and underminers among those who
profess to serve it? Thus every new grammatist, has some grand absurdity or
other, peculiar to himself; and what can be more gross, than to talk of
English infinitives and participles as being in the _possessive case_?
OBS. 3.--It was long a subject of dispute among the grammarians, what
number of cases an English noun should be supposed to have. Some, taking
the Latin language for their model, and turning certain phrases into cases
to fill up the deficits, were for having _six_ in each number; namely, the
nominative, the genitive, the dative, the accusative, the vocative, and the
ablative. Others, contending that a case in grammar could be nothing else
than a terminational inflection, and observing that English nouns have but
one case that differs from the nominative in form, denied that there were
more than two, the nominative and the possessive. This was certainly an
important question, touching a fundamental principle of our grammar; and
any erroneous opinion concerning it, might well go far to condemn the book
that avouched it. Every intelligent teacher must see this. For what sense
could be made of parsing, without supposing an objective case to nouns? or
what propriety could there be in making the words, _of_, and _to_, and
_from_, govern or compose three different cases? Again, with what truth can
it be said, that nouns have _no cases_ in English? or what reason can be
assigned for making more than three?
OBS. 4.--Public opinion is now clear in the decision, that it is
_expedient_ to assign to English nouns three cases, and no more; and, in a
matter of this kind, what is expedient for the purpose of instruction, is
right. Yet, from the works of our grammarians, may be quoted every
conceivable notion, right or wrong, upon this point. Cardell, with Tooke
and Gilchrist on his side, contends that English nouns have _no cases_.
Brightland averred that they have neither cases nor genders. Buchanan,
and the author of the old British Grammar, assigned to them _one_ case
only, the possessive, or genitive. Dr. Adam also says, "In English, nouns
have _only one case_, namely, the genitive, or possessive case."--_Latin
and Eng. Gram._, p. 7. W. B. Fowle has two cases, but rejects the word
_case_: "We use the simple term _agent_ for a _noun that acts_, and
_object_ for the object of an action."--_Fowle's True Eng. Gram._, Part II,
p. 68. Spencer too discards the word _case_, preferring "_form_," that he
may merge in one the nominative and the objective, giving to nouns _two_
cases, but neither of these. "Nouns have _two Forms_, called the _Simple_
and [the] _Possessive_."--_Spencer's E. Gram._, p. 30. Webber's Grammar,
published at Cambridge in 1832, recognizes but _two_ cases of nouns,
declaring the objective to be "altogether superfluous."--P. 22. "Our
substantives have no more cases than two."--_Jamieson's Rhet._, p. 14. "A
Substantive doth not properly admit of more than two cases: the Nominative,
and the Genitive."--_Ellen Devis's Gram._, p. 19. Dr. Webster, in his
Philosophical Grammar, of 1807, and in his Improved Grammar, of 1831,
teaches the same doctrine, but less positively. This assumption has also
had the support of Lowth, Johnson, Priestley, Ash, Bicknell, Fisher,
Dalton, and our celebrated Lindley Murray. In Child's or Latham's
English Grammar, 1852, it is said, "The cases in the present English are
three:--1. Nominative; 2. Objective; 3. Possessive." But this seems to be
meant of pronouns only; for the next section affirms, "The _substantives_
in English _have only two_ out of the three cases."--See pp. 79 and 80.
Reckless of the current usage of grammarians, and even of self-consistency,
both author and reviser will have no objective case of nouns, because this
is like the nominative; yet, finding an objective set after "the adjective
_like_," they will recognize it as "_a dative_ still existing in
English!"--See p. 156. Thus do they forsake their own enumeration of cases,
as they had before, in all their declensions, forsaken the new order in
which they had at first so carefully set them!
OBS. 5.--For the _true_ doctrine of _three_ cases, we have the authority of
Murray, in his later editions; of Webster, in his "Plain and Comp. Grammar,
grounded on _True Principles_," 1790; also in his "Rudiments of English
Grammar," 1811; together with the united authority of Adams, Ainsworth,
Alden, Alger, Bacon, Barnard, Bingham, Burr, Bullions, Butler, Churchill,
Chandler, Cobbett, Cobbin, Comly, Cooper, Crombie, Davenport, Davis, Fisk,
A. Flint, Frost, Guy, Hart, Hiley, Hull, Ingersoll, Jaudon, Kirkham,
Lennie, Mack, M'Culloch, Maunder, Merchant, Nixon, Nutting, John Peirce,
Perley, Picket, Russell, Smart, R. C. Smith, Rev. T. Smith, Wilcox, and I
know not how many others.
OBS. 6.--Dearborn, in 1795, recognized _four_ cases: "the nominative, the
possessive, the objective, and the absolute."--_Columbian Gram._, pp. 16
and 20. Charles Bucke, in his work misnamed "A Classical Grammar of the
English Language," published in London in 1829, asserts, that,
"Substantives in English do not vary their terminations;" yet he gives them
_four_ cases; "the nominative, the genitive, the accusative, and the
vocative." So did Allen, in a grammar much more classical, dated, London,
1813. Hazen, in 1842, adopted "four cases; namely, the nominative, the
possessive, the objective, and the independent."--_Hazen's Practical
Gram._, p. 35. Mulligan, since, has chosen these four: "Nominative,
Genitive, Dative, Accusative."--_Structure of E. Lang._, p. 185. And yet
his case after _to_ or _for_ is _not_ "_dative_," but "_accusative!_"--
_Ib._, p. 239. So too, Goodenow, of Maine, makes the cases four: "the
_subjective_, the _possessive_, the _objective_, and the
_absolute_."--_Text-Book_, p. 31. Goldsbury, of Cambridge, has also four:
"the Nominative, the Possessive, the Objective, and the Vocative."--_Com.
S. Gram._, p. 13. Three other recent grammarians,--Wells, of Andover,--
Weld, of Portland,--and Clark, of Bloomfield, N. Y.,--also adopt "_four_
cases;--the _nominative_, the _possessive_, the _objective_, and the
_independent_."--_Wells's Gram._, p. 57; _Weld's_, 60; _Clark's_, 49. The
first of these gentlemen argues, that, "Since a noun or pronoun, used
_independently_, cannot at the same time be employed as 'the subject of a
verb,' there is a manifest impropriety in regarding it as a _nominative_."
It might as well be urged, that a nominative after a verb, or in apposition
with an other, is, for this reason, not a _nominative_. He also cites this
argument: "'Is there not as much difference between the _nominative_ and
[the] _independent_ case, as there is between the _nominative_ and [the]
_objective?_ If so, why class them together as _one_ case?'--_S. R.
Hall_."--_Wells's School Gram._, p. 51. To this I answer, No. "The
nominative is that case which _primely denotes the name_ of any person or
thing;" (_Burn's Gram._, p. 36;) and _this only_ it is, that can be
absolute, or independent, in English. This scheme of four cases is, in
fact, a grave innovation. As authority for it, Wells cites Felton; and bids
his readers, "See also Kennion, Parkhurst, Fowle, Flint, Goodenow, Buck,
Hazen, Goldsbury, Chapin, S. Alexander, and P. Smith."--Page 57. But is the
fourth case of these authors _the same_ as his? Is it a case which "has
usually the nominative form," but admits occasionally of "_me_" and
"_him_," and embraces objective nouns of "_time, measure, distance,
direction_, or _place_?" No. Certainly one half of them, and probably more,
give little or no countenance to _such_ an independent case as he has
adopted. Parkhurst admitted but three cases; though he thought _two others_
"might be an improvement." What Fowle has said in support of Wells's four
cases, I have sought with diligence, and not found. Felton's "independent
case" is only what he absurdly calls, "_The noun or pronoun addressed_."--
Page 91. Bucke and Goldsbury acknowledge "_the nominative case absolute_;"
and none of the twelve, so far as I know, admit any objective word, or what
others call objective, to be independent or absolute, except perhaps
OBS. 7.--S. R. Hall, formerly principal of the Seminary for Teachers at
Andover, (but no great grammarian,) in 1832, published a manual, called
"The Grammatical Assistant;" in which he says, "There are _at least five
cases_, belonging to English nouns, differing as much from _each_ other, as
the cases of Latin and Greek nouns. They may be called Nominative,
Possessive, Objective, Independent and Absolute."--P. 7. O. B. Peirce will
have both nouns and pronouns to be used in _five cases_, which he thus
enumerates: "Four simple cases; the Subjective, Possessive, Objective, and
the Independent; and the Twofold case."--_Gram._, p. 42. But, on page 56th,
he speaks of a "twofold _subjective_ case," "the twofold _objective_ case,"
and shows how the _possessive_ may be twofold also; so that, without taking
any of the Latin cases, or even all of Hall's, he really recognizes as many
as seven, if not eight. Among the English grammars which assume all the
_six cases_ of the Latin Language, are Burn's, Coar's, Dilworth's,
Mackintosh's, Mennye's, Wm. Ward's, and the "Comprehensive Grammar," a
respectable little book, published by Dobson of Philadelphia, in 1789, but
written by somebody in England.
OBS. 8.--Of the English grammars which can properly be said to be _now in
use_, a very great majority agree in ascribing to nouns three cases, and
three only. This, I am persuaded, is the best number, and susceptible of
the best defence, whether we appeal to authority, or to other argument. The
disputes of grammarians make no small part of the _history of grammar_; and
in submitting to be guided by their decisions, it is proper for us to
consider what _degree of certainty_ there is in the rule, and what
difference or concurrence there is among them: for, the teaching of any
other than the best opinions, is not the teaching of science, come from
what quarter it may. On the question respecting the objective case of
nouns, Murray and Webster _changed sides with each other_; and that, long
after they first appeared as grammarians. Nor was this the only, or the
most important instance, in which the different editions of the works of
these two gentlemen, present them in opposition, both to themselves and to
each other. "What cases are there in English? The _nominative_, which
usually stands before a verb; as, the _boy_ writes: The _possessive_, which
takes an _s_ with a _comma_, and denotes property; as, _John's_ hat: The
_objective_, which follows a verb or preposition; as, he honors _virtue_,
or it is an honor to _him_."--_Webster's Plain and Comp. Gram., Sixth
Edition_, 1800, p. 9. "But for convenience, the two positions of nouns, one
_before_, the other _after_ the verb, are called _cases_. There are then
three cases, the _nominative, possessive_, and _objective_."--_Webster's
Rudiments of Gram._, 1811, p. 12. "In English therefore names have two
cases only, the _nominative_ or simple name, and the _possessive_."--
_Webster's Philosoph. Gram._, 1807, p. 32: also his _Improved Gram._, 1831,
OBS. 9.--Murray altered his opinion after the tenth or eleventh edition of
his duodecimo Grammar. His instructions stand thus: "In English,
substantives have but two cases, the nominative, and [the] possessive or
genitive."--_Murray's Gram. 12mo, Second Edition_, 1796, p. 35. "For the
assertion, that there are in English but two cases of nouns, and three of
pronouns, we have the authority of Lowth, Johnson, Priestley, &c. _names
which are sufficient_ to decide this point."--_Ib._, p. 36. "In English,
substantives have three cases, the nominative, the possessive, and the
objective."--_Murray's Gram., 12mo, Twenty-third Edition_, 1816, p. 44.
"The author of this work _long doubted_ the propriety of assigning to
English substantives an _objective case_: but a renewed critical
examination of the subject; an examination to which he was prompted by the
extensive and increasing demand for the grammar, has produced in his mind
_a full persuasion_, that the nouns of our language are entitled to this
comprehensive objective case."--_Ib._, p. 46. If there is any credit in
changing one's opinions, it is, doubtless, in changing them for the better;
but, of all authors, a grammarian has the most need critically to examine
his subject before he goes to the printer. "This case was adopted in the
_twelfth edition_ of the Grammar."--_Murray's Exercises_, 12mo, N. Y.,
1818, p. viii.
OBS. 10.--The _possessive case_ has occasioned no less dispute than the
objective. On this vexed article of our grammar, custom has now become much
more uniform than it was a century ago; and public opinion may be said to
have settled most of the questions which have been agitated about it. Some
individuals, however, are still dissatisfied. In the first place, against
those who have thought otherwise, it is determined, by infinite odds of
authority, that there _is such a case_, both of nouns and of pronouns. Many
a common reader will wonder, who can have been ignorant enough to deny it.
"The learned and sagacious Wallis, to whom every English grammarian owes a
tribute of reverence, calls this modification of the noun an _adjective
possessive_; I think, with no more propriety than he might have applied the
same to the Latin genitive."--_Dr. Johnson's Gram._, p. 5. Brightland also,
who gave to _adjectives_ the name of _qualities_, included all possessives
among them, calling them "_Possessive Qualities_, or _Qualities of
Possession_."--_Brightland's Gram._, p. 90.
OBS. 11.--This exploded error, William S. Cardell, a few years ago,
republished as a novelty; for which, among other pretended improvements of
a like sort, he received the ephemeral praise of some of our modern
literati. William B. Fowle also teaches the same thing. See his _Common
School Gram._, Part II, p. 104. In Felch's Grammar, too, published in
Boston in 1837, an attempt is made, to revive this old doctrine; but the
author takes no notice of any of the above-named authorities, being
probably ignorant of them all. His _reasoning_ upon the point, does not
appear to me to be worthy of a detailed answer. That the possessive
case of nouns is not an adjective, is demonstrable; because it may have
adjectives of various kinds, relating to it: as, "_This old man's_
daughter."--_Shak._ It may also govern an other possessive; as, "_Peter's
wife's_ mother."--_Bible_. Here the former possessive is governed by the
latter; but, if both were adjectives, they would both relate to the noun
_mother_, and so produce a confusion of ideas. Again, nouns of the
possessive case have a distinction of number, which adjectives have not. In
gender also, there lies a difference. Adjectives, whenever they are varied
by gender or number, _agree with their nouns_ in these respects. Not so
with possessives; as, "In the _Jews'_ religion."--_Gal._, i. 13. "The
_children's_ bread."--_Mark_, vii, 27. "Some _men's_ sins."--_1 Tim._, v,
24. "Other _men's_ sins."--_Ib._, ver. 22.
OBS. 12.--Secondly, general custom has clearly determined that the
possessive case of _nouns_ is always to be written _with an apostrophe_:
except in those few instances in which it is not governed singly by the
noun following, but so connected with an other that both are governed
jointly; as, "_Cato the Censor's_ doctrine,"--"_Sir Walter Scott's_
Works,"--"_Beaumont_ and _Fletcher's Plays._" This custom of using the
apostrophe, however, has been opposed by many. Brightland, and Buchanan,
and the author of the British Grammar, and some late writers in the
Philological Museum, are among those who have successively taught, that the
possessive case should be formed _like the nominative plural_, by adding
_s_ when the pronunciation admits the sound, and _es_ when the word
acquires an additional syllable. Some of these approve of the apostrophe,
and others do not. Thus Brightland gives some examples, which are contrary
to his rule, adopting that strange custom of putting the _s_ in Roman, and
the name in Italic; "as, King _Charles_'s _Court_, and St. _James_'s
_Park._"--_Gram. of the English Tongue_, p. 91.
OBS. 13.--"The genitive case, in my opinion," says Dr. Ash, "might be much
more properly formed by adding _s_, or when the pronunciation requires it,
_es_, without an Apostrophe: as, _men, mens; Ox, Oxes; Horse, Horses; Ass,
Asses._"--_Ash's Gram._, p. 23. "To write _Ox's, Ass's, Fox's_, and at the
same time pronounce it _Oxes, Asses, Foxes_, is such a departure from the
original formation, at least in writing, and such an inconsistent use of
the Apostrophe, as cannot be equalled perhaps in any other
language."--_Ib._ Lowth, too, gives some countenance to this objection: "It
[i.e., _'God's grace'_] was formerly written _'Godis grace;'_ we now always
shorten it with an apostrophe; often _very improperly_, when we are obliged
to pronounce it fully; as, _'Thomas's_ book,' that is, '_Thomasis_ book,'
not '_Thomas his_ book,' as it is commonly supposed."--_Lowth's Gram._, p.
17. Whatever weight there may be in this argument, the objection has been
overruled by general custom. The convenience of distinguishing, even to the
eye alone, the numbers and cases of the noun, is found too great to be
relinquished. If the declension of English nouns is ever to be amended, it
cannot be done in this way. It is understood by every reader, that the
_apostrophic s_ adds a syllable to the noun, whenever it will not unite
with the sound in which the nominative ends; as, _torch's_, pronounced
"Yet time ennobles or degrades each line;
It brightened _Craggs's_, and may darken thine."--_Pope._
OBS. 14.--The English possessive case unquestionably originated in that
form of the Saxon genitive which terminates in _es_, examples of which may
be found in almost any specimen of the Saxon tongue: as, "On _Herodes_
dagum,"--"In _Herod's_ days;"--"Of _Aarones_ dohtrum,"--"Of _Aaron's_
daughters."--_Luke_, i, 5. This ending was sometimes the same as that of
the plural; and both were changed to _is_ or _ys_, before they became what
we now find them. This termination added a syllable to the word; and Lowth
suggests, in the quotation above, that the apostrophe was introduced to
shorten it. But some contend, that the use of this mark originated in a
mistake. It appears from the testimony of Brightland, Johnson, Lowth,
Priestley, and others, who have noticed the error in order to correct it,
that an opinion was long entertained, that the termination _'s_ was a
contraction of the word _his_. It is certain that Addison thought so; for
he expressly says it, in the 135th number of the Spectator. Accordingly he
wrote, in lieu of the regular possessive, "My paper is _Ulysses his_
bow."--_Guardian_, No. 98. "Of _Socrates his_ rules of prayer."--_Spect._,
No. 207. So Lowth quotes Pope: "By _young Telemachus his_ blooming
years."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 17. There is also one late author who
says, "The _'s_ is a contraction of _his_, and was formerly written in
full; as, William Russell _his_ book."--_Goodenow's Gram._, p. 32. This is
undoubtedly bad English; and always was so, however common may have been
the erroneous notion which gave rise to it. But the apostrophe, whatever
may have been its origin, is now the acknowledged distinctive mark of the
possessive case of English nouns. The application of the _'s_, frequently
to feminines, and sometimes to plurals, is proof positive that it is _not a
contraction_ of the pronoun _his_; as,
"Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
Weighs the _men's_ wits against the _Lady's_ hair."
--_Pope_, R. of L., C. v, l. 72.
OBS. 15.--Many of the old grammarians, and Guy, Pinneo, and Spencer, among
the moderns, represent the regular formation of the possessive case as
being the same in both numbers, supposing generally in the plural an
abbreviation of the word by the omission of the second or syllabic _s_.
That is, they suppose that such terms as _eagles' wings, angels' visits_,
were written for _eagles's wings, angels's visits_, &c. This odd view of
the matter accounts well enough for the fashion of such plurals as _men's,
women's, children's_, and makes them regular. But I find no evidence at all
of the fact on which these authors presume; nor do I believe that the
regular possessive plural was ever, in general, a syllable longer than the
nominative. If it ever had been so, it would still be easy to prove the
point, by citations from ancient books. The general principle then is, that
_the apostrophe forms the possessive case, with an s in the singular, and
without it in the plural_; but there are some exceptions to this rule, on
either hand; and these must be duly noticed.
OBS. 16.--The chief exceptions, or irregularities, in the formation of the
possessive _singular_, are, I think, to be accounted mere poetic licenses;
and seldom, if ever, to be allowed in prose. Churchill, (closely copying
Lowth,) speaks of them thus: "In poetry the _s_ is frequently omitted after
proper names ending in _s_ or _x_ as, 'The wrath of _Peleus'_ son.' _Pope._
This is scarcely allowable in prose, though instances of it occur: as,
'_Moses'_ minister.' _Josh._, i, 1. _'Phinehas'_ wife.' _1 Sam._, iv, 19.
'Festus came into _Felix'_ room.' _Acts_, xxiv, 27. It was done in prose
evidently to avoid the recurrence of a sibilant sound at the end of two
following syllables; but this may as readily be obviated by using the
preposition _of_, which is now commonly substituted for the possessive case
in most instances."--_Churchill's New Gram._, p. 215. In Scott's Bible,
Philadelphia, 1814, the texts here quoted are all of them corrected, thus:
"_Moses's_ minister,"--"_Phinehas's_ wife,"--"_Felix's_ room." But the
phrase, "for _conscience_ sake," (_Rom._, xiii, 5,) is there given without
the apostrophe. Alger prints it, "for _conscience'_ sake," which is better;
and though not regular, it is a common form for this particular expression.
Our common Bibles have this text: "And the weaned child shall put his hand
on the _cockatrice'_ den."--_Isaiah_, xi, 8. Alger, seeing this to be
wrong, wrote it, "on the _cockatrice-den_."--_Pronouncing Bible._ Dr.
Scott, in his Reference Bible, makes this possessive regular, "on the
_cockatrice's_ den." This is right. The Vulgate has it, "_in caverna
reguli_;" which, however, is not classic Latin. After _z_ also, the poets
sometimes drop the _s_: as,
"Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from _Shiraz'_ walls I bent my way."--_Collins._
OBS. 17.--A recent critic, who, I think, has not yet learned to speak or
write the possessive case of _his own name_ properly, assumes that the
foregoing occasional or poetical forms are the only true ones for the
possessive singular of such words. He says, "When the name _does end_ with
the sound of _s_ or _z_, (no matter what letter represents the sound,) the
possessive form _is made_ by annexing only an apostrophe."--_O. B. Peirce's
Gram._, p. 44. Agreeably to this rule, he letters his work, "_Peirce'
Grammar_," and condemns, as bad English, the following examples and all
others like them: "James _Otis's_ letters, General _Gates's_ command,
General _Knox's_ appointment, Gov. _Meigs's_ promptness, Mr. _Williams's_
oration, The _witness's_ deposition."--_Ib._, p. 60. It is obvious that
this gentleman's doctrine and criticism are as contrary to the common
practice of all good authors, as they are to the common grammars, which he
ridicules. Surely, such expressions as, "_Harris's_ Hermes, _Philips's_
Poems, _Prince's_ Bay, _Prince's_ Island, _Fox's_ Journal, King _James's_
edict, a _justice's_ warrant, _Sphinx's_ riddle, the _lynx's_ beam, the
_lass's_ beauty," have authority enough to refute the cavil of this writer;
who, being himself wrong, falsely charges the older grammarians, that,"
their theories vary from the principles of the language correctly spoken or
written."--_Ib._, p. 60. A much more judicious author treats this point of
grammar as follows: "When the possessive noun is singular, and terminates
with an _s_, another _s_ is requisite after it, and the apostrophe must be
placed between the two; as, '_Dickens's_ works,'--'_Harris's_
wit.'"--_Day's Punctuation, Third London Edition_, p. 136. The following
example, too, is right: "I would not yield to be your _house's_
OBS. 18.--All _plural_ nouns that differ from the singular without ending
in _s_, form the possessive case in the same manner as the singular: as,
_man's, men's; woman's, women's j child's, children's; brother's, brothers'
or brethren's; ox's, oxen's; goose, geese's_. In two or three words which
are otherwise alike in both numbers, the apostrophe ought to follow the _s_
in the plural, to distinguish it from the singular: as, the _sheep's_
fleece, the _sheeps'_ fleeces; a _neat's_ tongue, _neats'_ tongues; a
_deer's_ horns, a load of _deers'_ horns.
OBS. 19.--Dr. Ash says, "Nouns of the plural number that end in _s_, will
not very properly admit of the genitive case."--_Ash's Gram._, p. 54. And
Dr. Priestley appears to have been of the same opinion. See his _Gram._, p.
69. Lowth too avers, that the sign of the possessive case is "never added
to the plural number ending in _s_."--_Gram._, p. 18. Perhaps he thought
the plural sign must involve an other _s_, like the singular. This however
is not true, neither is Dr. Ash's assertion true; for the New Testament
speaks as properly of "the _soldiers'_ counsel," as of the "_centurion's_
servant;" of "the scribes that were of the _Pharisees'_ part," as of
"_Paul's sister's_ son." It would appear, however, that the possessive
plural is less frequently used than the possessive singular; its place
being much oftener supplied by the preposition _of_ and the objective. We
cannot say that either of them is absolutely necessary to the language; but
they are both worthy to be commended, as furnishing an agreeable variety of
"Then shall _man's_ pride and dulness comprehend
His _actions', passions', being's_ use and end."--_Pope_.
OBS. 20.--The apostrophe was introduced into the possessive case, at least
for the singular number, in some part of the seventeenth century. Its
adoption for the plural, appears to have been later: it is not much used in
books a hundred years old. In Buchanan's "Regular English Syntax," which
was written, I know not exactly when, but near the middle of the eighteenth
century, I find the following paragraph: "We have certainly a Genitive
Plural, though there has been no Mark to distinguish it. The Warriors Arms,
i. e. the Arms of the Warriors, is as much a Genitive Plural, as the
Warrior's Arms, for the Arms of the Warrior is a Genitive Singular. To
distinguish this Genitive Plural, especially to Foreigners, we might use
the Apostrophe reversed, thus, the Warrior`s Arms, the Stone`s End, for the
End of the Stones, the Grocer`s, Taylor`s, Haberdasher`s, &c. Company; for
the Company of Grocers, Taylors, &c. The Surgeon`s Hall, for the Hall of
the Surgeons; the Rider`s Names, for the Names of the Riders; and so of all
Plural Possessives."--See _Buchan. Synt._, p. 111. Our present form of the
possessive plural, being unknown to this grammarian, must have had a later
origin; nor can it have been, as some imagine it was, an abbreviation of a
longer and more ancient form.
OBS. 21.--The apostrophic _s_ has often been added to nouns _improperly_;
the words formed by it not being intended for the possessive singular, but
for the nominative or objective plural. Thus we find such authors as
Addison and Swift, writing _Jacobus's_ and _genius's_, for _Jacobuses_ and
_geniuses_; _idea's, toga's_, and _tunica's_, for _ideas, togas_, and
_tunicas_; _enamorato's_ and _virtuoso's_, for _enamoratoes_ and
_virtuosoes_. Errors of this kind, should be carefully avoided.
OBS. 22.--The apostrophe and _s_ are sometimes added to mere characters, to
denote plurality, and not the possessive case; as, two _a_'s, three _b_'s,
four 9's. These we cannot avoid, except by using the _names_ of the things:
as, two _Aes_, three _Bees_, four _Nines_. "Laced down the sides with
little _c_'s."--_Steele_. "Whenever two _gg_'s come together, they are both
hard."--_Buchanan_. The names of _c_ and _g_, plural, are _Cees_ and
_Gees_. Did these authors _know_ the words, or did they not? To have
learned the _names_ of the letters, will be found on many occasions a great
convenience, especially to critics. For example: "The pronunciation of
these two consecutive _s's_ is hard."--_Webber's Gram._, p. 21. Better:
"_Esses_." "_S_ and _x_, however, are exceptions. They are pluralyzed by
adding _es_ preceded by a hyphen [-], as the _s-es_; the _x-es_."--_O. B.
Peirce's Gram._, p. 40. Better, use the _names, Ess_ and _Ex_, and
pluralize thus: "the _Esses_; the _Exes_."
"Make Q's of answers, to waylay
What th' other party's like to say."
--_Hudibras_, P. III, C. ii, l. 951.
Here the cipher is to be read _Kues_, but it has not the meaning of this
name merely. It is put either for the plural of _Q._, a _Question_, like D.
D.'s, (read _Dee-Dees_,) for _Doctors of Divinity_; or else, more
erroneously, for _cues_, the plural of _cue_, a turn which the next speaker
OBS. 23.--In the following example, the apostrophe and _s_ are used to give
the sound of a _verb's_ termination, to words which the writer supposed
were not properly verbs: "When a man in a soliloquy reasons with himself,
and _pro's_ and _con's_, and weighs all his designs."--_Congreve_. But
here, "_proes_ and _cons_," would have been more accurate. "We put the
ordered number of _m's_ into our composing-stick."--_Printer's Gram._ Here
"_Ems_" would have done as well. "All measures for _folio's_ and
_quarto's_, should be made to _m's_ of the English body; all measures for
_octavo's_, to Pica _m's_."--_Ibid._ Here regularity requires, "_folios,
quartoes, octavoes_," and "_pica Ems_." The verb _is_, when contracted,
sometimes gives to its nominative the same form as that of the possessive
case, it not being always spaced off for distinction, as it may be; as,
"A _wit's_ a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest _man's_ the noblest work of God."
--_Pope, on Man_, Ep. iv, l. 247.
OBS. 24.--As the _objective case of nouns_ is to be distinguished from the
nominative, only by the sense, relation, and position, of words in a
sentence, the learner must acquire a habit of attending to these several
things. Nor ought it to be a hardship to any reader to understand that
which he thinks worth reading. It is seldom possible to mistake one of
these cases for the other, without a total misconception of the author's
meaning. The nominative denotes the agent, actor, or doer; the person or
thing that is made the subject of an affirmation, negation, question, or
supposition: its place, except in a question, is commonly _before_ the
verb. The objective, when governed by a verb or a participle, denotes the
person on whom, or the thing on which, the action falls and terminates: it
is commonly placed _after_ the verb, participle, or preposition, which
governs it. Nouns, then, by changing places, may change cases: as,
"_Jonathan_ loved _David_;" "_David_ loved _Jonathan_." Yet the case
depends not entirely upon position; for any order in which the words cannot
be misunderstood, is allowable: as, "Such tricks hath strong
imagination."--_Shak._ Here the cases are known, because the meaning is
plainly this: "Strong imagination hath such tricks." "To him give all the
prophets witness."--_Acts_, x, 43. This is intelligible enough, and more
forcible than the same meaning expressed thus: "All the prophets give
witness to him." The _order_ of the words never can affect the explanation
to be given of them in parsing, unless it change the sense, and form them
into a different sentence.
THE DECLENSION OF NOUNS.
The declension of a noun is a regular arrangement of its numbers and cases.
Sing. Nom. friend, Plur. Nom. friends,
Poss. friend's, Poss. friends',
Obj. friend; Obj. friends.
Sing. Nom. man, Plur. Nom. men,
Poss. man's, Poss. men's,
Obj. man; Obj. men.
Sing. Nom. fox, Plur. Nom. foxes,
Poss. fox's, Poss. foxes',
Obj. fox; Obj. foxes.
Sing. Nom. fly, Plur. Nom. flies,
Poss. fly's, Poss. flies',
Obj. fly; Obj. flies.
EXAMPLES FOR PARSING.
_In the Third Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and
define the different parts of speech, and the classes and modifications of
the ARTICLES and NOUNS.
The definitions to be given in the Third Praxis, are two for an article,
six for a noun, and one for an adjective, a pronoun, a verb, a participle,
an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an interjection. Thus_:--
"The writings of Hannah More appear to me more praiseworthy than Scott's."
_The_ is the definite article. 1. An article is the word _the, an_, or _a_,
which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite
article is _the_, which denotes some particular thing or things.
_Writings_ is a common noun, of the third person, plural number, neuter
gender, and nominative case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or
thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a
sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The third person is that
which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The plural number is
that which denotes more than one. 5. The neuter gender is that which
denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is
that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject
of a finite verb.
_Of_ is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some
relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally
placed before a noun or a pronoun.
_Hannah More_ is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number,
feminine gender, and objective case. 1. A noun is the name of any person,
place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A proper noun is the
name of some particular individual, or people, or group. 3. The third
person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The
singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The feminine gender is
that which denotes persons or animals of the female kind. 6. The objective
case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the
object of a verb, participle, or preposition.
_Appear_ is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies _to be, to act_, or
_to be acted upon_.
_To_ is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some
relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally
placed before a noun or a pronoun.
_Me_ is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.
_More_ is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle,
an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place,
degree, or manner.
_Praiseworthy_ is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun
or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.
_Than_ is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words
or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so
_Scott's_ is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number, masculine
gender, and possessive case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or
thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A proper noun is the name of some
particular individual, or people, or group. 3. The third person is that
which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number
is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which
denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The possessive case is that
form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the relation of
"The virtue of Alexander appears to me less vigorous than that of Socrates.
Socrates in Alexander's place I can readily conceive: Alexander in that of
Socrates I cannot. Alexander will tell you, he can subdue the world: it was
a greater work in Socrates to fulfill the duties of life. Worth consists
most, not in great, but in good actions."--_Kames's Art of Thinking_, p.
"No one should ever rise to speak in public, without forming to himself a
just and strict idea of what suits his own age and character; what suits
the subject, the hearers, the place, the occasion."--_Blair's Rhetoric_, p.
"In the short space of little more than a century, the Greeks became such
statesmen, warriors, orators, historians, physicians, poets, critics,
painters, sculptors, architects, and, last of all, philosophers, that one
can hardly help considering that golden period, as a providential event in
honour of human nature, to show to what perfection the species might
ascend."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 417.
"Is genius yours? Be yours a glorious end,
Be your king's, country's, truth's, religion's friend."--_Young_.
"He that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman:
likewise also, he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant."--_1
Cor._, vii, 22.
"What will remain to the Alexanders, and the Caesars, and the Jenghizes, and
the Louises, and the Charleses, and the Napoleons, with whose 'glories' the
idle voice of fame is filled?"--_J. Dymond_. "Good sense, clear ideas,
perspicuity of language, and proper arrangement of words and thoughts, will
always command attention."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 174.
"A mother's tenderness and a father's care are nature's gifts for man's
advantage.--Wisdom's precepts form the good man's interest and
happiness."--_Murray's Key_, p. 194.
"A dancing-school among the Tuscaroras, is not a greater absurdity than a
masquerade in America. A theatre, under the best regulations, is not
essential to our happiness. It may afford entertainment to individuals; but
it is at the expense of private taste and public morals."--_Webster's
Essays_, p. 86.
"Where dancing sunbeams on the waters played,
And verdant alders form'd a quivering shade."--_Pope_.
"I have ever thought that advice to the young, unaccompanied by the routine
of honest employments, is like an attempt to make a shrub grow in a certain
direction, by blowing it with a bellows."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 247.
"The Arabic characters for the writing of numbers, were introduced into
Europe by Pope Sylvester II, in the eleventh century."--_Constable's
"Emotions raised by inanimate objects, trees, rivers, buildings, pictures,
arrive at perfection almost instantaneously; and they have a long
endurance, a second view producing nearly the same pleasure with the
first."--_Kames's Elements_, i, 108.
"There is great variety in the same plant, by the different appearances of
its stem, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit, size, and colour; and yet,
when we trace that variety through different plants, especially of the same
kind, there is discovered a surprising uniformity."--_Ib._, i, 273.
"Attitude, action, air, pause, start, sigh, groan,
He borrow'd, and made use of as his own."--_Churchill_.
"I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe,
With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear!"--_Burns_.
IMPROPRIETIES FOR CORRECTION.
ERRORS OF NOUNS.
"All the ablest of the Jewish Rabbis acknowledge it."--_Wilson's Heb.
Gram._, p. 7.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the word _Rabbi_ is here made plural by the
addition of _s_ only. But, according to Observation 12th on the Numbers,
nouns in _i_ ought rather to form the plural in _ies_. The capital _R_,
too, is not necessary. Therefore, _Rabbis_ should be _rabbies_, with _ies_
and a small _r_.]
"Who has thoroughly imbibed the system of one or other of our Christian
rabbis."--_Campbell's Rhet._, p. 378. "The seeming singularitys of reason
soon wear off."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 47. "The chiefs and arikis or
priests have the power of declaring a place or object taboo."--_Balbi's
Geog._, p. 460. "Among the various tribes of this family, are the
Pottawatomies, the Sacs and Foxes, or Saukis and Ottogamis."--_Ib._, p.
178. "The Shawnees, Kickapoos, Menomonies, Miamis and Delawares, are of the
same region."--_Ib._, p. 178. "The Mohegans and Abenaquis belonged also to
this family."--_Ib._, p. 178. "One tribe of this family, the Winnebagos,
formerly resided near lake Michigan."--_Ib._, p. 179. "The other tribes are
the Ioways, the Otoes, the Missouris, the Quapaws."--_Ib._, p. 179. "The
great Mexican family comprises the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Tarascos."--_Ib._,
p. 179. "The Mulattoes are born of negro and white parents; the Zambos, of
Indians and negroes."--_Ib._, p. 165. "To have a place among the
Alexanders, the Caesars, the Lewis', or the Charles', the scourges and
butchers of their fellow-creatures."--_Burgh's Dignity_, i, 132. "Which was
the notion of the Platonic Philosophers and Jewish rabbii."--_Ib._, p. 248.
