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The Grammar of English Grammars by Gould Brown

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by the verb 'will try;' _which_, the relative part, is in the nom. case to
'can be found.' 'I have heard _what_ (i.e. _that which_, or _the thing
which_) has been alleged.' "--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 111. Here, we sec, the
author's "_which-that_" becomes _that which_, or something else. But this
is not a full view of his method. The following vile rigmarole is a further
sample of that "_New Systematick Order of Parsing_," by virtue of which he
so very complacently and successfully sets himself above all other
grammarians: "'From _what_ is recorded, he appears, &c.' _What_ is a comp.
rel. pron. including both the antecedent and the relative, and is
equivalent to _that which_, or the _thing which.--Thing_, the antecedent
part of _what_, is a noun, the name of a thing--com. the name of a
species--neuter gender, it has no sex--third person, spoken of--sing.
number, it implies but one--and in the obj. case, it is the object of the
relation expressed by the prep. 'from,' and gov. by it: RULE 31. (Repeat
the Rule, and _every other Rule_ to which I refer.) _Which_, the relative
part of _what_, is a pronoun, a word used instead of a noun--relative, it
relates to 'thing' for its antecedent--neut. gender, third person, sing,
number, because the antecedent is with which it agrees, according to RULE
14. _Rel. pron_. &c. _Which_ is _in_ the nom. case to the verb 'is
recorded,' agreeably to RULE 15. _The relative is the nominative case to
the verb, when no nominative comes between it and the verb._"--_Kirkham's
Gram._, p. 113.

OBS. 34.--The distinction which has been made by Murray and others, between
etymological parsing and syntactical--or, between that exercise which
simply classifies and describes the words of a sentence, and that which
adds to this the principles of their construction--is rejected by Kirkham,
and also by Ingersoll, Fuller, Smith, Sanborn, Mack, and some others, it
being altogether irreconcilable with their several modes of confounding the
two main parts of grammar. If such a distinction is serviceable, the want
of it is one of the inherent faults of the schemes which they have adopted.
But, since "grammar is the art of speaking and writing with _propriety_"
who that really values clearness and accuracy of expression, can think the
want of them excusable in _models_ prescribed for the exercise of parsing?
And is it not better to maintain the distinction above named, than to
interlace our syntactical parsing with broken allusions to the definitions
which pertain to etymology? If it is, this new mode of parsing, which
Kirkham claims to have invented, and Smith pretends to have got from
Germany, whatever boast may be made of it, is essentially defective and
very immethodical.[219] This remark applies not merely to the forms above
cited, respecting the pronoun _what_, but to the whole method of parsing
adopted by the author of "_English Grammar in Familiar Lectures_."

OBS. 35.--The forms of etymological parsing which I have adopted, being
designed to train the pupil, in the first place, by a succession of easy
steps, to a rapid and accurate description of the several species of words,
and a ready habit of fully defining the technical terms employed in such
descriptions, will be found to differ more from the forms of syntactical
parsing, than do those of perhaps any other grammarian. The definitions,
which constitute so large a portion of the former, being omitted as soon as
they are thoroughly learned, give place in the latter, to the facts and
principles of syntax. Thus have we fullness in the one part, conciseness in
the other, order and distinctness in both. The separation of etymology from
syntax, however, though judiciously adopted by almost all grammarians, is
in itself a mere matter of convenience. No one will pretend that these two
parts of grammar are in their nature _totally_ distinct and independent.
Hence, though a due regard to method demands the maintenance of this
ancient and still usual division of the subject, we not unfrequently, in
treating of the classes and modifications of words, exhibit contingently
some of the principles of their construction. This, however, is very
different from a purposed blending of the two parts, than which nothing can
be more unwise.

OBS. 36.--The great peculiarity of the pronoun _what_, or of its compound
_whatever_ or _whatsoever_, is a peculiarity of construction, rather than
of etymology. Hence, in etymological parsing, it may be sufficient to
notice it only as a relative, though the construction be double. It is in
fact a relative; but it is one that reverses the order of the antecedent,
whenever the noun is inserted with it. But as the noun is usually
suppressed, and as the supplying of it is attended with an obvious
difficulty, arising from the transposition, we cut the matter short, by
declaring the word to have, as it appears to have, a double syntactical
relation. Of the foregoing example, therefore--viz., "From _what_ is
recorded," &c.,--a pupil of mine, in parsing _etymologically_, would say
thus: "_What_ is a relative pronoun, of the third person, singular number,
neuter gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of
a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent
word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 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 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 denotes the subject
of a verb." In parsing _syntactically_, he would say thus: "_What_ is a
double relative, including both antecedent and relative, being equivalent
to _that which_. As _antecedent_, it is of the third person, singular
number, neuter gender, and objective case; being governed by _from_;
according to the rule which says, 'A Noun or a Pronoun made the object of a
preposition, is goverved [sic--KTH] by it in the objective case.' Because
the meaning is--_from what_. As _relative_, it is of the third person,
singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case; being the subject of
_is recorded_; according to the rule which says, 'A Noun or a Pronoun which
is the subject of a finite verb, must be in the nominative case.' Because
the meaning is--_what is recorded_."

OBS. 37.--The word _what_, when uttered independently as a mark of
surprise, or as the prelude to an emphatic question which it does not ask,
becomes an interjection; and, as such, is to be parsed merely as other
interjections are parsed: as, "_What!_ came the word of God out from you?
or came it unto you only?"--_1 Cor._, xiv, 36. "_What!_ know ye not that
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of
God?"--_1 Cor._, vi, 19. "But _what!_ is thy servant a dog, that he should
do this great thing?"--_2 Kings_, viii, 13. "_What!_ are you so ambitious
of a man's good word, who perhaps in an hour's time shall curse himself to
the pit of hell?"--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 152.

"_What!_ up and down, carv'd like an apple-tart?"--_Shakspeare_.

"_What!_ can you lull the winged winds asleep?"--_Campbell_.



_In the Fifth Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and
define the different parts of speech, and the classes and modifications of

_The definitions to be given in the Fifth Praxis, are two for an article,
six for a noun, three for an adjective, six for a pronoun, and one for a
verb, a participle, an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an
interjection. Thus_:--


"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing
formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus."--_Rom._, ix,

_Nay_ 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.

_But_ 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

_O_ is an interjection. 1. An interjection is a word that is uttered merely
to indicate some strong or sudden emotion of the mind.

_Man_ is a common noun, of the second person, singular number, masculine
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 second person is that
which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 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 nominative case is that
form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a
finite verb.

_Who_ is an interrogative pronoun, of the third person, singular number,
masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun with which a question
is asked. 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 nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun
which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

_Art_ is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies _to be, to act_, or _to
be acted upon_.

_Thou_ is a personal pronoun, of the second person, singular number,
masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of
what person it is. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer,
or the person addressed. 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 nominative case is that form or state of a noun or
pronoun which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

_That_ is a relative pronoun, of the second person, singular number,
masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent
word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 3. The second
person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 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 nominative
case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the
subject of a finite verb.

_Repliest_ is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies _to be, to act_,
or _to be acted upon_.

_Against_ 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.

_God_ is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number, masculine
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 masculine gender is that which
denotes persons or animals of the male 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.

_Shall_ is a verb, auxiliary to _say_, and may be taken with it.

_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.

_Thing_ is a common noun of the third person, singular 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 singular number
is that which denotes but 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.

_Formed_ is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb,
participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and
is generally formed by adding _ing, d_, or _ed_, to the verb.

_Say_, or _shall say_, 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.

_Him_ is a personal pronoun, of the third person, singular number,
masculine gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of
what person it is. 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 objective case is that form or state of a noun or
pronoun which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or

_That_ is a relative pronoun, of the third person, singular number,
masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent
word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 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 nominative
case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the
subject of a finite verb.

_Formed_ is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies _to be, to act_, or
_to be acted upon_. _It_ is a personal pronoun, of the third person,
singular number, neuter gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word
used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by
its form, of what person it is. 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 neuter gender is that which denotes things that are
neither male nor female. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a
noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or

_Why_ 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.

_Hast_ is a verb, auxiliary to _made_, and may be taken with it.

_Thou_ is a personal pronoun, of the second person, singular number,
masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead
of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of
what person it is. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer,
or the person addressed. 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 nominative case is that form or state of a noun or
pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

_Made_, or _hast made_, is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies _to
be, to act_, or _to be acted upon_.

_Me_ is a personal pronoun, of the first person, singular number, neuter
gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.
2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person
it is. 3. The first person is that which denotes the speaker or writer. 4.
The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is
that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 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.

_Thus_ 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.


"Every man has undoubtedly an inward perception of the celestial goodness
by which he is quickened. But, if to obtain some ideas of God, it be not
necessary for us to go beyond ourselves, what an unpardonable indolence it
is in those who will not descend into themselves that they may find
him?"--_Calvin's Institutes_, B. i, Ch. 5.

"Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father
that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not
known him; but I know him."--_John_, viii, 54.

"What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church
of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I
praise you in this? I praise you not."--_1 Cor._, xi, 22.

"We know not what we ought to wish for, but He who made us,
knows."--_Burgh's Dignity_, Vol. ii, p. 20.

"And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is
good?"--_1 Peter_, iii, 13.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with
some that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves,
and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."--_2 Cor._, x, 12.

"Whatever is humane, is wise; whatever is wise, is just; whatever is wise,
just, and humane, will be found the true interest of states."--_Dr. Rush,
on Punishments_, p. 19.

"But, methinks, we cannot answer it to ourselves, as-well-as to our Maker,
that we should live and die ignorant of ourselves, and thereby of him, and
of the obligations which we are under to him for ourselves."--_William

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
The depth saith, 'It is not in me;' and the sea saith, 'It is not with me.'
Destruction and death say, 'We have heard the fame thereof with our
ears.'"--See _Job_, xxviii, 12, 14, 22; and _Blair's Lect._, p. 417.

"I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down."--_Goldsmith_.

"Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?"--_Milton_, P. R.


"I would, methinks, have so much to say for myself, that if I fell into the
hands of him who treated me ill, he should be sensible when he did so: his
conscience should be on my side, whatever became of his
inclination."--_Steele, Spect._, No. 522.

"A boy should understand his mother tongue well before he enters upon the
study of a dead language; or, at any rate, he should be made perfect master
of the meaning of all the words which are necessary to furnish him with a
translation of the particular author which he is studying."--_Gallaudet,
Lit. Conv._, p. 206.

"No discipline is more suitable to man, or more congruous to the dignity of
his nature, than that which refines his taste, and leads him to
distinguish, in every subject, what is regular, what is orderly, what is
suitable, and what is fit and proper."--_Kames's El. of Crit._, i, 275.

"Simple thoughts are what arise naturally; what the occasion or the subject
suggests unsought; and what, when once suggested, are easily apprehended by
all. Refinement in writing, expresses a less natural and [less] obvious
train of thought."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 184.

"Where the story of an epic poem is founded on truth, no circumstances must
be added, but such as connect naturally with what are known to be true:
history may be supplied, but it must not be contradicted."--See _Kames's
El. of Crit._, ii, 280.

"Others, I am told, pretend to have been once his friends. Surely they are
their enemies, who say so; for nothing can be more odious than to treat a
friend as they have treated him. But of this I cannot persuade myself, when
I consider the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to a good
one."--_Cleland, in Defence of Pope_.

"From side to side, he struts, he smiles, he prates,
And seems to wonder what's become of Yates."--_Churchill_.

"Alas! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call'd them from their native walks away!"--_Goldsmith_.


"It is involved in the nature of man, that he cannot be indifferent to an
event that concerns him or any of his connexions: if it be fortunate, it
gives him joy; if unfortunate, it gives him sorrow."--_Kames's El. of
Crit._, i, 62.

"I knew a man who had relinquished the sea for a country life: in the
corner of his garden he reared an artificial mount with a level summit,
resembling most accurately a quarter-deck, not only in shape, but in size;
and here he generally walked."--_Ib._, p. 328.

"I mean, when we are angry with our Maker. For against whom else is it that
our displeasure is pointed, when we murmur at the distribution of things
here, either because our own condition is less agreeable than we would have
it, or because that of others is more prosperous than we imagine they
deserve?"--_Archbishop Seeker_.

"Things cannot charge into the soul, or force us upon any opinions about
them; they stand aloof and are quiet. It is our fancy that makes them
operate and gall us; it is we that rate them, and give them their bulk and
value."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 212.

"What is your opinion of truth, good-nature, and sobriety? Do any of these
virtues stand in need of a good word; or are they the worse for a bad one?
I hope a diamond will shine ne'er the less for a man's silence about the
worth of it."--_Ib._, p. 49.

"Those words which were formerly current and proper, have now become
obsolete and barbarous. Alas! this is not all: fame tarnishes in time too;
and men grow out of fashion, as well as languages."--_Ib._, p. 55.

