Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

in the law style. It is better to say, “ He boasted of the privilege, and contended for it.”

72. By the customary [but faulty) omission of the negative before but, that conjunction has acquired the adverbial sense of only: and it may, when used with that signification, be called an adverb. Thus the text, “ He hath not grieved me but in part, [2 Cor. ii. 5) might drop the negative and convey the same meaning: “He hath grieved me but in part.” “Reason itself but gives it edge and power."-Pope. " Born but to die, and reasoning but to err.”Idem.

73. A noun, governing the possessive plural, hould not be made plural, unless the sense require it. Thus: say, “We have changed our mind," if only one purpose or opinion is meant.

A noun, taken figuratively, may be singular, when the literal meaning would require the plural : such expressions as “ Their face"-" Their neck" Their hand_"Their head"-" Their heart. “Our mouth"-"Our life-are frequent in the

. Scriptures, and are not improper.

74. Never say, He was paid the money," but, The money was paid him.

75. The adjective worth is followed by the objective case, governed, perhaps, by of understood : as, “ The book is worth a sovereign.” Some suppose that worth in this construction is a noun, and that there is a double ellipsis of the preposition : as, “ The book is (of the) worth [of] a sovereign.” After the kindred adjectives worthy and unworthy,

[ocr errors]


of should be expressed : as, “It is worthy of remark."-" It is unworthy of notice.”

Worth was anciently a verb signifying be, and was used in every part of the conjugation. Some traces of this usage are found in modern writings: as, “Wo worth the chase, wo worth the day,

That cost thy life, my gallant gray !”—Scott. Here worth is a verb, and to is understood after it: the meaning being, “ Wo be to the chase," &c.

76. In connecting words, that express time, the order and fitness of time should be observed.

Thus: instead of, “ I have seen him last week,” say," I saw him last week :" and instead of, “I saw him this week,say,

I have seen him this week." 77. Verbs of commanding, desiring, expecting, hoping, intending, permitting, and some others, in all their tenses refer to actions or events, relatively present or future: one should, therefore, say “I hoped you would come,—not“ would have come :" and, “I intended to do it,"'--not,“ to have done it:" &c.

78. Propositions, that are at all times equally true or false, should generally be expressed in the present tense: as, “He seemed hardly to know that two and two make four,”-not, made.

79. Idiomatic expressions sometimes occur, in which a transitive verb is used intransitively in a sense nearly allied to the passive: as, “ The goods sell rapidly:"__"The cloth tears :-“ Mahogany planes smooth :"_" These lines read well.”

80. When two or more personal pronouns in the


second person are employed in the same connection, they should be made to correspond in style. The following passages are, therefore, inaccurate :1. “Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric, That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence : Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.”Milton.

N.B. Your should be thy, to correspond with thou and thyself 2. “ As in that loved Athenian bower,

You learned an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, 0 nymph endear'd,

Can well recall what then it heard._Collins. N.B. Thy should be your, to correspond with you.

81. We sometimes find adverbs used after the manner of nouns: as, « The Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”. -Matt. viii. 20. « The Son of God was not yea


but in him was yea.-2 Cor. i. 10. “An eternal now does always last.” Cowley. “To say aye and no to every thing I said !- Aye and no too was no good divinity !"Shakspere. “Till now they had paid no taxes." Inglis. “On the following day Columbus came to where the coast swept away to the north-east for many leagues."--Irving. “Save where the beetle

. wheels his droning flight.”—Gray. “Till then, who knew the force of those dire arms ?" - Milton.

N. B. At once, and by far, are in general use; and the adverbial phrases from hence, from thence, from whence, constitute an authorized idiom. Such expressions, however, as from where, from there, to here, from far, since when, since en, till now, are

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

seldom employed by the best prose writers. In poetry, their occurrence is more frequent.

82. In former times, the infinitive was sometimes preceded by for as well as to; as, “I went up to Jerusalem for to worship." -Acts xxiv. 11. "What

• went ye out for to see ?”—Luke vii. 26.

Learn skilfullie how Each grain for to laie by itself on a mow.”

Tusser. Modern usage rejects the former preposition.

83. A singular nominative and an objective after with are sometimes made to form the joint subject of a plural verb; as, “ Pharaoh with all his host were drowned in the Red Sea.”

This copulative use of with is occasionally adopted by good writers; it would, however, be better, in most cases, either to put and in the place of with, or to employ the singular form of the verb. Thus—instead of saying “ This noble ship, with her gallant crew, were buried beneath the waves," it would be better to say“ This noble ship and her gallant crew were buried beneath the waves." So, also—"This brave officer, with

a company of only fifty men, have succeeded in quelling the insurrection," would be better expressed by saying, “This brave officer, with a company of only fifty men, has succeeded in quelling the insurrection."

" Examples :-"This principle, with others of the same kind, supposes man to act from a brute impulse."-Johnson. "He himself, with others,

was taken.'-Noore. “A body of two thousand

[ocr errors]


men succeeded in surprising the quarters of the Marquis of Cadiz, who, with his followers, was exhausted by fatigue and watching."-Prescott.

“ This phraseology," says Dr. Crombie, “though not strictly consonant with the rules of concord, frequently obtains both in ancient and modern languages; in some cases, indeed, it seems preferable to the syntactical form of expression."

84. In a familiar question or negation the compound form of the verb is preferable to the simple; as, Does he come to town every week ?" Not Comes he to town,” &c? But in the solemn or the poetic style, the simple form is more dignified and graceful ; as, Understandest thou what thou readest ?" • Of whom speaketh the prophet this ?”

-Acts viii. 30, 34. “ What! Heard ye not of lowland war ?" — Scott.

85. Some grammarians object to the use of the numerals two, three, four, &c., before the adjectives first and last. There seems, however, to be no good reason for the objection, and the expressions two first, three last, &c., are fully sanctioned by good usage.

Examples :-"My two last letters.”—Addison. “ The two first lines are uncommonly beautiful.”. Blair. “At the two last schools.”—Johnson. “The four first are altogether and unequivocally poetical.”Cheever. “ The three first of his longer poems.”-Southey.

The expressions first three, last two, &c., are also in good use, and, in some cases, are to be preferred.

Examples :-“The first eighteen years."

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »