Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Grammar of English Grammars by Gould Brown

Part 51 out of 54

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 6.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

existing."--_Millington's Translation of Schlegel's AEsthetic Works_, p.

[25] "Modern Europe owes a principal share of its enlightened and moral
state to the restoration of learning: the advantages which have accrued to
history, religion, the philosophy of the mind, and the progress of society;
the benefits which have resulted from the models of Greek and Roman
taste--in short, all that a knowledge of the progress and attainments of
man in past ages can bestow on the present, has reached it through the
medium of philology."--_Dr. Murray's History of European Languages_, Vol.
II, p. 335.

[26] "The idea of God is a development from within, and a matter of faith,
not an induction from without, and a matter of proof. When Christianity has
developed its correlative principles within us, then we find evidences of
its truth everywhere; nature is full of them: but we cannot find them
before, simply because we have no eye to find them with."--H. N. HUDSON:
_Democratic Review, May_, 1845.

[27] So far as mind, soul, or spirit, is a subject of natural science,
(under whatever name,) it may of course be known naturally. To say to what
extent theology may be considered a natural science, or how much knowledge
of any kind may have been opened to men otherwise than by words, is not now
in point. Dr. Campbell says, "Under the general term [_physiology_] I also
comprehend _natural theology_ and _psychology_, which, in my opinion, have
been most unnaturally disjoined by philosophers. Spirit, which here
comprises only the Supreme Being and the human soul, is surely as much
included under the notion of natural object as a body is, and is knowable
to the philosopher purely in the same way, by observation and
experience."--_Philosophy of Rhetoric_, p. 66. It is quite unnecessary for
the teacher of languages to lead his pupils into any speculations on this
subject. It is equally foreign to the history of grammar and to the
philosophy of rhetoric.

[28] "Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall
it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it
may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without
signification. Therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall
be unto him that speaketh, a barbarian; and he that speaketh, shall be a
barbarian unto me."--_1 Cor._, xiv. 9, 10, 11. "It is impossible that our
knowledge of words should outstrip our knowledge of things. It may, and
often doth, come short of it. Words may be remembered as sounds, but [they]
cannot be understood as signs, whilst we remain unacquainted with the
things signified."--_Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric_, p. 160. "Words can
excite only ideas already acquired, and if no previous ideas have been
formed, they are mere unmeaning sounds."--_Spurzheim on Education_, p. 200.

[29] Sheridan the elecutionist makes this distinction: "All that passes in
the mind of man, may be reduced to two classes, which I call ideas and
emotions. By ideas, I mean all thoughts which rise, and pass in succession
in the mind. By emotions, all exertions of the mind in arranging,
combining, and separating its ideas; as well as the effects produced on all
the mind itself by those ideas; from the more violent agitation of the
passions, to the calmer feelings produced by the operation of the intellect
and the fancy. In short, thought is the object of the one; internal
feeling, of the other. That which serves to express the former, I call the
language of ideas; and the latter, the language of emotions. Words are the
signs of the one: tones, of the other. Without the use of these two sorts
of language, it is impossible to communicate through the ear, all that
passes in the mind of man."--_Sheridan's Art of Reading; Blair's Lectures_,
p. 333.

[30] "Language is _the great instrument_, by which all the faculties of the
mind are brought forward, moulded, polished, and exerted."--_Sheridan's
Elocution_, p. xiv.

[31] It should be, "_These are_."--G. B.

[32] It should be, "_They fitly represent_."--G. B.

[33] This is badly expressed; for, according to his own deduction, _each
part_ has but _one sign_. It should be, "We express _the several parts by
as many several signs_."--G. Brown.

[34] It would be better English to say, "the _instruments_ and _the_
signs."--G. Brown.

[35] "Good speakers do not pronounce above three syllables in a second of
time; and generally only two and a half, taking in the necessary
pauses."--_Steele's Melody of Speech_.

[36] The same idea is also conveyed in the following sentence from Dr.
Campbell: "Whatever regards the analysis of the operations of the mind,
_which is quicker than lightning in all her energies_, must in a great
measure be abstruse and dark."--_Philosophy of Rhetoric_, p. 289. Yet this
philosopher has given it as his opinion, "that we really _think by signs_
as well as speak by them."--_Ib._, p. 284. To reconcile these two positions
with each other, we must suppose that thinking by signs, or words, is a
process infinitely more rapid than speech.

[37] That generalization or abstraction which gives to similar things a
common name, is certainly no laborious exercise of intellect; nor does any
mind find difficulty in applying such a name to an individual by means of
the article. The general sense and the particular are alike easy to the
understanding, and I know not whether it is worth while to inquire which is
first in order. Dr. Alexander Murray says, "It must be attentively
remembered, that all terms run from a general to a particular sense. The
work of abstraction, the ascent from individual feelings to classes of
these, was finished before terms were invented. Man was silent till he had
formed some ideas to communicate; and association of his perceptions soon
led him to think and reason in ordinary matters."--_Hist. of European
Languages_, Vol. I, p. 94. And, in a note upon this passage, he adds: "This
is to be understood of primitive or radical terms. By the assertion that
man was silent till he had formed ideas to communicate, is not meant, that
any of our species were originally destitute of the natural expressions of
feeling or thought. All that it implies, is, that man had been subjected,
during an uncertain period of time, to the impressions made on his senses
by the material world, before he began to express the natural varieties of
these by articulated sounds. * * * * * * Though the abstraction which
formed such classes, might be greatly aided or supported by the signs; yet
it were absurd to suppose that the sign was invented, till the sense
demanded it."--_Ib._, p. 399.

[38] Dr. Alexander Murray too, In accounting for the frequent abbreviation
of words, seems to suggest the possibility of giving them the celerity of
thought: "Contraction is a change which results from a propensity to make
the signs _as rapid as the thoughts_ which they express. Harsh combinations
soon suffer contraction. Very long words preserve only the principal, that
is, the accented part. If a nation accents its words on the last syllable,
the preceding ones will often be short, and liable to contraction. If it
follow a contrary practice, the terminations are apt to decay."--History of
European Languages, Vol. I, p. 172.

[39] "We cannot form a distinct idea of any moral or intellectual quality,
unless we find some trace of it in ourselves."--_Beattie's Moral Science,
Part Second, Natural Theology_, Chap. II, No. 424.

[40] "Aristotle tells us that the world is a copy or transcript of those
ideas which are in the mind of the first Being, and that those ideas which
are in the mind of man, are a transcript of the world. To this we may add,
that words are the transcripts of those ideas which are in the mind of man,
and that writing or printing _are_ [is] the transcript of
words."--_Addison, Spect._, No. 166.

[41] Bolingbroke on Retirement and Study, Letters on History, p. 364.

[42] See this passage in "The Economy of Human Life," p. 105--a work
feigned to be a compend of Chinese maxims, but now generally understood to
have been written or compiled by _Robert Dodsley_, an eminent and ingenious
bookseller in London.

[43] "Those philosophers whose ideas of _being_ and _knowledge_ are derived
from body and sensation, have a short method to explain the nature of
_Truth_.--It is a _factitious_ thing, made by every man for himself; which
comes and goes, just as it is remembered and forgot; which in the order of
things makes its appearance _the last_ of all, being not only subsequent to
sensible objects, but even to our sensations of them! According to this
hypothesis, there are many truths, which have been, and are no longer;
others, that will be, and have not been yet; and multitudes, that possibly
may never exist at all. But there are other reasoners, who must surely have
had very different notions; those, I mean, who represent Truth not as _the
last_, but as _the first_ of beings; who call it _immutable, eternal,
omnipresent_; attributes that all indicate something more than
human."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 403.

[44] Of the best method of teaching grammar, I shall discourse in an other
chapter. That methods radically different must lend to different results,
is no more than every intelligent person will suppose. The formation of
just methods of instruction, or true systems of science, is work for those
minds which are capable of the most accurate and comprehensive views of the
things to be taught. He that is capable of "originating and producing"
truth, or true "ideas," if any but the Divine Being is so, has surely no
need to be trained into such truth by any factitious scheme of education.
In all that he thus originates, he is himself a _Novum Organon_ of
knowledge, and capable of teaching others, especially those officious men
who would help him with their second-hand authorship, and their paltry
catechisms of common-places. I allude here to the fundamental principle of
what in some books is called "_The Productive System of Instruction_," and
to those schemes of grammar which are professedly founded on it. We are
told that, "The _leading principle_ of this system, is that which its name
indicates--that the child should be regarded not as a mere recipient of the
ideas of others, but as an agent _capable of collecting, and originating,
and producing_ most of the ideas which are necessary for its education,
when presented with the objects or the facts from which they may be
derived."--_Smith's New Gram., Pref., p. 5: Amer. Journal of Education, New
Series_, Vol. I, No. 6, Art. 1. It ought to be enough for any teacher, or
for any writer, if he finds his readers or his pupils ready _recipients_ of
the ideas which he aims to convey. What more they know, they can never owe
to him, unless they learn it from him against his will; and what they
happen to lack, of understanding or believing him, may very possibly be
more his fault than theirs.

[45] Lindley Murray, anonymously copying somebody, I know not whom, says:
"Words derive their meaning from the consent and practice of those who use
them. _There is no necessary connexion between words and ideas_. The
association between the sign and the thing signified, is purely
arbitrary."--_Octavo Gram._, Vol. i, p. 139. The second assertion here
made, is very far from being literally true. However arbitrary may be the
use or application of words, their connexion with ideas is so necessary,
that they cannot be words without it. Signification, as I shall hereafter
prove, is a part of the very essence of a word, the most important element
of its nature. And Murray himself says, "The understanding and language
have a strict connexion."--_Ib._, Vol. i, p. 356. In this, he changes
without amendment the words of Blair: "Logic and rhetoric have here, as in
many other cases, a strict connexion."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 120.

[46] "The language which is, at present, spoken throughout Great Britain,
is neither the ancient primitive speech of the island, nor derived from it;
but is altogether of foreign origin. The language of the first inhabitants
of our island, beyond doubt, was the Celtic, or Gaelic, common to them with
Gaul; from which country, it appears, by many circumstances, that Great
Britain was peopled. This Celtic tongue, which is said to be very
expressive and copious, and is, probably, one of the most ancient languages
in the world, obtained once in most of the western regions of Europe. It
was the language of Gaul, of Great Britain, of Ireland, and very probably,
of Spain also; till, in the course of those revolutions which by means of
the conquests, first, of the Romans, and afterwards, of the northern
nations, changed the government, speech, and, in a manner, the whole face
of Europe, _this tongue was gradually obliterated_; and now subsists only
in the mountains of Wales, in the Highlands of Scotland, and among the wild
Irish. For the Irish, the Welsh, and the Erse, are no other than different
dialects of the same tongue, the ancient Celtic."--_Blair's Rhetoric_,
Lect. IX, p. 85.

[47] With some writers, the _Celtic_ language is _the Welsh_; as may be
seen by the following extract: "By this he requires an Impossibility, since
much the greater Part of Mankind can by no means spare 10 or 11 Years of
their Lives in learning those dead Languages, to arrive at a perfect
Knowledge of their own. But by this Gentleman's way of Arguing, we ought
not only to be Masters of _Latin_ and _Greek_, but of _Spanish, Italian,
High- Dutch, Low-Dutch, French_, the _Old Saxon, Welsh, Runic, Gothic_, and
_Islandic_; since much the greater number of Words of common and general
Use are derived from _those Tongues_. Nay, by the same way of Reasoning we
may prove, that the _Romans_ and _Greeks_ did not understand their own
Tongues, because they were not acquainted with _the Welsh, or ancient
Celtic_, there being above 620 radical _Greek_ Words derived from _the
Celtic_, and of the Latin a much greater Number."--_Preface to Brightland's
Grammar_, p. 5.

[48] The author of this specimen, through a solemn and sublime poem in ten
books, _generally_ simplified the preterit verb of the second person
singular, by omitting the termination _st_ or _est_, whenever his measure
did not require the additional syllable. But his tuneless editors have, in
many instances, taken the rude liberty both to spoil his versification, and
to publish under his name what he did not write. They have given him _bad
prosody_, or unutterable _harshness of phraseology_, for the sake of what
they conceived to be _grammar_. So _Kirkham_, in copying the foregoing
passage, alters it as he will; and alters it _differently_, when he happens
to write some part of it twice: as,

"That morning, thou, that _slumberedst_ not before,
Nor _slept_, great Ocean! _laidst_ thy waves at rest,
And _hushed_ thy mighty minstrelsy."--_Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 203.


"That morning, thou, that _slumberedst_ not before,
Nor _sleptst_, great Ocean, _laidst_ thy waves at rest,
And _hush'dst_ thy mighty minstrelsy."--_Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 44.

[49] _Camenes_, the _Muses_, whom Horace called _Camaenae_. The former is an
English plural from the latter, or from the Latin word _camena_, a muse or
song. These lines are copied from Dr. Johnson's History of the English
Language; their _orthography_ is, in some respects, _too modern_ for the
age to which they are assigned.

[50] The Saxon characters being known nowadays to but very few readers, I
have thought proper to substitute for them, in the latter specimens of this
chapter, the Roman; and, as the old use of colons and periods for the
smallest pauses, is liable to mislead a common observer, the punctuation
too has here been modernized.

[51] Essay on Language, by William S. Cardell, New York, 1825, p. 2. This
writer was a great admirer of Horne Tooke, from whom he borrowed many of
his notions of grammar, but not this extravagance. Speaking of the words
_right_ and _just_, the latter says, "They are applicable only to _man; to
whom alone language belongs_, and of whose sensations only words are the
representatives."--_Diversions of Purley_, Vol. ii, p. 9.

[52] CARDELL: _Both Grammars_, p. 4.

[53] "_Quoties dicimus, toties de nobis judicatur_."--Cicero. "As often as
we speak, so often are we judged."

[54] "Nor had he far to seek for the source of our impropriety in the use
of words, when he should reflect that the study of our own language, has
never been made a part of the education of our youth. Consequently, the use
of words is got wholly by chance, according to the company that we keep, or
the books that we read." SHERIDAN'S ELOCUTION, _Introd._, p. viii, dated
"July 10, 1762," 2d Amer. Ed.

[55] "To Write and Speak correctly, gives a Grace, and gains a favourable
Attention to what one has to say: And since 'tis _English_, that an English
Gentleman will have constant use of, that is the Language he should chiefly
Cultivate, and wherein most care should be taken to polish and perfect his
Stile. To speak or write better _Latin_ than _English_, may make a Man be
talk'd of, but he would find it more to his purpose to Express himself well
in his own Tongue, that he uses every moment, than to have the vain
Commendation of others for a very insignificant quality. This I find
universally neglected, and no care taken any where to improve Young Men in
their own Language, that they may thoroughly understand and be Masters of
it. If any one among us have a facility or purity more than ordinary in his
Mother Tongue, it is owing to Chance, or his Genius, or any thing, rather
than to his Education or any care of his Teacher. To Mind what _English_
his Pupil speaks or writes is below the Dignity of one bred up amongst
_Greek_ and _Latin_, though he have but little of them himself. These are
the learned Languages fit only for learned Men to meddle with and teach:
_English_ is the Language of the illiterate Vulgar."--_Locke, on
Education_, p. 339; _Fourth Ed., London_, 1699.

[56] A late author, in apologizing for his choice in publishing a grammar
without forms of praxis, (that is, without any provision for a stated
application of its principles by the learner,) describes the whole business
of _Parsing_ as a "dry and uninteresting recapitulation of the disposal of
a few parts of speech, and their _often times told_ positions and
influence;" urges "the _unimportance_ of parsing, _generally_;" and
represents it to be only "a finical and ostentatious parade of practical
pedantry."--_Wright's Philosophical Gram._, pp. 224 and 226. It would be no
great mistake to imagine, that _this gentleman's system_ of grammar,
applied in any way to practice, could not fail to come under this
unflattering description; but, to entertain this notion of parsing in
general, is as great an error, as that which some writers have adopted on
the other hand, of making this exercise their sole process of inculcation,
and supposing it may profitably supersede both the usual arrangement of the
principles of grammar and the practice of explaining them by definitions.
It is asserted in Parkhurst's "English Grammar for Beginners, on the
Inductive Method of Instruction," that, "to teach the child a definition at
the outset, is beginning at the _wrong end_;" that, "with respect to all
that goes under the name of etymology in grammar, it is learned chiefly by
practice in parsing, and scarcely at all by the aid of definitions."--
_Preface_, pp. 5 and 6.

[57] Hesitation in speech may arise from very different causes. If we do
not consider this, our efforts to remove it may make it worse. In most
instances, however, it may be overcome by proper treatment, "Stammering,"
says a late author, "is occasioned by an _over-effort to articulate_; for
when the mind of the speaker is so occupied with his subject as not to
allow him to reflect upon his defect, he will talk without difficulty. All
stammerers can sing, owing to the continuous sound, and the slight manner
in which the consonants are touched in singing; so a drunken man can run,
though he cannot walk or stand still."--_Gardiner's Music of Nature_, p.

"To think rightly, is of knowledge; to speak fluently, is of nature;
To read with profit, is of care; but to write aptly, is of practice."
_Book of Thoughts_, p. 140.

[58] "There is nothing more becoming [to] a _Gentleman_, or more useful in
all the occurrences of life, than to be able, on any occasion, to speak
well, and to the purpose."--_Locke, on Education_, Sec.171. "But yet, I think
I may ask my reader, whether he doth not know a great many, who live upon
their estates, and so, with the name, should have the qualities of
Gentlemen, who cannot so much as tell a story as they should; much less
speak clearly and persuasively in any business. This I think not to be so
much their fault, as the fault of their education.--They have been taught
_Rhetoric_, but yet never taught how to express themselves handsomely with
their tongues or pens in the language they are always to use; as if the
names of the figures that embellish the discourses of those who understood
the art of speaking, were the very art and skill of speaking well. _This,
as all other things of practice, is to be learned, not by a few, or a great
many rules given; but by_ EXERCISE _and_ APPLICATION _according to_ GOOD
RULES, _or rather_ PATTERNS, _till habits are got, and a facility of doing
it well_."--_Ib._, Sec.189. The forms of parsing and correcting which the
following work supplies, are "_patterns_," for the performance of these
practical "_exercises_;" and _such patterns_ as ought to be implicitly
followed, by every one who means to be a ready and correct speaker on these

[59] The principal claimants of "the Inductive Method" of Grammar, are
Richard W. Green, Roswell C. Smith, John L. Parkhurst, Dyor H. Sanborn,
Bradford Frazee, and, Solomon Barrett, Jr.; a set of writers, differing
indeed in their qualifications, but in general not a little deficient in
what constitutes an accurate grammarian.

[60] William C. Woodbridge edited the Journal, and probably wrote the
article, from which the author of "English Grammar on the Productive
System" took his "_Preface_."

[61] Many other grammars, later than Murray's, have been published, some in
England, some in America, and some in both countries; and among these there
are, I think, a few in which a little improvement has been made, in the
methods prescribed for the exercises of parsing and correcting. In most,
however, _nothing of the kind has been attempted_. And, of the formularies
which have been given, the best that I have seen, are still miserably
defective, and worthy of all the censure that is expressed in the paragraph
above; while others, that appear in works not entirely destitute of merit,
are absolutely _much worse_ than Murray's, and worthy to condemn to a
speedy oblivion the books in which they are printed. In lieu of forms of
expression, clear, orderly, accurate, and full; such as a young parser
might profitably imitate; such as an experienced one would be sure to
approve; what have we? A chaos of half-formed sentences, for the ignorant
pupil to flounder in; an infinite abyss of blunders, which a world of
criticism could not fully expose! See, for example, the seven pages of
parsing, in the neat little book entitled, "A Practical Grammar of the
English Language, by the Rev. David Blair: Seventh Edition: London, 1815:"
pp. 49 to 57. I cannot consent to quote more than one short paragraph of
the miserable jumble which these pages contain. Yet the author is evidently
a man of learning, and capable of writing well on some subjects, if not on
this. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" Form: "_Bless_, a verb, (repeat 97);
active (repeat 99); active voice (102); _infinitive mood_ (107); _third
person, soul being the nominative_ (118); present tense (111); conjugate
the verb after the pattern (129); its object is Lord (99)."--_Blair's
Gram._, p. 50. Of the paragraphs referred to, I must take some notice:
"107. The _imperative_ mood commands or orders or intreats."--_Ib._, p. 19.
"118. The _second person_ is always the pronoun _thou_ or _you_ in the
singular, and _ye_ or _you_ in the plural."--_Ib._, p. 21. "111. The
_imperative_ mood has no distinction of tense: and the _infinitive_ has no
distinction of persons."--_Ib._, p. 20. Now the author should have said:
"_Bless_ is a redundant active-transitive verb, from _bless, blessed_ or
_blest, blessing, blessed_ or _blest_; found in the _imperative_ mood,
present tense, _second_ person, and singular number:" and, if he meant to
parse the word _syntactically_, he should have added: "and agrees with its
nominative _thou_ understood; according to the rule which says, 'Every
finite verb must agree with its subject or nominative, in person and
number.' Because the meaning is--_Bless thou_ the Lord." This is the whole
story. But, in the form above, several things are false; many,
superfluous; some, deficient; several, misplaced; nothing, right. Not much
better are the models furnished by _Kirkham, Smith, Lennie, Bullions_, and
other late authors.

[62] Of Dr. Bullions's forms of parsing, as exhibited in his English
Grammar, which is a modification of Lennie's Grammar, it is difficult to
say, whether they are most remarkable for their deficiencies, their
redundancies, or their contrariety to other teachings of the same author or
authors. Both Lennie and Bullions adopt the rule, that, "An _ellipsis_ is
_not allowable_ when it would obscure the sentence, weaken its force, or be
attended with an impropriety."--_L._, p. 91; _B._, p. 130. And the latter
strengthens this doctrine with several additional observations, the first
of which reads thus: "In general, _no word should be omitted_ that is
necessary to the _full and correct construction_, or even _harmony_ of a
sentence."--_Bullions, E. Gr._, 130. Now the parsing above alluded to, has
been thought particularly commendable for its _brevity_--a quality
certainly desirable, so far as it consists with the end of parsing, or with
the more needful properties of a good style, clearness, accuracy, ease, and
elegance. But, if the foregoing rule and observation are true, the models
furnished by these writers are not commendably brief, but miserably
defective. Their brevity is, in fact, such as renders them all _bad
English_; and not only so, it makes them obviously inadequate to their
purpose, as bringing into use but a part of the principles which the
learner had studied. It consists only in the omission of what ought to have
been inserted. For example, this short line, "_I lean upon the Lord_," is
parsed by both of these gentlemen thus: "_I, the first personal_ pronoun,
masculine, or feminine, singular, _the_ nominative--_lean_, a verb,
_neuter_, first person singular, present, indicative--_upon_, a
preposition--_the_, an article, the definite--_Lord_, a noun, masculine,
singular, the objective, (governed by _upon_.)"--_Lennie's Principles of
English Gram._, p. 51; _Bullions's_, 74. This is a little sample of their
etymological parsing, in which exercise they generally omit not only all
the definitions or "reasons" of the various terms applied, but also all the
following particulars: first, the verb _is_, and certain _definitives_ and
_connectives_, which are "necessary to the full and correct construction"
of their sentences; secondly, the distinction of nouns as _proper_ or
_common_; thirdly, the _person_ of nouns, _first, second_, or _third_;
fourthly, the words, _number, gender_, and _case_, which are necessary to
the sense and construction of certain words used; fifthly, the distinction
of adjectives as belonging to _different classes_; sixthly, the division of
verbs as being _regular_ or _irregular, redundant_ or _defective_;
seventhly, sometimes, (Lennie excepted,) the division of verbs as _active,
passive_, or _neuter_; eighthly, the words _mood_ and _tense_, which
Bullions, on page 131, pronounces "quite unnecessary," and inserts in his
own formule on page 132; ninthly, the distinction of adverbs as expressing
_time, place, degree_, or _manner_; tenthly, the distinction of
conjunctions as _copulative_ or disjunctive; lastly, the distinction of
interjections as indicating _different emotions_. All these things does
their completest specimen of etymological parsing lack, while it is grossly
encumbered with parentheses of syntax, which "_must be omitted_ till the
pupil get the _rules_ of syntax."--Lennie, p. 51. It is also vitiated with
several absurdities, contradictions, and improper changes of expression:
as, "_His, the third personal pronoun_;" (B., p. 23;)--"_me, the first
personal pronoun_;" (_Id._, 74;)--"_A_, The indefinite article;" (_Id._,
73;)--"_a_, an article, the indefinite;" (_Id._, 74;)--"When the _verb is
passive_, parse thus: '_A verb active_, in the passive voice, _regular,
irregular_,' &c."--_Bullions_, p. 131. In stead of teaching sufficiently,
as elements of etymological parsing, the definitions which belong to this
exercise, and then dismissing them for the principles of syntax, Dr.
Bullions encumbers his method of syntactical parsing with such a series of
etymological questions and answers as cannot but make it one of the
slowest, longest, and most tiresome ever invented. He thinks that the
pupil, after parsing any word syntactically, "_should be requested to
assign a reason for every thing contained in his statement!_"--_Principles
of E. Grammar_, p. 131. And the teacher is to ask questions as numerous as
the reasons! Such is the parsing of a text-book which has been pronounced
"superior to any other, for use in our common schools"--"a _complete_
grammar of the language, and _available for every purpose_ for which Mr.
Brown's can possibly be used."--_Ralph K. Finch's Report_, p, 12.

[63] There are many other critics, besides Murray and Alger, who seem not
to have observed the import of _after_ and _before_ in connexion with the
tenses. Dr. Bullions, on page 139th of his English Grammar, copied the
foregoing example from Lennie, who took it from Murray. Even Richard Hiley,
and William Harvey Wells, grammarians of more than ordinary tact, have been
obviously misled by the false criticism above cited. One of Hiley's Rules
of Syntax, with its illustration, stands thus: "In _the use of the
different tenses_, we must particularly _observe to use that tense_ which
clearly and properly conveys the sense intended; thus, instead of saying,
'After I _visited_ Europe, I returned to America;' we should say, 'After I
_had visited_ Europe, I returned to America."--_Hiley's Gram._, p. 90. Upon
this he thought it needful to comment thus: "'After I _visited_ Europe, I
returned to America;' _this sentence is incorrect_; _visited_ ought to be
_had visited_, because the action _implied_ by the verb _visited_ WAS
COMPLETED _before_ the other past action _returned_."--_Ib._, p. 91. See
nearly the same thing in _Wells's School Grammar, 1st Edition_, p. 151; but
his later editions are wisely altered. Since "_visited_ and _was
completed_" are of the same tense, the argument from the latter, if it
proves any thing, proves the former to be _right_, and the proposed change
needless, or perhaps worse than needless. "I _visited_ Europe _before_ I
_returned_ to America," or, "I _visited_ Europe, _and afterwards returned_
to America," is good English, and not to be improved by any change of
tense; yet here too we see the _visiting_ "_was completed before_" the
return, or HAD BEEN COMPLETED _at the time_ of the return. I say, "The
Pluperfect Tense is that which expresses what _had taken_ place _at_ some
past time mentioned: as, 'I _had seen_ him, _when_ I met you.'" Murray
says, "The Pluperfect Tense represents a _thing_ not only as past, but also
as prior to some _other point of time_ specified in the sentence: as, I
_had finished_ my letter _before_ he arrived." Hiley says, "The
_Past-Perfect_ expresses an action or event which _was past before_ some
_other past action or event_ mentioned in the sentence, _and to which_ it
refers; as, I _had finished_ my lessons _before_ he came." With this, Wells
appears to concur, his example being similar. It seems to me, that these
last two definitions, and their example too, are bad; because by the help
of _before_ or _after_, "_the past before the past_" _may_ be clearly
expressed by the _simple past tense_: as, "I _finished_ my letter _before_
he _arrived_."--"I _finished_ my lessons _before_ he _came_." "He _arrived_
soon _after_ I _finished_ the letter."--"Soon _after_ it _was completed_,
he _came in_."

[64] Samuel Kirkham, whose grammar is briefly described in the third
chapter of this introduction, boldly lays the blame of all his philological
faults, upon our noble _language itself_; and even conceives, that a
well-written and faultless grammar cannot be a good one, because it will
not accord with that reasonless jumble which he takes every existing
language to be! How diligently he laboured to perfect his work, and with
what zeal for truth and accuracy, may be guessed from the following
citation: "The truth is, after all _which_ can be done to render the
definitions and rules of grammar comprehensive and accurate, they will
still be found, when critically examined by men of learning and science,
_more_ or _less_ exceptionable. _These exceptions and imperfections_ are
the unavoidable consequence of the _imperfections of the language_.
Language as well as every thing else _of human invention_, will always be
_imperfect_. Consequently, a perfect system of grammatical principles,
_would not suit it_. A perfect grammar will not be produced, until some
perfect being writes it for a perfect language; and a perfect language will
not be constructed, until _some super-human agency_ is employed in its
production. All grammatical principles and systems which are not _perfect_
are _exceptionable_."--_Kirkham's Grammar_, p. 66. The unplausible
sophistry of these strange remarks, and the palliation they afford to the
multitudinous defects of the book which contains them, may be left, without
further comment, to the judgement of the reader.

[65] The phrase _complex ideas_, or _compound ideas_, has been used for the
notions which we have of things consisting of different parts, or having
various properties, so as to embrace some sort of plurality: thus our ideas
of _all bodies_ and _classes of things_ are said to be complex or compound.
_Simple ideas_ are those in which the mind discovers no parts or plurality:
such are the ideas of _heat, cold, blueness, redness, pleasure, pain,
volition_, &c. But some writers have contended, that the _composition of
ideas_ is a fiction; and that all the complexity, in any case, consists
only in the use of a _general term_ in lieu of many particular ones. Locke
is on one side of this debate, Horne Tooke, on the other.

[66] Dilworth appears to have had a true _idea_ of the thing, but he does
not express it as a definition; "Q. Is _an_ Unit of one, a Number? A. _An_
Unit is a number, _because it may properly answer the question how
many!_"--_Schoolmaster's Assistant_, p. 2. A number in arithmetic, and a
number in grammar, are totally different things. The _plural_ number, as
_men_ or _horses_, does not tell _how many_; nor does the word _singular_
mean _one_, as the author of a recent grammar says it does. The _plural_
number is _one_ number, but it is not _the singular_. "The _Productive
System_" teaches thus: "What does the word _singular_ mean? It means
_one_."--Smith's New Gram., p. 7.

[67] It is truly astonishing that so great a majority of our grammarians
could have been so blindly misled, as they have been, in this matter; and
the more so, because a very good definition of a Letter was both published
and republished, about the time at which Lowth's first appeared: viz.,
"What is a letter? A Letter is the Sign, Mark, or Character of a simple or
uncompounded Sound. Are Letters Sounds? No. Letters are only the Signs or
Symbols of Sounds, not the Sounds themselves."--_The British Grammar_, p.
3. See the very same words on the second page of _Buchanan's "English
Syntax_," a work which was published as early as 1767.

[68] In Murray's octavo Grammar, this word is _the_ in the first chapter,
and _their_ in the second; in the duodecimo, it is _their_ in both places.

[69] "The _definitions_ and the _rules_ throughout the Grammar, are
expressed with neatness and perspicuity. They are as short and
comprehensive as the nature of the subject would admit: and they are well
adapted both to the understanding and the memory of young persons."--_Life
of L. Murray_, p. 245. "It may truly be said that the language in every
part of the work, is simple, correct, and perspicuous."--_Ib._, p. 246.

[70] For this definition, see _Murray's Gram._, 8vo, p. 40; _Duodecimo_,
41; _Smaller Gram._, 18; _Alger's_, 18; _Bacon's_, 15; _Frost's_, 8,
_Ingersoll's_, 17; _A Teacher's_, 8; _Maltby's_, 14; _T. H. Miller's_, 20;
_Pond's_, 18; _S. Putnam's_, 15; _Russell's_, 11; _Merchant's Murray_, 25;
and _Worcester's Univ. and Crit. Dictionary_. Many other grammarians have
attempted to define number; with what success a few examples will show:
(1.) "Number is the distinction of one from many."--_W. Allen's Gram._, p.
40; _Merchant's School Gram._, 28; _Greenleaf's_, 22; _Nutting's_, 17;
_Picket's_, 19; _D. Adams's_, 31. (2.) "Number is the distinction of one
from more."--_Fisher's Gram._, 51; _Alden's_, 7. (3.) "Number is the
distinction of one from several or many."--_Coar's Gram._, p. 24. (4.)
"Number is the distinction of one from more than one."--_Sanborn's Gram._,
p. 24; _J. Flint's_, 27; _Wells's, 52_. (5.) "Number is the distinction of
one from more than one, or many."--_Grant's Latin Gram._, p. 7. (6.) "What
is number? Number is the Distinction of one, from two, or many."--_British
Gram._, p. 89; _Buchanan's_, 16. (7.) "You inquire, 'What is number?'
Merely this: _the distinction_ of one from two, or many. Greek substantives
have _three_ numbers."--_Bucke's Classical Gram._, p. 38. All these authors
say, that, in English, "there are _two numbers_, the singular and the
plural." According to their explanations, then, we have _two "distinctions
of one from two, several, more, or many;"_ and the Greeks, by adding a dual
number, have _three_! Which, then, of the two or three modifications or
forms, do they mean, when they say, "Number is _the distinction_" &c.? Or,
if none of them, _what else_ is meant? All these definitions had their
origin in an old Latin one, which, although it is somewhat better, makes
doubtful logic in its application: "NUMERUS est, unius et multorum
distinctio. Numeri _igitur_ sunt _duo_; Singularis et Pluralis."--
_Ruddiman's Gram._, p. 21. This means: (8.) "Number is a distinction of one
and many. The numbers _therefore_ are _two_; the Singular and the Plural."
But we have yet other examples: as, (9.) "Number is the distinction of
_objects_, as one or more."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 39. "The _distinction_
of _objects_ as _one_," is very much like "_the consideration_ of _an
object_ as _more than one_." (10.) "Number distinguishes _objects_ as _one_
or more."--_Cooper's Murray_, p. 21; _Practical Gram._, p. 18. That is,
number makes the plural to be either plural or singular for distinction's
sake! (11.) "Number is the distinction of _nouns_ with regard to the
_objects_ signified, _as one_ or more."--_Fisk's Murray_, p. 19. Here, too,
number has "regard" to the same confusion: while, by a gross error, its
"distinction" is confined to "_nouns_" only! (12.) "Number is _that
property_ of a _noun_ by which it expresses _one_ or _more_ than
one."--_Bullions's E. Gram._, p. 12; _Analyt. Gram._, 25. Here again number
is improperly limited to "_a noun_;" and is said to be one sign of two, or
either of two, incompatible ideas! (13.) "Number shows _how many_ are
meant, whether one or more."--_Smith's new Gram._, p. 45. This is not a
_definition_, but a false assertion, in which Smith again confounds
arithmetic with grammar! _Wheat_ and _oats_ are of different numbers; but
neither of these numbers "means _a sum that may be counted_," or really
"shows _how many_ are meant." So of "_Man_ in general, _Horses_ in general,
&c."--_Brightland's Gram._, p. 77. (14.) "Number is _the difference_ in a
_noun or pronoun_, to denote either a single thing or more than
one."--_Davenport's Gram._, p. 14. This excludes the numbers of a _verb_,
and makes the singular and the plural to be essentially one thing. (15.)
"Number is a modification of nouns and verbs, &c. according as the thing
spoken of is represented, as, _one_ or _more_, with regard to
number."--_Burn's Gram._, p. 32. This also has many faults, which I leave
to the discernment of the reader. (16.) "What is number? Number _shows the
distinction_ of one from many."--_Wilcox's Gram._, p. 6. This is no answer
to the question asked; besides, it is obviously worse than the first form,
which has "_is_," for "_shows_." (17.) "What is Number? It is _the_
representation of _objects_ with respect to singleness, or plurality."
--_O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p. 34. If there are two numbers, they are neither
of them properly described in this definition, or in any of the preceding
ones. There is a gross misconception, in taking each or either of them to
be an alternate representation of two incompatible ideas. And this sort of
error is far from being confined to the present subject; it runs through a
vast number of the various definitions contained in our grammars. (18.)
"_Number_ is _the inflection_ of a _noun_, to indicate _one object or more
than one_. Or, _Number_ is _the expression_ of unity or of more than
unity."--_Hiley's Gram._, p. 14. How hard this author laboured to _think
what number is_, and could not! (19.) "Number is the distinction of _unity
and plurality_."--_Hart's E. Gram._, p. 40, Why say, "_distinction_;" the
numbers, or _distinctions_, being two? (20.) "Number is _the capacity of
nouns_ to represent either one or more than one object."--_Barrett's
Revised Gram._, p. 40. (21.) "Number is _a property_ of _the noun which_
denotes _one_ or _more_ than one."--_Weld's Gram._, 2d Ed., p. 55. (22.)
"Number is _a property_ of the _noun or pronoun_ [,] _by which it_ denotes
_one, or more_ than one."--_Weld's Gram., Abridged Ed._, p. 49. (23.)
"Number is _the property_ that distinguishes _one from more_ than
one."--_Weld's Gram., Improved Ed._, p. 60. This, of course, excludes the
plural. (24.) "Number is _a modification of nouns_ to denote whether one
object is meant, or more than one."--_Butler's Gram._, p. 19. (25.) "Number
is _that modification_ of the _Noun_ which distinguishes one from more than
one."--_Spencer's Gram._, p. 26. Now, it is plain, that not one of these
twenty-five definitions comports with the idea that the singular is one
number and the plural an other! Not one of them exhibits any tolerable
approach to accuracy, either of thought or of expression! Many of the
grammarians have not attempted any definition of _number_, or of _the
numbers_, though they speak of both the singular and the plural, and
perhaps sometimes apply the term _number_ to _the distinction_ which is _in
each_: for it is the property of the singular number, to distinguish unity
from plurality: and of the plural, to distinguish plurality from unity.
Among the authors who are thus silent, are Lily, Colet, Brightland, Harris,
Lowth, Ash, Priestly, Bicknell, Adam, Gould, Harrison, Comly, Jaudon,
Webster, Webber, Churchill, Staniford, Lennie, Dalton, Blair, Cobbett,
Cobb, A. Flint, Felch, Guy, Hall, and S. W. Clark. Adam and Gould, however,
in explaining the properties of _verbs_, say: "_Number_ marks _how many_ we
suppose to be, to act, or to suffer."--_A._, 80; _G._, 78.

[71] These are the parts of speech in some late grammars; as, Barrett's, of
1854, Butler's, Covell's, Day's, Frazee's, Fowle's New, Spear's, Weld's,
Wells's, and the Well-wishers'. In Frost's Practical Grammar, the words of
the language are said to be "divided into _eight_ classes," and the names
are given thus: "_Noun, Article, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition,
Conjunction, and Interjection_."--P. 29. But the author afterwards treats
of the _Adjective_, between the _Article_ and the _Pronoun_, just as if he
had forgotten to name it, and could not count nine with accuracy! In
Perley's Grammar, the parts of speech are a different eight: namely,
"_Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions,
Interjections_, and _Particles_!"--P. 8. S. W. Clark has Priestley's
classes, but calls Interjections "Exclamations."

[72] Felton, who is confessedly a modifier of Murray, claims as a merit,
"_the rejection of several useless parts of speech_" yet acknowledges
"_nine_," and treats of _ten_; "viz., _Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Participles,
Prepositions, Adjectives_, [Articles,] _Adverbs, Conjunctions,
Exclamations_."--_O. C. Felton's Gram._ p. 5, and p. 9.

[73] Quintilian is at fault here; for, in some of his writings, if not
generally, Aristotle recognized _four_ parts of speech; namely, verbs,
nouns, conjunctions, and articles. See _Aristot. de Poetica_, Cap. xx.

[74] "As there are ten different characters or figures in arithmetic to
represent all possible quantities, there are also ten kinds of words or
parts of speech to represent all possible sentences: viz.: article, noun,
adjective, pronoun, verb, participle, adverb, preposition, conjunction,
interjection."--_Chauvier's Punctuation_, p. 104.

[75] _The Friend_, 1829, Vol. ii, p. 117.

[76] _The Friend_, Vol. ii, p. 105.

[77] See the Preface to my Compendious English Grammar in the American
editions of _the Treasury of Knowledge_, Vol. i, p. 8.

[78] Some say that Brightland himself was the writer of this grammar; but
to suppose him the sole author, hardly comports with its dedication to the
Queen, by her "most Obedient and Dutiful _Subjects_, the _Authors_;" or
with the manner in which these are spoken of, in the following lines, by
the laureate:

"Then say what Thanks, what Praises must attend
_The Gen'rous Wits_, who thus could condescend!
Skill, that to Art's sublimest Orb can reach,
Employ'd its humble Elements to Teach!
Yet worthily Esteem'd, because we know
To raise _Their_ Country's Fame _they_ stoop'd so low."--TATE.

[79] Dr. Campbell, in his Philosophy of Rhetoric, page 158th, makes a
difficulty respecting the meaning of this passage: cites it as an instance
of the misapplication of the term _grammar_; and supposes the writer's
notion of the thing to have been, "of grammar in the abstract, _an_
universal archetype by which the particular grammars of all different
tongues ought to be regulated." And adds, "If this was his meaning, I
cannot say whether he is in the right or in the wrong, in this accusation.
I acknowledge myself to be entirely ignorant of this ideal grammar." It
would be more fair to suppose that Dr. Swift meant by "_grammar_" the rules
and principles according to which the English language ought to be spoken
and written; and, (as I shall hereafter show,) it is no great hyperbole to
affirm, that every part of the code--nay, well-nigh every one of these
rules and principles--is, in many instances, violated, if not by what may
be called _the language itself_, at least by those speakers and writers who
are under the strongest obligations to know and observe its true use.

[80] The phrase "_of any_" is here erroneous. These words ought to have
been omitted; or the author should have said--"the least valuable of _all_
his productions."

[81] This word _latter_ should have been _last_; for _three_ works are here
spoken of.

