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the ear, and the speaker, without reflection, renders the verb in the plural instead of the singular number. The same error is often committed when no second noun appears to plead an apology for the fault; as " Each city have their peculiar privileges;" “Everybody has a right to look after their own interest;" “ Either are at liberty to claim it.” This is the effect of pure
carelessness. 10. There is another very common error, the reverse of the last-mentioned, which is that of rendering the adjective pronoun in the plural number instead of the singular in such sentences as the following: “ These kind of entertainments are not conducive to general improvement;" " Those sort of experiments are often dangerous."
This error seems to originate in the habit which people insensibly acquire of supposing the prominent noun in the sentence (such as
" entertainments” or periments") to be the noun qualified by the adjective “ these those;" instead of which it is “ kind," "sort," or any word of that description
” immediately following the adjective, which should be so qualified, and the adjective must be made to agree with it in the singular number. We confess, it is not so agreeable to the ear to say “ This kind of entertainments," " That sort of experiments;" but it would be easy to give the sentence a different form, and say “ Entertainments of this kind ;" " Experiments of that sort ;" by which the requi. sitions of grammar would be satisfied, and those of euphony too.
11. But the grand fault, the glaring impropriety,
committed by 66 all ranks and conditions of men," rich and poor, high and low, illiterate and learned, -except, perhaps, one in twenty-and from which not even the pulpit or the bar is totally free—is the substitution of the active verb lay for the neuter verb lie (to lie down). The scholar knows that "active verbs govern the objective case,” and therefore demand an objective case after them; and that neuter verbs will not admit an objective case after them except through the medium of a preposition : he, therefore, has no excuse for his error, it is a wilful one—for him the following is not written ; and here I may as well say, once for all, that whilst I would remind the scholar of his lapseș, my instructions and explanations are offered only to the class which requires them.
Murray has nicely divided active verbs into active-transitive and active-intransitive, leaving the term neuter to comprise these verbs which signify a state of existence without action; as “ I sleep," “I sit,” “ I grow,” “I lie," " I die,” etc. The words transitive and intransitive seem to me to explain themselves, for it is natural to suppose that “ transitive ” or transitory, means passing away; and that “intransitive" means not passing away. The term active-transitive is applied only to such verbs as describe an action taking place in one person or thing upon or towards another person or thing, without requiring the aid of a preposition to express it, as “ I love George.” Here the act of loving is performed by me, but its effect is not confined to me, because it passes over to or concerns
George, who thereby stands in the objective case because he is the object affected by another person's act. You perceive, therefore, that “ to love” is an active verb requiring an objective case after it; and will now know the meaning of the expression “active verbs govern the objective case," because, if I love at all, I must love something or somebody, I cannot love nothing.
An active intransitive verb is the very reverse of this, because, not admitting an objective case after it, unless preceded by a preposition, the action which the verb describes has no object on which immediately to fall or become transferred to (keep in mind the connexion between this word and transitive,) as “I laugh.” Here the act is confined to the source in which it originates ; I cannot say
I laugh George;" or "I laugh you;" I am not
“ obliged to find an objective case for it at all, I may laugh from an emotion of the mind, or I may laugh, as thousands daily do, and not know why. But if I am disposed to find an objective case for it, I cannot do it without the intervention of a preposition, an adverb, or some other part of speech, as “I laugh at such things," " I laugh heartily," etc.
The neuter verb obeys the same law as the active intransitive, as “ I sit,” or “ I sit on a chair;" “I sleep,” or “I sleep uneasily;" “I grow," or “I grow very
slowly;" “ I lie,” or “I lie down;" “ I lie on a sofa."
" is an active transitive verb, like love, demanding an objective case after it, without the intervention of a preposition. “ To lie" is a neuter
verb, not admitting an objective case after it, except through the intervention of a preposition ;-yet this “perverse generation” will go on substituting the former for the latter. Nothing can be more erroneous than to say, as people constantly do, " I shall go and lay down.” The question which naturally arises in the mind of the discriminating hearer, is “ What are you going to lay down? money, carpets, plans, or what ?" for, as a transitive verb is used, an object is wanted to complete the sense. The speaker means, in fact, to tell us that he (himself) is going to lie down, instead of which he gives us to understand that he is going to lay dowil, or put down, something which he has not named, but which it is necessary to name before we can understand the sentence; and this sentence, when completed according to the rules of grammar', will never convey the meaning he intends. One might as well use the verb “ to put” in this situation, as the verb “ to lay,” for each is a transitive verb requiring an objective case immediately after it. If you were to enter a roon, and, finding a person lying on a sofa, were to address him with such a question as “ What are you doing there ?" you would think it ludicrous if he were to reply · 1 am putting down ;" yet it would not be more absurd than to say “I am laying down ;” but custom, whilst it fails to reconcile us to the error, has so familiarised us with it, that we hear it without surprise, and good breeding forbids our noticing it to the speaker.
The same mistake is committed through all the tenses of the verb: how often are
nice ears wounded by the following expressions, “My brother lays ill of a fever;" "The vessel
6. lays in Brooklyn Docks;" “ The books were laying on the floor;" “He laid on a sofa three weeks;" “ After I had laid down, I remembered that I had left my pistols laying on the table.” You must perceive that, in every one of these instances, the wrong verb is used; correct it, therefore, according to the explanation given : thus, " My brother lies
“ ill of a fever;" The vessel lies in Brooklyn Docks;"
;" “ The books were lying on the floor;” “He lay on a sofa three weeks,” 66 After I had lain down, I remembered that I had left my pistols lying on the table.”
It is probable that this error has originated in the circumstance of the present tense of the verb “to lay" being conjugated precisely like the imperfect tense of the verb “to lie;" for they are alike in orthography and sound, and different only in meaning; and in order to remedy the evil which this resemblance seems to have created, 1 have conjugated at full-length the simple tenses of the two verbs, hoping the exposition may be found useful ; for it is an error which must be corrected by all who aspire to the merit of speaking their own lan
Present tense. I lay
money, Thou layest
carpets, He lays We lay
— any You lay
thing. They lay
down, Thou liest
too long, He lies
on a sofa, We lie
any You lie
where. They lie