"That they should relate to the whole body of virtuosos."--_Gobbett's E.
Gram._, 212. "What thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love
them."--_Luke_, vi, 32. "There are five ranks of nobility; dukes,
marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons."--_Balbi's Geog._, p. 228. "Acts,
which were so well known to the two Charles's."--_Payne's Geog._, ii, 511.
"Court Martials are held in all parts, for the trial of the
blacks."--_Observer_, No. 458. "It becomes a common noun, and may have a
plural number; as, the two _Davids_; the two _Scipios_, the two
_Pompies_."--_Staniford's Gram._, p. 8. "The food of the rattlesnake is
birds, squirrels, hare, rats, and reptiles."--_Balbi's Geog._, p. 177. "And
let fowl multiply in the earth."--_Genesis_, i, 22. "Then we reached the
hill-side where eight buffalo were grazing."--_Martineau's Amer._, i, 202.
"_Corset, n._ a pair of bodice for a woman."--_Worcester's Dict._, 12mo.
"As the _be's_; the _ce's_, the _doubleyu's_."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p.
40. "Simplicity is the means between ostentation and rusticity."--_Pope's
Pref. to Homer_. "You have disguised yourselves like tipstaves."--_Gil
Blas_, i, 111. "But who, that hath any taste, can endure the incessant
quick returns of the _also_'s, and the _likewise_'s, and the _moreover_'s,
and the _however_'s, and the _notwithstanding_'s?"--_Campbell's Rhet._, p.
"Sometimes, in mutual sly disguise,
Let Aye's seem No's, and No's seem Aye's."--_Gay_, p. 431.
"For whose name sake, I have been made willing."--_Wm. Penn_.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the noun _name_, which is here meant for the
possessive case singular, has not the true form of that case. But,
according to a principle on page 258th, "The possessive case of nouns is
formed, in the singular number, by adding to the nominative _s preceded by
an apostrophe_; and, in the plural, when the nominative ends in _s_, by
adding _an apostrophe only_." Therefore, name should be _name's_; thus,
"For whose _name's_ sake, I have been made willing."]
"Be governed by your conscience, and never ask anybodies leave to be
honest."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 105. "To overlook nobodies merit or
misbehaviour."--_Ib._, p. 9. "And Hector at last fights his way to the
stern of Ajax' ship."--_Coleridge's Introd._, p. 91. "Nothing is lazier,
than to keep ones eye upon words without heeding their meaning."--
_Philological Museum_, i, 645. "Sir William Joneses division of the
day."--_Ib., Contents_. "I need only refer here to Vosses excellent account
of it."--_Ib._, i, 465. "The beginning of Stesichoruses palinode has been
preserved."--_Ib._, i, 442. "Though we have Tibulluses elegies, there is
not a word in them about Glycera."--_Ib._, p. 446. "That Horace was at
Thaliarchuses country-house."--_Ib._, i, 451. "That Sisyphuses foot-tub
should have been still in existence."--_Ib._, i, 468. "How every thing went
on in Horace's closet, and in Mecenases antechamber."--_Ib._, i, 458. "Who,
for elegant brevities sake, put a participle for a verb."--_Walker's
Particles_, p. 42. "The countries liberty being oppressed, we have no more
to hope."--_Ib._, p. 73. "A brief but true account of this peoples'
principles."--_Barclay's Pref._ "As, the Churche's Peace, or the Peace of
the Church; Virgil's Eneid, or the Eneid of Virgil"--_British Gram._, p.
93. "As, Virgil's AEneid, for the AEneid of Virgil; the Church'es Peace, for
the Peace of the Church."--_Buchanan's Syntax_, p. 18. "Which, with
Hubner's Compend, and Wells' Geographia Classica, will be sufficient."--
_Burgh's Dignity_, i, 155. "Witness Homer's speaking horses, scolding
goddesses, and Jupiter enchanted with Venus' girdle."--_Ib._, i, 184. "Dr.
Watts' Logic may with success be read and commented on to them."--_Ib._, p.
156. "Potter's Greek, and Kennet's Roman Antiquities, Strauchius' and
Helvicus' Chronology."--_Ib._, p. 161. "_Sing_. Alice' friends, Felix'
property; _Plur._ The Alices' friends, The Felixes' property."--_O. B.
Peirce's Gram._, p. 46. "Such as Bacchus'es company,"--"at Bacchus'es
festivals."--_Ainsworth's Dict., w. Thyrsus._ "Burn's inimitable _Tam
o'Shanter_ turns entirely upon such a circumstance."--_Scott's Lay, Notes_,
p. 201. "Nominative, Men. Genitive, Mens. Objective, Men."--_Cutler's
Gram._, p. 20. "Mens Happiness or Misery is most part of their own
making."--_Locke, on Education_, p. 1. "That your Sons Cloths be never made
strait, especially about the Breast."--_Ib._, p. 15. "Childrens Minds are
narrow and weak."--_Ib._, p. 297. "I would not have little Children much
tormented about Punctilio's, or Niceties of Breeding."--_Ib._, p. 90. "To
fill his Head with suitable Idea's."--_Ib._, p. 113. "The Burgusdiscius's
and the Scheiblers did not swarm in those Days, as they do now."--_Ib._, p.
163. "To see the various ways of dressing--a calve's head!"--_Shenstone_,
Brit. Poets, Vol. vii, p. 143.
"He puts it on, and for decorum sake
Can wear it e'en as gracefully as she."--_Cowper's Task_.
"Simon the witch was of this religion too."--_Bunyan's P. P._, p. 123.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the feminine name _witch_ is here applied to
a man. But, according to the doctrine of genders, on page 254th, "Names of
males are masculine; names of females, feminine;" &c. Therefore, _witch_
should be _wizard_; thus, "Simon the _wizard_," &c.]
"Mammodis, n. Coarse, plain India muslins."--_Webster's Dict._ "Go on from
single persons to families, that of the Pompeyes for instance."--_Collier's
Antoninus_, p. 142. "By which the ancients were not able to account for
phaenomenas."--_Bailey's Ovid_, p. vi. "After this I married a wife who had
lived at Crete, but a Jew by birth."--_Josephus's Life_, p. 194. "The very
heathen are inexcusable for not worshipping him."--_Student's Manual_, p.
328. "Such poems as Camoen's Lusiad, Voltaire's Henriade, &c."--_Blair's
Rhet._, p. 422. "My learned correspondent writes a word in defence of large
scarves."--SPECT.: in _Joh. Dict._ "The forerunners of an apoplexy are
dulness, vertigos, tremblings."--ARBUTHNOT: _ib._ "_Vertigo_ changes the
_o_ into _~in=es_, making the plural _vertig~in=es_."--_Churchill's Gram._,
p. 59. "_Noctambulo_ changes the _o_ into _=on=es_, making the plural
_noctambul=on=es_."--_Ib._, p. 59. "What shall we say of
noctambulos?"--ARBUTHNOT: _in Joh. Dict._ "In the curious fretwork of rocks
and grottos."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 220. "_Wharf_ makes the plural
_wharves_."--_Smith's Gram._, p. 45; _Merchant's_, 29; _Picket's_, 21;
_Frost's_, 8. "A few cent's worth of maccaroni supplies all their
wants."--_Balbi's Geog._, p. 275. "C sounds hard, like _k_, at the end of a
word or syllables."--_Blair's Gram._, p. 4. "By which the virtuosi try The
magnitude of every lie."--_Hudibras_. "Quartos, octavos, shape the
lessening pyre."--_Pope's Dunciad_, B. i, l. 162. "Perching within square
royal rooves."--SIDNEY: _in Joh. Dict._ "Similies should, even in poetry,
be used with moderation."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 166. "Similies should never
be taken from low or mean objects."--_Ib._, p. 167. "It were certainly
better to say, 'The house of lords,' than 'the Lord's house.'"--_Murray's
Gram._, 8vo, p. 177. "Read your answers. Unit figure? 'Five.' Ten's? 'Six.'
Hundreds? 'Seven.'"--_Abbott's Teacher_, p. 79. "Alexander conquered
Darius' army."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 58. "Three days time was requisite,
to prepare matters."--_Brown's Estimate_, ii, 156. "So we say that Ciceros
stile and Sallusts, were not one, nor Cesars and Livies, nor Homers and
Hesiodus, nor Herodotus and Theucidides, nor Euripides and Aristophanes,
nor Erasmus and Budeus stiles."--_Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie_, iii,
5. "_Lex_ (i.e. _legs_) is no other than our ancestors past participle
_laeg, laid down_."--_Tooke's Diversions_, ii, 7. "Achaia's sons at Ilium
slain for the Atridae' sake."--_Cowper's Iliad_. "The corpse of half
her senate manure the fields of Thessaly."--_Addison's Cato_.
"Poisoning, without regard of fame or fear:
And spotted corpse are frequent on the bier."--_Dryden_.
An Adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses
quality: as, A _wise_ man; a _new_ book. You _two_ are _diligent_.
OBS. 1.--Adjectives have been otherwise called attributes, attributives,
qualities, adnouns; but none of these names is any better than the common
one. Some writers have classed adjectives with verbs; because, with a
neuter verb for the copula, they often form logical predicates: as, "Vices
_are contagious_." The Latin grammarians usually class them with nouns;
consequently their nouns are divided into nouns substantive and nouns
adjective. With us, substantives are nouns; and adjectives form a part of
speech by themselves. This is generally acknowledged to be a much better
distribution. Adjectives cannot with propriety be called _nouns_, in any
language; because they are not _the names_ of the qualities which they
signify. They must be _added_ to nouns or pronouns in order to make sense.
But if, in a just distribution of words, the term "_adjective nouns_" is
needless and improper, the term "_adjective pronouns_" is, certainly, not
less so: most of the words which Murray and others call by this name, are
not pronouns, but adjectives.
OBS. 2.--The noun, or substantive, is a _name_, which makes sense of
itself. The adjective is an adjunct to the noun or pronoun. It is a word
added to denote quality, situation, quantity, number, form, tendency, or
whatever else may characterize and distinguish the thing or things spoken
of. Adjectives, therefore, are distinguished _from_ nouns by their
_relation to_ them; a relation corresponding to that which qualities bear
to things: so that no part of speech is more easily discriminated than the
adjective. Again: English adjectives, as such, are all indeclinable. When,
therefore, any words usually belonging to this class, are found to take
either the plural or the possessive form, like substantive nouns, they are
to be parsed as nouns. To abbreviate expression, we not unfrequently, in
this manner, convert adjectives into nouns. Thus, in grammar, we often
speak of _nominatives, possessives_, or _objectives_, meaning nouns or
pronouns of the nominative, the possessive, or the objective case; of
_positives, comparatives_, or _superlatives_, meaning adjectives of the
positive, the comparative, or the superlative degree; of _infinitives,
subjunctives_, or _imperatives_, meaning verbs of the infinitive, the
subjunctive, or the imperative mood; and of _singulars, plurals_, and many
other such things, in the same way. So a man's _superiors_ or _inferiors_
are persons superior or inferior to himself. His _betters_ are persons
better than he. _Others_ are any persons or things distinguished from some
that are named or referred to; as, "If you want enemies, excel _others_; if
you want friends, let _others_ excel you."--_Lacon_. All adjectives thus
taken substantively, become _nouns_, and ought to be parsed as such, unless
this word _others_ is to be made an exception, and called a "_pronoun_."
"Th' event is fear'd; should we again provoke
Our _stronger_, some worse way his wrath may find."
--_Milton, P. L._, B. ii, l. 82.
OBS. 3.--Murray says, "Perhaps the words _former_ and _latter_ may be
properly ranked amongst the demonstrative pronouns, _especially in many of
their applications_. The following sentence may serve as an example: 'It
was happy for the state, that Fabius continued in the command with
Minutius: the _former's_ phlegm was a check upon the _latter's_
vivacity.'"--_Gram._, 8vo, p. 57. This I take to be bad English. _Former_
and _latter_ ought to be adjectives only; except when _former_ means
_maker_. And, if not so, it is too easy a way of multiplying pronouns, to
manufacture two out of one single anonymous sentence. If it were said, "The
deliberation of _the former_ was a seasonable chock upon the fiery temper
of _the latter_" the words _former_ and _latter_ would seem to me not to be
pronouns, but adjectives, each relating to the noun _commander_ understood
OBS. 4.--The sense and relation of words in sentences, as well as their
particular form and meaning, must be considered in parsing, before the
learner can say, with certainty, to what class they belong. Other parts of
speech, and especially nouns and participles, by a change in their
construction, may become adjectives. Thus, to denote the material of which
a thing is formed, we very commonly make the name of the substantive an
adjective to that of the thing: as, A _gold chain_, a _silver spoon_, a
_glass pitcher_, a _tin basin_, an _oak plank_, a _basswood slab_, a
_whalebone rod_. This construction is in general correct, whenever the
former word may be predicated of the latter; as, "The chain is gold."--"The
spoon is silver." But we do not write _gold beater_ for _goldbeater_, or
_silver smith_ for _silversmith_; because the beater is not gold, nor is
the smith silver. This principle, however, is not universally observed; for
we write _snowball, whitewash_, and many similar compounds, though the ball
is snow and the wash is white; and _linseed oil_, or _Newark cider_, may be
a good phrase, though the former word cannot well be predicated of the
latter. So in the following examples: "Let these _conversation_ tones be
the foundation of public pronunciation."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 334. "A
_muslin_ flounce, made very full, would give a very agreeable _flirtation_
air."--POPE: _Priestley's Gram._, p. 79.
"Come, calm Content, serene and sweet,
O gently guide my _pilgrim_ feet
To find thy _hermit_ cell."--_Barbauld_.
OBS. 5.--Murray says, "Various nouns placed before other nouns assume the
nature of adjectives: as, sea fish, wine vessel, corn field, meadow ground,
&c."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 48. This is, certainly, very lame instruction. If
there is not palpable error in all his examples, the propriety of them all
is at least questionable; and, to adopt and follow out their principle,
would be, to tear apart some thousands of our most familiar compounds.
"_Meadow ground_" may perhaps be a correct phrase, since the ground is
meadow; it seems therefore preferable to the compound word meadow-ground.
What he meant by "_wine vessel_" is doubtful: that is, whether a ship or a
cask, a flagon or a decanter. If we turn to our dictionaries, Webster has
_sea-fish_ and _wine-cask_ with a hyphen, and _cornfield_ without; while
Johnson and others have _corn-field_ with a hyphen, and _seafish_ without.
According to the rules for the figure of words, we ought to write them
_seafish, winecask, cornfield_. What then becomes of the thousands of
"adjectives" embraced in the "&c." quoted above?
OBS. 6.--The pronouns _he_ and _she_, when placed before or prefixed to
nouns merely to denote their gender, appear to be used adjectively; as,
"The male or _he_ animals offered in sacrifice."--_Wood's Dict., w. Males_.
"The most usual term is _he_ or _she, male_ or _female_, employed as an
adjective: as, a _he bear_, a _she bear_; a _male elephant_, a _female
elephant_."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 69. Most writers, however, think
proper to insert a hyphen in the terms here referred to: as, _he-bear,
she-bear_, the plurals of which are _he-bears_ and _she-bears_. And,
judging by the foregoing rule of predication, we must assume that this
practice only is right. In the first example, the word _he_ is useless; for
the term "_male animals_" is sufficiently clear without it. It has been
shown in the third chapter, that _he_ and _she_ are sometimes used as
nouns; and that, as such, they may take the regular declension of nouns,
making the plurals _hes_ and _shes_. But whenever these words are used
adjectively to denote gender, whether we choose to insert the hyphen or
not, they are, without question, indeclinable, like other adjectives. In
the following example, Sanborn will have _he_ to be a noun in the
_objective_ case; but I consider it rather, to be an adjective, signifying
"(_Philosophy_, I say, and call _it He_;
For, whatsoe'er the painter's fancy be,
It a male-virtue seems to me.")--_Cowley_, Brit. Poets, Vol. ii, p. 54.
OBS. 7.--Though verbs give rise to many adjectives, they seldom, if ever,
become such by a mere change of construction. It is mostly by assuming an
additional termination, that any verb is formed into an adjective: as in
_teachable, moveable, oppressive, diffusive, prohibitory_. There are,
however, about forty words ending in _ate_, which, without difference of
form, are either verbs or adjectives; as, _aggregate, animate, appropriate,
articulate, aspirate, associate, complicate, confederate, consummate,
deliberate, desolate, effeminate, elate, incarnate, intimate, legitimate,
moderate, ordinate, precipitate, prostrate, regenerate, reprobate,
separate, sophisticate, subordinate_. This class of adjectives seems to be
lessening. The participials in _ed_, are superseding some of them, at least
in popular practice: as, _contaminated_, for _contaminate_, defiled;
_reiterated_, for _reiterate_, repeated; _situated_, for _situate_, placed;
_attenuated_, for _attenuate_, made thin or slender. _Devote, exhaust_, and
some other verbal forms, are occasionally used by the poets, in lieu of the
participial forms, _devoted, exhausted_, &c.
OBS. 8.--Participles, which have naturally much resemblance to this part
of speech, often drop their distinctive character, and become adjectives.
This is usually the case whenever they stand immediately _before_ the nouns
to which they relate; as, A _pleasing_ countenance, a _piercing_ eye, an
_accomplished_ scholar, an _exalted_ station. Many participial adjectives
are derivatives formed from participles by the negative prefix _un_, which
reverses the meaning of the primitive word; as, _undisturbed, undivided,
unenlightened_. Most words of this kind differ of course from participles,
because there are no such verbs as _to undisturb, to undivide_, &c. Yet
they may be called participial adjectives, because they have the
termination, and embrace the form, of participles. Nor should any
participial adjective be needlessly varied from the true orthography of the
participle: a distinction is, however, observed by some writers, between
_past_ and _passed, staid_ and _stayed_; and some old words, as _drunken,
stricken, shotten, rotten_, now obsolete as participles, are still retained
as adjectives. This sort of words will be further noticed in the chapter on
OBS. 9.--Adverbs are generally distinguished from adjectives, by the form,
as well as by the construction, of the words. Yet, in instances not a few,
the same word is capable of being used both adjectively and adverbially. In
these cases, the scholar must determine the part of speech, by the
construction alone; remembering that adjectives belong to nouns or pronouns
only; and adverbs, to verbs, participles, adjectives, or other adverbs,
only. The following examples from Scripture, will partially illustrate this
point, which will be noticed again under the head of syntax: "Is your
father well?"--_Gen._, xliii, 27. "Thou hast well said."--_John_, iv, 17.
"He separateth very friends."--_Prov._, xvii, 9. "Esaias is _very_
bold."--_Rom._, x, 20. "For a pretence, ye make _long_ prayer."--_Matt._,
xxiii, 14. "They that tarry _long_ at the wine."--_Prov._, xxiii, 30. "It
had not _much_ earth."--_Mark_, iv, 5. "For she loved _much_."--_Luke_,
OBS. 10.--Prepositions, in regard to their _construction_, differ from
adjectives, almost exactly as active-transitive participles differ
syntactically from adjectives: that is, in stead of being mere adjuncts to
the words which follow them, they govern those words, and refer back to
some other term; which, in the usual order of speech, stands before them.
Thus, if I say, "A spreading oak," _spreading_ is an adjective relating to
oak; if, "A boy spreading hay," _spreading_ is a participle, governing
_hay_, and relating to _boy_, because the boy is the agent of the action.
So, when Dr. Webster says, "The _off_ horse in a team," _off_ is an
adjective, relating to the noun _horse_; but, in the phrase, "A man _off_
his guard," _off_ is a preposition, showing the relation between _man_ and
_guard_, and governing the latter. The following are other examples: "From
the _above_ speculations."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 194. "An _after_ period
of life."--MARSHALL: _in Web. Dict._ "With some other of the _after_
Judaical rites."--_Right of Tythes_, p. 86. "Whom this _beneath_ world doth
embrace and hug."--_Shak._ "Especially is _over_ exertion made."--_Journal
of Lit. Conv._, p. 119. "To both the _under_ worlds."--_Hudibras_. "Please
to pay to A. B. the amount of the _within_ bill." Whether properly used or
not, the words _above, after, beneath, over, under, and within_, are here
unquestionably made _adjectives_; yet every scholar knows, that they are
generally prepositions, though sometimes adverbs.
Adjectives may be divided into six classes; namely, _common, proper,
numeral, pronominal, participial_, and _compound_.
I. A _common adjective_ is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting
quality or situation; as, _Good, bad, peaceful, warlike--eastern, western,
II. A _proper adjective_ is an adjective formed from a proper name; as,
_American, English, Platonic, Genoese_.
III. A _numeral adjective_ is an adjective that expresses a definite
number; as, _One, two, three, four, five, six_, &c.
IV. A _pronominal adjective_ is a definitive word which may either
accompany its noun, or represent it understood; as, "_All_ join to guard
what _each_ desires to gain."--_Pope_. That is, "_All men_ join to guard
what _each man_ desires to gain."
V. A _participial adjective_ is one that has the form of a participle, but
differs from it by rejecting the idea of time; as, "An _amusing_
story,"--"A _lying_ divination."
VI. A _compound adjective_ is one that consists of two or more words joined
together, either by the hyphen or solidly: as, _Nut-brown, laughter-loving,
four-footed; threefold, lordlike, lovesick_.
OBS. 1.--This distribution of the adjectives is no less easy to be applied,
than necessary to a proper explanation in parsing. How many adjectives
there are in the language, it is difficult to say; none of our
dictionaries profess to exhibit all that are embraced in some of the
foregoing classes. Of the Common Adjectives, there are probably not fewer
than six thousand, exclusive of the common nouns which we refer to this
class when they are used adjectively. Walker's Rhyming Dictionary contains
five thousand or more, the greater part of which may be readily
distinguished by their peculiar endings. Of those which end in _ous_, as
_generous_, there are about 850. Of those in _y_ or _ly_, as _shaggy,
homely_, there are about 550. Of those in _ive_, as _deceptive_, there are
about 400. Of those in _al_, as _autumnal_, there are about 550. Of those
in _ical_, as _mechanical_, there are about 350. Of those in _able_, as
_valuable_, there are about 600. Of those in _ible_, as _credible_, there
are about 200. Of those in _ent_, as _different_, there are about 300. Of
those in _ant_, as _abundant_, there are about 170. Of those in _less_, as
_ceaseless_, there are about 220. Of those in _ful_, as _useful_, there are
about 130. Of those in _ory_, as _explanatory_, there are about 200. Of
those in _ish_, as _childish_, there are about 100. Of those in _ine_, as
_masculine_, there are about 70. Of those in _en_, as _wooden_, there are
about 50. Of those in _some_, as _quarrelsome_, there are about 30. These
sixteen numbers added together, make 4770.
OBS. 2.--The Proper Adjectives are, in many instances, capable of being
converted into declinable nouns: as, _European, a European, the Europeans;
Greek, a Greek, the Greeks; Asiatic, an Asiatic, the Asiatics_. But with
the words _English, French, Dutch, Scotch, Welsh, Irish_, and in general
all such as would acquire an additional syllable in their declension, the
case is otherwise. The gentile noun has frequently fewer syllables than the
adjective, but seldom more, unless derived from some different root.
Examples: _Arabic, an Arab, the Arabs; Gallic, a Gaul, the Gauls; Danish, a
Dane, the Danes; Moorish, a Moor, the Moors; Polish, a Pole_, or _Polander,
the Poles; Swedish, a Swede, the Swedes; Turkish, a Turk, the Turks_. When
we say, _the English, the French, the Dutch, the Scotch, the Welsh, the
Irish_,--meaning, _the English people, the French people_, &c., many
grammarians conceive that _English, French_, &c., are _indeclinable nouns_.
But in my opinion, it is better to reckon them _adjectives_, relating to
the noun _men_ or _people_ understood. For if these words are nouns, so are
a thousand others, after which there is the same ellipsis; as when we say,
_the good, the great, the wise, the learned_. The principle would
involve the inconvenience of multiplying our nouns of the singular form and
a plural meaning, indefinitely. If they are nouns, they are, in this sense,
plural only; and, in an other, they are singular only. For we can no more
say, _an English, an Irish_, or _a French_, for _an Englishman, an
Irishman_, or _a Frenchman_; than we can say, _an old, a selfish_, or _a
rich_, for _an old man, a selfish man_, or _a rich man_. Yet, in
distinguishing the _languages_, we call them _English, French, Dutch,
Scotch, Welsh, Irish_; using the words, certainly, in no plural sense; and
preferring always the line of adjectives, where the gentile noun is
different: as, _Arabic_, and not _Arab_; _Danish_, and not _Dane_;
_Swedish_, and not _Swede_. In this sense, as well as in the former,
Webster, Chalmers, and other modern lexicographers, call the words _nouns_;
and the reader will perceive, that the objections offered before do not
apply here. But Johnson, in his two quarto volumes, gives only two words of
this sort, _English_ and _Latin_; and both of these he calls _adjectives_:
"ENGLISH, _adj._ Belonging to England; hence English is the language
of England." The word _Latin_, however, he makes a noun, when it means a
schoolboy's exercise; for which usage he quotes, the following inaccurate
example from Ascham: "He shall not use the common order in schools for
making of _Latins_."
OBS. 3.--Dr. Webster gives us explanations like these: "CHINESE, _n. sing._
and _plu._ A native of China; also the language of China."--"JAPANESE, _n._
A native of Japan; or the language of the inhabitants."--"GENOESE, _n. pl._
the people of Genoa in Italy. _Addison_."--"DANISH, _n._ The language of
the Danes."--"IRISH, _n._ 1. A native of Ireland. 2. The language of the
Irish; the Hiberno-Celtic." According to him, then, it is proper to say, _a
Chinese, a Japanese_, or _an Irish_; but not, _a Genoese_, because he will
have this word to be plural only! Again, if with him we call a native of
Ireland _an Irish_, will not more than one be _Irishes?_ If a native
of Japan be _a Japanese_, will not more than one be _Japaneses?_ In short,
is it not plain, that the words, _Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Maltese,
Genoese, Milanese_, and all others of like formation, should follow one and
the same rule? And if so, what is that rule? Is it not this;--that, like
_English, French_, &c., they are always _adjectives_; except, perhaps, when
they denote _languages_? There may possibly be some real authority from
usage, for calling a native of China _a Chinese_,--of Japan _a
Japanese_,--&c.; as there is also for the regular plurals, _Chineses,
Japaneses_, &c.; but is it, in either case, good and sufficient authority?
The like forms, it is acknowledged, are, on some occasions, mere
adjectives; and, in modern usage, we do not find these words inflected, as
they were formerly. Examples: "The _Chinese_ are by no means a cleanly
people, either in person or dress."--_Balbi's Geog._, p. 415. "The
_Japanese_ excel in working in copper, iron, and steel."--_Ib._, p. 419.
"The _Portuguese_ are of the same origin with the Spaniards."--_Ib._, p.
272. "By whom the undaunted _Tyrolese_ are led."--_Wordsworth's Poems_, p.
122. Again: "Amongst the _Portugueses_, 'tis so much a Fashion, and
Emulation, amongst their Children, to _learn_ to _Read_, and Write, that
they cannot hinder them from it."--_Locke, on Education_, p. 271. "The
_Malteses_ do so, who harden the Bodies of their Children, and reconcile
them to the Heat, by making them go stark Naked."--_Idem, Edition of_ 1669,
p. 5. "CHINESE, _n. s_. Used elliptically for the language and people of
China: plural, _Chineses. Sir T. Herbert_."--_Abridgement of Todd's
Johnson_. This is certainly absurd. For if _Chinese_ is used _elliptically_
for the people of China, it is an _adjective_, and does not form the
plural, _Chineses_: which is precisely what I urge concerning the whole
class. These plural forms ought not to be imitated. Horne Tooke quotes some
friend of his, as saying, "No, I will never descend with him beneath even
_a Japanese_: and I remember what Voltaire remarks of _that
country_."--_Diversions of Purley_, i, 187. In this case, he ought,
unquestionably, to have said--"beneath even _a native of Japan_;" because,
whether _Japanese_ be a noun or not, it is absurd to call _a Japanese_,
"_that country_." Butler, in his Hudibras, somewhere uses the word
_Chineses_; and it was, perhaps, in his day, common; but still, I say, it
is contrary to analogy, and therefore wrong. Milton, too, has it:
"But in his way lights on the barren plains
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive
With sails and wind their cany _waggons_ light."
--_Paradise Lost_, B. iii, l. 437.
OBS. 4.--The Numeral Adjectives are of three kinds, namely, _cardinal,
ordinal_, and _multiplicative_: each kind running on in a series
1. _Cardinal_; One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen,
nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, &c.
2. _Ordinal_; First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth,
ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth,
sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, twenty-first,
3. _Multiplicative_; Single or alone, double or twofold, triple or
threefold, quadruple or fourfold, quintuple or fivefold, sextuple or
sixfold, septuple or sevenfold, octuple or eightfold, &c. But high terms of
this series are seldom used. All that occur above decuple or tenfold, are
written with a hyphen, and are usually of round numbers only; as,
thirty-fold, sixty-fold, hundred-fold.
OBS. 5.--A cardinal numeral denotes the whole number, but the corresponding
ordinal denotes only the last one of that number, or, at the beginning of a
series, the first of several or many. Thus: "_One_ denotes simply the
number _one_, without any regard to more; but _first_ has respect to more,
and so denotes only the first one of a greater number; and _two_ means the
number _two_ completely; but _second_, the last one of _two_: and so of all
the rest."--_Burn's Gram._, p. 54. A cardinal number answers to the
question, "_How many_?" An ordinal number answers to the question, "_Which
one_?" or, "_What one_?" All the ordinal numbers, except _first, second,
third_, and the compounds of these, as _twenty-first, twenty-second,
twenty-third_, are formed directly from the cardinal numbers by means of
the termination _th_. And as the primitives, in this case, are many of them
either compound words, or phrases consisting of several words, it is to be
observed, that the addition is made to the last term only. That is, of
every compound ordinal number, the last term only is ordinal in form. Thus
we say, _forty-ninth_, and not _fortieth-ninth_; nor could the meaning of
the phrase, _four hundred and fiftieth_, be expressed by saying, _fourth
hundredth and fiftieth_; for this, if it means any thing, speaks of three
OBS. 6.--Some of the numerals are often used as _nouns_; and, as such, are
regularly declined: as, _Ones, twoes, threes, fours, fives_, &c. So,
_Fifths, sixths, sevenths, eighths, ninths, tenths_, &c. "The _seventy's_
translation."--_Wilson's Hebrew Gram._, p. 32. "I will not do it for
_forty's_ sake."--_Gen._, xviii, 29. "I will not destroy it for _twenty's_
sake."--_Ib._, ver. 31. "For _ten's_ sake."--_Ib._, ver. 32. "They sat down
in ranks, by _hundreds_, and by _fifties_."--_Mark_, vi, 40. "There are
_millions_ of truths that a man is not concerned to know."--_Locke_. With
the compound numerals, such a construction is less common; yet the
denominator of a fraction may be a number of this sort: as, seven
_twenty-fifths_. And here it may be observed, that, in stead of the ancient
phraseology, as in 1 Chron., xxiv, 17th, "The _one and twentieth_ to
Jachin, the _two and twentieth_ to Gamul, the _three and twentieth_ to
Delaiah, the _four and twentieth_ to Maaziah," we now generally say, _the
twenty-first, the twenty-second_, &c.; using the hyphen in all compounds
till we arrive at _one hundred_, or _one hundredth_, and then first
introducing the word _and_; as, _one hundred and one_, or _one hundred and
OBS. 7.--The Pronominal Adjectives are comparatively very few; but
frequency of use gives them great importance in grammar. The following
words are perhaps all that properly belong to this class, and several of
these are much oftener something else: _All, any, both, certain, divers,
each, either, else, enough, every, few, fewer, fewest, former, first,
latter, last, little, less, least, many, more, most, much, neither, no_ or
_none, one, other, own, only, same, several, some, such, sundry, that,
this, these, those, what, whatever, whatsoever, which, whichever,
whichsoever_. Of these forty-six words, seven are always singular, if
the word _one_ is not an exception; namely, _each, either, every, neither,
one, that, this_: and nine or ten others are always plural, if the word
_many_ is not an exception; namely, _both, divers, few, fewer, fewest,
many, several, sundry, these, those_. All the rest, like our common
adjectives, are applicable to nouns of either number. _Else, every, only,
no_, and _none_, are definitive words, which I have thought proper to call
pronominal adjectives, though only the last can now with propriety be made
to represent its noun understood. "Nor has Vossius, or _any else_ that I
know of, observed it."--_Johnson's Gram. Com._, p. 279. Say, "or any _one_
else." Dr. Webster explains this word _else_ thus: "ELSE, _a._ or _pron._
[Sax. _elles_] Other; one or something _beside_; as, Who _else_ is
coming?"--_Octavo Dict._ "Each and _every_ of them," is an old phrase in
which _every_ is used pronominally, or with ellipsis of the word to which
it refers; but, in common discourse, we now say, _every one, every man_,
&c., never using the word _every_ alone to suggest its noun. _Only_ is
perhaps most commonly an adverb; but it is still in frequent use as an
adjective; and in old books we sometimes find an ellipsis of the noun to
which it belongs; as, "Neither are they the _only_ [verbs] in which it is
read."--_Johnson's Grammatical Commentaries_, p. 373. "But I think he is
the _only_ [one] of these Authors."--_Ib._, p. 193. _No_ and _none_ seem to
be only different forms of the same adjective; the former being used before
a noun expressed, and the latter when the noun is understood, or not placed
after the adjective; as, "For _none_ of us liveth to himself, and _no_ man
dieth to himself."--_Romans_, xiv, 7. _None_ was anciently used for _no_
before all words beginning with a vowel sound; as, "They are sottish
children; and they have _none_ understanding."--_Jeremiah_, iv, 22. This
practice is now obsolete. _None_ is still used, when its noun precedes it;
"Fools! who from hence into the notion fall,
That _vice_ or _virtue_ there is _none_ at all."--_Pope_.
OBS. 8.--Of the words given in the foregoing list as pronominal adjectives,
about one third are sometimes used _adverbially_. They are the following:
_All_, when it means _totally; any_, for _in any degree; else_, meaning
_otherwise; enough_, signifying _sufficiently; first_, for _in the first
place; last_, for _in the last place; little_, for _in a small degree;
less_, for _in a smaller degree; least_, for _in the smallest degree;
much_, for _in a great degree; more_, for _in a greater degree; most_, for
_in the greatest degree; no_, or _none_, for _in no degree; only_, for
_singly, merely, barely; what_, for _in what degree_, or _in how great a
degree_. To these may perhaps be added the word _other_, when used as
an alternative to _somehow_; as, "_Somehow_ or _other_ he will be
favoured."--_Butler's Analogy_, p. 89. Here _other_ seems to be put for
_otherwise_; and yet the latter word would not be agreeable in such a
sentence. "_Somewhere or other_," is a kindred phrase equally common, and
equally good; or, rather, equally irregular and puzzling. Would it not be
better, always to avoid both, by saying, in their stead, "_In some way or
other_,"--"_In someplace or other?_" In the following examples, however,
_other_ seems to be used for _otherwise_, without such a connection: "How
is THAT used, _other_ than as a Conjunction?"--_Ainsworth's Gram._, p. 88.
"Will it not be receiv'd that they have done 't?
--Who dares receive it _other?_"--SHAK.: _Joh. Dict., w. Other_.
OBS. 9.--_All_ and _enough, little_ and _much, more_ and _less_, sometimes
suggest the idea of quantity so abstractly, that we can hardly consider
them as adjuncts to any other words; for which reason, they are, in this
absolute sense, put down in our dictionaries as _nouns_. If nouns, however,
they are never inflected by cases or numbers; nor do they in general admit
the usual adjuncts or definitives of nouns. Thus, we can neither say,
_the all_, for _the whole_, nor _an enough_, for _a sufficiency_. And
though _a little, the more_, and _the less_, are common phrases, the
article does not here prove the following word to be a noun; because the
expression may either be elliptical, or have the construction of an adverb:
as, "Though _the more_ abundantly I love you, _the less_ I be loved."--_2
Cor._, xii, 15. Dr. Johnson seems to suppose that the partitive use of
these words makes them nouns; as, "They have _much of the poetry_ of
Mecaenas, but _little of his liberality_."--DRYDEN: _in Joh. Dict._ Upon
this principle, however, adjectives innumerable would be made nouns; for we
can just as well say, "_Some of the poetry_,"--"_Any of the
poetry_,"--"_The best of Poetry_," &c. In all such expressions, the name of
the thing divided, is understood in the partitive word; for a part of any
thing must needs be of the same species as the whole. Nor was this great
grammarian sufficiently attentive to adjuncts, in determining the parts of
speech. _Nearly all, quite enough, so little, too much, vastly more, rather
less_, and an abundance of similar phrases, are familiar to every body; in
none of which, can any of these words of quantity, however abstract, be
very properly reckoned nouns; because the preceding word is an adverb, and
adverbs do not relate to any words that are literally nouns. All these may
also be used partitively; as, "_Nearly all of us_."
OBS. 10.--The following are some of Dr. Johnson's "_nouns_;" which, in
connexion with the foregoing remarks, I would submit to the judgement of
the reader: "'Then shall we be news-crammed.'--'_All_ the better; we shall
be the more remarkable.'"--SHAK.: _in Joh. Dict._ "_All_ the fitter,
Lentulus; our coming is not for salutation; we have business."--BEN JONSON:
_ib._ "'Tis _enough_ for me to have endeavoured the union of my
country."--TEMPLE: _ib._ "Ye take too _much_ upon you."--NUMBERS: _ib._
"The fate of love is such, that still it sees too _little_ or too
_much_."--DRYDEN: _ib._ "He thought not _much_ to clothe his
enemies."--MILTON: _ib._ "There remained not so _much_ as one of
them."--_Ib., Exod._, xiv, 28. "We will cut wood out of Lebanon, as _much_
as thou shalt need."--_Ib._, _2 Chronicles_. "The matter of the universe
was created before the flood; if any _more_ was created, then there must be
as _much_ annihilated to make room for it."--BURNET: _ib._ "The Lord do so,
and much _more_, to Jonathan."--1 SAMUEL: _ib._ "They that would have
_more_ and _more_, can never have _enough_; no, not if a miracle should
interpose to gratify their avarice."--L'ESTRANGE: _ib._ "They gathered some
_more_, some _less_."--EXODUS: _ib._ "Thy servant knew nothing of this,
_less_ or _more_."--1 SAMUEL: _ib._ The first two examples above, Johnson
explains thus: "That is, '_Every thing is the better_.'--_Every thing is
the fitter_."--_Quarto Dict._ The propriety of this solution may well be
doubted; because the similar phrases, "_So much_ the better,"--"_None_ the
fitter," would certainly be perverted, if resolved in the same way: _much_
and _none_ are here, very clearly, adverbs.
OBS. 11.--Whatever disposition may be made of the terms cited above, there
are instances in which some of the same words can hardly be any thing else
than nouns. Thus _all_, when it signifies _the whole_, or _every thing_,
may be reckoned a noun; as, "Our _all_ is at stake, and irretrievably lost,
if we fail of success."--_Addison_. "A torch, snuff and _all_, goes out in
a moment, when dipped in the vapour."--_Id._ "The first blast of wind laid
it flat on the ground; nest, eagles, and _all_."--_L'Estrange_.
"Finding, the wretched _all_ they here can have,
But present food, and but a future grave."--_Prior_.
"And will she yet debase her eyes on me;
On me, whose _all_ not equals Edward's moiety?"--_Shak_.
"Thou shalt be _all_ in _all_, and I in thee,
Forever; and in me all whom thou lov'st."--_Milton_.
OBS. 12.--There are yet some other words, which, by their construction
alone, are to be distinguished from the pronominal adjectives. _Both_, when
it stands as a correspondent to _and_, is reckoned a conjunction; as, "For
_both_ he that sanctifieth, _and_ they who are sanctified, are all of
one."--_Heb._, ii, 11. But, in sentences like the following, it seems to be
an adjective, referring to the nouns which precede: "Language and manners
are _both_ established by the usage of people of fashion."--_Amer.
Chesterfield_, p. 83. So _either_, corresponding to _or_, and _neither_,
referring to _nor_, are conjunctions, and not adjectives. _Which_ and
_what_, with their compounds, _whichever_ or _whichsoever, whatever_ or
_whatsoever_, though sometimes put before nouns as adjectives, are, for the
most part, relative or interrogative pronouns. When the noun is used after
them, they are adjectives; when it is omitted, they are pronouns: as,
"There is a witness of God, _which witness_ gives true judgement."--_I.
Penington_. Here the word _witness_ might be omitted, and _which_ would
become a relative pronoun. Dr. Lowth says, "_Thy, my, her, our, your,
their_, are pronominal adjectives."--_Gram._, p. 23. This I deny; and the
reader may see my reasons, in the observations upon the declension of
OBS. 13.--The words _one_ and _other_, besides their primitive uses as
adjectives, in which they still remain without inflection, are frequently
employed as nouns, or as substitutes for nouns; and, in this substantive or
pronominal character, they commonly have the regular declension of nouns,
and are reckoned such by some grammarians; though others call them
indefinite pronouns, and some, (among whom are Lowth and Comly,) leave them
with the pronominal adjectives, even when they are declined in both
numbers. Each of them may be preceded by either of the articles; and so
general is the signification of the former, that almost any adjective may
likewise come before it: as, _Any one, some one, such a one, many a one, a
new one, an old one, an other one, the same one, the young ones, the little
ones, the mighty ones, the wicked one, the Holy One, the Everlasting One_.
So, like the French _on_, or _l'on_, the word _one_, without any adjective,
is now very frequently used as a general or indefinite term for any man, or
any person. In this sense, it is sometimes, unquestionably, to be preferred
to a personal pronoun applied indefinitely: as, "Pure religion, and
undefiled before God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction, and to keep _himself_ [better, _one's self_]
unspotted from the world."--_James_, i, 27. But, as its generality of
meaning seems to afford a sort of covering for egotism, some writers are
tempted to make too frequent a use of it. Churchill ridicules this
practice, by framing, or anonymously citing, the following sentence: "If
_one_ did but dare to abide by _one's_ own judgement, _one's_ language
would be much more refined; but _one_ fancies _one's_ self obliged to
follow, whereever the many choose to lead _one_."--See _Churchill's Gram._,
p. 229. Here every scholar will concur with the critic in thinking, it
would be better to say: "If _we_ did but dare to abide by _our_ own
judgement, _our_ language would be much more refined; but _we_ fancy
_ourselves_ obliged to follow wherever the many choose to lead _us_."--See
OBS. 14.--Of the pronominal adjectives the following distribution has been
made: "_Each, every_, and _either_, are called _distributives_; because,
though they imply all the persons or things that make up a number, they
consider them, not as one whole, but as taken separately. _This, that,
former, latter, both, neither_, are termed _demonstratives_; because they
point out precisely the subjects to which they relate. _This_ has _these_
for its plural; _that_ has _those_. _This_ and _that_ are frequently put in
opposition to each other; _this_, to express what is nearer in place or
time; _that_, what is more remote. _All, any, one, other, some, such_, are
termed _indefinite_. _Another_ is merely _other_ in the singular, with the
indefinite article not kept separate from it. _Other_, when not joined
with a noun, is occasionally used both in the possessive case, and in the
plural number: as,
'Teach me to feel _an other's_ wo, to hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to _others_ show, that mercy show to me.'--_Pope_.
_Each other_ and _one another_, when used in conjunction, may be termed
_reciprocals_; as they are employed to express a reciprocal action; the
former, between two persons or things; the latter, _between_ more than
two. The possessive cases of the personal pronouns have been also ranked
under the head of pronominal adjectives, and styled possessives; but for
this I see no good reason."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 76.
OBS. 15.--The reciprocal terms _each other_ and _one an other_ divide,
according to some mutual act or interchangeable relation, the persons or
things spoken of, and are commonly of the singular number only. _Each
other_, if rightly used, supposes two, and only two, to be acting and acted
upon reciprocally; _one an other_, if not misapplied, supposes more than
two, under like circumstances, and has an indefinite reference to all taken
distributively: as, "Brutus and Aruns killed _each other_." That is, _Each
combatant_ killed _the other_. "The disciples were commanded to love _one
an other_, and to be willing to wash _one an other's_ feet." That is, _All_
the disciples were commanded to love _mutually_; for both terms, _one_ and
_other_, or _one disciple_ and _an other disciple_, must be here understood
as taken indefinitely. The reader will observe, that the two terms thus
brought together, if taken substantively or pronominally in parsing, must
be represented as being of _different cases_; or, if we take them
adjectively the noun, which is twice to be supplied, will necessarily be
OBS. 16.--Misapplications of the foregoing reciprocal terms are very
frequent in books, though it is strange that phrases so very common should
not be rightly understood. Dr. Webster, among his explanations of the word
_other_, has the following: "Correlative to _each_, and applicable to _any
number_ of individuals."--_Octavo Dict._ "_Other_ is used as a substitute
for a noun, and in this use has the plural number and the sign of the
possessive case."--_Ib._ Now it is plain, that the word _other_, as a
"correlative to _each_," may be so far "a substitute for a noun" as to take
the form of the possessive case singular, and perhaps also the plural; as,
"Lock'd in _each other's_ arms they lay." But, that the objective _other_,
in any such relation, can convey a plural idea, or be so loosely
applicable--"to _any number_ of individuals," I must here deny. If it were
so, there would be occasion, by the foregoing rule, to make it plural in
form; as, "The ambitious strive to excel _each others_." But this is not
English. Nor can it be correct to say of more than two, "They all strive to
excel _each other_." Because the explanation must be, "_Each_ strives to
excel _other_;" and such a construction of the word _other_ is not
agreeable to modern usage. _Each other_ is therefore not equivalent to _one
an other_, but nearer perhaps to _the one the other_: as, "The two generals
are independent _the one of the other_."--_Voltaire's Charles XII_, p. 67.
"And these are contrary _the one to the other_."--_Gal._, v, 17. "The
necessary connexion _of the one with the other_."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 304.
The latter phraseology, being definite and formal, is now seldom used,
except the terms be separated by a verb or a preposition. It is a literal
version of the French _l'un l'autre_, and in some instances to be preferred
to _each other_; as,
"So fellest foes, whose plots have broke their sleep,
To take _the one the other_, by some chance."--_Shak_.
OBS. 17.--The Greek term for the reciprocals _each other_ and _one an
other_, is a certain plural derivative from [Greek: allos], _other_; and is
used in three cases, the genitive, [Greek: allaelon], the dative, [Greek:
allaelois], the accusative, [Greek: allaelous]: these being all the cases
which the nature of the expression admits; and for all these we commonly
use the _objective_;--that is, we put _each_ or _one_ before the objective
_other_. Now these English terms, taken in a reciprocal sense, seldom, if
ever, have any plural form; because the article in _one an other_ admits of
none; and _each other_, when applied to two persons or things, (as it
almost always is,) does not require any. I have indeed seen, in some
narrative, such an example as this: "The two men were ready to cut _each
others' throats_." But the meaning could not be, that each was ready to cut
"_others' throats_;" and since, between the two, there was but one throat
for _each_ to cut, it would doubtless be more correct to say, "_each
other's throat_." So Burns, in touching a gentler passion, has an
inaccurate elliptical expression:
"'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In _others'_ arms, breathe out the tender tale."
--_Cotter's Sat. Night_.
He meant, "In _each other's_ arms;" the apostrophe being misplaced, and the
metre improperly allowed to exclude a word which the sense requires. Now,
as to the plural of _each other_, although we do not use the objective, and
say of many, "They love _each others_," there appear to be some instances
in which the possessive plural, _each others'_, would not be improper; as,
"Sixteen ministers, who meet weekly at _each other's_ houses."--_Johnson's
Life of Swift_. Here the singular is wrong, because the governing noun
implies a plurality of owners. "The citizens of different states should
know _each others characters_."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 35. This also is
wrong, because no possessive sign is used. Either write, "_each others'
characters_," or say, "_one an other's character_."
OBS. 18.--_One_ and _other_ are, in many instances, terms relative and
partitive, rather than reciprocal; and, in this use, there seems to be an
occasional demand for the plural form. In French, two parties are
contrasted by _les uns--les autres_; a mode of expression seldom, if ever
imitated in English. Thus: "Il les separera _les uns_ d'avec _les autres_."
That is, "He shall separate them _some_ from _others_;"--or, literally,
"_the ones_ from _the others_." Our version is: "He shall separate them
_one from an other_."--_Matt._, xxv, 32. Beza has it: "Separabit eos
_alteros ab alteris_." The Vulgate: "Separabit eos _ab invicem_." The
Greek: "[Greek: Aphoriei autous ap allaelon]." To separate many "_one from
an other_," seems, literally, to leave none of them together; and this is
not, "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." To express such an
idea with perfect propriety, in our language, therefore, we must resort to
some other phraseology. In Campbell's version, we read: "And _out of them_
he will separate _the good from the bad_, as a shepherd separateth _the_
sheep from the goats." Better, perhaps, thus: "And he shall separate them,
_the righteous from the wicked_, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the
OBS. 19.--Dr. Bullions says, "_One_ and _other_ refer to _the singular
only_."--_Eng. Gram._, p. 98. Of _ones_ and _others_ he takes no notice;
nor is he sufficiently attentive to usage in respect to the roots. If there
is any absurdity in giving a _plural_ meaning to the singulars _one_ and
_other_, the following sentences need amendment: "_The one_ preach Christ
of contention; but _the other_, of love."--_Philippians_, i, 16. Here "_the
one_" is put for "the one _class_," and "_the other_" for "the other
_class_;" the ellipsis in the first instance not being a very proper one.
"The confusion arises, when _the one_ will put _their_ sickle into _the
other's_ harvest."--LESLEY: _in Joh. Dict._ This may be corrected by
saying, "_the one party_," or, "_the one nation_," in stead of "_the one_."
"It is clear from Scripture, that Antichrist shall be permitted to work
false miracles, and that they shall so counterfeit the true, that it will
be hard to discern _the one_ from _the other_."--_Barclay's Works_, iii,
93. If in any ease we may adopt the French construction above, "_the ones_
from the _others_," it will be proper here. Again: "I have seen _children_
at a table, who, whatever was there, never asked for any thing, but
contentedly took what was given them: and, at an other place, I have seen
_others_ cry for every thing they saw; they must be served out of every
dish, and that first too. What made this vast difference, but this: That
_one was_ accustomed to have what _they_ called or cried for; _the other_
to go without it?"--_Locke, on Education_, p. 55. Here, (with _were_ for
_was_,) the terms of contrast ought rather to have been, _the ones--the
others_; _the latter--the former_; or, _the importunate--the modest_.
"Those nice shades, by which _virtues and vices_ approach _each one
another_."--_Murray's Gram._, i, p. 350. This expression should be any
thing, rather than what it is. Say, "By which _virtue_ and _vice_ approach
_each other_." Or: "By which certain virtues and vices _approximate--
blend--become difficult of distinction_."
OBS. 20.--"Most authors have given the name of _pronoun adjectives_,
['pronouns adjective,' or 'pronominal adjectives,'] to _my, mine; our,
ours; thy, thine; your, yours; his, her, hers; their, theirs_: perhaps
because they are followed by, or refer to, some substantive [expressed or
understood after them]. But, were they adjectives, they must either express
the quality of their substantive, or limit its extent: adjectives properly
so called, do the first; definitive pronouns do the last. All adjectives
[that are either singular or plural,] agree with their substantives in
_number_; but I can say, 'They are _my books_:' _my_ is singular, and
_books_ plural; therefore _my_ is not an adjective. Besides, _my_ does not
express the _quality_ of the books, but only ascertains the possessor, the
same as the genitive or substantive does, to which it is similar. Examples:
'They are _my_ books;'--'They are _John's_ books;' &c."--_Alex. Murray's
Gram._, p. 108.
OBS. 21.--To the class of Participial Adjectives, should be referred all
such words as the following: (1.) The simple participles made adjectives by
position; as. "A _roaring_ lion,"--"A _raging_ bear,"--"A _brawling_
woman,"--"A _flattering_ mouth,"--"An _understanding_ heart,"--"_Burning_
coals,"--"The _hearing_ ear, and the _seeing_ eye."--_Bible_. "A _troubled_
fountain,"--"A _wounded_ spirit,"--"An _appointed_ time."--_Ib._ (2.) Words
of a participial appearance, formed from nouns by adding _ed_; as, "The eve
thy _sainted_ mother died."--_W. Scott_. "What you write of me, would make
me more _conceited_, than what I scribble myself."--_Pope_. (3.)
Participles, or participial adjectives, reversed in sense by the prefix
_un_; as, _unaspiring, unavailing, unbelieving, unbattered, uninjured,
unbefriended_. (4.) Words of a participial form construed elliptically, as
if they were nouns; as, "Among the _dying_ and the dead."--"The _called_ of
Jesus Christ."--_Rom._, i, 6. "Dearly _beloved_, I beseech you."--_1 Pet._,
ii, 11. "The _redeemed_ of the Lord shall return."--_Isaiah_, li, 11. "They
talk, to the grief of thy _wounded_."--_Psalms_, lxix, 26: _Margin_.
OBS. 22.--In the text, Prov., vii, 26, "She hath cast down many wounded,"
_wounded_ is a participle; because the meaning is, "_many men wounded_,"
and not, "_many wounded men_." Our Participial Adjectives are exceedingly
numerous. It is not easy to ascertain how many there are of them; because
almost any simple participle may be set before a noun, and thus become an
"Where _smiling_ spring its earliest visit paid,
And _parting_ summer's _ling'ring_ blooms delay'd."--_Goldsmith_.
OBS. 23.--Compound Adjectives, being formed at pleasure, are both numerous
and various. In their formation, however, certain analogies may be traced:
(1.) Many of them are formed by joining an adjective to its noun, and
giving to the latter the participial termination _ed_; as, _able-bodied,
sharp-sighted, left-handed, full-faced, flat-nosed, thick-lipped,
cloven-footed, high-heeled_. (2.) In some, two nouns are joined, the latter
assuming _ed_, as above; as, _bell-shaped, hawk-nosed, eagle-sighted,
lion-hearted, web-footed_. (3.) In some, the object of an active participle
is placed before it; as, _money-getting, time-serving, self-consuming,
cloud-compelling, fortune-hunting, sleep-disturbing_. (4.) Some, embracing
numerals, form a series, though it is seldom carried far; as, _one-legged,
two-legged, three-legged, four-legged_. So, _one-leaved, two-leaved,
three-leaved, four-leaved_: or, perhaps better as Webster will have them,
_one-leafed, two-leafed, &c_. But, upon the same principle, _short-lived_,
should be _short-lifed_, and _long-lived, long-lifed_. (5.) In some, there
is a combination of an adjective and a participle; as, _noble-looking,
high-sounding, slow-moving, thorough-going, hard-finished, free-born,
heavy-laden, only-begotten_. (6.) In some, we find an adverb and a
participle united; as, _ever-living, ill-judging, well-pleasing,
far-shooting, forth-issuing, back-sliding, ill-trained, down-trodden,
above-mentioned_. (7.) Some consist of a noun and a participle which might
be reversed with a preposition between them; as, _church-going,
care-crazed, travel-soiled, blood-bespotted, dew-sprinkled_. (8.) A few,
and those inelegant, terminate with a preposition; as, _unlooked-for,
long-looked-for, unthought-of, unheard-of_. (9.) Some are phrases of many
words, converted into one part of speech by the hyphen; as, "Where is the
"And, with _God-only-knows-how-gotten_ light,
Informs the nation what is wrong or right."
--_Snelling's Gift for Scribblers_, p. 49.
OBS. 24.--Nouns derived from compound adjectives, are generally disapproved
by good writers; yet we sometimes meet with them: as, _hard-heartedness_,
for hardness of heart, or cruelty; _quick-sightedness_, for quickness of
sight, or perspicacity; _worldly-mindedness_, for devotion to the world, or
love of gain; _heavenly-mindedness_, for the love of God, or true piety. In
speaking of ancestors or descendants, we take the noun, _father, mother,
son, daughter_, or _child_; prefix the adjective _grand_; for the second
generation; _great_, for the, third; and then, sometimes, repeat the same,
for degrees more remote: as, _father, grandfather, great-grandfather,
great-great-grandfather_. "What would my _great-grandmother_ say, thought
I, could she know that thou art to be chopped up for fuel to warm the
frigid fingers of her _great-great-great-granddaughters_!"--_T. H.
Adjectives have, commonly, no modifications but the forms of _comparison_.
Comparison is a variation of the adjective, to express quality in different
degrees: as, _hard, harder, hardest; soft, softer, softest._
There are three degrees of comparison; the _positive_, the _comparative_,
and the _superlative_.
The _positive degree_ is that which is expressed by the adjective in its
simple form: as, "An elephant is _large_; a mouse, _small_; a lion,
_fierce, active, bold_, and _strong_."
The _comparative degree_ is that which is _more_ or _less_ than something
contrasted with it: as, "A whale is _larger_ than an elephant; a mouse is a
much _smaller_ animal than a rat."
The _superlative degree_ is that which is _most_ or _least_ of all included
with it: as, "The whale is the _largest_ of the animals that inhabit this
globe; the mouse is the _smallest_ of all beasts."--_Dr. Johnson._
Those adjectives whose signification does not admit of different degrees,
cannot be compared; as, _two, second, all, every, immortal, infinite._
Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are
compared by means of adverbs; as, fruitful, _more_ fruitful, _most_
fruitful--fruitful, _less_ fruitful, _least_ fruitful.
OBS. 1.--"Some scruple to call the positive a degree of comparison; on the
ground, that it does not imply either comparison, or degree. But no quality
can exist, without existing in some degree: and, though the positive is
very frequently used without reference to any other degree; as it is _the
standard_, with which other degrees of the quality are compared, it is
certainly an essential object of the comparison. While these critics allow
only two degrees, we might in fact with more propriety say, that there are
five: 1, the quality in its standard state, or positive degree; as _wise_:
2, in a higher state, or the comparative ascending; _more wise_: 3, in a
lower, or the comparative descending; _less wise_: 4, in the highest state,
or superlative ascending; _most wise_: 5, in the lowest state, or
superlative descending; _least wise._ All grammarians, however, agree about
the things themselves, and the forms used to express them; though they
differ about the names, by which these forms should be called: and as those
names are practically best, which tend least to perplex the learner, I see
no good reason here for deviating from what has been established by long
custom."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 231.
OBS. 2.--Churchill here writes plausibly enough, but it will be seen, both
from his explanation, and from the foregoing definitions of the degrees of
comparison, that there are but three. The comparative and the superlative
may each be distinguishable into the ascending and the descending, as often
as we prefer the adverbial form to the regular variation of the adjective
itself; but this imposes no necessity of classing and defining them
otherwise than simply as the comparative and the superlative. The
assumption of two comparatives and two superlatives, is not only contrary
to the universal practice of the teachers of grammar; but there is this
conclusive argument against it--that the regular method of comparison has
no degrees of diminution, and the form which has such degrees, is _no
inflection_ of the adjective. If there is any exception, it is in the
words, _small, smaller, smallest_, and _little, less, least_. But of the
smallness or littleness, considered abstractly, these, like all others, are
degrees of increase, and not of diminution. _Smaller_ is as completely
opposite to _less small_, as _wiser_ is to _less wise_. _Less_ itself is a
comparative descending, only when it diminishes some _other_ quality: _less
little_, if the phrase were proper, must needs be nearly equivalent to
_greater_ or _more_. Churchill, however, may be quite right in the
following remark: "The comparative ascending of an adjective, and the
comparative descending of an adjective expressing the opposite quality, are
often considered synonymous, by those who do not discriminate nicely
between ideas. But _less imprudent_ does not imply precisely the same thing
as _more prudent_; or _more brave_, the same as _less cowardly_."--_New
Gram._, p. 231.
OBS. 3.--The definitions which I have given of the three degrees of
comparison, are new. In short, I know not whether any other grammarian has
ever given what may justly be called a _definition_, of any one of them.
Here, as in most other parts of grammar, loose _remarks_, ill-written and
untrue assertions, have sufficed. The explanations found in many English