[82] With this opinion concurred the learned James White, author of a
Grammatical Essay on the English Verb, an octavo volume of more than three
hundred pages, published in London in 1761. This author says, "Our Essays
towards forming an English Grammar, have not been very many: from the reign
of Queen Elizabeth, to that of Queen Ann, there are but Two that the author
of the Present knows of: one in English by the renown'd Ben Jonson, and one
in Latin by the learn'd Dr. Wallis. In the reign of Queen Ann indeed, there
seems to have arisen a noble Spirit of ingenious Emulation in this Literary
way: and to this we owe the treatises compos'd at that period for the use
of schools, by Brightland, Greenwood, and Maittaire. But, since that time,
nothing hath appear'd, that hath come to this Essayist's knowledge,
deserving _to be taken any notice of_ as tending to illustrate our Language
by ascertaining the Grammar of it; except Anselm Bayly's Introduction to
Languages, Johnson's Grammar prefix'd to the Abridgement of his Dictionary,
and the late Dr. Ward's Essays upon the English Language.--These are all
the Treatises he hath met with, relative to this subject; all which he hath
perus'd _very_ attentively, and made the best use of them in his power. But
notwithstanding all these aids, something still remains to be done, at
least it so appears to him, _preparatory to attempting with success the
Grammar of our Language_. All our efforts of this kind seem to have been
render'd ineffectual hitherto, chiefly by the prevaliency of two false
notions: one of which is, that our Verbs have no Moods; and the other, that
our Language hath no Syntax."--_White's English Verb_, p. viii.

[83] A similar doctrine, however, is taught by no less an author than "the
Rev. Alexander Crombie, LL. D.," who says, in the first paragraph of his
introduction, "LANGUAGE consists of intelligible signs, and is the medium,
by which _the mind_ communicates _its thoughts_. It is either articulate,
or inarticulate; artificial, or natural. The former is peculiar to man; the
latter is _common to all animals_. By inarticulate language, we mean those
instinctive cries, by which the several tribes of inferior creatures are
enabled to express their sensations and desires. By articulate language is
understood a system of expression, composed of simple _sounds_, differently
modified by the organs of speech, and variously combined."--_Treatise on
the Etymology and Syntax of the English Language_, p. 1. See the same
doctrine also in _Hiley's Gram._, p. 141. The language which "is _common to
all animals_," can be no other than that in which AEsop's wolves and
weasels, goats and grasshoppers, talked--a language quite too unreal for
_grammar_. On the other hand, that which is composed of _sounds_ only, and
not of letters, includes but a mere fraction of the science.

[84] The pronoun _whom_ is not properly applicable to beasts, unless they
are _personified_: the relative _which_ would therefore, perhaps, have been
preferable here, though _whom_ has a better sound.--G. B.

[85] "The great difference between men and brutes, in the utterance of
sound by the mouth, consists in the power of _articulation_ in man, and the
entire want of it in brutes."--_Webster's Improved Gram._, p. 8.

[86] Strictly speaking, an _articulate sound_ is not a simple element of
speech, but rather a complex one, whether syllable or word; for
_articulate_ literally means _jointed_. But our grammarians in general,
have applied the term to the sound of a letter, a syllable, or a word,
indiscriminately: for which reason, it seems not very suitable to be used
alone in describing any of the three. Sheridan says, "The essence of a
syllable consists in _articulation only_, for every _articulate sound_ of
course forms a syllable."--_Lectures on Elocution_, p. 62. If he is right
in this, not many of our letters--or, perhaps more properly, none of
them--can singly represent articulate sounds. The looseness of this term
induces me to add or prefer an other. "The Rev. W. Allen," who comes as
near as any of our grammarians, to the true definition of a _letter_, says:
1. "The sounds used in language are called _articulate sounds_." 2. "A
letter is a character used in printing or writing, to represent an
_articulate_ sound."--_Allen's Elements of E. Gram._, p. 2. Dr. Adam says:
1. "A letter is the mark of _a sound_, or of _an articulation of_ sound."
2. "A vowel is properly called a _simple sound_; and the sounds formed by
the concourse of vowels and consonants, _articulate sounds_."--_Latin and
English Gram._, pp. 1 and 2.

[87] Of this sort of blunder, the following false definition is an
instance: "A _Vowel_ is a letter, _the name of which_ makes a full open
sound."--_Lennie's Gram._, p. 5; _Brace's_, 7; _Hazen's_, 10. All this is
just as true of a consonant as of a vowel. The comma too, used in this
sentence, defeats even the sense which the writers intended. It is surely
no description either of a vowel or of a consonant, to say, that it is a
letter, and that the name of a letter makes a full open sound. Again, a
late grammarian teaches, that the names of all the letters are nothing but
_Roman capitals_, and then seems to inquire which of _these names_ are
_vowels_, thus: "_Q_. How many letters are in the alphabet? _A_.
Twenty-six. _Q_. What are their names? _A_. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J,
K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z. _Q_. Which of _these_ are
called _Vowels_?"--_Fowle's Common School Gram., Part First_, p. 7. If my
worthy friend Fowle had known or considered _what are the names_ of the
letters in English, he might have made a better beginning to his grammar
than this.

[88] By the colloquial phrase, "to a Tee" we mean, "to a _nicety_, to a
_tittle_, a _jot_, an _iota_. Had the British poet Cawthorn, himself a
noted schoolmaster, known how to write the name of "T," he would probably
have preferred it in the following couplet:

"And swore by Varro's shade that he
Conceived the medal to a T."--_British Poets_, Vol. VII, p. 65.

Here the name would certainly be much fitter than the letter, because the
text does not in reality speak of the letter. With the names of the Greek
letters, the author was better acquainted; the same poem exhibits two of
them, where the characters themselves are spoken of:

"My eye can trace divinely true,
In this dark curve a little Mu;
And here, you see, there _seems_ to lie
The ruins of a Doric Xi."--_Ibidem_.

The critical reader will see that "_seems_" should be _seem_, to agree with
its nominative "_ruins_."

[89] Lily, reckoning without the H, J, or V, speaks of the Latin letters as
"_twenty-two_;" but _says nothing_ concerning their names. Ruddiman, Adam,
Grant, Gould, and others, who include the H, J, and V, rightly state the
number to be "_twenty-five_;" but, concerning their names, are likewise
_entirely silent_. Andrews and Stoddard, not admitting the K, teach thus:
"The letters of the Latin language are _twenty-four_. They _have the same
names_ as the corresponding characters in English."--_Andrews and
Stoddard's Latin Gram._, p. 1. A later author speaks thus: "The Latin
Alphabet consists of _twenty-five_ letters, _the same in name_ and form as
the English, but without the _w_."--_Bullions's Latin Gram._, p. 1. It
would probably be nearer to the truth, to say, "The Latin Alphabet, _like
the French_, has no W; it consists of twenty-five letters, which are _the
same in name_ and form _as the French_." Will it be pretended that the
French names and the English do not differ?

[90] The Scotch _Iz_ and the Craven _Izzet_, if still in use anywhere, are
names strictly local, not properly English, nor likely to spread. "IZZET,
the letter Z. This is probably the corruption of _izzard_, the old and
common name for the letter, though I know not, says _Nares_, on what
authority."--_Glossary of Craven, w. Izzet._ "_Z z, zed_, more commonly
called _izzard_ or _uzzard_, that is, _s hard_."--_Dr. Johnson's Gram._, p.

"And how she sooth'd me when with study sad
I labour'd on to reach the final Zad."--_Crabbe's Borough_, p. 228.

[91] William Bolles, in his new Dictionary, says of the letter Z: "Its
sound is uniformly that of a _hard_ S." The _name_, however, he pronounces
as I do; though he writes it not _Zee_ but ze; giving not the _orthography_
of the name, as he should have done, but a mere index of its pronunciation.
Walker proves by citations from Professor Ward and Dr. Wallis, that these
authors considered the _sharp_ or _hissing_ sound of _s_ the "_hard_"
sound; and the _flat_ sound, like that of _z_, its "_soft_" sound. See his
_Dictionary_, 8vo, p. 53.

[92] Dr. Webster died in 1843. Most of this work was written while he was
yet in vigour.

[93] This old definition _John L. Parkhurst_ disputes:--says it "is
_ambiguous_;"--questions whether it means, "that the _name_ of such a
letter, or the _simple sound_," requires a vowel! "If the latter," says he,
"_the assertion is false._ The simple sounds, represented by the
consonants, can be uttered separately, distinctly, and perfectly. It can be
done with the _utmost ease_, even by a little child."--_Parkhurst's
Inductive Gram. for Beginners_, p. 164. He must be one of these modern
philosophers who delight to _make mouths_ of these voiceless elements, to
show how much may be done without sound from the larynx.

[94] This test of what is, or is not, a vowel sound or a consonant sound,
is often appealed to, and is generally admitted to be a just one. Errors in
the application of _an_ or _a_ are not unfrequent, but they do not affect
the argument. It cannot be denied, that it is proper to use _a_, and not
proper to use _an_, before the initial sound of _w_ or _y_ with a vowel
following. And this rule holds good, whether the sound be expressed by
these particular letters, or by others; as in the phrases, "_a wonder, a
one, a yew, a use, a ewer, a humour, a yielding temper_." But I have heard
it contended, that these are vowel sounds, notwithstanding they require
_a_; and that the _w_ and _y_ are always vowels, because even a vowel sound
(it was said) requires _a_ and not _an_, whenever an other vowel sound
immediately follows it. Of this notion, the following examples are a
sufficient refutation: _an aeronaut, an aerial tour, an oeiliad, an
eyewink, an eyas, an iambus, an oaesis, an o'ersight, an oil, an oyster, an
owl, an ounce_. The initial sound of _yielding_ requires _a_, and not _an_;
but those who call the _y_ a vowel, say, it is equivalent to the unaccented
long _e_. This does not seem to me to be exactly true; because the latter
sound requires _an_, and not _a_; as, "Athens, as well as Thebes, had _an

[95] Dr. Rush, in his Philosophy of the Human Voice, has exhibited some
acuteness of observation, and has written with commendable originality. But
his accuracy is certainly not greater than his confidence. On page 57th, he
says, "The _m, n_, and _ng_, are _purely nasal_;" on page 401st, "Some of
the tonic elements, and one of the subtonics, are made _by the assistance
of the lips_; they are _o_-we, _oo_-ze, _ou_-r, and _m_." Of the intrinsic
value of his work, I am not prepared or inclined to offer any opinion; I
criticise him only so far as he strikes at grammatical principles long
established, and worthy still to be maintained.

[96] Dr. Comstock, by enumerating as elementary the sound of the diphthong
_ou_, as in _our_, and the complex power of _wh_, as in _what_, (which
sounds ought not to be so reckoned,) makes the whole number of vocal
elements in English to be "_thirty-eight_." See _Comstock's Elocution_, p.

[97] This word is commonly heard in two syllables, _yune'yun_; but if
Walker is right in making it three, _yu'ne-un_, the sound of _y_ consonant
is heard in it but once. Worcester's notation is "_y=un'yun_." The long
sound of _u_ is _yu_; hence Walker calls the letter, when thus sounded, a
"semi-consonant diphthong."

[98] Children ought to be accustomed to speak loud, and to pronounce all
possible sounds and articulations, even those of such foreign languages as
they will be obliged to learn; for almost every language has its particular
sounds which we pronounce with difficulty, if we have not been early
accustomed to them. Accordingly, nations who have the greatest number of
sounds in their speech, learn the most easily to pronounce foreign
languages, since they know their articulations by having met with similar
sounds in their own language."--_Spurzheim, on Education_, p. 159.

[99] If it be admitted that the two semivowels _l_ and _n_ have vocality
enough of their own to form a very feeble syllable, it will prove only that
there are these exceptions to an important general rule. If the name of
_Haydn_ rhymes with _maiden_, it makes one exception to the rule of
writing; but it is no part of the English language. The obscure sound of
which I speak, is sometimes improperly confounded with that of short _u_;
thus a recent writer, who professes great skill in respect to such matters,
says, "One of the most common sounds in our language is that of the vowel
_u_, as in the word _urn_, or as the diphthong _ea_ in the word _earth_,
for which we have no character. Writers have made various efforts to
express it, as in _earth, berth, mirth, worth, turf_, in which all the
vowels are indiscriminately used in turn. [Fist] _This defect has led_ to
the absurd method of placing the vowel after the consonants, instead of
between them, when a word _terminates with this sound_; as in the
following, _Bible, pure, centre, circle_, instead of _Bibel, puer, center,
cirkel_."--_Gardiner's Music of Nature_, p. 498. "It would be a great step
towards perfection to spell our words as they are pronounced!"--_Ibid._, p.
499. How often do the reformers of language multiply the irregularities of
which they complain!

[100] "The number of simple sounds in our tongue is twenty-eight, 9 Vowels
and 19 Consonants. _H_ is no letter, but merely a mark of
aspiration."--_Jones's Prosodial Gram. before his Dict._, p. 14.

"The number of simple vowel and consonant sounds in our tongue is
twenty-eight, and one pure aspiration _h_, making in all
twenty-nine."--_Bolles's Octavo Dict._, Introd., p. 9.

"The number of _letters_ in the English language is twenty-six; but the
number of _elements_ is thirty-eight."--_Comstock's Elocution_, p. 18.
"There are thirty-eight elements in the English alphabet, and to represent
those elements by appropriate characters, we should have thirty-eight
letters. There is, then, a deficiency in our alphabet of twelve
letters--and he who shall supply this imperfection, will be one of the
greatest benefactors of the human race."--_Ib._, p. 19. "Our alphabet is
both redundant and defective. _C, q_, and _z_, are respectively represented
by _k_ or _s, k_, and _ks_, or _gz_; and the remaining twenty-three letters
are employed to represent _forty-one_ elementary sounds."--_Wells's School
Gram._, 1st Ed., p. 36.

"The simple sounds were in no wise to be reckoned of any certain number: by
the first men they were determined to no more than ten, as spine suppose;
as others, fifteen or twenty; it is however certain that mankind in general
never exceed _twenty_ simple sounds; and of these only five are reckoned
strictly such."--_Bicknell's Grammar_, Part ii, p. 4.

[101] "When these sounds are openly pronounced, they produce the familiar
assent _ay_: which, by the old English dramatic writers, was often
expressed by _I_."--_Walker_. We still hear it so among the vulgar; as,
"_I, I_, sir, presently!" for "_Ay, ay_, sir, presently!" Shakspeare wrote,

"To sleepe, perchance to dreame; _I_, there's the rub."
--_Bucke's Classical Gram._, p. 143.

[102] Walker pronounces _yew_ and _you_ precisely alike, "_yoo_;" but,
certainly, _ew_ is not commonly equivalent to _oo_, though some make it so:
thus Gardiner, in his scheme of the vowels, says, "_ew_ equals _oo_, as in
_new, noo_."--_Music of Nature_, p. 483. _Noo_ for _new_, is a _vulgarism_,
to my ear.--G. BROWN.

[103] "As harmony is an inherent property of sound, the ear should he first
called to the attention of _simple sounds_; though, in reality, all are
composed _of three_, so nicely blended as to _appear_ but as
one."--_Gardiner's Music of Nature_, p. 8. "Every sound is a mixture of
three tones; as much as a ray of light is composed of three prismatic
colours."--_Ib._, p. 387.

[104] The titulary name of the sacred volume is "The Holy Bible." The word
_Scripture_ or _Scriptures_ is a _common_ name for the writings contained
in this inestimable volume, and, in the book itself, is seldom
distinguished by a capital; but, in other works, it seems proper in general
to write it so, by way of eminence.

[105] "Benedictus es Domine Deus Israel patris nostri ab eterno in
eternum."--_Vulgate_. "O Eternel! Dieu d'Israel, notre pere, tu es beni de
tout temps et a toujours."--_Common French Bible_. "[Greek: Eulogaetos ei
Kyrie ho theos Israel ho pataer haemon apo tou aionos kai heos tou

[106] Where the word "_See_" accompanies the reference, the reader may
generally understand that the citation, whether right or wrong in regard to
grammar, is not in all respects _exactly_ as it will be found in the place
referred to. Cases of this kind, however, will occur but seldom; and it is
hoped the reasons for admitting a few, will be sufficiently obvious.
Brevity is indispensable; and some rules are so generally known and
observed, that one might search long for half a dozen examples of their
undesigned violation. Wherever an error is made intentionally in the
Exercises, the true reading and reference are to be expected in the Key.

[107] "Et irritaverunt ascendentes in mare, Mare rubrum."--_Latin Vulgate,
folio, Psal._ cv, 7. This, I think, should have been "Mare Rubrum," with
two capitals.--G. BROWN.

[108] The printers, from the manner in which they place their types before
them, call the small letters "_lower-case letters_," or "_letters of the
lower case_."

[109] I imagine that "_plagues_" should here be _plague_, in the singular
number, and not plural. "Ero more ius, o mors; morsus tuus ero,
inferne."--_Vulgate_. "[Greek: Pou hae dikae sou, thanate; pou to kentron
sou, aidae;]"--_Septuagint, ibid._

[110] It is hoped that not many persons will be so much puzzled as are Dr.
Latham and Professor Fowler, about the application of this rule. In their
recent works on The English Language, these gentlemen say, "In certain
words of more than one syllable, _it is difficult to say_ to which syllable
the intervening Consonant belongs. For instance, _does_ the _v_ in _river_
and the _v_ in _fever_ belong to the first or to the second syllable? Are
the words to be divided thus, _ri-ver, fe-ver_? or thus, _riv-er_,
_fev-er_?"--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 1850, Sec.85; _Latham's Hand-Book_, p. 95.
Now I suppose it plain, that, by the rule given above, _fever_ is to be
divided in the former way, and _river_ in the latter; thus, _fe-ver_,
_riv-er_. But this paragraph of Latham's or Fowler's is written, not to
disembarrass the learner, but just as if it were a grammarian's business to
confound his readers with fictitious dilemmas--and those expressed
ungrammatically! Of the two Vees, so illogically associated in one
question, and so solecistically spoken of by the singular verb "_does_,"
one belongs to the former syllable, and the other, to the latter; nor do I
discover that "it is difficult to say" this, or to be well assured that it
is right. What an admirable passage for one great linguist to _steal_ from
an other!

[111] "The usual rules for dividing [words into] syllables, are not only
_arbitrary_ but false and absurd. They contradict the very definition of a
syllable given by the authors themselves. * * * * A syllable in
pronunciation is an _indivisible_ thing; and strange as it may appear, what
is _indivisible_ in utterance is _divided_ in writing: when the very
purpose of dividing words into syllables in writing, is to lead the learner
to a just pronunciation."--_Webster's Improved Gram._, p. 156;
_Philosophical Gram._, 221.

[112] This word, like _distich_ and _monostich_, is from the Greek
_stichos_, a verse; and is improperly spelled by Walker with a final _k_.
It should be _hemistich_, with the accent on the first syllable. See
_Webster, Scott, Perry, Worcester_, and others.

[113] According to Aristotle, the compounding of terms, or the writing of
them as separate words, must needs be a matter of great importance to the
sense. For he will have the parts of a compound noun, or of a compound
verb, to be, like other syllables, destitute of any distinct signification
in themselves, whatever may be their meaning when written separately. See
his definitions of the parts of speech, in his _Poetics_, Chapter 20th of
the Greek; or Goulston's Version in Latin, Chapter 12th.

[114] Whether _worshipper_ should follow this principle, or not, is
questionable. If Dr. Webster is right in making _worship_ a _compound_ of
_worth_ and _ship_, he furnishes a reason against his own practice of using
a single _p_ in _worshiper, worshiped_, and _worshiping_. The Saxon word
appears to have been _weorthscype_. But words ending in _ship_ are
_derivatives_, rather than compounds; and therefore they seem to belong to
the rule, rather than to the exception: as, "So we _fellowshiped_
him."--_Herald of Freedom: Liberator_, Vol. ix, p. 68.

[115] When _ee_ comes before _e_, or may be supposed to do so, or when _ll_
comes before _l_, one of the letters is dropped that _three_ of the same
kind may not meet: as, _free, freer, freest, freeth, freed_; _skill,
skilless_; _full, fully_; _droll, drolly_. And, as _burgess-ship_,
_hostess-ship_, and _mistress-ship_ are derivatives, and not compounds, I
think they ought to follow the same principle, and be written _burgesship,
hostesship, mistresship_. The proper form of _gall-less_ is perhaps more
doubtful. It ought not to be gallless, as Dr. Webster has it; and galless,
the analogical form, is yet, so far as I know without authority. But is it
not preferable to the hyphened form, with three Ells, which has authority?
"GALL-LESS, a. Without gall or bitterness. _Cleaveland_."--_Chalmers,
Bolles, Worcester_.

"Ah! mild and _gall-less_ dove,
Which dost the pure and candid dwellings love,
Canst thou in Albion still delight?"--_Cowley's Odes_.

Worcester's Dictionary has also the questionable word _bellless_. _Treen_,
for _trees_, or for an adjective meaning _a tree's_, or _made of a tree_,
is exhibited in several of our dictionaries, and pronounced as a
monosyllable: but Dr. Beattie, in his Poems, p. 84, has made it a
dissyllable, with three like letters divided by a hyphen, thus:--

"Plucking from _tree-en_ bough her simple food."

[116] _Handiwork, handicraft_, and _handicraftsman_, appear to have been
corruptly written for _handwork, handcraft_, and _handcraftsman_. They were
formerly in good use, and consequently obtained a place in our vocabulary,
from which no lexicographer, so far as I know, has yet thought fit to
discard them; but, being irregular, they are manifestly becoming obsolete,
or at least showing a tendency to throw off these questionable forms.
_Handcraft_ and _handcraftsman_ are now exhibited in some dictionaries, and
_handiwork_ seems likely to be resolved into _handy_ and _work_, from which
Johnson supposes it to have been formed. See _Psalm_ xix, 1. The text is
varied thus: "And the firmament _sheweth_ his _handiwork_."--_Johnson's
Dict._. "And the firmament _sheweth_ his _handy-work_."--_Scott's Bible_;
_Bruce's Bible_; _Harrison's Gram._, p. 83. "And the firmament _showeth_
his _handy work_."--_Alger's Bible_; _Friends' Bible_; _Harrison's Gram._,
p. 103.

[117] Here a word, formed from its root by means of the termination _ize_,
afterwards assumes a prefix, to make a secondary derivative: thus, _organ_,
_organize, disorganize_. In such a case, the latter derivative must of
course be like the former; and I assume that the essential or primary
formation of both from the word _organ_ is by the termination _ize_; but it
is easy to see that _disguise, demise, surmise_, and the like, are
essentially or primarily formed by means of the prefixes, _dis, de_, and
_sur_. As to _advertise, exercise, detonize_, and _recognize_, which I have
noted among the exceptions, it is not easy to discover by which method we
ought to suppose them to have been formed; but with respect to nearly all
others, the distinction is very plain; and though there may be no _natural
reason_ for founding upon it such a rule as the foregoing, the voice of
general custom is as clear in this as in most other points or principles of
orthography, and, surely, some rule in this case is greatly needed.

[118] _Criticise_, with _s_, is the orthography of Johnson, Walker,
Webster, Jones, Scott, Bolles, Chalmers, Cobb, and others; and so did
Worcester spell it in his Comprehensive Dictionary of 1831, but, in his
Universal and Critical Dictionary of 1846, he wrote it with _z_, as did
Bailey in his folio, about a hundred years ago. Here the _z_ conforms to
the foregoing rule, and the _s_ does not.

[119] Like this, the compound _brim-full_ ought to be written with a hyphen
and accented on the last syllable; but all our lexicographers have
corrupted it into _brim'ful_, and, contrary to the authorities they quote,
accented it on the first. Their noun _brim'fulness_, with a like accent, is
also a corruption; and the text of Shakspeare, which they quote for it, is
nonsense, unless _brim_, be there made a separate adjective:--

"With ample and _brimfulness_ of his force."--_Johnson's Dict._ _et al_.

"With _ample_ and _brim fullness_ of his force," would be better.

[120] According to Littleton, the _coraliticus lapis_ was a kind of
Phrygian marble, "called _Coralius_ or by an other name _Sangarius_." But
this substance seems to be different from all that are described by
Webster, under the names of "_coralline_," "_corallinite_," and
"_corallite_." See _Webster's Octavo Dict._

[121] The Greek word for _argil_ is [Greek: argilos], or [Greek: argillos],
(from [Greek: argos], white,) meaning pure white earth; and is as often
spelled with one Lamda as with two.

[122] Dr. Webster, with apparent propriety, writes _caviling_ and
_cavilous_ with one _l_, like _dialing_ and _perilous_; but he has in
general no more uniformity than Johnson, in respect to the doubling of _l_
final. He also, in some instances, accents similar words variously: as,
_cor'alliform_, upon the first syllable, _metal'liform_, upon the second;
_cav'ilous_ and _pap'illous_, upon the first, _argil'lous_, upon the
second; _ax'illar_, upon the first, _medul'lar_, upon the second. See
_Webster's Octavo Dict._

[123] Perry wrote _crystaline, crystalize, crystalization, metaline,
metalist, metalurgist_, and _metalurgy_; and these forms, as well as
_crystalography, metalic, metalography_, and _metaliferous_, are noticed
and preferred by the authors of the _Red Book_, on pp. 288 and 302.

[124] "But if a diphthong precedes, or the accent is on the preceding
syllable, the consonant remains single: as, to toil, toiling; to offer, an
offering."--_Murray's Octavo Gram._, p. 24; _Walker's Rhym. Dict._,
Introd., p. ix.

[125] Johnson, Walker, and Webster, all spell this word _sep'ilible_; which
is obviously wrong; as is Johnson's derivation of it from _sepio_, to hedge
in. _Sepio_ would make, not this word, but _sepibilis_ and _sepible_,

[126] If the variable word _control, controul_, or _controll_, is from
_con_ and _troul_ or _troll_, it should be spelled with _ll_, by Rule 7th,
and retain the _ll_ by Rule 6th. Dr. Webster has it so, but he gives
_control_ also.

[127] _Ache_, and its plural, _aches_, appear to have been formerly
pronounced like the name of the eighth letter, with its plural, _Aitch_,
and _Aitches_; for the old poets made "_aches_" two syllables. But Johnson
says of _ache_, a pain, it is "now _generally_ written _ake_, and in the
plural _akes_, of one syllable."--See his _Quarto Dict._ So Walker: "It is
now _almost universally_ written _ake_ and _akes_."--See _Walker's
Principles_, No. 355. So Webster: "_Ake_, less properly written
_ache_."--See his _Octavo Dict._ But Worcester seems rather to prefer
_ache_.--G. B.

[128] This book has, probably, more _recommenders_ than any other of the
sort. I have not patience to count them accurately, but it would seem that
_more than a thousand_ of the great and learned have certified to the
world, that they never before had seen so good a spelling-book! With
personal knowledge of more than fifty of the signers, G. B. refused to add
his poor name, being ashamed of the mischievous facility with which very
respectable men had loaned their signatures.

[129] _Scrat_, for _scratch._ The word is now obsolete, and may be altered
by taking _ch_ in the correction.

[130] "_Hairbrained, adj._ This should rather be written _harebrained_;
unconstant, unsettled, wild as a _hare._"--_Johnson's Dict._ Webster writes
it _harebrained_, as from _hare_ and _brain_. Worcester, too, prefers this

[131] "The whole number of verbs in the English language, regular and
irregular, simple and compounded, taken together, is about 4,300. See, in
Dr. Ward's Essays on the English language, the catalogue of English verbs.
The whole number of irregular verbs, the defective included, is about
176."--_Lowth's Gram._, Philad., 1799, p. 59. Lindley Murray copied the
first and the last of these three sentences, but made the latter number
"about 177."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 109; _Duodecimo_, p. 88. In the latter
work, he has this note: "The whole number of _words_, in the English
language, is about thirty-five thousand."--_Ib._ Churchill says, "The whole
number of verbs in the English language, according to Dr. Ward, is about
4,300. The irregulars, including the auxilaries [sic--KTH], scarcely exceed
200."--_New Gram._, p. 113. An other late author has the following
enumeration: "There are in the English language about twenty thousand five
hundred nouns, forty pronouns, _eight thousand verbs_, nine thousand two
hundred adnouns, two thousand six hundred adverbs, sixty-nine prepositions,
nineteen conjunctions, and sixty-eight interjections; in all, above forty
thousand words."--_Rev. David Blair's Gram._, p. 10. William Ward, M. A.,
in an old grammar _undated_, which speaks of Dr. Lowth's as one with which
the public had "_very lately_ been favoured," says: "There are _four
Thousand and about Five Hundred Verbs_ in the English [language]."--_Ward's
Practical Gram._, p. 52.

[132] These definitions are numbered here, because each of them is the
first of a series now begun. In class rehearsals, the pupils may be
required to give the definitions in turn; and, to prevent any from losing
the place, it is important that the numbers be mentioned. When all have
become sufficiently familiar with the _definitions_, the exercise may be
performed _without them._ They are to be read or repeated till faults
disappear--or till the teacher is satisfied with the performance. He may
then save time, by commanding his class to proceed more briefly; making
such distinctions as are required in the praxis, but ceasing to explain the
terms employed; that is, _omitting all the definitions, for brevity's
sake._ This remark is applicable likewise to all the subsequent praxes of
etymological parsing.]

