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The Grammar of English Grammars by Gould Brown

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reckoned_ a great exploit; At my _coming_ in he said, &c."--_Kirkham's
Gram._, p. 181. None of these examples are written according to my notion
of elegance, or of accuracy. Better: "In case his _Majesty die_ without
issue."--"_God_ having ended all his works."--"I remember _it was_ reckoned
a great exploit."--"At my _entrance_, he said," &c.

[422] We have seen that Priestley's doctrine, as well as Lowth's, is, that
when a participle is taken _substantively_, "it ought not to govern another
word;" and, for the same reason, it ought not to have an _adverb_ relating
to it. But many of our modern grammarians disregard these principles, and
do not restrict their "_participial nouns_" to the construction of nouns,
in either of these respects. For example: Because one may say, "_To read
superficially_, is useless," Barnard supposes it right to say, "_Reading
superficially_ is useless." "But the _participle_," says he, "will also
take the adjective; as, '_Superficial reading_ is useless.'"--_Analytic
Gram._, p. 212. In my opinion, this last construction ought to be
preferred; and the second, which is both irregular and unnecessary,
rejected. Again, this author says: "We have laid it down as a rule, that
the possessive case belongs, like an adjective, to a _noun_. What shall be
said of the following? 'Since the days of Samson, there has been no
instance of _a man's_ accomplishing a task so stupendous.' The _entire
clause_ following _man's_, is taken as a noun. 'Of a man's _success_ in a
task so stupendous.' would present no difficulty. A part of a sentence, or
even a single participle, _thus often_ stands _for a noun_. 'My going will
depend on my father's giving his consent,' or 'on my father's consenting.'
A participle _thus used_ as a noun, may be called a PARTICIPIAL
NOUN."--_Ib._, p. 131. I dislike this doctrine also. In the first example,
_man_ may well be made the leading word in sense; and, as such, it must be
in the objective case; thus: "There has been no instance of a _man
accomplishing_ a task so stupendous." It is also proper to say. "_My going_
will depend on my _father's consenting_," or, "on my _father's consent_."
But an action possessed by the agent, ought not to be transitive. If,
therefore, you make this the leading idea, insert _of_: thus, "There has
been no instance of a _man's accomplishing of_ a task so stupendous." "My
going will depend on my _father's giving of_ his consent."--"My _brother's
acquiring [of_] the French language will be a useful preparation for his
travels."--_Barnard's Gram._, p. 227. If participial nouns retain the power
of participles, why is it wrong to say, "A superficial reading books is
useless?" Again, Barnard approves of the question, "What do you think of my
_horse's running to-day_?" and adds, "Between this form of expression and
the following, 'What do you think of my _horse running_ to-day?' it is
sometimes said, that we should make a distinction; because the former
implies that the horse had actually run, and the latter, that it is in
contemplation to have him do so. _The difference of meaning certainly
exists_; but it would seem more judicious to treat _the latter_ as an
improper mode of speaking. What can be more uncouth than to say, 'What do
you think of _me_ going to Niagara?' We should say _my_ going,
notwithstanding the ambiguity. We ought, _therefore_, to introduce
something explanatory; as, 'What do you think _of the propriety_ of my
going to Niagara?"--_Analytic Gram._, p. 227. The propriety of a past
action is as proper a subject of remark as that of a future one; the
explanatory phrase here introduced has therefore nothing to do with
Priestley's distinction, or with the alleged ambiguity. Nor does the
uncouthness of an objective pronoun with the leading word in sense
improperly taken as an adjunct, prove that a participle may properly take
to itself a possessive adjunct, and still retain the active nature of a

[423] The following is an example, but it is not very intelligible, nor
would it be at all amended, if the pronoun were put in the possessive case:
"I sympathize with my sable brethren, when I hear of _them being spared_
even one lash of the cart-whip."--REV. DR. THOMPSON: _Garrison, on
Colonization_, p. 80. And this is an other, in which the possessive pronoun
would not be better: "But, if the slaves wish, to return to slavery, let
them do so; not an abolitionist will turn out to stop _them going_
back."--_Antislavery Reporter_, Vol. IV, p. 223. Yet it might be more
accurate to say--"to stop them _from_ going back." In the following example
from the pen of Priestley, the objective is correctly used with _as_, where
some would be apt to adopt the possessive: "It gives us an idea of _him_,
as being the only person to whom it can be applied."--_Priestley's Gram._,
p. 151. Is not this better English than to say, "of _his_ being the only
person?" The following is from the pen of a good scholar: "This made me
remember the discourse we had together, at my house, about _me drawing_
constitutions, not as proposals, but as if fixed to the hand."--WILLIAM
PENN: _Letter to Algernon Sidney_, Oct. 13th, 1681. Here, if _me_ is
objectionable, _my_ without _of_ would be no less so. It might be better
grammar to say, "about _my drawing of_ constitutions."

[424] Sometimes the passive form is adopted, when there is no real need of
it, and when perhaps the active would be better, because it is simpler; as,
"Those portions of the grammar are worth the trouble of _being committed_
to memory."--_Dr. Barrow's Essays_, p. 109. Better, perhaps:--"worth the
trouble of _committing_ to memory:" or,--"worth the trouble _committing
them_ to memory." Again: "What is worth being uttered at all, is worth
_being spoken_ in a proper manner."--_Kirkham's Elocution_, p. 68. Better,
perhaps: "What is worth _uttering_ at all, is worth _uttering_ in a proper
manner."--G. Brown.

[425] "RULE.--When the participle expresses something of which the noun
following is the DOER, it should have the article and preposition; as, 'It
was said in _the hearing of_ the witness.' When it expresses something of
which the noun following is _not the doer_, but the OBJECT, both should be
omitted; as, 'The court spent some time in _hearing_ the
witness.'"--BULLIONS, _Prin. of E. Gram._, p. 108; _Analyt. and Pract.
Gram._, 181.

[426] This doctrine is far from being true. See Obs. 12th, in this series,
above.--G. B.

[427] "Dr. Webster considers the use of _then_ and _above_ as ADNOUNS, [i.
e., adjectives,] to be 'well authorized and very convenient;' as, the
_then_ ministry; the _above_ remarks."--_Felch's Comp. Gram._, p. 108. Dr.
Webster's remark is in the following words: "_Then_ and _above_ are often
used as ATTRIBUTES: [i. e., adjectives; as,] the _then_ ministry; the
_above_ remarks; nor would I prescribe this use. It is well authorized and
very convenient."--_Philos. Gram._, p. 245; _Improved Gram._, p. 176. Of
this use of _then_, Dr. Crombie has expressed a very different opinion:
"Here _then_," says he, "the adverb equivalent to _at that time_, is
solecistically employed as an adjective, agreeing with _ministry_. This
error seems to gain ground; it should therefore be vigilantly opposed, and
carefully avoided."--_On Etym. and Synt._, p. 405.

[428] W. Allen supposes, "An adverb sometimes qualifies a whole sentence:
as, _Unfortunately_ for the lovers of antiquity, _no remains of Grecian
paintings have been preserved_."--_Elements of Eng. Gram._, p. 173. But
this example may be resolved thus: "_It happens_ unfortunately for the
lovers of antiquity, _that_ no remains of Grecian paintings have been

[429] This assertion of Churchill's is very far from the truth. I am
confident that the latter construction occurs, even among reputable
authors, ten times as often as the former can be found in any English
books.--G. BROWN.

[430] Should not the Doctor have said, "_are_ there _more_," since "_more
than one_" must needs be plural? See Obs. 10th on Rule 17th.

[431] This degree of truth is impossible, and therefore not justly
supposable. We have also a late American grammarian who gives a similar
interpretation: "'_Though never so justly deserving of it_.' Comber.
_Never_ is here an emphatic adverb; as if it were said, so justly _as was
never_. Though well authorized, it is disapproved by most grammarians of
the present day; and the word _ever_ is used instead of _never_."--_Felch's
Comp. Gram._, p. 107. The text here cited is not necessarily bad English as
it stands; but, if the commenter has not mistaken its meaning, as well as
its construction, it ought certainly to be, "Though _everso justly_
deserving of it."--"_So justly as was never_," is a positive degree that is
not imaginable; and what is this but an absurdity?

[432] Since this remark was written, I have read an other grammar, (that of
the "_Rev. Charles Adams_,") in which the author sets down among "the more
frequent _improprieties_ committed, in conversation, '_Ary one_' for
_either_, and '_nary one_' for _neither_."--_Adams's System of Gram._, p.
116. Eli Gilbert too betrays the same ignorance. Among his "_Improper
Pronunciations_" he puts down "_Nary_" and "_Ary_" and for "_Corrections_"
of them, gives "_neither_" and "_either_."--_Gilbert's Catechetical Gram._,
p. 128. But these latter terms, _either_ and _neither_, are applicable only
to _one of two_ things, and cannot be used where _many_ are spoken of; as,

"Stealing her soul with _many_ vows of faith,
And _ne'er_ a true one."--_Shakspeare_.

What sense would there be in expounding this to mean, "And _neither_ a true
one?" So some men both write and interpret their mother tongue erroneously
through ignorance. But these authors _condemn_ the errors which they here
falsely suppose to be common. What is yet more strange, no less a critic
than Prof. William C. Fowler, has lately exhibited, _without
disapprobation_, one of these literary blunders, with sundry localisms,
(often descending to slang,) which, he says, are mentioned by "Mr.
Bartlett, in his valuable dictionary [_Dictionary] of Americanisms_." The
brief example, which may doubtless be understood to speak for both phrases
and both authors, is this: "ARY = either."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, 8vo, N.
Y., 1850, p. 92.

[433] The conjunction _that_, at the head of a sentence or clause, enables
us to assume the whole preposition as one _thing_; as, "All arguments
whatever are directed to prove one or other of these _three things: that_
something is true; _that_ it is morally right or fit; or _that_ it is
profitable and good."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 318. Here each _that_ may be
parsed as connecting its own clause to the first clause in the sentence;
or, to the word _things_ with which the three clauses are in a sort of
apposition. If we conceive it to have no such connecting power, we must
make this too an exception.

[434] "Note. Then _and_ than are _distinct Particles_, but use hath made
the using of _then_ for _than_ after a Comparative Degree at least
_passable_. See _Butler's_ Eng. Gram. Index."--_Walker's Eng. Particles_,
Tenth Ed., 1691, p. 333.

[435] "When the relative _who_ follows the preposition _than_, it must be
used as in the _accusative_ case."--_Bucke's Gram._, p. 93. Dr. Priestley
seems to have imagined the word _than_ to be _always a preposition_; for he
contends against the common doctrine and practice respecting the case after
it: "It is, likewise, said, that the nominative case ought to follow the
_preposition than_; because the verb _to be_ is understood after it; As,
_You are taller than he_, and not _taller than him_; because at full
length, it would be, _You are taller than he is_; but since it is allowed,
that the oblique case should follow _prepositions_; and since the
comparative degree of an adjective, and the particle _than_ have,
certainly, between them, the force _of a preposition_, expressing the
relation of one word to another, _they ought to require the oblique case_
of the pronoun following."--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 105. If _than_ were a
preposition, this reasoning would certainly be right; but the Doctor begs
the question, by assuming that it _is_ a preposition. William Ward, an
other noted grammarian of the same age, supposes that, "ME _sapientior es_,
may be translated, _Thou art wiser_ THAN ME." He also, in the same place,
avers, that, "The best English Writers have considered _than_ as a Sign of
an oblique Case; as, 'She suffers more THAN ME.' Swift, i.e. more than I

'Thou art a Girl as much brighter THAN HER,
As he was a Poet sublimer THAN ME.' Prior.

i.e. Thou art a Girl as much brighter _than she was_, as he was a Poet
sublimer _than I am_."--_Ward's Practical Gram._, p. 112. These examples of
the objective case after _than_, were justly regarded by Lowth as _bad
English_. The construction, however, has a modern advocate in S. W. Clark,
who will have the conjunctions _as, but, save, saving_, and _than_, as well
as the adjectives _like, unlike, near, next, nigh_, and _opposite_, to be
_prepositions_. "After a _Comparative_ the _Preposition than_ is commonly
used. Example--Grammar is more interesting _than_ all my other
studies."--_Clark's Practical Gram._, p. 178. "_As, like, than_, &c.,
indicate a relation of _comparison_. Example 'Thou hast been _wiser_ all
the while _than me_.' _Southey's Letters._"--_Ib._, p. 96. Here correct
usage undoubtedly requires _I_, and not _me_. Such at least is my opinion.

[436] In respect to the _case_, the phrase _than who_ is similar to _than
he, than they_, &c., as has been observed by many grammarians; but, since
_than_ is a conjunction, and _who_ or _whom_ is a relative, it is doubtful
whether it can be strictly proper to set two such connectives together, be
the case of the latter which it may. See Note 5th, in the present chapter,

[437] After _else_ or _other_, the preposition _besides_ is sometimes used;
and, when it recalls an idea previously suggested, it appears to be as good
as _than_, or better: as, "_Other_ words, _besides_ the preceding, may
begin with capitals."--_Murray's Gram._, Vol. i. p. 285. Or perhaps this
preposition may be proper, whenever _else_ or _other_ denotes what is
_additional_ to the object of contrast, and not exclusive of it; as, "When
we speak of any _other_ quantity _besides_ bare numbers."--_Tooke's
Diversions_, Vol. i, p. 215. "Because he had no _other_ father _besides_
God."--_Milton, on Christianity_, p. 109. Though we sometimes express an
addition by _more than_, the following example appears to me to be _bad
English_, and its interpretation still worse: "'The secret was communicated
to _more men than him_.' That is, (when the ellipsis is duly supplied,)
'The secret was communicated to more _persons_ than _to_ him.'"--Murray's
Key, 12mo, p. 61; his _Octavo Gram._, p. 215; _Ingersoll's Gram._, 252. Say
rather,--"to _other_ men _besides_ him." Nor, again, does the following
construction appear to be right: "Now _shew_ me _another_ Popish rhymester
_but he_."--DENNIS: _Notes to the Dunciad_, B. ii, l. 268. Say rather, "Now
_show_ me _an other_ popish rhymester _besides him_." Or thus: "Now show me
_any_ popish rhymester _except_ him." This too is questionable: "Now pain
must here be intended to signify something _else besides_
warning."--_Wayland's Moral Science_, p. 121. If "warning" was here
intended to be included with "something else," the expression is right; if
not, _besides_ should be _than_. Again: "There is seldom any _other_
cardinal in Poland _but him_."--_Life of Charles XII_. Here "_but him_"
should be either "_besides him_," or "_than he_;" for _but_ never rightly
governs the objective case, nor is it proper after _other_. "Many _more_
examples, _besides_ the foregoing, might have been adduced."--_Nesbit's
English Parsing_, p. xv. Here, in fact, no comparison is expressed; and
therefore it is questionable, whether the word "_more_" is allowably used.
Like _else_ and _other_, when construed with _besides_, it signifies
_additional_; and, as this idea is implied in _besides_, any one of these
adjectives going before is really pleonastic. In the sense above noticed,
the word _beside_ is sometimes written in stead of besides, though not very
often; as, "There are _other_ things which pass in the mind of man,
_beside_ ideas."--_Sheridan's Elocution_, p. 136.

[438] A few of the examples under this head might be corrected equally well
by some preceding note of a more specific character; for a general note
against the improper omission of prepositions, of course includes those
principles of grammar by which any particular prepositions are to be
inserted. So the examples of error which were given in the tenth chapter of
Etymology, might nearly all of them have been placed under the first note
in this tenth chapter of Syntax. But it was thought best to illustrate
every part of this volume, by some examples of false grammar, out of the
infinite number and variety with which our literature abounds.

[439] "The Rev. _Joab Goldsmith Cooper_, A. M.," was the author of two
English grammars, as well as of what he called "A New and Improved Latin
Grammar," with "An Edition of the Works of Virgil, &c.," all published in
Philadelphia. His first grammar, dated 1828, is entitled, "_An Abridgment
of Murray's English Grammar, and Exercises_." But it is no more an
abridgement of Murray's work, than of mine; he having chosen to steal from
the text of my Institutes, or supply matter of his own, about as often as
to copy Murray. His second is the Latin Grammar. His third, which is
entitled, "_A Plain and Practical English Grammar_," and dated 1831, is a
book very different from the first, but equally inaccurate and worthless.
In this book, the syntax of interjections stands thus: "RULE 21. The
interjections _O, oh_ and _ah_ are followed by _the objective case_ of a
noun or pronoun, as: 'O me! ah me! oh me!' In the second person, they are
_a mark_ or _sign_ of an address, made to a person or thing, as: O thou
persecutor! Oh, ye hypocrites! O virtue, how amiable thou art!"--Page 157.
The inaccuracy of all this can scarcely be exceeded.

[440] "_Oh_ is used to express the emotion of _pain, sorrow_, or
_surprise_. _O_ is used to express _wishing, exclamation_, or a direct
_address_ to a person."--_Lennie's Gram._, 12th Ed., p. 110. Of this
distinction our grammarians in general seem to have no conception; and, in
fact, it is so often disregarded by other authors, that the propriety of it
may be disputed. Since _O_ and _oh_ are pronounced alike, or very nearly
so, if there is no difference in their application, they are only different
modes of writing the same word, and one or the other of them is useless. If
there is a real difference, as I suppose there is, it ought to be better
observed; and _O me!_ and _oh ye!_ which I believe are found only in
grammars, should be regarded as bad English. Both _O_ and _oh_, as well as
_ah_, were used in Latin by Terence, who was reckoned an elegant writer;
and his manner of applying them favours this distinction: and so do our own
dictionaries, though Johnson and Walker do not draw it clearly, for _oh_ is
as much an "_exclamation_" as _O_. In the works of Virgil, Ovid, and
Horace, we find _O_ or _o_ used frequently, but nowhere _oh_. Yet this is
no evidence of their sameness, or of the uselessness of the latter; but
rather of their difference, and of the impropriety of confounding them. _O,
oh, ho_, and _ah_, are French words as well as English. Boyer, in his
Quarto Dictionary, confounds them all; translating "O!" only by "_Oh!_"
"OH! _ou_ HO!" by "_Ho! Oh!_" and "AH!" by "_Oh! alas! well-a-day! ough! A!
ah! hah! ho!_" He would have done better to have made each one explain
itself; and especially, not to have set down "_ough!_" and "_A!_" as
English words which correspond to the French _ah!_

[441] This silence is sufficiently accounted for by _Murray's_; of whose
work, most of the authors who have any such rule, are either piddling
modifiers or servile copyists. And Murray's silence on these matters, is in
part attributable to the fact, that when he wrote his remark, his system of
grammar denied that nouns have any first person, or any objective case. Of
course he supposed that all nouns that were uttered after interjections,
whether they were of the second person or of the third, were in the
nominative case; for he gave to nouns _two_ cases only, the nominative and
the possessive. And when he afterwards admitted the objective case of
nouns, he did not alter his remark, but left all his pupils ignorant of the
case of any noun that is used in exclamation or invocation. In his doctrine
of two cases, he followed Dr. Ash: from whom also he copied the rule which
I am criticising: "The _Interjections, O, Oh_, and _Ah_, require the
_accusative_ case of a pronoun in the _first_ Person: as, O _me_, Oh _me_,
Ah _me_: But the _Nominative_ in the _second_: as, O _thou_, O
_ye_."--_Ash's Gram._, p. 60. Or perhaps he had Bicknell's book, which was
later: "The _interjections O, oh_, and _ah_, require the accusative case of
a pronoun in the _first_ person after them; as, _O, me! Oh, me! Ah, me!_
But the nominative case in the _second_ person; as, _O, thou that rulest!
O, ye rulers of this land!_"--_The Grammatical Wreath_, Part I, p. 105.

[442] See _2 Sam._, xix, 4; also xviii, 33. Peirce has many times
_misquoted_ this text, or some part of it; and, what is remarkable, he
nowhere agrees either with himself or with the Bible! "O! Absalom! my
son!"--_Gram._, p. 283. "O Absalom! my son, my son! would _to_ God I had
died for thee."--_Ib._, p. 304. Pinneo also misquotes and perverts a part
of it, thus: "Oh, Absalom! my son"--_Primary Gram._, Revised Ed., p. 57.

[443] Of this example, Professor Bullions says, "This will be allowed to be
_a correct English sentence_, complete in itself, and requiring nothing to
be supplied. The phrase, '_being an expert dancer_,' is the subject of the
verb '_does entitle_;' but the word '_dancer_' in that phrase is neither
the subject of any verb, nor is governed by any word in the
sentence."--_Eng. Gram._, p. 52. It is because this word cannot have any
regular construction after the participle when the possessive case
precedes, that I deny his first proposition, and declare the sentence _not_
"to be correct English." But the Professor at length reasons himself into
the notion, that this indeterminate "_predicate_," as he erroneously calls
it, "is properly in the _objective case_, and in parsing, may correctly be
called the _objective indefinite_;" of which case, he says, "The following
are also examples: '_He_ had the honour of being a _director_ for life.'
'By being a _diligent student, he_ soon acquired eminence in his
profession.'"--_Ib._, p. 83. But "_director_" and "_student_" are here
manifestly in the _nominative_ case: each agreeing with the pronoun _he_,
which denotes the same person. In the latter sentence, there is a very
obvious transposition of the first five words.

[444] Faulty as this example is, Dr. Blair says of it: "Nothing can be more
elegant, or more finely turned, than this sentence. It is neat, _clear_,
and musical. We could hardly _alter one word_, or disarrange one member,
without _spoiling_ it. Few sentences are to be found, more finished, or
more happy."--_Lecture_ XX, p. 201. See the _six_ corrections suggested in
my Key, and judge whether or not they _spoil_ the sentence.--G. B.

[445] This Note, as well as all the others, will by-and-by be amply
illustrated by citations from authors of sufficient repute to give it some
value as a grammatical principle: but one cannot hope such language as is,
in reality, incorrigibly bad, will always appear so to the generality of
readers. Tastes, habits, principles, judgements, differ; and, where
confidence is gained, many utterances are well received, that are neither
well considered nor well understood. When a professed critic utters what is
incorrect beyond amendment, the fault is the more noteworthy, as his
professions are louder, or his standing is more eminent. In a recent
preface, deliberately composed for a very comprehensive work on "English
Grammar," and designed to allure both young and old to "a thorough and
extensive acquaintance with their mother tongue,"--in the studied preface
of a learned writer, who has aimed "to furnish not only a text-book for the
higher institutions, but also a reference-book for _teachers_, which may
give breadth and exactness to their views,"--I find a paragraph of which
the following is a part: "Unless men, at least occasionally, bestow their
attention upon the science and the laws of the language, they are in some
danger, amid the excitements of professional life, of losing the delicacy
of their taste and giving sanction to vulgarisms, or to what is worse. On
this point, listen to the recent declarations of two leading men in the
Senate of the United States, both of whom understand the use of the English
language in its power: 'In truth, I must say that, in my opinion, the
vernacular tongue of the country has become greatly vitiated, depraved, and
corrupted by the style of our Congressional debates.' And the other, in
courteous response remarked, 'There _is_ such a _thing_ as _an_ English and
_a_ parliamentary _vocabulary_, and I have never heard _a worse_, when
circumstances called it out, on this side [_of_] Billingsgate!'"--_Fowler's
E. Gram._, 8vo. 1850, Pref., p. iv.

Now of these "two leading men," the former was Daniel Webster, who, in a
senatorial speech, in the spring of 1850, made such a remark concerning the
style of oratory used in Congress. But who replied, or what idea the
"courteous response," as here given, can be said to convey, I do not know.
The language seems to me both unintelligible and solecistical; and,
therefore, but a fair sample of the _Incorrigible_. Some intelligent
persons, whom I have asked to interpret it, think, as Webster had accused
our Congress of corrupting the English language, the respondent meant to
accuse the British Parliament of doing the same thing in a greater
degree,--of descending yet lower into the vileness of slang. But this is
hardly a probable conjecture. Webster might be right in acknowledging a
very depraving abuse of the tongue in the two Houses of Congress; but could
it be "courteous," or proper, for the answerer to jump the Atlantic, and
pounce upon the English Lords and Commons, as a set of worse corrupters?

The gentleman begins with saying, "There _is_ such _a thing_"--as if he
meant to describe some _one_ thing; and proceeds with saying, "as _an_
English _and a_ parliamentary vocabulary," in which phrase, by repeating
the article, he speaks of _two "things"--two vocabularies_; then goes on,
"and I have never heard _a worse_!" A worse _what_? Does he mean "_a worse
vocabulary_?" If so, what sense has "_vocabulary_?" And, again, "a worse"
_than_ what? Where and what is this "_thing_" which is so bad that the
leading Senator has "never heard a worse?" Is it some "_vocabulary_" both
"English and parliamentary?" If so, whose? If not, what else is it? Lest
the wisdom of this oraculous "declaration" be lost to the public through
the defects of its syntax,--and lest more than one rhetorical critic seem
hereby "in some danger" of "giving sanction to" _nonsense_,--it may be well
for Professor Fowler, in his next edition, to present some elucidation of
this short but remarkable passage, which he values so highly!

An other example, in several respects still more remarkable,--a shorter
one, into which an equally successful professor of grammar has condensed a
much greater number and variety of faults,--is seen in the following
citation: "The verb is so called, because it means _word_; and as there can
be no sentence without it, it is called, emphatically, _the
word_."--_Pinneo's Analytical Gram._, p. 14. This sentence, in which,
perhaps, most readers will discover no error, has in fact faults of so many
different kinds, that a critic must pause to determine under which of more
than half a dozen different heads of false syntax it might most fitly be
presented for correction or criticism. (1.) It might be set down under my
Note 5th to Rule 10th; for, in one or two instances out of the three, if
not in all, the pronoun "_it_" gives not the same idea as its antecedent.
The faults coming under this head might be obviated by three changes, made
thus: "The verb is so called, because _verb_ means _word_; and, as there
can be no sentence without _a verb, this part of speech_ is called,
emphatically, _the word_." Cobbett wisely says, "Never put an _it_ upon
paper without thinking well of what you are about."--_E. Gram._, 196. But
(2.) the erroneous text, and this partial correction of it too, might be
put under my Critical Note 5th, among _Falsities_; for, in either form,
each member affirms what is manifestly untrue. The term "_word_" has many
meanings; but no usage ever makes it, "_emphatically_" or otherwise, a name
for one of the classes called "parts of speech;" nor is there nowadays any
current usage in which "_verb_ means _word_." (3.) This text might be put
under Critical Note 6th, among _Absurdities_; for whoever will read it, as
in fairness he should, taking the pronoun "_it_" in the exact sense of its
antecedent "_the verb_," will see that the import of each part is
absurd--the whole, a two-fold absurdity. (4.) It might be put under
Critical Note 7th, among _Self-Contradictions_; for, to teach at once that
"_the verb_ is _so_ called," and "is called, emphatically,"
_otherwise_,--namely, "_the word_,"--is, to contradict one's self. (5.) It
might be set down under Critical Note 9th, among examples of _Words
Needless_; for the author's question is, "Why is the verb so called?" and
this may be much better answered in fewer words, thus: "THE VERB is so
called, because in French it is called _le verbe_ and in Latin, _verbum_,
which means _word_." (6.) It might be put under Critical Note 10th, as an
example of _Improper Omissions_; for it may be greatly bettered by the
addition of some words, thus: "The verb is so called, because [in French]
it [is called _le verbe_, and in Latin, _verbum_, which] means _word_: as
there can be no sentence without _a verb, this_ [most important part of
speech] is called, emphatically, [_the verb_,--q.d.,] _the word_." (7.) It
might be put under Critical Note 11th, among _Literary Blunders_; for there
is at least one blunder in each of its members. (8.) It might be set down
under Critical Note 13th, as an example of _Awkwardness_; for it is but
clumsy work, to teach _grammar_ after this sort. (9.) It might be given
under Critical Note 16th, as a sample of the _Incorrigible_; for it is
scarcely possible to eliminate all its defects and retain its essentials.

These instances may suffice to show, that even gross errors of grammar may
lurk where they are least to be expected, in the didactic phraseology of
professed masters of style or oratory, and may abound where common readers
or the generality of hearers will discover nothing amiss.

[446] As a mere assertion, this example is here sufficiently corrected;
but, as a _definition_, (for which the author probably intended it,) it is
deficient; and consequently, in that sense, is still inaccurate. I would
also observe that most of the subsequent examples under the present head,
contain other errors than that for which they are here introduced; and, of
some of them, the faults are, in my opinion, very many: for example, the
several definitions of an _adverb_, cited below. Lindley Murray's
definition of this part of speech is not inserted among these, because I
had elsewhere criticised that. So too of his faulty definition of a
_conjunction_. See the _Introduction_, Chap. X. paragraphs 26 and 28. See
also _Corrections in the Key_, under Note 10th to Rule 1st.

[447] In his explanation of _Ellipsis_, Lindley Murray continually calls it
"_the_ ellipsis," and speaks of it as something that is "_used_,"--"_made
use of_,"--"_applied_,"--"_contained in_" the examples; which expressions,
referring, as they there do, to the mere _absence_ of something, appear to
me solecistical. The notion too, which this author and others have
entertained of the figure itself, is in many respects erroneous; and nearly
all their examples for its illustration are either questionable as to such
an application, or obviously inappropriate. The absence of what is
_needless_ or _unsuggested_, is _no ellipsis_, though some grave men have
not discerned this obvious fact. The nine solecisms here quoted concerning
"_the ellipsis_," are all found in many other grammars. See _Fisk's E.
Gram._, p. 144; _Guy's_, 91; _Ingersoll's_, 153; _J. M. Putnam's_, 137; _R.
C. Smith's_, 180; _Weld's_, 190.

[448] Some of these examples do, _in fact_, contain _more_ than two errors;
for mistakes in _punctuation_, or in the use of _capitals_, are not here
reckoned. This remark may also he applicable to some of the other lessons.
The reader may likewise perceive, that where two, three, or more
improprieties occur in one sentence, some one or more of them may happen to
be such, as he can, if he choose, correct by some rule or note belonging to
a previous chapter. Great labour has been bestowed on the selection and
arrangement of these syntactical exercises; but to give to so great a
variety of literary faults, a distribution perfectly distinct, and
perfectly adapted to all the heads assumed in this digest, is a work not
only of great labour, but of great difficulty. I have come as near to these
two points of perfection in the arrangement, as I well could.--G. BROWN.

[449] In Murray's sixth chapter of Punctuation, from which this example,
and eleven others that follow it, are taken, there is scarcely a single
sentence that does not contain _many errors_; and yet the whole is
literally copied in _Ingersoll's Grammar_, p. 293; in _Fisk's_, p. 159; in
_Abel Flint's_, 116; and probably in some others. I have not always been
careful to subjoin the great number of references which might be given for
blunders selected from this hackneyed literature of the schools. For
corrections, or improvements, see the Key.

[450] This example, or L. Murray's miserable modification of it, traced
through the grammars of Alden, Alger, Bullions, Comly, Cooper, Flint,
Hiley, Ingersoll, Jaudon, Merchant, Russell, Smith, and others, will be
found to have a dozen different forms--all of them no less faulty than the
original--all of them obscure, untrue, inconsistent, and almost
incorrigible. It is plain, that "_a_ comma," or _one_ comma, cannot divide
more than _two_ "simple members;" and these, surely, cannot be connected by
more than _one relative_, or by more than _one_ "comparative;" if it be
allowable to call _than, as_, or _so_, by this questionable name. Of the
multitude of errors into which these pretended critics have so blindly
fallen, I shall have space and time to point out only a _very small part_:
this text, too justly, may be taken as a pretty fair sample of their

[451] The "_idea_" which is here spoken of, Dr. Blair discovers in a
passage of Addison's Spectator. It is, in fact, as here "_brought out_" by
the critic, a bald and downright absurdity. Dr. Campbell has criticised,
under the name of _marvellous nonsense_, a different display of the same
"_idea_," cited from De Piles's Principles of Painting. The passage ends
thus: "In this sense it may be asserted, that in Rubens' pieces, Art is
above Nature, and Nature only a copy of that great master's works." Of this
the critic says: "When the expression is _stript_ of the _absurd meaning_,
there remains nothing but balderdash."--_Philosophy of Rhet._, p, 278.

[452] All his rules for the comma, Fisk appears to have taken unjustly from
Greenleaf. It is a _double shame_, for a grammarian to _steal_ what is so
_badly written_!--G. BROWN.

[453] Bad definitions may have other faults than to include or exclude what
they should not, but this is their great and peculiar vice. For example:
"_Person_ is _that property_ of _nouns_ and _pronouns_ which distinguishes
the speaker, the person or thing addressed, and the person or thing spoken
of."--_Wells's School Gram._, 1st Ed., p. 51; 113th Ed., p. 57. See nearly
the same words, in _Weld's English Gram._, p. 67; and in his _Abridgement_,
p. 49. The three persons of _verbs_ are all improperly excluded from this
definition; which absurdly takes "_person_" to be _one property that has
all the effect of all the persons_; so that each person, in its turn, since
each cannot have all this effect, is seen to be excluded also: that is, it
is not such a property as is described! Again: "An _intransitive verb_ is a
verb which _does not have_ a noun or pronoun for its object."--_Wells_, 1st
Ed., p. 76. According to Dr. Johnson, "_does not have_," is not a scholarly
phrase; but the adoption of a puerile expression is a trifling fault,
compared with that of including here all passive verbs, and some
transitives, which the author meant to exclude; to say nothing of the
inconsistency of excluding here the two classes of verbs which he absurdly
calls "intransitive," though he finds them "followed by objectives
depending upon them!"--_Id._, p. 145. Weld imitates these errors too, on
pp. 70 and 153.

[454] S. R. Hall thinks it necessary to recognize "_four distinctions_" of
"_the distinction_ occasioned by sex." In general, the other authors here
quoted, suppose that we have only "_three distinctions_" of "_the
distinction_ of sex." And, as no philosopher has yet discovered more than
two sexes, some have thence stoutly argued, that it is absurd to speak of
more than two genders. Lily makes it out, that in Latin there are _seven_:
yet, with no great consistency, he will have _a gender_ to be _a_ or _the_
distinction of _sex_. "GENUS est sexus discretio. Et sunt genera numero
septem."--_Lilii Gram._, p. 10. That is, "GENDER is the distinction of
_sex_. And _the genders_ are _seven_ in number." Ruddiman says, "GENUS est,
discrimen _nominis_ secundum sexum, vel _ejus_ in structura grammatica
imitatio. Genera nominum sunt _tria_."--_Ruddimanni Gram._, p. 4. That is,
"GENDER is the diversity of the _noun_ according to sex, or [it is] the
imitation _of it_ in grammatical structure. The genders of nouns are
_three_." These old definitions are no better than the newer ones cited
above. All of them are miserable failures, full of faults and absurdities.
Both the nature and the cause of their defects are in some degree explained
near the close of the tenth chapter of my Introduction. Their most
prominent errors are these: 1. They all assume, that _gender_, taken as one
thing, is in fact two, three, or more, _genders_, 2. Nearly all of them
seem to say or imply, that _words_ differ from one an other _in sex_, like
animals. 3. Many of them expressly confine _gender_, or _the genders_, to
_nouns_ only. 4. Many of them confessedly _exclude the neuter gender_,
though their authors afterwards admit this gender. 5. That of Dr. Webster
supposes, that words differing in gender never have the same
"_termination_." The absurdity of this may be shown by a multitude of
examples: as, _man_ and _woman, male_ and _female, father_ and _mother,
brother_ and _sister_. This is better, but still not free from some other
faults which I have mentioned. For the correction of all this great batch
of errors, I shall simply substitute in the Key one short definition, which
appears to me to be exempt from each of these inaccuracies.

[455] Walker states this differently, and even repeats his remark, thus:
"But _y_ preceded by a vowel is _never_ changed: as coy, coyly, gay,
gayly."--_Walker's Rhyming Dict._, p.x. "Y preceded by a vowel is _never_
changed, as boy, boys, I cloy, he cloys, etc."--_Ib._, p viii. Walker's
twelve "Orthographical Aphorisms," which Murray and others republish as
their "Rules for Spelling," and which in stead of amending they merely
corrupt, happened through some carelessness to contain _two_ which should
have been condensed into _one_. For "words ending with y preceded by a
consonant," he has not only the absurd rule or assertion above recited, but
an other which is better, with an exception or remark under each,
respecting "_y_ preceded by a vowel." The grammarians follow him in his
errors, and add to their number: hence the repetition, or similarity, in
the absurdities here quoted. By the term "_verbal nouns_," Walker meant
nouns denoting agents, as _carrier_ from carry; but Kirkham understood him
to mean "_participial nouns_," as _the carrying_. Or rather, he so mistook
"that able philologist" Murray; for he probably knew nothing of Walker in
the matter; and accordingly changed the word "_verbal_" to "_participial_;"
thus teaching, through all his hundred editions, except a few of the first,
that participial nouns from verbs ending in _y_ preceded by a consonant,
are formed by merely "changing the _y_ into _i_." But he seems to have
known, that this is not the way to form the participle; though he did not
know, that "_coyless_" is not a proper English word.

[456] The _idea of plurality_ is not "_plurality of idea_," any more than
the _idea of wickedness_, or the _idea of absurdity_, is absurdity or
wickedness of idea; yet, behold, how our grammarians copy the blunder,
which Lowth (perhaps) first fell into, of putting the one phrase for the
other! Even Professor Fowler, (as well as Murray, Kirkham, and others,)
talks of having regard "_to unity or plurality of idea_!"--_Fowler's E.
Gram._, 8vo. 1850, Sec.513,--G. BROWN.

[457] In the Doctor's "New Edition, Revised and Corrected," the text stands
thus: "The _Present participle_ of THE ACTIVE VOICE has an active
signification; as, James is _building_ the house. _In many of these_,
however, _it_ has," &c. Here the first sentence is but an idle truism; and
the phrase, "_In many of these_," for lack of an antecedent to _these_, is
utter nonsense. What is in "the active voice," ought of course to be
_active_ in "signification;" but, in this author's present scheme of the
verb, we find "the active voice," in direct violation of his own definition
of it, ascribed not only to verbs and participles either neuter or
intransitive, but also, as it would seem by this passage, to "many" that
are _passive!_--G. BROWN.

