Part 25 out of 54
latter verb should be put in the subjunctive mood; as, "If there be any
intrigue _which stand_ separate and independent."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 457.
"The man also would be of considerable use, who should vigilantly attend to
every illegal practice _that were beginning_ to prevail."--_Campbell's
Rhet._, p. 171. But I have elsewhere shown, that relatives, in English, are
not compatible with the subjunctive mood; and it is certain, that no other
mood than the indicative or the potential is commonly used after them. Say
therefore, "If there be any intrigue _which stands_," &c. In assuming to
himself the other text, Murray's says, "_That_ man also would be of
considerable use, who should vigilantly attend to every illegal practice
that _was_ beginning to prevail."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 366. But this seems
too positive. The potential imperfect would be better: viz., "that _might
begin_ to prevail."
OBS. 21.--The termination _st_ or _est_, with which the second person
singular of the verb is formed in the indicative present, and, for the
solemn style, in the imperfect also; and the termination _s_ or _es_, with
which the third person singular is formed in the indicative present, and
only there; are signs of the mood and tense, as well as of the person and
number, of the verb. They are not applicable to a future uncertainty, or to
any mere supposition in which we would leave the time indefinite and make
the action hypothetical; because they are commonly understood to fix the
time of the verb to the present or the past, and to assume the action as
either doing or done. For this reason, our best writers have always omitted
those terminations, when they intended to represent the action as being
doubtful and contingent as well as conditional. And this omission
constitutes the whole _formal_ difference between the indicative and the
subjunctive mood. The _essential_ difference has, by almost all
grammarians, been conceived to extend somewhat further; for, if it were
confined strictly within the limits of the literal variation, the
subjunctive mood would embrace only two or three words in the whole
formation of each verb. After the example of Priestley, Dr. Murray, A.
Murray, Harrison, Alexander, and others, I have given to it all the persons
of the two simple tenses, singular and plural; and, for various reasons, I
am decidedly of the opinion, that these are its most proper limits. The
perfect and pluperfect tenses, being past, cannot express what is really
contingent or uncertain; and since, in expressing conditionally what may or
may not happen, we use the subjunctive present as embracing the future
indefinitely, there is no need of any formal futures for this mood. The
comprehensive brevity of this form of the verb, is what chiefly commends
it. It is not an elliptical form of the future, as some affirm it to be;
nor equivalent to the indicative present, as others will have it; but a
_true subjunctive_, though its distinctive parts are chiefly confined to
the second and third persons singular of the simple verb: as, "Though _thou
wash_ thee with nitre."--_Jer._, ii, 22. "It is just, O great king! that a
_murderer perish_."--_Corneille_. "This single _crime_, in my judgment,
_were_ sufficient to condemn him."--_Duncan's Cicero_, p. 82. "Beware that
_thou bring_ not my son thither."--BIBLE: _Ward's Gram._, p. 128. "See
[that] _thou tell_ no man."--_Id., ib._ These examples can hardly be
resolved into any thing else than the subjunctive mood.
NOTES TO RULE XIV.
NOTE I.--When the nominative is a relative pronoun, the verb must agree
with it in person and number, according to the pronoun's agreement with its
true antecedent or antecedents. Example of error: "The second book [of the
AEneid] is one of the greatest masterpieces _that ever was executed_ by any
hand."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 439. Here the true antecedent is
_masterpieces_, and not the word _one_; but _was executed_ is singular, and
"by any _hand_" implies but one agent. Either say, "It is one of the
greatest _masterpieces that_ ever _were executed_;" or else, "It is _the
greatest masterpiece that ever was executed by any hand_." But these
assertions differ much in their import.
NOTE II.--"The adjuncts of the nominative do not control its agreement with
the verb; as, Six months' _interest was_ due. The _progress_ of his forces
_was_ impeded."--_W. Allen's Gram._, p. 131. "The _ship_, with all her
furniture, was destroyed."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 150. "All _appearances_ of
modesty _are_ favourable and prepossessing."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 308. "The
_power_ of relishing natural enjoyments _is_ soon gone."--_Fuller, on the
Gospel_, p. 135. "_I_, your master, _command_ you (not _commands_)"--
_Latham's Hand-Book_, p. 330.
NOTE III.--Any phrase, sentence, mere word, or other sign, taken as one
whole, and made the subject of an assertion, requires a verb in the third
person singular; as, "To lie _is_ base."--_Adam's Gram._, p. 154. "When, to
read and write, _was_ of itself an honorary distinction."--_Hazlitt's
Lect._, p. 40. "To admit a God and then refuse to worship him, _is_ a
modern and inconsistent practice."--_Fuller, on the Gospel_, p. 30. "_We
is_ a personal pronoun."--_L. Murray's Gram._, p. 227. "_Th has_ two
sounds."--_Ib._, p. 161. "The _'s is annexed_ to each."--_Bucke's Gram._,
p. 89. "_Ld. stands_ for _lord_."--_Webster's American Dict._, 8vo.
NOTE IV.--The pronominal adjectives, _each, one, either_, and
_neither_, are always in the third person singular; and, when they are the
leading words in their clauses, they require verbs and pronouns to agree
with them accordingly: as, "_Each_ of you _is_ entitled to _his_
share."--"Let no _one_ deceive _himself_."
NOTE V.--A neuter or a passive verb between two nominatives should be made
to agree with that which precedes it; as, "Words _are_ wind:" except
when the terms are transposed, and the proper subject is put after the verb
by _question_ or _hyperbaton_; as, "His pavilion _were_ dark _waters_ and
thick _clouds_ of the sky."--_Bible_. "Who _art thou_?"--_Ib._ "The wages
of sin _is death_."--_Ib. Murray, Comly_, and others. But, of this last
example, Churchill says, "_Wages are_ the subject, of which it is affirmed,
that _they are_ death."--_New Gram._, p. 314. If so, _is_ ought to be
_are_; unless Dr. Webster is right, who imagines _wages_ to be _singular_,
and cites this example to prove it so. See his _Improved Gram._, p. 21.
NOTE VI.--When the verb cannot well be made singular, the nominative should
be made plural, that they may agree: or, if the verb cannot be plural, let
the nominative be singular. Example of error: "For _every one_ of them
_know_ their several duties."--_Hope of Israel_, p. 72. Say, "For _all_ of
them know their several duties."
NOTE VII.--When the verb has different forms, that form should be adopted,
which is the most consistent with present and reputable usage in the style
employed: thus, to say familiarly, "The clock _hath stricken_;"--"Thou
_laughedst_ and _talkedst_, when thou _oughtest_ to have been silent;"--"He
_readeth_ and _writeth_, but he _doth_ not cipher," would be no better,
than to use _don't, won't, can't, shan't_, and _didn't_, in preaching.
NOTE VIII.--Every finite verb not in the imperative mood, should have a
separate nominative expressed; as, "_I came, I saw, I conquered_:" except
when the verb is repeated for the sake of emphasis, or connected to an
other in the same construction, or put after _but_ or _than_; as, "Not an
eminent orator has lived _but is_ an example of it."--_Ware_. "Where more
is meant _than meets_ the ear."--_Milton's Allegro_. (See Obs. 5th and Obs.
"They _bud, blow, wither, fall_, and _die_."--_Watts_.
"That evermore his teeth they _chatter,
Chatter, chatter, chatter_ still."--_Wordsworth_.
NOTE IX.--A future contingency is best expressed by a verb in the
subjunctive present; and a mere supposition, with indefinite time, by a
verb in the subjunctive imperfect; but a conditional circumstance assumed
as a fact, requires the indicative mood: as, "If thou _forsake_ him,
he will cast thee off forever."--_Bible_. "If it _were_ not so, I would
have told you."--_Ib._ "If thou _went_, nothing would be gained."--"Though
he _is_ poor, he is contented."--"Though he _was_ rich, yet for your sakes
he became poor."--_2 Cor._, viii, 9.
NOTE X.--In general, every such use or extension of the subjunctive mood,
as the reader will be likely to mistake for a discord between the verb and
its nominative, ought to be avoided as an impropriety: as, "We are not
sensible of disproportion, till the difference between the quantities
compared _become_ the most striking circumstance."--_Kames, El. of Crit._,
ii, 341. Say rather, "_becomes_;" which is indicative. "Till the general
preference of certain forms _have been declared_."--_Priestley's Gram.,
Pref._, p. xvii. Say, "_has been declared_;" for "_preference_" is here the
nominative, and Dr. Priestley himself recognizes no other subjunctive
tenses than the present and the imperfect; as, "If thou _love_, If thou
_loved_."--_Ib._, p. 16.
IMPROPRIETIES FOR CORRECTION.
FALSE SYNTAX UNDER RULE XIV.
UNDER THE RULE ITSELF.--VERB AFTER THE NOMINATIVE.
"Before you left Sicily, you was reconciled to Verres."--_Duncan's Cicero_,
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the passive verb _was reconciled_ is of the
singular number, and does not agree with its nominative _you_, which is of
the second person plural. But, according to Rule 14th, "Every finite verb
must agree with its subject, or nominative, in person and number."
Therefore, _was reconciled_ should be _were reconciled_; thus, "Before you
left Sicily, you _were reconciled_ to Verres."]
"Knowing that you was my old master's good friend."--_Spect._, No. 517.
"When the judge dare not act, where is the loser's remedy?"--_Webster's
Essays_, p. 131. "Which extends it no farther than the variation of the
verb extend."--_Murray's Gram._, 8vo, Vol. i, p. 211. "They presently dry
without hurt, as myself hath often proved."--_Roger Williams_. "Whose
goings forth hath been from of old, from everlasting."--_Keith's
Evidences_. "You was paid to fight against Alexander, not to rail at
him."--_Porter's Analysis_, p. 70. "Where more than one part of speech is
almost always concerned."--_Churchill's Gram., Pref._, p. viii. "Nothing
less than murders, rapines, and conflagrations, employ their
thoughts."--_Duncan's Cicero_, p. 175. "I wondered where you was, my
dear."--_Lloyd's Poems_, p. 185. "When thou most sweetly sings."--_Drummond
of Hawthornden_. "Who dare, at the present day, avow himself equal to the
task?"--_Music of Nature_, p. 11. "Every body are very kind to her, and not
discourteous to me."--_Byron's Letters_. "As to what thou says respecting
the diversity of opinions."--_The Friend_, Vol. ix, p. 45. "Thy nature,
immortality, who knowest?"--_Everest's Gram._, p. 38. "The natural
distinction of sex in animals gives rise to what, in grammar, is called
genders."--_Ib._, p. 51. "Some pains has likewise been taken."--_Scott's
Pref. to Bible_. "And many a steed in his stables were seen."--_Penwarne's
Poems_, p. 108. "They was forced to eat what never was esteemed
food."--_Josephus's Jewish War_, B. i, Ch. i, Sec.7. "This that yourself hath
spoken, I desire that they may take their oaths upon."--_Hutchinson's
Mass._, ii, 435. "By men whose experience best qualify them to
judge."--_Committee on Literature, N. Y. Legislature_. "He dare venture to
kill and destroy several other kinds of fish."--_Johnson's Dict, w. Perch_.
"If a gudgeon meet a roach, He dare not venture to approach."--SWIFT: _Ib.,
w. Roach_. "Which thou endeavours to establish unto thyself."--_Barclay's
Works_, i, 164. "But they pray together much oftener than thou
insinuates."--_Ib._, i, 215. "Of people of all denominations, over whom
thou presideth."--_The Friend_, Vol. v, p. 198. "I can produce ladies and
gentlemen whose progress have been astonishing."--_Chazotte, on Teaching
Lang._, p. 62. "Which of these two kinds of vice are more
criminal?"--_Brown's Estimate_, ii, 115. "Every twenty-four hours affords
to us the vicissitudes of day and night."--_Smith's New Gram._, p. 103.
"Every four years adds another day."--_Ib._ "Every error I could find, Have
my busy muse employed."--_Swift's Poems_, p. 335. "A studious scholar
deserve the approbation of his teacher."--_Sanborn's Gram._, p. 226.
"Perfect submission to the rules of a school indicate good
breeding."--_Ib._, p. 37. "A comparison in which more than two is
concerned."--_Bullions, E. Gram._, p. 114. "By the facilities which
artificial language afford them."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 16. "Now
thyself hath lost both lop and top."--SPENSER: _Joh. Dict., w. Lop._ "Glad
tidings is brought to the poor."--_Campbell's Gospels: Luke_, vii, 23.
"Upon which, all that is pleasurable, or affecting in elocution, chiefly
depend."--_Sheridan's Elocution_, p. 129. "No pains has been spared to
render this work complete."--_Bullions, Lat. Gram., Pref._, p. iv. "The
United States contains more than a twentieth part of the land of this
globe."--DE WITT CLINTON: _Cobb's N. Amer. Reader_, p. 173. "I am mindful
that myself is (or am) strong."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, Sec. 500. "Myself _is_
(not _am_) weak; thyself _is_ (not _art_) weak."--_Ib._, Sec.479.
"How pale each worshipful and reverend guest
Rise from a clergy or a city feast!"--_Pope_, Sat. ii, l. 75.
UNDER THE RULE ITSELF.--VERB BEFORE THE NOMINATIVE.
"Where was you born? In London."--_Buchanan's Syntax_, p. 133. "There is
frequent occasions for commas."--_Ingersoll's Gram._, p. 281. "There
necessarily follows from thence, these plain and unquestionable
consequences."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 191. "And to this impression
contribute the redoubled effort."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 112. "Or if
he was, was there no spiritual men then?"--_Barclay's Works_, iii, 86. "So
by these two also is signified their contrary principles."--_Ib._, iii,
200. "In the motions made with the hands, consist the chief part of gesture
in speaking."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 336. "Dare he assume the name of a
popular magistrate?"--_Duncan's Cicero_, p. 140. "There was no damages as
in England, and so Scott lost his wager."--_Byron_. "In fact there exists
such resemblances."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 64. "To him giveth all the
prophets witness."--_Crewdson's Beacon_, p. 79. "That there was so many
witnesses and actors."--_Addison's Evidences_, p. 37. "How does this man's
definitions stand affected?"--_Collier's Antoninus_, p. 136. "Whence comes
all the powers and prerogatives of rational beings?"--_Ib._, p. 144. "Nor
does the Scriptures cited by thee prove thy intent."--_Barclay's Works_, i,
155. "Nor do the Scripture cited by thee prove the contrary."--_Ib._, i,
211. "Why then cite thou a Scripture which is so plain and clear for
it?"--_Ib._, i, 163. "But what saith the Scriptures as to respect of
persons among Christians?"--_Ib._, i, 404. "But in the mind of man, while
in the savage state, there seems to be hardly any ideas but what enter by
the senses."--_Robertson's America_, i, 289. "What sounds have each of the
vowels?"--_Griscom's Questions_. "Out of this has grown up aristocracies,
monarchies, despotisms, tyrannies."--_Brownson's Elwood_, p. 222. "And
there was taken up, of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets."--
_Luke_, ix, 17. "There seems to be but two general classes."--_Day's
Gram._, p. 3. "Hence arises the six forms of expressing time."--_Ib._, p.
37. "There seems to be no other words required."--_Chandler's Gram._, p.
28. "If there is two, the second increment is the syllable next the
last."--_Bullions, Lat. Gram._, 12th Ed., p. 281. "Hence arises the
following advantages."--_Id., Analyt. and Pract. Gram._, 1849, p. 67.
"There is no data by which it can be estimated."--_J. C. Calhoun's Speech_,
March 4, 1850. "To this class belong the Chinese [language], in which we
have nothing but naked roots."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 8vo, 1850, p. 27.
"There was several other grotesque figures that presented themselves."--
_Spect._, No. 173. "In these consist that sovereign good which ancient
sages so much extol."--_Percival's Tales_, ii, 221. "Here comes those I
have done good to against my will."--_Shak., Shrew_. "Where there is more
than one auxiliary."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 80.
"On me to cast those eyes where shine nobility."
--SIDNEY: _Joh. Dict._
"Here's half-pence in plenty, for one you'll have twenty."
--_Swift's Poems_, p. 347.
"Ah, Jockey, ill advises thou, I wis,
To think of songs at such a time as this."
--_Churchill_, p. 18.
UNDER NOTE I.--THE RELATIVE AND VERB.
"Thou who loves us, wilt protect us still."--_Alex. Murray's Gram._, p. 67.
"To use that endearing language, Our Father, who is in heaven"--_Bates's
Doctrines_, p. 103. "Resembling the passions that produceth these
actions."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, i, 157. "Except _dwarf, grief, hoof,
muff_, &c. which takes _s_ to make the plural."--_Ash's Gram._, p. 19. "As
the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure."--
_Gen._ xxxiii, 14 "Where is the man who dare affirm that such an action is
mad?"--_Werter_. "The ninth book of Livy affords one of the most beautiful
exemplifications of historical painting, that is any where to be met
with."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 360. "In some studies too, that relate to taste
and fine writing, which is our object," &c.--_Ib._, p. 349. "Of those
affecting situations, which makes man's heart feel for man."--_Ib._, p.
464. "We see very plainly, that it is neither Osmyn, nor Jane Shore, that
speak."--_Ib._, p. 468. "It should assume that briskness and ease, which is
suited to the freedom of dialogue."--_Ib._, p. 469. "Yet they grant, that
none ought to be admitted into the ministry, but such as is truly
pious."--_Barclay's Works_, iii, 147. "This letter is one of the best that
has been written about Lord Byron."--_Hunt's Byron_, p. 119. "Thus, besides
what was sunk, the Athenians took above two hundred ships."--_Goldsmith's
Greece_, i, 102. "To have made and declared such orders as was
necessary."--_Hutchinson's Hist._, i, 470. "The idea of such a collection
of men as make an army."--_Locke's Essay_, p. 217. "I'm not the first that
have been wretched."--_Southern's In. Ad._, Act 2. "And the faint sparks of
it, which is in the angels, are concealed from our view."--_Calvin's
Institutes_, B. i, Ch. 11. "The subjects are of such a nature, as allow
room for much diversity of taste and sentiment."--_Blair's Rhet., Pref._,
p. 5. "It is in order to propose examples of such perfection, as are not to
be found in the real examples of society."--_Formey's Belles-Lettres_, p.
16. "I do not believe that he would amuse himself with such fooleries as
has been attributed to him."--_Ib._, p. 218. "That shepherd, who first
taughtst the chosen seed."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 238. "With respect
to the vehemence and warmth which is allowed in popular eloquence."--
_Blair's Rhet._, p. 261. "Ambition is one of those passions that is never
to be satisfied."--_Home's Art of Thinking_, p. 36. "Thou wast he that
leddest out and broughtest in Israel."--_2 Samuel_, v, 2; and _1 Chron._,
xi, 2. "Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah?"--_1 Kings_, xiii,
"How beauty is excell'd by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair."--_Milton_, B. iv, l. 490.
"What art thou, speak, that on designs unknown,
While others sleep, thus range the camp alone?"--_Pope, Il._, x, 90.
UNDER NOTE II.--NOMINATIVE WITH ADJUNCTS.
"The literal sense of the words are, that the action had been done."--_Dr.
Murray's Hist. of Lang._, i, 65. "The rapidity of his movements were beyond
example."--_Wells's Hist._, p. 161. "Murray's Grammar, together with his
Exercises and Key, have nearly superseded every thing else of the
kind."--EVAN'S REC.: _Murray's Gram._, 8vo, ii, 305. "The mechanism of
clocks and watches were totally unknown."--HUME: _Priestley's Gram._, p.
193. "The _it_, together with the verb _to be_, express states of
being."--_Cobbett's Eng. Gram._, 190. "Hence it is, that the profuse
variety of objects in some natural landscapes, neither breed confusion nor
fatigue."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, i, 266. "Such a clatter of sounds
indicate rage and ferocity."--_Music of Nature_, p. 195. "One of the fields
make threescore square yards, and the other only fifty-five."--_Duncan's
Logic_, p. 8. "The happy effects of this fable is worth attending
to."--_Bailey's Ovid_, p. x. "Yet the glorious serenity of its parting rays
still linger with us."--_Gould's Advocate_. "Enough of its form and force
are retained to render them uneasy."--_Maturin's Sermons_, p. 261. "The
works of nature, in this respect, is extremely regular."--_Dr. Pratt's
Werter_. "No small addition of exotic and foreign words and phrases have
been made by commerce."--_Bicknell's Gram._, Part ii, p. 10. "The dialect
of some nouns are taken notice of in the notes."--_Milnes, Greek Gram._, p.
255. "It has been said, that a discovery of the full resources of the arts,
afford the means of debasement, or of perversion."--_Rush, on the Voice_,
p. xxvii. "By which means the Order of the Words are disturbed."--_Holmes's
Rhet._, B. i, p. 57. "The twofold influence of these and the others require
the asserter to be in the plural form."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 251.
"And each of these afford employment."--_Percival's Tales_, Vol. ii, p.
175. "The pronunciation of the vowels are best explained under the rules
relative to the consonants."--_Coar's Gram._, p. 7. "The judicial power of
these courts extend to all cases in law and equity."--_Hall and Baker's
School Hist._, p. 286. "One of you have stolen my money."--_Rational
Humorist_, p. 45. "Such redundancy of epithets, instead of pleasing,
produce satiety and disgust."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 256. "It has been
alleged, that a compliance with the rules of Rhetoric, tend to cramp the
mind."--_Hiley's Gram._, 3d Ed., p. 187. "Each of these are presented to us
in different relations"--_Hendrick's Gram._, 1st Ed., p. 34. "The past
tense of these verbs, _should, would, might, could_, are very indefinite
with respect to time."--_Bullions, E. Gram._, 2d Ed., p. 33; 5th Ed., p.
31. "The power of the words, which are said to govern this mood, are
distinctly understood."--_Chandler's Gram._, Ed. of 1821, p. 33.
"And now, at length, the fated term of years
The world's desire have brought, and lo! the God appears."
--_Dr. Lowth, on "the Genealogy of Christ."_
"Variety of Numbers still belong
To the soft Melody of Ode or Song."
--_Brightland's Gram._, p. 170.
UNDER NOTE III.--COMPOSITE OR CONVERTED SUBJECTS.
"Many are the works of human industry, which to begin and finish are hardly
granted to the same man."--_Johnson, Adv. to Dict._ "To lay down rules for
these are as inefficacious."--_Dr. Pratt's Werter_, p. 19. "To profess
regard, and to act _differently_, discover a base mind."--_Murray's Key_,
ii, p. 206. See also _Bullions's E. Gram._, 82 and 112; _Lennie's_, 58. "To
magnify to the height of wonder things great, new, and admirable, extremely
please the mind of man."--_Fisher's Gram._, p. 152. "In this passage,
_according as_ are used in a manner which is very common."--_Webster's
Philosophical Gram._, p. 183. "A _cause de_ are called a preposition; _a
cause que_, a conjunction."--DR. WEBSTER: _Knickerbocker_, 1836. "To these
are given to speak in the name of the Lord."--_The Friend_, vii, 256.
"While _wheat_ has no plural, _oats_ have seldom any singular."--_Cobbett's
E. Gram._ 41. "He cannot assert that _ll_ are inserted in _fullness_ to
denote the sound of _u_."--_Cobb's Review of Webster_, p. 11. "_ch_ have
the power of _k_."--_Gould's Adam's Gram._, p. 2. "_ti_, before a vowel,
and unaccented, have the sound of _si_ or _ci_."--_Ibid._ "In words derived
from the French, as _chagrin, chicanery_, and _chaise, ch_ are sounded like
_sh_."--_Bucke's Gram._, p. 10. "But in the word _schism, schismatic_, &c.,
the _ch_ are silent."--_Ibid._ "_Ph_ are always sounded like _f_, at the
beginning of words."--_Bucke's Gram._ "_Ph_ have the sound of _f_ as in
_philosophy_."--_Webster's El. Spelling-Book_, p. 11. "_Sh_ have one sound
only as in _shall_."--_Ib._ "_Th_ have two sounds."--_Ib._ "_Sc_ have the
sound of _sk_, before _a, o, u_, and _r_."--_Ib._ "Aw, have the sound of
_a_ in hall."--_Bolles's Spelling-Book_, p. vi. "Ew, sound like
_u_."--_Ib._ "Ow, when both sounded, have the sound of _ou_."--_Ib._ "Ui,
when both pronounced in one syllable sound like _wi_ in _languid_."--_Ib._
"_Ui_ three several Sorts of Sound express,
As _Guile, rebuild, Bruise_ and _Recruit_ confess."
--_Brightland's Gram._, p. 34.
UNDER NOTE IV.--EACH, ONE, EITHER, AND NEITHER.
"When each of the letters which compose this word, have been
learned."--_Dr. Weeks, on Orthog._, p. 22. "As neither of us deny that both
Homer and Virgil have great beauties."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 21. "Yet
neither of them are remarkable for precision."--_Ib._, p. 95. "How far each
of the three great epic poets have distinguished themselves."--_Ib._, p.
427. "Each of these produce a separate agreeable sensation."--_Ib._, p. 48.
"On the Lord's day every one of us Christians keep the sabbath."--_Tr. of
Irenaeus_. "And each of them bear the image of purity and holiness."--_Hope
of Israel_, p. 81. "Were either of these meetings ever acknowledged or
recognized?"--_Foster's Report_, i, 96. "Whilst neither of these letters
exist in the Eugubian inscription."--_Knight, on Greek Alph._, p. 122. "And
neither of them are properly termed indefinite."--_Wilson's Essay on
Gram._, p. 88. "As likewise of the several subjects, which have in effect
each their verb."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 120. "Sometimes when the word ends
in _s_, neither of the signs are used."--_Alex. Murray's Gram._, p. 21.
"And as neither of these manners offend the ear."--_Walker's Dict., Pref._,
p. 5. "Neither of these two Tenses are confined to this signification
only."--_Johnson's Gram. Com._, p. 339. "But neither of these circumstances
are intended here."--_Tooke's Diversions_, ii, 237. "So that all are
indebted to each, and each are dependent upon all."--_Am. Bible Society's
Rep._, 1838, p. 89. "And yet neither of them express any more action in
this case than they did in the other."--_Bullions, E. Gram._, p. 201. "Each
of these expressions denote action."--_Hallock's Gram._, p. 74. "Neither of
these moods seem to be defined by distinct boundaries."--_Butler's
Practical Gram._, p. 66. "Neither of these solutions are correct."--
_Bullions, Lat. Gram._, p. 236. "Neither bear any sign of case at
all."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 8vo, 1850, Sec.217.
"Each in their turn like Banquo's monarchs stalk."--_Byron_.
"And tell what each of them by th'other lose."--_Shak., Cori._, iii, 2.
UNDER NOTE V.--VERB BETWEEN TWO NOMINATIVES.
"The quarrels of lovers is a renewal of love."--_Adam's Lat. Gram._, p.
156; _Alexander's_, 49; _Gould's_, 159; _Bullions's_, 206. "Two dots, one
placed above the other, is called _Sheva_."--_Dr. Wilson's Heb. Gram._, p.
43. "A few centuries, more or less, is a matter of small
consequence."--_Ib._ p. 31. "Pictures were the first step towards the art
of writing. Hieroglyphicks was the second step."--_Parker's English
Composition_, p. 27. "The comeliness of youth are modesty and frankness; of
age, condescension and dignity."--_Murray's Key_, 8vo, p. 166. "Merit and
good works is the end of man's motion."--_Lord Bacon_. "Divers
philosophers hold that the lips is parcel of the mind."--_Shakspeare_. "The
clothing of the natives were the skins of wild beasts."--_Indian Wars_, p.
92. "Prepossessions in favor of our nativ town, is not a matter of
surprise."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 217. "Two shillings and six pence is
half a crown, but not a half crown."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 150;
_Bicknell's_, ii, 53. "Two vowels, pronounced by a single impulse of the
voice, and uniting in one sound, is called a dipthong."--_Cooper's Pl. and
Pr. Gram._, p. 1. "Two or more sentences united together is called a
Compound Sentence."--_P. E. Day's District School Gram._, p. 10. "Two or
more words rightly put together, but not completing an entire proposition,
is called a Phrase."--_Ibid._ "But the common Number of Times are
five."--_The British Grammar_, p. 122. "Technical terms, injudiciously
introduced, is another source of darkness in composition."--_Jamieson's
Rhet._, p. 107. "The United States is the great middle division of North
America."--_Morse's Geog._, p. 44. "A great cause of the low state of
industry were the restraints put upon it."--HUME: _Murray's Gram._, p. 145;
_Ingersoll's_, 172; _Sanborn's_, 192; _Smith's_, 123; and others. "Here two
tall ships becomes the victor's prey."--_Rowe's Lucan_, B. ii, l. 1098.
"The expenses incident to an outfit is surely no object."--_The Friend_,
Vol. iii., p. 200.
"Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep."--_Milton_.
UNDER NOTE VI.--CHANGE THE NOMINATIVE.
