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N.B. The words beholden, bounden, cloven, drunken, graven, laden, molten, sodden, shaven, shorn, sunken, stricken, stringed, and wrought, which were formerly used as perfect participles, are now used only as adjectives.
1. Some conjunctions are composed of two corresponding words. The following list embraces most of this class of connectives, and exhibits the correct mode of employing them :
Both-and: "It is the work of a mind fitted both for minute researches and for large speculations."Macaulay.
Though, although-yet, still, nevertheless: "Though deep, yet clear-though gentle, yet not dull;"— "Though a thousand rivers discharge themselves into the ocean, still it is never full."
Whether-or : "Whether it were I or they." Either-or: "No leave ask'st thou of either wind or tide."
Neither-nor: "Neither act nor promise hastily." 2. Some conjunctions are used in correspondence with adverbs or adjectives. The following are the principal connectives of this class :
As-as, 80: "She is as amiable as her sister;""As he excels in virtue, so he rises in estimation." So-as: "No riches make one so happy as a clear conscience;"-"Speak so as to be understood." So that, expressing a consequence: "She speaks 80 low that no one can hear what she is saying."
Not only-but, but also:
dent, but also industrious."
"He was not only pru
Such -as: "There never was such a time as the present.
Such that: "Such is the emptiness of human enjoyment that we are always impatient of the present."
More, sooner, &c.—than: "They have more than heart could wish;"-"The Greeks were braver than the Persians."
ON POINTS, THAT OCCASION DIFFICULTY TO THE STUDENT.
1. The letters w and y are consonants, when they precede a vowel in the same syllable: as in wine, twine, youth—in other situations they are vowels.
2. A and An are one and the same article. A is used, whenever the following word begins with a consonant-as, A man, a tree; or with an aspirated h-as, a house, a horse; or, with a consonant sound —as, such a one, a university, a ewe, a eulogy. N.B. The words university, ewe, and eulogy, begin with the consonant sound of y, and the word one with the consonant sound of w.
An is used, whenever the following word begins with a vowel-as, an army, an ounce; or, with an h not sounded-as, an hour, an heir.
An is also employed by most writers before words beginning with an aspirated h, when the accent falls on the second syllable--as, "An historical piece;"
"An hereditary government;" "An harmonious whole."
A or an is the Saxon word ane or an, signifying
3. The possessive case denotes ownership or possession: as, "John's book ". "The sun's rays."
The possessive singular of nouns is generally formed by adding an apostrophe, with the letter s, to the nominative: as, nom. man; poss. man's.
The possessive of singular nouns ending in the sound of s or z, is sometimes formed by adding only the apostrophe; as, “Achilles' shield." In poetry, this omission of the additional s must be regarded as fully sanctioned by usage. It is also allowable
prose, when the use of the s would require the utterance of several hissing sounds in rapid succession; as, "Moses' disciples"-"Davies' Surveying"
-"For conscience' sake"-" For righteousness' sake" -but, say, "The witness's testimony." In all other cases the regular form is to be preferred; as, "Collins's Odes"-"Erasmus's Dialogues."
"Achilles' shield his ample shoulders spread,
Achilles' helmet nodded o'er his head."- Pope. "A train of heroes followed through the field, Who bore by turns great Ajax' seven-fold shield." Ibid.
Plural nouns ending in s, form the possessive by adding an apostrophe only; as, nom. fathers: poss. fathers'.
Plural nouns, that do not end in s, form the possessive by adding both the apostrophe and s; as,
nom. men; poss. mens. The import of the possessive may, in general, be expressed by the particle of. Thus, for "man's wisdom," we may say, "The wisdom of man."
When the singular and plural are alike in the nominative, the apostrophe ought to follow the s in the plural, to distinguish it from the singular; as "a sheep's head;" "sheeps' heads."
The sign's is a contraction of es or is. Thus man's, king's, were formerly written
manis, kinges or kingis.
N. B. The Rev. Dr. M'Culloch, in his admirable “Manual of English Grammar," says—“ It has been supposed that the termination ['s] of the English possessive is a contraction of the possessive pro noun. his. Thus-John's book' has been said to be an abreviation of John his book.' But this opinion is evidently erroneous. The termination ['s] cannot always be resolved into the pronoun his. We cannot resolve 'queen's crown' into ' 'queen his crown,' or 'children's bread' into children his bread.' The fact seems to be, that the English possessive termination is one of the parts of our language, which we have preserved from the SaxThe casal termination of the Saxon possessive is es or is, as appears in such phrases as Godes sight,'kingis crown.' The progress of change in the termination seems to have been es, is, 's."
Several respectable authors and critics have fallen into the error of regarding this possessive termination as a contraction of the pronoun his. "The same single letter [s], on many occasions, does the
office of a whole word, and represents the his or her of our forefathers."-Addison.
It is true that the word his was frequently written after words to form the possessive, by Spenser, Dryden, Pope, and other popular authors, during a period of two or three centuries, as, "Christ his sake"-" Socrates his rules;" but the present contracted form of the possessive was in use still earlier, and our ablest philologists have uniformly referred its origin to the old Saxon termination.
4. Adjectives have three degrees of comparison : -the positive, the comparative, and the superlative; but it has been objected to the positive form, that, as it denotes the quality in its simple state, without increase or diminution, it cannot properly be called a degree. It should, however, be borne in mind that all adjectives imply a general comparison of qualities. Thus, when we say that a man is discreet, we obviously mean that he has more discretion than the generality of men. So also when we say that a man is tall, it is implied that he is tall compared with other men. Hence arises the difference between the height of a tall man and that of a tall tree, each being compared with others of the same kind. In this sense, therefore, the positive is strictly and properly a degree of comparison.