[133] The _modifications_ which belong to the different parts of speech
consist chiefly of the _inflections_ or _changes_ to which certain words
are subject. But I use the term sometimes in a rather broader sense, as
including not only _variations_ of words, but, in certain instances, their
_original forms_, and also such of their _relations_ as serve to indicate
peculiar properties. This is no questionable license in the use of the
term; for when the position of a word _modifies_ its meaning, or changes
its person or case, this effect is clearly a grammatical _modification_,
though there be no absolute _inflection_. Lord Kames observes, "_That
quality_, which distinguishes one genus, one species, or even one
individual, from an other, is termed a _modification_: thus the same
particular that is termed a _property_ or _quality_, when considered as
belonging to an individual, or a class of individuals, is termed a
_modification_, when considered as distinguishing the individual or the
class from an other."--_Elements of Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 392.

[134] Wells, having put the articles into the class of adjectives, produces
authority as follows: "'The words _a_ or _an_, and _the_, are reckoned by
_some_ grammarians a separate part of speech; but, as they in all respects
come under the definition of the adjective, it is unnecessary, as well as
_improper_, to rank them as a class by themselves.'--Cannon." To this he
adds, "The articles are also ranked with adjectives by Priestley, E.
Oliver, Bell, Elphinston, M'Culloch, D'Orsey, Lindsay, Joel, Greenwood.
Smetham, Dalton, King, Hort, Buchanan, Crane, J. Russell, Frazee, Cutler,
Perley, Swett, Day. Goodenow, Willard, Robbins, Felton, Snyder, Butler, S.
Barrett, Badgley, Howe, Whiting, Davenport, Fowle, Weld, and
others."--_Wells's School Gram._, p. 69. In this way, he may have made it
seem to many, that, after thorough investigation, he had decided the point
discreetly, and with preponderance of authority. For it is claimed as a
"peculiar merit" of this grammar, that, "Every point of practical
importance is _thoroughly investigated_, and reference is carefully made to
the _researches_ of preceding writers, in all cases which admit of being
determined by _weight of authority_."--WILLIAM RUSSELL, _on the cover_.
But, in this instance, as in sundry others, wherein he opposes the more
common doctrine, and cites concurrent authors, both he and all his
authorities are demonstrably to the wrong. For how can they be right, while
reason, usage, and the prevailing opinion, are still against them? If we
have forty grammars which reject, the articles as a part of speech, we have
more than twice as many which recognize them as such; among which are those
of the following authors: viz., Adam, D. Adams, Ainsworth, Alden, Alger, W.
Allen, Ash, Bacon, Barnard, Beattie, Beck, Bicknell, Bingham, Blair, J. H.
Brown, Bucke, Bullions, Burn, Burr, Chandler, Churchill, Coar, Cobbett,
Cobbin, Comly, Cooper, Davis, Dearborn, Ensell, Everett, Farnum, Fisk, A.
Flint, Folker, Fowler, Frost, R. G. Greene, Greenleaf, Guy, Hall, Hallock,
Hart, Harrison, Matt. Harrison, Hazen, Hendrick, Hiley, Hull, Ingersoll,
Jaudon, Johnson, Kirkham, Latham, Lennie, A. Lewis, Lowth, Maltby, Maunder,
Mennye, Merchant, T. H. Miller, Murray, Nixon, Nutting, Parker and Fox,
John Peirce, Picket, Pond, S. Putnam, Russell, Sanborn, Sanders, R. C.
Smith, Rev. T. Smith, Spencer, Tower, Tucker, Walker, Webber, Wilcox,
Wilson, Woodworth, J. E. Worcester, S. Worcester, Wright. The articles
characterize our language more than some of the other parts of speech, and
are worthy of distinction for many reasons, one of which is the very great
_frequency_ of their use.

[135] In Murray's Abridgement, and in his "Second Edition," 12mo, the
connective in this place is "_or_;" and so is it given by most of his
amenders; as in _Alger's Murray_, p. 68; _Alden's_, 89; _Bacon's_, 48;
_Cooper's_, 111; _A. Flint's_, 65; _Maltby's_, 60; _Miller's_, 67; _S.
Putnam's_, 74; _Russell's_, 52; _T. Smith's_, 61. All these, and many more,
repeat both of these ill-devised rules.

[136] When this was written, Dr. Webster was living.

[137] In French, the preposition _a, (to,)_ is always carefully
distinguished from the verb _a, (has,)_ by means of the grave accent, which
is placed over the former for that purpose. And in general also the Latin
word _a, (from,)_ is marked in the same way. But, with us, no appropriate
sign has hitherto been adopted to distinguish the preposition _a_ from the
article _a_; though the Saxon _a, (to,)_ is given by Johnson with an acute,
even where no other _a_ is found. Hence, in their ignorance, thousands of
vulgar readers, and among them the authors of sundry grammars, have
constantly mistaken this preposition for an article. Examples: "Some
adverbs are composed of _the article a_ prefixed to nouns; as _a_-side,
_a_-thirst, _a_-sleep, _a_-shore, _a_-ground, &c."--_Comly's Gram._, p67.
"Repeat some [adverbs] that are composed of _the article a_ and
nouns."--_Kirkham's Gram._, p. 89. "To go a fishing;" "To go a hunting;"
i.e. "to go _on_ a fishing _voyage_ or _business_;" "to go _on_ a hunting
_party_."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 221; _Fisk's_, 147; _Ingersoll's_, 157;
_Smith's_, 184; _Bullions's_, 129; _Merchant's_, 101; _Weld's_, 192, _and
others._ That this interpretation is false and absurd, may be seen at once
by any body who can read Latin; for, _a hunting, a fishing_, &c., are
expressed by the supine in _um_: as, "_Venatum ire_."--Virg. AEn. I.e., "To
go _a_ hunting." "_Abeo piscatum_."--Beza. I.e. "I go _a_
fishing."--_John_, xxi, 3. Every school-boy ought to know better than to
call this _a_ an article. _A fishing_ is equivalent to the infinitive _to
fish_. For the Greek of the foregoing text is [Greek: Hupago halieuein,]
which is rendered by Montanus, "_Vado piscari_;" i.e., "_I go to fish_."
One author ignorantly says, "The _article a_ seems to have _no particular
meaning_, and is _hardly proper_ in such expressions as these. 'He went
_a-hunting_,' She lies _a-bed_ all day.'"--_Wilcox's Gram._, p. 59. No
marvel that he could not find the meaning of an _article_ in this _a!_ With
doltish and double inconsistency, Weld first calls this "The _article a_
employed _in the sense_ of a _preposition_," (_E. Gram._, p. 177,) and
afterwards adopts Murray's interpretation as above cited! Some, too, have
an absurd practice of joining this preposition to the participle; generally
with the hyphen, but sometimes without: thus, "A-GOING, In motion; as, to
set a mill _agoing_."--_Webster's Dict._ The doctor does not tell us what
part of speech _agoing_ is; but, certainly, "to set the mill _to_ going,"
expresses just the same meaning, and is about as often heard. In the
burial-service of the Common Prayer Book, we read, "They are even as
_asleep_;" but, in the ninetieth Psalm, from which this is taken, we find
the text thus: "They are as _a sleep_;" that is, as a dream that is fled.
Now these are very different readings, and cannot both he right.

[138] Here the lexicographer forgets his false etymology of _a_ before the
participle, and writes the words _separately_, as the generality of authors
always have done. _A_ was used as a preposition long before the article _a_
appeared in the language; and I doubt whether there is any truth at all in
the common notions of its origin. Webster says, "In the words _abed,
ashore_, &c., and before _the_ participles _acoming, agoing, ashooting_,
[he should have said, 'and _before participles_; as, _a coming, a going, a
shooting_,'] _a_ has been supposed a contraction of _on_ or _at_. It may be
so _in some cases_; but with the participles, it _is sometimes_ a
contraction of the Saxon prefix _ge, and sometimes_ perhaps of the Celtic
_ag_."--_Improved Gram._, p. 175. See _Philos. Gram._, p. 244. What
admirable learning is this! _A_, forsooth, is a _contraction_ of _ge!_ And
this is the doctor's reason for _joining_ it to the participle!

[139] The following construction may he considered an _archaism_, or a form
of expression that is now obsolete: "You have bestowed _a_ many _of_
kindnesses upon me."--_Walker's English Particles_, p. 278.

[140] "If _I_ or _we_ is set before a name, it [the name] is of the first
person: as, _I, N-- N--, declare; we, N-- and M-- do promise_."--_Ward's
Gram._, p. 83. "Nouns which relate to the person or persons _speaking_, are
said to be of the _first_ person; as, I, _William_, speak to
you."--_Fowle's Common School Gram._, Part ii, p. 22. The first person of
nouns is admitted by Ainsworth, R. W. Bailey, Barnard, Brightland, J. H.
Brown, Bullions, Butler, Cardell, Chandler, S. W. Clark, Cooper, Day,
Emmons, Farnum, Felton, Fisk, John Flint, Fowle, Frazee, Gilbert,
Goldsbury, R. G. Greene, S. S. Greene, Hall, Hallock, Hamlin, Hart,
Hendrick, Hiley, Perley, Picket, Pinneo, Russell, Sanborn, Sanders, Smart,
R. C. Smith, Spear, Weld, Wells, Wilcox, and others. It is denied, either
expressly or virtually, by Alger, Bacon, Comly, Davis, Dilworth, Greenleaf,
Guy, Hazen, Ingersoll, Jaudon, Kirkham, Latham, L. Murray, Maltby,
Merchant, Miller, Nutting, Parkhurst, S. Putnam, Rev. T. Smith, and others.
Among the grammarians who do not appear to have noticed the persons of
nouns at all, are Alden, W. Allen, D. C. Allen, Ash, Bicknell, Bingham,
Blair, Buchanan, Bucke, Burn, Burr, Churchill, Coar, Cobb, Dalton,
Dearborn, Abel Flint, R. W. Green, Harrison, Johnson, Lennie, Lowth,
Mennye, Mulligan, Priestley, Staniford, Ware, Webber, and Webster.

[141] Prof. S. S. Greene most absurdly and erroneously teaches, that, "When
the speaker wishes to represent himself, _he cannot use his name_, but
_must_ use some other word, as, _I_; [and] when he wishes to represent the
hearer, he _must_ use _thou_ or _you_."--_Greene's Elements of E. Gram._,
1853, p. xxxiv. The examples given above sufficiently show the falsity of
all this.

[142] In _shoe_ and _shoes, canoe_ and _canoes_, the _o_ is sounded
slenderly, like _oo_; but in _doe_ or _does, foe_ or _foes_, and the rest
of the fourteen nouns above, whether singular or plural, it retains the
full sound of its own name, _O_. Whether the plural of _two_ should be
"_twoes_" as Churchill writes it, or "_twos_," which is more common, is
questionable. According to Dr. Ash and the Spectator, the plural of _who_,
taken substantively, is "_whos_."--_Ash's Gram._, p. 131.

[143] There are some singular compounds of the plural word _pence_, which
form their own plurals regularly; as, _sixpence, sixpences_. "If you do not
all show like gilt _twopences_ to me."--SHAKSPEARE. "The _sweepstakes_ of
which are to be composed of the disputed difference in the value of two
doubtful _sixpences._"--GOODELL'S LECT.: _Liberator_. Vol. ix, p. 145.

[144] In the third canto of Lord Byron's Prophecy of Dante, this noun is
used in the singular number:--

"And ocean written o'er would not afford
Space for the _annal_, yet it shall go forth."

[145] "They never yet had separated for their daylight beds, without a
climax to their _orgy_, something like the present scene."--_The Crock of
Gold_, p. 13. "And straps never called upon to diminish that long
whity-brown interval between shoe and _trowser_."--_Ib._, p. 24. "And he
gave them _victual_ in abundance."--_2 Chron._, xi, 23. "Store of
_victual_."--_Ib._, verse 11.

[146] The noun _physic_ properly signifies medicine, or the science of
medicine: in which sense, it seems to have no plural. But Crombie and the
others cite one or two instances in which _physic_ and _metaphysic_ are
used, not very accurately, in the sense of the singular of _physics_ and
_metaphysics_. Several grammarians also quote some examples in which
_physics, metaphysics, politics, optics_, and other similar names of
sciences are used with verbs or pronouns of the singular number; but Dr.
Crombie justly says the plural construction of such words, "is more common,
and more agreeable to analogy."--_On Etym. and Syntax_, p. 27.

[147] "Benjamin Franklin, following the occupation of a compositor in a
printing-office, at a limited weekly _wage_," &c.--_Chambers' Edinburgh
Journal_, No. 232. "WAGE, Wages, hire. The singular number is still
frequently used, though _Dr. Johnson_ thought it obsolete."--_Glossary of
Craven_. 1828.

[148] Our lexicographers generally treat the word _firearms_ as a close
compound that has no singular. But some write it with a hyphen, as
_fire-arms_. In fact the singular is sometimes used, but the way of writing
it is unsettled. Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, defines a _carbine_ as, "a
small sort of _fire arm_;" Webster has it, "a short gun, or _fire arm_;"
Worcester, "a small _fire-arm_;" Cobb, "a sort of small _firearms_."
Webster uses "_fire-arm_," in defining "_stock_."

[149] "But, soon afterwards, he made a glorious _amend_ for his fault, at
the battle of Plataea."--_Hist. Reader_, p. 48.

[150] "There not _a dreg_ of guilt defiles."--_Watts's Lyrics_, p. 27.

[151] In Young's Night Thoughts, (N. vii, l. 475.) _lee_, the singular of
_lees_, is found; Churchill says, (Gram., p. 211,) "Prior has used _lee_,
as the singular of _lees_;" Webster and Bolles have also both forms in
their dictionaries:--

"Refine, exalt, throw down their poisonous _lee_,
And make them sparkle in the bowl of bliss."--_Young_.

