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of ordinary use and common construction in his own Vernacular Idiom.
But perhaps the Notes fubjoined to tbe following pages will furnish a more convincing argument, than any thing that can be said here, both of the truth of the charge of Inaccuracy brought against our Language, as it subfifts in Practice; and of the necessity of inveftigating the Principles of it, and studying it Grammatically, if we would attain to a due degree of skill in it. It is with reason expeeted of every person of a liberal education, and it is indispensably required of every one who undertakes to inform or entertain the public, that he should be able to express himself with propriety and accuracy. It will evidently appear from these Notes, that our best authors bave committed gross mistakes, for want of a due knowledge of English Grammar, or at least of a proper attention to the rules of it. The examples there given are fuch as occurred in reading, without any very curious or methodical examination : and they might easily have been much increased in nun
ber by any one, who had leisure or phlegm enough to go through a regular course of reading with this particular view. However, I believe, they may be sufficient to answer the purpose intended; to evince the neceffity of the Study of Grammar in our own Language ; and to admonish those, who set up for axthors among us, that they would do well te consider this part of Learning as an object net altogether beneath their regard.
The principal design of a Grammar of any Language is to teach us to express ourselves with propriety in that Language; and to enable us to judge of every phrase and form of construction, whether it be right or not. The plain way of doing this is, to lay down rules, and to illustrate them by examples. But, befide shewing what is right, the matter may be further explained by pointing out what is wrong. I will not take upon me to say, whether we have any Grammar, that sufficiently instructs us by rule and example; but I am sure we have none, that in the manner here attempted, teaches us what is right by new.
ing what is wrong ; though this perhaps may prove the more useful and effectual method of instruction.
Befide this principal Defign of Grammar in our own Language, there is a secondary use to which it may be applied, and which, I think, is not attended to as it deferves; the facilitaling of the acquisition of other Languages, whetber antient or modern. A good foundation in the General Principles of Grammar is in the first place necessary for all those, who are initiaied in a learned education : and for all otbers likewise, who shall have occahon to furnish themselves with the knowledge of mom dern Languages. Universal Grammar cannot be taught abstractedly: it must be done with reference to Some Language already known ; in which the terms are to be explained and the rules exemplified. The learner is supposed to be una equainted with all, but his native tongue; and in what other, consistently with reason and common sense, can you go about to (xplain it to him? When he has a competent knowledge of the main principles of Grammar
in general, exemplified in his own Language ; he then will apply himself with tage to the study of any other. To enter at once upon the Science of Grammar, and the Nudy of a foreign Language, is to encounter two difficulties together, each of which would be much lessened by being taken separately and in its proper order. For these plain reafons, a competent grammatical knowledge of our own language is the true foundation, upon which all Literature, properly so called, ought to be raised. If this method were adopted in our Schools ; if children were first taught the common principles of Grammar, by some sport and clear System of Englisio Grammar, which happily by its fimplicity and facility is perhaps fitter than that of any other Language for such a purpose; they would have some notion of what they were going about, when they should enter into the Latin Grammar ; and would hardly be engaged so many years, as they now are, in that most irksome and difficult part of Literature, with so much labour of
the memory, and with so little assistance of the understanding
A design somewhat of this kind gave occafion to the following little system, intended merely for a private and domestic us. The chief end of it was to cxplain the general principles of Grammar, as clearly and intelligibly as poffible. In the definitions, therefore, easiness and perspicuity have been fometimes preferred to logical exaEtness. The common divisions have been complied with, as far es reason and truth would permit. The known and received terms have been retained ; except in one or two instances, where others of fered themselves, which seemed much more Significant. All disquisitions, which appeared to have more of fubtilty than of usefulness in them, have been avoided. In a word, it was calculated for the use of the learner, even of the lowest class. Those, who would enter more deeply into this Subject, will find it fully and accurately handled, with the greatest acuteness of investigation, perfpicuity of explication, and elegance of method, in a trea