"O Luxury! thou curs'd by Heaven's decree,
How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee."--_Goldsmith_.

"O, then, how blind to all that truth requires,
Who think it freedom when a part aspires!"--_Id._




"At the same time that we attend to this pause, every appearance of
sing-song and tone must be carefully guarded against."--_Murray's English
Reader_, p. xx.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the word _that_ had not clearly the
construction either of a pronoun or of a conjunction. But, according to
Observation 18th, on the Classes of Pronouns, "The word _that_, or indeed
any other word, should never be so used as to leave the part of speech
uncertain." Therefore, the expression should be altered: thus, "_While_ we
attend to this pause, every appearance of _singsong_ must be carefully

"For thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee."--_Jeremiah_, i, 7;
_Gurney's Obs._, p. 223. "Ah! how happy would it have been for me, had I
spent in retirement these twenty-three years that I have possessed my
kingdom."--See _Sanborn's Gram._, p. 242. "In the same manner that relative
pronouns and their antecedents are usually parsed."--_Ib._, p. 71. "Parse
or mention all the other nouns in the parsing examples, in the same manner
that you do the word in the form of parsing."--_Ib._, p. 8. "The passive
verb will always be of the person and number that the verb _be_ is, of
which it is in part composed."--_Ib._, p. 53. "You have been taught that a
verb must always be of the same person and number that its nominative
is."--_Ib._, p. 68. "A relative pronoun, also, must always be of the same
person, number, and even gender that its antecedent is."--_Ib._, p. 68.
"The subsequent is always in the same case that the word is, which asks the
question."--_Ib._, p. 95. "_One_ sometimes represents an antecedent noun in
the same definite manner that personal pronouns do."--_Ib._, p. 98. "The
mind being carried forward to the time that an event happens, easily
conceives it to be present."--_Ib._, p. 107. "_Save_ and _saving_ are
parsed in the same manner that _except_ and _excepting_ are."--_Ib._, p.
123. "Adverbs describe, qualify, or modify the meaning of a verb in the
same manner that adjectives do nouns."--_Ib._, p. 16. "The third person
singular of verbs, is formed in the same manner, that the plural number of
nouns is."--_Ib._, p. 41. "He saith further: 'that the apostles did not
anew baptize such persons, that had been baptized with the baptism of
John.'"--_Barclay's Works_, i, 292. "For we which live, are always
delivered unto death for Jesus' sake."--_2 Cor._, iv, 11. "For they, which
believe in God, must be careful to maintain good works."--_Barclay's
Works_, i, 431. "Nor yet of those which teach things which they ought not,
for filthy lucre's sake."--_Ib._, i, 435. "So as to hold such bound in
heaven, whom they bind on earth, and such loosed in heaven, whom they loose
on earth."--_Ib._, i, 478. "Now, if it be an evil to do any thing out of
strife; then such things that are seen so to be done, are they not to be
avoided and forsaken?"--_Ib._, i, 522. "All such who satisfy themselves not
with the superficies of religion."--_Ib._, ii, 23. "And he is the same in
substance, what he was upon earth, both in spirit, soul and body."--_Ib._,
iii, 98. "And those that do not thus, are such, to whom the Church of Rome
can have no charity."--_Ib._, iii, 204. "Before his book he placeth a great
list of that he accounts the blasphemous assertions of the
Quakers."--_Ib._, iii, 257. "And this is that he should have
proved."--_Ib._, iii, 322. "Three of which were at that time actual
students of philosophy in the university."--_Ib._, iii, 180. "Therefore it
is not lawful for any whatsoever * * * to force the consciences of
others."--_Ib._, ii, 13. "What is the cause that the former days were
better than these?"--_Eccl._, vii, 10. "In the same manner that the term
_my_ depends on the name _books_."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 54. "In the
same manner as the term _house_ depends on the relative _near_."--_Ib._, p.
58. "James died on the day that Henry returned."--_Ib._, p. 177.


"_Other_ makes the plural _others_, when it is found without it's
substantive."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 12.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the pronoun _it's_ is written with an
apostrophe. But, according to Observation 25th, on the Declensions of
Pronouns, "The possessive case of pronouns should never be written with an
apostrophe." Therefore, this apostrophe should be omitted; thus, "_Other_
makes the plural _others_, when it is found without its substantive."]

"But _his, her's, our's, your's, their's_, have evidently the form of the
possessive case."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 23. "To the Saxon possessive cases,
_hire, ure, eower, hira_, (that is, _her's, our's, your's, their's_,) we
have added the _s_, the characteristic of the possessive case of
nouns."--_Ib._, p. 23. "Upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both
their's and our's."--FRIENDS' BIBLE: _1 Cor._, i, 2. "In this Place _His_
Hand is clearly preferable either to Her's or It's." [220]--_Harris's
Hermes_, p. 59. "That roguish leer of your's makes a pretty woman's heart
ake."--ADDISON: _in Joh. Dict._ "Lest by any means this liberty of your's
become a stumbling-block."--FRIENDS' BIBLE: _1 Cor._, viii, 9. "First
person: Sing. I, mine, me; Plur. we, our's, us."--_Wilbur and Livingston's
Gram._, p. 16. "Second person: Sing. thou, thine, thee; Plur. ye or you,
your's, you."--_Ib._ "Third person: Sing. she, her's, her; Plur. they,
their's, them."--_Ib._ "So shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not
your's."--SCOTT ET AL.: _Jer._, v, 19. "Second person, Singular: Nom. thou
or you, Poss. thine or yours, Obj. thee or you."--_Frost's El. of E.
Gram._, p. 13. "Second person, Dual: Nom. Gyt, ye two; Gen. Incer, of ye
two; Dat. Inc, incrum, to ye two; Acc. Inc, ye two; Voc. Eala inc, O ye
two; Abl. Inc, incrum, from ye two."--_Gwill's Saxon Gram._, p. 12. "Second
person, Plural; Nom. Ge, ye; Gen. Eower, of ye; Dat. Eow, to ye; Acc. Eow,
ye; Voc. Eala ge, O ye; Abl. Eow, from ye."--_Ib._ (_written in_ 1829.)
"These words are, _mine, thine, his, her's, our's, your's, their's_, and
_whose_."--_Cardell's Essay_, p. 88. "This house is _our's_, and that is
_your's. Their's_ is very commodious."--_Ib._, p. 90. "And they shall eat
up thine harvest, and thy bread: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine
herds."--_Jeremiah_, v, 17. "_Whoever_ and _Whichever_ are thus declined.
_Sing._ and _Plu. nom._ whoever, _poss._ whoseever, _obj._ whomever.
_Sing._ and _Plu. nom._ whichever, _poss._ whoseever, _obj._
whichever."--_Cooper's Plain and Practical Gram._, p. 38. "The compound
personal pronouns are thus declined; _Sing. N._ Myself, _P._ my-own, _O._
myself; _Plur. N._ ourselves, _P._ our-own, _O._ ourselves. _Sing. N._
Thyself or yourself, _P._ thy-own or your-own, _O._ thyself or yourself;"
&c.--_Perley's Gram._, p. 16. "Every one of us, each for hisself, laboured
how to recover him."--SIDNEY: _in Priestley's Gram._, p. 96. "Unless when
ideas of their opposites manifestly suggest their selves."--_Wright's
Gram._, p. 49. "It not only exists in time, but is time its self."--_Ib._,
p. 75. "A position which the action its self will palpably deny."--_Ib._,
p. 102. "A difficulty sometimes presents its self."--_Ib._, p. 165. "They
are sometimes explanations in their selves."--_Ib._, p. 249. "Our's,
Your's, Their's, Her's, It's."--_S. Barrett's Gram._, p. 24.

"Their's the wild chace of false felicities:
His, the compos'd possession of the true."
--_Murray's E. Reader_, p. 216.


"It is the boast of Americans, without distinction of parties, that their
government is the most free and perfect, which exists on the earth."--_Dr.
Allen's Lectures_, p. 18.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the relative _which_ is here intended to be
taken in a restrictive sense. But, according to Observation 26th, on the
Classes of Pronouns, (and others that follow it,) the word _who_ or
_which_, with a comma before it, does not usually limit the preceding term.
Therefore, _which_ should be _that_, and the comma should be omitted;
thus,--"that their government is the most free and perfect _that_ exists on
the earth."]

"Children, who are dutiful to their parents, enjoy great
prosperity."--_Sanborn's Gram._, p. 69. "The scholar, who improves his
time, sets an example worthy of imitation."--_Ib._, p. 69. "Nouns and
pronouns, which signify the same person, place, or thing, agree in
case."--_Cooper's Gram._, p. 115. "An interrogative sentence is one, which
asks a question."--_Ib._, p. 114. "In the use of words and phrases, which
in point of time relate to each other, a _due regard_ to _that relation_
should be _observed_."--_Ib._, p. 146; see _L. Murray_'s Rule xiii. "The
same observations, which have been made respecting the effect of the
article and participle, appear to be applicable to the pronoun and
participle."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 193. "The reason that they have not the
same use of them in reading, may be traced to the very defective and
erroneous method, in which the art of reading is taught."--_Ib._, p. 252.
"Since the time that reason began to exert her powers, thought, during our
waking hours, has been active in every breast, without a moment's
suspension or pause."--_Murray's Key_, p. 271; _Merchant's Gram._, p. 212.
"In speaking of such who greatly delight in the same."--_Notes to Dunciad_,
177. "Except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that
he may live."--_Esther_, iv, 11.--"But the same day that Lot went out of
Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them
all."--_Luke_, xvii, 29. "In the next place I will explain several cases of
nouns and pronouns which have not yet come under our notice."--_Kirkham's
Gram._, p. 129. "Three natural distinctions of time are all which can
exist."--_Rail's Gram._, p. 15. "We have exhibited such only as are
obviously distinct; and which seem to be sufficient, and not more than
sufficient."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 68; _Hall's_, 14. "This point encloses a
part of a sentence which may be omitted without materially injuring the
connexion of the other members."--_Hall's Gram._, p. 39. "Consonants are
letters, which cannot be sounded without the aid of a Vowel."--_Bucke's
Gram._, p. 9. "Words are not simple sounds, but sounds, which convey a
meaning to the mind."--_Ib._, p. 16. "Nature's postures are always easy;
and which is more, nothing but your own will can put you out of
them."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 197. "Therefore ought we to examine our
ownselves, and prove our ownselves."--_Barclay's Works_, i, 426. "Certainly
it had been much more natural, to have divided Active Verbs into
_Immanent_, or such whose Action is terminated in it self, and _Transient_,
or such whose Action is terminated in something without it
self."--_Johnson's Gram. Com._, p. 273. "This is such an advantage which no
other lexicon will afford."--DR. TAYLOR: _in Pike's Lex._, p. iv. "For
these reasons, such liberties are taken in the Hebrew tongue with those
words as are of the most general and frequent use."--_Pike's Heb. Lexicon_,
p. 184. "At the same time that we object to the laws, which the antiquarian
in language would impose upon us, we must enter our protest against those
authors, who are too fond of innovations."--_Murray's Gram._, Vol. i, p.


A Verb is a word that signifies _to be, to act_, or _to be acted upon_: as,
I _am_, I _rule_, I _am ruled_; I _love_, thou _lovest_, he _loves_. VERBS
are so called, from the Latin _Verbum_, a _Word_; because the verb is that
word which most essentially contains what is said in any clause or

An English verb has four CHIEF TERMS, or PRINCIPAL PARTS, ever needful to
be ascertained in the first place; namely, the _Present_, the _Preterit_,
the _Imperfect Participle_, and the _Perfect Participle_. The _Present_ is
that form of the verb, which is the root of all the rest; the verb itself;
or that simple term which we should look for in a dictionary: as, _be, act,
rule, love, defend, terminate_.

The _Preterit_ is that simple form of the verb, which denotes time past;
and which is always connected with some noun or pronoun, denoting the
subject of the assertion: as, _I was, I acted, I ruled, I loved, I

The _Imperfect Participle_ is that which ends commonly[221] in _ing_, and
implies a _continuance_ of the being, action, or passion: as, _being,
acting, ruling, loving, defending, terminating_.

The _Perfect Participle_ is that which ends commonly in _ed_ or _en_, and
implies a _completion_ of the being, action, or passion: as, _been, acted,
ruled, loved_.


Verbs are divided, with respect to their _form_, into four classes;
_regular_ and _irregular, redundant_ and _defective_.

I. A _regular verb_ is a verb that forms the preterit and the perfect
participle by assuming _d_ or _ed_; as, _love, loved, loving, loved_.

II. An _irregular verb_ is a verb that does not form the preterit and the
perfect participle by assuming _d_ or _ed_; as, _see, saw, seeing, seen_.