[458] One objection to these passage is, that they are _examples_ of the
very construction which they describe as a _fault_. The first and second
sentences ought to have been separated only by a semicolon. This would have
made them _"members"_ of one and the same sentence. Can it be supported
that one _"thought"_ is sufficient for two periods, or for what one chooses
to point as such, but not for two members of the same period?--G. BROWN.

[459] (1.) "_Accent_ is the _tone_ with which one speaks. For, in speaking,
the voice of every man is sometimes _more grave_ in the sound, and at other
times _more acute_ or shrill."--_Beattie's Moral Science_, p. 25. "_Accent_
is _the tone_ of the voice with which a syllable is pronounced."--_Dr.
Adam's Latin and English Gram._, p. 266.

(2.) "_Accent_ in a peculiar _stress_ of the voice on some syllable in a
word to distinguish it from the others."--_Gould's Adam's Lat. Gram._, p.

(3.) "The _tone_ by which one syllable is distinguished from another is the
_accent_; which is a greater _stress and elevation_ of voice on that
particular syllable."--_Bicknell's Eng. Gram._, Part II, p. 111.

(4.) "_Quantity_ is the Length or Shortness of Syllables; and the
Proportion, generally speaking, betwixt a long and [a] short Syllable, is
two to one; as in _Music_, two _Quavers_ to one _Crotchet_.--_Accent_ is
the _rising_ and _falling_ of the Voice, above or under its usual Tone, but
an Art of which we have little Use, and know less, in the _English_ Tongue;
nor are we like to improve our Knowledge in this Particular, unless the Art
of _Delivery_ or _Utterance_ were a little more study'd."--_Brightland's
Gram._, p. 156.

(5.) "ACCENT, s. m. (_inflexion_ de la voix.) Accent, _tone_,
pronunciation."--_Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel_, 4to, Tome Premier, sous
le mot _Accent_.

"ACCENT, _subst._ (_tone_ or _inflection_ of the voice.) Accent, _ton_ ou
_inflexion_ de voix."--_Same Work, Garner's New Universal Dictionary_, 4to,
under the word _Accent_.

(6.) "The word _accent_ is derived from the Latin language and signifies
_the tone of the voice_."--_Parker and Fox's English Gram._, Part III, p.

(7.) "The unity of the word consists in the _tone or accent_, which binds
together the two parts of the composition."--_Fowler's E. Gram._, Sec.360.

(8.) "The accent of the ancients is the opprobrium of modern criticism.
Nothing can show more evidently the fallibility of the human faculties,
than the _total ignorance_ we are in at present of the nature of the Latin
and Greek accent."--_Walker's Principles_, No. 486; Dict., p. 53.

(9.) "It is not surprising, that the accent and quantity of the ancients
should be so obscure and mysterious, when two such learned men of our own
nation as Mr. Foster and Dr. Gaily, differ about the very existence of
quantity in our own language."--_Walker's Observations on Accent_, &c.;
Key, p. 311.

(10.) "What these accents are has puzzled the learned so much that they
seem neither to understand each other nor themselves."--_Walker's Octavo
Dict., w. Barytone_.

(11.) "The ancients designated the _pitch_ of vocal sounds by the term
_accent_; making three kinds of accents, the acute (e), the grave (e), and
the circumflex (e), which signified severally the rise, the fall, and the
turn of the voice, or union of acute and grave on the same
syllable."--_Sargent's Standard Speaker_, p. 18.

[460] "Interrogatio, Graece _Erotema_, Accentum quoque transfert; ut, Ter.
_Siccine ais Parmeno?_ Voss. Susenbr."--_Prat's Latin Grammar_, 8vo, Part
II, p. 190.

[461] In regard to the admission of a comma before the verb, by the
foregoing exception, neither the practice of authors nor the doctrine of
punctuators is entirely uniform; but, where a considerable pause is, and
must be, made in the reading, I judge it not only allowable, but necessary,
to mark it in writing. In W. Day's "Punctuation Reduced to a System," a
work of no inconsiderable merit, this principle is disallowed; and even
when the adjunct of the nominative is a _relative clause_, which, by Rule
2d below and its first exception, requires a comma after it but none before
it, this author excludes both, putting no comma before the principal verb.
The following is an example: "But it frequently happens, that punctuation
is not made a prominent exercise in schools; and the brief _manner_ in
which the subject is there dismissed _has proved_ insufficient to impress
upon the minds of youth a due sense of its importance."--_Day's
Punctuation_, p. 32. A pupil of mine would here have put a comma after the
word _dismissed_. So, in the following examples, after _sake_, and after
_dispenses_: "The _vanity_ that would accept power for its own sake _is_
the pettiest of human passions."--_Ib._, p. 75. "The generous _delight_ of
beholding the happiness he dispenses _is_ the highest enjoyment of
man."--_Ib._, p, 100.

[462] When several nominatives are connected, some authors and printers put
the comma only where the conjunction is omitted. W. Day separates them all,
one from an other; but after the last, when this is singular before a
plural verb, he inserts no point. Example: "Imagination is one of the
principal ingredients which enter into the complex idea of genius; but
_judgment, memory, understanding, enthusiasm_, and _sensibility_ are also
included."--_Day's Punctuation_, p. 52. If the points are to be put where
the pauses naturally occur, here should be a comma after _sensibility_;
and, if I mistake not, it would be more consonant with current usage to set
one there. John Wilson, however, in a later work, which is for the most
part a very good one, prefers the doctrine of Day, as in the following
instance: "_Reputation, virtue_, and _happiness_ depend greatly on the
choice of companions."--_Wilson's Treatise on Punctuation_, p. 30.

[463] Some printers, and likewise some authors, suppose a series of words
to require the comma, only where the conjunction is suppressed. This is
certainly a great error. It gives us such punctuation as comports neither
with the _sense_ of three or more words in the same construction, nor with
the _pauses_ which they require in reading. "John, James and Thomas are
here," is a sentence which plainly tells John that James and Thomas are
here; and which, if read according to this pointing, cannot possibly have
any other meaning. Yet this is the way in which the rules of _Cooper,
Felton, Frost, Webster_, and perhaps others, teach us to point it, when we
mean to tell somebody else that all three are here! In his pretended
"Abridgment of Murray's English Grammar," (a work abounding in small thefts
from Brown's Institutes,) Cooper has the following example: "John, James or
Joseph intends to accompany me."--Page 120. Here, John being addressed, the
punctuation is right; but, to make this noun a nominative to the verb, a
comma must be put after _each of the others_. In Cooper's "Plain and
Practical Grammar," the passage is found in this form: "John, James, or
Joseph intends to accompany us."--Page 132. This pointing is doubly wrong;
because it is adapted to neither sense. If the three nouns have the same
construction, the principal pause will be immediately before the verb; and
surely a comma is as much required by that pause, as by the second. See the
Note on Rule 3d, above.

[464] In punctuation, the grammar here cited is unaccountably defective.
This is the more strange, because many of its errors are mere perversions
of what was accurately pointed by an other hand. On the page above referred
to, Dr. Bullions, in copying from Lennie's syntactical exercises _a dozen
consecutive lines_, has omitted _nine needful commas_, which Lennie had
been careful to insert!

[465] Needless abbreviations, like most that occur in this example, are in
_bad taste_, and _ought to be avoided_. The great faultiness of this text
as a model for learners, compels me to vary the words considerably in
suggesting the correction. See the _Key_.--G. B.

[466] "To be, or not to be?--that's the question."--_Hallock's Gram._, p.
220. "To be, or not to be, that is the question."--_Singer's Shak._, ii.
488. "To be, or not to be; that is the Question."--_Ward's Gram._, p 160.
"To be, or not to be, that is the Question."--_Brightland's Gram._, p 209.
"To be, or not to be?"--_Mandeville's Course of Reading_, p. 141. "To be or
not to be! That is the question."--_Pinneo's Gram._, p. 176. "To _be_--or
_not_ to be--_that_ is the question--"--_Burgh's Speaker_, p. 179.

[467] In the works of some of our older poets, the apostrophe is sometimes
irregularly inserted, and perhaps needlessly, to mark a prosodial
synsaeresis, or synalepha, where no letter is cut off or left out; as,

"Retire, or taste thy _folly'_, and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with _spir'its_ of Heaven."
--_Milton, P. L._, ii, 686.

In the following example, it seems to denote nothing more than the open or
long sound of the preceding vowel _e_:

"That sleep and feeding may prorogue his honour,
Even till a _lethe'd_ dulness."
--_Singer's Shakspeare_, Vol. ii, p. 280.

[468] The breve is properly a mark of _short quantity_, only when it is set
over an unaccented syllable or an unemphatic monosyllable, as it often is
in the scanning of verses. In the examples above, it marks the close or
short power of the _vowels_; but, _under the accent_, even this power may
become part of a _long syllable_; as it does in the word _raven_, where
the syllable _rav_, having twice the length of that which follows, must be
reckoned _long_. In poetry, _r=av-en_ and _r=a-ven_ are both _trochees_,
the former syllable in each being long, and the latter short.

[469] 1. The signs of long and short sounds, and especially of the former,
have been singularly slow in acquiring _appropriate names_--or any
appellatives suited to their nature, or such as could obtain the sanction
of general use. The name _breve_, from the French _breve_, (which latter
word came, doubtless, originally from the neuter of the Latin adjective
_brevis_, short,) is now pretty generally applied to the one; and the Greek
term _macron_, long, (also originally a neuter adjective,) is perhaps as
common as any name for the other. But these are not quite so well adapted
to each other, and to the things named, as are the substitutes added above.

2. These signs are explained in our grammars under various names, and often
very unfit ones, to say the least; and, in many instances, their use is, in
some way, awkwardly stated, without any attempt to name them, or more than
one, if either. The Rev. T. Smith names them "Long (=), and Short
(~)."--_Smith's Murray_, p. 72. Churchill calls them "The _long_ = and the
_short_ ~."--_New Gram._, p. 170. Gould calls them "a horizontal line" and
"a curved line."--_Gould's Adam's Gram._, p. 3. Coar says, "Quantity is
distinguished by the characters of - long, and ~ short."--_Eng. Gram._, p.
197. But, in speaking of the _signs_, he calls them, "_A long syllable_ =,"
and "_A short syllable_ ~."--_Gram._, pp. 222 and 228. S. S. Greene calls
them "the _long sound_," and "the _breve_ or _short sound_."--_Gram._, p.
257. W. Allen says, "The _long-syllable mark_, (=) and the _breve_, or
_short-syllable mark_, (~) denote the quantity of _words_ poetically
employed."--_Gram._, p. 215. Some call them "the _Long Accent_," and "the
_Short Accent_;" as does _Guy's Gram._, p. 95. This naming seems to
confound accent with quantity. By some, the _Macron_ is improperly called
"a _Dash_;" as by _Lennie_, p. 137; by _Bullions_, p. 157; by _Hiley_, p.
123; by _Butler_, p. 215. Some call it "a _small dash_;" as does _Well's_,
p. 183; so _Hiley_, p. 117. By some it is absurdly named "_Hyphen_;" as by
_Buchanan_, p. 162; by _Alden_, p. 165; by _Chandler_, 183; by _Parker and
Fox_, iii, 36; by _Jaudon_, 193. Sanborn calls it "the _hyphen_, or
_macron_."--_Analyt. Gr._, p. 279. Many, who name it not, introduce it to
their readers by a "_this_ =," or "_thus_ ~;" as do _Alger, Blair, Dr.
Adam, Comly, Cooper, Ingersoll, L. Murray, Sanders, Wright_, and others!

[470] "As soon as language proceeds, from mere _articulation_, to
coherency, and connection, _accent_ becomes the guide of the voice. It is
founded upon an obscure perception of symmetry, and proportion, between the
different sounds that are uttered."--_Noehden's Grammar of the German
Language_, p. 66.

[471] According to Johnson, Walker, Webster, Worcester, and perhaps all
other lexicographers, _Quantity_, in grammar, is--"The measure of _time_ in
pronouncing a _syllable_." And, to this main idea, are conformed, so far as
I know, all the different definitions ever given of it by grammarians and
critics, except that which appeared in Asa Humphrey's English Prosody,
published in 1847. In this work--the most elaborate and the most
comprehensive, though not the most accurate or consistent treatise we have
on the subject--_Time_ and _Quantity_ are explained separately, as being
"_two distinct things_;" and the latter is supposed not to have regard to
_duration_, but solely to the _amount_ of sound given to each syllable.

