Abbildungen der Seite

3. What is an adjective? Point out the adjectives in the lines:
'And his droop'd head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower.'

4. Refer to its class each Adjective in the following stanza:

'Far different we,-a froward race:

Thousands, though rich in Fortune's grace,
With cherished sullenness of pace

Their way pursue,

Ingrates who wear a smileless face
The whole year through.'

5. Refer to its class each Adjective in the following sentences:'My mind to me a kingdom is,

Such perfect joy therein I find.'

'Second thoughts are best.'-'No road is long with good company.'-
'That civility is best which excludes all superfluous formality.'-' Most
things have two handles and a wise man will lay hold of the best.'—
'What truly great thing has ever been effected by the force of public
opinion?'-' Few of the many wise apophthegms which have been
uttered, from the time of the Seven Sages of Greece to that of Poor
Richard, have prevented a single foolish action.'

6. Limit the application of the nouns thoughts, mutton, music, by Estrative Adjective. prefixing to each (1) a Qualitative, (2) a Quantitative, (3) a Demon

7. Form Adjectives from the following Nouns :-slave, tempest, clay, sense, man, quarrel, sore, gold, wretch, care, right, thought, fire, silver, courage.

Attach each Adjective to a suitable noun.

[More than one Adjective can be formed from some of the above words. From sore we obtain sorry.]

8. Write short sentences to illustrate the use of an adjective/ (a) attributively, (b) predicatively, (c) as an abstract noun.

9. The following Adjectives are used as Nouns in the plural. Supply the appropriate Noun which may be understood with each word:-eatables, valuables, incapables, unmentionables, vitals, italics, sundries, greens, empties, brilliants.

Add any more examples which occur to you.

10. (a) Some Adjectives are used as Nouns:

(b) Some Nouns are used as Adjectives:

(c) Some Adjectives are used only predicatively. Construct three sentences to illustrate each of these statements.

[The use of Nouns as Adjectives is exemplified in such combinations as 'iron bar,' 'village church,'' church bell,' 'railway bridge.' Instances abound. Adjectives used only predicatively are not numerous. § 247. Other examples are akin, alive, athirst, aware, awry.]


II. Would you put a or an before each of the following words?— union, year, hypocrisy, hotel, urn, hour, harangue, history, historian, usurper.

12. Distinguish between the use of the Definite and of the Indefinite Article. Explain the use of the Article in a burnt child shuns the fire,' 'twice a day,' 'the red flag.'

[Note here that we might have expected 'a fire' rather than 'the fire,' as a burnt child shuns not only the fire at which it was once burnt, but any fire.

In 'twice a day,' although a has the form of the article now, it is a corruption of the preposition on, meaning in.]

13. Explain the uses of the and a in the following phrases:

(a) The more the merrier.

(b) The lazy Scheldt.

(c) A penny a piece.




110. ONE result which the Norman Conquest produced upon our language was this: the inflexions marking gender and case disappeared from our adjectives and, with the exception of these and those, the plurals of this and that, the inflexions marking number followed them. The adjective in English is thus in striking contrast with the adjective in Greek, or Latin, or German. In these languages the adjective is declined: with us it is invariable as regards gender, number, and case. Thus the only inflexion of adjectives which survives in modern English is that of Comparison.

111. What do we mean by the Comparison of Adjectives?

We saw that adjectives might be classified in three groups as Qualitative, Quantitative, or Demonstrative. A qualitative adjective indicates the presence of some quality in the thing of which we are speaking. If we say 'The sheep is black,' we assert that the sheep has the quality called blackness, or in other words that blackness is an attribute of the sheep. Now many qualities are variable in the amount or degree in which they are present. Blackness admits of different shades: height, weight, speed, cleverness, are qualities which admit of far greater differences of degree than blackness. We observe the varying extent to which

these different qualities are presented to us by making a comparison of the objects, and we record the results of our observation by modifying the adjectives which are attached to the names of these objects. This modification is called Comparison of Adjectives.

An Adjective in the Positive Degree expresses the presence of a quality without reference to the extent to which that quality is present in something else.

An Adjective in the Comparative Degree expresses the presence of a quality to a greater extent than that to which it is present in something else, or in the same thing under other circumstances.

An Adjective in the Superlative Degree expresses the presence of a quality to a greater extent than that to which it is present in anything else with which we make the contrast. Thus we say 'John is younger but taller than his brother: Mary is the cleverest of the three children.'

112. Do all Adjectives admit of Comparison ?

Clearly not. The Demonstrative Adjectives,—this, that, a, the, first, second,-express no quality which varies in amount. Then again of the Quantitative Adjectives, those which are definite, like the Cardinal Numerals and none, both, have meanings which do not admit of variations of degree. And it is only a few of the indefinite adjectives of quantity which admit of comparison. We can compare many, much, little, few, but not any, all, some, half, several. Nor is it possible to form comparatives of all even of the Qualitative Adjectives: for

(i) The adjective in the positive degree may already express the presence of the quality in the greatest conceivable extent: thus, extreme, universal, full, empty, top, infinite, perfect, if literally used cannot be compared. When we say 'This glass is emptier than that,' 'Yours is a more 8

W. E. G.

perfect specimen,' we are evidently employing the words. empty and perfect in an inexact sense.

(ii) The adjective may denote the presence of a quality which does not vary in its amount: e.g. wooden, circular, monthly, English.

Formation of Comparatives and Superlatives. There are two ways of forming the degrees of comparison:

1. Add to the Positive -er to form the comparative and -est to form the superlative, in the case of all words of one syllable and some words of two syllables, especially those in -er, -le, -y, as clever, able, merry.

2. Use the adverbs more, most before the Positive.

The substitution of more and most for the inflexional forms -er and -est began through Norman French influence, but has been extended during the last two centuries on the grounds of euphony. Such forms as honourablest, ancienter, virtuousest, are not only disagreeable to the ear but also awkward to pronounce.

Notice the following changes of spelling when the inflexions marking comparison are added:

i. If the positive ends in -e, cut off the -e: e.g. grav-er, larg-er.

ii. If in y, change they to i if a consonant precedes, as drier, merrier, but retain the y if a vowel precedes, as gayer, greyer. (This is similar to the rule determining the spelling of plurals of nouns in -y.) Note that the adjective shy keeps the y.

iii. Monosyllabic words ending in a consonant preceded by a short vowel double the consonant to show that the vowel is short: hotter, thinner, redder. A few other adjectives, not monosyllabic, exhibit the same orthographical change: crueller, hopefuller.

114. The following comparisons are irregular, that is to say, they do not conform to the general rules stated above; in many instances deficiencies have been supplied by borrowing words from other adjectives: defect is one kind of irregularity.

« ZurückWeiter »