III. A _redundant verb_ is a verb that forms the preterit or the perfect
participle in two or more ways, and so as to be both regular and irregular;
as, _thrive, thrived_ or _throve, thriving, thrived_ or _thriven_.

IV. A _defective verb_ is a verb that forms no participles, and is used in
but few of the moods and tenses; as, _beware, ought, quoth_.

Verbs are divided again, with respect to their _signification_, into four
classes; _active-transitive, active-intransitive, passive_, and _neuter_.

I. An _active-transitive_ verb is a verb that expresses an action which has
some person or thing for its object; as, "Cain _slew Abel_."--"Cassius
_loved Brutus_."

II. An _active-intransitive_ verb is a verb that expresses an action which
has no person or thing for its object; as, "John _walks_."--"Jesus _wept_."

III. A. _passive verb_ is a verb that represents its subject, or what the
nominative expresses, as being acted upon; as, "I _am compelled_."--"Caesar
_was slain_."

IV. A _neuter verb_ is a verb that expresses neither action nor passion,
but simply being, or a state of being; as, "There _was_ light."--"The babe


OBS. 1.--So various have been the views of our grammarians, respecting this
complex and most important part of speech, that almost every thing that is
contained in any theory or distribution of the English verbs, may be
considered a matter of opinion and of dispute. Nay, the essential nature of
a verb, in Universal Grammar, has never yet been determined by any received
definition that can be considered unobjectionable. The greatest and most
acute philologists confess that a faultless definition of this part of
speech, is difficult, if not impossible, to be formed. Horne Tooke, at the
close of his Diversions of Purley, cites with contempt nearly a dozen
different attempts at a definition, some Latin, some English, some French;
then, with the abruptness of affected disgust, breaks off the catalogue and
the conversation together, leaving his readers to guess, if they can, what
he conceived a verb to be. He might have added some scores of others, and
probably would have been as little satisfied with any one of them. A
definition like that which is given above, may answer in some degree the
purpose of distinction; but, after all, we must judge what is, and what is
not a verb, chiefly from our own observation of the sense and use of

OBS. 2.--Whether _participles_ ought to be called verbs or not, is a
question that has been much disputed, and is still variously decided; nor
is it possible to settle it in any way not liable to some serious
objections. The same may perhaps be said of all the forms called
_infinitives_. If the essence of a verb be made to consist in affirmation,
predication, or assertion, (as it is in many grammars,) neither infinitives
nor participles can be reckoned verbs, without a manifest breach of the
definition. Yet are the former almost universally treated as verbs, and by
some as the only pure verbs; nor do all deny them this rank, who say that
affirmation is _essential_ to a verb. Participles, when unconnected with
auxiliaries, are most commonly considered a separate part of speech; but in
the formation of many of our moods and tenses, we take them as _constituent
parts of the verb_. If there is absurdity in this, there is more in
undertaking to avoid it; and the inconvenience should be submitted to,
since it amounts to little or nothing in practice. With auxiliaries, then,
participles _are verbs_: without auxiliaries, they are _not verbs_, but
form a separate part of speech.

OBS. 3.--The number of verbs in our language, amounts unquestionably to
four or five thousand; some say, (perhaps truly,) to eight thousand. All
these, whatever be the number, are confessedly _regular_ in their
formation, except about two hundred. For, though the catalogues in our
grammars give the number somewhat variously, all the irregular, redundant,
and defective verbs, put together, are _commonly_ reckoned fewer than two
hundred. I admit, in all, two hundred and nineteen. The regular verbs,
therefore, are vastly more numerous than those which deviate from the
stated form. But, since many of the latter are words of very frequent
occurrence, the irregular verbs appear exceedingly numerous in practice,
and consequently require a great deal of attention. The defective verbs
being very few, and most of these few being mere auxiliaries, which are
never parsed separately, there is little occasion to treat them as a
distinct class; though Murray and others have ranked them so, and perhaps
it is best to follow their example. The redundant verbs, which are regular
in one form and irregular in an other, being of course always found written
either one way or the other, as each author chooses, may be, and commonly
have been, referred in parsing to the class of regular or irregular verbs
accordingly. But, as their number is considerable, and their character
peculiar, there may be some advantage in making them a separate class.
Besides, the definition of an irregular verb, as given in any of our
grammars, seems to exclude all such as _may_ form the preterit and the
perfect participle by assuming _d_ or _ed_.

OBS. 4.--In most grammars and dictionaries, verbs are divided, with respect
to their signification, into three classes only; _active, passive_, and
_neuter_. In such a division, the class of _active_ verbs includes those
only which are _active-transitive_, and all the _active-intransitive_ verbs
are called _neuter_. But, in the division adopted above,
_active-intransitive_ verbs are made a distinct class; and those only are
regarded as neuter, which imply a state of existence without action. When,
therefore, we speak of verbs without reference to their regimen, we may, if
we please, apply the simple term active to all those which express
_action_, whether _transitive_ or _intransitive_. "We _act_ whenever we
_do_ any thing; but we _may act_ without _doing_ any thing."--_Crabb's

OBS. 5.--Among the many English grammars in which verbs are divided, as
above mentioned, into _active, passive_, and _neuter_, only, are those of
the following writers: Lowth, Murray, Ainsworth, Alden, Allen, Alger,
Bacon, Bicknell, Blair, Bullions, (at first,) Charles Adams, Bucke,
Cobbett, Cobbin, Dilworth, A. Flint, Frost, (at first,) Greenleaf, Hall,
Johnson,[223] Lennie, Picket, Pond, Sanborn, R. C. Smith, Rev. T. Smith,
and Wright. These authors, and many more, agree, that, "A _verb neuter_
expresses neither action nor passion, but being, or a state of being."--_L.
Murray_. Yet, according to their scheme, such words as _walk, run, fly,
strive, struggle, wrestle, contend_, are verbs _neuter_. In view of this
palpable absurdity, I cannot but think it was a useful improvement upon the
once popular scheme of English grammar, to make active-intransitive verbs a
distinct class, and to apply the term _neuter_ to those few only which
accord with the foregoing definition. This had been done before the days of
Lindley Murray, as may be seen in Buchanan's English Syntax, p. 56, and in
the old British Grammar, p. 153, each published many years before the
appearance of his work;[224] and it has often been done since, and is
preferred even by many of the professed admirers and followers of Murray;
as may be seen in the grammars of Comly, Fisk, Merchant, Kirkham, and

OBS. 6.--Murray himself quotes this improved distribution, and with
some appearance of approbation; but strangely imagines it must needs be
_inconvenient_ in practice. Had he been a schoolmaster, he could hardly
have so judged. He says, "Verbs have been distinguished by some writers,
into the following kinds:--

"1st. _Active-transitive_, or those which denote an action that passes from
the agent to some object: as, Caesar conquered Pompey.

"2d. _Active-intransitive_, or those which express that kind of action,
which has no effect upon any thing beyond itself: as, Caesar walked.

"3d. _Passive_, or those which express, not action, but passion, whether
pleasing or painful: as, Portia was loved; Pompey was conquered.

"4th. _Neuter_, or those which express an attribute that consists neither
in action nor passion: as, Caesar stood.

"This appears to be an orderly arrangement. But if the class of
_active-intransitive_ verbs were admitted, _it would rather perplex_ than
assist the learner: for the difference between verbs active and neuter, as
transitive and intransitive is easy and obvious: but the difference between
verbs absolutely neuter and [those which are] intransitively active, is not
always clear. It is, indeed, often _very difficult_, if not impossible to
be ascertained."--_Murray's Gram._, 8vo, p. 60.[225]

OBS. 7.--The following note, from a book written on purpose to apply the
principles of Murray's Grammar, and of Allen's, (the two best of the
foregoing two dozen,) may serve as an offset to the reason above assigned
for rejecting the class of active-intransitive verbs: "It is possible that
some teachers may look upon the nice distinction here made, between the
active _transitive_ and the active _intransitive verbs_, as totally
unnecessary. They may, perhaps, rank the latter with the neuter verbs. The
author had his choice of difficulties: on the one hand, he was aware that
his arrangement might not suit the views of the above-mentioned persons;
and, on the other, he was so sensible of the inaccuracy of their system,
and of its clashing with the definitions, as well as rules, laid down in
almost every grammar, that he was unwilling to bring before the public a
work containing so well-known and manifest an error. Of what use can
Murray's definition of the _active_ verb be, to one who endeavours to prove
the propriety of thus assigning an epithet to the various parts of speech,
in the course of parsing? He says, 'A verb active expresses an action, and
necessarily implies an agent, and an object acted upon.' In the sentence,
'William hastens away,' the active intransitive verb _hastens_ has indeed
an _agent_, 'William,' but where is the _object_? Again, he says, 'Active
verbs govern the objective case;' although it is clear it is not the
_active_ meaning of the verb which requires the objective case, but the
_transitive_, and that only. He adds, 'A verb neuter expresses _neither
action, nor passion_, but being, or a state of being;' and the accuracy of
this definition is borne out by the assent of perhaps every other
grammarian. If, with this clear and forcible definition before our eyes, we
proceed to class _active_ intransitive verbs with neuter verbs, and direct
our pupils to prove such a classification by reciting Murray's definition
of the _neuter_ verb, we may indeed expect from a thinking pupil the
remonstrance which was actually made to a teacher on that system, while
parsing the verb '_to run_.' 'Sir,' asks the boy, 'does not _to run_ imply
action, for it always makes me perspire?'"--_Nixon's English Parser_, p. 9.

OBS. 8.--For the consideration of those classical scholars who may think we
are bound by the authority of _general usage_, to adhere to the old
division of verbs into active, passive, and neuter, it may be proper to
say, that the distribution of the verbs in Latin, has been as much a matter
of dispute among the great grammarians of that language, as has the
distribution of English verbs, more recently, among ourselves; and often
the points at issue were precisely the same.[226] To explain here the
different views of the very old grammarians, as Charisius, Donatus,
Servius, Priscian; or even to notice the opinions of later critics, as
Sanctius, Scioppius, Vossius, Perizonius; might seem perhaps a needless
departure from what the student of mere English grammar is concerned to
know. The curious, however, may find interesting citations from all these
authors, under the corresponding head, in some of our Latin grammars. See
_Prat's Grammatica Latina_, 8vo, London, 1722. It is certain that the
division of _active_ verbs, into _transitive_ and _intransitive_--or, (what
is the same thing,) into "_absolute_ and _transitive_"--or, into
"_immanent_ and _transient_"--is of a very ancient date. The notion of
calling _passive_ verbs _transitive_, when used in their ordinary and
proper construction, as some now do, is, I think, a _modern_ one, and no
small error.

OBS. 9.--Dr. Adam's distribution of verbs, is apparently the same as the
first part of Murray's; and his definitions are also in nearly the same
words. But he adds, "The verb _Active_ is also called _Transitive_, when
the action _passeth over_ to the object, or hath an effect on some other
thing; as, _scribo literas_, I write letters: but when the action is
confined within the agent, and _passeth not over_ to any object, it is
called _Intransitive_; as, _ambulo_, I walk; _curro_, I run: [fist] which
are likewise called _Neuter Verbs_."--_Adam's Latin and English Gram._, p.
79. But he had just before said, "A _Neuter_ verb properly expresses
neither action nor passion, but _simply the being, state, or condition_ of
things; as, _dormio_, I sleep; _sedeo_, I sit."--_Ibid._ Verbs of motion or
action, then, must needs be as improperly called neuter, in Latin, as in
English. Nor is this author's arrangement orderly in other respects; for he
treats of "_Deponent_ and _Common_ Verbs," of "_Irregular_ Verbs," of
"_Defective_ Verbs," and of "_Impersonal_ Verbs," none of which had he
mentioned in his distribution. Nor are the late revisers of his grammar any
more methodical.