This is not only a fanciful distinction, but a radical innovation--and one
which, in any view, has little to recommend it. The author's explanations
of both _time_ and _quantity_--of their characteristics, differences, and
subdivisions--of their relations to each other, to poetic numbers, to
emphasis and cadence, or to accent and non-accent--as well as his
derivation and history of "these technical terms, _time_ and
_quantity_"--are hardly just or clear enough to be satisfactory. According
to his theory, "Poetic numbers are composed of _long_ and _short_ syllables
alternately;" (page 5;) but the difference or proportion between the times
of these classes of syllables he holds to be _indeterminable_, "because
their lengths are various." He began with destroying the proper distinction
of quantity, or time, as being _either long or short_, by the useless
recognition of an indefinite number of "_intermediate lengths_;" saying of
our syllables at large, "some are LONG, some SHORT, and some are of
INTERMEDIATE LENGTHS; as, _mat, not, con_, &c. are short sounds; _mate,
note, cone_, and _grave_ are long. Some of our diphthongal sounds are
LONGER STILL; as, _voice, noise, sound, bound_, &c. OTHERS are seen to be
of INTERMEDIATE _lengths_."--_Humphrey's Prosody_, p. 4.

On a scheme like this, it must evidently be impossible to determine, with
any certainty, either what syllables are _long_ and what _short_, or what
is the difference or ratio between _any two_ of the innumerable "lengths"
of that time, or quantity, which is _long, short, variously intermediate_,
or _longer still_, and again _variously intermediate_! No marvel then that
the ingenious author scans some lines in a manner peculiar to himself.

[472] It was the doctrine of Sheridan, and perhaps of our old
lexicographers in general, that no English word can have more than one
_full accent_; but, in some modern dictionaries, as Bolles's, and
Worcester's, many words are marked as if they had two; and a few are given
by Bolles's as having three. Sheridan erroneously affirmed, that "_every
word_ has an accent," even "all monosyllables, the particles alone
excepted."--_Lecture on Elocution_, pp. 61 and 71. And again, yet more
erroneously: "The _essence_ of English words consisting in accent, as that
of syllables in articulation; we know that there are _as many syllables as
we hear articulate sounds_, and _as many words as we hear accents_."--
_Ib._, p. 70. Yet he had said before, in the same lecture: "The longer
polysyllables, have frequently _two accents_, but one is so much stronger
than the other, as to shew that it is but one word; and the inferior accent
is always less forcible, than any accent that is the single one in a
word."--_Ib._, p. 31. Wells defines accent as if it might lie on _many_
syllables of a word; but, in his examples, he places it on no more than
one: "_Accent_ is _the stress_ which is laid on _one or more syllables_ of
a word, in pronunciation; as, re_ver_berate, under_take_."--_Wells's School
Gram._, p. 185. According to this loose definition, he might as well have
accented at least one other syllable in each of these examples; for there
seems, certainly, to be some little stress on _ate_ and _un_. For sundry
other definitions of accent, see Chap. IV, Section 2d, of _Versification_;
and the marginal note referring to Obs. 1st on _Prosody_.

[473] According to Dr. Rush, Emphasis is--"a stress of voice on one or more
words of a sentence, distinguishing them by intensity or peculiarity of
meaning."--_Philosophy of the Voice_, p. 282. Again, he defines thus:
"Accent is the fixed but inexpressive distinction of syllables _by quantity
and stress_: alike both in place and nature, whether the words are
pronounced singly from the columns of a vocabulary, or connectedly in the
series of discourse. _Emphasis_ may be defined to be the _expressive_ but
occasional distinction of a syllable, and consequently of the whole word,
by one or more of the specific modes of _time, quality, force_, or

[474] 1. This doctrine, though true in its main intent, and especially
applicable to the poetic quantity of _monosyllables_, (the class of words
most frequently used in English poetry,) is, perhaps, rather too strongly
stated by Murray; because it agrees not with other statements of his,
concerning the power of _accent_ over quantity; and because the effect of
accent, as a "regulator of quantity," _may_, on the whole, be as great as
that of emphasis. Sheridan contradicts himself yet more pointedly on this
subject; and his discrepancies may have been the efficients of Murray's.
"The _quantity_ of our syllables is perpetually varying with the sense, and
is _for the most part regulated by_ EMPHASIS."--_Sheridan's Rhetorical
Gram._, p. 65. Again: "It is by the ACCENT _chiefly_ that the _quantity_ of
our syllables is regulated."--_Sheridan's Lectures on Elocution_, p. 57.
See Chap. IV, Sec. 2d, Obs. 1; and marginal note on Obs. 8.

2. Some writers erroneously confound _emphasis_ with _accent_; especially
those who make accent, and not quantity, the foundation of verse. Contrary
to common usage, and to his own definition of accent, Wells takes it upon
him to say, "The term _accent_ is also applied, in poetry, to the stress
laid on monosyllabic words; as,

'Content is _wealth, the riches of the mind.'--Dryden_."
--_Wells's School Grammar_, p. 185.

It does not appear that stress laid on monosyllables is any more fitly
termed accent, when it occurs in the reading of poetry, than when in the
utterance of prose. Churchill, who makes no such distinction, thinks accent
essential alike to emphasis and to the quantity of a long vowel, and yet,
as regards monosyllables, dependent on them both! His words are these:
"Monosyllables are sometimes accented, sometimes not. This depends chiefly
on _their_ being _more or less emphatic_; and on the vowel _sound_ being
_long or short_. We cannot give _emphasis_ to any word, or it's [_its_]
proper duration to a _long vowel_, without _accenting_ it."--_Churchill's
New Gram._, p. 182.

[475] Not only are these inflections denoted occasionally by the accentual
marks, but they are sometimes expressly _identified with accents_, being
called by that name. This practice, however, is plainly objectionable. It
confounds things known to be different,--mere stress with elevation or
depression,--and may lead to the supposition, that to accent a syllable, is
to inflect the voice upon it. Such indeed has been the guess of many
concerning the nature of Greek and Latin accents, but of the English
accent, the common idea is, that it is only a greater force distinguishing
some one syllable of a word from the rest. Walker, however, in the strange
account he gives in his Key, of "what we mean by _the accent and quantity_
of our own language," charges this current opinion with error, dissenting
from Sheridan and Nares, who held it; and, having asserted, that, "in
speaking, the voice is continually _sliding_ upwards or downwards,"
proceeds to contradict himself thus: "As high and low, loud and soft,
forcible and feeble, are comparative terms, words of one syllable
pronounced alone, and without relation to other words or syllables, _cannot
be said to have any_ ACCENT. The only distinction to which such words are
liable, is an _elevation or depression_ of voice, when we compare the
beginning with the end of the word or syllable. Thus a monosyllable,
considered singly, rises from a lower to a higher tone in the question _No?
which_ may therefore be called _the acute_ ACCENT: and falls from a higher
to a lower tone upon the same word in the answer _No, which_ may therefore
be called _the grave_ [ACCENT]."--_Walker's Key_, p. 316. Thus he tells of
different accents on "_a monosyllable_," which, by his own showing, "cannot
be said to have any accent"! and others read and copy the text with as
little suspicion of its inconsistency! See _Worcester's Universal and
Critical Dictionary_, p. 934.

[476] In Humphrey's English Prosody, _cadence_ is taken for the reverse of
_accent_, and is obviously identified or confounded with _short quantity_,
or what the author inclines to call "_small_ quantity." He defines it as
follows: "Cadence is the reverse or counterpart _to_ accent; a falling or
depression of voice on syllables unaccented: _and by which_ the sound is
shortened and depressed."--P. 3. This is not exactly what is generally
understood by the word _cadence_. Lord Kames also contrasts _cadence_ with
_accent_; but, by the latter term, he seems to have meant something
different from our ordinary accent. "Sometimes to humour the sense," says
he, "and sometimes the melody, a particular syllable is sounded _in a
higher tone_; and this is termed _accenting a syllable_, or gracing it with
an accent. Opposed to the accent, is the _cadence_, which I have not
mentioned as one of the requisites of verse, because it is entirely
regulated by the sense, and hath no peculiar relation to verse."--_Elements
of Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 78.

[477] The Latin term, (made plural to agree with _verba, words_,) is
_subaudita, underheard_--the perfect participle of _subaudio_, to
_underhear_. Hence the noun, _subauditio, subaudition_, the recognition of

[478] "Thus, in the Proverbs of all Languages, many Words are usually left
to be supplied from the trite obvious Nature of what they express; as, _out
of Sight out of Mind; the more the merrier_, &c."--_W. Ward's Pract.
Gram._, p. 147.

[479] Lindley Murray and some others say, "As _the ellipsis occurs in
almost every sentence in the English language_, numerous examples of it
might be given."--_Murray's Gram._, p. 220; _Weld's_, 292; _Fisk's_, 147.
They could, without doubt, have exhibited many true specimens of Ellipsis;
but most of those which they have given, are only fanciful and false ones;
and their notion of the frequency of the figure, is monstrously

[480] Who besides Webster has called syllepsis "_substitution_," I do not
know. _Substitution_ and _conception_ are terms of quite different import,
and many authors have explained syllepsis by the latter word. Dr. Webster
gives to "SUBSTITUTION" two meanings, thus: "1. The act of putting one
person or thing in the _place_ of another to _supply_ [his or] _its_
place.--2. In _grammar_, syllepsis, or the use of one word for
another."--_American Dict._, 8vo. This explanation seems to me inaccurate;
because it confounds both substitution and syllepsis with _enallage_. It
has signs of carelessness throughout; the former sentence being both
tautological and ungrammatical.--G. B.

[481] Between Tropes and Figures, some writers attempt a full distinction;
but this, if practicable, is of little use. According to Holmes, "TROPES
affect only single _Words_; but FIGURES, whole _Sentences_."--_Rhetoric_,
B. i, p. 28. "The CHIEF TROPES in Language," says this author, "are seven;
a _Metaphor_, an _Allegory_, a _Metonymy_, a _Synecdoche_, an _Irony_, an
_Hyperbole_, and a _Catachresis_."--_Ib._, p. 30. The term _Figure_ or
_Figures_ is more comprehensive than _Trope_ or _Tropes_; I have therefore
not thought it expedient to make much use of the latter, in either the
singular or the plural form. Holmes's seven tropes are all of them defined
in the main text of this section, except _Catachresis_, which is commonly
explained to be "an _abuse_ of a trope." According to this sense, it seems
in general to differ but little from impropriety. At best, a Catachresis is
a forced expression, though sometimes, perhaps, to be indulged where there
is great excitement. It is a sort of figure by which a word is used in a
sense different from, yet connected with, or analogous to, its own; as,

"And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, as heaven's cherubim
_Hors'd_ upon the sightless _couriers_ of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind."--_Shak., Macbeth_, Act i, Sc. 7.

[482] Holmes, in his Art of Rhetoric, writes this word "_Paraleipsis_"
retaining the Greek orthography. So does Fowler in his recent "English
Grammar," Sec.646. Webster, Adam, and some others, write it "_Paralepsis_." I
write it as above on the authority of Littleton, Ainsworth, and some
others; and this is according to the analogy of the kindred word
_ellipsis_, which we never write either _ellepsis_, or, as the Greek,

[483] To this principle there seems to be now and then an exception, as
when a weak dissyllable begins a foot in an anapestic line, as in the
following examples:--

"I think--let me see--yes, it is, I declare,
As long _ago now_ as that Buckingham there."--_Leigh Hunt_.

"And Thomson, though best in his indolent fits,
Either slept himself weary, or blasted his wits."--_Id._

Here, if we reckon the feet in question to be anapests, we have
dissyllables with both parts short. But some, accenting "_ago_" on the
latter syllable, and "_Either_" on the former, will call "_ago now_" a
bacchy, and "_Either slept_" an amphimac: because _they make them such_ by
their manner of reading.--G. B.

[484] "Edgar A. Poe, the author, died at Baltimore on Sunday" [the
7th].--_Daily Evening Traveller_, Boston Oct. 9, 1849. This was eight or
ten months after the writing of these observations.--G. B.

[485] "Versification is the art of arranging words into lines of
correspondent length, so as to produce harmony by the regular alternation
of syllables differing in quantity"--_Brown's Institutes of E. Gram._, p.