[152] "The 'Procrustean bed' has been a myth heretofore; it promises soon
to be _a shamble_ and a slaughterhouse in reality."--_St. Louis Democrat_,

[153] J. W. Wright remarks, "Some nouns admit of no plural distinctions:
as, _wine, wood_, beer, _sugar, tea, timber, fruit, meat_, goodness,
happiness, and perhaps all nouns ending in _ness_."--_Philos. Gram._, p.
139. If this learned author had been brought up in the _woods_, and had
never read of Murray's "richer _wines_," or heard of Solomon's "dainty
_meats_,"--never chaffered in the market about _sugars_ and _teas_, or read
in Isaiah that "all our _righteousnesses_ are as filthy rags," or avowed,
like Timothy, "a good profession before many _witnesses_,"--he might still
have hewed the _timbers_ of some rude cabin, and partaken of the wild
_fruits_ which nature affords. If these nine plurals are right, his
assertion is nine times wrong, or misapplied by himself seven times in the

[154] "I will not suppose it possible for my dear James to fall into either
the company or the language of those persons who talk, and even write,
about _barleys, wheats, clovers, flours, grasses_, and _malts_."--
_Cobbett's E. Gram._, p. 29.

[155] "It is a general rule, that all names of things measured or weighed,
have no plural; for in _them_ not number, but quantity, is regarded: as,
_wool, wine, oil_. When we speak, however, of different kinds, we use the
plural: as, the coarser _wools_, the richer _wines_, the finer
_oils_."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 41.

[156] So _pains_ is the regular plural of _pain_, and, by Johnson, Webster,
and other lexicographers, is recognized only as plural; but Worcester
inserts it among his stock words, with a comment, thus: "Pains, _n._ Labor;
work; toil; care; trouble. [Fist] According to the best usage, the word
_pains_, though of plural form, is used in these senses as singular, and is
joined with a singular verb; as, 'The pains they had taken _was_ very
great.' _Clarendon_. 'No pains _is_ taken.' _Pope_. 'Great pains _is_
taken.' _Priestley_. '_Much_ pains.' _Bolingbroke_."--_Univ. and Crit.
Dict._ The multiplication of anomalies of this kind is so undesirable, that
nothing short of a very clear decision of Custom, against the use of the
regular concord, can well justify the exception. Many such examples may be
cited, but are they not examples of false syntax? I incline to think "the
best usage" would still make all these verbs plural. Dr. Johnson cites the
first example thus: "The _pains_ they had taken _were_ very great.
_Clarendon_."--_Quarto Dict., w. Pain_. And the following recent example is
unquestionably right: "_Pains have_ been taken to collect the information
required."--_President Fillmore's Message_, 1852.

[157] "And the _fish_ that _is_ in the river shall die."--_Exod._, vii, 18.
"And the _fish_ that _was_ in the river died."--_Ib._, 21. Here the
construction is altogether in the singular, and yet the meaning seems to be
plural. This construction appears to be more objectionable, than the use of
the word _fish_ with a plural verb. The French Bible here corresponds with
ours: but the Latin Vulgate, and the Greek Septuagint, have both the noun
and the verb in the plural: as, "The _fishes_ that _are_ in the
river,"--"The _fishes_ that _were_," &c. In our Bible, _fowl_, as well
_fish_, is sometimes plural; and yet both words, in some passages, have the
plural form: as, "And _fowl_ that may fly," &c.--_Gen._, i, 20. "I will
consume the _fowls_ of the heaven, and the _fishes_ of the sea."--_Zeph._,
i, 3.

[158] Some authors, when they give to _mere words_ the construction of
plural nouns, are in the habit of writing them in the form of possessives
singular; as, "They have of late, 'tis true, reformed, in some measure, the
gouty joints and darning work of _whereunto's, whereby's, thereof's,
therewith's_, and the rest of this kind."--_Shaftesbury_. "Here," says Dr.
Crombie, "the genitive singular is _improperly_ used for the objective case
plural. It should be, _whereuntos, wherebys, thereofs, therewiths_."--
_Treatise on Etym. and Synt._, p. 338. According to our rules, these words
should rather be, _whereuntoes, wherebies_, _thereofs, therewiths_. "Any
word, when used as the name of itself, becomes a noun."--_Goodenow's
Gram._, p. 26. But some grammarians say, "The plural of words, considered
as words merely, is formed by the apostrophe and _s_; as, 'Who, that has
any taste, can endure the incessant, quick returns of the _also's_, and the
_likewise's_, and the _moreover's_, and the _however's_, and the
_notwithstanding's_?'--CAMPBELL."--_Wells's School Gram._, p. 54. Practice
is not altogether in favour of this principle, and perhaps it would be
better to decide with Crombie that such a use of the apostrophe is

[159] "The Supreme Being (_God, [Greek: Theos], Deus, Dieu_, &c.) is, in
all languages, masculine; in as much as the masculine sex is the superior
and more excellent; and as He is the Creator of all, the Father of gods and
men."--_Harris's Hermes_, p. 54. This remark applies to all the direct
names of the Deity, but the abstract idea of _Deity itself_, [Greek: To
Theion], _Numen, Godhead_, or _Divinity_, is not masculine, but neuter. On
this point, some notions have been published for grammar, that are too
heterodox to be cited or criticised here. See _O. B. Peirce's Gram._, p.

[160] That is, we give them sex, if we mean to represent them _as_ persons.
In the following example, a character commonly esteemed feminine is
represented as neuter, because the author would seem to doubt both the sex
and the personality: "I don't know what a _witch_ is, or what _it_ was
then."--_N. P. Rogers's Writings_, p. 154.

[161] There is the same reason for doubling the _t_ in _cittess_, as for
doubling the _d_ in _goddess_. See Rule 3d for Spelling. Yet Johnson, Todd,
Webster, Bolles, Worcester, and others, spell it _citess_, with one _t_.

"Cits and _citesses_ raise a joyful strain."--DRYDEN: _Joh. Dict._

[162] "But in the _English_ we have _no Genders_, as has been seen in the
foregoing Notes. The same may be said of _Cases_."--_Brightland's Gram._,
Seventh Edition, Lond., 1746, p. 85.

[163] The Rev. David Blair so palpably contradicts himself in respect to
this matter, that I know not which he favours most, two cases or three. In
his main text, he adopts no objective, but says: "According to the _sense_
or _relation_ in which nouns are used, they are in the NOMINATIVE or [the]
POSSESSIVE CASE, thus, _nom._ man; _poss._ man's." To this he adds the
following marginal note: "In the English language, the distinction of the
objective case is observable only in the pronouns. _Cases_ being nothing
but _inflections_, where inflections do not exist, there can be no
grammatical distinction of cases, for the terms _inflection_ and _case_ are
_perfectly synonymous_ and _convertible_. As the English noun has _only one
change_ of termination, _so no other case_ is here adopted. The _objective_
case is noticed in the _pronouns_; and _in parsing nouns_ it is easy to
distinguish _subjects_ from _objects_. A noun which _governs the verb_ may
be described as in the _nominative_ case, and one governed by the verb, or
following a preposition, as in the _objective_ case."--_Blair's Practical
Gram., Seventh Edition_, London, 1815, p. 11. The terms _inflection_ and
_case_ are not practically synonymous, and never were so in the grammars of
the language from which they are derived. The man who rejects the objective
case of English nouns, because it has not a form peculiar to itself alone,
must reject the accusative and the vocative of all neuter nouns in Latin,
for the same reason; and the ablative, too, must in general be discarded on
the same principle. In some other parts of his book, Blair speaks of the
objective case of nouns as familiarly as do other authors!

[164] This author says, "We choose to use the term _subjective_ rather than
_nominative_, because it is shorter, and because it conveys its meaning by
its sound, whereas the latter word means, indeed, little or nothing in
itself."--_Text-Book_, p. 88. This appears to me a foolish innovation, too
much in the spirit of Oliver B. Peirce, who also adopts it. The person who
knows not the meaning of the word _nominative_, will not be very likely to
find out what is meant by _subjective_; especially as some learned
grammarians, even such men as Dr. Crombie and Professor Bullions, often
erroneously call the word which is governed by the verb its _subject_.
Besides, if we say _subjective_ and _objective_, in stead of _nominative_
and _objective_, we shall inevitably change the accent of both, and give
them a pronunciation hitherto unknown to the words.--G. BROWN.

[165] The authorities cited by Felch, for his doctrine of "_possessive
adnouns_," amount to nothing. They are ostensibly two. The first is a
remark of Dr. Adam's: "'_John's book_ was formerly written _Johnis book_.
Some have thought the _'s_ a contraction of _his_, but improperly. Others
have imagined, with more justness, that, by the addition of the _'s_, the
substantive is changed into a possessive adjective.'--_Adam's Latin and
English Grammar_, p. 7."--_Felch's Comp. Gram._, p. 26. Here Dr. Adam by no
means concurs with what these "_others have imagined_;" for, in the very
same place, he declares the possessive case of nouns to be their _only_
case. The second is a dogmatical and inconsistent remark of some anonymous
writer in some part of the "_American Journal of Education_," a work
respectable indeed, but, on the subject of grammar, too often fantastical
and heterodox. Felch thinks it not improper, to use the possessive case
before participles; in which situation, it denotes, not the owner of
something, but the agent, subject, or recipient, of the action, being, or
change. And what a jumble does he make, where he attempts to resolve this
ungrammatical construction!--telling us, in almost the same breath, that,
"The agent of a _nounal_ verb [i. e. participle] is never expressed," but
that, "Sometimes it [the _nounal_ or _gerundial_ verb] is _qualified_, in
its _nounal capacity_, by a possessive _adnoun_ indicative _of its agent_
as a verb; as, there is _nothing like one's_ BEING useful he doubted
_their_ HAVING it:" and then concluding, "_Hence it appears_, that the
_present participle_ may be used _as agent or object_, and yet retain its
character as a verb."--_Felch's Comprehensive Gram._, p. 81. Alas for the
schools, if the wise men of the East receive for grammar such utter
confusion, and palpable self-contradiction, as this!

[166] A critic's accuracy is sometimes liable to be brought into doubt, by
subsequent alterations of the texts which, he quotes. Many an error cited
in this volume of criticism, may possibly not be found in some future
edition of the book referred to; as several of those which were pointed out
by Lowth, have disappeared from the places named for them. Churchill also
cites this line as above; (_New Gram._, p. 214;) but, in my edition of the
Odyssey, by Pope, the reading is this: "By _lov'd Telemachus's_ blooming
years!"--Book xi, L 84.

[167] _Corpse_ forms the plural regularly, _corpses_; as in _2 Kings_, xix,
35: "In the morning, behold, they were all dead _corpses_."

[168] Murray says, "An _adjective_ put without a substantive, with the
definite article before it, _becomes a substantive in sense and meaning_,
and is _written as a substantive_: as, 'Providence rewards _the good_, and
punishes _the bad_.'" If I understand this, it is very erroneous, and
plainly contrary to the fact. I suppose the author to speak of _good
persons_ and _bad persons_; and, if he does, is there not an ellipsis in
his language? How can it be said, that _good_ and _bad_ are here
substantives, since they have a plural meaning and refuse the plural form?
A word "_written as a substantive_," unquestionably _is_ a substantive; but
neither of these is here entitled to that name. Yet Smith, and other
satellites of Murray, endorse his doctrine; and say, that _good_ and _bad_
in this example, and all adjectives similarly circumstanced, "may be
considered _nouns_ in parsing."--_Smith's New Gram._, p. 52. "An adjective
with the definite article before it, becomes a _noun_, (of the third
person, plural number,) and _must be parsed_ as such."--_R. G. Greene's
Grammatical Text-Book_, p. 55.

[169] Here the word _English_ appears to be used substantively, not by
reason of the article, but rather because _it has no article_; for, when
the definite article is used before such a word taken in the singular
number, it seems to show that the noun _language_ is understood. And it is
remarkable, that before the names or epithets by which we distinguish the
languages, this article may, in many instances, be either used or not used,
repeated or not repeated, without any apparent impropriety: as, "This is
the case with _the_ Hebrew, French, Italian, and Spanish."--_Murray's
Gram._, i, p. 38. Better, perhaps: "This is the case with _the_ Hebrew,
_the_ French, _the_ Italian, and _the_ Spanish." But we may say: "This is
the case with Hebrew, French, Italian, and Spanish." In the first of these
forms, there appears to be an ellipsis of the plural noun _languages_, at
the end of the sentence; in the second, an ellipsis of the singular noun
_language_, after each of the national epithets; in the last, no ellipsis,
but rather a substantive use of the words in question.

[170] The Doctor may, for aught I know, have taken his notion of this
"_noun_," from the language "of Dugald Dalgetty, boasting of his '5000
_Irishes_' in the prison of Argyle." See _Letter of Wendell Phillips, in
the Liberator_, Vol. xi, p. 211.

[171] Lindley Murray, or some ignorant printer of his octavo Grammar, has
omitted this _s_; and thereby spoiled the prosody, if not the sense, of the

"Of Sericana, where _Chinese_ drive," &c.
--_Fourth American Ed._, p. 345.

If there was a design to correct the error of Milton's word, something
should have been inserted. The common phrase, "_the Chinese_," would give
the sense, and the right number of syllables, but not the right accent. It
would be sufficiently analogous with our mode of forming the words,
_Englishmen, Frenchmen, Scotchmen, Dutchmen_, and _Irishmen_, and perhaps
not unpoetical, to say:

"Of Sericana, where _Chinese-men_ drive,
With sails and wind, their cany _wagons_ light."

[172] The last six words are perhaps more frequently pronouns; and some
writers will have well-nigh all the rest to be pronouns also. "In like
manner, in _the_ English, there have been _rescued_ from the adjectives,
and classed with the pronouns, any, aught, each, every, many, none, one,
other, some, such, that, those, this, these; and by other writers, all,
another, both, either, few, first, last, neither, and several."--_Wilson's
Essay on Gram._, p. 106. Had the author said _wrested_, in stead of
"_rescued_," he would have taught a much better doctrine. These words are
what Dr. Lowth correctly called "_Pronominal Adjectives_."--_Lowth's
Gram._, p. 24. This class of adjectives includes most of the words which
Murray, Lennie, Bullions, Kirkham, and others, so absurdly denominate
"_Adjective Pronouns_." Their "Distributive Adjective Pronouns, _each,
every, either, neither_;" their "Demonstrative Adjective Pronouns, _this,
that, these, those_;" and their "Indefinite Adjective Pronouns, _some,
other, any, one, all, such_, &c.," are every one of them here; for they all
are _Adjectives_, and not _Pronouns_. And it is obvious, that the
corresponding words in Latin, Greek, or French, are adjectives likewise,
and are, for the most part, so called; so that, from General Grammar, or
"the usages of other languages," arises an argument for ranking them as
adjectives, rather than as pronouns. But the learned Dr. Bullions, after
improperly assuming that every adjective must "express _the quality of a
noun_," and thence arguing that no such definitives can rightly be called
_adjectives_, most absurdly suggests, that "_other languages_," or "_the
usages of_ other languages," generally assign to these _English words_ the
place of _substitutes_! But so remarkable for self-contradiction, as well
as other errors, is this gentleman's short note upon the classification of
these words, that I shall present the whole of it for the reader's

"NOTE. The distributives, demonstratives, and indefinites, cannot strictly
be called _pronouns_; since they never stand _instead_ of nouns, but always
_agree_ with _a noun_ expressed or understood: _Neither can they be
properly_ called _adjectives_, since they never express _the quality of a
noun_. They are here classed _with pronouns_, in accordance with _the
usages of other languages_, which _generally assign them this place_. All
these, together with the _possessives_, in parsing, may _with sufficient
propriety_ be termed _adjectives_, being _uniformly regarded as such_ in
syntax."--_Bullions's Principles of English Gram._, p. 27. (See also his
_Appendix_ III, E. Gram., p. 199.)