OBS. 10.--The division of our verbs into _active-transitive,
active-intransitive, passive_, and _neuter_, must be understood to have
reference not only to their _signification_ as of themselves, but also to
their _construction_ with respect to the government of an objective word
after them. The latter is in fact their most important distinction, though
made _with reference_ to a different part of speech. The classical scholar,
too, being familiar with the forms of Latin and Greek verbs, will doubtless
think it a convenience, to have the arrangement as nearly correspondent to
those ancient forms, as the nature of our language will admit. This is
perhaps the strongest argument for the recognition of the class of _passive
verbs_ in English. Some grammarians, choosing to parse the passive
participle separately, reject this class of verbs altogether; and, forming
their division of the rest with reference to the construction alone, make
but two classes, _transitive_ and _intransitive_. Such is the distribution
adopted by C. Alexander, D. Adams, Bingham, Chandler, E. Cobb, Harrison,
Nutting, and John Peirce; and supported also by some British writers, among
whom are McCulloch and Grant. Such too was the distribution of Webster, in
his Plain and Comprehensive Grammar, as published in 1800. He then taught:
"We have no _passive_ verb in the language; and those which are called
_neuter_ are mostly _active_."--Page 14. But subsequently, in his
Philosophical, Abridged, and Improved Grammars, he recognized "a more
natural and comprehensive division" of verbs, "_transitive, intransitive,
and passive_."--_Webster's Rudiments_, p. 20. This, in reality, differs but
little from the old division into _active, passive_, and _neuter_. In some
grammars of recent date, as Churchill's, R. W. Bailey's, J. R. Brown's,
Butler's, S. W. Clark's, Frazee's, Hart's, Hendrick's, Perley's, Pinneo's,
Weld's, Wells's, Mulligan's, and the _improved_ treatises of Bullions and
Frost, verbs are said to be of _two_ kinds only, _transitive_ and
_intransitive_; but these authors allow to transitive verbs a "passive
form," or "passive voice,"--absurdly making all passive verbs transitive,
and all neuters intransitive, as if _action_ were expressed by both. For
this most faulty classification, Dr. Bullions pretends the authority of
"Mr. Webster;" and Frazee, that of "Webster, Bullions, and
others."--_Frazee's Gram._, Ster. Ed., p. 30. But if Dr. Webster ever
taught the absurd doctrine _that passive verbs are transitive_, he has
contradicted it far too much to have any weight in its favour.

OBS. 11.--Dalton makes only two classes; and these he will have to be
_active_ and _passive_: an arrangement for which he might have quoted
Scaliger, Sanctius, and Scioppius. Ash and Coar recognize but two, which
they call _active_ and _neuter_. This was also the scheme of Bullions, in
his Principles of E. Gram., 4th Edition, 1842. Priestley and Maunder have
two, which they call _transitive_ and _neuter_; but Maunder, like some
named above, will have transitive verbs to be susceptible of an active and
a passive voice, and Priestley virtually asserts the same. Cooper, Day,
Davis, Hazen, Hiley, Webster, Wells, (in his 1st Edition,) and Wilcox. have
three classes; _transitive, intransitive_, and _passive_. Sanders's Grammar
has _three_; "_Transitive, Intransitive_, and _Neuter_;" and two voices,
both _transitive!_ Jaudon has four: _transitive, intransitive, auxiliary_,
and _passive_. Burn has four; _active, passive, neuter_, and _substantive_.
Cardell labours hard to prove that all verbs are _both active and
transitive_; and for this, had he desired their aid, he might have cited
several ancient authorities.[227] Cutler avers, "_All verbs are active_;"
yet he divides them "into _active transitive, active intransitive_, and
_participial verbs_."--_Grammar and Parser_, p. 31. Some grammarians,
appearing to think all the foregoing modes of division useless, attempt
nothing of the kind. William Ward, in 1765, rejected all such
classification, but recognized three voices; "Active, Passive, and Middle;
as, _I call, I am called, I am calling_." Farnum, in 1842, acknowledged the
first two of these voices, but made no division of verbs into classes.

OBS. 12.--If we admit the class of _active-intransitive_ verbs, that of
verbs _neuter_ will unquestionably be very small. And this refutes Murray's
objection, that the learner will "_often_" be puzzled to know which is
which. Nor can it be of any consequence, if he happen in some instances to
decide wrong. To _be_, to _exist_, to _remain_, to _seem_, to _lie_, to
_sleep_, to _rest_, to _belong_, to _appertain_, and perhaps a few more,
may best be called _neuter_; though some grammarians, as may be inferred
from what is said above, deny that there are any neuter verbs in any
language. "Verba Neutra, ait Sanctius, nullo pacto esse possunt; quia,
teste Aristotele, omnis motus, actio, vel passio, nihil medium
est."--_Prat's Latin Gram._, p. 117. John Grant, in his Institutes of Latin
Grammar, recognizes in the verbs of that language the distinction which
Murray supposes to be so "very difficult" in those of our own; and, without
falling into the error of Sanctius, or of Lily,[228] respecting neuter
verbs, judiciously confines the term to such as are neuter in reality.

OBS. 13.--Active-transitive verbs, in English, generally require, that the
agent or doer of the action be expressed _before_ them in the nominative
case, and the object or receiver of the action, _after_ them in the
objective; as, "Caesar _conquered_ Pompey." Passive verbs, which are never
primitives, but always derived from active-transitive verbs, (in order to
form sentences of like import from natural opposites in voice and sense,)
reverse this order, change the cases of the nouns, and denote that the
subject, named before them, is affected by the action; while the agent
follows, being introduced by the preposition _by_: as, "Pompey _was
conquered_ by Caesar." But, as our passive verb always consists of two or
more separable parts, this order is liable to be varied, especially in
poetry; as,

"How many things _by season seasoned are_
To their right praise and true perfection!"--_Shakspeare_.

"Experience _is by industry achieved_,
And _perfected by_ the swift _course_ of time."--_Id._

OBS. 14.--Most active verbs may be used either transitively or
intransitively. Active verbs are transitive whenever there is any person or
thing expressed or clearly implied on which the action terminates; as, "I
_knew_ him well, and every truant _knew_."--_Goldsmith_. When they do not
govern such an object, they are intransitive, whatever may be their power
on other occasions; as, "The grand elementary principles of pleasure, by
which he _knows_, and _feels_, and _lives_, and _moves_."--_Wordsworth's
Pref._, p. xxiii. "The Father _originates_ and _elects_. The Son _mediates_
and _atones_. The Holy Spirit _regenerates_ and _sanctifies_."--_Gurney's
Portable Evidences_, p. 66. "Spectators _remark_, judges _decide_, parties
_watch_."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 271. "In a sermon, a preacher _may explain,
demonstrate, infer, exhort, admonish, comfort_."--_Alexander's E. Gram._,
p. 91.

OBS. 15.--Some verbs may be used in either an active or a neuter sense. In
the sentence, "Here I rest," _rest_ is a neuter verb; but in the sentence,
"Here I rest my hopes," _rest_ is an active-transitive verb, and governs
_hopes_. And a few that are always active in a grammatical sense, as
necessarily requiring an object after them, do not always indicate such an
exertion of force as we commonly call _action_. Such perhaps are the verbs
to _have_, to _possess_, to _owe_, to _cost_; as, "They _have_ no
wine."--"The house _has_ a portico."--"The man _possesses_ no real
estate."--"A son _owes_ help and honour to his father."--_Holyday_. "The
picture _cost_ a crown."--_Wright_, p. 181. Yet possibly even these may be
sometimes rather active-intransitive; as, "I can bear my part; 'tis my
occupation: _have_ at it with you."--_Shakspeare_. "Kings _have_ to deal
with their neighbours."--_Bacon_. "She will let her instructions enter
where folly now _possesses_."--_Shakspeare._

"Thou hast deserv'd more love than I can show;
But 'tis thy fate to give, and mine to _owe_."--_Dryden_.

OBS. 16.--An active-intransitive verb, followed by a preposition and its
object, will sometimes admit of being put into the passive form: the object
of the preposition being assumed for the nominative, and the preposition
itself being retained with the verb, as an adverb: as, (_Active_,) "They
_laughed_ at him."--(_Passive_,) "He _was laughed at_." "For some time the
nonconformists _were connived at_."--_Robertson's America_, Vol. ii, p.
414. "Every man _shall be dealt_ equitably with."--_Butler's Analogy_, p.
212. "If a church _would be looked up to_, it must stand high."--_Parker's
Idea_, p. 15.

OBS. 17.--In some instances, what is commonly considered the active form of
the verb, is used in a passive sense; and, still oftener, as we have no
other passive form that so well denotes continuance, we employ the
participle in _ing_ in that sense also: as, "I'll teach you all what's
_owing_ to your Queen."--_Dryden_. That is--what is _due_, or _owed_. "The
books continue _selling_; i.e. _upon the sale_, or _to be
sold_."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 111. "So we say the brass is _forging_;
i.e. _at the forging_, or _in_ [_being forged_."]--_Ib._ "They are to
_blame_; i.e. to _be blamed._"--_Ib._ Hence some grammarians seem to think,
that in our language the distinction between active and passive verbs is of
little consequence: "Mr. Grant, however, observes, p. 65, 'The component
parts of the English verb, or name of action, are few, simple, and natural;
they, consist of three words, as _plough, ploughing, ploughed_. Now these
words, and their inflections, may be employed either actively or passively.
Actively, 'They _plough_ the fields; they _are ploughing_ the fields; they
_ploughed_, or _have ploughed_, the fields.' Passively, 'The fields
_plough_ well; the fields _are ploughing_; the fields _are ploughed_.' This
passive use of the present tense and participle is, however, restricted to
what he denominates 'verbs of _external, material_, or _mechanical
action_;' and not to be extended to verbs of _sensation_ and _perception_;
e.g. _love, feel, see, &c_."--_Nutting's Gram._, p. 40.


Verbs have modifications of four kinds; namely, _Moods, Tenses, Persons_
and _Numbers_.


Moods [229] are different forms of the verb, each of which expresses the
being, action, or passion, in some particular manner.

There are five moods; the _Infinitive_, the _Indicative_, the _Potential_,
the _Subjunctive_, and the _Imperative_.

The _Infinitive mood_ is that form of the verb, which expresses the being,
action, or passion, in an unlimited manner, and without person or number:
as, "To _die_,--to _sleep_;--To _sleep_!--perchance, to _dream!_"

The _Indicative mood_ is that form of the verb, which simply indicates or
declares a thing: as, I _write_; you _know_: or asks a question; as, "Do
you _know?_"--"_Know_ ye not?"

The _Potential mood_ is that form of the verb which expresses the power,
liberty, possibility, or necessity, of the being, action, or passion: as,
"I _can walk_; he _may ride_; we _must go_."

The _Subjunctive mood_ is that form of the verb, which represents the
being, action, or passion, as conditional, doubtful, and contingent: as,
"If thou _go_, see that thou _offend_ not."--"See thou _do_ it
not."--_Rev._, xix, 10.

The _Imperative mood_ is that form of the verb which is used in commanding,
exhorting, entreating, or permitting: as, "_Depart_ thou."--"Be
_comforted_."--"_Forgive_ me."--"_Go_ in peace."


OBS. 1.--The _Infinitive_ mood is so called in opposition to the other
moods, in which the verb is said to be _finite_. In all the other moods,
the verb has a strict connexion, and necessary agreement in person and
number, with some subject or nominative, expressed or understood; but the
infinitive is the mere verb, without any such agreement, and has no power
of completing sense with a noun. In the nature of things, however, all
being, action, or passion, not contemplated abstractly as a _thing_,
belongs to something that is, or acts, or is acted upon. Accordingly
infinitives have, in most instances, a _reference_ to some subject of this
kind; though their grammatical dependence connects them more frequently
with some other term. The infinitive mood, in English, is distinguished by
the preposition to; which, with a few exceptions, immediately precedes it,
and may be said to govern it. In dictionaries, and grammars, _to_ is often
used as a mere _index_, to distinguish verbs from the other parts of
speech. But this little word has no more claim to be ranked as a part of
the verb, than has the conjunction _if_, which is the sign of the
subjunctive. It is the nature of a preposition, to show the relation of
different things, thoughts, or words, to each other; and this "sign of the
infinitive" may well be pursued separately as a preposition, since in most
instances it manifestly shows the relation between the infinitive verb and
some other term. Besides, by most of our grammarians, the present tense of
the infinitive mood is declared to be the _radical form_ of the verb; but
this doctrine must be plainly untrue, upon the supposition that this tense
is a compound.

OBS. 2.--The _Indicative_ mood is so called because its chief use is, to
_indicate_, or declare positively, whatever one wishes to say. It is that
form of the verb, which we always employ when we affirm or deny any thing
in a direct and independent manner. It is more frequently used, and has a
greater number of tenses, than any other mood; and is also, in our
language, the only one in which the principal verb is varied in
termination. It is not, however, on all occasions, confined to its primary
use; else it would be simply and only declarative. But we use it sometimes
interrogatively, sometimes conditionally; and each of these uses is
different from a simple declaration. Indeed, the difference between a
question and an assertion is practically very great. Hence some of the old
grammarians made the form of inquiry a separate mood, which they called the
_Interrogative Mood_. But, as these different expressions are
distinguished, not by any difference of form in the verb itself, but merely
by a different order, choice, or delivery of the words, it has been found
most convenient in practice, to treat them as one mood susceptible of
different senses. So, in every conditional sentence, the _prot'asis_, or
condition, differs considerably from the _apod'osis_, or principal clause,
even where both are expressed as facts. Hence some of our modern
grammarians, by the help of a few connectives, absurdly merge a great
multitude of Indicative or Potential expressions in what they call the
_Subjunctive Mood_. But here again it is better to refer still to the
Indicative or Potential mood whatsoever has any proper sign of such mood,
even though it occur in a dependent clause.

