The Grammar of English Grammars Part 303

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[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 mult.i.tude of errors, but the pa.s.sage 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 a.n.a.lysis_. Here _ones_ represents _organs_, and prevents unpleasant repet.i.tion.--G. BROWN.

[530] From the force of habit, or to prevent the possibility of a false p.r.o.nunciation, 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 p.r.o.noun, or every verb, is _a part of speech_, because the parts of speech are _only ten_. But every p.r.o.noun, 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 _p.r.o.noun_ 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 "_a.s.serter_;" 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 cla.s.s 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 p.r.o.noun _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 p.r.o.noun, when a difference of style affects the question.

[539] "_Forgavest_," as the reading is in our common Bible, appears to be wrong; because the relative _that_ and its antecedent _G.o.d_ 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_ p.r.o.noun "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 a.s.sistance."-- _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 subst.i.tute 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] "c.u.m vestieris te coccino, c.u.m ornata fueris monili aureo, et _pinxeris stibio oculos tuos_, frustra componeris."--_Vulgate_. "[Greek: Ean peribalae[i] kokkinon, ka kosm'aesae[i] kosmw[i] chrys~w[i] ean egchrisae[i] stibi tous ophthalmous sou es mataion wrasmos 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 a.s.sertion, 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 repet.i.tion 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 subst.i.tuted for the latter semicolon, the curves might well be spared. Lowth has a similar pa.s.sage, 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 pa.s.sage 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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