"Much pains has been taken to explain all the kinds of words."--_Infant
School Gram._ p. 128. "Not less [_time_] than three years are spent in
attaining this faculty."--_Music of Nature_, p. 28. "Where this night are
met in state Many a friend to gratulate His wish'd presence."--_Milton's
Comus_. l. 948. "Peace! my darling, here's no danger, Here's no oxen near
thy bed."--_Watts._ "But every one of these are mere conjectures, and some
of them very unhappy ones."--_Coleridge's Introduction_, p. 61. "The old
theorists, calling the Interrogatives and Repliers, _adverbs_, is only a
part of their regular system of naming words."--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p.
374. "Where a series of sentences occur, place them in the order in which
the facts occur."--_Ib._, p. 264. "And that the whole in conjunction make a
regular chain of causes and effects."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 275. "The
origin of the Grecian, and Roman republics, though equally involved in the
obscurities and uncertainties of fabulous events, present one remarkable
distinction."--_Adam's Rhet._, i, 95. "In these respects, mankind is left
by nature an unformed, unfinished creature."--_Butler's Analogy_, p. 144.
"The scripture are the oracles of God himself."--HOOKER: _Joh. Dict., w.
Oracle_. "And at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits."--_Solomon's
Song_, vii, 13. "The preterit of _pluck, look_, and _toss_ are, in speech,
pronounced _pluckt, lookt, tosst_."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 1850, Sec.68.
"Severe the doom that length of days impose,
To stand sad witness of unnumber'd woes!"--_Melmoth_.
UNDER NOTE VII.--ADAPT FORM TO STYLE.
1. _Forms not proper for the Common or Familiar Style_.
"Was it thou that buildedst that house?"--_Inst._, p. 151. "That boy
writeth very elegantly."--_Ib._ "Couldest not thou write without blotting
thy book?"--_Ib._ "Thinkest thou not it will rain to-day?"--_Ib._ "Doth not
your cousin intend to visit you?"--_Ib._ "That boy hath torn my
book."--_Ib._ "Was it thou that spreadest the hay?"--_Ib._ "Was it James,
or thou, that didst let him in?"--_Ib._ "He dareth not say a word."--_Ib._
"Thou stoodest in my way and hinderedst me."--_Ib._
"Whom see I?--Whom seest thou now?--Whom sees he?--Whom lovest thou
most?--What dost thou to-day?--What person seest thou teaching that
boy?--He hath two new knives.--Which road takest thou?--What child teaches
he?"--_Ingersoll's Gram._, p. 66. "Thou, who makest my shoes, sellest many
more."--_Ib._, p. 67.
"The English language hath been much cultivated during the last two hundred
years. It hath been considerably polished and refined."--_Lowth's Gram.,
Pref._, p. iii. "This _stile_ is ostentatious, and doth not suit grave
writing."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 82. "But custom hath now appropriated
_who_ to persons, and _which_ to things."--_Ib._, p. 97. "The indicative
mood sheweth or declareth; as, _Ego amo_, I love: or else asketh a
question; as, _Amas tu_? Dost thou love?"--_Paul's Accidence_, Ed. of 1793,
p. 16. "Though thou canst not do much for the cause, thou mayst and
shouldst do something."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 143. "The support of so many
of his relations, was a heavy task; but thou knowest he paid it
cheerfully."--_Murray's Key_, R. 1, p. 180. "It may, and often doth, come
short of it."--_Campbell's Rhetoric_, p. 160.
"'Twas thou, who, while thou seem'dst to chide,
To give me all thy pittance tried."--_Mitford's Blanch_, p. 78.
2. _Forms not proper for the Solemn or Biblical Style_.
"The Lord has prepaid his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over
all."--See _Key_. "Thou answer'd them, O Lord our God: thou was a God that
forgave them, though thou took vengeance of their inventions."--See _Key_.
"Then thou spoke in vision to thy Holy One, and said, I have laid help upon
one that is mighty."--See _Key_. "So then, it is not of him that wills, nor
of him that rules, but of God that shows mercy; who dispenses his
blessings, whether temporal or spiritual, as seems good in his sight."--See
"Thou, the mean while, was blending with my thought;
Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy."--_Coleridge_.
UNDER NOTE VIII.--EXPRESS THE NOMINATIVE.
"Who is here so base, that would be a bondman?"--_Beauties of Shakspeare_,
p. 249. "Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman?"--_Ib._ "There is
not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice."--_Murray's Gram._,
p. 300. "In order to adjust them so, as shall consist equally with the
perspicuity and the strength of the period."--_Ib._, p. 324; _Blair's
Rhet._, 118. "But, sometimes, there is a verb comest in."--_Cobbett's
English Gram._, 248. "Mr. Prince has a genius would prompt him to better
things."--_Spectator_, No. 466. "It is this removes that impenetrable
mist."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 362. "By the praise is given him for his
courage."--_Locke, on Education_, p. 214. "There is no man would be more
welcome here."--_Steele, Spect._, No. 544. "Between an antecedent and a
consequent, or what goes before, and immediately follows."--_Blair's
Rhet._, p. 141. "And as connected with what goes before and follows."--
_Ib._, p. 354. "There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake."--_Lord
Bacon_. "All the various miseries of life, which people bring upon
themselves by negligence and folly, and might have been avoided by proper
care, are instances of this."--_Butler's Analogy_, p. 108. "Ancient
philosophers have taught many things in favour of morality, so far at least
as respect justice and goodness towards our fellow-creatures."--_Gospel its
own Witness_, p. 56. "Indeed, if there be any such, have been, or appear to
be of us, as suppose, there is not a wise man among us all, nor an honest
man, that is able to judge betwixt his brethren; we shall not covet to
meddle in their matter."--_Barclay's Works_, i, 504. "There were that drew
back; there were that made shipwreck of faith: yea, there were that brought
in damnable heresies."--_Ib._, i, 466. "The nature of the cause rendered
this plan altogether proper, and in similar situations is fit to be
imitated."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 274. "This is an idiom to which our
language is strongly inclined, and was formerly very prevalent."--
_Churchill's Gram._, p. 150. "His roots are wrapped about the heap, and
seeth the place of stones."--_Job_, viii, 17.
"New York, Fifthmonth 3d, 1823.
"Dear friend, Am sorry to hear of thy loss; but hope it may be
retrieved. Should be happy to render thee any assistance in my power.
Shall call to see thee to-morrow morning. Accept assurances of my
regard. A. B."
"New York, May 3d, P. M., 1823.
"Dear Sir, Have just received the kind note favoured me with this
morning; and cannot forbear to express my gratitude to you. On further
information, find have not lost so much as at first supposed; and
believe shall still be able to meet all my engagements. Should,
however, be happy to see you. Accept, dear sir, my most cordial thanks.
C. D."--See _Brown's Institutes_, p. 151.
"Will martial flames forever fire thy mind,
And never, never be to Heaven resign'd?"--_Pope, Odys._, xii, 145.
UNDER NOTE IX.--APPLICATION OF MOODS.
_First Clause of the Note.--For the Subjunctive Present._
"He will not be pardoned, unless he repents."--_Brown's Institutes_, p.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the verb _repents_, which is here used to
express a future contingency, is in the indicative mood. But, according to
the first clause of Note 9th to Rule 14th, "A future contingency is best
expressed by a verb in the subjunctive present." Therefore, _repents_
should be _repent_; thus, "He will not be pardoned, unless he _repent_."]
"If thou findest any kernelwort in this marshy meadow, bring it to
me."--_Neef's Method of Teaching_, p. 258. "If thou leavest the room, do
not forget to shut that drawer."--_Ib._, p. 246. "If thou graspest it
stoutly, thou wilt not be hurt."--_Ib._, p. 196. "On condition that he
comes, I will consent to stay."--_Murray's Exerc._, p. 74. "If he is but
discreet, he will succeed."--_Inst._, p. 191. "Take heed that thou speakest
not to Jacob."--_Ib._ "If thou castest me off, I shall be miserable."--
_Ib._ "Send them to me, if thou pleasest."--_Ib._ "Watch the door of thy
lips, lest thou utterest folly."--_Ib._ "Though a liar speaks the truth, he
will hardly be believed."--_Common School Manual_, ii, 124. "I will go
unless I should be ill."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 300. "If the word or words
understood are supplied, the true construction will be apparent."--
_Murray's Exercises in Parsing_, p. 21. "Unless thou shalt see the
propriety of the measure, we shall not desire thy support."--_Murray's
Key_, p. 209. "Unless thou shouldst make a timely retreat, the danger will
be unavoidable."--_Ib._, p. 209. "We may live happily, though our
possessions are small."--_Ib._, p. 202. "If they are carefully studied,
they will enable the student to parse all the exercises."--_Ib., Note_, p.
165. "If the accent is fairly preserved on the proper syllable, this
drawling sound will never be heard."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 242. "One phrase
may, in point of sense, be equivalent to another, though its grammatical
nature is essentially different."--_Ib._, p. 108. "If any man obeyeth not
our word by this epistle, note that man."--_Dr. Webster's Bible_. "Thy
skill will be the greater, if thou hittest it."--_Putnam's Analytical
Reader_, p. 204. "Thy skill will be the greater if thou hit'st
it."--_Cobb's N. A. Reader_, p. 321. "We shall overtake him though he
should run."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 113; _Murray's_, 207; _Smith's_, 173.
"We shall be disgusted if he gives us too much."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 388.
"What is't to thee, if he neglect thy urn,
Or without spices lets thy body burn?"--DRYDEN: _Joh. Dict., w. What._
_Second Clause of Note IX.--For the Subjunctive Imperfect._
"And so would I, if I was he."--_Brown's Institutes_, p. 191.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the verb _was_, which is here used to
express a mere supposition, with indefinite time, is in the indicative
mood. But, according to the second clause of Note 9th to Rule 14th, "A mere
supposition, with indefinite time, is best expressed by a verb in the
subjunctive imperfect." Therefore, _was_ should be _were_; thus, "And so
would I, if I _were_ he."]
"If I was a Greek, I should resist Turkish despotism."--_Cardell's Elements
of Gram._, p. 80. "If he was to go, he would attend to your
business."--_Ib._, p. 81. "If thou feltest as I do, we should soon
decide."--_Inst._, p. 191. "Though thou sheddest thy blood in the cause, it
would but prove thee sincerely a fool."--_Ib._ "If thou lovedst him, there
would be more evidence of it."--_Ib._ "If thou couldst convince him, he
would not act accordingly."--_Murray's Key_, p. 209. "If there was no
liberty, there would be no real crime."--_Formey's Belles-Lettres_, p. 118.
"If the house was burnt down, the case would be the same."--_Foster's
Report_, i, 89. "As if the mind was not always in action, when it prefers
any thing!"--_West, on Agency_, p. 38. "Suppose I was to say, 'Light is a
body.'"--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 78. "If either oxygen or azote was omitted,
life would be destroyed."--_Gurney's Evidences_, p. 155. "The verb _dare_
is sometimes used as if it was an auxiliary."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 132.
"A certain lady, whom I could name, if it was necessary."--_Spectator_, No.
536. "If the _e_ was dropped, _c_ and _g_ would assume their hard
sounds."--_Buchanan's Syntax_, p. 10. "He would no more comprehend it, than
if it was the speech of a Hottentot."--_Neef's Sketch_, p. 112. "If thou
knewest the gift of God," &c.--_John_, iv, 10. "I wish I was at home."--_O.
B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 260. "Fact alone does not constitute right; if it
does, general warrants were lawful."--_Junius_, Let. xliv, p. 205. "Thou
look'st upon thy boy as though thou guessest it."--_Putnam's Analytical
Reader_, p. 202. "Thou look'st upon thy boy as though thou guessedst
it."--_Cobb's N. A. Reader_, p. 320. "He fought as if he had contended for
life."--_Hiley's Gram._, p. 92. "He fought as if he had been contending for
his life."--_Ib._, 92.
"The dewdrop glistens on thy leaf,
As if thou seem'st to shed a tear;
As if thou knew'st my tale of grief,
Felt all my sufferings severe."--_Alex. Letham_.
_Last Clause of Note IX.--For the Indicative Mood._
"If he know the way, he does not need a guide."--_Brown's Institutes_, p.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the verb _know_, which is used to express a
conditional circumstance assumed as a fact, is in the subjunctive mood.
But, according to the last clause of Note 9th to Rule 14th, "A conditional
circumstance assumed as a fact, requires the indicative mood." Therefore,
_know_ should be _knows_; thus, "If he _knows_ the way, he does not need a
"And if there be no difference, one of them must be superfluous, and ought
to be rejected."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 149. "I cannot say that I admire
this construction, though it be much used."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 172.
"We are disappointed, if the verb do not immediately follow it."--_Ib._, p.
177. "If it were they who acted so ungratefully, they are doubly in
fault."--_Murray's Key_, 8vo, p. 223. "If art become apparent, it disgusts
the reader."--_Jamieson's Rhet._, p. 80. "Though perspicuity be more
properly a rhetorical than a grammatical quality, I thought it better to
include it in this book."--_Campbell's Rhet._, p. 238. "Although the
efficient cause be obscure, the final cause of those sensations lies
open."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 29. "Although the barrenness of language, and
the want of words be doubtless one cause of the invention of
tropes."--_Ib._, p. 135. "Though it enforce not its instructions, yet it
furnishes us with a greater variety."--_Ib._, p. 353. "In other cases,
though the idea be one, the words remain quite separate"--_Priestley's
Gram._, p. 140. "Though the Form of our language be more simple, and has
that peculiar Beauty."--_Buchanan's Syntax_, p. v. "Human works are of no
significancy till they be completed."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, i, 245. "Our
disgust lessens gradually till it vanish altogether."--_Ib._, i, 338. "And
our relish improves by use, till it arrive at perfection."--_Ib._, i, 338.
"So long as he keep himself in his own proper element."--COKE: _ib._, i,
233. "Whether this translation were ever published or not I am wholly
ignorant."--_Sale's Koran_, i, 13. "It is false to affirm, 'As it is day,
it is light,' unless it actually be day."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 246. "But
we may at midnight affirm, 'If it be day, it is light.'"--_Ibid._ "If the
Bible be true, it is a volume of unspeakable interest."--_Dickinson_.
"Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he
suffered."--_Heb._, v, 8. "If David then call him Lord, how is he his
son?"--_Matt._, xxii, 45.
"'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill."--_Pope, Ess. on Crit._
UNDER NOTE X.--FALSE SUBJUNCTIVES.
"If a man have built a house, the house is his."--_Wayland's Moral
Science_, p. 286.
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the verb _have built_, which extends the
subjunctive mood into the perfect tense, has the appearance of disagreeing
with its nominative _man_. But, according to Note 10th to Rule 14th, "Every
such use or extension of the subjunctive mood, as the reader will be likely
to mistake for a discord between the verb and its nominative, ought to be
avoided as an impropriety." Therefore, _have built_ should be _has built_;
thus, "If a man _has built_ a house, the house is his."]
"If God have required them of him, as is the fact, he has time."--_Ib._, p.
351. "Unless a previous understanding to the contrary have been had with
the Principal."--_Berrian's Circular_, p. 5. "O if thou have Hid them in
some flowery cave."--_Milton's Comus_, l. 239. "O if Jove's will Have
linked that amorous power to thy soft lay."--_Milton, Sonnet_ 1.
"SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD: If thou love, If thou loved, If thou have loved, If thou
had loved, If thou shall or will love, If thou shall or will have
loved."--_L. Murray's Gram._, 2d Ed., p. 71; _Cooper's Murray_, 58; _D.
Adams's Gram._, 48; and others. "Till religion, the pilot of the soul, have
lent thee her unfathomable coil."--_Tupper's Thoughts_, p. 170. "Whether
nature or art contribute most to form an orator, is a trifling
inquiry."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 338. "Year after year steals something from
us; till the decaying fabric totter of itself, and crumble at length into
dust."--_Murray's Key_, 8vo, p. 225. "If spiritual pride have not entirely
vanquished humility."--_West's Letters_, p. 184. "Whether he have gored a
son, or have gored a daughter."--_Exodus_, xxi, 31. "It is doubtful whether
the object introduced by way of simile, relate to what goes before, or to
what follows."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 45.
"And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answer'd have."--_Milt., Comus_, l. 887.
RULE XV.--FINITE VERBS.
When the nominative is a collective noun conveying the idea of plurality,
the Verb must agree with it in the plural number: as, "The _council were
divided_."--"The _college_ of cardinals _are_ the electors of the
pope."--_Murray's Key_, p. 176. "Quintus Curtius relates, that a _number_
of them _were drowned_ in the river Lycus."--_Home's Art of Thinking_, p.
"Yon _host come_ learn'd in academic rules."
--_Rowe's Lucan_, vii, 401.
"While heaven's high _host_ on hallelujahs _live_."
--_Young's N. Th._, iv, 378.
OBSERVATIONS ON RULE XV.
OBS. 1.--To this rule there are _no exceptions_; because, the collective
noun being a name which even in the singular number "signifies _many_," the
verb which agrees with it, can never properly be singular, unless the
collection be taken literally as one aggregate, and not as "conveying the
idea of plurality." Thus, the collective noun singular being in general
susceptible of two senses, and consequently admitting two modes of concord,
the form of the verb, whether singular or plural, becomes the principal
index to the particular sense in which the nominative is taken. After such
a noun, we can use either a singular verb, agreeing with it literally,
strictly, formally, according to Rule 14th; as, "The whole _number_ WAS two
thousand and six hundred;" or a plural one, agreeing with it figuratively,
virtually, ideally, according to Rule 15th; as, "The whole _number_ WERE
two thousand and six hundred."--_2 Chron._, xxvi, 12. So, when the
collective noun is an antecedent, the relative having in itself no
distinction of the numbers, its verb becomes the index to the sense of all
three; as, "Wherefore lift up thy prayer for the _remnant that_ IS
_left._"--_Isaiah_, xxxvii, 4. "Wherefore lift up thy prayer for the
_remnant that_ ARE _left_."--_2 Kings_, xix, 4. Ordinarily the word
_remnant_ conveys no idea of plurality; but, it being here applied to
persons, and having a meaning to which the mere singular neuter noun is not
well adapted, the latter construction is preferable to the former. The
Greek version varies more in the two places here cited; being plural in
Isaiah, and singular in Kings. The Latin Vulgate, in both, is, "_pro
reliquiis quae repertae sunt_:" i.e., "for the _remains_, or _remnants_, that
OBS. 2.--Dr. Adam's rule is this: "A collective noun may be joined with a
verb either of the singular or of the plural number; as, _Multitudo stat_,
or _stant_; the multitude stands, or stand."--_Latin and English Gram._ To
this doctrine, Lowth, Murray, and others, add: "Yet not without regard to
the _import of the word_, as conveying _unity or plurality of
idea_."--_Lowth_, p. 74; _Murray_, 152. If these latter authors mean, that
collective nouns are permanently divided in import, so that some are
invariably determined to the idea of unity, and others to that of
plurality, they are wrong in principle; for, as Dr. Adam remarks, "A
collective noun, when joined with a verb singular, expresses many
considered as one whole; but when joined with a verb plural, it signifies
many separately, or as individuals."--_Adam's Gram._, p. 154. And if this
alone is what their addition means, it is entirely useless; and so, for all
the purposes of parsing, is the singular half of the rule itself. Kirkham
divides this rule into two, one for "unity of idea," and the other for
"plurality of idea," shows how each is to be applied in parsing, according
to his "_systematick order_;" and then, turning round with a gallant tilt
at his own work, condemns both, as idle fabrications, which it were better
to reject than to retain; alleging that, "The existence of such a thing as
'unity or plurality of idea,' as applicable to nouns of this class, is
_doubtful_."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 59. How then shall a plural verb
or pronoun, after a collective noun, be parsed, seeing it does not agree
with the noun by the ordinary rule of agreement? Will any one say, that
every such construction is _bad English_? If this cannot be maintained,
rules eleventh and fifteenth of this series are necessary. But when the
noun conveys the idea of unity or takes the plural form, the verb or
pronoun has no other than a literal agreement by the common rule; as,
"A _priesthood_, such _as_ Baal's _was_ of old,
A _people_, such _as_ never _was_ till now."--_Cowper_.
OBS. 3.--Of the construction of the verb and collective noun, a late
British author gives the following account: "Collective nouns are
substantives _which_ signify _many in the singular number_. Collective
nouns are of two sorts: 1. Those which cannot become plural like other
substantives; as, nobility, mankind, &c. 2. Those which can be made plural
by the usual rules for a substantive; as, 'A multitude, multitudes; a
crowd, crowds;' &c. Substantives which imply plurality in the singular
number, and consequently have no other plural, generally require a plural
verb. They are cattle, cavalry, clergy, commonalty, gentry, laity, mankind,
nobility, peasantry people, populace, public, rabble, &c. [;] as, 'The
public _are_ informed.' Collective nouns which form a regular plural, such
as, number, numbers; multitude, multitudes; have, like all other
substantives, a singular verb, when they are in the singular number; and a
plural verb, when they are in the plural number; as, 'A number of people
_is_ assembled; Numbers _are_ assembled.'--'The fleet _was_ dispersed; a
_part_ of it _was_ injured; the several _parts are_ now collected.'"--
_Nixon's Parser_, p. 120. To this, his main text, the author appends a
note, from which the following passages are extracted: "There are few
persons acquainted with Grammar, who may not have noticed, in many authors
as well as speakers, an irregularity in supposing collective nouns to have,
at one time, a singular meaning, and consequently to require a singular
verb; and, at an other time, to have a plural meaning, and therefore to
require a plural verb. This irregularity appears to have arisen from the
want of a clear idea of the nature of a collective noun. This defect the
author has endeavoured to supply; and, upon his definition, he has founded
the two rules above. It is allowed on all sides that, hitherto, no
satisfactory rules have been produced to enable the pupil to ascertain,
with any degree of certainty, when a collective noun should have a singular
verb, and when a plural one. A rule that simply tells its examiner, that
when a collective noun in the nominative case conveys the idea of unity,
its verb should be singular; and when it implies plurality, its verb should
be plural, is of very little value; for such a rule will prove the _pupil's
being in the right_, whether he _should_ put the verb in the singular or
OBS. 4.--The foregoing explanation has many faults; and whoever trusts to
it, or to any thing like it, will certainly be very much misled. In the
first place, it is remarkable that an author who could suspect in others
"the _want of a clear idea_ of the nature of a collective noun," should
have hoped to supply the defect by a definition so ambiguous and
ill-written as is the one above. Secondly, his subdivision of this class of
nouns into two sorts, is both baseless and nugatory; for that plurality
which has reference to the individuals of an assemblage, has no manner of
connexion or affinity with that which refers to more than one such
aggregate; nor is there any interference of the one with the other, or any
ground at all for supposing that the absence of the latter is, has been, or
ought to be, the occasion for adopting the former. Hence, thirdly, his two
rules, (though, so far as they go, they seem not untrue in themselves,) by
their limitation under this false division, exclude and deny the true
construction of the verb with the greater part of our collective nouns.
For, fourthly, the first of these rules rashly presumes that any collective
noun which in the singular number implies a plurality of individuals, is
consequently destitute of any other plural; and the second accordingly
supposes that no such nouns as, council, committee, jury, meeting, society,
assembly, court, college, company, army, host, band, retinue, train,
multitude, number, part, half, portion, majority, minority, remainder, set,
sort, kind, class, nation, tribe, family, race, and a hundred more, can
ever be properly used with a plural verb, except when they assume the
plural form. To prove the falsity of this supposition, is needless. And,
finally, the objection which this author advances against the common rules,
is very far from proving them useless, or not greatly preferable to his
own. If they do not in every instance enable the student to ascertain with
certainty which form of concord he ought to prefer, it is only because no
rules can possibly tell a man precisely when he ought to entertain the idea
of unity, and when that of plurality. In some instances, these ideas are
unavoidably mixed or associated, so that it is of little or no consequence
which form of the verb we prefer; as, "Behold, the _people_ IS _one_, and
_they have all_ one language."--_Gen._, xi, 6.
"Well, if a king's a lion, at the least
The _people_ ARE a many-headed _beast_."--_Pope_, Epist. i, l. 120.
OBS. 5.--Lindley Murray says, "On many occasions, _where_ a noun of
multitude is used, it is very difficult to decide, whether the verb should
be in the singular, or in the plural number; and this difficulty has
induced some grammarians to cut the knot at once, and to assert that every
noun of multitude must always be considered as conveying the idea of
unity."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 153. What these occasions, or who these
grammarians, are, I know not; but it is certain that the difficulty here
imagined does not concern the application of such rules as require the verb
and pronoun to conform to the sense intended; and, where there is no
apparent impropriety in adopting either number, there is no occasion to
raise a scruple as to which is right. To cut knots by dogmatism, and to tie
them by sophistry, are employments equally vain. It cannot be denied that
there are in every multitude both a unity and a plurality, one or the other
of which must be preferred as the principle of concord for the verb or the
pronoun, or for both. Nor is the number of nouns small, or their use
unfrequent, which, according to our best authors, admit of either
construction: though Kirkham assails and repudiates _his own rules_,
because, "Their application is quite limited."--_Grammar in Familiar
Lectures_, p. 59.
OBS. 6.--Murray's doctrine seems to be, not that collective nouns are
generally susceptible of two senses in respect to number, but that some
naturally convey the idea of unity, others, that of plurality, and a few,
either of these senses. The last, which are probably ten times more
numerous than all the rest, he somehow merges or forgets, so as to speak of
_two classes_ only: saying, "Some nouns of multitude certainly convey to
the mind an idea of plurality, others, that of a whole as one thing, and
others again, sometimes that of unity, and sometimes that of plurality. On
this ground, it is warrantable, and consistent with the nature of things,
to apply a plural verb and pronoun _to the one class_, and a singular verb
and pronoun _to the other_. We shall immediately perceive the _impropriety_
of the following constructions: 'The clergy _has_ withdrawn _itself_ from
the temporal courts;' 'The assembly _was_ divided in _its_ opinion;'
&c."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 153. The simple fact is, that _clergy, assembly_,
and perhaps every other collective noun, may sometimes convey the idea of
unity, and sometimes that of plurality; but an "_opinion_" or a voluntary
"_withdrawing_" is a _personal_ act or quality; _wherefore_ it is here more
consistent to adopt the plural sense and construction, in which alone we
take the collection as individuals, or persons.
OBS. 7.--Although a uniformity of number is generally preferable to
diversity, in the construction of words that refer to the same collective
noun: and although many grammarians deny that any departure from such
uniformity is allowable; yet, if the singular be put first, a plural
pronoun may sometimes follow without obvious impropriety: as, "So Judah
_was_ carried away out of _their_ land."--_2 Kings_, xxv, 21. "Israel is
reproved and threatened for _their_ impiety and idolatry."--_Friends'
Bible, Hosea_, x. "There _is_ the enemy _who wait_ to give us
battle."--_Murray's Introductory Reader_, p. 36. When the idea of plurality
predominates in the author's mind, a plural verb is sometimes used _before_
a collective noun that has the singular article _an_ or _a_; as, "There
_are a sort_ of authors, _who seem_ to take up with appearances."--
_Addison_. "Here _are a number_ of facts or incidents leading to the end in
view."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 296. "There _are a great number_ of
exceedingly good writers among the French."--_Maunder's Gram._, p. 11.
"There in the forum _swarm a numerous train_,
The subject of debate a townsman slain."
--_Pope, Iliad_, B. xviii, l. 578.
OBS. 8.--Collective nouns, when they are merely _partitive_ of the plural,
like the words _sort_ and _number_ above, are usually connected with a
plural verb, even though they have a singular definitive; as, "And _this
sort of_ adverbs commonly _admit_ of Comparison."--_Buchanan's English
Syntax_, p. 64. Here, perhaps, it would be better to say, "_Adverbs of this
sort_ commonly admit of comparison." "_A part_ of the exports _consist_ of
raw silk."--_Webster's Improved Gram._, p. 100. This construction is
censured by Murray, in his octavo Gram., p. 148; where we are told, that
the verb should agree with the first noun only. Dr. Webster alludes to this
circumstance, in _improving_ his grammar, and admits that, "A part of the
exports _consists_, seems to be more correct."--_Improved Gram._, p. 100.
Yet he retains his original text, and obviously thinks it a light thing,
that, "in some cases," his rules or examples "may not be vindicable." (See
Obs. 14th, 15th, and 16th, on Rule 14th, of this code.) It would, I think,
be better to say, "The exports consist _partly_ of raw silk." Again: "_A
multitude_ of Latin words _have_, of late, been poured in upon
us."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 94. Better, perhaps: "_Latin words, in great
multitude_, have, of late, been poured in upon us." So: "For _the bulk_ of
_writers_ are very apt to confound them with each other."--_Ib._, p. 97.
Better: "For _most writers_ are very apt to confound them with each other."
In the following example, (here cited as _Kames_ has it, _El. of Crit._,
ii, 247,) either the verb _is_, or the phrase, "_There are some moveless
men_" might as well have been used:
"There _are a sort_ of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond."--_Shak._
OBS. 9.--Collections of _things_ are much less frequently and less properly
regarded as individuals, or under the idea of plurality, than collections
of _persons_. This distinction may account for the difference of
construction in the two clauses of the following example; though I rather
doubt whether a plural verb ought to be used in the former: "The _number_
of commissioned _officers_ in the guards _are_ to the marching regiments as
one to eleven: the _number_ of _regiments_ given to the guards, compared
with those given to the line, _is_ about three to one."--_Junius_, p. 147.
Whenever the multitude is spoken of with reference to a personal act or
quality, the verb ought, as I before suggested, to be in the plural number;
as, "The public _are informed_."--"The plaintiff's counsel _have assumed_ a
difficult task."--"The committee _were instructed_ to prepare a
remonstrance." "The English nation _declare_ they are grossly injured by
_their_ representatives."--_Junius_, p. 147. "One particular class of men
_are_ permitted to call _themselves_ the King's friends."--_Id._, p. 176.
"The Ministry _have_ realized the compendious ideas of Caligula."--_Id._,
p. 177. It is in accordance with this principle, that the following
sentences have plural verbs and pronouns, though their definitives are
singular, and perhaps ought to be singular: "So depraved _were that people_
whom in their history we so much admire."--HUME: _M'Ilvaine's Lect._, p.
400. "Oh, _this people have sinned_ a great sin, and have made them gods of
gold."--_Exodus_, xxxii, 31. "_This people_ thus gathered _have_ not wanted
those trials."--_Barclay's Works_, i, 460. The following examples, among
others, are censured by Priestley, Murray, and the copyists of the latter,
without sufficient discrimination, and for a reason which I think
fallacious; namely, "because the ideas they represent seem not to be
sufficiently divided in the mind:"--"The court of Rome _were_ not without
solicitude."--_Hume_. "The house of Lords _were_ so much influenced by
these reasons."--_Id._ See _Priestley's Gram._, p. 188; _Murray's_, 152;
_R. C. Smith's_, 129; _Ingersoll's_, 248; and others.
OBS. 10.--In general, a collective noun, unless it be made plural in form,
no more admits a plural adjective before it, than any other singular noun.
Hence the impropriety of putting _these_ or _those_ before _kind_ or
_sort_; as, "_These kind_ of knaves I know."--_Shakspeare_. Hence, too, I
infer that _cattle_ is not a collective noun, as Nixon would have it to be,
but an irregular plural which has no singular; because we can say _these
cattle_ or _those cattle_, but neither a bullock nor a herd is ever called
_a cattle, this cattle_, or _that cattle_. And if "_cavalry, clergy,
commonalty_," &c., were like this word, they would all be plurals also, and
not "substantives which imply plurality in the singular number, and
consequently have no other plural." Whence it appears, that the writer who
most broadly charges others with not understanding the nature of a
collective noun, has most of all misconceived it himself. If there are not
_many clergies_, it is because _the clergy_ is one body, with one Head, and
not because it is in a particular sense many. And, since the forms of words
are not necessarily confined to things that exist, who shall say that the
plural word _clergies_, as I have just used it, is not good English?
OBS. 11.--If we say, "_these people_," "_these gentry_," "_these folk_," we
make _people, gentry_, and _folk_, not only irregular plurals, but plurals
to which there are no correspondent singulars; but by these phrases, we
must mean certain individuals, and not more than one people, gentry, or
folk. But these names are sometimes collective nouns singular; and, as
such, they may have verbs of either number, according to the sense; and may
also form regular plurals, as _peoples_, and _folks_; though we seldom, if
ever, speak of _gentries_; and _folks_ is now often irregularly applied to
persons, as if one person were _a folk_. So _troops_ is sometimes
irregularly, if not improperly, put for _soldiers_, as if a soldier were _a
troop_; as, "While those gallant _troops_, by _whom_ every hazardous, every
laborious service is performed, are left to perish."--_Junius_, p. 147. In
Genesis, xxvii, 29th, we read, "Let _people_ serve thee, and nations bow
down to thee." But, according to the Vulgate, it ought to be, "Let
_peoples_ serve thee, and nations bow down to thee;" according to the
Septuagint, "Let _nations_ serve thee, and _rulers_ bow down to thee."
Among Murray's "instances of false syntax," we find the text, "This people
draweth near to me with their mouth," &c.--_Octavo Gram._, Vol. ii, p. 49.
This is corrected in his Key, thus: "_These_ people _draw_ near to me with
their mouth."--_Ib._, ii, 185. The Bible has it: "This people _draw near
me_ with their mouth."--_Isaiah_, xxix, 13. And again: "This people
_draweth nigh unto_ me with their mouth.,"--_Matt._, xv, 8. Dr. Priestley
thought it ought to be, "This people _draws_ nigh unto me with their
_mouths_."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 63. The second evangelist omits some
words: "This people _honoureth_ me with their lips, but _their heart_ is
far from me."--_Mark_, vii, 6. In my opinion, the plural verb is here to be
preferred; because the pronoun _their_ is plural, and the worship spoken of
was a personal rather than a national act. Yet the adjective _this_ must be
retained, if the text specify the Jews as a people. As to the words _mouth_
and _heart_, they are to be understood figuratively of _speech_ and _love_;
and I agree not with Priestley, that the plural number must necessarily be
used. See Note 4th to Rule 4th.
OBS. 12.--In making an assertion concerning a number or quantity with some
indefinite excess or allowance, we seem sometimes to take for the subject
of the verb what is really the object of a preposition; as, "In a sermon,
there _may be_ from three to five, or six heads."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 313.
"In those of Germany, there _are_ from eight to twelve professors."--
_Dwight, Lit. Convention_, p. 138. "About a million and a half _was
subscribed_ in a few days."--_N. Y. Daily Advertiser_. "About one hundred
feet of the Muncy dam _has been swept off_."--_N. Y. Observer_. "Upwards of
one hundred thousand dollars _have been appropriated_."--_Newspaper_. "But
I fear there _are_ between twenty and thirty of them."--_Tooke's
Diversions_, ii, 441. "Besides which, there _are_ upwards of fifty smaller
islands."--_Balbi's Geog._, p. 30. "On board of which _embarked_ upwards of
three hundred passengers."--_Robertson's Amer._, ii, 419. The propriety of
using _above_ or _upwards of_ for _more than_, is questionable, but the
practice is not uncommon. When there is a preposition before what seems at
first to be the subject of the verb, as in the foregoing instances, I
imagine there is an ellipsis of the word _number, amount, sum_ or
_quantity_; the first of which words is a collective noun and may have a
verb either singular or plural: as, "In a sermon, there may be _any number_
from three to five or six heads." This is awkward, to be sure; but what
does the Doctor's sentence _mean_, unless it is, that there _may be an
optional number_ of heads, varying from three to six?
OBS. 13.--Dr. Webster says, "When an aggregate amount is expressed by the
plural names of the particulars composing that amount, the verb may be in
the singular number; as, 'There _was_ more than a hundred and fifty
thousand pounds sterling.' _Mavor's Voyages_." To this he adds, "However
repugnant to the principles of grammar this may seem at first view, the
practice is correct; for the affirmation is not made of the individual
parts or divisions named, the _pounds_, but of the entire sum or
amount."--_Philosophical Gram._, p. 146; _Improved Gram._, p. 100. The fact
is, that the Doctor here, as in some other instances, deduces a false rule
from a correct usage. It is plain that either the word _more_, taken
substantively, or the noun to which it relates as an adjective, is the only
nominative to the verb _was_. Mavor does not affirm that there _were_ a
hundred and fitly thousand pounds; but that there _was more_--i.e., more
_money_ than so many pounds _are_, or _amount to_. Oliver B. Peirce, too.
falls into a multitude of strange errors respecting the nature of _more
than_, and the construction of other words that accompany these. See his
"Analytical Rules," and the manner in which he applies them, in "_The
Grammar_," p. 195 _et seq._
OBS. 14.--Among certain educationists,--grammarians, arithmeticians,
schoolmasters, and others,--there has been of late not a little dispute
concerning the syntax of the phraseology which we use, or should use, in
expressing _multiplication_, or in speaking of _abstract numbers_. For
example: is it better to say, "Twice one _is_ two," or, "Twice one _are_
two?"--"Two times one _is_ two," or, "Two times one _are_ two?"--"Twice two
_is_ four," or, "Twice two _are_ four?"--"Thrice one _is_ or _are_,
three?"--"Three times one _is_, or _are_, three?"--"Three times naught
_is_, or _are_, naught?"--"Thrice three _is_, or _are_, nine?"--"Three
times four _is_, or _are_, twelve?"--"Seven times three _make_, or _makes_,
twenty-one?"--"Three times his age _do_ not, or _does_ not, equal
mine?"--"Three times the quantity _is_ not, or _are_ not,
sufficient?"--"Three quarters of the men were discharged; and three
quarters of the money _was_, or _were_, sent back?"--"As 2 _is_ to 4, so
_is_ 6 to 12;" or, "As two _are_ to four, so _are_ six to twelve?"
OBS. 15.--Most of the foregoing expressions, though all are perhaps
intelligible enough in common practice, are, in some respect, difficult of
analysis, or grammatical resolution. I think it possible, however, to frame
an argument of some plausibility in favour of every one of them. Yet it is
hardly to be supposed, that any _teacher_ will judge them all to be alike
justifiable, or feel no interest in the questions which have been raised
about them. That the language of arithmetic is often defective or
questionable in respect to grammar, may be seen not only in many an ill
choice between the foregoing variant and contrasted modes of expression,
but in sundry other examples, of a somewhat similar character, for which it
may be less easy to find advocates and published arguments. What critic
will not judge the following phraseology to be faulty? "4 times two units
_is_ 8 units, and 4 times 5 tens _is_ twenty tens."--_Chase's Common School
Arithmetic_, 1848, p. 42. Or this? "1 time 1 is l. 2 times 1 are 2; 1 time
4 is 4, 2 times 4 are 8."--_Ray's Arithmetic_, 1853. Or this? "8 and 7 _is_
15, 9's out leaves 6; 3 and 8 _is_ 11, 9's out leaves 2."--_Babcock's
Practical Arithmetic_, 1829, p. 22. Or this again? "3 times 3 _is_ 9, and 2
we had to carry _is_ 11."--_Ib._, p. 20.
OBS. 16.--There are several different opinions as to what constitutes the
grammatical subject of the verb in any ordinary English expression of
multiplication. Besides this, we have some variety in the phraseology which
precedes the verb; so that it is by no means certain, either that the
multiplying terms are always of the same part of speech, or that the true
nominative to the verb is not essentially different in different examples.
Some absurdly teach, that an abstract number is necessarily expressed by
"_a singular noun_," with only a singular meaning; that such a number, when
multiplied, is always, of itself the subject of the assertion; and,
consequently, that the verb must be singular, as agreeing only with this
"singular noun." Others, not knowing how to parse separately the
multiplying word or words and the number multiplied, take them both or all
together as "the grammatical subject" with which the verb must agree. But,
among these latter expounders, there are two opposite opinions on the very
essential point, whether this "_entire expression_" requires a singular
verb or a plural one:--as, whether we ought to say, "Twice one _is_ two,"
or, "Twice one _are_ two;"--"Twice two _is_ four," or, "Twice two _are_
four;"--"Three times one _is_ three," or, "Three times one _are_
three;"--"Three times three _is_ nine," or, "Three times three _are_ nine."
Others, again, according to Dr. Bullions, and possibly according to their
own notion, find the grammatical subject, sometimes, if not generally, in
the multiplying term only; as, perhaps, is the case with those who write or
speak as follows: "If we say, 'Three times one _are_ three,' we make
'_times_' the subject of the verb."--_Bullions, Analyt. and Pract. Gram._,
1849, p. 39. "Thus, 2 times 1 _are_ 2; 2 times 2 _are_ four; 2 times 3
_are_ 6."--_Chase's C. S. Arith._, p. 43. "Say, 2 times O _are_ O; 2 times
1 _are_ 2."--_Robinson's American Arith._, 1825, p. 24.
OBS. 17.--Dr. Bullions, with a strange blunder of some sort in almost every
sentence, propounds and defends his opinion on this subject thus: "Numeral
_adjectives_, being _also names_ of numbers, are often used as nouns, and
so have the inflection and construction of nouns: thus, by _twos_, by
_tens_, by _fifties_. _Two_ is an even number. Twice _two_ is four. Four
_is_ equal to twice two. In some arithmetics the language employed in the
operation of multiplying--such as 'Twice two _are_ four, twice three _are_
six'--is incorrect. It should be, 'Twice two _is_ four,' &c.; for the word
_two_ is used as a singular noun--the name of a number. The adverb
'_twice_' is _not in construction with it_, and consequently does not make
it plural. The meaning is, 'The number two taken twice is equal to four.'
For the same reason we should say, 'Three times _two_ is six,' because the
meaning is, 'Two taken three times _is_ six.' If we say, 'Three times one
_are_ three,' we make '_times_' the subject of the verb, whereas the
subject of the verb really is '_one_,' and '_times_' is in the _objective
of number_ (Sec.828). 2:4:: 6:12, should be read, 'As 2 _is_ to 4, so _is_ 6
to 12;' not 'As two _are_ to four, so _are_ six to twelve.' But when
numerals denoting more than one, are used as adjectives, with a substantive
expressed or understood, they must have a plural construction."--_Bullions,
Analyt. and Pract. Gram._, 1849, p. 39.
OBS. 18.--Since nouns and adjectives are different parts of speech, the
suggestion, that, "Numeral _adjectives_ are _also names_, or _nouns_," is,
upon the very face of it, a flat absurdity; and the notion that "the name
of a number" above unity, conveys only and always the idea of unity, like
an ordinary "singular noun," is an other. A number in arithmetic is most
commonly an _adjective_ in grammar; and it is always, in form, an
expression that tells _how many_, or--"denotes _how many things_ are spoken
of."--_Chase_, p. 11. But the _name_ of a number is also a number, whenever
it is _not made plural_ in form. Thus _four_ is a number, but _fours_ is
not; so _ten_ is a number, but _tens_ is not. Arithmetical numbers, which
run on to infinity, severally _consist_ of a _definite idea of how many_;
each is a _precise count_ by the unit; _one_ being the beginning of the
series, and the measure of every successive step. Grammatical numbers are
only the verbal forms which distinguish one thing from more of the same
sort. Thus the word _fours_ or _tens_, unless some arithmetical number be
prefixed to it, signifies nothing but a mere plurality which repeats
indefinitely the collective idea of _four_ or _ten_.
OBS. 19.--All actual _names_ of numbers calculative, except _one_, (for
_naught_, though it fills a place among numbers, is, in itself, a mere
negation of number; and such terms as _oneness, unity, duality_, are not
used in calculation,) are _collective nouns_--a circumstance which seems to
make the discussion of the present topic appropriate to the location which
is here given it under Rule 15th. Each of them denotes a particular
aggregate _of units_. And if each, as signifying one whole, may convey the
idea of unity, and take a singular verb; each, again, as denoting so many
units, may quite as naturally take a plural verb, and be made to convey the
idea of plurality. For the mere abstractness of numbers, or their
separation from all "_particular objects_," by no means obliges us to limit
them always to the construction with verbs singular. If it is right to say,
"Two _is_ an even number;" it is certainly no error to say, "Two _are_ an
even number." If it is allowable to say, "As 2 _is_ to 4, so _is_ 6 to 12;"
it is as well, if not better, to say, "As two _are_ to four, so _are_ six
to twelve." If it is correct to say, "Four _is_ equal to twice two;" it is
quite as grammatical to say, "Four _are_ equal to twice two." Bullions bids
say, "Twice two _is_ four," and, "Three times two _is_ six;" but I very
much prefer to say, "Twice two _are_ four," and, "Three times two _are_
six." The Doctor's reasoning, whereby he condemns the latter phraseology,
is founded only upon false assumptions. This I expect to show; and
more--that the word which he prefers, is wrong.
OBS. 20.--As to what constitutes the subject of the verb in multiplication,
I have already noticed _three different opinions_. There are yet three or
four more, which must not be overlooked in a general examination of this
grammatical dispute. Dr. Bullions's notion on this point, is stated with so
little consistency, that one can hardly say what it is. At first, he seems
to find his nominative in the multiplicand, "used as a singular noun;" but,
when he ponders a little on the text, "_Twice two is four_," he finds the
leading term not to be the word "_two_," but the word "_number_,"
understood. He resolves, indeed, that no one of the four words used, "is in
construction with" any of the rest; for he thinks, "The meaning is, '_The
number_ two _taken_ twice is _equal to_ four.'" Here, then, is a _fourth
opinion_ in relation to the subject of the verb: it must be "_number_"
understood. Again, it is conceded by the same hand, that, "When numerals
denoting more than one, are used as adjectives, with a substantive
expressed or understood, they must have a plural construction." Now who can
show that this is not the case in general with the numerals of
multiplication? To explain the syntax of "_Twice two are four_," what can
be more rational than to say, "The sense is, 'Twice two _units_, or
_things_, are four?'" Is it not plain, that twice two things, of any sort,
are four things of that same sort, and only so? Twice two duads are how
many? Answer: _Four duads_, or _eight units_. Here, then, is a _fifth
opinion_,--and a very fair one too,--according to which we have for the
subject of the verb, not "_two_" nor "_twice_" nor "_twice two_," nor
"_number_," understood before "_two_," but the plural noun "_units_" or
"_things"_ implied in or after the multiplicand.
OBS. 21.--It is a doctrine taught by sundry grammarians, and to some extent
true, that a neuter verb between two nominatives "may agree with either of
them." (See Note 5th to Rule 14th, and the footnote.) When, therefore, a
person who knows this, meets with such examples as, "Twice one _are_
two;"--"Twice one unit _are_ two units;"--"Thrice one _are_ three;"--he
will of course be apt to refer the verb to the nominative which follows it,
rather than to that which precedes it; taking the meaning to be, "_Two are_
twice one;"--"_Two units are_ twice one unit;"--"_Three are_ thrice one."
Now, if such is the sense, the construction in each of these instances is
right, because it accords with such sense; the interpretation is right
also, because it is the only one adapted to such a construction; and we
have, concerning the subject of the verb, a _sixth opinion_,--a very proper
one too,--that it is found, not where it is most natural to look for it, in
the expression of the _factors_, but in a noun which is either uttered or
implied in the _product_. But, no doubt, it is better to avoid this
construction, by using such a verb as may be said to agree with the number
multiplied. Again, and lastly, there may be, touching all such cases as,
"Twice _one are_ two," a _seventh opinion_, that the subject of the verb is
the product taken _substantively_, and not as a numeral _adjective_. This
idea, or the more comprehensive one, that all abstract numbers are nouns
substantive, settles nothing concerning the main question, What form of the
verb is required by an abstract number above unity? If the number be
supposed an adjective, referring to the implied term _units_, or _things_,
the verb must of course be plural; but if it be called a _collective noun_,
the verb only follows and fixes "the idea of plurality," or "the idea of
unity," as the writer or speaker chooses to adopt the one or the other.
OBS. 22.--It is marvellous, that four or five monosyllables, uttered
together in a common simple sentence, could give rise to all this diversity
of opinion concerning the subject of the verb; but, after all, the chief
difficulty presented by the phraseology of multiplication, is that of
ascertaining, not "the grammatical subject of the verb," but the
grammatical relation between the multiplier and the multiplicand--the true
way of parsing the terms _once, twice, three times_, &c., but especially
the word _times_. That there must be some such relation, is obvious; but
what is it? and how is it to be known? To most persons, undoubtedly,
"_Twice two_," and, "_Three times two_," seem to be _regular phrases_, in
which the words cannot lack syntactical connexion; yet Dr. Bullions, who is
great authority with some thinkers, denies all immediate or direct relation
between the word "_two_," and the term before it, preferring to parse both
"_twice_" and "_three times_" as adjuncts to the participle "_taken_,"
understood. He says, "The adverb '_twice_' is not in construction with
'_two_,' and consequently does not make it plural." His first assertion
here is, in my opinion, untrue; and the second implies the very erroneous
doctrine, that the word _twice_, if it relate to a singular term, _will
"make it plural_." From a misconception like this, it probably is, that
some who ought to be very accurate in speech, are afraid to say, "Twice one
_is_ two," or, "Thrice one _is_ three," judging the singular verb to be
wrong; and some there are who think, that "_usage_ will not permit" a
careful scholar so to speak. Now, analysis favours the singular form here;
and it is contrary to a plain principle of General Grammar, to suppose that
a _plural_ verb can be demanded by any phrase which is made _collectively_
the subject of the assertion. (See Note 3d, and Obs. 13th, 14th, 15th, and
16th, under Rule 14th.) _Are_ is, therefore, _not required here_; and, if
allowable, it is so only on the supposition that the leading nominative is
put after it.
OBS. 23.--In Blanchard's small Arithmetic, published in 1854, the following
inculcations occur: "When we say, 3 times 4 trees are 12 trees, we have
reference to the _objects_ counted; but in saying 3 times 4 _is_ twelve, we
mean, that 3 times the _number_ 4, _is the number_ 12. Here we use 4 and
12, not as numeral _adjectives_, but as _nouns_, the _names_ of particular
_numbers_, and as such, each conveys the idea of _unity_, and _the entire
expression_ is the subject of _is_, and conveys the _idea of unity_."--P.
iv. Here we have, with an additional error concerning "the entire
expression," a repetition of Dr. Bullions's erroneous assumption, that the
name of a particular number, as being "a singular noun," must "convey the
idea of unity," though the number itself be a distinct plurality. These men
talk as if there were an absurdity in affirming that "the number 4" is
_plural_! But, if _four_ be taken as only one thing, how can _three_
multiply this one thing into _twelve_? It is by no means proper to affirm,
that, "_Every_ four, taken three times, _is_, or _are_, twelve;" for three
instances, or "_times_," of the _figure_ 4, or of the _word four_, are only
three 4's, or three verbal _fours_. And is it not _because_ "_the number_
4" _is plural--is in itself four units_--and because the word _four_, or
the figure 4, conveys explicitly the _idea of this plurality_, that the
multiplication table is true, where it says, "3 times 4 _are_ 12?" It is
not right to say, "Three times one quaternion is twelve;" nor is it quite
unobjectionable to say, with Blanchard "3 _times the number_ 4, _is the
number_ 12." Besides, this pretended interpretation explains nothing. The
syntax of the shorter text, "3 times 4 _is_ 12," is in no way justified or
illustrated by it. Who does not perceive that _the four_ here spoken of
must be four _units_, or four _things_ of some sort; and that no _such_
"four," multiplied by 3, or _till_ "3 _times_," can "convey the idea of
unity," or match a singular verb? Dr. Webster did not so conceive of this
"abstract number," or of "the entire expression" in which it is multiplied;
for he says, "Four times four _amount_ to sixteen."--_American Dict., w.
OBS. 24.--In fact no phrase of multiplication is of such a nature that it
can, with any plausibility be reckoned a composite subject of the verb.
_Once, twice_, and _thrice_, are adverbs; and each of them may, in general,
be parsed as relating directly to the multiplicand. Their construction, as
well as that of the plural verb, is agreeable to the Latin norm; as, when
Cicero says of somebody, "Si, _bis bina_ quot _essent_, didicisset,"--"If
he had learned how many _twice two are_."--See _Ainsworth's Dict., w.
Binus._ The phrases, "_one time_," for _once_, and "_two times_" for
_twice_, seem puerile expressions: they are not often used by competent
teachers. _Thrice_ is a good word, but more elegant than popular. Above
_twice_, we use the phrases, _three times, four times_, and the like, which
are severally composed of a numeral adjective and the noun _times_. If
these words were united, as some think they ought to be, the compounds
would be _adverbs_ of _time repeated_; as, _threetimes, fourtimes_, &c.,
analogous to _sometimes_. Each word would answer, as each phrase now does,
to the question, _How often?_ These expressions are taken by some as having
a direct adverbial relation to the terms which they qualify; but they are
perhaps most commonly explained as being dependent on some preposition
understood. See Obs. 1st on Rule 5th, and Obs. 6th on Rule 7th.
OBS. 25.--In multiplying one only, it is evidently best to use a singular
verb: as, "Twice _naught_ is naught;"--"Three times _one is_ three." And,
in multiplying any number above _one_, I judge a plural verb to be
necessary: as, "Twice _two are_ four;"--"Three times _two are six_;"
because this number must be just _so many_ in order to give the product.
Dr. Bullions says, "We should say, 'Three times two _is_ six,' because the
meaning is, 'Two _taken_ three times _is_ six.'" This is neither reasoning,
nor explanation, nor good grammar. The relation between "_two_" and
"_three_," or the syntax of the word "_times_," or the propriety of the
_singular verb_, is no more apparent in the latter expression than in the
former. It would be better logic to affirm, "We should say, 'Three times
two _are_ six;' because the meaning is, 'Two (_units_), taken _for, to_, or
_till_ three times, are six.'" The preposition _till_, or _until_, is
sometimes found in use before an expression of _times numbered_; as, "How
oft shall I forgive? _till_ seven times? I say not unto thee, _Until_ seven
times; but, _Until_ seventy times seven."--_Matt._, xviii, 21. But here is
still a difficulty with repect to the _multiplying_ term, or the word
"_times_." For, unless, by an unallowable ellipsis, "_seventy times
seven_," is presumed to mean, "seventy times _of_ seven," the preposition
_Until_ must govern, not this noun "_times._" expressed, but an other,
understood after "_seven_;" and the meaning must be, "Thou shalt forgive
him until _seventy-times_ seven times;" or--"until seven _times taken for,
to_, or _till_, seventy times."
OBS. 26.--With too little regard to consistency. Dr. Bullions suggests that
when "we make '_times_' the subject of the verb," it is not "really" such,
but "is in _the objective of number_." He is, doubtless, right in
preferring to parse this word as an objective case, rather than as a
nominative, in the construction to which he alludes; but to call it an
"objective of _number_," is an uncouth error, a very strange mistake for so
great a grammarian to utter: there being in grammar no such thing as "_the
objective of number_:" nothing of the sort, even under his own "Special
Rule," to which he refers us for it! And, if such a thing there were, so
that a _number_ could be "_put in the objective case without a governing
word_," (see his Sec.828,) the plural word _times_, since it denotes no
particular aggregate of units, could never be an example of it. It is true
that _times_, like _days, weeks_, and other nouns of _time_, may be, and
often is, in the objective case without a governing word _expressed_; and,
in such instances, it may be called the objective of _repetition_, or of
_time repeated_. But the construction of the word appears to be such as is
common to many nouns of time, of value, or of measure; which, in their
relation to other words, seem to resemble adverbs, but which are usually
said to be governed by prepositions understood: as, "Three _days_ later;"
i.e., "Later _by_ three days."--"Three _shillings_ cheaper;" i.e., "Cheaper
_by_ three shillings."--"Seven _times_ hotter;" i.e., "Hotter _by_ seven
times."--"Four _feet_ high;" i.e., "High _to_ four feet."--"Ten _years_
old;" i.e., "Old _to_ ten years."--"Five _times_ ten;" i.e., "Ten _by_ five
times;" or, perhaps, "Ten _taken till_ five times."
NOTE TO RULE XV.
A collective noun conveying the idea of unity, requires a verb in the third
person, singular; and generally admits also the regular plural
construction: as, "His _army was_ defeated."--"His _armies were_ defeated."
IMPROPRIETIES FOR CORRECTION.
FALSE SYNTAX UNDER RULE XV.
UNDER THE RULE ITSELF.--THE IDEA OF PLURALITY.
"The gentry is punctilious in their etiquette."
[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the verb _is_ is of the singular number, and
does not correctly agree with its nominative _gentry_, which is a
collective noun conveying rather the idea of plurality. But, according to
Rule 15th, "When the nominative is a collective noun conveying the idea of
plurality, the verb must agree with it in the plural number." Therefore,
_is_ should be _are_; thus, "The gentry _are_ punctilious in their
"In France the peasantry goes barefoot, and the middle sort makes use of
wooden shoes."--HARVEY: _Priestley's Gram._, p. 188. "The people rejoices
in that which should cause sorrow."--See _Murray's Exercises_, p. 49. "My
people is foolish, they have not known me."--_Jer._, iv, 22; _Lowth's
Gram._, p. 75. "For the people speaks, but does not write."--_Philological
Museum_, i, 646. "So that all the people that was in the camp,
trembled."--_Exodus_, xix, 16. "No company likes to confess that they are
ignorant."--_Student's Manual_, p. 217. "Far the greater part of their
captives was anciently sacrificed."--_Robertson's America_, i, 339. "Above
one half of them was cut off before the return of spring."--_Ib._, ii, 419.
"The other class, termed Figures of Thought, supposes the words to be used
in their proper and literal meaning."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 133; _Murray's
Gram._, 337. "A multitude of words in their dialect approaches to the
Teutonic form, and therefore afford excellent assistance."--_Dr. Murray's
Hist of Lang._, i, 148. "A great majority of our authors is defective in
manner."--_James Brown's Crit._ "The greater part of these new-coined words
has been rejected."--_Tooke's Diversions_, ii, 445. "The greater part of
the words it contains is subject to certain modifications and
inflections."--_The Friend_, ii, 123. "While all our youth prefers her to
the rest."--_Waller's Poems_, p. 17. "Mankind is appointed to live in a
future state."--_Butler's Analogy_, p. 57. "The greater part of human kind
speaks and acts wholly by imitation."--_Wright's Gram._, p. 169. "The
greatest part of human gratifications approaches so nearly to
"While still the busy world is treading o'er
The paths they trod five thousand years before."--_Young._
UNDER THE NOTE.--THE IDEA OF UNITY.
"In old English this species of words were numerous."--_Dr. Murray's Hist.
of Lang._, ii, 6. "And a series of exercises in false grammar are
introduced towards the end."--_Frost's El. of E. Gram._, p. iv. "And a
jury, in conformity with the same idea, were anciently called _homagium_,
the homage, or manhood."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 296. "With respect to the
former, there are indeed plenty of means."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, ii, 319.
"The number of school districts have increased since the last
year."--_Governor Throop_, 1832. "The Yearly Meeting have purchased with
its funds these publications."--_Foster's Reports_, i, 76. "Have the
legislature power to prohibit assemblies?"--_Wm. Sullivan_. "So that the
whole number of the streets were fifty."--_Rollin's Ancient Hist._, ii, 8.
"The number of inhabitants were not more than four millions."--SMOLLETT:
see _Priestley's Gram._, p. 193. "The House of Commons were of small
weight."--HUME: _Ib._, p. 188. "The assembly of the wicked have enclosed
me."--_Psal._ xxii, 16; _Lowth's Gram._, p. 75. "Every kind of convenience
and comfort are provided."--_Com. School Journal_, i, 24. "Amidst the great
decrease of the inhabitants of Spain, the body of the clergy have suffered
no diminution; but has rather been gradually increasing."--_Payne's Geog._,
ii, 418. "Small as the number of inhabitants are, yet their poverty is
extreme."--_Ib._, ii, 417. "The number of the names were about one hundred
and twenty."--_Ware's Gram._, p. 12; see _Acts_, i, 15.
RULE XVI.--FINITE VERBS.
When a Verb has two or more nominatives connected by _and_, it must agree
with them jointly in the plural, because they are taken together: as, "True
rhetoric _and_ sound logic _are_ very nearly allied."--_Blair's Rhet._, p.
11. "Aggression and injury in no case _justify_ retaliation."--_Wayland's
Moral Science_, p. 406.
"Judges and senates _have been bought_ for gold,
Esteem _and_ love _were_ never to be sold."--_Pope_.
When two nominatives connected by _and_ serve merely to describe one person
or thing, they are either in apposition or equivalent to one name, and do
not require a plural verb; as, "Immediately _comes a hue and cry_ after a
gang of thieves."--_L'Estrange_. "The _hue and cry_ of the country
_pursues_ him."--_Junius_, Letter xxiii. "Flesh and blood [i. e. man, or
man's nature,] _hath not revealed_ it unto thee."--_Matt._, xvi, 17."
Descent and fall to us _is_ adverse."--_Milton, P. L._, ii, 76. "This
_philosopher_ and _poet was banished_ from his country."--"Such a _Saviour_
and _Redeemer is_ actually _provided_ for us."--_Gurney's Essays_, p. 386.
"Let us then declare what great things our _God and Saviour has done_ for
us."--_Dr. Scott_, on Luke viii. "_Toll, tribute_, and _custom, was paid_
unto them."--_Ezra_, iv, 20.
"Whose icy _current_ and compulsive _course_
Ne'er _feels_ retiring ebb, but _keeps_ due on."--_Shakspeare_.
When two nominatives connected by _and_, are emphatically distinguished,
they belong to different propositions, and, if singular, do not require a
plural verb; as, "_Ambition_, and not the _safety_ of the state, _was
concerned_."--_Goldsmith_. "_Consanguinity_, and not _affinity, is_ the
ground of the prohibition."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 324. "But a
_modification_, and oftentimes a total _change, takes_ place."--_Maunder.
"Somewhat_, and, in many circumstances, a great _deal_ too, _is put_ upon
us."--_Butler's Analogy_, p. 108. "_Disgrace_, and perhaps _ruin, was_ the
certain consequence of attempting the latter."--_Robertson's America_, i,
"_Ay_, and _no_ too, _was_ no good divinity."--_Shakespeare.
"Love_, and _love only_, is the loan for love."--_Young_.
When two or more nominatives connected by _and_ are preceded by the
adjective _each, every, or no_, they are taken separately, and do not
require a plural verb; as, "When _no part_ of their substance, and _no one_
of their properties, _is_ the same."--_Bp. Butler_. "Every limb and feature
_appears_ with its respective grace."--_Steele_. "Every person, and every
occurrence, _is beheld_ in the most favourable light."--_Murray's Key_, p.
190. "Each worm, and each insect, _is_ a marvel of creative power."
"Whose every look and gesture _was_ a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds."--_Young_.
When the verb separates its nominatives, it agrees with that which precedes
it, and is understood to the rest; as, "The _earth is_ the Lord's, and the
_fullness_ thereof."--_Murray's Exercises_, p. 36.
"_Disdain forbids_ me, and my _dread_ of shame."--_Milton_.
"------Forth in the pleasing spring,
Thy _beauty walks_, thy _tenderness_, and _love_."--_Thomson_.
OBSERVATIONS ON RULE XVI.
OBS. 1.--According to Lindley Murray, (who, in all his compilation, from
whatever learned authorities, refers us to _no places_ in any book but his
own.) "Dr. Blair observes, that 'two or more substantives, joined by a
copulative, _must always require_ the verb or pronoun to which they refer,
to be _placed_ in the plural number:' and this," continues the great
Compiler, "is the _general sentiment_ of English grammarians."--_Murray's
Gram._, Vol. i, p. 150. The same thing is stated in many other grammars:
thus, _Ingersoll_ has the very same words, on the 238th page of his book;
and _R. C. Smith_ says, "Dr. Blair _very justly_ observes,"
&c.--_Productive Gram._, p. 126. I therefore doubt not, the learned
rhetorician has somewhere made some such remark: though I can neither
supply the reference which these gentlemen omit, nor vouch for the accuracy
of their quotation. But I trust to make it very clear, that so many
grammarians as hold this sentiment, are no great readers, to say the least
of them. Murray himself acknowledges _one_ exception to this principle, and
unconsciously furnishes examples of one or two more; but, in stead of
placing the former in his Grammar, and under the rule, where the learner
would be likely to notice it, he makes it an obscure and almost
unintelligible note, in the _margin of his Key_, referring by an asterisk
to the following correction: "Every man and every woman _was_
numbered."--_Murray's Gram._, 8vo, Vol. ii. p. 190. To justify this
phraseology, he talks thus: "_Whatever number_ of nouns may be connected
_by a conjunction with the pronoun_ EVERY, this _pronoun_ is as applicable
to _the whole mass_ of them, as to any _one of the nouns_; and _therefore_
the verb is correctly put in the singular number, and _refers to the whole_
separately and individually considered."--_Ib._ So much, then, for "_the
pronoun_ EVERY!" But, without other exceptions, what shall be done with the
following texts from Murray himself? "The flock, _and_ not the fleece,
_is_, or _ought_ to be the object of the shepherd's care."--_Ib._, ii, 184.
"This prodigy of learning, this scholar, critic, _and_ antiquary, _was_
entirely destitute of breeding and civility."--_Ib._, ii, 217. And, in the
following line, what conjunction appears, or what is the difference between
"horror" and "black despair." that the verb should be made plural?
"What black despair, what horror, _fill_ his _mind_!"--_Ib._, ii, 183.
"What black despair, what horror _fills_ his _heart_!"--_Thomson_.
OBS. 2.--Besides the many examples which may justly come under the four
exceptions above specified, there are several questionable but customary
expressions, which have some appearance of being deviations from this rule,
but which may perhaps be reasonably explained on the principle of ellipsis:
as, "All work and no play, _makes_ Jack a dull boy."--"Slow and steady
often _outtravels_ haste."--_Dillwyn's Reflections_, p. 23. "Little and
often _fills_ the purse."--_Treasury of Knowledge_, Part i, p. 446. "Fair
and softly _goes_ far." These maxims, by universal custom, lay claim to a
singular verb; and, for my part, I know not how they can well be considered
either real exceptions to the foregoing rule, or real inaccuracies under
it; for, in most of them, the words connected are not _nouns_; and those
which are so, may not be nominatives. And it is clear, that every exception
must have some specific character by which it may be distinguished; else it
destroys the rule, in stead of confirming it, as known exceptions are said
to do. Murray appears to have thought the singular verb _wrong_; for, among
his examples for parsing, he has, "Fair and softly _go_ far," which
instance is no more entitled to a plural verb than the rest. See his
_Octavo Gram._, Vol. ii, p. 5. Why not suppose them all to be elliptical?
Their meaning may be as follows: "_To have_ all work and no play, _makes_
Jack a dull boy."--"_What is_ slow and steady, often _outtravels_
haste."--"To _put in_ little and often, _fills_ the purse."--"_What
proceeds_ fair and softly, _goes_ far." The following line from Shakspeare
appears to be still more elliptical:
"Poor and content _is_ rich, and rich enough."--_Othello_.
This may be supposed to mean, "_He who is_ poor and content," &c. In the
following sentence again, we may suppose an ellipsis of the phrase _To
have_, at the beginning; though here, perhaps, to have pluralized the verb,
would have been as well:
"One eye on death and one full fix'd on heaven,
_Becomes_ a mortal and immortal man."--_Young_.
OBS. 3.--The names of two persons are not unfrequently used jointly as the
name of their story; in which sense, they must have a singular verb, if
they have any; as, "Prior's _Henry and Emma contains_ an other beautiful
example."--_Jamieson's Rhetoric_, p. 179. I somewhat hesitate to call this
an exception to the foregoing rule, because here too the phraseology may be
supposed elliptical. The meaning is, "Prior's _little poem, entitled_,
'Henry and Emma,' contains," &c.;--or, "Prior's _story of_ Henry and Emma
contains," &c. And, if the first expression is only an abbreviation of one
of these, the construction of the verb _contains_ may be referred to Rule
14th. See Exception 1st to Rule 12th, and Obs. 2d on Rule 14th.
OBS. 4.--The conjunction _and_, by which alone we can with propriety
connect different words to make them joint nominatives or joint
antecedents, is sometimes suppressed and _understood_; but then its
effect is the same, as if it were inserted; though a singular verb might
sometimes be quite as proper in the same sentences, because it would merely
imply a disjunctive conjunction or none at all: as, "The high breach of
trust, the notorious corruption, _are stated_ in the strongest
terms."--_Junius_, Let. xx. "Envy, self-will, jealousy, pride, often
_reign_ there."--_Abbott's Corner Stone_, p. 111. (See Obs. 4th on Rule
"Art, empire, earth itself, to change _are_ doomed."--_Beattie_.
"Her heart, her mind, her love, _is_ his alone."--_Cowley_.
In all the foregoing examples, a singular verb might have been used without
impropriety; or the last, which is singular, might have been plural. But
the following couplet evidently requires a plural verb, and is therefore
correct as the poet wrote it; both because the latter noun is plural, and
because the conjunction _and_ is understood between the two. Yet a late
grammarian, perceiving no difference between the joys of sense and the
pleasure of reason, not only changes "_lie_" to "_lies_," but uses the
perversion for a _proof text_, under a rule which refers the verb to the
first noun only, and requires it to be singular. See _Oliver B. Peirce's
Gram._, p. 250.
"Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense.
_Lie_ in three words--health, peace, and competence."
--_Pope's Ess._, Ep. iv, l. 80.
OBS. 5.--When the speaker changes his nominative to take a stronger
expression, he commonly uses no conjunction; but, putting the verb in
agreement with the noun which is next to it, he leaves the other to an
implied concord with its proper form of the same verb: as, "The man whose
_designs_, whose _whole conduct, tends_ to reduce me to subjection, that
man is at war with me, though not a blow has yet been given, nor a sword
drawn."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 265. "All _Greece_, all the barbarian _world,
is_ too narrow for this man's ambition."--_Ibid._ "This _self-command_,
this _exertion_ of reason in the midst of passion, _has_ a wonderful effect
both to please and to persuade."--_Ib._, p. 260. "In the mutual influence
of body and soul, there _is a wisdom_, a _wonderful wisdom_, which we
cannot fathom."--_Murray's Gram._, Vol. i, p. 150. If the principle here
stated is just, Murray has written the following models erroneously:
"Virtue, honour, nay, even self-interest, _conspire_ to recommend the
measure."--_Ib._, p. 150. "Patriotism, morality, every public and private
consideration, _demand_ our submission to just and lawful
government."--_Ibid._ In this latter instance, I should prefer the singular
verb _demands_; and in the former, the expression ought to be otherwise
altered, thus. "Virtue, honour, _and_ interest, all _conspire_ to recommend
the measure." Or thus: "Virtue, honour--nay, even self-interest,
_recommends_ the measure." On this principle, too, Thomson was right, and
this critic wrong, in the example cited at the close of the first
observation above. This construction is again recurred to by Murray, in the
second chapter of his Exercises; where he explicitly condemns the following
sentence because the verb is singular: "Prudence, policy, nay, his own true
interest, strongly _recommends_ the line of conduct proposed to
him."--_Octavo Gram._, Vol. ii, p. 22.
OBS. 6.--When two or more nominatives are in apposition with a preceding
one which they explain, the verb must agree with the first word only,
because the others are adjuncts to this, and not joint subjects to the
verb; as, "Loudd, the ancient Lydda and Diospolis, _appears_ like a place
lately ravaged by fire and sword."--_Keith's Evidences_, p. 93. "Beattie,
James,--a philosopher and poet,--_was born_ in Scotland, in the year
1735."--_Murray's Sequel_, p. 306. "For, the quantity, the length, and
shortness of our syllables, _is_ not, by any means, so fixed."--_Blair's
Rhet._, p. 124. This principle, like the preceding one, persuades me again
to dissent from Murray, who corrects or _perverts_ the following sentence,
by changing _originates_ to _originate_: "All that makes a figure on the
great theatre of the world; the employments of the busy, the enterprises of
the ambitious, and the exploits of the warlike; the virtues which form the
happiness, and the crimes which occasion the misery of mankind;
_originates_ in that silent and secret recess of thought, which is hidden
from every human eye."--See _Murray's Octavo Gram._, Vol. ii, p. 181; or
his _Duodecimo Key_, p. 21. The true subject of this proposition is the
noun _all_, which is singular; and the other nominatives are subordinate to
this, and merely explanatory of it.
OBS. 7.--Dr. Webster says, "_Enumeration_ and addition of numbers are
_usually_ expressed in the singular _number_; [as,] two and two _is_ four;
seven and nine _is_ sixteen; that is, _the sum of_ seven and nine _is_
sixteen. But modern usage inclines to reject the use of the verb in the
singular number, in these and similar phrases."--_Improved Gram._, p. 106.
Among its many faults, this passage exhibits a virtual contradiction. For
what "_modern usage_ inclines to reject," can hardly be the fashion in
which any ideas "_are usually expressed_." Besides, I may safely aver, that
this is a kind of phraseology which all correct usage always did reject. It
is not only a gross vulgarism, but a plain and palpable violation of the
foregoing rule of syntax; and, as such it must be reputed, if the rule has
any propriety at all. What "_enumeration_" has to do with it, is more than
I can tell. But Dr. Webster once admired and commended this mode of speech,
as one of the "wonderful proofs of ingenuity in the _framers_ of language;"
and laboured to defend it as being "correct upon principle;" that is, upon
the principle that "_the sum of_" is understood to be the subject of the
affirmation, when one says, "Two _and_ two _is_ four," in stead of, "Two
and two _are_ four."--See _Webster's Philosophical Gram._, p. 153. This
seems to me a "wonderful proof" of _ignorance_ in a very learned man.
OBS. 8.--In Greek and Latin, the verb frequently agrees with the nearest
nominative, and is understood to the rest; and this construction is
sometimes imitated in English, especially if the nouns follow the verb: as,
"[Greek: Nuni do MENEI pistis, elpis agape, ta tria tanta]."--"Nunc vero
_manet_ fides, spes, charitas; tria haec."--"Now _abideth_ faith, hope,
charity; these three."--_1 Cor._, xiii, 13. "And now _abideth_ confession,
prayer, and praise, these three; but the greatest of these is
praise."--ATTERBURY: _Blair's Rhet._, p. 300. The propriety of this usage,
so far as our language is concerned, I doubt. It seems to open a door for
numerous deviations from the foregoing rule, and deviations of such a sort,
that if they are to be considered exceptions, one can hardly tell why. The
practice, however, is not uncommon, especially if there are more nouns than
two, and each is emphatic; as, "Wonderful _was_ the patience, fortitude,
self-denial, _and_ bravery of our ancestors."--_Webster's Hist. of U. S._,
p. 118. "It is the very thing I would have you make out: for therein
_consists_ the form, and use, and nature of language."--_Berkley's
Alciphron_, p. 161. "There _is_ the proper noun, and the common noun. There
_is_ the singular noun, and the plural noun."--_Emmons's Gram._, p. 11.
"From him _proceeds_ power, sanctification, truth, grace, and every other
blessing we can conceive."--_Calvin's Institutes_, B. i, Ch. 13. "To what
purpose _cometh_ there to me incense from Sheba, _and_ the sweet cane from
a far country?"--_Jer._, vi, 20. "For thine _is_ the kingdom, _and_ the
power, _and_ the glory, forever."--_Matt._, vi, 13. In all these instances,
the plural verb might have been used; and yet perhaps the singular may be
justified on the ground that there is a distinct and emphatic enumeration
of the nouns. Thus, it would be proper to say, "Thine _are_ the kingdom,
the power, and the glory;" but this construction seems less emphatic than
the preceding, which means, "For thine is the kingdom, _thine is_ the
power, and _thine is_ the glory, forever;" and this repetition is still
more emphatic, and perhaps more proper, than the elliptical form. The
repetition of the conjunction "_and_," in the original text as above, adds
time and emphasis to the reading, and makes the singular verb more proper
than it would otherwise be; for which reason, the following form, in which
the Rev. Dr. Bullions has set the sentence down for bad English, is in some
sort a _perversion_ of the Scripture: "Thine is the kingdom, the power, and
the glory."--_Bullions's E. Gram._, p. 141.
OBS. 9.--When the nominatives are of different _persons_, the verb agrees
with the first person in preference to the second, and with the second in
preference to the third; for _thou_ and _I_, or _he, thou_, and _I_, are
equivalent to _we_; and _thou_ and _he_ are equivalent to you: as, "Why
speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, _thou and Ziba divide_
the land."--_2 Sam._, xix. 29. That is, "divide _ye_ the land." "And _live
thou_ and thy _children_ of the rest."--_2 Kings_, iv, 7. "That _I_ and thy
_people have found_ grace in thy sight."--_Exodus_, xxxiii, 16. "_I_ and my
_kingdom are_ guiltless."--_2 Sam._, iii, 28. "_I_, and _you_, and _Piso_
perhaps too, _are_ in a state of dissatisfaction."--_Zenobia_, i, 114.
"Then _I_, and _you_, and _all_ of us, _fell_ down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over _us_."--_Shak., J. Caesar_.
OBS. 10.--When two or more nominatives connected by _and_ are of the same
form but distinguished by adjectives or possessives, one or more of them
may be omitted by ellipsis, but the verb must be plural, and agree with
them all; as, "A literary, a scientific, a wealthy, and a poor man, _were
assembled_ in one room."--_Peirce's Gram._, p. 263. Here four different men
are clearly spoken of. "Else the rising and the falling emphasis _are_ the
same."--_Knowles's Elocutionist_, p. 33. Here the noun _emphasis_ is
understood after _rising_. "The singular and [the] plural form _seem_ to be
confounded."--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 22. Here the noun _form_ is presented to
the mind twice; and therefore the article should have been repeated. See
Obs. 15th on Rule 1st. "My farm and William's _are_ adjacent to each
other."--_Peirce's Gram._, p. 220. Here the noun _farm_ is understood after
the possessive _William's_, though the author of the sentence foolishly
attempts to explain it otherwise. "Seth's, Richard's and Edmund's _farms_
are those which their fathers left them."--_Ib._, p. 257. Here the noun
_farms_ is understood after _Seth's_, and again after _Richard's_; so that
the sentence is written wrong, unless each man has more than one farm.
"_Was_ not Demosthenes's style, and his master Plato's, perfectly Attic;
and yet none more lofty?"--_Milnes's Greek Gram._, p. 241. Here _style_ is
understood after _Plato's_; wherefore _was_ should rather be _were_, or
else _and_ should be changed to _as well as_. But the text, as it stands,
is not much unlike some of the exceptions noticed above. "The character of
a fop, and of a rough warrior, _are_ no where more successfully
contrasted."--_Kames, El. of Crit._, Vol. i, p. 236. Here the ellipsis is
not very proper. Say, "the character of a fop, and _that_ of a rough
warrior," &c. Again: "We may observe, that the eloquence of the bar, of the
legislature, and of public assemblies, _are_ seldom _or ever_ found united
_to high perfection in_ the same person."--_J. Q. Adams's Rhet._, Vol. i,
p. 256. Here the ellipsis cannot so well be avoided by means of the
pronominal adjective _that_, and therefore it may be thought more
excusable; but I should prefer a repetition of the nominative: as, "We may
observe, that the eloquence of the bar, _the eloquence_ of the legislature,
and _the eloquence_ of public assemblies, are seldom _if ever_ found
united, _in any high degree_, in the same person."
OBS. 11.--The conjunction _as_, when it connects nominatives that are in
_apposition_, or significant of the same person or thing, is commonly
placed at the beginning of a sentence, so that the verb agrees with its
proper nominative following the explanatory word: thus, "_As a poet, he
holds_ a high rank."--_Murray's Sequel_, p. 355. "_As a poet, Addison
claims_ a high praise."--_Ib._, p. 304. "_As a model_ of English prose, his
_writings merit_ the greatest praise."--_Ib._, p. 305. But when this
conjunction denotes a _comparison_ between different persons or things
signified by two nominatives, there must be two verbs expressed or
understood, each agreeing with its own subject; as, "Such _writers_ as _he
[is,] have_ no reputation worth any man's envy." 
"Such _men_ as _he [is] be_ never at heart's ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves."--_Shakspeare_.
OBS. 12.--When two nominatives are connected by _as well as, but_, or
_save_, they must in fact have two verbs, though in most instances only one
is expressed; as, "Such is the mutual dependence of words in sentences,
that several _others_, as well as [is] the _adjective, are_ not to be used
alone."--_Dr. Wilson's Essay_, p. 99. "The Constitution was to be the one
fundamental law of the land, to which _all_, as well _States_ as _people_,
should submit."--W. I. BOWDITCH: _Liberator_, No. 984. "As well those which
history, as those which experience _offers_ to our reflection."--
_Bolingbroke, on History_, p. 85. Here the words "_offers to our
reflection_" are understood after "_history_." "_None_ but _He_ who
discerns futurity, _could have foretold_ and described all these
things."--_Keith's Evidences_, p. 62. "That there _was_ in those times no
other _writer_, of any degree of eminence, save _he_ himself."--_Pope's
Works_, Vol. iii, p. 43.
"I do entreat you not a man depart,
Save _I_ alone, till Antony have spoke."--_Shak., J. Caesar_.
OBS. 13.--Some grammarians say, that _but_ and _save_, when they denote
exception, should govern the objective case as _prepositions_. But this
idea is, without doubt, contrary to the current usage of the best authors,
either ancient or modern. Wherefore I think it evident that these
grammarians err. The objective case of _nouns_ being like the nominative,
the point can be proved only by the _pronouns_; as, "There is none _but he_
alone."--_Perkins's Theology_, 1608. "There is none other _but
he_."--_Mark_, xii, 32. (This text is good authority as regards the _case_,
though it is incorrect in an other respect: it should have been, "There is
_none but_ he," or else, "There is _no other than he_.") "No man hath
ascended up to heaven, _but he_ that came down from heaven."--_John_, iii,
13. "Not that any man hath seen the father, _save he_ which is of
God."--_John_, vi, 46. "Few can, _save he_ and _I_."--_Byron's Werner_.
"There is none justified, _but he_ that is in measure sanctified."--_Isaac
Penington_. _Save_, as a conjunction, is nearly obsolete.
OBS. 14.--In Rev., ii, 17th, we read, "Which no man knoweth, _saving he_
that receiveth it;" and again, xiii, 17th, "That no man might buy or sell,
_save he_ that had the mark." The following text is inaccurate, but not in
the construction of the nominative _they_: "All men cannot receive this
saying, _save they_ to whom it is given."--_Matt._, xix, 11. The version
ought to have been, "_Not all_ men can receive this saying, _but they only_
to whom it is given:" i.e., "they only _can receive it_, to whom _there is
given power to receive it_." Of _but_ with a nominative, examples may be
multiplied indefinitely. The following are as good as any: "There is no God
_but He_."--_Sale's Koran_, p. 27. "The former none _but He_ could
execute."--_Maturin's Sermons_, p. 317. "There was nobody at home _but
I_."--_Walker's Particles_, p. 95. "A fact, of which as none _but he_ could
be conscious, [so] none _but he_ could be the publisher of it."--_Pope's
Works_, Vol. iii, p. 117. "Few _but they_ who are involved in the vices,
are involved in the irreligion of the times."--_Brown's Estimate_, i, 101.
"I claim my right. No Grecian prince but _I_
Has power this bow to grant, or to deny."
--_Pope, Odys._, B. xxi, l. 272.
"Thus she, and none _but she_, the insulting rage
Of heretics oppos'd from age to age."
--_Dryden's Poems_, p. 98.
In opposition to all these authorities, and many more that might be added,
we have, with now and then a text of false syntax, the absurd opinion of
perhaps _a score or two_ of our grammarians; one of whom imagines he has
found in the following couplet from Swift, an example to the purpose; but
he forgets that the verb _let_ governs the _objective_ case:
"Let _none but him_ who rules the thunder,
Attempt to part these twain asunder."
--_Perley's Gram._, p. 62.
OBS. 15.--It is truly a wonder, that so many professed critics should not
see the absurdity of taking _but_ and _save_ for "_prepositions_," when
this can be done only by condemning the current usage of nearly all good
authors, as well as the common opinion of most grammarians; and the greater
is the wonder, because they seem to do it innocently, or to teach it
childishly, as not knowing that they cannot justify both sides, when the
question lies between opposite and contradictory principles. By this sort
of simplicity, which approves of errors, if much practised, and of
opposites, or essential contraries, when authorities may be found for them,
no work, perhaps, is more strikingly characterized, than the popular School
Grammar of W. H. Wells. This author says, "The use of _but_ as a
preposition is _approved_ by J. E. Worcester, John Walker, R. C. Smith,
Picket, Hiley, Angus, Lynde, Hull, Powers, Spear, Farnum, Fowle, Goldsbury,
Perley, Cobb, Badgley, Cooper, Jones, Davis, Beall, Hendrick, Hazen, and
Goodenow."--_School Gram._, 1850, p. 178. But what if all these authors do
prefer, "_but him_," and "_save him_," where ten times as many would say,
"_but he_," "_save he_?" Is it therefore difficult to determine which
party is right? Or is it proper for a grammarian to name sundry authorities
on both sides, excite doubt in the mind of his reader, and leave the matter
_unsettled_? "The use of _but_ as a preposition," he also states, "is
_discountenanced_ by G. Brown, Sanborn, Murray, S. Oliver, and several
other grammarians. (See also an able article in the Mass. Common School
Journal, Vol. ii, p. 19.)"--_School Gram._, p. 178.
OBS. 16.--Wells passes no censure on the use of nominatives after _but_ and
_save_; does not intimate which case is fittest to follow these words;
gives no false syntax under his rule for the regimen of prepositions; but
inserts there the following brief remarks and examples:
"REM. 3.--The word _save_ is frequently used to perform the office of a
preposition; as, 'And all desisted, all _save him_ alone.'--_Wordsworth_."
"REM. 4.--_But_ is sometimes employed as a preposition, in the sense of
_except_; as, 'The boy stood on the burning deck, Whence all _but him_ had
fled.'--_Hemans_."--_Ib._, p. 167.
Now, "BUT," says Worcester, as well as Tooke and others, was "originally
_bot_, contracted from _be out_;" and, if this notion of its etymology is
just, it must certainly be followed by the nominative case, rather than by
the objective; for the imperative _be_ or _be out_ governs no case, admits
no additional term but a nominative--an obvious and important fact, quite
overlooked by those who call _but_ a preposition. According to Allen H.
Weld, _but_ and _save_ "are _commonly_ considered _prepositions_," but "are
_more commonly_ termed _conjunctions_!" This author repeats Wells's
examples of "_save him_," and "_but him_," as being _right_; and mixes them
with opposite examples of "_save he_," "_but he_," "_save I_," which he
thinks to be _more right_!--_Weld's Gram._, p. 187.
OBS. 17.--Professor Fowler, too, an other author remarkable for a facility
of embracing incompatibles, contraries, or dubieties, not only condemns as
"false syntax" the use of _save_ for an exceptive conjunction. (Sec.587. 28,)
but cites approvingly from Latham the following very strange absurdity:
"One and the same word, in one and the same sentence, may be a Conjunction
or [a] Preposition, as the case may be: [as] All fled _but_
John."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 8vo, 1850, Sec. 555. This is equivalent to