OBS. 3.--The _Potential_ mood is so called because the leading idea
expressed by it, is that of the _power_ of performing some action. This
mood is known by the signs _may, can, must, might, could, would_, and
_should_. Some of these auxiliaries convey other ideas than that of power
in the agent; but there is no occasion to explain them severally here. The
potential mood, like the indicative, may be used in asking a question; as,
"_Must_ I _budge_? _must_ I _observe_ you? _must_ I _stand_ and _crouch_
under your testy humour?"--_Shakspeare_. No question can be asked in any
other mood than these two. By some grammarians, the potential mood has been
included in the subjunctive, because its meaning is often expressed in
Latin by what in that language is called the subjunctive. By others, it has
been entirely rejected, because all its tenses are compound, and it has
been thought the words could as well be parsed separately. Neither of these
opinions is sufficiently prevalent, or sufficiently plausible, to deserve a
laboured refutation. On the other hand, James White, in his Essay on the
English Verb, (London, 1761,) divided this mood into the following five:
"the _Elective_," denoted by _may_ or _might_; "the _Potential_," by _can_
or _could_; "the _Determinative_" by _would_; "the _Obligative_," by
_should_; and "the _Compulsive_," by _must_. Such a distribution is
needlessly minute. Most of these can as well be spared as those other
"moods, _Interrogative, Optative, Promissive, Hortative, Precative_, &c.",
which Murray mentions only to reject. See his _Octavo Gram._, p. 68.

OBS. 4.--The _Subjunctive_ mood is so called because it is always
_subjoined_ to an other verb. It usually denotes some doubtful contingency,
or some supposition contrary to fact. The manner of its dependence is
commonly denoted by one of the following conjunctions; _if, that, though,
lest, unless_. The indicative and potential moods, in all their tenses, may
be used in the same dependent manner, to express any positive or potential
condition; but this seems not to be a sufficient reason for considering
them as parts of the subjunctive mood. In short, the idea of a "subjunctive
mood in the indicative form," (which is adopted by Chandler, Frazee, Fisk,
S. S. Greene, Comly, Ingersoll, R. C. Smith, Sanborn, Mack, Butler, Hart,
Weld, Pinneo, and others,) is utterly inconsistent with any just notion of
what a mood is; and the suggestion, which we frequently meet with, that the
regular indicative or potential mood may be _thrown into the subjunctive_
by merely prefixing a conjunction, is something worse than nonsense.
Indeed, no mood can ever be made _a part of an other_, without the grossest
confusion and absurdity. Yet, strange as it is, some celebrated authors,
misled by an _if_, have tangled together three of them, producing such a
snarl of tenses as never yet can have been understood without being thought
ridiculous. See _Murray's Grammar_, and others that agree with his late

OBS. 5.--In regard to the number and form of the tenses which should
constitute the _subjunctive mood_ in English, our grammarians are greatly
at variance; and some, supposing its distinctive parts to be but elliptical
forms of the indicative or the potential,[230] even deny the existence of
such a mood altogether. On this point, the instructions published by
Lindley Murray, however commended and copied, are most remarkably vague and
inconsistent.[231] The early editions of his Grammar gave to this mood _six
tenses_, none of which had any of the personal inflections; consequently
there was, in all the tenses, _some difference_ between it and the
indicative. His later editions, on the contrary, make the subjunctive
exactly like the indicative, except in the present tense, and in the choice
of auxiliaries for the second-future. Both ways, he goes too far. And while
at last he restricts the _distinctive form_ of the subjunctive to narrower
bounds than he ought, and argues against, "If thou _loved_, If thou
_knew_," &c., he gives to this mood not only the last five tenses of the
indicative, but also all those of the potential, with its multiplied
auxiliaries; alleging, "that as the indicative mood _is converted_ into the
subjunctive, by the expression of a condition, motive, wish, supposition,
&c.[232] being superadded to it, so the potential mood may, in like manner,
_be turned into_ the subjunctive."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 82. According to
this, the subjunctive mood of every regular verb embraces, in one voice, as
many as one hundred and thirty-eight different expressions; and it may
happen, that in one single tense a verb shall have no fewer than fifteen
different forms in each person and number. Six times fifteen are ninety;
and so many are the several phrases which now compose Murray's pluperfect
tense of the subjunctive mood of the verb _to strow_--a tense which most
grammarians very properly reject as needless! But this is not all. The
scheme not only confounds the moods, and utterly overwhelms the learner
with its multiplicity, but condemns as bad English what the author himself
once adopted and taught for the imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood,
"If thou _loved_, If thou _knew_," &c., wherein he was sustained by Dr.
Priestley, by Harrison, by Caleb Alexander, by John Burn, by Alexander
Murray, the schoolmaster, and by others of high authority. Dr. Johnson,
indeed, made the preterit subjunctive like the indicative; and this may
have induced the author to change his plan, and inflect this part of the
verb with _st_. But Dr. Alexander Murray, a greater linguist than either of
them, very positively declares this to be wrong: "When such words as _if,
though, unless, except, whether_, and the like, are used before verbs, they
lose their terminations of _est, eth_, and _s_, in those persons which
commonly have them. No speaker of good English, expressing himself
conditionally, says, Though thou _fallest_, or Though he _falls_, but,
Though thou _fall_, and Though he _fall_; nor, Though thou _camest_, but,
Though, or although, thou _came_."--_History of European Languages_, Vol.
i, p. 55.

OBS. 6.--Nothing is more important in the grammar of any language, than a
knowledge of the _true forms_ of its verbs. Nothing is more difficult in
the grammar of our own, than to learn, in this instance and some others,
what forms we ought to prefer. Yet some authors tell us, and Dr. Lowth
among the rest, that our language is wonderfully simple and easy. Perhaps
it is so. But do not its "simplicity and facility" appear greatest to those
who know least about it?--i.e., least of its grammar, and least of its
history? In citing a passage from the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel, Lord
Kames has taken the liberty to change the word _hath_ to _have_ seven times
in one sentence. This he did, upon the supposition that the subjunctive
mood has a perfect tense which differs from that of the indicative; and for
such an idea he had the authority of Dr. Johnson's Grammar, and others. The
sentence is this: "But if he _be_ a robber, a shedder of blood; if he
_have_ eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife; if he
_have_ oppressed the poor and needy, _have_ spoiled by violence, _have_ not
restored the pledge, _have lift_ up his eyes to idols, _have_ given forth
upon usury, and _have_ taken increase: shall he live? he shall not
live."--_Elements of Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 261. Now, is this good
English, or is it not? One might cite about half of our grammarians in
favour of this reading, and the other half against it; with Murray, the
most noted of all, first on one side, and then on the other. Similar
puzzles may be presented concerning three or four other tenses, which are
sometimes ascribed, and sometimes denied, to this mood. It seems to me,
after much examination, that the subjunctive mood in English should have
_two tenses_, and no more; the _present_ and the _imperfect_. The present
tense of this mood naturally implies contingency and futurity, while the
imperfect here becomes an _aorist_, and serves to suppose a case as a mere
supposition, a case contrary to fact. Consequently the foregoing sentence,
if expressed by the subjunctive at all, ought to be written thus: "But if
he _be_ a robber, a shedder of blood; if he _eat_ upon the mountains, and
_defile_ his neighbour's wife; if he _oppress_ the poor and needy, _spoil_
by violence, _restore_ not the pledge, _lift_ up his eyes to idols, _give_
forth upon usury, and _take_ increase; shall he live? he shall not live."

OBS. 7.--"Grammarians _generally_ make a present and a past time under the
subjunctive mode."--_Cobbett's E. Gram._, 100. These are the tenses which
are given to the subjunctive by _Blair_, in his "_Practical Grammar_." If
any one will give to this mood _more_ tenses than these, the five which are
adopted by _Staniford_, are perhaps the least objectionable: namely,
"_Present_, If thou love, or do love; _Imperfect_, If thou loved, or did
love; _Perfect_, If thou have loved; _Pluperfect_, If thou had loved;
_Future_, If thou should or would love."--_Staniford's Gram._, p. 22. But
there are no sufficient reasons for even this extension of its
tenses.--Fisk, speaking of this mood, says: "Lowth restricts it entirely to
the present tense."--"Uniformity on this point is highly desirable."--"On
this subject, we adopt the opinion of Dr. Lowth."--_English Grammar
Simplified_, p. 70. His desire of uniformity he has both heralded and
backed by a palpable misstatement. The learned Doctor's subjunctive mood,
in the second person singular, is this: "_Present time_. Thou love; AND,
Thou _mayest_ love. _Past time_. Thou _mightest_ love; AND, Thou _couldst_,
&c. love; and have loved."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 38. But Fisk's subjunctive
runs thus: "_Indic. form_, If thou lovest; _varied form_, If thou love."
And again: "_Present tense_, If thou art, If thou be; _Imperfect tense_, If
thou wast, If thou wert."--_Fisk's Grammar Simplified_, p. 70. His very
definition of the subjunctive mood is illustrated _only by the indicative_;
as, "If thou _walkest_."--"I will perform the operation, if he _desires_
it."--_Ib._, p. 69. Comly's subjunctive mood, except in some of his early
editions, stands thus: "_Present tense_, If thou lovest; _Imperfect tense_,
If thou lovedst or loved; _First future tense_, If thou (shalt)
love."--_Eleventh Ed._, p. 41. This author teaches, that the indicative or
potential, when preceded by an _if_, "should be _parsed_ in the subjunctive
mood."--_Ib._, p. 42. Of what is in fact the true subjunctive, he says:
"_Some writers_ use the singular number in the present tense of the
subjunctive mood, without any variation; as, 'if I _love_, if thou _love_,
if he _love_.' But this usage _must be ranked amongst the anomalies_ of our
language."--_Ib._, p. 41. Cooper, in his pretended "_Abridgment of Murray's
Grammar, Philad._, 1828," gave to the subjunctive mood the following form,
which contains all six of the tenses: "2d pers. If thou love, If thou do
love, If thou loved, If thou did love, If thou have loved, If thou had
loved, If thou shall (or will) love, If thou shall (or will) have loved."
This is almost exactly what Murray at first adopted, and afterwards
rejected; though it is probable, from the abridger's preface, that the
latter was ignorant of this fact. Soon afterwards, a perusal of Dr.
Wilson's Essay on Grammar dashed from the reverend gentleman's mind the
whole of this fabric; and in his "Plain and Practical Grammar, Philad.,
1831," he acknowledges but four moods, and concludes some pages of argument
thus: "From the above considerations, it will appear _to every sound
grammarian_, that our language does not admit a subjunctive mode, at least,
separate and distinct from the indicative and potential."--_Cooper's New
Gram._, p. 63.

OBS. 8.--The true _Subjunctive_ mood, in English, is virtually rejected by
some later grammarians, who nevertheless acknowledge under that name a
greater number and variety of forms than have ever been claimed for it in
any other tongue. All that is peculiar to the Subjunctive, all that should
constitute it a distinct mood, they represent as an archaism, an obsolete
or antiquated mode of expression, while they willingly give to it every
form of both the indicative and the potential, the two other moods which
sometimes follow an _if_. Thus Wells, in his strange entanglement of the
moods, not only gives to the subjunctive, as well as to the indicative, a
"Simple" or "Common Form," and a "Potential Form;" not only recognizes in
each an "Auxiliary Form," and a "Progressive Form;" but encumbers the whole
with distinctions of style,--with what he calls the "Common Style," and the
"Ancient Style;" or the "Solemn Style," and the "Familiar Style:" yet,
after all, his own example of the Subjunctive, "Take heed, lest any man
_deceive_ you," is obviously different from all these, and not explainable
under any of his paradigms! Nor is it truly consonant with any part of his
theory, which is this: "The subjunctive of all verbs except _be_, takes
_the same form as the indicative_. Good writers were formerly much
accustomed to _drop_ the personal termination in the _subjunctive present_,
and write 'If he _have_,' 'If he _deny_,' etc., for 'If he _has_,' 'If he
_denies_,' etc.; but this termination is now _generally retained_, unless
_an auxiliary is understood_. Thus, 'If he _hear_,' may properly be used
for 'If he _shall hear_' or 'If he _should hear_,' but not for 'If he
_hears_.'"--_Wells's School Gram._, 1st Ed., p. 83; 3d Ed., p. 87. Now
every position here taken is demonstrably absurd. How could "good writers"
indite "much" bad English by _dropping_ from the subjunctive an indicative
ending which never belonged to it? And how can a needless "auxiliary" be
"_understood_," on the principle of equivalence, where, by awkwardly
changing a mood or tense, it only helps some grammatical theorist to
convert good English into bad, or to pervert a text? The phrases above may
all be right, or all be wrong, according to the correctness or
incorrectness of their application: when each is used as best it may be,
there is no exact equivalence. And this is true of half a dozen more of the
same sort; as, "If he _does hear_,"--"If he _do hear_,"--"If he is
_hearing_,"--"If he _be hearing_,"--"If he _shall be hearing_,"--"If he
_should be hearing_."

OBS. 9.--Similar to Wells's, are the subjunctive forms of Allen H. Weld.
Mistaking _annex_ to signify _prefix_, this author teaches thus: "ANNEX
_if, though, unless, suppose, admit, grant, allow_, or any word implying a
_condition_, to each tense of the _Indicative and Potential modes_, to form
the subjunctive; as, If thou lovest or love. If he loves, or love. Formerly
it was customary to _omit the terminations_ in the second and third persons
of the present tense of the Subjunctive mode. But now the terminations are
_generally retained_, except when the ellipsis of _shall_ or _should_ is
implied; as, If he obey, i. e., if he _shall_, or _should_ obey."--_Weld's
Grammar, Abridged Edition_, p. 71. Again: "_In general_, the form of the
verb in the Subjunctive, _is the same as that of the Indicative_; but an
_elliptical form_ in the second and third _person_ [persona] singular, is
used in the following instances: (1.) _Future contingency_ is expressed by
the _omission of the Indicative termination_; as, If he go, for, if he
_shall_ go. Though he slay me, i.e., though he _should_ slay me. (2.)
_Lest_ and _that_ annexed to a command are followed by the _elliptical
form_ of the Subjunctive; as, Love not sleep [,] lest thou _come_ to
poverty. (3.) _If_ with _but_ following it, when futurity is denoted,
requires the _elliptical form_; as, If he _do_ but _touch_ the hills, they
shall smoke."--_Ib._, p. 126. As for this scheme, errors and
inconsistencies mark every part of it. First, the rule for forming the
subjunctive is false, and is plainly contradicted _by all that is true_ in
the examples: "_If thou love_," or, "_If he love_" contains not the form of
the indicative. Secondly, no terminations have ever been "generally"
omitted from, or retained in, the form of the subjunctive present; because
that part of the mood, as commonly exhibited, is well known to be made of
the _radical verb_, without inflection. One might as well talk of suffixes
for the imperative, "_Love_ thou," or "_Do_ thou love." Thirdly, _shall_ or
_should_ can never be really implied in the subjunctive present; because
the supposed ellipsis, needless and unexampled, would change the tense, the
mood, and commonly also the meaning. "If he _shall_," properly implies a
condition of _future certainty_; "If he _should_," a supposition of _duty_:
the true subjunctive suggests neither of these. Fourthly, "the ellipsis of
_shall_, or _should_," is most absurdly called above, "the omission of the
_Indicative termination_." Fifthly, it is very strangely supposed, that to
omit what pertains to the _indicative_ or the _potential_ mood, will
produce an "elliptical form of _the Subjunctive_." Sixthly, such examples
as the last, "If he _do_ but _touch_ the hills," having the auxiliary _do_
not inflected as in the indicative, disprove the whole theory.

OBS. 10.--In J. B. Chandler's grammars, are taken nearly the same views of
the "Subjunctive or Conditional Mood," that have just been noticed. "This
mood," we are told, "is _only_ the indicative _or_ potential mood, with the
word _if_ placed before the nominative case."--_Gram. of_ 1821, p. 48;
_Gram. of_ 1847, p. 73. Yet, of even _this_, the author has said, in the
former edition, "It would, perhaps, be _better to abolish the use_ of the
subjunctive mood entirely. _Its use_ is a continual source of dispute among
grammarians, and of perplexity to scholars."--Page 33. The suppositive verb
_were_,--(as, "_Were_ I a king,"--"If I _were_ a king,"--) which this
author formerly rejected, preferring _was_, is now, after six and twenty
years, replaced in his own examples; and yet he still attempts to _disgrace
it_, by falsely representing it as being only "the indicative _plural_"
very grossly misapplied! See _Chandler's Common School Gram._, p. 77.

OBS. 11.--The _Imperative_ mood is so called because it is chiefly used in
_commanding_. It is that brief form of the verb, by which we directly urge
upon others our claims and wishes. But the nature of this urging varies
according to the relation of the parties. We command inferiors; exhort
equals; entreat superiors; permit whom we will;--and all by this same
imperative form of the verb. In answer to a request, the imperative implies
nothing more than permission. The will of a superior may also be urged
imperatively by the indicative, future. This form is particularly common in
solemn prohibitions; as, "Thou _shalt not kill_. * * * Thou _shalt not
steal_."--_Exodus_, xx, 13 and 15. Of the ten commandments, eight are
negative, and all these are indicative in form. The other two are in the
imperative mood: "_Remember_ the sabbath day to keep it holy. _Honour_ thy
father and thy mother."--_Ib._ But the imperative form may also be
negative: as, "_Touch not; taste not; handle not_."--_Colossians_, ii, 21.


Tenses are those modifications of the verb, which distinguish time. There
are six tenses; the _Present_, the _Imperfect_, the _Perfect_, the
_Pluperfect_, the _First-future_, and the _Second-future_.

The _Present tense_ is that which expresses what _now exists_, or _is
taking_ place: as, "I _hear_ a noise; somebody _is coming_."

The _Imperfect tense_ is that which expresses what _took place_, or _was
occurring_, in time fully past: as, "I _saw_ him yesterday, and _hailed_
him as he _was passing_."

The _Perfect tense_ is that which expresses what _has taken_ place, within
some period of time not yet fully past: as, "I _have seen_ him to-day;
something _must have detained_ him."

The _Pluperfect tense_ is that which expresses what _had taken_ place, at
some past time mentioned: as, "I _had seen_ him, when I met you."

The _First-future tense_ is that which expresses what _will take_ place
hereafter: as, "I _shall see_ him again, and I _will inform_ him."

The _Second-future tense_ is that which expresses what _will have taken_
place, at some future time mentioned: as, "I _shall have seen_ him by
tomorrow noon."


OBS. 1.--The terms here defined are the names usually given to those parts
of the verb to which they are in this work applied; and though some of them
are not so strictly appropriate as scientific names ought to be, it is
thought inexpedient to change them. In many old grammars, and even in the
early editions of Murray, the three past tenses are called the
_Preterimperfect, Preterperfect_, and _Preterpluperfect_. From these names,
the term _Preter_, (which is from the Latin preposition _praeter_, meaning
_beside, beyond_, or _past_,) has been well dropped for the sake of

OBS. 2.--The distinctive epithet _Imperfect_, or _Preterimperfect_, appears
to have been much less accurately employed by the explainers of our
language, than it was by the Latin grammarians from whom it was borrowed.
That tense which passes in our schools for the _Imperfect_, (as, I _slept,
did sleep_, or _was sleeping_,) is in fact, so far as the indicative mood
is concerned, _more completely past_, than that which we call the
_Perfect_. Murray indeed has attempted to show that the name is right; and,
for the sake of consistency, one could wish he had succeeded. But every
scholar must observe, that the simple preterit, which is the first form of
this tense, and is never found in any other, as often as the sentence is
declarative, tells what _happened_ within some period of time _fully past_,
as _last week, last year_; whereas the perfect tense is used to express
what _has happened_ within some period of time _not yet fully past_, as
_this week, this year_. As to the completeness of the action, there is no
difference; for what _has been done_ to-day, is as _completely done_, as
what _was achieved_ a year ago. Hence it is obvious that the term
_Imperfect_ has no other applicability to the English tense so called, than
what it may have derived from the participle in _ing_, which we use in
translating the Latin imperfect tense: as, _Dormiebam, I was sleeping;
Legebam, I was reading; Docebam, I was teaching_. And if for this reason
the whole English tense, with all its variety of forms in the different
moods, "may, with propriety, be denominated _imperfect_;" surely, the
participle itself should be so denominated _a fortiori_: for it always
conveys this same idea, of "_action not finished_," be the tense of its
accompanying auxiliary what it may.

OBS. 3.--The tenses do not all express time with equal precision; nor can
the whole number in any language supersede the necessity of adverbs of
time, much less of dates, and of nouns that express periods of duration.
The tenses of the indicative mood, are the most definite; and, for this
reason, as well as for some others, the explanations of all these
modifications of the verb, are made with particular reference to that mood.
Some suppose the compound or participial form, as _I am writing_, to be
more definite in time, than the simple form, as _I write_, or the emphatic
form, as _I do write_; and accordingly they divide all the tenses into
_Indefinite_ and _Definite_. Of this division Dr. Webster seems to claim
the invention; for he gravely accuses Murray of copying it unjustly from
him, though the latter acknowledges in a note upon his text, it "is, _in
part_, taken from Webster's Grammar."--_Murray's Octavo Gram._, p. 73. The
distribution, as it stands in either work, is not worth quarrelling about:
it is evidently more cumbersome than useful. Nor, after all, is it true
that the compound form is more definite in time than the other. For
example; "Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, _was always betraying_ his
unhappiness."--_Art of Thinking_, p. 123. Now, if _was betraying_ were a
more definite tense than _betrayed_, surely the adverb "_always_" would
require the latter, rather than the former.

OBS. 4.--The present tense, of the indicative mood, expresses not only what
is now actually going on, but general truths, and customary actions: as,
"Vice _produces_ misery."--"He _hastens_ to repent, who _gives_ sentence
quickly."--_Grant's Lat. Gram._, p. 71. "Among the Parthians, the signal
_is given_ by the drum, and not by the trumpet."--_Justin_. Deceased
authors may be spoken of in the present tense, because they seem to live
in their works; as, "Seneca _reasons_ and _moralizes_ well."--_Murray_.
"Women _talk_ better than men, from the superior shape of their tongues: an
ancient writer _speaks_ of their loquacity three thousand years
ago."--_Gardiner's Music of Nature_, p. 27.

OBS. 5.--The text, John, viii, 58, "Before Abraham _was_, I _am_," is a
literal Grecism, and not to be cited as an example of pure English: our
idiom would seem to require, "Before Abraham _was_, I _existed_." In
animated narrative, however, the present tense is often substituted for the
past, by the figure _enallage_. In such cases, past tenses and present may
occur together; because the latter are used merely to bring past events
more vividly before us: as, "Ulysses _wakes_, not knowing where he
_was_."--_Pope_. "The dictator _flies_ forward to the cavalry, beseeching
them to dismount from their horses. They _obeyed_; they _dismount, rush_
onward, and for vancouriers _show_ their bucklers."--_Livy_. On this
principle, perhaps, the following couplet, which Murray condemns as bad
English, may be justified:--

"Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
The young who _labour_, and the old who _rest_."
See _Murray's Key_, R. 13.

OBS. 6.--The present tense of the subjunctive mood, and that of the
indicative when preceded by _as soon as, after, before, till_, or _when_,
is generally used with reference to future time; as, "If he _ask_ a fish,
will he give him a serpent?"--_Matt._, vii, 10. "If I _will_ that he
_tarry_ till I _come_, what is that to thee? Follow thou me."--_John_, xxi,
22. "When he _arrives_, I will send for you." The imperative mood has but
one tense, and that is always present with regard to the giving of the
command; though what is commanded, must be done in the future, if done at
all. So the subjunctive may convey a present supposition of what the will
of an other may make uncertain: as, "If thou _count_ me therefore a
partner, _receive_ him as myself."--_St. Paul to Philemon_, 17. The perfect
indicative, like the present, is sometimes used with reference to time that
is relatively future; as, "He will be fatigued before he _has walked_ a
mile."--"My lips shall utter praise, when thou _hast taught_ me thy
statutes."--_Psalms_, cxix, 171. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is
coming, in the which all that _are_ in the graves, shall hear his voice,
and shall come forth; they that _have done_ good, unto the resurrection of
life; and they that _have done_ evil, unto the resurrection of
damnation."--_John_, v, 28.

OBS. 7.--What is called the _present_ infinitive, can scarcely be said to
express any particular time.[234] It is usually dependent on an other verb,
and therefore relative in time. It may be connected with any tense of any
mood: as, "I _intend to do_ it; I _intended to do_ it; I _have intended to
do_ it; I _had intended to do_ it;" &c. For want of a better mode of
expression, we often use the infinitive to denote futurity, especially when
it seems to be taken adjectively; as, "The time _to come_,"--"The world _to
come_,"--"Rapture yet _to be_." This, sometimes with the awkward addition
of _about_, is the only substitute we have for the Latin future participle
in _rus_, as _venturus, to come_, or _about to come_. This phraseology,
according to Horne Tooke, (see _Diversions of Purley_, Vol. ii, p. 457,) is
no fitter than that of our ancestors, who for this purpose used the same
preposition, but put the participle in _ing_ after it, in lieu of the
radical verb, which we choose to employ: as, "Generacions of eddris, who
shewide to you to fle fro wraththe _to comynge?_"--_Matt._, iii, 7. Common
Version: "O generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the
wrath _to come_?" "Art thou that art _to comynge_, ether abiden we
another?"--_Matt._, xi, 3. Common Version: "Art thou he that _should come_,
or do we look for another?" "Sotheli there the ship was _to puttyng out_
the charge."--_Dedis_, xxi, 3. Common Version: "For there the ship was _to
unlade_ her burden."--_Acts_, xxi, 3. Churchill, after changing the names
of the two infinitive tenses to "_Future imperfect_" and "_Future
perfect_," adds the following note: "The tenses of the infinitive mood are
usually termed _present_ and _preterperfect_: but this is certainly
improper; for they are so completely future, that what is called the
present tense of the infinitive mood is often employed simply to express
futurity; as, 'The life _to come_.'"--_New Gram._, p. 249.

OBS. 8.--The pluperfect tense, when used conditionally, in stead of
expressing what actually _had taken place_ at a past time, almost always
implies that the action thus supposed _never was performed_; on the
contrary, if the supposition be made in a _negative form_, it suggests that
the event _had occurred_: as, "Lord, if thou _hadst been here_, my brother
_had not died_."--_John_, xi, 32. "If I _had not come_ and spoken unto
them, they _had not had_ sin; but now they have no cloak for their
sin."--_John_, xv, 22. "If thou _hadst known_, even thou, at least in this
thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from
thine eyes."--_Luke_, xix, 42. The supposition is sometimes indicated by a
mere transposition of the verb and its subject; in which case, the
conjunction _if_ is omitted; as, "_Had ye believed_ Moses, ye would have
believed me."--_John_, v, 46.

"_Had I but fought_ as wont, one thrust
_Had laid_ De Wilton in the dust."--_Scott_

OBS. 9.--In the language of prophecy we find the past tenses very often
substituted for the future, especially when the prediction is remarkably
clear and specific. Man is a creature of present knowledge only; but it is
certain, that He who sees the end from the beginning, has sometimes
revealed to him, and by him, things deep in futurity. Thus the sacred seer
who is esteemed the most eloquent of the ancient prophets, more than _seven
hundred years_ before the events occurred, spoke of the vicarious
sufferings of Christ as of things already past, and even then described
them in the phraseology of historical facts: "Surely he _hath borne_ our
griefs, _and carried_ our sorrows: yet we _did esteem_ him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted. But he _was wounded_ for our transgressions;
he _was bruised_ for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace _was_
upon him; and by his stripes we are healed."--_Isaiah_, liii, 4 and 5.
Multiplied instances of a similar application of the past tenses to future
events, occur in the Bible, especially in the writings of this prophet.


The person and number of a verb are those modifications in which it agrees
with its subject or nominative.

In each number, there are three persons; and in each person, two numbers:

_Singular._ _Plural._
1st per. I love, 1st per. We love,
2d per. Thou lovest, 2d per. You love,
3d per. He loves; 3d per. They love.

Definitions universally applicable have already been given of all these
things; it is therefore unnecessary to define them again in this place.

Where the verb is varied, the second person singular is regularly formed by
adding _st_ or _est_ to the first person; and the third person singular, in
like manner, by adding _s_ or _es_: as, I _see_, thou _seest_, he _sees_; I
_give_, thou _givest_, he _gives_; I _go_, thou _goest_, he _goes_; I
_fly_, thou _fliest_, he _flies_; I _vex_, thou _vexest_, he _vexes_; I
_lose_, thou _losest_, he _loses._

Where the verb is not varied to denote its person and number, these
properties are inferred from its subject or nominative: as, If I _love_, if
thou _love_, if he _love_; if we _love_, if you _love_, if they _love_.


OBS. 1.--It is considered a principle of Universal Grammar, that a finite
verb must agree with its subject or nominative in person and number. Upon
this principle, we ascribe to every such verb the person and number of the
nominative word, whether the verb itself be literally modified by the
relation or not. The doctrine must be constantly taught and observed, in
every language in which the verbs have _any variations_ of this kind. But
suppose an instance, of a language in which all the verbs were entirely
destitute of such inflections; the principle, as regards that language,
must drop. Finite verbs, in such a case, would still relate to their
subjects, or nominatives, agreeably to the sense; but they would certainly
be rendered incapable of adding to this relation any agreement or
disagreement. So the concords which belong to adjectives and participles in
Latin and Greek, are rejected in English, and there remains to these parts
of speech nothing but a simple relation to their nouns according to the
sense. And by the fashionable substitution of _you_ for _thou_, the concord
of English verbs with their nominatives, is made to depend, in common
practice, on little more than one single terminational _s_, which is used
to mark one person of one number of one tense of one mood of each verb. So
near does this practice bring us to the dropping of what is yet called a
universal principle of grammar.[235]

OBS. 2.--In most languages, there are in each tense, through all the moods
of every verb, six different terminations to distinguish the different
persons and numbers. This will be well understood by every one who has ever
glanced at the verbs as exhibited in any Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, or
Italian grammar. To explain it to others, a brief example shall be given:
(with the remark, that the Latin pronouns, here inserted, are seldom
expressed, except for emphasis:) "_Ego amo_, I love; _Tu amas_, Thou
lovest; _Ille amat_, He loves; _Nos amamus_, We love; _Vos amatis_, You
love; _Illi amant_, They love." Hence it may be perceived, that the paucity
of variations in the English verb, is a very striking peculiarity of our
language. Whether we are gainers or losers by this simplicity, is a
question for learned idleness to discuss. The common people who speak
English, have far less inclination to add new endings to our verbs, than to
drop or avoid all the remains of the old. Lowth and Murray tell us, "This
scanty provision of terminations _is sufficient_ for all the purposes of
discourse;" and that, "_For this reason_, the plural termination _en_,
(they _loven_, they _weren_,) formerly in use, was laid aside as
_unnecessary_, and has long been obsolete."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 31;
_Murray's_, 63.

OBS. 3.--Though modern usage, especially in common conversation, evidently
inclines to drop or shun all unnecessary suffixes and inflections, still it
is true, that the English verb in some of its parts, varies its
termination, to distinguish, or agree with, the different persons and
numbers. The change is, however, principally confined to the second and
third persons singular of the present tense of the indicative mood, and to
the auxiliaries _hast_ and _has_ of the perfect. In the ancient biblical
style, now used only on solemn occasions, the second person singular is
distinguished through all the tenses of the indicative and potential moods.
And as the use of the pronoun _thou_ is now mostly confined to the solemn
style, the terminations of that style are retained in connexion with it,
through all the following examples of the conjugation of verbs. In the
plural number, there is no variation of ending, to denote the different
persons; and the verb in the three persons plural, (with the two exceptions
_are_ and _were_, from _am_ and _was_,) is the same as in the first person
singular. Nor does the use of _you_ for the singular, warrant its connexion
with any other than the plural form of the verb. This strange and needless
confusion of the numbers, is, in all languages that indulge it, a practical
inconvenience. It would doubtless have been much better, had _thou_ and
_you_ still kept their respective places--the one, nominative singular--the
other, objective plural--as they appear in the Bible. But as the English
verb is always attended by a noun or a pronoun, expressing the subject of
the affirmation, no ambiguity arises from the want of particular
terminations in the verb, to distinguish the different persons and numbers.

OBS. 4.--Although our language, in its ordinary use, exhibits the verbs in
such forms only, as will make, when put together, but a very simple
conjugation; there is probably no other language on earth, in which it
would be so difficult for a learned grammarian to fix, settle, and exhibit,
to the satisfaction of himself and others, the principles, paradigms,
rules, and exceptions, which are necessary for a full and just exhibition
of this part of speech. This difficulty is owing, partly to
incompatibilities or unsettled boundaries between the solemn and the
familiar style; partly to differences in the same style between ancient
usage and modern; partly to interfering claims of new and old forms of the
preterit and the perfect participle; partly to the conflicting notions of
different grammarians respecting the subjunctive mood; and partly to the
blind tenacity with which many writers adhere to rugged derivatives, and
prefer unutterable contractions to smooth and easy abbreviations. For
example: a clergyman says to a lucky gamester, (1.) "_You dwell_ in a house
which _you_ neither _planned_ nor _built_." A member of the Society of
Friends would say, (2.) "_Thou dwellst_ in a house which _thou_ neither
_planned_ nor _built_." Or, if not a scholar, as likely as not, (3.) "_Thee
dwells_ in a house which _thee_ neither _planned_ nor _built_." The old or
solemn style would b3, (4.) "_Thou dwellest_ in a house which _thou_
neither _plannedst_ nor _buildedst_." Some untasteful and overgrammatical
poet will have it, (5.) "_Thou dwell'st_ in halls _thou_ neither
_plann'dst_ nor _build'dst_." The doctrine of Murray's Grammar, and of most
others, would require, (6.) "_Thou dwellest_ in a house which _thou_
neither _plannedst_ nor _builtest_." Or, (according to this author's method
of avoiding unpleasant sounds,) the more complex form, (7.) "_Thou dost
dwell_ in a house which _thou_ neither _didst plan_ nor _didst build_." Out
of these an other poet will make the line, (8.) "_Dost dwell_ in halls
which _thou_ nor _plann'dst_ nor _built'st_." An other, more tastefully,
would drop the _st_ of the preterit, and contract the present, as in the
second instance above: thus,

(9.) "_Thou dwellst_ in halls _thou_ neither _planned_ nor _built_,
And _revelst_ there in riches won by guilt."

OBS. 5.--Now let all these nine different forms of saying the same thing,
by the same verbs, in the same mood, and the same two tenses, be
considered. Let it also be noticed, that for these same verbs within these
limits, there are yet other forms, of a complex kind; as, "_You do dwell_,"
or, "_You are dwelling_;" used in lieu of, "_Thou dost dwell_," or, "_Thou
art dwelling_:" so, "_You did plan_," or, "_You were planning_;" used in
lieu of, "_Thou didst plan_," or, "_Thou wast planning_." Take into the
account the opinion of Dr. Webster and others, that, "_You was planning_,"
or, "_You was building_," is a still better form for the singular number;
and well "established by national usage, both here and in
England."--_Improved Gram._, p. 25. Add the less inaccurate practice of
some, who use _was_ and _did_ familiarly with _thou_; as, "_Thou was
planning, did thou build?_" Multiply all this variety tenfold, with a view
to the other moods and tenses of these three verbs, _dwell, plan_, and
_build_; then extend the product, whatever it is, from these three common
words, to _all_ the verbs in the English language. You will thus begin to
have some idea of the difficulty mentioned in the preceding observation.
But this is only a part of it; for all these things relate only to the
second person singular of the verb. The double question is, Which of these
forms ought to be approved and taught for that person and number? and which
of them ought to be censured and rejected as bad English? This question is
perhaps as important, as any that can arise in English grammar. With a few
candid observations by way of illustration, it will be left to the
judgement of the reader.

OBS. 6.--The history of _youyouing_ and _thoutheeing_ appears to be this.
Persons in high stations, being usually surrounded by attendants, it
became, many centuries ago, a species of court flattery, to address
individuals of this class, in the plural number, as if a great man were
something more than one person. In this way, the notion of greatness was
agreeably _multiplied_, and those who laid claim to such honour, soon began
to think themselves insulted whenever they were addressed with any other
than the plural pronoun.[236] Humbler people yielded through fear of
offence; and the practice extended, in time, to all ranks of society: so
that at present the customary mode of familiar as well as complimentary
address, is altogether plural; both the verb and the pronoun being used in
that form.[237] This practice, which confounds one of the most important
distinctions of the language, affords a striking instance of the power of
fashion. It has made propriety itself _seem_ improper. But shall it be
allowed, in the present state of things, to confound our conjugations and
overturn our grammar? Is it right to introduce it into our paradigms, as
the only form of the second person singular, that modern usage
acknowledges? Or is it expedient to augment by it that multiplicity of
other forms, which must either take this same place or be utterly rejected?
With due deference to those grammarians who have adopted one or the other
of these methods, the author of this work answers all these questions
decidedly in the negative. It is not to be denied, that the use of the
plural _for the singular_ is now so common as to form the _customary mode_
of address to individuals of every rank. The Society of Friends, or
Quakers, however, continue to employ the singular number in familiar
discourse; and custom, which has now destroyed the compliment of the
plural, has removed also the supposed opprobrium of the singular, and
placed it on an equality with the plural in point of respect. The singular
is universally employed in reference to the Supreme Being; and is generally
preferred in poetry. It is the language of Scripture, and of the
Prayer-Book; and is consistently retained in nearly all our grammars;
though not always, perhaps, consistently treated.