What a sample of grammatical instruction is here! The pronominal adjectives
"cannot properly _be called adjectives_," but "they may with sufficient
propriety be _termed adjectives_!" And so may "_the possessives_," or _the
personal pronouns in the possessive case_! "Here," i.e., in _Etymology_,
they are all "_classed with pronouns_;" but, "in _Syntax_," they are
"uniformly _regarded as adjectives_!" Precious MODEL for the "Series of
Grammars, English, Latin, and Greek, all on THE SAME PLAN!"

[173] _Some_, for _somewhat_, or _in some degree_, appears to me a
vulgarism; as, "This pause is generally _some_ longer than that of a
period."--_Sanborn's Gram._, p. 271. The word _what_ seems to have been
used adverbially in several different senses; in none of which is it much
to be commended: as, "Though I forbear, _what_ am I eased?"--_Job_, xvi, 6.
"_What_ advantageth it me?"--_1 Cor._, xv, 32. Here _what_, means _in what
degree? how much?_ or _wherein?_ "For _what_ knowest thou, O wife, whether
thou shalt save thy husband?"--_1 Cor._, vii, 16. Here _how_ would have
been better. "The enemy, having his country wasted, _what_ by himself and
_what_ by the soldiers, findeth succour in no place."--_Spenser_. Here
_what_ means _partly_;--"wasted _partly_ by himself and _partly_ by the
soldiers." This use of _what_ was formerly very common, but is now, I
think, obsolete. _What_ before an adjective seems sometimes to denote with
admiration the degree of the quality; and is called, by some, an adverb;
as, "_What partial_ judges are our love and hate!"--_Dryden_. But here I
take _what_ to be an _adjective_; as when we say, _such_ partial judges,
_some_ partial judges, &c. "_What_ need I be forward with Death, that calls
not on me?"--_Shakspeare_. Here _what_ seems to be improperly put in place
of _why_.

[174] Dr. Blair, in his Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres, often uses
the phrase "_this much_;" but it is, I think, more common to say "_thus
much_," even when the term is used substantively.

[175] There seems to be no good reason for joining _an_ and _other_: on the
contrary, the phrase _an other_ is always as properly two words, as the
phrase _the other_, and more so. The latter, being long ago vulgarly
contracted into _t'other_, probably gave rise to the apparent contraction
_another_; which many people nowadays are ignorant enough to divide wrong,
and mispronounce. See _"a-no-ther"_ in _Murray's Spelling-Book_, p. 71; and
_"a-noth-er"_ in _Emerson's_, p. 76. _An_ here excludes any other article;
and both analogy and consistency require that the words be separated. Their
union, like that of the words _the_ and _other_, has led sometimes to an
improper repetition of the article: as, "_Another_ such _a_ man," for, "An
other such man."--"Bind my hair up. An 'twas yesterday? No, nor _the
t'other_ day."--BEN JONSON: _in Joh. Dict._ "He can not tell when he should
take _the tone_, and when _the tother_."--SIR T. MOORE: Tooke's D. P., Vol.
15, p. 448. That is--"when he should take _the one_ and when _the other_."
Besides, the word _other_ is declined, like a noun, and has the plural
_others_; but the compounding of _another_ constrains our grammarians to
say, that this word "has no plural." All these difficulties will be removed
by writing _an other_ as two words. The printers chiefly rule this matter.
To them, therefore, I refer it; with directions, not to unite these words
for me, except where it has been done in the manuscript, for the sake of
exactness in quotation.--G. BROWN.

[176] This is a misapplication of the word _between_, which cannot have
reference to more than two things or parties: the term should have been
_among_.--G. BROWN.

[177] I suppose that, in a comparison of _two_, any of the degrees may be
accurately employed. The common usage is, to construe the positive with
_as_, the comparative with _than_, and the superlative with _of_. But here
custom allows us also to use the comparative with _of_, after the manner of
the superlative; as, "This is _the better of_ the two." It was but an odd
whim of some old pedant, to find in this a reason for declaring it
ungrammatical to say "This is _the best of_ the two." In one grammar, I
find the former construction _condemned_, and the latter approved, thus:
"This is the better book of the two. Not correct, because the comparative
state of the adjective, (_better_,) can not correspond with the
preposition, _of_. The definite article, _the_, is likewise improperly
applied to the comparative state; the sentence should stand thus, This is
the _best_ book of the two."--_Chandler's Gram._, Ed. of 1821, p. 130; Ed.
of 1847, p. 151.

[178] This example appears to have been borrowed from Campbell; who,
however, teaches a different doctrine from Murray, and clearly sustains my
position; "Both degrees are in such cases used _indiscriminately_. We say
_rightly_, either 'This is the weaker of the two,' or--'the weakest of the
two.'"--_Philosophy of Rhetoric_, p. 202. How positively do some other men
contradict this! "In comparing _two_ persons or things, by means of an
adjective, care must be taken, that the superlative state be not employed:
We properly say, 'John is the _taller_ of the two;' but we _should not
say_, 'John is the _tallest_ of the two.' The reason is plain: we compare
but _two_ persons, and must _therefore_ use the comparative
state."--_Wright's Philosophical Gram._, p. 143. Rev. Matt. Harrison, too,
insists on it, that the superlative must "have reference to more than two,"
and censures _Dr. Johnson_ for not observing the rule. See _Harrison's
English Language_, p. 255.

[179] L. Murray copied this passage literally, (though anonymously,) as far
as the colon; and of course his book teaches us to account "_the
termination ish_, in some sort, _a degree of comparison_."--_Octavo Gram._,
p. 47. But what is more absurd, than to think of accounting this, or any
other suffix, "_a degree of comparison?_" The inaccuracy of the language is
a sufficient proof of the haste with which Johnson adopted this notion, and
of the blindness with which he has been followed. The passage is now found
in most of our English grammars. Sanborn expresses the doctrine thus:
"Adjectives terminating with _ish_, denote a degree of comparison less than
the positive; as, _saltish, whitish, blackish_."--_Analytical Gram._, p.
87. But who does not know, that most adjectives of this ending are derived
from _nouns_, and are compared only by adverbs, as _childish, foolish_, and
so forth? Wilcox says, "Words ending in _ish_, generally express a slight
degree; as, _reddish, bookish_."--_Practical Gram._, p. 17. But who will
suppose that _foolish_ denotes but a slight degree of folly, or _bookish_
but a slight fondness for books? And, with such an interpretation, what
must be the meaning of _more bookish_ or _most foolish_?

[180] "'A rodde shall come _furth_ of the stocke of Jesse.' _Primer, Hen.
VIII_."--_Craven Glossary_.

[181] _Midst_ is a contraction of the regular superlative _middest_, used
by Spenser, but now obsolete. _Midst_, also, seems to be obsolete as an
adjective, though still frequently used as a noun; as, "In the
_midst_."--_Webster_. It is often a poetic contraction for the preposition
_amidst_. In some cases it appears to be an adverb. In the following
example it is equivalent to _middlemost_, and therefore an adjective:
"Still greatest he _the midst_, Now dragon grown."--_Paradise Lost_, B. x,
l. 528.

[182] What I here say, accords with the teaching of all our lexicographers
and grammarians, except one dauntless critic, who has taken particular
pains to put me, and some three or four others, on the defensive. This
gentleman not only supposes _less_ and _fewer, least_ and _fewest_, to be
sometimes equivalent in meaning, but actually exhibits them as being also
etymologically of the same stock. _Less_ and _least_, however, he refers to
three different positives, and _more_ and _most_, to four. And since, in
once instance, he traces _less_ and _more, least_ and _most_, to the same
primitive word, it follows of course, if he is right, that _more_ is there
equivalent to _less_ and _most_ is equivalent to _least_! The following is
and just one half of the table is wrong: "_Some, more, most; Some, less,
least_; Little, less, least; Few, fewer _or less_, fewest _or least;
Several, more, most_; Much, more, most; Many, more most."--_Oliver B
Peirce's Gram._, p. 144.

[183] Murray himself had the same false notion concerning six of these
adjectives, and perhaps all the rest; for his indefinite _andsoforths_ may
embrace just what the reader pleases to imagine. Let the following
paragraph be compared with the observations and proofs which I shall offer:
"Adjectives that have in themselves a superlative signification, do not
properly admit of the superlative or [the] comparative form superadded:
such as, 'Chief, extreme, perfect, right, universal, supreme,' &c.; which
are sometimes improperly written, 'Chiefest, extremest, perfectest,
rightest, most universal, most supreme,' &c. The following expressions are
therefore improper. 'He sometimes claims admission to the _chiefest_
offices;' 'The quarrel became _so universal_ and national;' 'A method of
attaining the _rightest_ and greatest happiness.' The phrases, so perfect,
so right, so extreme, so universal, &c., are incorrect; because they imply
that one thing is less perfect, less extreme, &c. than another, which is
not possible."--_Murray's Gram._, 8vo, Vol. i, p. 167. For himself, a man
may do as he pleases about comparing these adjectives; but whoever corrects
others, on such principles as the foregoing, will have work enough on his
hands. But the writer who seems to exceed all others, in error on this
point, is _Joseph W. Wright_. In his "Philosophical Grammar," p. 51st, this
author gives a list of seventy-two adjectives, which, he says, "admit of
_no variation of state_;" i. e., are not compared. Among them are _round,
flat, wet, dry, clear, pure, odd, free, plain, fair, chaste, blind_, and
more than forty others, which are compared about as often as any words in
the language. Dr. Blair is hypercritically censured by him, for saying
"_most excellent_," "_more false_," "the _chastest_ kind," "_more perfect_"
"_fuller, more full, fullest, most full, truest_ and _most true_;" Murray,
for using "_quite wrong_;" and Cobbett, for the phrase, "_perfect
correctness_." "Correctness," says the critic, "does not admit of _degrees
of perfection_."--_Ib._, pp. 143 and 151. But what does such a thinker know
about correctness? If this excellent quality cannot be _perfect_, surely
nothing can. The words which Dr. Bullions thinks it "improper to compare,"
because he judges them to have "an absolute or superlative signification,"
are "_true, perfect, universal, chief, extreme, supreme_, &c."--no body
knows how many. See _Principles of E. Gram._, p. 19 and p. 115.

[184] The regular comparison of this word, (_like, liker, likest_,) seems
to be obsolete, or nearly so. It is seldom met with, except in old books:
yet we say, _more like_, or _most like, less like_, or _least like_. "To
say the flock with whom he is, is _likest_ to Christ."--_Barclay's Works_,
Vol. i, p. 180. "Of Godlike pow'r? for _likest_ Gods they
seem'd."--_Milton, P. L._ B. vi, l. 301.

[185] This example, and several others that follow it, are no ordinary
solecisms; they are downright Irish bulls, making actions or relations
reciprocal, where reciprocity is _utterly_ unimaginable. Two words can no
more be "_derived from each other_," than two living creatures can have
received their existence from each other. So, two things can never
"_succeed each other_," except they alternate or move in a circle; and a
greater number in train can "_follow one an other_" only in some imperfect
sense, not at all reciprocal. In some instances, therefore, the best form
of correction will be, to reject the reciprocal terms altogether--G. BROWN.

[186] This doctrine of punctuation, if not absolutely false in itself, is
here very badly taught. When _only two words_, of any sort, occur in the
same construction, they seldom require the comma; and never can they need
_more than one_, whereas these grammarians, by their plural word
"_commas_," suggest a constant demand for two or more.--G. BROWN.

[187] Some grammarians exclude the word _it_ from the list of personal
pronouns, because it does not convey the idea of that personality which
consists in _individual intelligence_. On the other hand, they will have
_who_ to be a personal pronoun, because it is literally applied to _persons
only_, or intelligent beings. But I judge them to be wrong in respect to
both; and, had they given _definitions_ of their several classes of
pronouns, they might perhaps have found out that the word _it_ is always
personal, in a grammatical sense, and _who_, either relative or

[188] "_Whoso_ and _whatso_ are found in old authors, but are now out of
use."--_Churchill's Gram._, p. 76. These antiquated words are equivalent in
import to _whosoever_ and _whatsoever_. The former, _whoso_, being used
many times in the Bible, and occasionally also by the poets, as by Cowper,
Whittier, and others, can hardly be said to be obsolete; though Wells, like
Churchill, pronounced it so, in his first edition.

[189] "'The man is prudent which speaks little.' This sentence is
incorrect, because _which_ is a pronoun of the neuter gender."--_Murray's
Exercises_, p. 18. "_Which_ is also a relative, but it is of [the] neuter
gender. It is also interrogative."--_Webster's Improved Gram._, p. 26. For
oversights like these, I cannot account. The relative _which_ is of all the
genders, as every body ought to know, who has ever heard of the _horse
which_ Alexander rode, of the _ass which_ spoke to Balaam, or of any of the
_animals_ and _things_ which Noah had with him in the ark.

[190] The word _which_ also, when taken in its _discriminative_ sense (i.e.
to distinguish some persons or things from others) may have a construction
of this sort; and, by ellipsis of the noun after it, it may likewise bear a
resemblance to the double relative _what_: as, "I shall now give you two
passages; and request you to point out _which_ words are mono-syllables,
_which_ dis-syllables, _which_ tris-syllables, and _which_
poly-syllables."--_Bucke's Gram._, p. 16. Here, indeed, the word _what_
might be substituted for _which_; because that also has a discriminative
sense. Either would be right; but the author might have presented the same

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest