Part 15 out of 54
relinquish their scruple about the application of _you_ to one person; for
none but the adult and learned can ever speak after the manner of ancient
books: children and common people can no more be brought to speak agreeably
to any antiquated forms of the English language, than according to the
imperishable models of Greek and Latin. He who traces the history of our
vernacular tongue, will find it has either simplified or entirely dropped
several of its ancient terminations; and that the _st_ or _est_ of the
second person singular, _never was adopted_ in any thing like the extent to
which our modern grammarians have attempted to impose it. "Thus becoming
unused to inflections, we lost the perception of their meaning and
nature."--_Philological Museum_, i, 669. "You cannot make a whole people
all at once talk in a different tongue from that which it has been used to
talk in: you cannot force it to unlearn the words it has learnt from its
fathers, in order to learn a set of newfangled words out of [a grammar or]
a dictionary."--_Ib._, i, 650. Nor can you, in this instance, restrain our
poets from transgressing the doctrine of Lowth and Murray:--
"Come, thou pure Light,--which first in Eden _glowed._
And _threw_ thy splendor round man's calm abode."--_Alonzo Lewis_.
OBS. 14.--That which has passed away from familiar practice, may still be
right in the solemn style, and may there remain till it becomes obsolete.
But no obsolescent termination has ever yet been recalled into the popular
service. This is as true in other languages as in our own: "In almost every
word of the Greek," says a learned author, "we meet with contractions and
abbreviations; but, I believe, the flexions of no language allow of
extension or amplification. In our own we may write _sleeped_ or _slept_,
as the metre of a line or the rhythm of a period may require; but by no
license may we write _sleepeed._"--_Knight, on the Greek Alphabet_, 4to, p.
107. But, if after contracting _sleeped_ into _slept_, we add an _est_ and
make _sleptest_, is there not here an extension of the word from one
syllable to two? Is there not an amplification that is at once novel,
disagreeable, unauthorized, and unnecessary? Nay, even in the regular and
established change, as of _loved_ to _lovedst_, is there not a syllabic
increase, which is unpleasant to the ear, and unsuited to familiar speech?
Now, to what extent do these questions apply to the verbs in our language?
Lindley Murray, it is presumed, had no conception of that extent; or of the
weight of the objection which is implied in the second. With respect to a
vast number of our most common verbs, he himself never knew, nor does the
greatest grammarian now living know, in what way he ought to form the
simple past tense in the second person singular, otherwise than by the mere
uninflected preterit with the pronoun _thou_. Is _thou sleepedst_ or _thou
sleptest, thou leavedst_ or _thou leftest, thou feeledst_ or _thou feltest,
thou dealedst_ or _thou dealtest, thou tossedst_ or _thou tostest, thou
losedst_ or _thou lostest, thou payedst_ or _thou paidest, thou layedst_ or
_thou laidest_, better English than _thou slept, thou left, thou felt, thou
dealt, thou tossed, thou lost, thou paid, thou laid?_ And, if so, of the
two forms in each instance, which is the right one? and why? The Bible has
"_saidst_" and "_layedst_;" Dr. Alexander Murray, "_laid'st_" and
"_laidest!_" Since the inflection of our preterits has never been orderly,
and is now decaying and waxing old, shall we labour to recall what is so
nearly ready to vanish away?
"Tremendous Sea! what time _thou lifted_ up
Thy waves on high, and with thy winds and storms
Strange pastime _took_, and _shook_ thy mighty sides
Indignantly, the pride of navies fell."--_Pollok_, B. vii, l. 611.
OBS. 15.--Whatever difficulty there is in ascertaining the true form of the
preterit itself, not only remains, but is augmented, when _st_ or _est_ is
to be added for the second person of it. For, since we use sometimes one
and sometimes the other of these endings; (as, said_st_, saw_est_, bid_st_,
knew_est_, loved_st_, went_est_;) there is yet need of some rule to show
which we ought to prefer. The variable formation or orthography of verbs in
the simple past tense, has always been one of the greatest difficulties
that the learners of our language have had to encounter. At present, there
is a strong tendency to terminate as many as we can of them in _ed_, which
is the only regular ending. The pronunciation of this ending, however, is
at least threefold; as in _remembered, repented, relinquished._ Here the
added sounds are, first _d_, then _ed_, then _t_; and the effect of adding
_st_, whenever the _ed_ is sounded like _t_, will certainly be a perversion
of what is established as the true pronunciation of the language. For the
solemn and the familiar pronunciation of _ed_ unquestionably differ. The
present tendency to a regular orthography, ought rather to be encouraged
than thwarted; but the preferring of _mixed_ to _mixt, whipped_ to _whipt,
worked_ to _wrought, kneeled_ to _knelt_, and so forth, does not make
_mixedst, whippedst, workedst, kneeledst_, and the like, any more fit for
modern English, than are _mixtest, whiptest, wroughtest, kneltest,
burntest, dweltest, heldest, giltest_, and many more of the like stamp. And
what can be more absurd than for a grammarian to insist upon forming a
great parcel of these strange and crabbed words for which he can quote no
good authority? Nothing; except it be for a poet or a rhetorician to huddle
together great parcels of consonants which no mortal man can utter,
(as _lov'dst, lurk'dst, shrugg'dst_,) and call them "_words_." Example:
"The clump of _subtonick_ and _atonick_ elements at the termination of
_such words_ as the following, is frequently, to the no small injury of
articulation, particularly slighted: couldst, wouldst, hadst, prob'st,
_prob'dst_, hurl'st, _hurl'dst_, arm'st, _arm'dst_, want'st, _want'dst_,
burn'st, _burn'dst_, bark'st, _bark'dst_, bubbl'st, _bubbl'dst, troubbl'st,
troubbl'dst._"--_Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 42. The word _trouble_ may
receive the additional sound of _st_, but this gentleman does not here
_spell_ so accurately as a great author should. Nor did they who penned the
following lines, write here as poets should:--
"Of old thou _build'st_ thy throne on righteousness."
--_Pollok's C. of T._, B. vi, l. 638.
"For though thou _work'dst_ my mother's ill."
"Thou thyself _doat'dst_ on womankind, admiring."
--_Milton's P. R._, B. ii, l. 175.
"But he, the sev'nth from thee, whom thou _beheldst_."
--_Id., P. L._, B. xi, l. 700.
"Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou _beheldst_."
--_Id., ib._, B. xi, l. 819.
"Thou, who _inform'd'st_ this clay with active fire!"
--_Savage's Poems_, p. 247.
"Thy valiantness was mine, thou _suck'dst_ it from me."
--_Shak., Coriol._, Act iii.
"This cloth thou _dipp'dst_ in blood of my sweet boy."
--_Id., Henry VI_, P. i.
"Great Queen of arms, whose favour Tydeus won;
As thou _defend'st_ the sire, defend the son."
--_Pope, Iliad_, B. x, l. 337.
OBS. 16.--Dr. Lowth, whose popular little Grammar was written in or about
1758, made no scruple to hem up both the poets and the Friends at once, by
a criticism which I must needs consider more dogmatical than true; and
which, from the suppression of what is least objectionable in it, has
become, her hands, the source of still greater errors: "_Thou_ in the
polite, and even _in the familiar style, is disused_, and the plural _you_
is employed instead of it; we say, _you have_, not _thou hast._ Though in
this case, we apply _you_ to a single person, yet the verb too _must agree
with it in the plural number_; it must necessarily be, _you have_, not _you
hast._ _You was_ is an enormous solecism, and yet authors of the first
rank have inadvertently fallen into it. * * * On the contrary, the solemn
style admits not of you for a single person. This _hath led_ Mr. Pope into
_a great impropriety_ in the beginning of his Messiah:--
'O thou my voice inspire,
Who _touch'd_ Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!'
The solemnity of the style would not admit of _you_ for _thou_, in the
pronoun; nor the measure of the verse _touchedst_, or _didst touch_, in the
verb, as it _indispensably ought to be_, in the one or the other of those
two forms; _you_, who _touched_, or _thou_, who _touchedst_, or _didst
'Just of _thy_ word, in every thought sincere;
Who _knew_ no wish, but what the world might hear.'--Pope.
It ought to be _your_ in the first line, or _knewest_ in the second. In
order to avoid this _grammatical inconvenience_, the two distinct forms of
_thou_ and _you_, are often used promiscuously by our modern poets, in the
same paragraph, and even in the same sentence, very inelegantly and
'Now, now, I seize, I clasp _thy_ charms;
And now _you burst_, ah cruel! from my arms.'--Pope."
--_Lowth's English Gram._, p. 34.
OBS. 17.--The points of Dr. Lowth's doctrine which are not sufficiently
true, are the following: First, it is not true, that _thou_, in the
familiar style, is _totally disused_, and the plural _you_ employed
universally in its stead; though Churchill, and others, besides the good
bishop, seem to represent it so. It is now nearly two hundred years since
the rise of the Society of Friends: and, whatever may have been the
practice of others before or since, it is certain, that from their rise to
the present day, there have been, at every point of time, many thousands
who made no use of _you_ for _thou_; and, but for the clumsy forms which
most grammarians hold to be indispensable to verbs of the second person
singular, the beautiful, distinctive, and poetical words, _thou, thyself,
thy, thine_, and _thee_, would certainly be in no danger yet of becoming
obsolete. Nor can they, indeed, at any rate, become so, till the fairest
branches of the Christian Church shall wither; or, what should seem no
gracious omen, her bishops and clergy learn to _pray in the plural number_,
for fashion's sake. Secondly, it is not true, that, "_thou_, who
_touch'd_," ought _indispensably_ to be, "_thou_, who _touchedst_, or
_didst touch_." It is far better to dispense with the inflection, in such a
case, than either to impose it, or to resort to the plural pronoun. The
"grammatical inconvenience" of dropping the _st_ or _est_ of a preterit,
even in the solemn style, cannot be great, and may be altogether imaginary;
that of imposing it, except in solemn prose, is not only real, but is often
insuperable. It is not very agreeable, however, to see it added to some
verbs, and dropped from others, in the same sentence: as,
"Thou, who _didst call_ the Furies from the abyss,
And round Orestes _bade_ them howl and hiss."
--_Byron's Childe Harold_, Canto iv, st. 132.
"Thou _satt'st_ from age to age insatiate,
And _drank_ the blood of men, and _gorged_ their flesh."
--_Pollok's Course of Time_, B. vii, l. 700.
OBS. 18.--We see then, that, according to Dr. Lowth and others, _the only
good English_ in which one can address an individual on any ordinary
occasion, is _you_ with a plural verb; and that, according to Lindley
Murray and others, _the only good English_ for the same purpose, is _thou_
with a verb inflected with _st_ or _est_. Both parties to this pointed
contradiction, are more or less in the wrong. The respect of the Friends
for those systems of grammar which deny them the familiar use of the
pronoun _thou_, is certainly not more remarkable, than the respect of the
world for those which condemn the substitution of the plural _you_. Let
grammar be a true record of existing facts, and all such contradictions
must vanish. And, certainly, these great masters here contradict each
other, in what every one who reads English, ought to know. They agree,
however, in requiring, as indispensable to grammar, what is not only
inconvenient, but absolutely impossible. For what "the measure of verse
_will not admit_," cannot be used in poetry; and what may possibly be
crowded into it, will often be far from ornamental. Yet our youth have been
taught to spoil the versification of Pope and others, after the following
manner: "Who _touch'd_ Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire." Say, "Who
_touchedst_ or _didst touch_."--_Murray's Key_, 8vo, p. 180. "For thee that
ever _felt_ another's wo." Say, "_Didst feel_."--_Ib._ "Who _knew_ no wish
but what the world might hear." Say, "Who _knewest_ or _didst
know_."--_Ib._ "Who all my sense _confin'd_." Say, "_Confinedst_ or _didst
confine_."--_Ib._, p. 186. "Yet _gave_ me in this dark estate." Say,
"_Gavedst_ or _didst give_."--_Ib._ "_Left_ free the human will."--_Pope_.
Murray's criticism extends not to this line, but by the analogy we must
say, "_Leavedst_ or _leftest_." Now it would be easier to fill a volume
with such quotations, and such corrections, than to find sufficient
authority to prove one such word as _gavedst, leavedst_, or _leftest_, to
be really good English. If Lord Byron is authority for "_work'dst_," he is
authority also for dropping the _st_, even where it might be added:--
----"Thou, who with thy frown
--_Childe Harold's Pilgrimage_, Canto iv, st. 83.