[486] This appears to be an error; for, according to Dilworth, and other
arithmeticians, "_a unit is a number_;" and so is it expounded by Johnson,
Walker, Webster, and Worcester. See, in the _Introduction_, a note at the
foot of p. 117. Mulligan, however, contends still, that _one is no number_;
and that, "to talk of the _singular number_ is absurd--a contradiction in
terms;"--because, "in common discourse," a "_number_" is "always a
_plurality_, except"--when it is "_number one_!"--See _Grammatical
Structure of the E. Language_, Sec.33. Some prosodists have taught the
absurdity, that two feet are necessary to constitute _a metre_, and have
accordingly applied the terms, _monometer, dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter,
pentameter_, and _hexameter_,--or so many of them as they _could so
misapply_,--in a sense very different from the usual acceptation. The
proper principle is, that, "One foot constitutes a metre."--_Dr. P.
Wilson's Greek Prosody_, p. 53. And verses are to be denominated
_Monometer, Dimeter, Trimeter_, &c., according to "THE NUMBER OF
FEET."--See _ib._ p. 6. But Worcester's Universal and Critical Dictionary
has the following not very consistent explanations: "MONOMETER, _n._ One
metre. _Beck_. DIMETER, _n._ A poetic measure of _four feet_; a _series of
two_ meters. _Beck_. TRIMETER, _a_. Consisting of three poetical
_measures_, forming an _iambic_ of _six feet_. _Tyrwhitt_. TETRAMETER, _n._
A Latin or Greek verse consisting of _four feet_; a series of four metres.
TETRAMETER, _a_. Having _four_ metrical _feet_. _Tyrwhitt_. PENTAMETER,
_n._ A Greek or Latin verse of _five feet_; a series of five metres.
PENTAMETER, _a_. Having _five_ metrical _feet_. _Warton_. HEXAMETER, _n._ A
verse or line of poetry, having _six feet_, either dactyls or spondees; the
heroic, and most important, verse among the Greeks and Romans;--a
rhythmical series of six metres. HEXAMETER, _a_. Having _six_ metrical
_feet_. _Dr. Warton_." According to these definitions, Dimeter has as many
feet as Tetrameter; and Trimeter has as many as Hexameter!

[487] It is common, at any rate, for prosodists to speak of "the _movement_
of the voice," as do Sheridan, Murray, Humphrey, and Everett; but Kames, in
treating of the Beauty of Language from Resemblance, says "There is _no
resemblance_ of sound to motion, nor of sound to sentiment."--_Elements of
Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 63. This usage, however, is admitted by the critic,
had cited to show how, "causes that have no resemblance may produce
resembling effects."--_Ib._ 64. "By a number of syllables in succession, an
emotion is sometimes raised extremely similar to that raised by successive
motion: which may be evident even to those who are defective in taste, from
the following fact, that the term _movement_ in all languages is equally
applied to both."--_Ib._ ii. 66.

[488] "From what has been said of accent and quantity in our own language,
we may conclude them to be essentially distinct _and perfectly separable_:
nor is it to be doubted that they were _equally separable_ in the learned
languages."--_Walkers's Observations on Gr. and Lat. Accent and Quantity_,
Sec.20; Key, p. 326. In the speculative essay here cited, Walker meant by
_accent_ the rising or the falling _inflection_,--an upward or a downward
_slide_ of the voice: and by _quantity_, nothing but the open or close
sound of some vowel; as of "the _a_ in _scatter_" and in "_skater_," the
initial syllables of which words be supposed to differ in quantity as much
as any two syllables can!--_Ib._, Sec.24; Key, p. 331. With these views _of
the things_, it is perhaps the less to be wondered at, that Walker, who
appears to have been a candid and courteous writer, charges "that excellent
scholar Mr. Forster--with a _total ignorance_ of the accent and quantity of
his own language," (_Ib., Note on Sec.8_; Key, p. 317;) and, in regard to
accent, ancient or modern, elsewhere confesses his own ignorance, and that
of every body else, to be _as_ "_total_." See marginal note on Obs. 4th

[489] (1.) "We shall now take a view of sounds when united into
_syllables_. Here a beautiful variation of _quantity_ presents itself as
the next object of our attention. The knowledge of _long_ and _short_
syllables, is the most excellent and most neglected quality in the whole
art of pronunciation.

The disputes of our modern writers on this subject, have arisen chiefly
from an absurd notion that has long prevailed; viz. that there is no
difference between the _accent_ and the _quantity_, in the English
language; that the accented syllables are always _long_, and the unaccented
always _short_.

An absurdity so glaring, does not need refutation. Pronounce any one line
from Milton, and the ear will determine whether or not the accent and
quantity always coincide. Very seldom they do."--HERRIES: _Bicknell's
Gram._, Part ii, p. 108.

(2.) "Some of our Moderns (especially Mr. _Bishe_, in his _Art of Poetry_)
and lately Mr. _Mattaire_, in what he calls, _The English Grammar_,
erroneously use _Accent_ for _Quantity_, one signifying the Length or
Shortness of a Syllable, the other the raising or falling of the Voice in
_Discourse_."--_Brightland's Gram._, London, 1746, p. 156.

(3.) "Tempus cum accentu a nonnullis male confunditur; quasi idem sit acui
et produci. Cum brevis autem syllaba acuitur, elevatur quidem vox in ea
proferenda, sed tempus non augetur. Sic in voce _hominibus_ acuitur _mi_;
at _ni_ quae sequitur, aequam in efferendo moram postulat."--_Lily's Gram._,
p. 125. Version: "By some persons, _time_ is improperly confounded with
_accent_; as if to acute and to lengthen were the same. But when a short
syllable is acuted, the voice indeed is raised in pronouncing it, but the
time is not increased. Thus, in the word _hominibus, mi_ as the acute
accent; but _ni_, which follows, demands equal slowness in the
pronunciation." To English ears, this can hardly seem a correct
representation; for, in pronouncing _hominibus_, it is not _mi_, but _min_,
that we accent; and this syllable is manifestly as much longer than the
rest, as it is louder.

[490] (1.) "Syllables, with respect to their _quantity_, are either _long,
short_, or _common_."--_Gould's Adam's Lat. Gram._, p. 243. "Some syllables
are _common_; that is, sometimes long, and sometimes short."--_Adam's Lat.
and Eng. Gram._, p. 252. _Common_ is here put for _variable_, or _not
permanently settled in respect to quantity_: in this sense, from which no
third species ought to be inferred, our language is, perhaps, more
extensively "_common_" than any other.

(2.) "Most of our Monosyllables either take this Stress or not, according
as they are more or less emphatical; and therefore English Words of one
Syllable may be considered as _common_; i.e. either as long or short in
certain Situations. These Situations are chiefly determined by the Pause,
or Cesure, of the Verse, and this Pause by the Sense. And as the English
abounds in Monosyllables, there is probably no Language in which the
Quantity of Syllables is more regulated by the Sense than in English."--_W.
Ward's Gram._, Ed. of 1765, p. 156.

(3.) Bicknell's theory of quantity, for which he refers to Herries, is
this: "The English _quantity_ is divided into _long, short_, and _common_.
The longest species of syllables are those that end in a vowel, and are
under the accent; as, _mo_ in har_mo_nious, _sole_ in con_sole_, &c. When a
monosyllable, which is unemphatic, ends in a vowel, it is always short; but
when the emphasis is placed upon it, it is always long. _Short_ syllables
are such as end in any of the six mutes; as cu_t_, sto_p_, ra_p_i_d_,
ru_g_ge_d_, lo_ck_. In _all such syllables_ the sound cannot be lengthened:
they are necessarily and invariably _short_. If another consonant
intervenes between the vowel and mute, as re_nd_, so_ft_, fla_sk_, the
syllable is rendered _somewhat longer_. The other species of syllables
called _common_, are such as terminate in a half-vowel or aspirate. For
instance, in the words ru_n_, swi_m_, cru_sh_, pu_rl_, the concluding sound
can be continued or shortened, as we please. This scheme of quantity," it
is added, "is founded on fact and experience."--_Bicknell's Gram._, Part
ii, p. 109. But is it not a _fact_, that such words as _cuttest, stopping,
rapid, rugged_, are _trochees_, in verse? and is not _unlock_ an _iambus_?
And what becomes of syllables that end with vowels or liquids and are not

[491] I do not say the mere absence of stress is _never_ called _accent_;
for it is, plainly, the doctrine of some authors that the English accent
differs not at all in its nature from the accent of the ancient Greeks or
Romans, which was distinguished as being of three sorts, _acute, grave,
inflex_; that "the stronger breathing, or higher sound," which
distinguishes one syllable of a word from or above the rest, is _the acute
accent_ only; that "the softer breathing, or lower sound," which belongs to
an _unacuted_ (or _unaccented_) syllable, is _the grave accent_; and that a
combination of these two sounds, or "breathings," upon one syllable,
constitutes the _inflex or circumflex accent_. Such, I think, is the
teaching of Rev. William Barnes; who further says, "English verse is
constructed upon sundry orders of _acute and grave accents_ and matchings
of rhymes, while the poetic language of the Romans and Greeks is formed
upon rules of the sundry clusterings of _long and short
syllables_."--_Philological Grammar_, p. 263. This scheme is not wholly
consistent, because the author explains accent or accents as being
applicable only to "words of two or more syllables;" and it is plain, that
the accent which includes the three sorts above, must needs be "some other
thing than what we call accent," if this includes only the acute.

[492] Sheridan used the same comparison, "To illustrate the difference
between the accent of the ancients and that of _ours_" [our tongue]. Our
accent he supposed, with Nares and others, to have "no reference to
_inflections_ of the voice."--See _Art of Reading_, p. 75; _Lectures on
Elocution_, p. 56; _Walker's Key_, p. 313.

[493] (1.) It may in some measure account for these remarkable omissions,
to observe that Walker, in his lexicography, followed Johnson in almost
every thing but pronunciation. On this latter subject, his own authority is
perhaps as great as that of any single author. And here I am led to
introduce a remark or two touching _the accent and quantity_ with which he
was chiefly concerned; though the suggestions may have no immediate
connexion with the error of confounding these properties.

(2.) Walker, in his theory, regarded the _inflections_ of the voice as
pertaining to _accent_, and as affording a satisfactory solution of the
difficulties in which this subject has been involved; but, as an English
orthoepist, he treats of accent in no other sense, than as _stress laid on
a particular syllable of a word_--a sense implying contrast, and
necessarily dividing all syllables into accented and unaccented, except
monosyllables. Having acknowledged our "_total ignorance_ of the nature of
the Latin and Greek accent," he adds: "The accent of the English language,
which is constantly sounding in our ears, and every moment open to
investigation, seems _as much a mystery_ as that accent which is removed
almost two thousand years from our view. Obscurity, perplexity, and
confusion, run through every treatise on the subject, and nothing could be
so hopeless as an attempt to explain it, did not a circumstance present
itself, which at once accounts for the confusion, and affords a clew to
lead us out of it. Not one writer on accent has given such a definition of
the voice as acquaints us with its essential properties. * * * But let us
once divide the voice into its rising and falling inflections, the
obscurity vanishes, and accent becomes as intelligible as any other part of
language. * * * On the present occasion it will be sufficient to observe,
that _the stress we call accent_ is as well understood as is necessary for
the pronunciation of single words, which is the object of this
treatise."--_Walker's Dict._, p. 53, _Princip._ 486, 487, 488.

(3.) Afterwards, on introducing _quantity_, as an orthoepical topic, he has
the following remark: "In treating this part of pronunciation, it will not
be necessary to enter into the nature of _that quantity which constitutes
poetry_; the quantity here considered will be that which relates to words
taken singly; and this is _nothing more than the length or shortness of the
vowels_, either as they stand alone, or as they are differently combined
with the vowels or consonants." _Ib._, p. 62, _Princip._ 529. Here is
suggested a distinction which has not been so well observed by grammarians
and prosodists, or even by Walker himself, as it ought to have been. So
long as the practice continues of denominating certain mere _vowel sounds_
the _long_ and the _short_, it will be very necessary to notice that these
are not the same as the _syllabic quantities_, long and short, which
constitute English verse.

[494] (1.) In the Latin and Greek languages, this is not commonly supposed
to be the case; but, on the contrary, the quantity of syllables is
professedly adjusted by its own rules independently of what we call accent;
and, in our English pronunciation of these languages, the accentuation of
all long words is regulated by the quantity of the last syllable but one.
Walker, in the introduction to his Key, speaks of "The English
pronunciation of Greek and Latin [as] injurious to quantity." And no one
can deny, that we often accent what are called short syllables, and perhaps
oftener leave unaccented such as are called long; but, after all, were the
quantity of Latin and Greek syllables always judged of by their actual
time, and not with reference to the vowel sounds called long and short,
these our violations of the old quantities would be found much fewer than
some suppose they are.

(2.) Dr. Adam's view of the accents, acute and grave, appears to be
peculiar; and of a nature which may perhaps come nearer to an actual
identity with the quantities, long and short, than any other. He says,

"1. The _acute_ or _sharp_ accent raises the voice in pronunciation, and is
thus marked []; _profero, profer_. [The English word is written, not thus,
but with two Effs, _proffer_.--G. B.]

"2. The _grave_ or _base_ accent depresses the voice, or keeps it in its
natural tone; and is thus marked [`]; as, docte. [Fist] _This accent
properly belongs to all syllables which have no other_.

"The accents are hardly ever marked in English books, except in
dictionaries, grammars, spelling-books, or the like, where the acute accent
only is used. The accents are likewise seldom marked in Latin books, unless
for the sake of distinction; as in these adverbs, _aliquo, continuo, docte,
una_, &c."--_Adam's Latin and English Grammar_, p. 266.

(3.) As stress naturally lengthens the syllables on which it falls, if we
suppose the grave accent to be the opposite of this, and to belong to all
syllables which have no peculiar stress,--are not enforced, not acuted, not
circumflected, not emphasized; then shall we truly have an accent with
which our short quantity may fairly coincide. But I have said, "the mere
absence of stress, which produces short quantity, we do not call _accent_;"
and it may be observed, that the learned improver of Dr. Adam's Grammar, B.
A. Gould, has totally rejected all that his predecessor taught concerning
_accent_, and has given an entirely different definition of the thing. See
marginal notes on page 771, above. Dr. Johnson also cites from _Holder_ a
very different explanation of it, as follows: "_Accent_, as in the Greek
names and usage, seems to have regarded the tune of the voice; the acute
accent, raising the voice in some certain syllables, to a higher, (_i.e._
more acute) pitch or tone; and the grave, depressing it lower; [Fist] _and
both having some emphasis_, i.e. _more vigorous pronunciation_.
HOLDER."--_Johnson's Quarto Dict., w. Accent_.

[495] (1.) "Amongst them [the ancients,] we know that accents were marked
by certain _inflexions_ [inflections] of the voice like musical notes; and
the grammarians to this day, with great formality inform their pupils, that
the acute accent, is the raising [of] the voice on a certain syllable; the
grave, a depression of it; and the circumflex, a raising and depression
both, in one and the same syllable. _This jargon they constantly preserve_,
though they have no sort of ideas annexed to these words; for if they are
asked to shew how this is to be done, they cannot tell, and their practice
always belies their precept."--_Sheridan's Lectures on Eloc._, p. 54.

(2.) "It is by the accent chiefly that the quantity of our syllables is
regulated; but not according to the _mistaken rule_ laid down by _all who
have written_ on the subject, that the accent _always makes the syllable
long_; than which _there cannot be any thing more false_."--_Ib._, p. 57.

(3.) "And here I cannot help taking notice of a circumstance, which shews
in the strongest light, the _amazing deficiency_ of those, who have
hitherto employed their labours on that subject, [accent, or
pronunciation,] _in point of knowledge_ of the true genius and constitution
of our tongue. Several of the compilers of dictionaries, vocabularies, and
spelling books, have undertaken to mark the accents of our words; but so
_little acquainted_ were they with the nature of our accent, that they
thought it necessary only to mark _the syllable_ on which the stress is to
be laid, without marking the _particular letter_ of the syllable to which
the accent belongs."--_Ib._, p. 59.

(4.) "The mind thus taking a bias under the prejudice of false rules, never
arrives at a knowledge of the true nature of _quantity_; and accordingly we
find that _all attempts hitherto_ to settle the prosody of our language,
have been vain and fruitless."--_Sheridan's Rhetorical Gram._, p. 52.

[496] In the following extract, this matter is stated somewhat differently:
"The _quantity_ depends upon the seat of the accent, whether it be on the
vowel or [on the] consonant; if on the vowel, the syllable is necessarily
long: as it makes the vowel long; if on the consonant, _it may be either
long or short_, according to the nature of the consonant, or _the time
taken up_ in dwelling upon it."--_Sheridan's Lectures on Eloc._, p. 57.
This last clause shows the "distinction" to be a very weak one.--G. BROWN.

[497] "If the consonant be in its nature a short one, the syllable is
necessarily short. If it be a long one, that is, one whose sound is capable
of being lengthened, it _may be long or short_ at the will of the speaker.
By a short consonant I mean one whose sound cannot be continued after a
vowel, such as c or k p t, as ac, ap, at--whilst that of long consonants
_can_, as, el em en er ev, &c."--_Sheridan's Lectures on Elocution_, p. 58.
Sheridan here forgets that "_bor'row_" is one of his examples of short

Murray admits that "accent on a _semi-vowel_" may make the syllable long;
and his semivowels are these: "_f, l, m, n, r, v, s, z, x_, and _c_ and _g_
soft." See his _Octavo Gram._, p. 240 and p. 8.

[498] On account of the different uses made of the breve, the macron, and
the accents, one grammarian has proposed a new mode of marking poetic
quantities. Something of the kind might be useful; but there seems to be a
reversal of order in this scheme, the macrotone being here made light, and
the stenotone dark and heavy. "Long and short syllables have _sometimes_
been designated by the same marks _which_ are used for accent, tones, and
the quality of the vowels; but it will be better[,] to prevent confusion[,]
to use different marks. This mark may represent a long syllable, and this
. a short syllable; as,

. . deg. . . deg. . . deg. . deg.
'At the close of the day when the hamlet is still.'"
--_Perley's Gram._, p. 73.
[no . over 'let', sic--KTH]

[499] _Dr. Adam's Gram._, p. 267; _B. A. Gould's_, 257. The Latin word
_caesura_ signifies "_a cutting_, or _division_." This name is sometimes
Anglicized, and written "_Cesure_." See _Brightland's Gram._, p. 161; or
_Worcester's Dict., w. Cesure_.

[500] "As to the long quantity arising from the succession of two
consonants, which the ancients are uniform in asserting, if it did not mean
that the preceding vowel was to lengthen its sound, _as we should do_ by
pronouncing the _a_ in _scatter_ as we do in _skater_, (one who skates,) _I
have no conception of what it meant_; for if it meant that only the _time
of the syllable_ was prolonged, the vowel retaining the same sound, I must
confess as ut er [sic--KTH] an inability of _comprehending this source_ of
quantity in the Greek and Latin as in English."--_Walker on Gr. and L.
Accent_, Sec.24; Key, p. 331. This distinguished author seems unwilling to
admit, that the consonants occupy time in their utterance, or that other
vowel sounds than those which _name_ the vowels, can be protracted and
become long; but these are _truths_, nevertheless; and, since every letter
adds _something_ to the syllable in which it is uttered, it is by
consequence a "_source of quantity_," whether the syllable be long or

[501] Murray has here a marginal note, as follows: "Movement and measure
are thus distinguished. _Movement_ expresses the progressive order of
sounds, whether from strong to weak, from long to short, or vice versa.
_Measure_ signifies the proportion of time, both in sounds _and
pauses_."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 259. This distinction is neither usual nor
accurate; though Humphrey adopts it, with slight variations. Without some
species of _measure_,--Iambic, Trochaic, Anapestic, Dactylic, or some
other,--there can be no regular _movement_, no "progressive _order_ of
sounds." Measure is therefore too essential to movement to be in contrast
with it. And the movement "from _strong_ to _weak_, from _long_ to
_short_," is but one and the same, a _trochaic_ movement; its reverse, the
movement, "_vice versa_," from _weak_ to _strong_, or from _short_ to
_long_, is, of course, that of _iambic_ measure. But Murray's doctrine is,
that _strong_ and _long, weak_ and _short_, may be separated; that _strong_
may be _short_, and _weak_ be _long_; so that the movement from _weak_ to
_strong_ may be from _long_ to _short_, and _vice versa_: as if a trochaic
movement might arise from iambic measure, and an iambic movement from
trochaic feet! This absurdity comes of attempting to regulate the
_movement_ of verse by accent, and not by quantity, while it is admitted
that quantity, and not accent, forms the _measure_, which "signifies _the
proportion of time_." The idea that _pauses belong to measure_, is an other
radical error of the foregoing note. There are more pauses in poetry than
in prose, but none of them are properly "_parts_" of either. Humphrey says
truly, "_Feet_ are the _constituent parts_ of verse."--_English Prosody_,
p. 8. But L. Murray says, "_Feet and pauses_ are the constituent parts of
verse."--_Octavo Gram._, p. 252. Here Sheridan gave bias. Intending to
treat of verse, and "the pauses peculiarly belonging to it," the
"_Caesural_" pause and the "_Final_," the rhetorician had _improperly_ said,
"The constituent _parts_ of verse are, feet, and pauses."--_Sheridan's
Rhetorical Gram._, p. 64.

[502] "But as many Ways as Quantities may be varied by Composition and
Transposition, so many different Feet have the _Greek_ Poets contriv'd, and
that under distinct Names, from two to six Syllables, to the Number of 124.
But it is the Opinion of some Learned Men in this Way, that Poetic Numbers
may be sufficiently explain'd by those of two or three Syllables, into
which the rest are to be resolv'd."--_Brightland's Grammar_, 7th Ed., p.


"Those ev'ning bells, those ev'ning bells,
_How_ many a tale their music tells!"--_Moore's Melodies_, p. 263.

This couplet, like all the rest of the piece from which it is taken, is
iambic verse, and to be divided into feet thus:--

"Those ev' | -ning bells, | those ev' | -ning bells,
How man | -y a tale | their mu | -sic tells!"

[504] Lord Kames, too, speaking of "English Heroic verse," says: "Every
line consists of ten syllables, _five short and five long_; from which
[rule] there are but two exceptions, both of them rare."--_Elements of
Criticism_, Vol. ii, p. 89.

[505] "The Latin is a far more _stately_ tongue than our own. It is
essentially _spondaic_; the English is as essentially _dactylic_. The
_long_ syllable is the spirit of the Roman (and Greek) verse; the _short_
syllable is the essence of ours."--_Poe's Notes upon English Verse;
Pioneer_, Vol. i, p. 110. "We must search for _spondaic words_, which, in
English, are rare indeed."--_Ib._, p. 111.

[506] "There is a rule, in Latin prosody, that a vowel _before two
consonants_ is long. We moderns have not only no such rule, but profess
inability to comprehend its _rationale_."--_Poe's Notes: Pioneer_, p. 112.

[507] The opponents of capital punishment will hardly take this for a fair
version of the sixth commandment.--G. B.

[508] These versicles, except the two which are Italicized, are _not
iambic_. The others are partly trochaic; and, according to many of our
prosodists, wholly so; but it is questionable whether they are not as
properly amphimacric, or Cretic.

[509] See exercises in Punctuation, on page 786, of this work.--G. B.

[510] The Seventieth Psalm is the same as the last five verses of the
Fortieth, except a few unimportant differences of words or points.

[511] It is obvious, that these two lines may easily be reduced to an
agreeable stanza, by simply dividing each after the fourth foot--G. B.

[512] In Sanborn's Analytical Grammar, on page 279th, this couplet is
ascribed to "_Pope_;" but I have sought in vain for this quotation, or any
example of similar verse, in the works of that poet. The lines, one or both
of them, appear, _without reference_, in _L. Murray's Grammar, Second
Edition_, 1796, p. 176, and in subsequent editions; in _W. Allen's_, p.
225; _Bullions's_, 178; _N. Butler's_, 192; _Chandler's New_, 196;
_Clark's_, 201; _Churchill's_, 187; _Cooper's Practical_, 185; _Davis's_,
137; _Farnum's_, 106; _Felton's_, 142; _Frazee's_, 184; _Frost's_, 164; _S.
S. Greene's_, 250; _Hallock's_, 244; _Hart's_, 187; _Hiley's_, 127;
_Humphrey's Prosody_, 17; _Parker and Fox's Gram._, Part iii, p. 60;
_Weld's_, 211; _Ditto Abridged_, 138; _Wells's_, 200; _Fowler's_, 658; and
doubtless in many other such books.

[513] "Owen succeeded his father Griffin in the principality of North
Wales, A. D. 1120. This battle was fought near forty years afterwards.
North Wales is called, in the fourth line, '_Gwyneth_;' and 'Lochlin,' in
the fourteenth, is Denmark."--_Gray_. Some say "Lochlin," in the Annals of
Ulster, means Norway.--G. B.

[514] "The red dragon is the device of Cadwallader, which all his
descendants bore on their banners."--_Gray_.

[515] This passage, or some part of it, is given as a trochaic example, in
many different systems of prosody. Everett ascribes it entire to "_John
Chalkhill_;" and Nutting, more than twenty years before, had attached the
name of "_Chalkhill_" to a part of it. But the six lines "of three
syllables," Dr. Johnson, in his Grammar, credits to "_Walton's Angler_;"
and Bicknell, too, ascribes the same to "_Walton_." The readings also have
become various. Johnson, Bicknell, Burn, Churchill, and Nutting, have
"_Here_" for "_Where_" in the fifth line above; and Bicknell and Burn have
"_Stop_" in the eighth line, where the rest read "_Stops_." Nutting has,
for the ninth line, "_Others'_ joys," and not, "_Other_ joys," as have the
rest.--G. B.

[516] OBS.--Of this, and of every other example which requires no
amendment, let the learner simply say, after reading the passage, "This
sentence is correct as it stands."--G. BROWN.

[517] OBSERVATION.--In the Bible, the word LORD, whenever it stands for the
Hebrew name JEHOVAH, not only commences with a full capital, but has small
or half capitals for the other letters; and I have thought proper to print
both words in that manner here. In correcting the last example, I follow
Dr. Scott's Bible, except in the word "_God_," which he writes with a small
_g_. Several other copies have "_first_" and "_last_" with small initials,
which I think not so correct; and some distinguish the word "_hosts_" with
a capital, which seems to be needless. The sentence here has eleven
capitals: in the Latin Vulgate, it has but six, and one of them is for the
last word, "_Deus_," God.--G. B.

[518] OBS.--This construction I dislike. Without hyphens, it is improper;
and with them it is not to be commended. See Syntax, Obs 24th on Rule
IV.--G. B.

[519] On the page here referred to, the author of the Gazetteer has written
"_Charles city_," &c. Analogy requires that the words be compounded,
because they constitute three names which are applied to _counties_, and
not to _cities_.

[520] OBS.--The following words, _as names of towns_, come under Rule 6th,
and are commonly found correctly compounded in the books of Scotch
geography and statistics; "Strathaven, Stonehaven, Strathdon, Glenluce,
Greenlaw, Coldstream, Lochwinnoch, Lochcarron, Loehmaber, Prestonpans,
Prestonkirk, Peterhead, Queensferry, Newmills," and many more like them.

[521] Section OBS.--This name, in both the Vulgate and the Septuagint, is
_Pharao Nechao_, with two capitals and no hyphen. Walker gives the two
words separately in his Key, and spells the latter _Necho_, and not
_Nechoh_. See the same orthography in _Jer._, xlvi, 2. In our common
Bibles, many such names are needlessly, if not improperly, compounded;
sometimes with one capital, and sometimes with two. The proper manner of
writing Scripture names, is too little regarded even by good men and
biblical critics.

[522] "[Marcus] Terentius Varro, vir Romanorum eruditissimus."--QUINTILIAN.
Lib. x, Cap. 1, p. 577.

[523] NOTE.--By this amendment, we remove a multitude of errors, but the
passage is still very faulty. What Murray here calls "_phrases_," are
properly _sentences_; and, in his second clause, he deserts the terms of
the first to bring in "_my_," "_our_," and also "_&c._," which seem to be
out of place there.--G. BROWN.

[524] _An other_ is a phrase of two words, which ought to be written
separately. The transferring of the n to the latter word, is a gross
vulgarism. Separate the words, and it will be avoided.

[525] _Mys-ter-y_, according to Scott and Cobb; _mys-te-ry_, according to
Walker and Worcester.

[526] Kirkham borrowed this doctrine of "Tonics, Subtonics, and Atonies,"
from Rush: and dressed it up in his own worse bombast. See Obs. 13 and 14,
on the Powers of the Letters.--GB.

[527] There is, in most English dictionaries, a contracted form of this
phrase, written _prithee_, or _I prithee_; but Dr. Johnson censures it as
"a familiar _corruption_, which some writers have _injudiciously_ used;"
and, as the abbreviation amounted to nothing but the slurring of one vowel
sound into an other, it has now, I think, very deservedly become
obsolete.--G. BROWN.

[528] This is the doctrine of Murray, and his hundred copyists; but it is
by no means generally true. It is true of adverbs, only when they are
connected by conjunctions; and seldom applies to _two_ words, unless the
conjunction which may be said to connect them, be suppressed and
understood.--G. BROWN.

[529] Example: "Imperfect articulation comes not so much from bad _organs_,
as from the abuse of good ones."--_Porter's Analysis_. Here _ones_
represents _organs_, and prevents unpleasant repetition.--G. BROWN.

[530] From the force of habit, or to prevent the possibility of a false
pronunciation, these ocular contractions are still sometimes carefully made
in printing poetry; but they are not very important, and some modern
authors, or their printers, disregard them altogether. In correcting short
poetical examples, I shall in general take no particular pains to
distinguish them from prose. All needful contractions however will be
preserved, and sometimes also a capital letter, to show where the author
commenced a line.

[531] The word "_imperfect_" is not really necessary here; for the
declaration is true of _any phrase_, as this name is commonly applied.--G.

[532] A _part of speech_ is a _sort of words_, and not _one word only_. We
cannot say, that every pronoun, or every verb, is _a part of speech_,
because the parts of speech are _only ten_. But every pronoun, verb, or
other word, is _a word_; and, if we will refer to this genus, there is no
difficulty in defining all the parts of speech in the singular, with _an_
or _a_: as, "A _pronoun_ is _a word_ put for _a noun_." Murray and others
say, "_An Adverb_ is _a part of speech_," &c., "A _Conjunction_ is _a part
of speech_," &c., which is the same as to say, "_One adverb_ is _a sort of
words_," &c. This is a palpable absurdity.--G. BROWN.

[533] The propriety of this conjunction, "_nor_," is somewhat questionable:
the reading in both the Vulgate and the Septuagint is--"_they, and_ their
wives, _and_ their sons, _and_ their daughters."

[534] All our lexicographers, and all accurate authors, spell this word
with an _o_; but the gentleman who has furnished us with the last set of
_new terms_ for the science of grammar, writes it with an _e_, and applies
it to the _verb_ and the _participle_. With him, every verb or participle
is an "_asserter_;" except when he forgets his creed, as he did in writing
the preceding example about certain "_verbs_." As he changes the names of
all the parts of speech, and denounces the entire technology of grammar,
perhaps his innovation would have been sufficiently broad, had he for THE
VERB, the most important class of all, adopted some name which he knew how
to spell.--G. B.

[535] It would be better to omit the word "_forth_," or else to say--"whom
I _brought forth from_ the land of Egypt." The phrase, "_forth out of_," is
neither a very common nor a very terse one.--G. BROWN.

[536] This _doctrine_, that participles divide and specify time, I have
elsewhere shown to be erroneous.--G. BROWN.

[537] Perhaps it would be as well or better, in correcting these two
examples, to say, "There _are_ a generation." But the article _a_, as well
as the literal form of the noun, is a sign of unity; and a complete
uniformity of numbers is not here practicable.

[538] Though the pronoun _thou_ is not much used in _common discourse_, it
is as proper for the grammarian to consider and show, what form of the verb
belongs to it _when it is so used_, as it is for him to determine what form
is adapted to any other pronoun, when a difference of style affects the

[539] "_Forgavest_," as the reading is in our common Bible, appears to be
wrong; because the relative _that_ and its antecedent _God_ are of the
third person, and not of the second.

[540] All the corrections under this head are directly contrary to the
teaching of William S. Cardell. Oliver B. Peirce, and perhaps some other
such writers on grammar; and some of them are contrary also to Murray's
late editions. But I am confident that these authors teach erroneously;
that their use of indicative forms for mere suppositions that are contrary
to the facts, is positively ungrammatical; and that the potential imperfect
is less elegant, in such instances, than the simple subjunctive, which they
reject or distort.

[541] This is what Smith must have _meant_ by the inaccurate phrase,
"_those_ in the first." For his first example is, "He went to school;"
which contains only the _one_ pronoun "He."--See _Smith's New Gram._, p.

[542] According to modern usage, _has_ would here be better than
_is_,--though _is fallen_ is still allowable.--G. BROWN.

[543] From this opinion, I dissent. See Obs. 1st on the Degrees of
Comparison, and Obs. 4th on Regular Comparison, in the Etymology of this
work, at pp. 279 and 285.--G. BROWN.

[544] "The country _looks beautiful_;'" that is, _appears_ beautiful--_is_
beautiful. This is right, and therefore the use which Bucke makes of it,
may be fairly reversed. But the example was ill chosen; and I incline to
think, it may also be right to say, "The country _looks beautifully_;" for
the _quality_ expressed by _beautiful_, is nothing else than the _manner_
in which the thing _shows_ to the eye. See Obs. 11th on Rule 9th.--G.

[545] Many examples and authorities may be cited in favour of these
corrections; as, "He acted independently _of_ foreign assistance."--
_Murray's Key, Gram._, Vol. ii, p. 222. "Independently _of_ any necessary
relation."--_Murray's Gram._, Vol. i. p. 275. "Independently _of_ this
peculiar mode of construction."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 473. "Independent _of_
the will of the people."--_Webster's Essays_, p. 13. "Independent one _of_
an other."--_Barclay's Works_, i, 84. "The infinitive is often independent
_of_ the rest of the sentence."--_Lennie's Gram._, p. 85. "Some sentences
are independent _of_ each other."--_Murray's Gram._, i, 277. "As if it were
independent _of_ it"--_Priestley's Gram._, p. 186. "Independent of
appearance and show."--_Blair's Rhet._, p. 13.

[546] The preposition _of_ which Jefferson uses before _about_, appears to
me to be useless. It does not govern the noun _diameter_, and is therefore
no substitute for the _in_ which I suppose to be wanting; and, as the
preposition _about_ seems to be sufficient between _is_ and _feet_, I omit
the _of_. So in other instances below.--G. BROWN.

[547] Murray, Jamieson, and others, have this definition with the article
"a," and the comma, but without the hyphen: "APOSTROPHE is _a turning off_
from the regular course," &c. See errors under Note 4th to Rule 20th.

[548] This sentence may be written correctly in a dozen different ways,
with precisely the same meaning, and very nearly the same words. I have
here made the noun _gold_ the object of the verb _took_, which in the
original appears to govern the noun _treasure_, or _money_, understood. The
noun _amount_ might as well be made its object, by a suppression of the
preposition _to_. And again, for "_pounds' weight_," we may say, "_pounds
in_ weight." The words will also admit of many other positions.--G. BROWN.

[549] See a different reading of this example, cited as the first item of
false syntax under Rule 16th above, and there corrected differently. The
words "_both of_," which make the difference, were probably added by L.
Murray in some of his _revisals_; and yet it does not appear that this
popular critic ever got the sentence _right_.--G. BROWN.

[550] "If such maxims, and such practices prevail, what _has become_ of
national liberty?"--_Hume's History_. Vol. vi, p. 254; _Priestley's Gram._,
p. 128.

[551] According to my notion, _but_ is never a preposition; but there are
some who think otherwise.--G. BROWN.

[552] "Cum vestieris te coccino, cum ornata fueris monili aureo, et
_pinxeris stibio oculos tuos_, frustra componeris."--_Vulgate_. "[Greek:
Ean peribalae[i] kokkinon, kai kosm'aesae[i] kosmw[i] chrys~w[i]. ean
egchrisae[i] stibi tous ophthalmous sou eis mataion wraismos
sou.]"--_Septuagint_. "Quoique tu te revetes de pourpre, que tu te pares
d'ornemens d'or, et _que tu te peignes les yeux avec du fard_, tu
t'embellis en vain."--_French Bible_.

[553] The word "_any_" is here omitted, not merely because it is
_unnecessary_, but because "_every any other piece_,"--with which a score
of our grammarians have pleased themselves,--is not good English. The
impropriety might perhaps be avoided, though less elegantly, by _repeating
the preposition_, and saying,--"or _of_ any other piece of writing."--G.

[554] This correction, as well as the others which relate to what Murray
says of the several forms of ellipsis, doubtless conveys the sense which he
intended to express; but, as an assertion, it is by no means true of all
the examples which he subjoins, neither indeed are the rest. But that is a
fault of his which I cannot correct.--G. BROWN.

[555] The article _may_ be repeated in examples like these, without
producing _impropriety_; but then it will alter the construction of the
adjectives, and render the expression more formal and emphatic, by
suggesting a repetition of the noun.--G. BROWN.

[556] "The whole number of verbs in the English language, regular and
irregular, simple and compounded, taken together, is about 4300."--_Lowth's
Gram._, p. 59; _Murray's_, 12mo, p. 98; 8vo, p. 109; _et al._

[557] In Singer's Shakspeare, Vol. ii, p. 495, this sentence is expressed
and pointed thus: "O, shame! where is thy blush?"--_Hamlet_, Act III, Sc.
4. This is as if the speaker meant, "O! it is a shame! where is thy blush?"
Such is not the sense above; for there "_Shame_" is the person addressed.

[558] If, in each of these sentences, the colon were substituted for the
latter semicolon, the curves might well be spared. Lowth has a similar
passage, which (bating a needful variation of guillemets) he pointed thus:
"_as_ ----, _as_; expressing a comparison of equality; '_as_ white _as_
snow:' _as_ ----, _so_; expressing a comparison sometimes of equality;
'_as_ the stars, _so_ shall thy seed be;' that is, equal in number: but"
&c.--_Lowth's Gram._, p. 109. Murray, who broke this passage into
paragraphs, retained at first these semicolons, but afterwards changed them
_all_ to colons. Of later grammarians, some retain the former colon in each
sentence; some, the latter; and some, neither. Hiley points thus: "_As_
requires _as_, expressing equality; as, 'He is _as_ good _as_
she.'"--_Hiley's E. Gram._, p. 107.

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