OBS. 7.--Whatever is fashionable in speech, the mere disciples of fashion
will always approve; and, probably, they will think it justifiable to
despise or neglect all that is otherwise. These may be contented with the
sole use of such forms of address as, "_You, you, sir_;"--"_You, you,
madam_." But the literati who so neglect all the services of religion, as
to forget that these are yet conducted in English independently of all this
fashionable youyouing, must needs be poor judges of what belongs to their
own justification, either as grammarians or as moral agents. A fashion by
virtue of which millions of youths are now growing up in ignorance of that
form of address which, in their own tongue, is most appropriate to poetry,
and alone adapted to prayer, is perhaps not quite so light a matter as some
people imagine. It is at least so far from being a good reason for
displacing that form from the paradigms of our verbs in a grammar, that
indeed no better needs be offered for tenaciously retaining it. Many
children may thus learn at school what all should know, and what there is
little chance for them to learn elsewhere. Not all that presume to minister
in religion, are well acquainted with what is called the solemn style. Not
all that presume to explain it in grammars, do know what it is. A late
work, which boasted the patronage of De Witt Clinton, and through the
influence of false praise came nigh to be imposed by a law of New York on
all the common schools of that State; and which, being subsequently sold in
Philadelphia for a great price, was there republished under the name of the
"National School Manual;" gives the following account of this part of
grammar: "In the solemn and poetic styles, the second person singular, in
both the above tenses, is thou; and the second person plural, is ye, _or
you_. The verb, to agree with the second person singular, changes its
termination. Thus: 2d person, sing. Pres. Tense, Thou walkest, _or Thou
walketh_. Imperfect Tense, Thou walkedst. In the third person singular, _in
the above styles_, the verb has sometimes _a different_ termination; as,
Present Tense, He, she, or _it walks_ or walketh. The _above form of
inflection_ may be applied _to all verbs_ used in the solemn _or_ poetic
_styles_; but for ordinary purposes, I have supposed it proper to employ
the form of the verb, adopted in common conversation, as least perplexing
to young minds."--_Bartlett's Common School Manual_, Part ii, p. 114. What
can be hoped from an author who is ignorant enough to think "_Thou
walketh_" is good English? or from one who tells us, that "_It walks_" is
of the solemn style? or from one who does not know that _you_ is never a
_nominative_ in the style of the Bible?

OBS. 8.--Nowhere on earth is fashion more completely mistress of all the
tastes and usages of society, than in France. Though the common French
Bible still retains the form of the second person singular, which in that
language is shorter and perhaps smoother than the plural; yet even that
sacred book, or at least the New Testament, and that by different persons,
has been translated into more fashionable French, and printed at Paris, and
also at New York, with the form of address everywhere plural; as, "Jesus
anticipated him, saying, 'What _do you think_, Simon? of whom do the kings
of the earth take taxes and tribute?'"--_Matt._, xvii, 24. "And, going to
prayers, they said, '0 Lord, _you who know_ the hearts of all men, show
which of these two _you have chosen_.'"--_Acts_, i, 24. This is one step
further in the progress of politeness, than has yet been taken in English.
The French grammarians, however, as far as I can perceive, have never yet
disturbed the ancient order of their conjugations and declensions, by
inserting the plural verb and pronoun in place of the singular; and, in the
familiarity of friendship, or of domestic life, the practice which is
denominated _tutoyant_, or _thoutheeing_, is far more prevalent in France
than in England. Also, in the prayers of the French, the second person
singular appears to be yet generally preserved, as it is in those of the
English and the Americans. The less frequent use of it in the familiar
conversation of the latter, is very probably owing to the general
impression, that it cannot be used with propriety, except in the solemn
style. Of this matter, those who have laid it aside themselves, cannot with
much modesty pretend to judge for those who have not; or, if they may,
there is still a question how far it is right to lay it aside. The
following lines are a sort of translation from Horace; and I submit it to
the reader, whether it is comely for a Christian divine to be less reverent
toward God, than a heathen poet; and whether the plural language here used,
does not lack the reverence of the original, which is singular:--

"Preserve, Almighty Providence!
Just what _you gave_ me, competence."--_Swift_.

OBS. 9.--The terms, _solemn style, familiar style, modern style, ancient
style, legal style, regal style, nautic style, common style_, and the like,
as used in grammar, imply no certain divisions of the language; but are
designed merely to distinguish, in a general way, the _occasions_ on which
some particular forms of expression may be considered proper, or the
_times_ to which they belong. For what is grammatical sometimes, may not be
so always. It would not be easy to tell, definitely, in what any one of
these styles consists; because they all belong to one language, and the
number or nature of the peculiarities of each is not precisely fixed. But
whatever is acknowledged to be peculiar to any one, is consequently
understood to be improper for any other: or, at least, the same phraseology
cannot belong to styles of an opposite character; and words of general use
belong to no particular style.[238] For example: "So then it is not of him
that _willeth_, nor of him that _runneth_, but of God that _showeth_
mercy."--_Rom._, ix, 16. If the termination _eth_ is not obsolete, as some
say it is, all verbs to which this ending is added, are of the solemn
style; for the common or familiar expression would here be this; "So then
it is not of him that _wills_, nor of him that _runs_, but of God that
_shows_ mercy." Ben Jonson, in his grammar, endeavoured to arrest this
change of _eth_ to _s_; and, according to Lindley Murray, (_Octavo Gram._,
p. 90,) Addison also injudiciously disapproved it. In spite of all such
objections, however, some future grammarian will probably have to say of
the singular ending _eth_, as Lowth and Murray have already said of the
plural _en_: "It was laid aside as unnecessary."

OBS. 10.--Of the origin of the personal terminations of English verbs, that
eminent etymologist Dr. Alexander Murray, gives the following account: "The
readers of our modern tongue may be reminded, that the terminations, _est,
eth_, and _s_, in our verbs, as in _layest, layeth_, and _laid'st_, or
_laidest_; are the faded _remains of the pronouns_ which were formerly
joined to the verb itself, and placed the language, in respect of concise
expression, on a level with the Greek, Latin, and Sanscrit, its sister
dialects."--_History of European Languages_, Vol. i, p. 52. According to
this, since other signs of the persons and numbers are now employed with
the verb, it is not strange that there should appear a tendency to lay
aside such of these endings as are least agreeable and least necessary. Any
change of this kind will of course occur first in the familiar style. For
example: "Thou _wentest_ in to men uncircumcised, and _didst eat_ with
them."--_Acts_, xi, 3. "These things write I unto thee, that thou _mayst_
know how thou _oughtest_ to behave thyself in the house of God."--_1 Tim._,
iii, 15. These forms, by universal consent, are now of the solemn style;
and, consequently, are really good English in no other. For nobody, I
suppose, will yet pretend that the inflection of our preterits and
auxiliaries by _st_ or _est_, is entirely _obsolete_;[239] and surely no
person of any literary taste ever uses the foregoing forms familiarly. The
termination _est_, however, has _in some instances_ become obsolete; or has
faded into _st_ or _t_, even in the solemn style. Thus, (if indeed, such
forms ever were in good use,) _diddest_ has become _didst; havest, hast;
haddest, hadst; shallest, shalt; willest, wilt_; and _cannest, canst.
Mayest, mightest, couldest, wouldest_, and _shouldest_, are occasionally
found in books not ancient; but _mayst, mightst, couldst, wouldst_, and
_shouldst_, are abundantly more common, and all are peculiar to the solemn
style. _Must, burst, durst, thrust, blest, curst, past, lost, list, crept,
kept, girt, built, felt, dwelt, left, bereft_, and many other verbs of
similar endings, are seldom, if ever, found encumbered with an additional
_est_. For the rule which requires this ending, has always had many
exceptions that have not been noticed by grammarians.[240] Thus Shakspeare
wrote even in the present tense, "Do as thou _list_," and not "Do as thou
_listest_." Possibly, however, _list_ may here be reckoned of the
subjunctive mood; but the following example from Byron is certainly in the

"And thou, who never yet of human wrong
_Lost_ the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!"--_Harold_, C. iv, st. 132.

OBS. 11.--Any phraseology that is really obsolete, is no longer fit to be
imitated even in the solemn style; and what was never good English, is no
more to be respected in that style, than in any other. Thus: "Art not thou
that Egyptian, _which_ before these days _madest_ an uproar, and _leddest_
out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?"--_Acts_,
xxi, 38. Here, (I think,) the version ought to be, "Art not thou that
Egyptian, _who_ a while ago _made_ an uproar, and _led_ out into the
wilderness four thousand men, that were murderers?" If so, there is in this
no occasion to make a difference between the solemn and the familiar style.
But what is the familiar form of expression for the texts cited before? The
fashionable will say, it is this: "_You went_ in to men uncircumcised, and
_did eat_ with them."--"I write these things to _you_, that _you may know_
how _you ought_ to behave _yourself_ in the house of God." But this is not
_literally_ of the singular number: it is no more singular, than _vos_ in
Latin, or _vous_ in French, or _we_ used for _I_ in English, is singular.
And if there remains to us any other form, that is both singular and
grammatical, it is unquestionably the following: "_Thou went_ in to men
uncircumcised, and _did eat_ with them."--"I write these things to _thee_,
that thou _may know_ how _thou ought_ to behave _thyself_ in the house of
God." The acknowledged doctrine of all the teachers of English grammar,
that the inflection of our auxiliaries and preterits by _st_ or _est_ is
peculiar to "the solemn style," leaves us no other alternative, than either
to grant the propriety of here dropping the suffix for the familiar style,
or to rob our language of any familiar use of the pronoun _thou_ forever.
Who, then, are here the neologists, the innovators, the impairers of the
language? And which is the greater _innovation_, merely to drop, on
familiar occasions, or _when it suits our style_, one obsolescent verbal
termination,--a termination often dropped _of old_ as well as now,--or to
strike from the conjugations of all our verbs one sixth part of their
entire scheme?[241]

"O mother myn, that cleaped _were_ Argyue,
Wo worth that day that thou me _bare_ on lyue."--_Chaucer_.

OBS. 12.--The grammatical propriety of distinguishing from the solemn style
both of the forms presented above, must be evident to every one who
considers with candour the reasons, analogies, and authorities, for this
distinction. The support of the latter is very far from resting solely on
the practice of a particular sect; though this, if they would forbear to
corrupt the pronoun while they simplify the verb, would deserve much more
consideration than has ever been allowed it. Which of these modes of
address is the more grammatical, it is useless to dispute; since fashion
rules the one, and a scruple of conscience is sometimes alleged for the
other. A candid critic will consequently allow all to take their choice. It
is enough for him, if he can demonstrate to the candid inquirer, what
phraseology is in any view allowable, and what is for any good reason
reprehensible. That the use of the plural for the singular is
ungrammatical, it is neither discreet nor available to affirm; yet,
surely, it did not originate in any regard to grammar rules. Murray the
schoolmaster, whose English Grammar appeared some years before that of
Lindley Murray, speaks of it as follows: "_Thou_, the second person
singular, though _strictly grammatical_, is seldom used, except in
addresses to God, in poetry, and by the people called Quakers. In all other
cases, a _fondness for foreign manners_,[242] and the power of custom, have
given a sanction to the use of _you_, for the second person singular,
though _contrary to grammar_,[243] and attended with this particular
inconveniency, that a plural verb must be used to agree with the pronoun in
number, and both applied to a _single person_; as, _you are_, or _you
were_,--not _you wast_, or _you was_."--_Third Edition_, Lond., 1793, p.
34. This author everywhere exhibits the auxiliaries, _mayst, mightst,
couldst, wouldst_, and _shouldst_, as words of one syllable; and also
observes, in a marginal note, "Some writers begin to say, '_Thou may, thou
might_,' &c."--_Ib._, p. 36. Examples of this are not very uncommon: "Thou
_shall_ want ere I want."--_Old Motto; Scott's Lay_, Note 1st to Canto 3.
"Thyself the mournful tale _shall_ tell."--_Felton's Gram._, p. 20.

"One sole condition would I dare suggest,
That _thou would save_ me from my own request."--_Jane Taylor_.

OBS. 13.--In respect to the second person singular, the grammar of Lindley
Murray makes no distinction between the solemn and the familiar style;
recognizes in no way the fashionable substitution of _you_ for _thou_; and,
so far as I perceive, takes it for granted, that every one who pretends to
speak or write grammatically, must always, in addressing an individual,
employ the singular pronoun, and inflect the verb with _st_ or _est_,
except in the imperative mood and the subjunctive present. This is the more
remarkable, because the author was a valued member of the Society of
Friends; and doubtless his own daily practice contradicted his doctrine, as
palpably as does that of every other member of the Society. And many a
schoolmaster, taking that work for his text-book, or some other as faulty,
is now doing precisely the same thing. But what a teacher is he, who dares
not justify as a grammarian that which he constantly practices as a man!
What a scholar is he, who can be led by a false criticism or a false
custom, to condemn his own usage and that of every body else! What a
casuist is he, who dares pretend conscience for practising that which he
knows and acknowledges to be wrong! If to speak in the second person
singular without inflecting our preterits and auxiliaries, is a censurable
corruption of the language, the Friends have no alternative but to

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