OBS. 19.--According to Dr. Lowth, as well as Coar and some others, those
preterits in which _ed_ is sounded like _t_, "admit the change of _ed_ into
_t_; as, _snacht, checkt, snapt, mixt_, dropping also one of the double
letters, _dwelt, past_."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 46. If this principle were
generally adopted, the number of our regular verbs would be greatly
diminished, and irregularities would be indefinitely increased. What
confusion the practice must make in the language, especially when we come
to inflect this part of the verb with _st_ or _est_, has already been
suggested. Yet an ingenious and learned writer, an able contributor to the
Philological Museum, published at Cambridge, England, in 1832; tracing the
history of this class of derivatives, and finding that after the _ed_ was
contracted in pronunciation, several eminent writers, as Spenser, Milton,
and others, adopted in most instances a contracted form of orthography; has
seriously endeavoured to bring us back to their practice. From these
authors, he cites an abundance of such contractions as the following: 1.
"Stowd, hewd, subdewd, joyd, cald, expeld, compeld, spoild, kild, seemd,
benumbd, armd, redeemd, staind, shund, paynd, stird, appeard, perceivd,
resolvd, obeyd, equald, foyld, hurld, ruind, joynd, scatterd, witherd," and
others ending in _d_. 2. "Clapt, whipt, worshipt, lopt, stopt, stampt,
pickt, knockt, linkt, puft, stuft, hist, kist, abasht, brusht, astonisht,
vanquisht, confest, talkt, twicht," and many others ending in _t_. This
scheme divides our regular verbs into three classes; leaving but very few
of them to be written as they now are. It proceeds upon the principle of
accommodating our orthography to the familiar, rather than to the solemn
pronunciation of the language. "This," as Dr. Johnson observes, "is to
measure by a shadow." It is, whatever show of learning or authority may
support it, a pernicious innovation. The critic says, "I have not ventured
to follow the example of Spenser and Milton throughout, but have merely
attempted to revive the old form of the preterit in _t_."--_Phil. Museum_,
Vol. i, p. 663. "We ought not however to stop here," he thinks; and
suggests that it would be no small improvement, "to write _leveld_ for
_levelled, enameld_ for _enamelled, reformd_ for _reformed_," &c.
OBS. 20.--If the multiplication of irregular preterits, as above described,
is a grammatical error of great magnitude; the forcing of our old and
well-known irregular verbs into regular forms that are seldom if ever used,
is an opposite error nearly as great. And, in either case, there is the
same embarrassment respecting the formation of the second person. Thus
_Cobbett_, in his English Grammar in a Series of Letters, has dogmatically
given us a list of _seventy_ verbs, which, he says, are, "by some persons,
_erroneously deemed irregular_;" and has included in it the words, _blow,
build, cast, cling, creep, freeze, draw, throw_, and the like, to the
number of _sixty_; so that he is really right in no more than one seventh
part of his catalogue. And, what is more strange, for several of the
irregularities which he censures, his own authority may be quoted from the
early editions of this very book: as, "For you could have _thrown_ about
seeds."--Edition of 1818, p. 13. "For you could have _throwed_ about
seeds."--Edition of 1832, p. 13. "A tree is _blown_ down."--Ed. of 1818, p.
27. "A tree is _blowed_ down."--Ed. of 1832, p. 25. "It _froze_ hard last
night. Now, what was it that _froze_ so hard?"--Ed. of 1818, p. 38. "It
_freezed_ hard last night. Now, what was it that _freezed_ so hard?"--Ed.
of 1832, p. 35. A whole page of such contradictions may be quoted from this
one grammarian, showing that _he did not know_ what form of the preterit he
ought to prefer. From such an instructor, who can find out what is good
English, and what is not? Respecting the inflections of the verb, this
author says, "There are three persons; _but, our verbs have no variation in
their spelling, except for the third person singular_."--_Cobbett's E.
Gram._, 88. Again: "Observe, however, that, in our language, there is no
very great use in this distinction of modes; because, for the most part,
our little _signs_ do the business, and _they never vary in the letters of
which they are composed_."--_Ib._, 95. One would suppose, from these
remarks, that Cobbett meant to dismiss the pronoun _thou_ entirely from his
conjugations. Not so at all. In direct contradiction to himself, he
proceeds to inflect the verb as follows: "I work, _Thou workest_, He works;
&c. I worked, _Thou workedst_, He worked; &c. I shall or will work, _Thou
shalt or wilt work_, He shall or will work;" &c.--_Ib._, 98. All the
_compound_ tenses, except the future, he rejects, as things which "can only
serve to fill up a book."
OBS. 21.--It is a common but erroneous opinion of our grammarians, that the
unsyllabic suffix _st_, wherever found, is a modern contraction of the
syllable _est_. No writer, however, thinks it always necessary to remind
his readers of this, by inserting the sign of contraction; though English
books are not a little disfigured by questionable apostrophes inserted for
no other reason. Dr. Lowth says, "The nature of our language, the accent
and pronunciation of it, inclines [incline] us to contract even all our
regular verbs: thus _loved, turned_, are commonly pronounced in one
syllable _lov'd, turn'd_: and the second person, which was originally in
three syllables, _lovedest, turnedest_, is [say _has_] now become a
dissyllable, _lovedst, turnedst_."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 45; _Hiley's_, 45;
_Churchill's_, 104. See also _Priestley's Gram._, p. 114; and _Coar's_, p.
102. This latter doctrine, with all its vouchers, still needs confirmation.
What is it but an idle conjecture? If it were _true_, a few quotations
might easily prove it; but when, and by whom, have any such words as
_lovedest, turnedest_, ever been used? For aught I see, the simple _st_ is
as complete and as old a termination for the second person singular of an
English verb, as _est_; indeed, it appears to be _older_: and, for the
preterit, it is, and (I believe) _always has been_, the _most_ regular, if
not the _only_ regular, addition. If _sufferedest, woundedest_, and
_killedest_, are words more regular than _sufferedst, woundedst, killedst_,
then are _heardest, knewest, slewest, sawest, rannest, metest, swammest_,
and the like, more regular than _heardst, knewst, slewst, sawst, ranst,
metst, swamst, satst, saidst, ledst, fledst, toldst_, and so forth; but not
otherwise. So, in the solemn style, we write _seemest, deemest,
swimmest_, like _seemeth, deemeth, swimmeth_, and so forth; but, when we
use the form which has no increase of syllables, why is an apostrophe more
necessary in the second person, than in the third?--in _seemst, deemst,
swimst_, than in _seems, deems, swims_? When final _e_ is dropped from the
verb, the case is different; as,
"Thou _cutst_ my head off with a golden axe,
And _smil'st_ upon the stroke that murders me."--_Shakspeare_.
OBS. 22.--Dr. Lowth supposes the verbal termination _s_ or _es_ to have
come from a contraction of _eth_. He says, "Sometimes, by the rapidity of
our pronunciation, the vowels are shortened or lost; and the consonants,
which are thrown together, do not coalesce with one another, and are
therefore changed into others of the same organ, or of a kindred species.
This occasions a farther deviation from _the regular form_: thus, _loveth,
turneth_, are contracted into _lov'th, turn'th_, and these, for easier
pronunciation, _immediately_ become _loves, turns_."--_Lowth's Gram._, p.
46; _Hiley's_, 45. This etymology may possibly be just, but certainly such
contractions as are here spoken of, were not very common in Lowth's age, or
even in that of Ben Jonson, who resisted the _s_. Nor is the sound of sharp
_th_ very obviously akin to flat _s_. The change would have been less
violent, if _lov'st_ and _turnst_ had become _loves_ and _turns_; as some
people nowadays are apt to change them, though doubtless this is a
grammatical error: as,
"And wheresoe'er thou _casts_ thy view."
"Nor thou that _flings_ me floundering from thy back."
--_Bat. of Frogs and Mice_, 1,123.
"Thou _sitt'st_ on high, and _measures_ destinies."
--_Pollok, Course of Time_, B. vi, 1, 668.
OBS. 23.--Possibly, those personal terminations of the verb which do not
form syllables, are mere contractions or relics of _est_ and _eth_, which
are syllables; but it is perhaps not quite so easy to prove them so, as
some authors imagine. In the oldest specimens given by Dr. Johnson in his
History of the English Language,--specimens bearing a much earlier date
than the English language can claim,--even in what he calls "Saxon in its
highest state of purity," both _st_ and _th_ are often added to verbs,
without forming additional syllables, and without any sign of contraction.
Nor were verbs of the second person singular always inflected of old, in
those parts to which _est_ was afterwards very commonly added. Examples:
"Buton ic wat thaet thu _hoefst_ thara waepna."--_King Alfred_. "But I know
that thou _hast_ those weapons." "Thaet thu _oncnawe_ thara worda
sothfaestnesse. of tham the thu _geloered eart_."--_Lucae_, i, 4. "That thou
_mightest know_ the certainty of those things wherein thou _hast been
instructed_."--_Luke_, i, 4. "And thu _nemst_ his naman Johannes."--_Lucae_,
i, 13. "And his name _schal be clepid_ Jon."--_Wickliffe's Version_. "And
thou _shalt call_ his name John."--_Luke_, i, 13. "And he ne _drincth_ win
ne beor."--_Lucae_, i, 15. "He _schal_ not _drinke_ wyn ne
sydyr."--_Wickliffe_. "And _shall drink_ neither wine nor strong
drink."--_Luke_, i, 15. "And nu thu _bist_ suwigende. and thu _sprecan_ ne
_miht_ oth thone daeg the thas thing _gewurthath_. fortham thu minum wordum
ne _gelyfdest_. tha _beoth_ on hyra timan _gefyllede_."--_Lucae_, i, 20.
"And lo, thou _schalt_ be doumbe, and thou _schalt_ not mowe _speke_, til
into the day in which these thingis _schulen be don_, for thou _hast_ not
_beleved_ to my wordis, whiche _schulen be fulfild_ in her
tyme."--_Wickliffe_. "And, behold, thou _shalt_ be dumb, and not able to
speak, until the day _that_ these things _shall be performed_, because
thou _believest_ not my words, which _shall be fulfilled_ in their
season."--_Luke_, i, 20.
"In chaungyng of her course, the chaunge _shewth_ this,
Vp _startth_ a knaue, and downe there _falth_ a knight."
--_Sir Thomas More_.
OBS. 24.--The corollary towards which the foregoing observations are
directed, is this. As most of the peculiar terminations by which the second
person singular is properly distinguished in the solemn style, are not only
difficult of utterance, but are quaint and formal in conversation; the
preterits and auxiliaries of our verbs are seldom varied in familiar
discourse, and the present is generally simplified by contraction, or by
the adding of _st_ without increase of syllables. A distinction between the
solemn and the familiar style has long been admitted, in the pronunciation
of the termination _ed_, and in the ending of the verb in the third person
singular; and it is evidently according to good taste and the best usage,
to admit such a distinction in the second person singular. In the familiar
use of the second person singular, the verb is usually varied only in the
present tense of the indicative mood, and in the auxiliary _hast_ of the
perfect. This method of varying the verb renders the second person singular
analogous to the third, and accords with the practice of the most
intelligent of those who retain the common use of this distinctive and
consistent mode of address. It disencumbers their familiar dialect of a
multitude of harsh and useless terminations, which serve only, when
uttered, to give an uncouth prominency to words not often emphatic; and,
without impairing the strength or perspicuity of the language, increases
its harmony, and reduces the form of the verb in the second person singular
nearly to the same simplicity as in the other persons and numbers. It may
serve also, in some instances, to justify the poets, in those abbreviations
for which they have been so unreasonably censured by Lowth, Murray, and
some other grammarians: as,
"And thou their natures _knowst_, and _gave_ them names,
Needless to thee repeated."--_Milton_, P. L., Book vii, line 494.
OBS. 25.--The writings of the Friends, being mostly of a grave cast, afford
but few examples of their customary manner of forming the verb in connexion
with the pronoun _thou_, in familiar discourse. The following may serve to
illustrate it: "Suitable to the office thou _layst_ claim to."--R.
BARCLAY'S _Works_, Vol. i, p. 27. "Notwithstanding thou _may have_
sentiments opposite to mine."--THOMAS STORY. "To devote all thou _had_ to
his service;"--"If thou _should come_;"--"What thou _said_;"--"Thou kindly
_contributed_;"--"The epistle which thou _sent_ me;"--"Thou _would_ perhaps
_allow_;"--"If thou _submitted_;"--"Since thou _left_;"--"_Should_ thou
_act_;"--"Thou _may be_ ready;"--"That thou _had met_;"--"That thou _had
intimated_;"--"Before thou _puts_" [putst];--"What thou _meets_"
[meetst];--"If thou _had made_;"--"I observed thou _was_;"--"That thou
_might put_ thy trust;"--"Thou _had been_ at my house."--JOHN KENDALL.
