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the wisest of the Athenians." The following sentence is also erroneous :—“The vice of covetousness, of all others, enters deepest into the soul.” Covetousness is not one of the other vices, as the construction of the sentence would imply. Corrected :—“Of all the vices, covetousness enters deepest into the soul.”
39. The word "self,” when used alone, is a noun: as, “ The love of self is predominant."
40, Double comparatives and superlatives, as worser, most straitest, should be carefully avoided.
The word lesser is, however, sometimes employed by good writers : as, “ Of lesser note.”—Goldsmith. · Lesser graces.”—Blair. “ Like lesser streams.”Coleridge.
41. The verbs need and want are sometimes employed in a general sense, without a nominative, expressed or implied : as “ There needed a new dispensation of religion for the moral reform of society.”—Eveleigh. “ There needs no better picture of his destitute and piteous situation, than that furnished by the homely pen of the chronicler.”—Irving. “ Wheresoever the case of the opinions came in agitation, there wanted not patrons to stand up and plead for them."-Sparks.
« Nor did there want Cornice, or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven.”
Milton. 42. Idiomatic expressions sometimes occur, in which intransitive verbs are followed by objectives depending on them : as "Perhaps we have wanted the spirit, the manliness, to look the subject fully in the face.”—Channing. 4 They laughed him to scorn.”—Matt. ix. 24.
" The broken soldier, kindly bid to stay,
43. The verb learn is often improperly used for teach : as,
It is of little utility to learn scholars that certain words are signs of certain moods and tenses.” Insert teach in the place of learn.
44. The imperfect participle of a transitive verb is sometimes employed in a passive sense : as “The fortress was building.
Different opinions have long existed among critics respecting this passive use of the imperfect participle. Many respectable writers substitute the compound passive participle : as, “ The house is being built:"_"The book is being printed." The prevailing practice, however, of the best authors, is in favour of the simple form: as, - The house is building."
“The propriety of these imperfect passive tenses has been doubted by almost all our grammarians : though I believe but few of them have written many pages without condescending to make use of them. Dr. Beattie says, 'One of the greatest defects of the English tongue, with regard to the verb, seems to be the want of an imperfect passive participle.'— And yet he uses the imperfect participle in a passive sense as often as most writers.”Pickbourn's “ Dissertation on the English Verb.”
A distinguished Reviewer thus expresses himself in reference to this point :
Several other expregsions of this sort now and then occur, such as the new-fangled and most uncouth solecism is being done,' for the good old English idiomatic expression is doing,'—an absurd periphrasis, driving out a pointed and pithy turn of the English language."
45. When the nominative is a collective noun conveying the idea of plurality, the verb must agree with it in the plural number : as, “The council
: were divided.”
46. When a verb has nominatives of different persons or numbers, connected by or or nor, it must agree with that which is placed nearest to it, and be understood to the rest, in the person and number required: as, “ Neither he nor his brothers were there.”'__"Neither
I am concerned.” But when the nominatives require different forms of the verb, it is, in general, more elegant to express the verb, or its auxiliary, in connexion with each of them : as, “ Either thou art to blame, or I am."--Neither were their numbers, nor was their destination known,"
47. The speaker should generally mention himself last; as, “ Thou or I must go ;”—“ He then addressed his discourse to my father and me.”—But in confessing a fault he may assume the first place: as, “I and Robert did it."
48. Participles have the same government as the verbs from which they are derived. The preposition of, therefore, should not be used after the participle, when the verb does not require it. Thus, in
phrases like the following, of is improper: “Keeping of one day in seven ;”—“ By preaching of repentance;"_“They left off beating of Paul.”
When participles are compounded with something that does not belong to the verb, they become adjectives; and as such, they cannot govern an object after them. The following sentence from “Jones's Church History,” is, therefore, inaccurate : “When Caius did anything unbecoming his dignity.”
When a transitive participle is converted into a noun, of must be inserted to govern the object following
An imperfect or a compound participle, preceded by an article, an adjective, or a noun or pronoun the possessive case,
becomes a verbal noun; and as such, it cannot govern an object after it. A word, which may be the object of the participle in its proper construction, requires the preposition of, to connect it with the verbal noun : as, 1. [By the participle.] “By exercising the body, health is promoted.” 2. (By the verbal noun.] By the exercising of the body, health is promoted.” Again: 1. [By the participle.] “Much depends on observing this rule.” 2. (By the verbal noun.] “Much depends on their observing of this rule.”
When the use of the preposition produces ambiguity or harshness, the expression must be varied. Thus—the sentence,“He mentions Newton's writing of a commentary,” is both ambiguous and awkward. If the preposition be omitted, the word writing will have a double construction, which is inadmissible. Some would say, “He mentions Newton writing a
commentary.' This is still worse, because it makes the leading word in sense the adjunct in construction. The meaning may without difficulty be correctly expressed. Thus: “He mentions that Newton wrote a commentary.”—“By his studying the Scriptures he became wise." Here his serves only to render the sentence incorrect. 49. The verbal noun should not be ac
accompanied by any adjuncts of the verb or participle, unless they be taken into composition: as, “ The hypocrite's hope is like the giving-up of the ghost." The following phrase is therefore inaccurate : “For the more easily reading of large numbers."-Yet, if we say, “For reading large numbers the more easily," the construction is different, and not inaccurate.
50. In sentences like the following, the participle seems to be improperly made the object of the verb:
I intend doing it.”—“I remember meeting him.” -Better, “I intend to do it.”—“ I remember to have met him."
51. A participle construed after the nominative or the objective case, is not equivalent to a verbal noun governing the possessive. There is sometimes a nice distinction to be observed in the application of these two constructions, as the leading word in sense should not be made the adjunct in construction. The following sentences exhibit a disregard to this principle, and are both inaccurate : “ He felt his strength's declining.”- "He was sensi-, ble of his strength declining." In the former sentence the noun strength should be in the objective