"Thou _may be plundered_;"--"That thou _may feel_;"--"Though thou _waited_
long, and _sought_ him;"--"I hope thou _will bear_ my style;"--"Thou also
_knows_" [knowst];--"Thou _grew_ up;"--"I wish thou _would_ yet _take_ my
counsel."--STEPHEN CRISP. "Thou _manifested_ thy tender regard, _stretched_
forth thy delivering hand, and _fed_ and _sustained_ us."--SAMUEL
FOTHERGILL. The writer has met with thousands that used the second person
singular in conversation, but never with any one that employed, on ordinary
occasions, all the regular endings of the solemn style. The simplification
of the second person singular, which, to a greater or less extent, is
everywhere adopted by the Friends, and which is here defined and explained,
removes from each verb eighteen of these peculiar terminations; and, (if
the number of English verbs be, as stated by several grammarians, 8000,)
disburdens their familiar dialect of 144,000 of these awkward and useless
appendages. This simplification is supported by usage as extensive as
the familiar use of the pronoun _thou_; and is also in accordance with the
canons of criticism: "The _first_ canon on this subject is, All words and
phrases which are remarkably harsh and unharmonious, and not absolutely
necessary, should be rejected." See _Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric_, B.
ii, Ch. ii, Sec. 2, Canon Sixth, p. 181. See also, in the same work, (B.
hi, Ch. iv, Sec. 2d,) an _express defence_ of "those elisions whereby the
sound is improved;" especially of the suppression of the "feeble vowel in
the last syllable of the preterits of our regular verbs;" and of "such
abbreviations" as "the eagerness of conveying one's sentiments, the
rapidity and ease of utterance, necessarily produce, in the dialect of
conversation."--Pages 426 and 427. Lord Kames says, "That the English
tongue, originally harsh, is at present much softened by dropping many
_redundant consonants_, is undoubtedly true; that it is not capable of
being further mellowed without suffering in its force and energy, will
scarce be thought by any one who possesses an ear."--_Elements of
Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 12.
OBS. 26.--The following examples are from a letter of an African Prince,
translated by Dr. Desaguillier of Cambridge, England, in 1743, and
published in a London newspaper: "I lie there too upon the bed _thou
presented_ me;"--"After _thou_ left me, in thy swimming house;"--"Those
good things _thou presented_ me;"--"When _thou spake_ to the Great Spirit
and his Son." If it is desirable that our language should retain this power
of a simple literal version of what in others may be familiarly expressed
by the second person singular, it is clear that our grammarians must not
continue to dogmatize according to the letter of some authors hitherto
popular. But not every popular grammar condemns such phraseology as the
foregoing. "I improved, Thou _improvedst_, &c. This termination of the
second person preterit, on account of its harshness, _is seldom used_, and
especially in the irregular verbs."--_Harrison's Gram._, p. 26. "The
termination _est_, annexed to the preter tenses of verbs, is, at best, a
very harsh one, when it is contracted, according to our general custom of
throwing out the _e_; as _learnedst_, for _learnedest_; and especially, if
it be again contracted into one syllable, _as it is commonly pronounced_,
and made _learndst._ * * * I believe a writer or speaker would have
recourse to any periphrasis rather than say _keptest_, or _keptst_. * * *
Indeed this harsh termination _est_ is _generally quite dropped in common
conversation_, and sometimes by the poets, in writing."--_Priestley's
Gram._, p. 115. The fact is, it never was added with much uniformity.
Examples: "But like the hell hounde _thou waxed_ fall furious, expressing
thy malice when _thou_ to honour _stied_."--FABIAN'S CHRONICLE, V. ii, p.
522: in _Tooke's Divers._, T. ii, p. 232.
"Thou from the arctic regions came. Perhaps
Thou noticed on thy way a little orb,
Attended by one moon--her lamp by night."
--_Pollok_, B. ii, l. 5.
"'So I believ'd.'--No, Abel! to thy grief,
So thou _relinquish'd_ all that was belief."
--_Crabbe, Borough_, p. 279.
OBS. 27.--L. Murray, and his numerous copyists, Ingersoll, Greenleaf,
Kirkham, Fisk, Flint, Comly, Alger, and the rest; though they insist on it,
that the _st_ of the second person can never be dispensed with, except in
the imperative mood and some parts of the subjunctive; are not altogether
insensible of that monstrous harshness which their doctrine imposes upon
the language. Some of them tell us to avoid this by preferring the
auxiliaries _dost_ and _didst_: as _dost burst_, for _burstest; didst
check_, for _checkedst._ This recommendation proceeds on the supposition
that _dost_ and _didst_ are smoother syllables than _est_ and _edst_; which
is not true: _didst learn_ is harsher than either _learnedst_ or
_learntest_; and all three of them are intolerable in common discourse. Nor
is the "_energy_, or _positiveness_," which grammarians ascribe to these
auxiliaries, always appropriate. Except in a question, _dost_ and _didst_,
like _do, does_, and _did_, are usually signs of _emphasis_; and therefore
unfit to be substituted for the _st, est_, or _edst_, of an unemphatic
verb. Kirkham, who, as we have seen, graces his Elocution with such
unutterable things, as "_prob'dst, hurl'dst, arm'dst, want'dst, burn'dst,
bark'dst, bubbl'dst, troubbl'dst_," attributes the use of the plural for
the singular, to a design of avoiding the raggedness of the latter. "In
order to avoid the disagreeable harshness of sound, occasioned by the
frequent recurrence of the termination _est, edst_, in the adaptation of
our verbs to the nominative _thou_, a _modern innovation_ which substitutes
_you_ for _thou_, in familiar style, has generally been adopted. This
innovation contributes greatly to the harmony of our colloquial style.
_You_ was formerly restricted to the plural number; but now it is employed
to represent either a singular or a plural noun."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p.
99. A modern innovation, forsooth! Does not every body know it was current
four hundred years ago, or more? Certainly, both _ye_ and _you_ were
applied in this manner, to the great, as early as the fourteenth century.
Chaucer sometimes used them so, and he died in 1400. Sir T. More uses them
so, in a piece dated 1503.
"O dere cosyn, Dan Johan, she sayde,
What eyleth _you_ so rathe to aryse?"--_Chaucer_.
Shakspeare most commonly uses _thou_, but he sometimes has _you_ in stead
of it. Thus, he makes Portia say to Brutus:
"_You_ suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Musing, and sighing, with _your_ arms across;
And when I ask'd _you_ what the matter was,
_You_ star'd upon me with ungentle looks."--_J. Caesar_, Act ii, Sc. 2.
OBS. 28.--"There is a natural tendency in all languages to throw out the
rugged parts which improper consonants produce, and to preserve those which
are melodious and agreeable to the ear."--_Gardiner's Music of Nature_, p.
29. "The English tongue, so remarkable for its grammatical simplicity, is
loaded with a great variety of dull unmeaning terminations. Mr. Sheridan
attributes this defect, to an utter inattention to what is easy to the
organs of speech and agreeable to the ear; and further adds, that, 'the
French having been adopted as the language of the court, no notice was
taken, of the spelling or pronunciation of our words, until the reign of
queen Anne.' So little was spelling attended to in the time of Elizabeth,
that Dr. Johnson informs us, that on referring to Shakspeare's will, to
determine how his name was spelt, he was found to have written it himself
[in] no _less_ [fewer] than three different ways."--_Ib._, p. 477. In old
books, our participial or verbal termination _ed_, is found written in
about a dozen different ways; as, _ed, de, d, t, id, it, yd, yt, ede, od,
ud_. For _est_ and _eth_, we find sometimes the consonants only; sometimes,
_ist_ or _yst, ith_ or _yth_; sometimes, for the latter, _oth_ or _ath_;
and sometimes the ending was omitted altogether. In early times also the
_th_ was an ending for verbs of the third person plural, as well as for
those of the third person singular; and, in the imperative mood, it
was applied to the second person, both singular and plural: as,
"_Demith_ thyself, that demist other's dede;
And trouthe the shall deliver, it's no drede."--_Chaucer_.
OBS. 29.--It must be obvious to every one who has much acquaintance with
the history of our language, that this part of its grammar has always been
quite as unsettled as it is now; and, however we may wish to establish its
principles, it is idle to teach for absolute certainty that which every
man's knowledge may confute. Let those who desire to see our forms of
conjugation as sure as those of other tongues, study to exemplify in their
own practice what tends to uniformity. The best that can be done by the
author of a grammar, is, to exhibit usage, as it has been, and as it is;
pointing out to the learner what is most fashionable, as well as what is
most orderly and agreeable. If by these means the usage of writers and
speakers cannot be fixed to what is fittest for their occasions, and
therefore most grammatical, there is in grammar no remedy for their
inaccuracies; as there is none for the blunders of dull opinionists, none
for the absurdities of Ignorance stalled in the seats of Learning. Some
grammarians say, that, whenever the preterit of an irregular verb is like
the present, it should take _edst_ for the second person singular. This
rule, (which is adopted by Walker, in his Principles, No. 372,) gives us
such words as _cast-edst, cost-edst, bid-dedst, burst-edst, cut-tedst,
hit-tedst, let-tedst, put-tedst, hurt-edst, rid-dedst, shed-dedst_, &c. But
the rule is groundless. The few examples which may be adduced from ancient
writings, in support of this principle, are undoubtedly formed in the usual
manner from regular preterits now obsolete; and if this were not the case,
no person of taste could think of employing, on any occasion, derivatives
so uncouth. Dr. Johnson has justly remarked, that "the chief defect of our
language, is ruggedness and asperity." And this defect, as some of the
foregoing remarks have shown, is peculiarly obvious, when even the regular
termination of the second person singular is added to our preterits.
Accordingly, we find numerous instances among the poets, both ancient and
modern, in which that termination is omitted. See Percy's Reliques of
Ancient Poetry, everywhere.
"Thou, who of old the prophet's eye _unsealed_."--_Pollok_.
"Thou _saw_ the fields laid bare and waste."--_Burns_.
OBS. 30.--With the familiar form of the second person singular, those who
constantly put _you_ for _thou_ can have no concern; and many may think it
unworthy of notice, because Murray has said nothing about it: others will
hastily pronounce it bad English, because they have learned at school some
scheme of the verb, which implies that this must needs be wrong. It is this
partial learning which makes so much explanation here necessary. The
formation of this part of speech, form it as you will, is _central to
grammar_, and cannot but be very important. Our language can never entirely
drop the pronoun _thou_, and its derivatives, _thy, thine, thee, thyself_,
without great injury, especially to its poetry. Nor can the distinct
syllabic utterance of the termination _ed_ be now generally practised,
except in solemn prose. It is therefore better, not to insist on those old
verbal forms against which there are so many objections, than to exclude
the pronoun of the second person singular from all such usage, whether
familiar or poetical, as will not admit them. It is true that on most
occasions _you_ may be substituted for _thou_, without much inconvenience;
and so may _we_ be substituted for _I_, with just as much propriety; though
Dr. Perley thinks the latter usage "is not to be encouraged."--_Gram._, p.
28. Our authors and editors, like kings and emperors, are making _we_ for
_I_ their most common mode of expression. They renounce their individuality
to avoid egotism. And when all men shall have adopted this enallage, the
fault indeed will be banished, or metamorphosed, but with it will go an
other sixth part of every English conjugation. The pronouns in the
following couplet are put for the first person singular, the second person
singular, and the second person plural; yet nobody will understand them so,
but by their antecedents:
"Right trusty, and so forth--_we_ let _you_ to know
_We_ are very ill used by _you mortals_ below."--_Swift._
OBS. 31.--It is remarkable that some, who forbear to use the plural for the
singular in the second person, adopt it without scruple, in the first. The
figure is the same in both; and in both, sufficiently common. Neither
practice is worthy to be made more general than it now is. If _thou_ should
not be totally sacrificed to what was once a vain compliment, neither
should _I_, to what is now an occasional, and perhaps a vain assumption.
Lindley Murray, who does not appear to have used _you_ for _thou_, and who
was sometimes singularly careful to periphrase [sic--KTH] and avoid the
latter, nowhere in his grammar speaks of himself in the first person
singular. He is often "the _Compiler_;" rarely, "the _Author_;" generally,
"We:" as, "_We_ have distributed these parts of grammar, in the mode which
_we_ think most correct and intelligible."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 58. "_We_
shall not pursue this subject any further."--_Ib._, p. 62. "_We_ shall
close these remarks on the tenses."--_Ib._, p. 76. "_We_ presume no solid
objection can be made."--_Ib._, p. 78. "The observations which _we_ have
made."--_Ib._, p. 100. "_We_ shall produce a remarkable example of this
beauty from Milton."--_Ib._, p. 331. "_We_ have now given sufficient
openings into this subject."--_Ib._, p. 334. This usage has authority
enough; for it was not uncommon even among the old Latin grammarians; but
he must be a slender scholar, who thinks the pronoun _we_ thereby becomes
_singular._ What advantage or fitness there is in thus putting _we_ for
_I_, the reader may judge. Dr. Blair did not hesitate to use _I_, as often
as ho had occasion; neither did Lowth, or Johnson, or Walker, or Webster:
as, "_I_ shall produce a remarkable example of this beauty from
Milton."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 129. "_I_ have now given sufficient openings
into this subject."--_Ib._, p. 131. So in Lowth's Preface: "_I_
believe,"--"_I_ am persuaded,"--"_I_ am sure,"--"_I_ think,"--"_I_ am
afraid,"--"_I_ will not take upon _me_ to say."
OBS. 32.--Intending to be critical without hostility, and explicit without
partiality, I write not for or against any sect, or any man; but to teach
all who desire to know _the grammar_ of our tongue. The student must
distinctly understand, that it is necessary to speak and write differently,
according to the different circumstances or occasions of writing. Who is he
that will pretend that the solemn style of the Bible may be used in
familiar discourse, without a mouthing affectation? In preaching, or in
praying, the ancient terminations of _est_ for the second person singular
and _eth_ for the third, as well as _ed_ pronounced as a separate syllable
for the preterit, are admitted to be generally in better taste than the
smoother forms of the familiar style: because the latter, though now
frequently heard in religious assemblies, are not so well suited to the
dignity and gravity of a sermon or a prayer. In grave poetry also,
especially when it treats of scriptural subjects, to which _you_ put for
_thou_ is obviously unsuitable, the personal terminations of the verb,
though from the earliest times to the present day they have usually been
contracted and often omitted by the poets, ought still perhaps to be
considered grammatically necessary, whenever they can be uttered, agreeably
to the notion of our tuneless critics. The critical objection to their
elision, however, can have no very firm foundation while it is admitted by
some of the objectors themselves, that, "Writers _generally_ have recourse
to this mode of expression, that they may avoid harsh terminations."--
_Irving's Elements of English Composition_, p. 12. But if writers of good
authority, such as Pope, Byron, and Pollok, have sometimes had recourse to
this method of simplifying the verb, even in compositions of a grave cast,
the elision may, with tenfold stronger reason, be admitted in familiar
writing or discourse, on the authority of general custom among those who
choose to employ the pronoun _thou_ in conversation.
"But thou, false Arcite, never _shall_ obtain," &c.
"These goods _thyself can_ on thyself bestow."
--_Id., in Joh. Dict._
"What I show, _thy self may_ freely on thyself bestow."
--_Id., Lowth's Gram._, p. 26.
"That thou _might_ Fortune to thy side engage."
"Of all thou ever _conquered_, none was left."
--_Pollok_, B. vii, l. 760.
"And touch me trembling, as thou _touched_ the man," &c.
--_Id._, B. x, l. 60.
OBS. 33.--Some of the Friends (perhaps from an idea that it is less formal)
misemploy _thee_ for _thou_; and often join it to the third person of the
verb in stead of the second. Such expressions as, _thee does, thee is, thee
has, thee thinks_, &c., are double solecisms; they set all grammar at
defiance. Again, many persons who are not ignorant of grammar, and who
employ the pronoun aright, sometimes improperly sacrifice concord to a
slight improvement in sound, and give to the verb the ending of the third
person, for that of the second. Three or four instances of this, occur in
the examples which have been already quoted. See also the following, and
many more, in the works of the poet Burns; who says of himself, "Though it
cost the schoolmaster some thrashings, I made an excellent English scholar;
and, by the time I was ten or eleven years of age, I was a critic in
substantives, VERBS, and particles:"--"But when thou _pours_;"--"There thou
_shines_ chief;"--"Thou _clears_ the head;"--"Thou _strings_ the
nerves;"--"Thou _brightens_ black despair;"--"Thou _comes_;"--"Thou
_travels_ far;"--"Now _thou's turned_ out;"--"Unseen thou _lurks_;"--"O
thou pale orb that silent _shines_." This mode of simplifying the verb,
confounds the persons; and, as it has little advantage in sound, over the
regular contracted form of the second person, it ought to be avoided. With
this author it may be, perhaps, a Scotticism: as,
"Thou _paints_ auld nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines."--_Burns to Ramsay_.
"Thou _paintst old_ nature," would be about as smooth poetry, and certainly
much better English. This confounding of the persons of the verb, however,
is no modern peculiarity. It appears to be about as old as the use of _s_
for _th_ or _eth_. Spenser, the great English poet of the sixteenth
century, may be cited in proof: as,
"Siker, _thou's_ but a lazy loord,
And _rekes_ much of thy swinke."--_Joh. Dict., w. Loord_.
OBS. 34.--In the solemn style, (except in poetry, which usually contracts
these forms,) the second person singular of the present indicative, and
that of the irregular preterits, commonly end in _est_, pronounced as a
separate syllable, and requiring the duplication of the final consonant,
according to Rule 3d for Spelling: as, I _run_, thou _runnest_; I _ran_,
thou _rannest_. But as the termination _ed_, in solemn discourse,
constitutes a syllable, the regular preterits form the second person
singular by assuming _st_, without further increase of syllables: as, I
_loved_, thou _lovedst_; not, "_lovedest_," as Chandler made it in his
English Grammar, p. 41, Edition of 1821; and as Wells's rule, above cited,
if literally taken, would make it. _Dost_ and _hast_, and the three
irregular preterits, _wast, didst_, and _hadst_, are permanently
contracted; though _doest_ and _diddest_ are sometimes seen in old books.
_Saidst_ is more common, and perhaps more regular, than _saidest. Werest_
has long been contracted into _wert_: "I would thou _werest_ either cold or
hot."--_W. Perkins_, 1608. The auxiliaries _shall_ and _will_ change
the final _l_ to _t_, and become _shalt_ and _wilt_. To the auxiliaries,
_may, can, might, could, would_, and _should_, the termination _est_ was
formerly added; but they are now generally written with _st_ only, and
pronounced as monosyllables, even in solemn discourse. Murray, in quoting
the Scriptures, very often charges _mayest_ to _mayst, mightest_ to
_mightst_, &c. Some other permanent contractions are occasionally met with,
in what many grammarians call the solemn style; as _bidst_ for _biddest,
fledst_ for _fleddest, satst_ for _sattest_:
"Riding sublime, thou _bidst_ the world adore,
And humblest nature with thy northern blast."
"Fly thither whence thou _fledst_."
--_Milton, P. L._, B. iv, l. 963.
"Unspeakable, who _sitst_ above these heavens."
--_Id., ib._, B. v, l. 156.
"Why _satst_ thou like an enemy in wait?"
--_Id., ib._, B. iv, l. 825.
OBS. 35.--The formation of the third person singular of verbs, is _now_
precisely the same as that of the plural number of nouns: as, _love, loves;
show, shows; boast, boasts; fly, flies; reach, reaches_. This form began to
be used about the beginning of the sixteenth century. The ending seems once
to have been _es_, sounded as _s_ or _z_: as,
"And thus I see among these pleasant thynges
Eche care _decayes_, and yet my sorrow _sprynges_."--_Earl of Surry_.
"With throte yrent, he _roares_, he _lyeth_ along."--_Sir T. Wyat_.
"He _dyeth_, he is all dead, he _pantes_, he _restes_."--_Id._, 1540.
In all these instances, the _e_ before the _s_ has become improper. The
_es_ does not here form a syllable; neither does the _eth_, in "_lyeth_"
and "_dyeth_." In very ancient times, the third person singular appears to
have been formed by adding _th_ or _eth_ nearly as we now add _s_ or
_es_ Afterwards, as in our common Bible, it was formed by adding _th_
to verbs ending in _e_, and _eth_ to all others; as, "For he that _eateth_
and _drinketh_ unworthily, _eateth_ and _drinketh_ damnation to
himself."--_1 Cor._, xi, 29. "He _quickeneth_ man, who is dead in
trespasses and sins; he _keepeth_ alive the quickened soul, and _leadeth_
it in the paths of life; he _scattereth, subdueth_, and _conquereth_ the
enemies of the soul."--_I. Penington_. This method of inflection, as now
pronounced, always adds a syllable to the verb. It is entirely confined to
the solemn style, and is little used. _Doth, hath_, and _saith_, appear to
be permanent contractions of verbs thus formed. In the days of Shakspeare,
both terminations were common, and he often mixed them, in a way which is
not very proper now: as,
"The quality of mercy is not strained;
It _droppeth_, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It _blesseth_ him that _gives_, and him that _takes_."
--_Merchant of Venice_.
OBS. 36.--When the second person singular is employed in familiar
discourse, with any regard to correctness, it is usually formed in a manner
strictly analogous to that which is now adopted in the third person
singular. When the verb ends with a sound which will unite with that of
_st_ or _s_, the second person singular is formed by adding _s_ only, and
the third, by adding _s_ only; and the number of syllables is not
increased: as, I _read_, thou _readst_, he _reads_; I _know_, thou
_knowst_, he _knows_; I _take_, thou _takest_, he _takes_; I _free_, thou
_freest_, he _frees_. For, when the verb ends in mute _a_, no termination
renders this _a_ vocal in the familiar style, if a synaeresis can take
place. To prevent their readers from ignorantly assuming the pronunciation
of the solemn style, the poets have generally marked such words with an
"Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie the way thou _go'st_, not whence thou _com'st_."--_Shak_.
OBS. 37.--But when the verb ends in a sound which will not unite with that
of _st_ or _s_, the second and third persons are formed by adding _est_ and
_es_; or, if the first person end in mute _e_, the _st_ and _s_ render that
_e_ vocal; so that the verb acquires an additional syllable: as, I _trace_,
thou _tracest_, he _traces_; I _pass_, thou _passest_, he _passes_; I
_fix_, thou _fixest_, he _fixes_; I _preach_, thou _preachest_, he
_preaches_; I _blush_, thou _blushest_, he _blushes_; I _judge_, thou
_judgest_, he _judges_. But verbs ending in _o_ or _y_ preceded by a
consonant, do not exactly follow either of the foregoing rules. In these,
_y_ is changed into _i_; and, to both _o_ and _i, est_ and _es_ are added
without increase of syllables: as, I _go_, thou _goest_, he _goes_; I
_undo_, thou _undoest_, he _undoes_; I _fly_, thou _fliest_, he
_flies_; I _pity_, thou _pitiest_, he _pities_. Thus, in the following
lines, _goest_ must be pronounced like _ghost_; otherwise, we spoil the
measure of the verse:
"Thou _goest_ not now with battle, and the voice
Of war, as once against the rebel hosts;
Thou _goest_ a Judge, and _findst_ the guilty bound;
Thou _goest_ to prove, condemn, acquit, reward."--_Pollok_, B. x.
In solemn prose, however, the termination is here made a separate syllable:
as, I _go_, thou _goest_, he _goeth_; I _undo_, thou _undoest_, he
_undoeth_; I _fly_, thou _fliest_, he _flieth_; I _pity_, thou _pitiest_,
OBS. 38.--The auxiliaries _do, dost, does_,--(pronounced _doo, dust, duz_;
and not as the words _dough, dosed, doze_,--) _am, art, is,--have, hast,
has_,--being also in frequent use as principal verbs of the present tense,
retain their peculiar forms, with distinction of person and number, when
they help to form the compound tenses of other verbs. The other auxiliaries
are not varied, or ought not to be varied, except in the solemn style.
Example of the familiar use: "That thou _may_ be found truly owning
it."--_Barclay's Works_, Vol. i, p. 234.
OBS. 39.--The only regular terminations that are added to English verbs,
are _ing, d_ or _e, st_ or _est, s_ or _es, th_ or _eth_ _Ing_, and
_th_ or _eth_, always add a syllable to the verb; except in _doth, hath,
saith_. The rest, whenever their sound will unite with that of the
final syllable of the verb, are usually added without increasing the number
of syllables; otherwise, they are separately pronounced. In solemn
discourse, however, _ed_ and _est_ are by most speakers uttered distinctly
in all cases; except sometimes when a vowel precedes: as in _sanctified,
glorified_, which are pronounced as three syllables only. Yet, in spite of
this analogy, many readers will have _sanctifiest_ and _glorifiest_ to be
words of four syllables. If this pronunciation is proper, it is only so in
solemn prose. The prosody of verse will show how many syllables the poets
"Thou _diedst_, a most rare boy, of melancholy!"
--_Shak., Cymb._, Act iv, sc. 2.
"Had not a voice thus warn'd me: What thou _seest_,
What there thou _seest_, fair creature, is thyself."
--_Milton_, B. iv, l. 467.
"By those thou _wooedst_ from death to endless life."
--_Pollok_, B. ix, l. 7.
"Attend: that thou art happy, owe to God;
That thou _continuest_ such, owe to thyself"
--_Milton_, B. v, l. 520.
OBS. 40.--If the grave and full form of the second person singular must
needs be supposed to end rather with the syllable _est_ than with _st_
only, it is certain that this form may be _contracted_, whenever the verb
ends in a sound which will unite with that of _st_. The poets generally
employ the briefer or contracted forms; but they seem not to have adopted a
uniform and consistent method of writing them. Some usually insert the
apostrophe, and, after a single vowel, double the final consonant before
_st_; as, _hold'st, bidd'st, said'st, ledd'st, wedd'st, trimm'st, may'st,
might'st_, and so forth: others, in numerous instances, add _st_ only, and
form permanent contractions; as, _holdst, bidst, saidst, ledst, wedst,
trimst, mayst, mightst_, and so forth. Some retain the vowel _e_, in the
termination of certain words, and suppress a preceding one; as,
_quick'nest, happ'nest, scatt'rest, rend'rest, rend'redst, slumb'rest,
slumb'redst_: others contract the termination of such words, and insert the
apostrophe; as, _quicken'st, happen'st, scatter'st, render'st, render'dst,
slumber'st, slumber'dst_. The nature and idiom of our language, "the accent
and pronunciation of it," incline us to abbreviate or "contract even all
our regular verbs;" so as to avoid, if possible, an increase of syllables
in the inflection of them. Accordingly, several terminations which formerly
constituted distinct syllables, have been either wholly dropped, or blended
with the final syllables of the verbs to which they are added. Thus the
plural termination _en_ has become entirely obsolete; _th_ or _eth_ is no
longer in common use; _ed_ is contracted in pronunciation; the ancient _ys_
or _is_, of the third person singular, is changed to _s_ or _es_, and is
usually added without increase of syllables; and _st_ or _est_ has, in
part, adopted the analogy. So that the proper mode of forming these
contractions of the second person singular, seems to be, to add _st_ only;
and to insert no apostrophe, unless a vowel is suppressed from the verb to
which this termination is added: as, _thinkst, sayst, bidst, sitst, satst,
lov'st, lov'dst, slumberst, slumber'dst_.
"And know, for that thou _slumberst_ on the guard,
Thou shalt be made to answer at the bar."--_Cotton_.
OBS. 41.--Ho man deserves more praise for his attention to English
pronunciation, than John Walker. His Pronouncing Dictionary was, for a long
period, the best standard of orthoepy, that our schools possessed. But he
seems to me to have missed a figure, in preferring such words as
_quick'nest, strength'nest_, to the smoother and more regular forms,
_quickenst, strengthenst_. It is true that these are rough words, in any
form you can give them; but let us remember, that needless apostrophes are
as rough to the eye, as needless _st_'s to the ear. Our common grammarians
are disposed to encumber the language with as many of both as they can find
any excuse for, and vastly more than can be sustained by any good argument.
In words that are well understood to be contracted in pronunciation, the
apostrophe is now less frequently used than it was formerly. Walker says,
"This contraction of the participial _ed_, and the verbal _en_, is so fixed
an idiom of our pronunciation, that to alter it, would be to alter the
sound of the whole language. It must, however, be regretted that it
subjects our tongue to some of the most hissing, snapping, clashing,
grinding sounds that ever grated the ears of a Vandal; thus, _rasped,
scratched, wrenched, bridled, fangled, birchen, hardened, strengthened,
quickened_, &c. almost frighten us when written as they are actually
pronounced, as _rapt, scratcht, wrencht, bridl'd, fangl'd, birch'n,
strength'n'd, quick'n'd_, &c.; they become still more formidable when used
contractedly in the solemn style, which never ought to be the case; for
here instead of _thou strength'n'st_ or _strength'n'd'st, thou quick'n'st_
or _quick'n'd'st_, we ought to pronounce _thou strength'nest_ or
_strength'nedst, thou quick'nest_ or _quick'nedst_, which are sufficiently
harsh of all conscience."--_Principles_, No. 359. Here are too many
apostrophes; for it does not appear that such words as _strengthenedest_
and _quickenedest_ ever existed, except in the imagination of certain
grammarians. In solemn prose one may write, _thou quickenest, thou
strengthenest_, or _thou quickenedst, thou strengthenedst_; but, in the
familiar style, or in poetry, it is better to write, _thou quickenst, thou
strengthenst, thou quickened, thou strengthened_. This is language which it
is possible to utter; and it is foolish to strangle ourselves with strings
of rough consonants, merely because they are insisted on by some
superficial grammarians. Is it not strange, is it not incredible, that the
same hand should have written the two following lines, in the same
sentence? Surely, the printer has been at fault.
"With noiseless foot, thou _walkedst_ the vales of earth"--
"Most honourable thou _appeared_, and most
To be desired."--_Pollok's Course of Time_, B. ix, l. 18, and l. 24.
OBS. 42.--It was once a very common practice, to retain the final _y_, in
contractions of the preterit or of the second person of most verbs that end
in _y_, and to add the consonant terminations _d, st_, and _dst_, with an
apostrophe before each; as, _try'd_ for _tried, reply'd_ for _replied,
try'st_ for _triest, try'dst_ for _triedst_. Thus Milton:--
"Thou following _cry'dst_ aloud, Return, fair Eve;
Whom _fly'st_ thou? whom thou _fly'st_, of him thou art."
--_P. L._, B. iv, l. 481.
This usage, though it may have been of some advantage as an index to the
pronunciation of the words, is a palpable departure from the common rule
for spelling such derivatives. That rule is, "The final _y_ of a primitive
word, when preceded by a consonant, is changed into _i_ before an
additional termination." The works of the British poets, except those of
the present century, abound with contractions like the foregoing; but late
authors, or their printers, have returned to the rule; and the former
practice is wearing out and becoming obsolete. Of regular verbs that end in
_ay, ey_, or _oy_, we have more than half a hundred; all of which usually
retain the _y_ in their derivatives, agreeably to an other of the rules for
spelling. The preterits of these we form by adding _ed_ without increase of
syllables; as, _display, displayed; survey, surveyed; enjoy, enjoyed_.
These also, in both tenses, may take _st_ without increase of syllables;
as, _display'st, display'dst_; _survey'st, survey'dst; enjoy'st,
enjoy'dst_. All these forms, and such as these, are still commonly
considered contractions, and therefore written with the apostrophe; but if
the termination _st_ is sufficient of itself to mark the second person
singular, as it certainly is considered to be as regards one half of them,
and as it certainly was in the Saxon tongue still more generally, then for
the other half there is no need of the apostrophe, because nothing is
omitted. _Est_, like _es_, is generally a syllabic termination; but _st_,
like _s_, is not. As signs of the third person, the _s_ and the _es_ are
always considered equivalent; and, as signs of the second person, the _st_
and the _est_ are sometimes, and ought to be always, considered so too. To
all verbs that admit the sound, we add the _s_ without marking it as a
contraction for _es_; and there seems to be no reason at all against adding
the _st_ in like manner, whenever we choose to form the second person
without adding a syllable to the verb. The foregoing observations I commend
to the particular attention of all those who hope to write such English as
shall do them honour--to every one who, from a spark of literary ambition,
may say of himself,
My hopes of being remembered in my line
With my land's language."--_Byron's Childe Harold_, Canto iv, st. 9.
THE CONJUGATION OF VERBS.
The conjugation of a verb is a regular arrangement of its moods, tenses,
persons, numbers, and participles.
There are four PRINCIPAL PARTS in the conjugation of every simple and
complete verb; namely, the _Present_, the _Preterit_, the _Imperfect
Participle_, and the _Perfect Participle_. A verb which wants any of
these parts, is called _defective_; such are most of the auxiliaries.
An _auxiliary_ is a short verb prefixed to one of the principal parts of an
other verb, to express some particular mode and time of the being, action,
or passion. The auxiliaries are _do, be, have, shall, will, may, can_, and
_must_, with their variations.
OBS. 1.--The _present_, or the verb in the present tense, is radically the
same in all the moods, and is the part from which all the rest are formed.
The present infinitive is commonly considered _the root_, or _simplest
form_, of the English verb. We usually place the _preposition_ TO _before_
it; but never when with an auxiliary it forms a compound tense that is not
infinitive: there are also some other exceptions, which plainly show, that
the word _to_ is neither a part of the verb, as Cobbett, R. C. Smith, S.
Kirkham, and Wells, say it is; nor a part of the infinitive mood, as Hart
and many others will have it to be, but a distinct _preposition_. (See, in
the _Syntax_ of this work, Observations on Rule 18th.) The preterit and the
perfect participle are regularly formed by adding _d_ or _ed_, and the
imperfect participle, by adding _ing_, to the present.
OBS. 2.--The moods and tenses, in English, are formed partly by
inflections, or changes made in the verb itself, and partly by the
combination of the verb or its participle, with a few short verbs, called
_auxiliaries_, or _helping verbs_. This view of the subject, though
disputed by some, is sustained by such a preponderance both of authority
and of reason, that I shall not trouble the reader with any refutation of
those who object to it. Murray the schoolmaster observes, "In the English
language, the times and modes of verbs are expressed in a perfect, easy,
and beautiful manner, by the aid of a few little words called
_auxiliaries_, or _helping verbs_. The possibility of a thing is expressed
by _can_ or _could_; the liberty to do a thing, by _may_ or _might_; the
inclination of the will, by _will_ or _would_; the necessity of a thing, by
_must_ or _ought, shall_ or _should_. The preposition _to_ is never
expressed after the helping verbs, except after _ought_."--_Alex. Murray's
Gram._, p. 112. See nearly the same words in _Buchanan's English Syntax_,
p. 36; and in _the British Gram._, p. 125.
OBS. 3.--These authors are wrong in calling _ought_ a helping verb, and so
is Oliver B. Peirce, in calling "_ought to_," and "_ought to have_"
auxiliaries; for no auxiliary ever admits the preposition _to_ after it or
into it: and Murray of Holdgate is no less in fault, for calling _let_ an
auxiliary; because no mere auxiliary ever governs the objective case. The
sentences, "He _ought_ to _help_ you," and, "_Let_ him _help_ you,"
severally involve two different moods: they are equivalent to, "It _is his
duty_ to _help_ you;"--"_Permit_ him _to help_ you." Hence _ought_ and
_let_ are not auxiliaries, but principal verbs.
OBS. 4.--Though most of the auxiliaries are defective, when compared with
other verbs; yet these three, _do, be_, and _have_, being also principal
verbs, are complete: but the participles of _do_ and _have_ are not used as
auxiliaries; unless _having_, which helps to form the third or "compound
perfect" participle, (as _having loved_,) may be considered such. The other
auxiliaries have no participles.
OBS. 5.--English verbs are principally conjugated by means of auxiliaries;
the only tenses which can be formed by the simple verb, being the present
and the imperfect; as, I _love_, I _loved_. And even here an auxiliary is
usually preferred in questions and negations; as, "_Do_ you love?"--"You
_do_ not _love_." "_Did_ he _love_?"--"He _did_ not _love_." "_Do_ I not
yet _grieve_?"--"_Did_ she not _die_?" All the other tenses, even in their
simplest form, are compounds.
OBS. 6.--Dr. Johnson says, "_Do_ is sometimes used superfluously, as _I_ do
_love, I_ did _love_; simply for _I love_, or _I loved_; but this is
considered as a _vitious_ mode of speech."--_Gram., in 4to Dict._, p. 8. He
also somewhere tells us, that these auxiliaries "are not proper before _be_
and _have_;" as, "_I do be_," for _I am_; "_I did have_," for _I had_. The
latter remark is generally true, and it ought to be remembered; but,
in the _imperative mood, be_ and _have_ will perhaps admit the emphatic
word _do_ before them, in a colloquial style: as, "Now _do be_
careful;"--"_Do have_ a little discretion." Sanborn repeatedly puts _do_
before _be_, in this mood: as, "_Do_ you _be. Do_ you _be_ guarded. _Do_
thou _be. Do_ thou _be_ guarded."--_Analytical Gram._, p. 150. "_Do_ thou
_be_ watchful."--_Ib._, p. 155. In these instances, he must have forgotten
that he had elsewhere said positively, that, "_Do_, as an auxiliary, _is
never used_ with the verb _be_ or _am_."--_Ib._, p. 112. In the other
moods, it is seldom, if ever, proper before _be_; but it is sometimes used
before _have_, especially with a negative: as, "Those modes of charity
which _do not have_ in view the cultivation of moral excellence, are
essentially defective."--_Wayland's Moral Science_, p. 428. "Surely, the
law of God, whether natural or revealed, _does not have_ respect merely to
the external conduct of men."--_Stuart's Commentary on Romans_, p. 158.
"And each day of our lives _do we have_ occasion to see and lament
it."--_Dr. Bartlett's Lecture on Health_, p. 5. "Verbs, in themselves
considered, _do not have_ person and number."--_R. C. Smith's New Gram._,
p. 21. [This notion of Smith's is absurd. Kirkham taught the same as
regards "person."] In the following example, _does he_ is used for
_is_,--the auxiliary _is_,--and perhaps allowably: "It is certain from
scripture, that the same person _does_ in the course of life many times
offend and _be_ forgiven."--_West's Letters to a Young Lady_, p. 182.
OBS. 7.--In the compound tenses, there is never any variation of ending for
the different persons and numbers, except in the _first auxiliary_: as,
"Thou _wilt have finished_ it;" not, "Thou _wilt hast finishedst_ it;" for
this is nonsense. And even for the former, it is better to say, in the
familiar style, "Thou _will have finished_ it;" for it is characteristic of
many of the auxiliaries, that, unlike other verbs, they are not varied by
_s_ or _eth_, in the third person singular, and never by _st_ or _est_, in
the second person singular, except in the solemn style. Thus all the
auxiliaries of the potential mood, as well as _shall_ and _will_ of the
indicative, are without inflection in the third person singular, though
_will_, as a principal verb, makes _wills_ or _willeth_, as well as
_willest_, in the indicative present. Hence there appears a tendency in the
language, to confine the inflection of its verbs to _this tense only_; and
to the auxiliary _have, hast, has_, which is essentially present, though
used with a participle to form the perfect. _Do, dost, does_, and _am, art,
is_, whether used as auxiliaries or as principal verbs, are always of the
OBS. 8.--The word _need_,--(though, as a principal verb and transitive, it
is unquestionably both regular and complete,--having all the requisite
parts, _need, needed, needing, needed_,--and being necessarily inflected in
the indicative present, as, I _need_, thou _needst_ or _needest_, he
_needs_ or _needeth_,--) is so frequently used without inflection, when
placed before an other verb to express a necessity of the being, action, or
passion, that one may well question whether it has not become, under these
circumstances, an _auxiliary_ of the potential mood; and therefore proper
to be used, like all the other auxiliaries of this mood, without change of
termination. I have not yet knowingly used it so myself, nor does it appear
to have been classed with the auxiliaries, by any of our grammarians,
except Webster. I shall therefore not presume to say now, with
positiveness, that it deserves this rank; (though I incline to think it
does;) but rather quote such instances as have occurred to me in reading,
and leave the student to take his choice, whether to condemn as bad English
the uninflected examples, or to justify them in this manner. "He that can
swim, _need_ not despair to fly."--_Johnson's Rasselas_, p. 29. "One
therefore _needs_ not expect to do it."--_Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 155. "In
so doing I should only record some vain opinions of this age, which a
future one _need_ not know."--_Rush, on the Voice_, p. 345. "That a boy
_needs_ not be kept at school."--LISDSEY: _in Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 164.
"No man _need_ promise, unless he please."--_Wayland's Moral Science_, p.
312. "What better reason _needs_ be given?"--_Campbell's Rhet._, p. 51. "He
_need_ assign no other reason for his conduct."--_Wayland, ib._, p. 214.
"Sow there is nothing that a man _needs_ be ashamed of in all
this."--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 45. "No notice _need_ be taken of the
advantages."--_Walker's Rhyming Dict._, Vol. ii, p. 304. "Yet it _needs_
not be repeated."--_Bicknell's Gram._, Part ii, p. 51. "He _need_ not be
anxious."--_Greenleaf's Gram. Simplified_, p. 38. "He _needs_ not be
afraid."--_Fisk's Gram. Simplified_, p. 124. "He who will not learn to
spell, _needs_ not learn to write."--_Red Book_, p. 22. "The heeder _need_
be under no fear."--_Greenleaf's Gram._, p. 38. "More _need_ not be
said about it."--_Cobbett's E. Gram._, 272. "The object _needs_ not be
expressed."--_Booth's Introduct. to Dict._, p. 37. "Indeed, there _need_ be
no such thing."--_Fosdick's De Sacy_, p. 71. "This _needs_ to be
illustrated."--_Ib._, p. 81. "And no part of the sentence _need_ be
omitted."--_Parkhurst's Grammar for Beginners_, p. 114. "The learner
_needs_ to know what sort of words are called verbs."--_Ib._, p. 6. "No one
_need_ be apprehensive of suffering by faults of this kind."--_Sheridan's
Elocution_, p. 171. "The student who has bought any of the former copies
_needs_ not repent."--_Dr. Johnson, Adv. to Dict._ "He _need_ not enumerate
their names."--_Edward's First Lessons in Grammar_, p. 38. "A quotation
consisting of a word or two only _need_ not begin with a
capital."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 383. "Their sex is commonly known, and
_needs_ not to be marked."--_Ib._, p. 72; _Murray's Octavo Gram._, 51. "One
_need_ only open Lord Clarendon's history, to find examples every
where."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 108. "Their sex is commonly known, and _needs_
not be marked."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 21; _Murray's Duodecimo Gram._, p. 51.
"Nobody _need_ be afraid he shall not have scope enough."--LOCKE: _in
Sanborn's Gram._, p. 168. "No part of the science of language, _needs to be
ever_ uninteresting to the pursuer."--_Nutting's Gram._, p. vii. "The exact
amount of knowledge is not, and _need_ not be, great."--_Todd's Student's
Manual_, p. 44. "He _needs to_ act under a motive which is
all-pervading."--_Ib._, p. 375. "What _need_ be said, will not occupy a
long space."--_Ib._, p. 244. "The sign TO _needs_ not always be
used."--_Bucke's Gram._, p. 96. "Such as he _need_ not be ashamed
of."--_Snelling's Gift for Scribblers_, p. 23.
"_Needst_ thou--_need_ any one on earth--despair?"--_Ib._, p. 32.
"Take timely counsel; if your dire disease
Admits no cure, it _needs_ not to displease."--_Ib._, p. 14.
OBS. 9.--If _need_ is to be recognized as an auxiliary of the potential
mood, it must be understood to belong to two tenses; the present and the
perfect; like _may, can_, and _must_: as, "He _need_ not _go_, he _need_
not _have gone_; Thou _need_ not _go, Thou need_ not _have gone_;" or, in
the solemn style, "Thou _needst_ not go, Thou _needst_ not _have gone_."
If, on the contrary, we will have it to be always a principal verb, the
distinction of time should belong to itself, and also the distinction of
person and number, in the parts which require it: as, "He _needs_ not go.
He _needed_ not go; Thou _needst_ not go, Thou _needed_ not go;" or, in the
solemn style, "Thou _needest_ not go, Thou _neededst_ not go." Whether it
can be right to say, "He _needed_ not _have gone_," is at least
questionable. From the observations of Murray, upon relative tenses, under
his thirteenth rule of syntax, it seems fair to infer that he would have
judged this phraseology erroneous. Again, "He _needs_ not _have gone_,"
appears to be yet more objectionable, though for the same reason. And if,
"He _need_ not _have gone_," is a correct expression, _need_ is clearly
proved to be an _auxiliary_, and the three words taken together must form
the potential perfect. And so of the plural; for the argument is from the
connexion of the tenses, and not merely from the tendency of auxiliaries to
reject inflection: as, "They need not _have been_ under great concern about
their public affairs."--_Hutchinson's History_, i, 194, From these
examples, it may be seen that an auxiliary and a principal verb have some
essential difference; though these who dislike the doctrine of compound
tenses, pretend not to discern any. Take some further citations; a few of
which are erroneous in respect to time. And observe also that the regular
verb sometimes admits the preposition _to_ after it: "' There is great
dignity in being waited for,' said one who had the habit of tardiness, and
who _had_ not much else of which he _need_ be vain."--_Students Manual_, p.
64. "But he _needed_ not _have gone_ so far for more instances."--
_Johnson's Gram._ _Com._, p. 143. "He _need_ not _have said_, 'perhaps the
virtue.'"--_Sedgwick's Economy_, p. 196. "I _needed_ not _to ask_ how she
felt."--_Abbott's Young Christian_, p. 84. "It _need_ not _have been_
so."--_Ib._, p. 111. "The most unaccommodating politician _need_ not
absolutely _want_ friends."--_Hunts Feast of the Poets_, p. iii. "Which
therefore _needs_ not be introduced with much precaution."--_Campbell's
Rhet._, p. 326. "When an obscurer term _needs_ to be explained by one that
is clearer."--_Ib._, p. 367. "Though, if she had died younger, she _need_
not _have known it_."--_West's Letters_, p. 120. "Nothing _need_ be said,
but that they were the _most perfect_ barbarisms."--_Blair's Rhet._, p.
470. "He _need_ not go."--_Goodenow's Gram._, p. 36. "He _needed_ but use
the word _body_."--LOCKE: _in Joh. Dict._ "He _need_ not be required to use
them."--_Parker's Eng. Composition_, p. 50. "The last consonant of _appear_
need not be doubled."--_Dr. Webster_. "It _needs_ the less _to be
inforced_."--_Brown's Estimate_, ii, 158. "Of these pieces of his, we
_shall not need to give_ any particular account."--_Seneca's Morals_, p. vi
"And therefore I _shall need say_ the less of them."--_Scougal_, p. 1101.
"This compounding of words _need_ occasion no surprise."--_Cardell's Essay
on Language_, p. 87.
"Therefore stay, thou _needst_ not to be gone."--_Shakspeare_.
"Thou _need_ na _start_ awa sae hasty."--_Burns, Poems_, p. 15.
"Thou _need_ na _jouk_ behint the hallan."--_Id., ib._, p. 67.
OBS. 10.--The auxiliaries, except _must_, which is invariable, have
severally two forms in respect to tense, or time; and when inflected in the
second and third persons singular, are usually varied in the following
PRESENT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE INDICATIVE PRESENT.
_Sing_. I do, thou dost, he does;
_Plur_. We do, you do, they do.
IMPERFECT TENSE; AND SIGN of THE INDICATIVE IMPERFECT.
_Sing_. I did, thou didst, he did;
_Plur_. We did, you did, they did.
PRESENT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE INDICATIVE PRESENT.
_Sing_. I am, thou art, he is;
_Plur_. We are, you are, they are.
IMPERFECT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE INDICATIVE IMPERFECT.
_Sing_. I was, thou wast, he was;
_Plur_. We were, you were; they were.
PRESENT TENSE; BUT SIGN OF THE INDICATIVE PERFECT.
_Sing_. I have, thou hast, he has;
_Plur_. We have, you have, they have.
IMPERFECT TENSE; BUT SIGN OF THE INDICATIVE PLUPERFECT.
_Sing_. I had, thou hadst, he had;
_Plur_. We had, you had, they had.
SHALL AND WILL.
These auxiliaries have distinct meanings, and, as signs of the future, they
are interchanged thus:
PRESENT TENSE; BUT SIGNS OF THE INDICATIVE FIRST-FUTURE.
1. Simply to express a future action or event:--
_Sing_. I shall, thou wilt, he will;
_Plur_. We shall, you will, they will.
2. To express a promise, command, or threat:--
_Sing_.: I will, thou shalt, he shall;
_Plur_. We will, you shall, they shall.
IMPERFECT TENSE; BUT, AS SIGNS, AORIST, OR INDEFINITE.
1. Used with reference to duty or expediency:--
_Sing._ I should, thou shouldst, he should;
_Plur._ We should, you should, they should.
2. Used with reference to volition or desire:--
_Sing._ I would, thou wouldst, he would;
_Plur._ We would, you would, they would.
PRESENT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE POTENTIAL PRESENT.
_Sing._ I may, thou mayst, he may;
_Plur._ We may, you may, they may.
IMPERFECT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE POTENTIAL IMPERFECT.
_Sing._ I might, thou mightst, he might;
_Plur._ We might, you might, they might.
PRESENT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE POTENTIAL PRESENT.
_Sing._ I can, thou canst, he can;
_Plur._ We can, you can, they can.
IMPERFECT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE POTENTIAL IMPERFECT.
_Sing._ I could, thou couldst, he could;
_Plur._ We could, you could, they could.
PRESENT TENSE; AND SIGN OF THE POTENTIAL PRESENT.
_Sing._ I must, thou must, he must;
_Plur._ We must, you must, they must.
If must is ever used in the sense of the Imperfect tense, or Preterit, the
form is the same as that of the Present: this word is entirely invariable.
OBS. 11.--Several of the auxiliaries are occasionally used as mere
expletives, being quite unnecessary to the sense: as, 1. DO and DID: "And
it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest _do_ creep
forth."--_Psalms_, civ, 20. "And ye, that on the sands with printless foot
_do_ chase the ebbing Neptune, and _do_ fly him when he comes
back."--_Shak._ "And if a man _did_ need a poison now."--_Id._ This
needless use of do and did is now avoided by good writers. 2. SHALL,
SHOULD, and COULD: "'Men _shall_ deal unadvisedly sometimes, which
after-hours give leisure to repent of.' I _should_ advise you to proceed. I
_should_ think it would succeed. He, it _should_ seem, thinks
otherwise."--_W. Allen's Gram._, p. 65. "I _could_ wish you to go."--_Ib._,
p. 71. 3. WILL, &c. The following are nearly of the same character, but not
exactly: "The isle is full of noises; sometimes a thousand twanging
instruments _will_ hum about mine ears."--_Shak._ "In their evening sports
she _would_ steal in amongst them."--_Barbauld_.
"His listless length at noontide _would_ he stretch."--_Gray_.
OBS. 12.--As our old writers often formed the infinitive in _en_, so they
sometimes dropped the termination of the perfect participle. Hence we find,
in the infancy of the language, _done_ used for _do_, and _do_ for _done_;
and that by the same hand, with like changes in other verbs: as, "Thou
canst nothing _done_."--_Chaucer_. "As he was wont to _done_."--_Id._ "The
treson that to women hath be _do_."--_Id._ "For to _ben_ honourable and
free."--_Id._ "I am sworn to _holden_ it secre."--_Id._ "Our nature God
hath to him _unyte_."--_Douglas_. "None otherwise negligent than I you saie
haue I not _bee_."--_Id._ See _W. Allen's E. Gram._, p. 97.
"But netheless the thynge is _do_,
That fals god was soone _go_."--GOWER: _H. Tooke_, Vol. i, p. 376.
OBS. 13.--"_May_ is from the Anglo-Saxon, _maegan_, to be able. In the
parent language also, it is used as an auxiliary. It is exhibited by
Fortescue, as a principal verb; 'They shall _may_ do it:' i. e. they shall
be able (to) do it."--_W. Allen's Gram._, p. 70. "_May not_, was formerly
used for _must not_; as, 'Graces for which we _may not_ cease to sue.'
Hooker."--_Ib._, p. 91. "_May_ frequently expresses doubt of the fact; as,
'I _may_ have the book in my library, but I think I have not.' It is used
also, to express doubt, or a consequence, with a future signification; as,
'I _may_ recover the use of my limbs, but I see little probability of
it.'--'That they _may_ receive me into their houses.' _Luke_, xvi,
4."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 247. In these latter instances, the potential
present is akin to the subjunctive. Hence Lowth and others improperly call
"I _may love_," &c. the subjunctive mood. Others, for the same reason, and
with as little propriety, deny that we have any subjunctive mood; alleging
an ellipsis in every thing that bears that name: as, "'If it (_may_) _be_
possible, live peaceably with all men.' Scriptures."--_W. Allen's Gram._,
p. 61. _May_ is also a sign of wishing, and consequently occurs often in
prayer: as, "_May_ it be thy good pleasure;"--"O that it _may_ please
thee;"--"_Mayst_ thou be pleased." Hence the potential is akin also to the
imperative: the phrases, "Thy will be done,"--"_May_ thy will be
done,"--"Be thy will done,"--"_Let_ thy will be done,"--are alike in
meaning, but not in mood or construction.
OBS. 14.--_Can_, to be able, is etymologically the same as the regular
verbs _ken_, to see, and _con_, to learn; all of them being derived from
the Saxon _connan_ or _cunnan_, to know: whence also the adjective cunning,
which was formerly a participle. In the following example _will_ and _can_
are principal verbs: "In evil, the best condition is, not to _will_; the
second, not to _can_."--_Ld. Bacon_. "That a verb which signifies
knowledge, may also signify power, appears from these examples: _Je ne
saurois, I should not know how_, (i. e. _could_ not.) [Greek: Asphalisasthe
hos oidate], Strengthen it as you _know how_, (i. e. as you _can_.)
_Nescio_ mentiri, I _know not how to_ (i.e. _I cannot_) lie."--_W. Allen's
Gram._, p. 71. _Shall_, Saxon _sceal_, originally signified to _owe_; for
which reason _should_ literally means _ought_. In the following example
from Chaucer, _shall_ is a principal verb, with its original meaning:
"For, by the faith I _shall_ to God, I wene,
Was neuer straungir none in hir degre."--_W. Allen's Gram._, p. 64.
OBS. 15.--_Do_ and _did_ are auxiliary only to the present infinitive, or
the radical verb; as, _do throw, did throw_: thus the mood of _do throw_ or
_to throw_ is marked by _do_ or _to_. _Be_, in all its parts, is auxiliary
to either of the simple participles; as, _to be throwing, to be thrown; I
am throwing, I am thrown_: and so, through the whole conjugation. _Have_
and _had_, in their literal use, are auxiliary to the perfect participle
only; as, _have thrown, had thrown. Have_ is from the Saxon _habban_, to
possess; and, from the nature of the perfect participle, the tenses thus
formed, suggest in general a completion of the action. The French idiom is
similar to this: as, _J'ai vu_, I have seen. _Shall_ and _should, will_ and
_would, may_ and _might, can_ and _could, must_, and also _need, (if we
call the last a helping verb,) are severally auxiliary to both forms of the
infinitive, and to these only: as, shall throw, shall have thrown; should
throw, should have thrown_; and so of all the rest.
OBS. 16.--The form of the indicative pluperfect is sometimes used in lieu
of the potential pluperfect; as, "If all the world could have seen it, the
wo _had been_ universal."--_Shakspeare_. That is,--"_would have been_
universal." "I _had been drowned_, but that the shore was shelvy and
shallow."--_Id._ That is,--"I _should have been drowned_." This mode of
expression may be referred to the figure _enallage_, in which one word or
one modification is used for an other. Similar to this is the use of _were_
for _would be_: "It _were_ injustice to deny the execution of the law to
any individual;" that is, "it _would_ be injustice."--_Murray's Grammar_,
p. 89. In some instances, _were_ and _had been_ seem to have the same
import; as, "Good _were_ it for that man if he had never been
born."--_Mark_, xiv, 21. "It _had been_ good for that man if he had not
been born."--_Matt._, xxvi, 24. In prose, all these licenses are needless,
if not absolutely improper. In poetry, their brevity may commend them to
preference; but to this style, I think, they ought to be confined: as,
"That _had been_ just, replied the reverend bard;
But done, fair youth, thou ne'er _hadst met_ me here."--_Pollok_.
"The keystones of the arch!--though all were o'er,
For us repeopled _were_ the solitary shore."--_Byron_.
OBS. 17.--With an adverb of comparison or preference, as _better, rather,
best, as lief_, or _as lieve_, the auxiliary _had_ seems sometimes to be
used before the infinitive to form the potential imperfect or pluperfect:
as, "He that loses by getting, _had better lose_ than get."--_Penn's
Maxims_. "Other prepositions _had better have been substituted_."--
_Priestley's Gram._, p. 166. "I had as lief say."--LOWTH: _ib._, p. 110.
"It compels me to think of that which I _had rather forget_."--
_Bickersteth, on Prayer_, p. 25. "You _had much better say_ nothing upon
the subject."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 147. "I _had much rather show_ thee
what hopes thou hast before thee."--_Baxter_. "I _had rather speak_ five
words with my understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown
tongue."--_1 Cor._, xiv, 19. "I knew a gentleman in America who told me
_how much rather he had be_ a woman than the man he is."--_Martineau's
Society in America_, Vol. i, p. 153. "I _had as lief go_ as not."--
_Webster's Dict., w. Lief_. "I _had as lieve_ the town crier spoke my
lines."--SHAK.: _Hamlet_. "We _had best leave_ nature to her own
operations."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, Vol. i, p. 310. "What method _had he
best take_?"--_Harris's Hermes_, p. ix. These are equivalent to the
phrases, _might better lose--might_ better have been substituted--_would_
as lief say--_would_ rather forget--_might_ much better say--_would_ much
rather show--_would_ rather speak--how much rather he _would_ be--_would_
as lief go--_should_ best leave--_might_ he best take; and, for the sake of
regularity, these latter forms ought to be preferred, as they sometimes
are: thus, "For my own part, I _would rather look_ upon a tree in all its
luxuriancy."--_Addison, Spect._, No. 414; _Blair's Rhet._, p. 223. The
following construction is different: "Augustus _had like to_ have been
slain."--_S. Butler_. Here _had_ is a principal verb of the indicative
imperfect. The following examples appear to be positively erroneous: "Much
that was said, _had better remained_ unsaid."--_N. Y. Observer_. Say,
"_might better have remained_." "A man that is lifting a weight, if he put
not sufficient strength to it, _had as good_ put none at all."--_Baxter_.
Say, "_might as well put_." "You _were better pour_ off the first infusion,
and use the latter."--_Bacon_. Say, "_might better pour_;" or, if you
prefer it, "_had better pour._" Shakspeare has an expression which is still
"Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
Thou _hadst been better have been born_ a dog."--_Beauties_, p. 295.
OBS. 18.--The form of conjugating the active verb, is often called the
_Active Voice_, and that of the passive verb, the _Passive Voice_. These
terms are borrowed from the Latin and Greek grammars, and, except as
serving to diversify expression, are of little or no use in English
grammar. Some grammarians deny that there is any propriety in them, with
respect to any language. De Sacy, after showing that the import of the verb
does not always follow its form of voice, adds: "We must, therefore,
carefully distinguish the Voice of a Verb from its signification. To
facilitate the distinction, I denominate that an _Active_ Verb which
contains an Attribute in which the action is considered as performed by the
Subject; and that a _Passive_ Verb which contains an Attribute in which the
action is considered as suffered by the Subject, and performed upon it by
some agent. I call that voice a _Subjective_ Voice which is generally
appropriated to the Active Verb, and that an _Objective_ Voice which is
generally appropriated to the Passive Verb. As to the Neuter Verbs, if they
possess a peculiar form, I call it a Neuter Voice."--_Fosdick's
Translation_, p. 99.
OBS. 19.--A recognition of the difference between actives and passives, in
our original classification of verbs with respect to their signification,--
a principle of division very properly adopted in a great majority of our
grammars and dictionaries, but opinionately rejected by Webster, Bolles,
and sundry late grammarians,--renders it unnecessary, if not improper, to
place Voices, the Active Voice and the Passive, among the _modifications_
of our verbs, or to speak of them as such in the conjugations. So must it
be in respect to "a Neuter Voice," or any other distinction which the
classification involves. The significant characteristic is not overlooked;
the distinction is not neglected as nonessential; but it is transferred to
a different category. Hence I cannot exactly approve of the following
remark, which "the Rev. W. Allen" appears to cite with approbation: "'The
distinction of active or passive,' says the accurate Mr. Jones, '_is not
essential_ to verbs. In the infancy of language, it was, in all
probability, not known. In Hebrew, the difference but imperfectly exists,
and, in the early periods of it, probably did not exist at all. In Arabic,
the only distinction which obtains, arises from the vowel points, a late
invention compared with the antiquity of that language. And in our own
tongue, the names of _active_ and _passive_ would have remained unknown, if
they had not been learnt in Latin.'"--_Allen's Elements of English Gram._,
OBS. 20.--By _the conjugation_ of a verb, some teachers choose to
understand nothing more than the naming of its principal parts; giving to
the arrangement of its numbers and persons, through all the moods and
tenses, the name of _declension._ This is a misapplication of terms, and
the distinction is as needless, as it is contrary to general usage. Dr.
Bullions, long silent concerning principal parts, seems now to make a
singular distinction between "_conjugating_" and "_conjugation._" His
_conjugations_ include the moods, tenses, and inflections of verbs; but he
teaches also, with some inaccuracy, as follows: "The principal parts of the
verb are the _Present indicative_, the _Past indicative_ and the _Past
participle._ The mentioning of these parts is called CONJUGATING THE
VERB."--_Analyt. and Pract. Gram._, 1849, p. 80.
OBS. 21.--English verbs having but very few inflections to indicate to what
part of the scheme of moods and tenses they pertain, it is found convenient
to insert in our conjugations the preposition _to_, to mark the infinitive;
personal _pronouns_, to distinguish the persons and numbers; the
conjunction _if_, to denote the subjunctive mood; and the adverb _not_, to
show the form of negation. With these additions, or indexes, a verb may be
conjugated in _four ways_:--
1. Affirmatively; as, I write, I do write, or, I am writing; and so on.
2. Negatively; as, I write not, I do not write, or, I am not writing.
3. Interrogatively; as, Write I? Do I write? or, Am I writing?
4. Interrogatively and negatively; as, Write I not? Do I not write? or, Am
I not writing?
1. SIMPLE FORM, ACTIVE OR NEUTER.
The simplest form of an English conjugation, is that which makes the
present and imperfect tenses without auxiliaries; but, even in these,
auxiliaries are required for the potential mood, and are often preferred
for the indicative.
_The regular active verb LOVE, conjugated affirmatively_.
_Present. Preterit. Imperfect Participle. Perfect Participle._
Love. Loved. Loving. Loved.
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.
It is used only in the present and perfect tenses.
This tense is the _root_, or _radical verb_; and is usually preceded by the
preposition _to_, which shows its relation to some other word: thus,
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _have_ to the perfect participle; and,
like the infinitive present, is usually preceded by the preposition _to_:
To have loved.
The indicative mood is that form of the verb, which simply indicates or
declares a thing, or asks a question. It is used in all the tenses.
The present indicative, in its simple form, is essentially the same as the
present infinitive, or radical verb; except that the verb _be_ has _am_ in
1. The simple form of the present tense is varied thus:--
1st person, I love, 1st person. We love,
2d person, Thou lovest, 2d person, You love,
3d person, He loves; 3d person, They love.
2. This tense may also be formed by prefixing the auxiliary _do_ to the
1. I do love, 1. We do love,
2. Thou dost love, 2. You do love,
3. He does love; 3. They do love.
This tense, in its simple form is _the preterit_; which, in all regular
verbs, adds _d_ or _ed_ to the present, but in others is formed variously.
1. The simple form of the imperfect tense is varied thus:--
1. I loved, 1. We loved,
2. Thou lovedst, 2. You loved,
3. He loved; 3. They loved.
2. This tense may also be formed by prefixing the auxiliary _did_ to the
1. I did love, 1. We did love,
2. Thou didst love, 2. You did love,
3. He did love; 3. They did love.
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _have_ to the perfect participle: thus,
1. I have loved, 1. We have loved,
2. Thou hast loved, 2. You have loved,
3. He has loved; 3. They have loved.
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _had_ to the perfect participle: thus,
1. I had loved, 1. We had loved,
2. Thou hadst loved, 2. You had loved,
3. He had loved; 3. They had loved.
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _shall_ or _will_ to the present: thus,
1. Simply to express a future action or event:--
1. I shall love, 1. We shall love,
2. Thou wilt love, 2. You will love,
3. He will love; 3. They will love;
2. To express a promise, volition, command, or threat:--
1. I will love, 1. We will love,
2. Thou shalt love, 2. You shall love,
3. He shall love; 3. They shall love.
This tense prefixes the auxiliaries _shall have_ or _will have_ to the
perfect participle: thus,
1. I shall have loved, 1. We shall have loved,
2. Thou wilt have loved, 2. You will have loved,
3. He will have loved; 3. They will have loved.
OBS.--The auxiliary _shall_ may also be used in the second and third
persons of this tense, when preceded by a conjunction expressing condition
or contingency; as, "_If_ he _shall have completed_ the work by
midsummer."--_L. Murray's Gram._, p. 80. So, with the conjunctive adverb
_when_; as, "Then cometh the end, _when_ he _shall have delivered_ up the
kingdom to God, even the Father; _when_ he _shall have put_ down all rule
and all authority and power."--_1 Cor._, xv, 24. And perhaps _will_ may
here be used in the first person to express a promise, though such usage, I
think, seldom occurs. Professor Fowler has given to this tense, first, the
"_Predictive_" form, as exhibited above, and then a form which he calls
"_Promissive_," and in which the auxiliaries are varied thus: "Singular. 1.
I _will_ have taken. 2. Thou _shalt_ have taken, you _shall_ have taken. 3.
He _shall_ have taken. Plural. 1. We _will_ have taken. 2. Ye _or_ you
_shall_ have taken. 3. He [say _They_,] _shall_ have taken."--_Fowler's E.
Gram._, 8vo., N. Y., 1850, p. 281. But the other instances just cited show
that such a form is not always promissory.
The potential mood is that form of the verb, which expresses the power,
liberty, possibility, or necessity of the being, action, or passion. It is
used in the first four tenses; but the potential _imperfect_ is properly an
_aorist_: its time is very indeterminate; as, "He _would be_ devoid of
sensibility were he not greatly satisfied."--_Lord Kames, El. of Crit._,
Vol. i, p. 11.
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _may, can_, or _must_, to the radical
1. I may love, 1. We may love,
2. Thou mayst love, 2. You may love,
3. He may love; 3. They may love.
This tense prefixes the auxiliary _might, could, would_, or _should_, to
the radical verb: thus,
1. I might love, 1. We might love,
2. Thou mightst love, 2. You might love,
3. He might love; 3. They might love.
This tense prefixes the auxiliaries, _may have, can have_, or _must have_,
to the perfect participle: thus,
1. I may have loved, 1. We may have loved,
2. Thou mayst have loved, 2. You may have loved,
3. He may have loved; 3. They may have loved.
This tense prefixes the auxiliaries, _might have, could have, would have_,
or _should have_, to the perfect participle: thus,
1. I might have loved, 1. We might have loved,
2. Thou mightst have loved, 2. You might have loved,
3. He might have loved; 3. They might have loved.
The subjunctive mood is that form of the verb, which represents the being,
action, or passion, as conditional, doubtful, or contingent. This mood is
generally preceded by a conjunction; as, _if, that, though, lest, unless,
except_. But sometimes, especially in poetry, it is formed by a mere
placing of the verb before the nominative; as, "_Were I_," for, "_If I
were_;"--"_Had he_," for, "_If he had_;"--"_Fall we_" for, "_If we
fall_;"--"_Knew they_," for, "_If they knew_." It does not vary its
termination at all, in the different persons. It is used in the
present, and sometimes in the imperfect tense; rarely--and perhaps never
_properly_--in any other. As this mood can be used only in a dependent
clause, the _time_ implied in its tenses is always relative, and generally
"It shall be in eternal restless change,
Self-fed, and self-consum'd: _if this fail_,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness."--_Milton, Comus_, l. 596.
This tense is generally used to express some condition on which a future
action or event is affirmed. It is therefore erroneously considered by some
grammarians, as an elliptical form of the future.
1. If I love, 1. If we love,
2. If Thou love, 2. If you love,
3. If He love; 3. If they love.
OBS.--In this tense, the auxiliary _do_ is sometimes employed; as, "If thou
_do prosper_ my way."--_Genesis_, xxiv, 42. "If he _do_ not _utter_
it."--_Leviticus_, v, 1. "If he _do_ but _intimate_ his desire."--_Murray's
Key_, p. 207. "If he _do promise_, he will certainly perform."--_Ib._, p.
208. "An event which, if it ever _do occur_, must occur in some future
period."--_Hiley's Gram._, (3d Ed., Lond.,) p. 89. "If he _do_ but
_promise_, thou art safe."--_Ib._, 89.
"Till old experience _do attain_
To something like prophetic strain."--MILTON: _Il Penseroso_.
These examples, if they are right, prove the tense to be _present_, and not
_future_, as Hiley and some others suppose it to be.
This tense, like the imperfect of the potential mood, with which it is
frequently connected, is properly an aorist, or indefinite tense; for it
may refer to time past, present, or future: as, "If therefore perfection
_were_ by the Levitical priesthood, what further need _was_ there that an
other priest _should rise_?"--_Heb._, vii, 11. "They must be viewed
_exactly_ in the same light, as if the intention to purchase _now
existed_."--_Murray's Parsing Exercises_, p. 24. "If it _were_ possible,
they _shall deceive_ the very elect."--_Matt._, xxiv, 24. "If the whole
body _were_ an eye, where _were_ the hearing?"--_1 Corinthians_, xii, 17.
"If the thankful _refrained_, it _would be_ pain and grief to
1. If I loved, 1. If we loved,
2. If thou loved, 2. If you loved,
3. If he loved; 3. If they loved.
OBS.--In this tense, the auxiliary _did_ is sometimes employed. The
subjunctive may here be distinguished from the indicative, by these
circumstances; namely, that the time is indefinite, and that the
supposition is always contrary to the fact: as, "Great is the number of
those who might attain to true wisdom, if they _did not already think_
themselves wise."--_Dillwyn's Reflections_, p. 36. This implies that they
_do think_ themselves wise; but an indicative supposition or
concession--(as, "Though they _did not think_ themselves wise, they were
so--") accords with the fact, and with the literal time of the tense,--here
time past. The subjunctive imperfect, suggesting the idea of what is not,
and known by the sense, is sometimes introduced without any of the _usual
signs_; as, "In a society of perfect men, _where all understood_ what was
morally right, and _were determined_ to act accordingly, it is obvious,
that human laws, or even human organization to enforce God's laws, would be
altogether unnecessary, and could serve no valuable purpose."--PRES.
SHANNON: _Examiner_, No. 78.
The imperative mood is that form of the verb, which is used in commanding,
exhorting, entreating, or permitting. It is commonly used only in the
second person of the present tense.
_Singular._ 2. Love [thou,] _or_ Do thou love;
_Plural._ 2. Love [ye _or_ you,] _or_ Do you love.
OBS.--In the Greek language, which has three numbers, the imperative mood
is used in the second and third persons of them all; and has also several
different tenses, some of which cannot be clearly rendered in English. In
Latin, this mood has a distinct form for the third person, both singular
and plural. In Italian, Spanish, and French, the first person plural is
also given it. Imitations of some of these forms are occasionally employed
in English, particularly by the poets. Such imitations must be referred to
this mood, unless by ellipsis and transposition we make them out to be
something else; and against this there are strong objections. Again, as
imprecation on one's self is not impossible, the first person singular may
be added; so that this mood _may possibly have_ all the persons and
numbers. Examples: "_Come we_ now to his translation of the
Iliad."--_Pope's Pref. to Dunciad_. "_Proceed we_ therefore in our
subject."--_Ib._ "_Blessed be he_ that blesseth thee."--_Gen._, xxvii, 29.
"Thy _kingdom come_."--_Matt._, vi, 10. "But _pass we_ that."--_W. Scott_.
"Third person: _Be he, Be they_."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 92.
"My soul, _turn_ from them--_turn we_ to survey," &c.--_Goldsmith_.
"Then _turn we_ to her latest tribune's name."--_Byron_.
"Where'er the eye could light these words you read:
'Who _comes_ this way--_behold_, and _fear_ to sin!'"--_Pollok_.
"_Fall he_ that must, beneath his rival's arms,
And _live the rest_, secure of future harms."--_Pope_.
"_Cursed be I_ that did so!--All the _charms_
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, _light_ on you!"--_Shakspeare_.
"_Have done_ thy charms, thou hateful wither'd hag!"--_Idem_.
1. _The Imperfect_. 2. _The Perfect_. 3. _The Preperfect_.
Loving. Loved. Having loved.
SYNOPSIS OF THE FIRST EXAMPLE.
FIRST PERSON SINGULAR.
IND. I love _or_ do love, I loved _or_ did love, I have loved. I had loved,
I shall _or_ will love, I shall _or_ will have loved. POT. I may, can, _or_
must love; I might, could, would, _or_ should love; I may, can, _or_ must
have loved; I might, could, would, _or_ should have loved. SUBJ. If I love,
If I loved.
SECOND PERSON SINGULAR.
IND. Thou lovest _or_ dost love, Thou lovedst _or_ didst love, Thou hast
loved, Thou hadst loved, Thou shalt _or_ wilt love, Thou shalt _or_ wilt
have loved. POT. Thou mayst, canst, _or_ must love; Thou mightst, couldst,
wouldst, _or_ shouldst love; Thou mayst, canst, _or_ must have loved; Thou
mightst, couldst, wouldst _or_ shouldst have loved. SUBJ. If thou love, If
thou loved. IMP. Love [thou,] _or_ Do thou love.
THIRD PERSON SINGULAR.
IND. He loves _or_ does love, He loved _or_ did love, He has loved, He had
loved, He shall _or_ will love, He shall _or_ will have loved. POT. He may,
can, _or_ must love; He might, could, would, _or_ should love; He may, can,
_or_ must have loved; He might, could, would, _or_ should have loved. SUBJ.
If he love, If he loved.
FIRST PERSON PLURAL.
IND. We love _or_ do love, We loved _or_ did loved, We have loved, We had
loved, We shall _or_ will love, We shall _or_ will have loved. POT. We may,
can, _or_ must love, We might, could, would, _or_ should love; We may, can,
_or_ must have loved; We might, could, would, _or_ should have loved. SUBJ.
If we love, If we loved.
SECOND PERSON PLURAL.
IND. You love _or_ do love, You loved _or_ did love, You have loved, You
had loved, You shall _or_ will love, You shall _or_ will have loved. POT.
You may, can, _or_ must love; You might, could, would, _or_ should love;
You may, can, _or_ must have loved; You might, could, would, _or_ should
have loved. SUBJ. If you love, If you loved. IMP. Love [ye _or_ you,] _or_
Do you love.
THIRD PERSON PLURAL.
IND. They love _or_ do love, They loved _or_ did love, They have loved,
They had loved, They shall _or_ will love, They shall _or_ will have loved.
POT. They may, can, _or_ must love; They might, could, would, _or_ should
love; They may, can, _or_ must have loved; They might, could, would, _or_
should have loved. SUBJ. If they love, If they loved.
FAMILIAR FORM WITH 'THOU.'
NOTE.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb, is
usually and more properly formed thus:
IND. Thou lov'st _or_ dost love, Thou loved _or_ did love, Thou hast loved,
Thou had loved, Thou shall _or_ will love, Thou shall _or_ will have loved.
POT. Thou may, can, _or_ must love; Thou might, could, would, _or_ should
love; Thou may, can, _or_ must have loved; Thou might, could, would, _or_
should have loved. SUBJ. If thou love, If thou loved. IMP. Love [thou,]
_or_ Do thou love.
_The irregular active verb SEE, conjugated affirmatively._
_Present_. _Preterit_. _Imp. Participle_. _Perf. Participle_.
See. Saw. Seeing. Seen.
PRESENT TENSE. To See.
PERFECT TENSE. To have seen.
_Singular_. 1. I see, 2. Thou seest, 3. He sees;
_Plural_. 1. We see, 2. You see, 3. They see.