The Grammar of English Grammars/Part II

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The Grammar of English Grammars by Goold Brown
Part II



ETYMOLOGY treats of the different parts of speech, with their classes and modifications.

The Parts of Speech are the several kinds, or principal classes, into which words are divided by grammarians.

Classes, under the parts of speech, are the particular sorts into which the several kinds of words are subdivided.

Modifications are inflections, or changes, in the terminations, forms, or senses, of some kinds of words.


The Parts of Speech, or sorts of words, in English, are ten; namely, the Article, the Noun, the Adjective, the Pronoun, the Verb, the Participle, the Adverb, the Conjunction, the Preposition, and the Interjection.


An Article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification: as, The air, the stars; an island, a ship.


A Noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned: as, George, York, man, apple, truth.


An Adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality: as, A wise man; a new book. You two are diligent.


A Pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun: as, The boy loves his book; he has long lessons, and he learns them well.


A Verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon: as, I am, I rule, I am ruled; I love, thou lovest, he loves.


A Participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb: thus, from the verb rule, are formed three participles, two simple and one compound; as, 1. ruling, 2. ruled, 3. having ruled.


An Adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner: as, They are now here, studying very diligently.


A Conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected: as, "Thou and he are happy, because you are good."--L. Murray.


A Preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun; as, The paper lies before me on the desk.


An Interjection is a word that is uttered merely to indicate some strong or sudden emotion of the mind: as, Oh! alas! ah! poh! pshaw! avaunt! aha! hurrah!


OBS. 1.--The first thing to be learned in the study of this the second part of grammar, is the distribution of the words of the language into those principal sorts, or classes, which are denominated the Parts of Speech. This is a matter of some difficulty. And as no scheme which can be adopted, will be in all cases so plain that young beginners will not occasionally falter in its application, the teacher may sometimes find it expedient to refer his pupils to the following simple explanations, which are designed to aid their first and most difficult steps.

How can we know to what class, or part of speech, any word belongs? By learning the definitions of the ten parts of speech, and then observing how the word is written, and in what sense it is used. It is necessary also to observe, so far as we can, with what other words each particular one is capable of making sense.

1. Is it easy to distinguish an ARTICLE? If not always easy, it is generally so: the, an, and a, are the only English words called articles, and these are rarely any thing else. Because an and a have the same import, and are supposed to have the same origin, the articles are commonly reckoned two, but some count them as three.

2. How can we distinguish a NOUN? By means of the article before it, if there is one; as, the house, an apple, a book; or, by adding it to the phrase, "I mentioned;" as, "I mentioned peace;"--"I mentioned war;"--"I mentioned slumber." Any word which thus makes complete sense, is, in that sense, a noun; because a noun is the name of any thing which can thus be mentioned by a name. Of English nouns, there are said to be as many as twenty-five or thirty thousand.

3. How can we distinguish an ADJECTIVE? By putting a noun after it, to see if the phrase will be sense. The noun thing, or its plural things, will suit almost any adjective; as, A good thing--A bad thing--A little thing--A great thing--Few things--Many things--Some things--Fifty things. Of adjectives, there are perhaps nine or ten thousand.

4. How can we distinguish a PRONOUN? By observing that its noun repeated makes the same sense. Thus, the example of the pronoun above, "The boy loves his book; he has long lessons, and he learns them well,"--very clearly means, "The boy loves the boy's book; the boy has long lessons, and the boy learns those lessons well." Here then, by a disagreeable repetition of two nouns, we have the same sense without any pronoun; but it is obvious that the pronouns form a better mode of expression, because they prevent this awkward repetition. The different pronouns in English are twenty-four; and their variations in declension are thirty-two: so that the number of words of this class, is fifty-six.

5. How can we distinguish a VERB? By observing that it is usually the principal word in the sentence, and that without it there would be no assertion. It is the word which expresses what is affirmed or said of the person or thing mentioned; as, "Jesus wept."--"Felix trembled."--"The just shall live by faith." It will make sense when inflected with the pronouns; as, I write, thou writ'st, he writes; we write, you write, they write.--I walk, thou walkst, he walks; we walk, you walk, they walk. Of English verbs, some recent grammarians compute the number at eight thousand; others formerly reckoned them to be no more than four thousand three hundred.[131] 6. How can we distinguish a PARTICIPLE? By observing its derivation from the verb, and then placing it after to be or having; as, To be writing, Having written--To be walking, Having walked--To be weeping, Having wept--To be studying, Having studied. Of simple participles, there are twice as many as there are of simple or radical verbs; and the possible compounds are not less numerous than the simples, but they are much less frequently used.

7. How can we distinguish an ADVERB? By observing that it answers to the question, When? Where? How much? or How?--or serves to ask it; as, "He spoke fluently." How did he speak? Fluently. This word fluently is therefore an adverb: it tells how he spoke. Of adverbs, there are about two thousand six hundred; and four fifths of them end in ly.

8. How can we distinguish a CONJUNCTION? By observing what words or terms it joins together, or to what other conjunction it corresponds; as, "Neither wealth nor honor can heal a wounded conscience."--Dillwyn's Ref., p. 16. Or, it may be well to learn the whole list at once: And, as, both, because, even, for, if, that, then, since, seeing, so: Or, nor, either, neither, than, though, although, yet, but, except, whether, lest, unless, save, provided, notwithstanding, whereas. Of conjunctions, there are these twenty-nine in common use, and a few others now obsolete.

9. How can we distinguish a PREPOSITION? By observing that it will govern the pronoun them, and is not a verb or a participle; as, About them--above them--across them--after them--against them--amidst them--among them--around them--at them--Before them--behind them--below them--beneath them--beside them--between them--beyond them--by them--For them--from them--In them--into them, &c. Of the prepositions, there are about sixty now in common use.

10. How can we distinguish an INTERJECTION? By observing that it is an independent word or sound, uttered earnestly, and very often written with the note of exclamation; as Lo! behold! look! see! hark! hush! hist! mum! Of interjections, there are sixty or seventy in common use, some of which are seldom found in books.

OBS. 2.--An accurate knowledge of words, and of their changes, is indispensable to a clear discernment of their proper combinations in sentences, according to the usage of the learned. Etymology, therefore, should be taught before syntax; but it should be chiefly taught by a direct analysis of entire sentences, and those so plainly written that the particular effect of every word may be clearly distinguished, and the meaning, whether intrinsic or relative, be discovered with precision. The parts of speech are usually named and defined with reference to the use of words in sentences; and, as the same word not unfrequently stands for several different parts of speech, the learner should be early taught to make for himself the proper application of the foregoing distribution, without recurrence to a dictionary, and without aid from his teacher. He who is endeavouring to acquaint himself with the grammar of a language which he can already read and understand, is placed in circumstances very different from those which attend the school-boy who is just beginning to construe some sentences of a foreign tongue. A frequent use of the dictionary may facilitate the progress of the one, while it delays that of the other. English grammar, it is hoped, may be learned directly from this book alone, with better success than can be expected when the attention of the learner is divided among several or many different works.

OBS. 3.--Dr. James P. Wilson, in speaking of the classification of words, observes, "The names of the distributive parts should either express, distinctly, the influence, which each class produces on sentences; or some other characteristic trait, by which the respective species of words may be distinguished, without danger of confusion. It is at least probable, that no distribution, sufficiently minute, can ever be made, of the parts of speech, which shall be wholly free from all objection. Hasty innovations, therefore, and crude conjectures, should not be permitted to disturb that course of grammatical instruction, which has been advancing in melioration, by the unremitting labours of thousands, through a series of ages."--Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 66. Again: "The number of the parts of speech may be reduced, or enlarged, at pleasure; and the rules of syntax may be accommodated to such new arrangement. The best grammarians find it difficult, in practice, to distinguish, in some instances, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions; yet their effects are generally distinct. This inconvenience should be submitted to, since a less comprehensive distribution would be very unfavourable to a rational investigation of the meaning of English sentences."--Ib., p. 68. Again: "As and so have been also deemed substitutes, and resolved into other words. But if all abbreviations are to be restored to their primitive parts of speech, there will be a general revolution in the present systems of grammar; and the various improvements, which have sprung from convenience, or necessity, and been sanctioned by the usage of ancient times, must be retrenched, and anarchy in letters universally prevail."--Ib., p. 114.

OBS. 4.--I have elsewhere sufficiently shown why ten parts of speech are to be preferred to any other number, in English; and whatever diversity of opinion there may be, respecting the class to which some particular words ought to be referred, I trust to make it obvious to good sense, that I have seldom erred from the course which is most expedient. 1. Articles are used with appellative nouns, sometimes to denote emphatically the species, but generally to designate individuals. 2. Nouns stand in discourse for persons, things, or abstract qualities. 3. Adjectives commonly express the concrete qualities of persons or things; but sometimes, their situation or number. 4. Pronouns are substitutes for names, or nouns; but they sometimes represent sentences. 5. Verbs assert, ask, or say something; and, for the most part, express action or motion. 6. Participles contain the essential meaning of their verbs, and commonly denote action, and imply time; but, apart from auxiliaries, they express that meaning either adjectively or substantively, and not with assertion. 7. Adverbs express the circumstances of time, of place, of degree, and of manner; the when, the where, the how much, and the how. 8. Conjunctions connect, sometimes words, and sometimes sentences, rarely phrases; and always show, either the manner in which one sentence or one phrase depends upon an other, or what connexion there is between two words that refer to a third. 9. Prepositions express the correspondent relations of things to things, of thoughts to thoughts, or of words to words; for these, if we speak truly, must be all the same in expression. 10. Interjections are either natural sounds or exclamatory words, used independently, and serving briefly to indicate the wishes or feelings of the speaker.

OBS. 5.--In the following passage, all the parts of speech are exemplified, and each is pointed out by the figure placed over the word:--

 1    2   9    2    5  1    2      3      9   2   1    2      6

"The power of speech is a faculty peculiar to man; a faculty bestowed 9 4 9 4 3 2 9 1 3 8 7 3 on him by his beneficent Creator, for the greatest and most excellent

2     8    10    7    7    5 4     5    4  9   1   3    9

uses; but, alas! how often do we pervert it to the worst of


purposes!"--See Lowth's Gram., p. 1.

In this sentence, which has been adopted by Murray, Churchill, and others, we have the following parts of speech: 1. The words the, a, and an, are articles. 2. The words power, speech, faculty, man, faculty, Creator, uses, and purposes, are nouns. 3. The words peculiar, beneficent, greatest, excellent, and worst, are adjectives. 4. The words him, his, we, and it, are pronouns. 5. The words is, do, and pervert, are verbs. 6. The word bestowed is a participle. 7. The words most, how, and often, are adverbs. 8. The words and and but are conjunctions. 9. The words of, on, to, by, for, to, and of, are prepositions. 10. The word alas! is an interjection.

OBS. 6.--In speaking or writing, we of course bring together the different parts of speech just as they happen to be needed. Though a sentence of ordinary length usually embraces more than one half of them, it is not often that we find them all in so small a compass. Sentences sometimes abound in words of a particular kind, and are quite destitute of those of some other sort. The following examples will illustrate these remarks. (1) ARTICLES: "A square is less beautiful than a circle; and the reason seems to be, that the attention is divided among the sides and angles of a square, whereas the circumference of a circle, being a single object, makes one entire impression."--Kames, Elements of Criticism, Vol. i, p. 175. (2.) NOUNS: "A number of things destined for the same use, such as windows, chairs, spoons, buttons, cannot be too uniform; for, supposing their figure to be good, utility requires uniformity."--Ib., i, 176. (3.) ADJECTIVES: "Hence nothing just, proper, decent, beautiful, proportioned, or grand, is risible."--Ib., i, 229. (4.) PRONOUNS: "I must entreat the courteous reader to suspend his curiosity, and rather to consider what is written than who they are that write it."--Addison, Spect., No. 556. (5.) VERBS: "The least consideration will inform us how easy it is to put an ill-natured construction upon a word; and what perverse turns and expressions spring from an evil temper. Nothing can be explained to him who will not understand, nor will any thing appear right to the unreasonable."--Cecil. (6.) PARTICIPLES: "The Scriptures are an authoritative voice, reproving, instructing, and warning the world; and declaring the only means ordained and provided for escaping the awful penalties of sin."--G. B. (7.) ADVERBS: "The light of Scripture shines steadily, purely, benignly, certainly, superlatively."--Dr. S. H. Cox. (8.) CONJUNCTIONS: "Quietness and silence both become and befriend religious exercises. Clamour and violence often hinder, but never further, the work of God."--Henry's Exposition. (9.) PREPOSITIONS: "He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures."--Dec. of Indep. (10.) INTERJECTIONS: "Oh, my dear strong-box! Oh, my lost guineas! Oh, poor, ruined, beggared old man! Boo! hoo! hoo!"--MOLIERE: Burgh's Art of Speaking, p. 266.


Parsing is the resolving or explaining of a sentence, or of some related word or words, according to the definitions and rules of grammar. Parsing is to grammar what ciphering is to arithmetic.

A Praxis is a method of exercise, or a form of grammatical resolution, showing the learner how to proceed. The word is Greek, and literally signifies action, doing, practice, or formal use.


In the first Praxis, it is required of the pupil--merely to distinguish and define the different parts of speech.

The definitions to be given in the First Praxis, are one, and only one, for each word, or part of speech. Thus:--


"The patient ox submits to the yoke, and meekly performs the labour required of him."

The is an article. 1.[132] An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification.

Patient is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Ox is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Submits is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

To is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

The is an article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification.

Yoke is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

And is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

Meekly is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Performs is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

The is an article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification.

Labour is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Required is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

Of is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Him is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.


"A nimble tongue often trips. The rule of the tongue is a great attainment. The language of truth is direct and plain. Truth is never evasive. Flattery is the food of vanity. A virtuous mind loathes flattery. Vain persons are an easy prey to parasites. Vanity easily mistakes sneers for smiles. The smiles of the world are deceitful. True friendship hath eternal views. A faithful friend is invaluable. Constancy in friendship denotes a generous mind. Adversity is the criterion of friendship. Love and fidelity are inseparable. Few know the value of a friend till they lose him. Justice is the first of all moral virtues. Let justice hold, and mercy turn, the scale. A judge is guilty who connives at guilt. Justice delayed is little better than justice denied. Vice is the deformity of man. Virtue is a source of constant cheerfulness. One vice is more expensive than many virtues. Wisdom, though serious, is never sullen. Youth is the season of improvement."--Dillwyn's Reflections, pp. 4-27.

  "Oh! my ill-chang'd condition! oh, my fate!
   Did I lose heaven for this?"--Cowley's Davideis.


"So prone is man to society, and so happy in it, that, to relish perpetual solitude, one must be an angel or a brute. In a solitary state, no creature is more timid than man; in society, none more bold. The number of offenders lessens the disgrace of the crime; for a common reproach is no reproach. A man is more unhappy in reproaching himself when guilty, than in being reproached by others when innocent. The pains of the mind are harder to bear than those of the body. Hope, in this mixed state of good and ill, is a blessing from heaven: the gift of prescience would be a curse. The first step towards vice, is to make a mystery of what is innocent: whoever loves to hide, will soon or late have reason to hide. A man who gives his children a habit of industry, provides for them better than by giving them a stock of money. Our good and evil proceed from ourselves: death appeared terrible to Cicero, indifferent to Socrates, desirable to Cato."--Home's Art of Thinking, pp. 26-53.

  "O thou most high transcendent gift of age!
   Youth from its folly thus to disengage."--Denham's Age.


"Calm was the day, and the scene, delightful. We may expect a calm after a storm. To prevent passion is easier than to calm it."--Murray's Ex., p. 5. "Better is a little with content, than a great deal with anxiety. A little attention will rectify some errors. Unthinking persons care little for the future."--See ib. "Still waters are commonly deepest. He laboured to still the tumult. Though he is out of danger, he is still afraid."--Ib. "Damp air is unwholesome. Guilt often casts a damp over our sprightliest hours. Soft bodies damp the sound much more than hard ones."--Ib. "The hail was very destructive. Hail, virtue! source of every good. We hail you as friends."--Ib., p. 6. "Much money makes no man happy. Think much, and speak little. He has seen much of the world."--See ib. "Every being loves its like. We must make a like space between the lines. Behave like men. We are apt to like pernicious company."--Ib. "Give me more love, or more disdain."--Carew. "He loved Rachel more than Leah."--Genesis. "But how much that more is; he hath no distinct notion."--Locke.

  "And my more having would be as a sauce
   To make me hunger more."--Shakspeare.


An Article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification: as, The air, the stars; an island, a ship.

An and a, being equivalent in meaning, are commonly reckoned one and the same article. An is used in preference to a, whenever the following word begins with a vowel sound; as, An art, an end, an heir, an inch, an ounce, an hour, an urn. A is used in preference to an, whenever the following word begins with a consonant sound; as, A man, a house, a wonder, a one, a yew, a use, a ewer. Thus the consonant sounds of w and y, even when expressed by other letters, require a and not an before them.

A common noun, when taken in its widest sense, usually admits no article: as, "A candid temper is proper for man; that is, for all mankind."--Murray.

In English, nouns without any article, or other definitive, are often used in a sense indefinitely partitive: as, "He took bread, and gave thanks."--Acts. That is, "some bread." "To buy food are thy servants come."--Genesis. That is, "some food." "There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy region."--Locke's Essay, p. 322. That is, "some fishes."

"Words in which nothing but the mere being of any thing is implied, are used without articles: as, 'This is not beer, but water;' 'This is not brass, but steel.'"--See Dr. Johnson's Gram., p. 5.

An or a before the genus, may refer to a whole species; and thebefore the species, may denote that whole species emphatically: as, "A certain bird is termed the cuckoo, from the sound which it emits."--Blair.

But an or a is commonly used to denote individuals as unknown, or as not specially distinguished from others: as, "I see an object pass by, which I never saw till now; and I say, 'There goes a beggar with a long beard.'"--Harris.

And the is commonly used to denote individuals as known, or as specially distinguished from others: as, "The man departs, and returns a week after; and I say, 'There goes the beggar with the long beard.'"--Id.

The article the is applied to nouns of either number: as, "The man, the men;" "The good boy, the good boys."

The is commonly required before adjectives that are used by ellipsis as nouns: as, "The young are slaves to novelty; the old, to custom."--Ld. Kames.

The article an or a implies unity, or one, and of course belongs to nouns of the singular number only; as, A man,--An old man,--A good boy.

An or a, like one, sometimes gives a collective meaning to an adjective of number, when the noun following is plural; as, A few days,--A hundred men,--One hundred pounds sterling.

Articles should be inserted as often as the sense requires them; as, "Repeat the preterit and [the] perfect participle of the verb to abide."--Error in Merchant's American School Grammar, p. 66.

Needless articles should be omitted; they seldom fail to pervert the sense: as, "The Rhine, the Danube, the Tanais, the Po, the Wolga, the Ganges, like many hundreds of similar names, rose not from any obscure jargon or irrational dialect."--Error in Dr. Murray's Hist. of Europ. Lang., Vol. i, p. 327.

The articles can seldom be put one for the other, without gross impropriety; and of course either is to be preferred to the other, as it better suits the sense: as, "The violation of this rule never fails to hurt and displease a reader."--Error in Blair's Lectures, p. 107. Say, "A violation of this rule never fails to displease the reader."


The articles are distinguished as the definite and the indefinite.

I. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things; as, The boy, the oranges.

II. The indefinite article is an or a, which denotes one thing of a kind, but not any particular one; as, A boy, an orange.


The English articles have no modifications, except that an is shortened into a before the sound of a consonant; as, "In an epic poem, or a poem upon an elevated subject, a writer ought to avoid raising a simile on a low image."--Ld. Kames.


OBS. 1.--No other words are so often employed as the articles. And, by reason of the various and very frequent occasions on which these definitives are required, no words are oftener misapplied; none, oftener omitted or inserted erroneously. I shall therefore copiously illustrate both their uses and their abuses; with the hope that every reader of this volume will think it worth his while to gain that knowledge which is requisite to the true use of these small but important words. Some parts of the explanation, however, must be deferred till we come to Syntax.

OBS. 2.--With the attempts of Tooke, Dalton, Webster, Cardell, Fowle, Wells,[134] Weld, Butler, Frazee, Perley, Mulligan, Pinneo, S. S. Greene, and other writers, to degrade the article from its ancient rank among the parts of speech, no judicious reader, duly acquainted with the subject, can, I think, be well pleased. An article is not properly an "adjective," as they would have it to be; but it is a word of a peculiar sort--a customary index to the sense of nouns. It serves not merely to show the extent of signification, in which nouns are to be taken, but is often the principal, and sometimes the only mark, by which a word is known to have the sense and construction of a noun. There is just as much reason to deny and degrade the Greek or French article, (or that of any other language,) as the English; and, if those who are so zealous to reform our the, an, and a into adjectives, cared at all to appear consistent in the view of Comparative or General Grammar, they would either set about a wider reformation or back out soon from the pettiness of this.

OBS. 3.--First let it be understood, that an or a is nearly equivalent in meaning to the numeral adjective one, but less emphatic; and that the is nearly equivalent in meaning to the pronominal adjective that or those, but less emphatic. On some occasions, these adjectives may well be substituted for the articles; but not generally. If the articles were generally equivalent to adjectives, or even if they were generally like them, they would be adjectives; but, that adjectives may occasionally supply their places, is no argument at all for confounding the two parts of speech. Distinctions must be made, where differences exist; and, that a, an, and the, do differ considerably from the other words which they most resemble, is shown even by some who judge "the distinctive name of article to be useless." See Crombie's Treatise, Chap. 2. The articles therefore must be distinguished, not only from adjectives, but from each other. For, though both are articles, each is an index sui generis; the one definite, the other indefinite. And as the words that and one cannot often be interchanged without a difference of meaning, so the definite article and the indefinite are seldom, if ever, interchangeable. To put one for the other, is therefore, in general, to put one meaning for an other: "A daughter of a poor man"--"The daughter of the poor man"--"A daughter of the poor man"--and, "The daughter of a poor man," are four phrases which certainly have four different and distinct significations. This difference between the two articles may be further illustrated by the following example: "That Jesus was a prophet sent from God, is one proposition; that Jesus was the prophet, the Messiah, is an other; and, though he certainly was both a prophet and the prophet, yet the foundations of the proof of these propositions are separate and distinct."--Watson's Apology, p. 105.

OBS. 4.--Common nouns are, for the most part, names of large classes of objects; and, though what really constitutes the species must always be found entire in every individual, the several objects thus arranged under one general name or idea, are in most instances susceptible of such a numerical distribution as gives rise to an other form of the noun, expressive of plurality; as, horse, horses. Proper nouns in their ordinary application, are, for the most part, names of particular individuals; and as there is no plurality to a particular idea, or to an individual person or thing as distinguished from all others, so there is in general none to this class of nouns; and no room for further restriction by articles. But we sometimes divert such nouns from their usual signification, and consequently employ them with articles or in the plural form; as, "I endeavoured to retain it nakedly in my mind, without regarding whether I had it from an Aristotle or a Zoilus, a Newton or a Descartes."--Churchill's Gram., Pref., p. 8. "It is not enough to have Vitruviuses, we must also have Augustuses to employ them."--Bicknell's Gram., Part ii, p. 61.

  "A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!"         --SHAK. Shylock.
  "Great Homer, in th' Achilles, whom he drew,
   Sets not that one sole Person in our View."
       --Brightland's Gram., p. 183.

OBS. 5.--The article an or a usually denotes one out of several or many; one of a sort of which there are more; any one of that name, no matter which. Hence its effect upon a particular name, or proper noun, is directly the reverse of that which it has upon a common noun. It varies and fixes the meaning of both; but while it restricts that of the latter, it enlarges that of the former. It reduces the general idea of the common noun to any one individual of the class: as, "A man;" that is, "One man, or any man." On the contrary, it extends the particular idea of the proper noun, and makes the word significant of a class, by supposing others to whom it will apply: as, "A Nero;" that is, "Any Nero, or any cruel tyrant." Sometimes, however, this article before a proper name, seems to leave the idea still particular; but, if it really does so, the propriety of using it may be doubted: as, "No, not by a John the Baptist risen from the dead."--Henry's Expos., Mark, vi. "It was not solely owing to the madness and depravity of a Tiberius, a Caligula, a Nero, or a Caracalla, that a cruel and sanguinary spirit, in their day, was so universal."--M'Ilvaine's Evid., p. 398.

OBS. 6.--With the definite article, the noun is applied, sometimes specifically, sometimes individually, but always definitely, always distinctively. This article is demonstrative. It marks either the particular individual, or the particular species,--or, (if the noun be plural,) some particular individuals of the species,--as being distinguished from all others. It sometimes refers to a thing as having been previously mentioned; sometimes presumes upon the hearer's familiarity with the thing; and sometimes indicates a limitation which is made by subsequent words connected with the noun. Such is the import of this article, that with it the singular number of the noun is often more comprehensive, and at the same time more specific, than the plural. Thus, if I say, "The horse is a noble animal," without otherwise intimating that I speak of some particular horse, the sentence will be understood to embrace collectively that species of animal; and I shall be thought to mean, "Horses are noble animals." But if I say, "The horses are noble animals," I use an expression so much more limited, as to include only a few; it must mean some particular horses, which I distinguish from all the rest of the species. Such limitations should be made, whenever there is occasion for them; but needless restrictions displease the imagination, and ought to be avoided; because the mind naturally delights in terms as comprehensive as they may be, if also specific. Lindley Murray, though not uniform in his practice respecting this, seems to have thought it necessary to use the plural in many sentences in which I should decidedly prefer the singular; as, "That the learners may have no doubts."--Murray's Octavo Gram., Vol. i, p. 81. "The business will not be tedious to the scholars."--Ib., 81. "For the information of the learners."--Ib., 81. "It may afford instruction to the learners."--Ib., 110. "That this is the case, the learners will perceive by the following examples."--Ib., 326. "Some knowledge of it appears to be indispensable to the scholars."--Ib., 335.

OBS. 7.--Proper names of a plural form and signification, are almost always preceded by the definite article; as, "The Wesleys,"--"The twelve Cæsars,"--"All the Howards." So the names of particular nations, tribes, and sects; as, The Romans, the Jews, the Levites, the Stoics. Likewise the plural names of mountains; as, The Alps, the Apennines, the Pyrenees, the Andes. Of plural names like these, and especially of such as designate tribes and sects, there is a very great number. Like other proper names, they must be distinguished from the ordinary words of the language, and accordingly they are always written with capitals; but they partake so largely of the nature of common nouns, that it seems doubtful to which class they most properly belong. Hence they not only admit, but require the article; while most other proper names are so definite in themselves, that the article, if put before them, would be needless, and therefore improper.

  "Nash, Rutledge, Jefferson, in council great,     And Jay, and Laurens oped the rolls of fate;
   The Livingstons, fair freedoms generous band,     The Lees, the Houstons, fathers of the land."--Barlow.

OBS. 8.--In prose, the definite article is always used before names of rivers, unless the word river, be added; as, The Delaware, the Hudson, the Connecticut. But if the word river be added, the article becomes needless; as, Delaware river, Hudson river, Connecticut river. Yet there seems to be no impropriety in using both; as, The Delaware river, the Hudson river, the Connecticut river. And if the common noun be placed before the proper name, the article is again necessary; as, The river Delaware, the river Hudson, the river Connecticut. In the first form of expression, however, the article has not usually been resolved by grammarians as relating to the proper name; but these examples, and others of a similar character, have been supposed elliptical: as, "The [river] Potomac"--"The [ship] Constitution,"--"The [steamboat] Fulton." Upon this supposition, the words in the first and fourth forms are to be parsed alike; the article relating to the common noun, expressed or understood, and the proper noun being in apposition with the appellative. But in the second form, the apposition is reversed; and, in the third, the proper name appears to be taken adjectively. Without the article, some names of rivers could not be understood; as,

  "No more the Varus and the Atax feel     The lordly burden of the Latian keel."--Rowe's Lucan, B. i. l. 722.

OBS. 9.--The definite article is often used by way of eminence, to distinguish some particular individual emphatically, or to apply to him some characteristic name or quality: as, "The Stagirite,"--that is, Aristotle; "The Psalmist," that is, David; "Alexander the Great,"--that is, (perhaps,) Alexander the Great Monarch, or Great Hero. So, sometimes, when the phrase relates to a collective body of men: as, "The Honourable, the Legislature,"--"The Honourable, the Senate;"--that is, "The Honourable Body, the Legislature," &c. A similar application of the article in the following sentences, makes a most beautiful and expressive form of compliment: "These are the sacred feelings of thy heart, O Lyttleton, the friend."--Thomson. "The pride of swains Palemon was, the generous and the rich."--Id. In this last example, the noun man is understood after "generous," and again after "rich;" for, the article being an index to the noun, I conceive it to be improper ever to construe two articles as having reference to one unrepeated word. Dr. Priestley says, "We sometimes repeat the article, when the epithet precedes the substantive; as He was met by the worshipful the magistrates."--Gram., p. 148. It is true, we occasionally meet with such fulsome phraseology as this; but the question is, how is it to be explained? I imagine that the word personages, or something equivalent, must be understood after worshipful, and that the Doctor ought to have inserted a comma there.

OBS. 10.--In Greek, there is no article corresponding to our an or a, consequently man and a man are rendered alike; the word, [Greek: anthropos] may mean either. See, in the original, these texts: "There was a man sent from God," (John, i, 6,) and, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"--Heb., ii, 6. So of other nouns. But the definite article of that language, which is exactly equivalent to our the, is a declinable word, making no small figure in grammar. It is varied by numbers, genders, and cases; so that it assumes more than twenty different forms, and becomes susceptible of six and thirty different ways of agreement. But this article in English is perfectly simple, being entirely destitute of grammatical modifications, and consequently incapable of any form of grammatical agreement or disagreement--a circumstance of which many of our grammarians seem to be ignorant; since they prescribe a rule, wherein they say, it "agrees," "may agree," or "must agree," with its noun. Nor has the indefinite article any variation of form, except the change from an to a, which has been made for the sake of brevity or euphony.

OBS. 11.--As an or a conveys the idea of unity, of course it applies to no other than nouns of the singular number. An eagle is one eagle, and the plural word eagles denotes more than one; but what could possibly be meant by "ans eagles," if such a phrase were invented? Harris very strangely says, "The Greeks have no article correspondent to an or a, but supply its place by a NEGATION of their article. And even in English, where the article a cannot be used, as in plurals, its force is exprest by the same NEGATION."--Harris's Hermes, p. 218. What a sample of grammar is this! Besides several minor faults, we have here a nonentity, a NEGATION of the Greek article, made to occupy a place in language, and to express force! The force of what? Of a plural an or a,! of such a word as ans or aes! The error of the first of these sentences, Dr. Blair has copied entire into his eighth lecture.

OBS. 12.--The following rules of agreement, though found in many English grammars, are not only objectionable with respect to the sense intended, but so badly written as to be scarcely intelligible in any sense: 1. "The article a or an agrees with nouns in the singular number only, individually, or collectively: as, A Christian, an infidel, a score, a thousand." 2. "The definite article the may agree with nouns in the singular AND[135] plural number: as, The garden, the houses, the stars."--Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 170; 12mo, 139; Fish's Murray, 98; a Teacher's, 45. For the purpose of preventing any erroneous construction of the articles, these rules are utterly useless; and for the purpose of syntactical parsing, or the grammatical resolution of this part of speech, they are awkward and inconvenient. The syntax of the articles may be much better expressed in this manner: "Articles relate to the nouns which they limit," for, in English, the bearing of the articles upon other words is properly that of simple relation, or dependence, according to the sense, and not that of agreement, not a similarity of distinctive modifications.

OBS. 13.--Among all the works of earlier grammarians, I have never yet found a book which taught correctly the application of the two forms of the indefinite article an or a. Murray, contrary to Johnson and Webster, considers a to be the original word, and an the euphonic derivative. He says: "A becomes an before a vowel, and before a silent h. But if the h be sounded, the a only is to be used."--Murray's Gram., p. 31. To this he adds, in a marginal note, "A instead of an is now used before words beginning with u long. It is used before one. An must be used before words WHERE the h is not silent, if the accent is on the second syllable; as, an heroic action, an historical account."--Ib. This explanation, clumsy as it is, in the whole conception; broken, prolix, deficient, and inaccurate as it is, both in style and doctrine; has been copied and copied from grammar to grammar, as if no one could possibly better it. Besides several other faults, it contains a palpable misuse of the article itself: "the h" which is specified in the second and fifth sentences, is the "silent h" of the first sentence; and this inaccurate specification gives us the two obvious solecisms of supposing, "if the [silent] h be sounded," and of locating "words WHERE the [silent] h is not silent!" In the word humour, and its derivatives, the h is silent, by all authority except Webster's; and yet these words require a and not an before them.

OBS. 14.--It is the sound only, that governs the form of the article, and not the letter itself; as, "Those which admit of the regular form, are marked with an R."--Murray's Gram., p. 101. "A heroic poem, written by Virgil."--Webster's Dict. "Every poem of the kind has no doubt a historical groundwork."--Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 457. "A poet must be a naturalist and a historian."--Coleridge's Introduction, p. 111. Before h in an unaccented syllable, either form of the article may be used without offence to the ear; and either may be made to appear preferable to the other, by merely aspirating the letter in a greater or less degree. But as the h, though ever so feebly aspirated has something of a consonant sound, I incline to think the article in this case ought to conform to the general principle: as, "A historical introduction has, generally, a happy effect to rouse attention."-- Blair's Rhet., p. 311. "He who would write heroic poems, should make his whole life a heroic poem."--See Life of Schiller, p. 56. Within two lines of this quotation, the biographer speaks of "an heroic multitude!" The suppression of the sound of h being with Englishmen a very common fault in pronunciation, it is not desirable to increase the error, by using a form of the article which naturally leads to it. "How often do we hear an air metamorphosed into a hair, a hat into a gnat, and a hero into a Nero!"--Churchill's Gram., p. 205. Thus: "Neither of them had that bold and adventurous ambition which makes a conqueror an hero."--Bolingbroke, on History, p. 174.

OBS. 15.--Some later grammarians are still more faulty than Murray, in their rules for the application of an or a. Thus Sanborn: "The vowels are a, e, i, o, and u. An should be used before words beginning with any of these letters, or with a silent h."--Analytical Gram., p. 11. "An is used before words beginning with u long or with h not silent, when the accent is on the second. second syllable; as, an united people, an historical account, an heroic action."--Ib., p. 85. "A is used when the next word begins with a consonant; an, when it begins with a vowel or silent h."--lb., p. 129. If these rules were believed and followed, they would greatly multiply errors.

OBS. 16.--Whether the word a has been formed from an, or an from a, is a disputed point--or rather, a point on which our grammarians dogmatize differently. This, if it be worth the search, must be settled by consulting some genuine writings of the twelfth century. In the pure Saxon of an earlier date, the words seldom occur; and in that ancient dialect an, I believe, is used only as a declinable numerical adjective, and a only as a preposition. In the thirteenth century, both forms were in common use, in the sense now given them, as may be seen in the writings of Robert of Gloucester; though some writers of a much later date--or, at any rate, one, the celebrated Gawin Douglas, a Scottish bishop, who died of the plague in London, in 1522--constantly wrote ane for both an and a: as,

  "Be not ouer studyous to spy ane mote in myn E,     That in gour awin ane ferrye bot can not se."
       --Tooke's Diversions, Vol. i, p. 124.
  "Ane uthir mache to him was socht and sperit;     Bot thare was nane of all the rout that sterit."
       --Ib., Vol. i, p. 160.

OBS. 17.--This, however, was a Scotticism; as is also the use of ae for a: Gower and Chaucer used an and a as we now use them. The Rev. J. M. M'Culloch, in an English grammar published lately in Edinburgh, says, "A and an were originally ae and ane, and were probably used at first simply to convey the idea of unity; as, ae man, ane ox."--Manual of E. Gram., p. 30. For this idea, and indeed for a great part of his book, he is indebted to Dr. Crombie; who says, "To signify unity, or one of a class, our forefathers employed ae or ane; as, ae man, ane ox."--Treatise on Etym. and Synt., p. 53. These authors, like Webster, will have a and an to be adjectives. Dr. Johnson says, "A, an article set before nouns of the singular number; as, a man, a tree. This article has no plural signification. Before a word beginning with a vowel, it is written an; as, an ox, an egg; of which a is the contraction."--Quarto Dict., w. A.

OBS. 18.--Dr. Webster says, "A is also an abbreviation of the Saxon an or ane, one, used before words beginning with an articulation; as, a table, instead of an table, or one table. This is a modern change; for, in Saxon, an was used before articulations as well as vowels; as, an tid, a time, an gear, a year."--Webster's Octavo Dict., w. A. A modern change, indeed! By his own showing in other works, it was made long before the English language existed! He says, "An, therefore, is the original English adjective or ordinal number one; and was never written a until after the Conquest."--Webster's Philos. Gram., p. 20; Improved Gram., 14. "The Conquest," means the Norman Conquest, in 1066; but English was not written till the thirteenth century. This author has long been idly contending, that an or a is not an article, but an adjective; and that it is not properly distinguished by the term "indefinite." Murray has answered him well enough, but he will not be convinced.[136] See Murray's Gram., pp. 34 and 35. If a and one were equal, we could not say, "Such a one,"--"What a one,"--"Many a one,"--"This one thing;" and surely these are all good English, though a and one here admit no interchange. Nay, a is sometimes found before one when the latter is used adjectively; as, "There is no record in Holy Writ of the institution of a one all-controlling monarchy."--Supremacy of the Pope Disproved, p. 9. "If not to a one Sole Arbiter."--Ib., p. 19.

OBS. 19.--An is sometimes a conjunction, signifying if; as, "Nay, an thou'lt mouthe, I'll rant as well as thou."--Shak. "An I have not ballads made on you all, and sung to fifty tunes, may a cup of sack be my poison."--Id., Falstaff. "But, an it were to do again, I should write again."--Lord Byron's Letters. "But an it be a long part, I can't remember it."--SHAKSPEARE: Burgh's Speaker, p. 136.

OBS. 20.--In the New Testament, we meet with several such expressions as the following: "And his disciples were an hungred."--SCOTT'S BIBLE: Matt, xii, 1. "When he was an hungred."--Ib. xii, 3. "When he had need and was an hungered."--Ib. Mark, ii, 25. Alger, the improver of Murray's Grammar, and editor of the Pronouncing Bible, taking this an to be the indefinite article, and perceiving that the h is sounded in hungered, changed the particle to a in all these passages; as, "And his disciples were a hungered." But what sense he thought he had made of the sacred record, I know not. The Greek text, rendered word for word, is simply this: "And his disciples hungered." And that the sentences above, taken either way, are not good English, must be obvious to every intelligent reader. An, as I apprehend, is here a mere prefix, which has somehow been mistaken in form, and erroneously disjoined from the following word. If so, the correction ought to be made after the fashion of the following passage from Bishop M'Ilvaine: "On a certain occasion, our Saviour was followed by five thousand men, into a desert place, where they were enhungered."--Lectures on Christianity, p. 210.

OBS. 21.--The word a, when it does not denote one thing of a kind, is not an article, but a genuine preposition; being probably the same as the French à, signifying to, at, on, in, or of: as, "Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday."--Shak. That is, on Wednesday. So sometimes before plurals; as, "He carves a Sundays."--Swift. That is, on Sundays. "He is let out a nights."--Id. That is, on nights--like the following example: "A pack of rascals that walk the streets on nights."--Id. "He will knap the spears a pieces with his teeth."--More's Antid. That is, in pieces, or to pieces. So in the compound word now-a-days, where it means on; and in the proper names, Thomas à Becket, Thomas à Kempis, Anthony à Wood, where it means at or of.

  "Bot certainly the daisit blude now on dayis     Waxis dolf and dull throw myne unwieldy age."--Douglas.

OBS. 22.--As a preposition, a has now most generally become a prefix, or what the grammarians call an inseparable preposition; as in abed, in bed; aboard, on board; abroad, at large; afire, on fire; afore, in front; afoul, in contact; aloft, on high; aloud, with loudness; amain, at main strength; amidst, in the midst; akin, of kin; ajar, unfastened; ahead, onward; afield, to the field; alee, to the leeward; anew, of new, with renewal. "A-nights, he was in the practice of sleeping, &c.; but a-days he kept looking on the barren ocean, shedding tears."--Dr. Murray's Hist. of Europ. Lang., Vol. ii, p. 162. Compounds of this kind, in most instances, follow verbs, and are consequently reckoned adverbs; as, To go astray,--To turn aside,--To soar aloft,--To fall asleep. But sometimes the antecedent term is a noun or a pronoun, and then they are as clearly adjectives; as, "Imagination is like to work better upon sleeping men, than men awake."--Lord Bacon. "Man alive, did you ever make a hornet afraid, or catch a weasel asleep?" And sometimes the compound governs a noun or a pronoun after it, and then it is a preposition; as, "A bridge is laid across a river."--Webster's Dict., "To break his bridge athwart the Hellespont."--Bacon's Essays.

  "Where Ufens glides along the lowly lands,     Or the black water of Pomptina stands."--Dryden.

OBS. 23.--In several phrases, not yet to be accounted obsolete, this old preposition à still retains its place as a separate word; and none have been more perplexing to superficial grammarians, than those which are formed by using it before participles in ing; in which instances, the participles are in fact governed by it: for nothing is more common in our language, than for participles of this form to be governed by prepositions. For example, "You have set the cask a leaking," and, "You have set the cask to leaking," are exactly equivalent, both in meaning and construction. "Forty and six years was this temple in building."--John, ii, 20. Building is not here a noun, but a participle; and in is here better than a, only because the phrase, a building, might be taken for an article and a noun, meaning an edifice.[137] Yet, in almost all cases, other prepositions are, I think, to be preferred to à, if others equivalent to it can be found. Examples: "Lastly, they go about to apologize for the long time their book hath been a coming out:" i.e., in coming out.--Barclay's Works, Vol. iii, p. 179. "And, for want of reason, he falls a railing:" i.e., to railing.--Ib., iii, 357. "That the soul should be this moment busy a thinking:" i.e., at or in thinking.--Locke's Essay, p. 78. "Which, once set a going, continue in the same steps:" i.e., to going.--Ib., p. 284. "Those who contend for four per cent, have set men's mouths a watering for money:" i.e., to watering.-LOCKE: in Johnson's Dict. "An other falls a ringing a Pescennius Niger:" i.e., to ringing.--ADDISON: ib. "At least to set others a thinking upon the subject:" i.e., to thinking.--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 300. "Every one that could reach it, cut off a piece, and fell a eating:" i.e., to eating.--Newspaper. "To go a mothering,[138] is to visit parents on Midlent Sunday."--Webster's Dict., w. Mothering. "Which we may find when we come a fishing here."--Wotton. "They go a begging to a bankrupt's door."--Dryden. "A hunting Chloë went."--Prior. "They burst out a laughing."--M. Edgeworth. In the last six sentences, a seems more suitable than any other preposition would be: all it needs, is an accent to distinguish it from the article; as, à.

OBS. 24.--Dr. Alexander Murray says, "To be a-seeking, is the relic of the Saxon to be on or an seeking. What are you a-seeking? is different from, What are you seeking? It means more fully the going on with the process."--Hist. Europ. Lang,, Vol. ii, p. 149. I disapprove of the hyphen in such terms as "à seeking," because it converts the preposition and participle into I know not what; and it may be observed, in passing, that the want of it, in such as "the going on," leaves us a loose and questionable word, which, by the conversion of the participle into a noun, becomes a nondescript in grammar. I dissent also from Dr. Murray, concerning the use of the preposition or prefix a, in examples like that which he has here chosen. After a neuter verb, this particle is unnecessary to the sense, and, I think, injurious to the construction. Except in poetry, which is measured by syllables, it may be omitted without any substitute; as, "I am a walking."--Johnson's Dict., w. A. "He had one only daughter, and she lay a dying."--Luke, viii, 42. "In the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing."--1 Pet., iii, 20. "Though his unattentive thoughts be elsewhere a wandering."--Locke's Essay, p. 284. Say--"be wandering elsewhere;" and omit the a, in all such cases.

  "And--when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
   His greatness is a ripening--nips his root."--Shak.

OBS. 25.--"A has a peculiar signification, denoting the proportion of one thing to an other. Thus we say, The landlord hath a hundred a year; the ship's crew gained a thousand pounds a man."--Johnson's Dict. "After the rate of twenty leagues a day."--Addison. "And corn was at two sesterces a bushel."--Duncan's Cicero, p. 82. Whether a in this construction is the article or the preposition, seems to be questionable. Merchants are very much in the habit of supplying its place by the Latin preposition per, by; as, "Board, at $2 per week."--Preston's Book-Keeping, p. 44. "Long lawn, at $12 per piece."--Dilworth's, p. 63. "Cotton, at 2s. 6d. per pound."--Morrison's, p. 75. "Exchange, at 12d. per livre."--Jackson's, p. 73. It is to be observed that an, as well as a, is used in this manner; as, "The price is one dollar an ounce." Hence, I think, we may infer, that this is not the old preposition a, but the article an or a, used in the distributive sense of each or every, and that the noun is governed by a preposition understood; as, "He demands a dollar an hour;" i. e., a dollar for each hour.--"He comes twice a year:" i. e., twice in every year.--"He sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses:" (1 Kings, v, 14:) i. e., ten thousand, monthly; or, as our merchants say, "per month." Some grammarians have also remarked, that, "In mercantile accounts, we frequently see a put for to, in a very odd sort of way; as, 'Six bales marked 1 a 6.' The merchant means, 'marked from 1 to 6.' This is taken to be a relic of the Norman French, which was once the law and mercantile language of England; for, in French, a, with an accent, signifies to or at."--Emmons's Gram., p. 73. Modern merchants, in stead of accenting the a, commonly turn the end of it back; as, @.

OBS. 26.--Sometimes a numeral word with the indefinite article--as a few, a great many, a dozen, a hundred, a thousand--denotes an aggregate of several or many taken collectively, and yet is followed by a plural noun, denoting the sort or species of which this particular aggregate is a part: as, "A few small fishes,"--"A great many mistakes,"--"A dozen bottles of wine,"--"A hundred lighted candles,"--"A thousand miles off." Respecting the proper manner of explaining these phrases, grammarians differ in opinion. That the article relates not to the plural noun, but to the numerical word only, is very evident; but whether, in these instances, the words few, many, dozen, hundred, and thousand, are to be called nouns or adjectives, is matter of dispute. Lowth, Murray, and many others, call them adjectives, and suppose a peculiarity of construction in the article;--like that of the singular adjectives every and one in the phrases, "Every ten days,"--"One seven times more."--Dan., iii, 19. Churchill and others call them nouns, and suppose the plurals which follow, to be always in the objective case governed by of, understood: as, "A few [of] years,"--"A thousand [of] doors;"--like the phrases, "A couple of fowls,"--"A score of fat bullocks."--Churchill's Gram., p. 279. Neither solution is free from difficulty. For example: "There are a great many adjectives."--Dr. Adam. Now, if many is here a singular nominative, and the only subject of the verb, what shall we do with are? and if it is a plural adjective, what shall we do with a and great? Taken in either of these ways, the construction is anomalous. One can hardly think the word "adjectives" to be here in the objective case, because the supposed ellipsis of the word of cannot be proved; and if many is a noun, the two words are perhaps in apposition, in the nominative. If I say, "A thousand men are on their way," the men are the thousand, and the thousand is nothing but the men; so that I see not why the relation of the terms may not be that of apposition. But if authorities are to decide the question, doubtless we must yield it to those who suppose the whole numeral phrase to be taken adjectively; as, "Most young Christians have, in the course of half a dozen years, time to read a great many pages."--Young Christian, p. 6.

  "For harbour at a thousand doors they knock'd;
   Not one of all the thousand but was lock'd."--Dryden.

OBS. 27.--The numeral words considered above, seem to have been originally adjectives, and such may be their most proper construction now; but all of them are susceptible of being construed as nouns, even if they are not such in the examples which have been cited. Dozen, or hundred, or thousand, when taken abstractly, is unquestionably a noun; for we often speak of dozens, hundreds, and thousands. Few and many never assume the plural form, because they have naturally a plural signification; and a few or a great many is not a collection so definite that we can well conceive of fews and manies; but both are sometimes construed substantively, though in modern English[139] it seems to be mostly by ellipsis of the noun. Example: "The praise of the judicious few is an ample compensation for the neglect of the illiterate many."--Churchill's Gram., p. 278. Dr. Johnson says, the word many is remarkable in Saxon for its frequent use. The following are some of the examples in which he calls it a substantive, or noun: "After him the rascal many ran."--Spenser. "O thou fond many."--Shakspeare. "A care-craz'd mother of a many children."--Id. "And for thy sake have I shed many a tear."--Id. "The vulgar and the many are fit only to be led or driven."--South. "He is liable to a great many inconveniences every moment of his life."--Tillotson. "Seeing a great many in rich gowns, he was amazed."--Addison.

  "There parting from the king, the chiefs divide,
   And wheeling east and west, before their many ride."--Dryden.

OBS. 28.--"On the principle here laid down, we may account for a peculiar use of the article with the adjective few, and some other diminutives. In saying, 'A few of his adherents remained with him;' we insinuate, that they constituted a number sufficiently important to be formed into an aggregate: while, if the article be omitted, as, 'Few of his adherents remained with him;' this implies, that he was nearly deserted, by representing them as individuals not worth reckoning up. A similar difference occurs between the phrases: 'He exhibited a little regard for his character;' and 'He exhibited little regard for his character.'"--Churchill's Gram., p. 279. The word little, in its most proper construction, is an adjective, signifying small; as, "He was little of stature."--Luke. "Is it not a little one?"--Genesis. And in sentences like the following, it is also reckoned an adjective, though the article seems to relate to it, rather than to the subsequent noun; or perhaps it may be taken as relating to them both: "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep."--Prov., vi, 10; xxiv, 33. But by a common ellipsis, it is used as a noun, both with and without the article; as, "A little that a righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked."--Psalms, xxxvii, 16. "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith."--Prov., xv, 16. "He that despiseth little things, shall perish by little and little."--Ecclesiasticus. It is also used adverbially, both alone and with the article a; as, "The poor sleep little."--Otway. "Though they are a little astringent."--Arbuthnot. "When he had gone a little farther thence."--Mark, i, 19. "Let us vary the phrase [in] a very little" [degree].--Kames, Vol. ii, p. 163.

OBS. 29.--"As it is the nature of the articles to limit the signification of a word, they are applicable only to words expressing ideas capable of being individualized, or conceived of as single things or acts; and nouns implying a general state, condition, or habit, must be used without the article. It is not vaguely therefore, but on fixed principles, that the article is omitted, or inserted, in such phrases as the following: 'in terror, in fear, in dread, in haste, in sickness, in pain, in trouble; in a fright, in a hurry, in a consumption; the pain of his wound was great; her son's dissipated life was a great trouble to her."--Churchill's Gram., p. 127.

OBS. 30.--Though the, an, and a, are the only articles in our language, they are far from being the only definitives. Hence, while some have objected to the peculiar distinction bestowed upon these little words, firmly insisting on throwing them in among the common mass of adjectives; others have taught, that the definitive adjectives--I know not how many--such as, this, that, these, those, any, other, some, all, both, each, every, either, neither--"are much more properly articles than any thing else."--Hermes, p. 234. But, in spite of this opinion, it has somehow happened, that these definitive adjectives have very generally, and very absurdly, acquired the name of pronouns. Hence, we find Booth, who certainly excelled most other grammarians in learning and acuteness, marvelling that the articles "were ever separated from the class of pronouns." To all this I reply, that the, an, and a, are worthy to be distinguished as the only articles, because they are not only used with much greater frequency than any other definitives, but are specially restricted to the limiting of the signification of nouns. Whereas the other definitives above mentioned are very often used to supply the place of their nouns; that is, to represent them understood. For, in general, it is only by ellipsis of the noun after it, and not as the representative of a noun going before, that any one of these words assumes the appearance of a pronoun. Hence, they are not pronouns, but adjectives. Nor are they "more properly articles than any thing else;" for, "if the essence of an article be to define and ascertain" the meaning of a noun, this very conception of the thing necessarily supposes the noun to be used with it.

OBS. 31.--The following example, or explanation, may show what is meant by definitives. Let the general term be man, the plural of which is men: A man--one unknown or indefinite; The man--one known or particular; The men--some particular ones; Any man--one indefinitely; A certain man--one definitely; This man--one near; That man--one distant; These men--several near; Those men--several distant; Such a man--one like some other; Such men--some like others; Many a man--a multitude taken singly; Many men--an indefinite multitude taken plurally; A thousand men--a definite multitude; Every man--all or each without exception; Each man--both or all taken separately; Some man--one, as opposed to none; Some men--an indefinite number or part; All men--the whole taken plurally; No men--none of the sex; No man--never one of the race.



In the Second Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and define the different parts of speech, and to explain the ARTICLES as definite or indefinite.

The definitions to be given in the Second Praxis, are two for an article, and one for a noun, an adjective, a pronoun, a verb, a participle, an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an interjection. Thus:--


"The task of a schoolmaster laboriously prompting and urging an indolent class, is worse than his who drives lazy horses along a sandy road."--G. Brown.

The is the definite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things.

Task is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Of is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

A is the indefinite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The indefinite article is an or a, which denotes one thing of a kind, but not any particular one.

Schoolmaster is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Laboriously is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Prompting is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

And is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

Urging is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

An is the indefinite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The indefinite article is an or a, which denotes one thing of a kind, but not any particular one.

Indolent is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Class is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Is is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Worse is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Than is a conjunction. 1, A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

He is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.

Who is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.

Drives is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Lazy is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Horses is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.

Along is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

A is the indefinite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The indefinite article is an or a, which denotes one thing of a kind, but not any particular one.

Sandy is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Road is a noun. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned.


"The Honourable, the Corporation of the city, granted the use of the common council chamber, for holding the Convention; generously adding the privilege of occupying the rotunda, or the new court-room, if either would better suit the wishes of the committee."--Journal of Literary Convention, N. Y., 1830.

"When the whole is put for a part, or a part for the whole; the genus for a species, or a species for the genus; the singular number for the plural, or the plural for the singular; and, in general, when any thing less, or any thing more, is put for the precise object meant; the figure is called a Synecdoche."--See Blair's Rhet., p. 141.

"The truth is, a representative, as an individual, is on a footing with other people; but, as a representative of a State, he is invested with a share of the sovereign authority, and is so far a governor of the people."--See Webster's Essays, p. 50.

"Knowledge is the fruit of mental labour--the food and the feast of the mind. In the pursuit of knowledge, the greater the excellence of the subject of inquiry, the deeper ought to be the interest, the more ardent the investigation, and the dearer to the mind the acquisition of the truth."--Keith's Evidences, p. 15.

  "Canst thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
   To the wet seaboy in an hour so rude?"--Sh akspeare.


"Every family has a master; (or a mistress--I beg the ladies' pardon;) a ship has a master; when a house is to be built, there is a master; when the highways are repairing, there is a master; every little school has a master: the continent is a great school; the boys are numerous, and full of roguish tricks; and there is no master. The boys in this great school play truant, and there is no person to chastise them."--See Webster's Essays, p. 128.

"A man who purposely rushes down a precipice and breaks his arm, has no right to say, that surgeons are an evil in society. A legislature may unjustly limit the surgeon's fee; but the broken arm must be healed, and a surgeon is the only man to restore it."--See ib., p. 135.

"But what new sympathies sprung up immediately where the gospel prevailed! It was made the duty of the whole Christian community to provide for the stranger, the poor, the sick, the aged, the widow, and the orphan."--M'Ilvaine's Evi., p. 408.

"In the English language, the same word is often employed both as a noun and as a verb; and sometimes as an adjective, and even as an adverb and a preposition also. Of this, round is an example."--See Churchill's Gram., p. 24.

  "The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
   The moss-covered bucket, arose from the well."--Woodworth.


"Most of the objects in a natural landscape are beautiful, and some of them are grand: a flowing river, a spreading oak, a round hill, an extended plain, are delightful; and even a rugged rock, and a barren heath, though in themselves disagreeable, contribute by contrast to the beauty of the whole."--See Kames's El. of Crit., i, 185.

"An animal body is still more admirable, in the disposition of its several parts, and in their order and symmetry: there is not a bone, a muscle, a blood-vessel, a nerve, that hath not one corresponding to it on the opposite side; and the same order is carried through the most minute parts."--See ib., i, 271. "The constituent parts of a plant, the roots, the stem, the branches, the leaves, the fruit, are really different systems, united by a mutual dependence on each other."--Ib., i, 272.

"With respect to the form of this ornament, I observe, that a circle is a more agreeable figure than a square, a globe than a cube, and a cylinder than a parallelopipedon. A column is a more agreeable figure than a pilaster; and, for that reason, it ought to be preferred, all other circumstances being equal. An other reason concurs, that a column connected with a wall, which is a plain surface, makes a greater variety than a pilaster."--See ib., ii, 352.

  "But ah! what myriads claim the bended knee!
   Go, count the busy drops that swell the sea."--Rogers.




"Honour is an useful distinction in life."--Milnes's Greek Grammar, p. vii.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the article an is used before useful, which begins with the sound of yu. But, according to a principle expressed on page 225th, "A is to be used whenever the following word begins with a consonant sound." Therefore, an should here be changed to a; thus, "Honour is a useful distinction in life."]

"No writer, therefore, ought to foment an humour of innovation."--Jamieson's Rhet., p. 55. "Conjunctions require a situation between the things of which they form an union."--Ib., p. 83. "Nothing is more easy than to mistake an u for an a."--Tooke's Diversions, i, 130. "From making so ill an use of our innocent expressions."--Wm. Penn. "To grant thee an heavenly and incorruptible crown of glory."--Sewel's Hist., Ded., p. iv. "It in no wise follows, that such an one was able to predict."--Ib., p. viii. "With an harmless patience they have borne most heavy oppressions,"--Ib., p. x. "My attendance was to make me an happier man."--Spect., No. 480. "On the wonderful nature of an human mind."--Ib., 554. "I have got an hussy of a maid, who is most craftily given to this."--Ib., No. 534. "Argus is said to have had an hundred eyes, some of which were always awake."--Classic Stories, p. 148. "Centiped, an hundred feet; centennial, consisting of a hundred years."--Town's Analysis, p. 19. "No good man, he thought, could be an heretic."--Gilpin's Lives, p. 72. "As, a Christian, an infidel, an heathen."--Ash's Gram.' ', p. 50. "Of two or more words, usually joined by an hyphen."--Blair's Gram., p. 7. "We may consider the whole space of an hundred years as time present."--BEATTIE: Murray's Gram., p. 69. "In guarding against such an use of meats and drinks."--Ash's Gram., p. 138. "Worship is an homage due from man to his Creator."--Annual Monitor for 1836. "Then, an eulogium on the deceased was pronounced."--Grimshaw's U. S., p. 92. "But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."--Gen., ii, 20. "My days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth."--Psalms, cii, 3. "A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof"--Exod., xii, 45. "The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill, as the hill of Bashan."--Psalms, lxviii, 15. "But I do declare it to have been an holy offering, and such an one too as was to be once for all."--Wm. Penn. "An hope that does not make ashamed those that have it."--Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 15. "Where there is not an unity, we may exercise true charity."--Ib., i, 96. "Tell me, if in any of these such an union can be found?"--Brown's Estimate, ii, 16.

  "Such holy drops her tresses steeped,
   Though 'twas an hero's eye that weeped."--Sir W. Scott.


"This veil of flesh parts the visible and invisible world."--Sherlock.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the article the is omitted before invisible, where the sense requires it. But, according to a suggestion on page 225th, "Articles should be inserted as often as the sense requires them." Therefore, the should be here supplied; thus, "This veil of flesh parts the visible and the invisible world."]

"The copulative and disjunctive conjunctions operate differently on the verb."--Murray's Gram., Vol. ii, p. 286. "Every combination of a preposition and article with the noun."--Ib., i, 44. "Either signifies, 'the one or the other;' neither imports not either, that is, 'not one nor the other.'"--Ib., i, 56. "A noun of multitude may have a pronoun, or verb, agreeing with it, either of the singular or plural number."--Bucke's Gram., p. 90. "Copulative conjunctions are, principally, and, as, both, because, for, if, that, then, since, &c."--See ib., 28. "The two real genders are the masculine and feminine."--Ib., 34. "In which a mute and liquid are represented by the same character, th."--Music of Nature, p. 481. "They said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee."--Luke, vii, 20. "They indeed remember the names of abundance of places."--Spect., No. 474. "Which created a great dispute between the young and old men."--Goldsmith's Greece, Vol. ii, p. 127. "Then shall be read the Apostles' or Nicene Creed."--Com. Prayer, p. 119. "The rules concerning the perfect tenses and supines of verbs are Lily's."--King Henry's Gram., p. iv. "It was read by the high and the low, the learned and illiterate."--Johnson's Life of Swift. "Most commonly, both the pronoun and verb are understood."--Buchanan's Gram., p. viii. "To signify the thick and slender enunciation of tone."--Knight, on the Greek Alph., p. 9. "The difference between a palatial and guttural aspirate is very small."--Ib., p. 12. "Leaving it to waver between the figurative and literal sense."--Jamieson's Rhet., p. 154. "Whatever verb will not admit of both an active and passive signification."--Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 31. "The is often set before adverbs in the comparative or superlative degree."--Ib., p. 15; Kirkham's Gram., 66. "Lest any should fear the effect of such a change upon the present or succeeding age of writers."--Fowle's Common School Gram., p. 5. "In all these measures, the accents are to be placed on even syllables; and every line is, in general, more melodious, as this rule is more strictly observed."--L. Murray's Octavo Gram, p. 256; Jamieson's Rhet., 307. "How many numbers do nouns appear to have? Two, the singular and plural."--Smith's New Gram., p. 8. "How many persons? Three persons--the first, second, and third."--Ib., p. 10. "How many cases? Three--the nominative, possessive and objective."--Ib., p. 12.

  "Ah! what avails it me, the flocks to keep,
   Who lost my heart while I preserv'd sheep."
       POPE'S WORKS: British Poets, Vol. vi, p. 309: Lond., 1800.


"The negroes are all the descendants of Africans."--Morse's Geog.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the article the before descendants, is useless to the construction, and injurious to the sense. But, according to a principle on page 225th, "Needless articles should be omitted; they seldom fail to pervert the sense." Therefore, the should be here omitted; thus, "The negroes are all descendants of Africans."]

"A Sybarite was applied as a term of reproach to a man of dissolute manners."--Morse's Ancient Geog., p. 4. "The original signification of knave was a boy."--Webster's El. Spell., p. 136. "The meaning of these will be explained, for the greater clearness and precision."--Bucke's Gram., p. 58. "What Sort of a Noun is Man? A Noun Substantive common."--Buchanan's Gram., p. 166. "Is what ever used as three kinds of a pronoun?"--Kirkham's Gram., p. 117. "They delighted in the having done it, as well as in the doing of it."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 344. "Both the parts of this rule are exemplified in the following sentences."--Murray's Gram., p. 174. "He has taught them to hope for another and a better world."--S. L. Knapp. "It was itself only preparatory to a future, a better, and perfect revelation."--Keith's Evid., p. 23. "Es then makes another and a distinct syllable."-- Brightland's Gram., p. 17. "The eternal clamours of a selfish and a factious people."--Brown's Estimate, i, 74. "To those whose taste in Elocution is but a little cultivated."--Kirkham's Eloc., p. 65. "They considered they had but a Sort of a Gourd to rejoice in."--Bennet's Memorial, p. 333. "Now there was but one only such a bough, in a spacious and shady grove."--Bacon's Wisdom, p. 75. "Now the absurdity of this latter supposition will go a great way towards the making a man easy."--Collier's Antoninus p. 131. "This is true of the mathematics, where the taste has but little to do."--Todd's Student's Manual, p. 331. "To stand prompter to a pausing, yet a ready comprehension."--Rush, on the Voice, p. 251. "Such an obedience as the yoked and the tortured negro is compelled to yield to the whip of the overseer."--Chalmers's Serm., p. 90. "For the gratification of a momentary and an unholy desire."--Wayland's Mor. Sci., p. 288. "The body is slenderly put together; the mind a rambling sort of a thing."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 26. "The only nominative to the verb, is, the officer."--Murray's Gram., ii, 22. "And though in the general it ought to be admitted, &c."--Blair's Rhet., p. 376. "Philosophical writing admits of a polished, a neat, and elegant style."--Ib., p. 367. "But notwithstanding this defect, Thomson is a strong and a beautiful describer."--Ib., p. 405. "So should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved."--SHAK.: Hen. v.

  "Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took the alarm,
   Appeal'd to Law, and Justice lent her arm."--Pope, p. 406.


"To enable us to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word."--Bucke's Gr., p, 52.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the article the is used to limit the meaning of "repetition," or "too frequent repetition," where a would better suit the sense. But, according to a principle on page 225th, "The articles can seldom be put one for the other, without gross impropriety; and either is of course to be preferred to the other, as it better suits the sense." Therefore, "the" should be a, which, in this instance, ought to be placed after the adjective; thus, "To enable us to avoid too frequent a repetition of the same word."]

"The former is commonly acquired in the third part of the time."--Burn's Gram., p. xi. "Sometimes the adjective becomes a substantive, and has another adjective joined to it: as, 'The chief good.'"--L. Murray's Gram., i, 169. "An articulate sound is the sound of the human voice, formed by the organs of speech."--Ib., i, 2; Lowth's Gram., 2; T. Smith's, 5. "Tense is the distinction of time: there are six tenses."--Maunder's Gram., p. 6. "In this case, the ellipsis of the last article would be improper."--L. Murray's Gram., i, p. 218. "Contrast has always the effect to make each of the contrasted objects appear in the stronger light."--Ib., i, 349; Blair's Rhet., p. 167. "These remarks may serve to shew the great importance of the proper use of the article."--Lowth's Gram., p. 12; Murray's, i, 171. "'Archbishop Tillotson,' says an author of the History of England, 'died in this year.'"--Blair's Rhet., p. 107. "Pronouns are used instead of substantives, to prevent the too frequent repetition of them."--Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 22. "That, as a relative, seems to be introduced to save the too frequent repetition of who and which."--Ib., p. 23. "A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word."--L. Murray's Gram., i, p. 28. "That is often used as a relative, to prevent the too frequent repetition of who and which."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 109; L. Murray's, i, 53; Hiley's, 84. "His knees smote one against an other."--Logan's Sermons. "They stand now on one foot, then on another."--Walker's Particles, p. 259. "The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another."--Gen., xxxi, 49. "Some have enumerated ten [parts of speech], making a participle a distinct part."--L. Murray's Gram, i, p. 29. "Nemesis rides upon an Hart, because a Hart is a most lively Creature."--Bacon's Wisdom, p. 50. "The transition of the voice from one vowel of the diphthong to another."--Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 29. "So difficult it is to separate these two things from one another."--Blair's Rhet., p. 92. "Without the material breach of any rule."--Ib., p. 101. "The great source of a loose style, in opposition to precision, is the injudicious use of those words termed synonymous."--Ib., p. 97. "The great source of a loose style, in opposition to precision, is the injudicious use of the words termed synonymous."--Murray's Gram., i, p. 302. "Sometimes one article is improperly used for another."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 197.

  "Satire of sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
   Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"--Pope, p. 396.


"He hath no delight in the strength of an horse."--Maturin's Sermons, p. 311. "The head of it would be an universal monarch."--Butler's Analogy, p. 98. "Here they confound the material and formal object of faith."--Barclay's Works, Vol. iii, p. 57. "The Irish and Scotish Celtic are one language; the Welsh, Cornish, and Armorican, are another."--Dr. Murray's Hist., Vol. ii, p. 316. "In an uniform and perspicuous manner."--Ib., i, 49. "SCRIPTURE, n. Appropriately, and by way of distinction, the books of the Old and New Testament; the Bible."--Webster's Dict. "In two separate volumes, entitled the Old and the New Testaments."--Wayland's Mor. Sci., p. 139. "The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain a revelation."--Ib. "Q has ever an u after it; which is not sounded in words derived from the French."--Wilson's Essay, p. 32. "What should we say of such an one? That he is regenerate? No."--Hopkins's Prim. Ch., p. 22. "Some grammarians subdivide vowels into the simple and the compound."--Murray's Gram., i, p. 8. "Emphasis has been further distinguished into the weaker and stronger emphasis."--Ib., i, 244. "Emphasis has also been divided into superior and the inferior emphasis."--Ib., i, 245, " Pronouns must agree with their antecedents, or nouns which they represent, in gender, number, and person."--Merchant's Gram., pp. 86, 111, and 130. "The adverb where, is often improperly used, for the relative pronoun and preposition."--Ib., 94. "The termination ish imports diminution, or lessening the quality."--Ib., 79. "In this train all their verses proceed: the one half of the line always answering to the other."--Blair's Rhet., p. 384. "To an height of prosperity and glory, unknown to any former age."--Murray's Sequel, p. 352. "HWILC, who, which, such as, such an one, is declined as follows."--Gwilt's Saxon Gram., p. 15. "When a vowel precedes y, an s only is required to form a plural."--Bucke's Gram., p. 40. "He is asked what sort of a word each is, whether a primitive, derivative, or compound."--British Gram., p. vii. "It is obvious, that neither the 2d, 3d, nor 4th chapter of Matthew is the first; consequently, there are not four first chapters."--Churchill's Gram., p. 306. "Some thought, which a writer wants art to introduce in its proper place."--Blair's Rhet., p. 109. "Groves and meadows are most pleasing in the spring."--Ib., p. 207. "The conflict between the carnal and spiritual mind, is often long."--Gurney's Port. Ev., p. 146. "A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful."--Burke's Title-page.

  "Silence, my muse! make not these jewels cheap,
   Exposing to the world too large an heap."--Waller, p. 113.


A Noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned: as, George, York, man, apple, truth.


OBS. 1.--All words and signs taken technically, (that is, independently of their meaning, and merely as things spoken of,) are nouns; or, rather, are things read and construed as nouns; because, in such a use, they temporarily assume the syntax of nouns: as, "For this reason, I prefer contemporary to cotemporary."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 175; Murray's Gram., i, p. 368. "I and J were formerly expressed by the same character; as were U and V."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 3. "Us is a personal pronoun."--Murray. "Th has two sounds."--Ib. "The 's cannot be a contraction of his, because 's is put to female [feminine] nouns; as, Woman's beauty, the Virgin's delicacy."--Dr. Johnson's Gram. "Their and theirs are the possessives likewise of they, when they is the plural of it."--Ib. "Let B be a now or instant."--Harris's Hermes, p. 103. "In such case, I say that the instant B is the end of the time A B."--Ib., 103. "A is sometimes a noun: as, a great A."--Todd's Johnson. "Formerly sp was cast in a piece, as st's are now."--Hist. of Printing, 1770. "I write to others than he will perhaps include in his we."--Barclay's Works, Vol. iii, p. 455. "Here are no fewer than eight ands in one sentence."--Blair's Rhet., p. 112; Murray's Gram., Vol. i, p. 319. "Within this wooden O;" i. e., circle.--Shak.

OBS. 2.--In parsing, the learner must observe the sense and use of each word, and class it accordingly. Many words commonly belonging to other parts of speech are occasionally used as nouns; and, since it is the manner of its use, that determines any word to be of one part of speech rather than of an other, whatever word is used directly as a noun, must of course be parsed as such.

1. Adjectives made nouns: "The Ancient of days did sit."--Bible. "Of the ancients."--Swift. "For such impertinents."--Steele. "He is an ignorant in it."--Id. "In the luxuriance of an unbounded picturesque."--Jamieson. "A source of the sublime;" i. e., of sublimity.--Burke. "The vast immense of space:" i. e., immensity.--Murray. "There is none his like."--Job, xli, 33. "A little more than a little, is by much too much."--Shakspeare. "And gladly make much of that entertainment."--Sidney. "A covetous man makes the most of what he has."--L'Estrange. "It has done enough for me."--Pope. "He had enough to do."--Bacon.

  "All withers here; who most possess, are losers by their gain,
   Stung by full proof, that bad at best, life's idle all is vain."
  "Nor grudge I thee the much the Grecians give,
   Nor murm'ring take the little I receive."

2. Pronouns made nouns: "A love of seeing the what and how of all about him."--STORY'S LIFE OF FLAXMAN: Pioneer, Vol. i, p. 133. "The nameless HE, whose nod is Nature's birth."--Young, Night iv. "I was wont to load my she with knacks."--Shak. Winter's Tale. "Or any he, the proudest of thy sort."--Shak. "I am the happiest she in Kent."--Steele. "The shes of Italy."--Shak. "The hes in birds."--Bacon. "We should soon have as many hes and shes as the French."--Cobbet's E. Gram., Para. 42. "If, for instance, we call a nation a she, or the sun a he."--Ib., Para. 198. "When I see many its in a page, I always tremble for the writer."--Ib., Para. 196. "Let those two questionary petitioners try to do this with their whos and their whiches."--SPECT: Ash's Gr., p. 131.

  "Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law
   Is death to any he that utters the m."--Shak.

3. Verbs made nouns: "Avaunt all attitude, and stare, and start theatric."--Cowper. "A may-be of mercy is sufficient."--Bridge. "Which cuts are reckoned among the fractures."--Wiseman. "The officer erred in granting a permit."--"Feel darts and charms, attracts and flames."--Hudibras. "You may know by the falling off of the come, or sprout."--Mortimer. "And thou hast talk'd of sallies and retires."--Shak.

  "For all that else did come, were sure to fail;
   Yet would he further none, but for avail."--Spenser.

4. Participles made nouns: "For the producing of real happiness."--Crabb. "For the crying of the poor and the sighing of the needy, I will arise."--Bible. "Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife."--Prov., xxx, 33. "Reading, writing, and ciphering, are indispensable to civilized man."--"Hence was invented the distinction between doing and permitting."--Calvin's Inst., p. 131. "Knowledge of the past comes next."--Hermes, p. 113. "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me."--Sol. Song, vii, 10. "Here's--a simple coming-in for one man."--Shak.

  "What are thy rents? What are thy comings-in?
   O Ceremony, show me but thy worth."--Id.

5. Adverbs made nouns: "In these cases we examine the why, the what, and the how of things."--L'Estrange. "If a point or now were extended, each of them would contain within itself infinite other points or nows."--Hermes, p. 101. "The why is plain as way to parish church."--Shak. "'Tis Heaven itself that points out an hereafter."--Addison. "The dread of a hereafter."--Fuller. "The murmur of the deep amen."--Sir W. Scott. "For their whereabouts lieth in a mystery."--Book of Thoughts, p. 14. Better: "Their whereabout lieth," or, "Their whereabouts lie," &c.

  "Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind;
   Thou losest here, a better where to find."--Shak.

6. Conjunctions made nouns: "The if, which is here employed, converts the sentence into a supposition."--Blair's Rhet. "Your if is the only peacemaker; much virtue is in if."--Shak.

  "So his Lordship decreed with a grave solemn tone,
     Decisive and clear, without one if or but--
   That whenever the Nose put his spectacles on,
     By daylight or candlelight--Eyes should be shut."--Cowper.

7. Prepositions made nouns: "O, not like me; for mine's beyond beyond."--Shakspeare: Cymb., iii, 2. "I. e., her longing is further than beyond; beyond any thing that desire can be said to be beyond."--Singer's Notes. "You whirled them to the back of beyont to look at the auld Roman camp."--Antiquary, i. 37.

8. Interjections or phrases made nouns: "Come away from all the lo-heres! and lo-theres!"--Sermon. "Will cuts him short with a 'What then?'"--Addison. "With hark and whoop, and wild halloo."--Scott. "And made a pish at chance and sufferance."--Shak.

  "A single look more marks th' internal wo,
   Than all the windings of the lengthen'd oh."--Lloyd.


Nouns are divided into two general classes; proper and common. I. A proper noun is the name of some particular individual, or people, or group; as, Adam, Boston, the Hudson, the Romans, the Azores, the Alps.

II. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things; as, Beast, bird, fish, insect,--creatures, persons, children.

The particular classes, collective, abstract, and verbal, or participial, are usually included among common nouns. The name of a thing sui generis is also called common.

1. A collective noun, or noun of multitude, is the name of many individuals together; as, Council, meeting, committee, flock.

2. An abstract noun is the name of some particular quality considered apart from its substance; as, Goodness, hardness, pride, frailty.

3. A verbal or participial noun is the name of some action, or state of being; and is formed from a verb, like a participle, but employed as a noun: as, "The triumphing of the wicked is short."--Job, xx, 5.

4. A thing sui generis, (i. e., of its own peculiar kind,) is something which is distinguished, not as an individual of a species, but as a sort by itself, without plurality in either the noun or the sort of thing; as, Galvanism, music, ge ometry.

OBS. 1.--Through the influence of an article, a proper name sometimes acquires the import of a common noun: as, "He is the Cicero of his age;" that is, the great orator. "Many a fiery Alp;" that is, high volcanic mountain. "Such is the following application of famous names; a Solomon for a wise man, a Croesus for a rich man, a Judas for a traitor, a Demosthenes for an orator, and a Homer for a poet."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 326.

  "Consideration, like an angel, came,
   And whipp'd th' offending Adam out of him."--Shak.

OBS. 2.--A common noun, with the definite article before it, sometimes becomes proper: as, The Park; the Strand; the Gharmel; the Downs; the United States.

OBS. 3.--The common name of a thing or quality personified, often becomes proper; our conception of the object being changed by the figure of speech: as, "My power," said Reason, "is to advise, not to compel."--Johnson. "Fair Peace her olive branch extends." For such a word, the form of parsing should be like this: "Peace is a common noun, personified proper; of the third person, singular number, feminine gender, and nominative case." Here the construction of the word as a proper noun, and of the feminine gender, is the result of the personification, and contrary to the literal usage.


Nouns have modifications of four kinds; namely, Persons, Numbers, Genders, and Cases.


Persons, in grammar, are modifications that distinguish the speaker, the hearer, and the person or thing merely spoken of.

There are three persons; the first, the second, and the third.

The first person is that which denotes the speaker or writer; as, "I Paul have written it."

The second person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed; as, "Robert, who did this?"

The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of; as, "James loves his book."


OBS. 1.--The distinction of persons is founded on the different relations which the objects mentioned in any discourse may bear to the discourse itself. The speaker or writer, being the mover and maker of the communication, of course stands in the nearest or first of these relations. The hearer or hearers, being personally present and directly addressed, evidently sustain the next or second of these relations; this relation is also that of the reader, when he peruses what is addressed to himself in print or writing. Lastly, whatsoever or whosoever is merely mentioned in the discourse, bears to it that more remote relation which constitutes the third person. The distinction of persons belongs to nouns, pronouns, and finite verbs; and to these it is always applied, either by peculiarity of form or construction, or by inference from the principles of concord. Pronouns are like their antecedents, and verbs are like their subjects, in person.

OBS. 2.--Of the persons, numbers, genders, cases, and some other grammatical modifications of words, it should be observed that they belong not exclusively to any one part of speech, but jointly and equally, to two or three. Hence, it is necessary that our definitions of these things be such as will apply to each of them in full, or under all circumstances; for the definitions ought to be as general in their application as are the things or properties defined. Any person, number, gender, case, or other grammatical modification, is really but one and the same thing, in whatever part of speech it may be found. This is plainly implied in the very nature of every form of syntactical agreement; and as plainly contradicted in one half, and probably more, of the definitions usually given of these things.

OBS. 3.--Let it be understood, that persons, in grammar, are not words, but mere forms, relations, or modifications of words; that they are things, thus named by a figure; things of the neuter gender, and not living souls. But persons, in common parlance, or in ordinary life, are intelligent beings, of one or the other sex. These objects, different as they are in their nature, are continually confounded by the makers of English grammars: as, "The first person is the person who speaks."--Comly's Gram., p. 17. So Bicknell, of London: "The first person speaks of himself; as, I John take thee Elizabeth. The second person has the speech directed to him, and is supposed to be present; as, Thou Harry art a wicked fellow. The third person is spoken of, or described, and supposed to be absent; as, That Thomas is a good man. And in the same manner the plural pronouns are used, when more than one are spoken of."--Bicknell's Grammatical Wreath, p. 50. "The person speaking is the first person; the person spoken to, the second; and the person spoken of, the third."--Russell's Gram., p. 16. "The first person is the speaker."--Parker & Fox's Gram., Part i, p. 6. "Person is that, which distinguishes a noun, that speaks, one spoken to, or one spoken about."--S. B. Hall's Gram., p. 6. "A noun that speaks!" A noun "spoken to !" If ever one of Father Hall's nouns shall speak for itself, or answer when "spoken to," will it not reprove him? And how can the first person be "the person WHO speaks," when every word of this phrase is of the third person? Most certainly, it is not HE, nor any one of his sort. If any body can boast of being "the first person in grammar," I pray, Who is it? Is it not I, even I? Many grammarians say so. But nay: such authors know not what the first person in grammar is. The Rev. Charles Adams, with infinite absurdity, makes the three persons in grammar to be never any thing but three nouns, which hold a confabulation thus: "Person is defined to be that which distinguishes a noun that speaks, one spoken to, or one spoken of. The noun that speaks [,] is the first person; as, I, James, was present. The noun that is spoken to, is the second person; as, James, were you present? The noun that is spoken of is the third person; as, James was present."--Adams's System of English Gram., p. 9. What can be a greater blunder, than to call the first person of a verb, of a pronoun, or even of a noun, "the noun that speaks?" What can be more absurd than are the following assertions? "Nouns are in the first person when speaking. Nouns are of the second person when addressed or spoken to."--O. C. Felton's Gram., p. 9.

OBS. 4.--An other error, scarcely less gross than that which has just been noticed, is the very common one of identifying the three grammatical persons with certain words, called personal pronouns: as, "I is the first person, thou the second, he, she or it, the third."--Smith's Productive Gram., p. 53. "I is the first person, singular. Thou is the second person, singular. He, she, or it, is the third person, singular. We is the first person, plural. Ye or you is the second person, plural. They is the third person, plural."--L. Murray's Grammar, p. 51; Ingersoll's, 54; D. Adams's, 37; A. Flint's, 18; Kirkham's, 98; Cooper's, 34; T. H. Miller's, 26; Hull's, 21; Frost's, 13; Wilcox's, 18; Bacon's, 19; Alger's, 22; Maltby's, 19; Perley's, 15; S. Putnam's, 22. Now there is no more propriety in affirming, that "I is the first person," than in declaring that me, we, us, am, ourselves, we think, I write, or any other word or phrase of the first person, is the first person. Yet Murray has given us no other definitions or explanations of the persons than the foregoing erroneous assertions; and, if I mistake not, all the rest who are here named, have been content to define them only as he did. Some others, however, have done still worse: as, "There are three personal pronouns; so called, because they denote the three persons, who are the subjects of a discourse, viz. 1st. I, who is the person speaking; 2d thou, who is spoken to; 3d he, she, or it, who is spoken of, and their plurals, we, ye or you, they."--Bingham's Accidence, 20th Ed., p. 7. Here the two kinds of error which I have just pointed out, are jumbled together. It is impossible to write worse English than this! Nor is the following much better: "Of the personal pronouns there are five, viz. I, in the first person, speaking; Thou, in the second person, spoken to; and He, she, it, in the third person, spoken of."--Nutting's Gram., p. 25.

OBS. 5.--In written language, the first person denotes the writer or author; and the second, the reader or person addressed: except when the writer describes not himself, but some one else, as uttering to an other the words which he records. This exception takes place more particularly in the writing of dialogues and dramas; in which the first and second persons are abundantly used, not as the representatives of the author and his reader, but as denoting the fictitious speakers and hearers that figure in each scene. But, in discourse, the grammatical persons may be changed without a change of the living subject. In the following sentence, the three grammatical persons are all of them used with reference to one and the same individual: "Say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God?"--John, x, 36.

OBS. 6.-The speaker seldom refers to himself by name, as the speaker; and, of the objects which there is occasion to name in discourse, but comparatively few are such as can ever be supposed to speak. Consequently, nouns are rarely used in the first person; and when they do assume this relation, a pronoun is commonly associated with them: as, "I John,"--"We Britons." These words I conceive to agree throughout, in person, number, gender, and case; though it must be confessed, that agreement like this is not always required between words in apposition. But some grammarians deny the first person to nouns altogether; others, with much more consistency, ascribe it;[140] while very many are entirely silent on the subject. Yet it is plain that both the doctrine of concords, and the analogy of general grammar, require its admission. The reason of this may be seen in the following examples: "Themistocles ad te veni." "I Themistocles have come to you."--Grant's Latin Gram., p. 72. "Adsum Troius Æneas."--Virgil. "Romulus Rex regia arma offero."--Livy. "Annibal peto pacem."--Id. "Callopius recensui."--See Terence's Comedies, at the end. "Paul, an apostle, &c., unto Timothy, my own son in the faith."--1 Tim., i, 2. Again, if the word God is of the second person, in the text, "Thou, God, seest me," why should any one deny that Paul is of the first person, in this one? "I Paul have written it."--Philemon, 19. Or this? "The salutation by the hand of me Paul."--Col., iv, 18. And so of the plural: "Of you builders."--Acts, iv, 11. "Of us the apostles."--2 Pet., iii, 2. How can it be pretended, that, in the phrase, "I Paul," I is of the first person, as denoting the speaker, and Paul, of some other person, as denoting something or somebody that is not the speaker? Let the admirers of Murray, Kirkham, Ingersoll, R. C. Smith, Comly, Greenleaf, Parkhurst, or of any others who teach this absurdity, answer.

OBS. 7.--As, in the direct application of what are called Christian names, there is a kind of familiarity, which on many occasions would seem to indicate a lack of proper respect; so in a frequent and familiar use of the second person, as it is the placing of an other in the more intimate relation of the hearer, and one's self in that of the speaker, there is a sort of assumption which may seem less modest and respectful than to use the third person. In the following example, the patriarch Jacob uses both forms; applying the term servant to himself, and to his brother Esau the term lord: "Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly."--Gen., xxxiii, 14. For when a speaker or writer does not choose to declare himself in the first person, or to address his hearer or reader in the second, he speaks of both or either in the third. Thus Moses relates what Moses did, and Cæsar records the achievements of Cæsar. So Judah humbly beseeches Joseph: "Let thy servant abide in stead of the lad a bondman to my lord."--Gen., xliv, 33. And Abraham reverently intercedes with God: "Oh! let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak."--Gen., xviii, 30. And the Psalmist prays: "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us."--Ps., lxvii, 1. So, on more common occasions:--

  "As will the rest, so willeth Winchester."--Shak.
   "Richard of York, how fares our dearest brother?"--Id.[141]

OBS. 8.--When inanimate things are spoken to, they are personified; and their names are put in the second person, because by the figure the objects are supposed to be capable of hearing: as, "What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob."--Psalms, cxiv, 5-7.


Numbers, in grammar, are modifications that distinguish unity and plurality.

There are two numbers; the singular and the plural.

The singular number is that which denotes but one; as, "The boy learns."

The plural number is that which denotes more than one; as, "The boys learn."

The plural number of nouns is regularly formed by adding s or es to the singular: as, book, books; box, boxes; sofa, sofas; hero, heroes.

When the singular ends in a sound which will unite with that of s, the plural is generally formed by adding s only, and the number of syllables is not increased: as, pen, pens; grape, grapes.

But when the sound of s cannot be united with that of the primitive word, the regular plural adds s to final e, and es to other terminations, and forms a separate syllable: as, page, pages; fox, foxes.


OBS. 1.--The distinction of numbers serves merely to show whether we speak of one object, or of more. In some languages, as the Greek and the Arabic, there is a dual number, which denotes two, or a pair; but in ours, this property of words, or class of modifications, extends no farther than to distinguish unity from plurality, and plurality from unity. It belongs to nouns, pronouns, and finite verbs; and to these it is always applied, either by peculiarity of form, or by inference from the principles of concord. Pronouns are like their antecedents, and verbs are like their subjects, in number.

OBS. 2.--The most common way of forming the plural of English nouns, is that of simply adding to them an s; which, when it unites with a sharp consonant, is always sharp, or hissing; and when it follows a vowel or a flat mute, is generally flat, like z: thus, in the words, ships, skiffs, pits, rocks, depths, lakes, gulfs, it is sharp; but in seas, lays, rivers, hills, ponds, paths, rows, webs, flags, it is flat. The terminations which always make the regular plural in es, with increase of syllables, are twelve; namely, ce, ge, ch soft, che soft, sh, ss, s, se, x, xe, z, and ze: as in face, faces; age, ages; torch, torches; niche, niches; dish, dishes; kiss, kisses; rebus, rebuses; lens, lenses; chaise, chaises; corpse, corpses; nurse, nurses; box, boxes; axe, axes; phiz, phizzes; maze, mazes. All other endings readily unite in sound either with the sharp or with the flat s, as they themselves are sharp or flat; and, to avoid an increase of syllables, we allow the final e mute to remain mute after that letter is added: thus, we always pronounce as monosyllables the words babes, blades, strifes, tithes, yokes, scales, names, canes, ropes, shores, plates, doves, and the like.

OBS. 3.--Though the irregular plurals of our language appear considerably numerous when brought together, they are in fact very few in comparison with the many thousands that are perfectly simple and regular. In some instances, however, usage is various in writing, though uniform in speech; an unsettlement peculiar to certain words that terminate in vowels: as, Rabbis, or rabbies; octavos, or octavoes; attornies, or attorneys. There are also some other difficulties respecting the plurals of nouns, and especially respecting those of foreign words; of compound terms; of names and titles; and of words redundant or deficient in regard to the numbers. What is most worthy of notice, respecting all these puzzling points of English grammar, is briefly contained in the following observations.

OBS. 4.--It is a general rule of English grammar, that all singular nouns ending with a vowel preceded by an other vowel, shall form the plural by simply assuming an s: as, Plea, pleas; idea, ideas; hernia, hernias; bee, bees; lie, lies; foe, foes; shoe, shoes; cue, cues; eye, eyes; folio, folios; bamboo, bamboos; cuckoo, cuckoos; embryo, embryos; bureau, bureaus; purlieu, purlieus; sou, sous; view, views; straw, straws; play, plays; key, keys; medley, medleys; viceroy, viceroys; guy, guys. To this rule, the plurals of words ending in quy, as alloquies, colloquies, obloquies, soliloquies, are commonly made exceptions; because many have conceived that the u, in such instances, is a mere appendage to the q, or is a consonant having the power of w, and not a vowel forming a diphthong with the y. All other deviations from the rule, as monies for moneys, allies for alleys, vallies for valleys, chimnies for chimneys, &c., are now usually condemned as errors. See Rule 12th for Spelling.

OBS. 5.--It is also a general principle, that nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, change the y into i, and add es for the plural, without increase of syllables: as, fly, flies; ally, allies; city, cities; colony, colonies. So nouns in i, (so far as we have any that are susceptible of a change of number,) form the plural regularly by assuming es: as, alkali, alkalies; salmagundi, salinagundies. Common nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, are numerous; and none of them deviate from the foregoing rule of forming the plural: thus, duty, duties. The termination added is es, and the y is changed into i, according to the general principle expressed in Rule 11th for Spelling. But, to this principle, or rule, some writers have supposed that proper nouns were to be accounted exceptions. And accordingly we sometimes find such names made plural by the mere addition of an s; as, "How come the Pythagoras', [it should be, the Pythagorases,] the Aristotles, the Tullys, the Livys, to appear, even to us at this distance, as stars of the first magnitude in the vast fields of ether?"--Burgh's Dignity, Vol. i, p. 131. This doctrine, adopted from some of our older grammars, I was myself, at one period, inclined to countenance; (see Institutes of English Grammar, p. 33, at the bottom;) but further observation having led me to suspect, there is more authority for changing the y than for retaining it, I shall by-and-by exhibit some examples of this change, and leave the reader to take his choice of the two forms, or principles.

OBS. 6.--The vowel a, at the end of a word, (except in the questionable term huzza, or when silent, as in guinea,) has always its Italian or middle sound, as heard in the interjection aha! a sound which readily unites with that of s flat, and which ought, in deliberate speech, to be carefully preserved in plurals from this ending: as, Canada, the Canadas; cupola, cupolas; comma, commas; anathema, anathemas. To pronounce the final a flat, as Africay for Africa, is a mark of vulgar ignorance.

OBS. 7.--The vowel e at the end of a word, is generally silent; and, even when otherwise, it remains single in plurals from this ending; the es, whenever the e is vocal, being sounded eez, or like the word ease: as, apostrophe, apostrophes; epitome, epitomes; simile, similes. This class of words being anomalous in respect to pronunciation, some authors have attempted to reform them, by changing the e to y in the singular, and writing ies for the plural: as, apostrophy, apostrophies; epitomy, epitomies; simily, similies. A reformation of some sort seems desirable here, and this has the advantage of being first proposed; but it is not extensively adopted, and perhaps never will be; for the vowel sound in question, is not exactly that of the terminations y and ies, but one which seems to require ee--a stronger sound than that of y, though similar to it.

OBS. 8.--For nouns ending in open o preceded by a consonant, the regular method of forming the plural seems to be that of adding es; as in bilboes, umboes, buboes, calicoes, moriscoes, gambadoes, barricadoes, fumadoes, carbonadoes, tornadoes, bravadoes, torpedoes, innuendoes, viragoes, mangoes, embargoes, cargoes, potargoes, echoes, buffaloes, volcanoes, heroes, negroes, potatoes, manifestoes, mulattoes, stilettoes, woes. In words of this class, the e appears to be useful as a means of preserving the right sound of the o; consequently, such of them as are the most frequently used, have become the most firmly fixed in this orthography. In practice, however, we find many similar nouns very frequently, if not uniformly, written with s only; as, cantos, juntos, grottos, solos, quartos, octavos, duodecimos, tyros. So that even the best scholars seem to have frequently doubted which termination they ought to regard as the regular one. The whole class includes more than one hundred words. Some, however, are seldom used in the plural; and others, never. Wo and potato are sometimes written woe and potatoe. This may have sprung from a notion, that such as have the e in the plural, should have it also in the singular. But this principle has never been carried out; and, being repugnant to derivation, it probably never will be. The only English appellatives that are established in oe, are the following fourteen: seven monosyllables, doe, foe, roe, shoe, sloe, soe, toe; and seven longer words, rockdoe, aloe, felloe, canoe, misletoe, tiptoe, diploe. The last is pronounced dip'-lo-e by Worcester; but Webster, Bolles, and some others, give it as a word of two syllables only.[142]

OBS. 9.--Established exceptions ought to be enumerated and treated as exceptions; but it is impossible to remember how to write some scores of words, so nearly alike as fumadoes and grenados, stilettoes and palmettos, if they are allowed to differ in termination, as these examples do in Johnson's Dictionary. Nay, for lack of a rule to guide his pen, even Johnson himself could not remember the orthography of the common word mangoes well enough to copy it twice without inconsistency. This may be seen by his example from King, under the words mango and potargo. Since, therefore, either termination is preferable to the uncertainty which must attend a division of this class of words between the two; and since es has some claim to the preference, as being a better index to the sound; I shall make no exceptions to the principle, that common nouns ending in o preceded by a consonant take es for the plural. Murray says, "Nouns which end in o have sometimes es added, to form the plural; as, cargo, echo, hero, negro, manifesto, potato, volcano, wo: and sometimes only s; as, folio, nuncio, punctilio, seraglio."--Octavo Gram., p. 40. This amounts to nothing, unless it is to be inferred from his examples, that others like them in form are to take s or es accordingly; and this is what I teach, though it cannot be said that Murray maintains the principle.

OBS. 10.--Proper names of individuals, strictly used as such, have no plural. But when several persons of the same name are spoken of, the noun becomes in some degree common, and admits of the plural form and an article; as, "The Stuarts, the Cæsars."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 41. These, however, may still be called proper nouns, in parsing; because they are only inflections, peculiarly applied, of certain names which are indisputably such. So likewise when such nouns are used to denote character: as, "Solomons, for wise men; Neros, for tyrants."--Ib. "Here we see it becomes a doubt which of the two Herculeses, was the monster-queller."--Notes to Pope's Dunciad, iv, 492. The proper names of nations, tribes, and societies, are generally plural; and, except in a direct address, they are usually construed with the definite article: as, "The Greeks, the Athenians, the Jews, the Jesuits." But such words may take the singular form with the indefinite article, as often as we have occasion to speak of an individual of such a people; as, "A Greek, an Athenian, a Jew, a Jesuit." These, too, may be called proper nouns; because they are national, patrial, or tribal names, each referring to some place or people, and are not appellatives, which refer to actual sorts or kinds, not considered local.

OBS. 11.--Proper names, when they form the plural, for the most part form it regularly, by assuming s or es according to the termination: as, Carolina, the Carolinas; James, the Jameses. And those which are only or chiefly plural, have, or ought to have, such terminations as are proper to distinguish them as plurals, so that the form for the singular may be inferred: as, "The Tungooses occupy nearly a third of Siberia."--Balbi's Geog., p. 379. Here the singular must certainly be a Tungoose. "The principal tribes are the Pawnees, the Arrapahoes, and the Cumanches, who roam through the regions of the Platte, the Arkansaw, and the Norte."--Ib., p. 179. Here the singulars may be supposed to be a Pawnee, an Arrapaho, and a Cumanche. "The Southern or Floridian family comprised the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Seminoles, and Natchez."--Ib., p. 179. Here all are regular plurals, except the last; and this probably ought to be Natchezes, but Jefferson spells it Natches, the singular of which I do not know. Sometimes foreign words or foreign terminations have been improperly preferred to our own; which last are more intelligible, and therefore better: as, Esquimaux, to Esquimaus; Knistenaux, to Knistenaus, or Crees; Sioux, to Sious, or Dahcotahs; Iroquois, to Iroquoys, or Hurons.

OBS. 12.--Respecting the plural of nouns ending in i, o, u, or y, preceded by a consonant, there is in present usage much uncertainty. As any vowel sound may be uttered with an s, many writers suppose these letters to require for plurals strictly regular, the s only; and to take es occasionally, by way of exception. Others, (perhaps with more reason,) assume, that the most usual, regular, and proper endings for the plural, in these instances, are ies, oes, and ues: as, alkali, alkalies; halo, haloes; gnu, gnues; enemy, enemies. This, I think, is right for common nouns. How far proper names are to be made exceptions, because they are proper names, is an other question. It is certain that some of them are not to be excepted: as, for instance, Alleghany, the Alleghanies; Sicily, the Two Sicilies; Ptolemy, the Ptolemies; Jehu, the Jehues. So the names of tribes; as, The Missouries, the Otoes, the Winnebagoes. Likewise, the houries and the harpies; which words, though not strictly proper names, are often written with a capital as such. Like these are rabbies, cadies, mufties, sophies, from which some writers omit the e. Johnson, Walker, and others, write gipsy and gipsies; Webster, now writes Gipsey and Gipseys; Worcester prefers Gypsy, and probably Gypsies: Webster once wrote the plural gypsies; (see his Essays, p. 333;) and Johnson cites the following line:--

  "I, near yon stile, three sallow gypsies met."--Gay.

OBS. 13.--Proper names in o are commonly made plural by s only. Yet there seems to be the same reason for inserting the e in these, as in other nouns of the same ending; namely, to prevent the o from acquiring a short sound. "I apprehend," says Churchill, "it has been from an erroneous notion of proper names being unchangeable, that some, feeling the necessity of obviating this mispronunciation, have put an apostrophe between the o and the s in the plural, in stead of an e; writing Cato's, Nero's; and on a similar principle, Ajax's, Venus's; thus using the possessive case singular for the nominative or objective plural. Harris says very properly, 'We have our Marks and our Antonies: Hermes, B. 2, Ch. 4; for which those would have given us Mark's and Antony's."--New Gram., p. 206. Whatever may have been the motive for it, such a use of the apostrophe is a gross impropriety. "In this quotation, ['From the Socrates's, the Plato's, and the Confucius's of the age,'] the proper names should have been pluralized like common nouns; thus, From the Socrateses, the Platoes, and the Confuciuses of the age."--Lennie's Gram., p. 126; Bullions's, 142.

OBS. 14.--The following are some examples of the plurals of proper names, which I submit to the judgement of the reader, in connexion with the foregoing observations: "The Romans had their plurals Marci and Antonii, as we in later days have our Marks and our Anthonies."--Harris's Hermes, p. 40. "There seems to be more reason for such plurals, as the Ptolemies, Scipios, Catos: or, to instance in more modern names, the Howards, Pelhams, and Montagues."--Ib., 40. "Near the family seat of the Montgomeries of Coil's-field."--Burns's Poems, Note, p. 7. "Tryphon, a surname of one of the Ptolemies."--Lempriere's Dict. "Sixteen of the Tuberos, with their wives and children, lived in a small house."--Ib. "What are the Jupiters and Junos of the heathens to such a God?"--Burgh's Dignity, i, 234. "Also when we speak of more than one person of the same name; as, the Henries, the Edwards."--Cobbetts E. Gram., ¶ 40. "She was descended from the Percies and the Stanleys."--Loves of the Poets, ii, 102. "Naples, or the Two Sicilies."--Balbi's Geog., p. 273. The word India, commonly makes the plural Indies, not Indias; and, for Ajaxes, the poets write Ajaces. But Richard Hiley says, "Proper nouns, when pluralized, follow the same rules as common nouns; as, Venus, the Venuses; Ajax, the Ajaxes; Cato, the Catoes; Henry, the Henries."--Hiley's E. Gram., p. 18.

  "He ev'ry day from King to King can walk,
   Of all our Harries, all our Edwards talk."--Pope's Satires, iv.

OBS. 15.--When a name and a title are to be used together in a plural sense, many persons are puzzled to determine whether the name, or the title, or both, should be in the plural form. For example--in speaking of two young ladies whose family name is Bell--whether to call them the Miss Bells, the Misses Bell, or the Misses Bells. To an inquiry on this point, a learned editor, who prefers the last, lately gave his answer thus: "There are two young ladies; of course they are 'the Misses.' Their name is Bell; of course there are two 'Bells.' Ergo, the correct phrase, in speaking of them, is--'the Misses Bells.'"--N. Y. Com. Adv. This puts the words in apposition; and there is no question, that it is formally correct. But still it is less agreeable to the ear, less frequently heard, and less approved by grammarians, than the first phrase; which, if we may be allowed to assume that the two words may be taken together as a sort of compound, is correct also. Dr. Priestley says, "When a name has a title prefixed to it, as Doctor, Miss, Master, &c., the plural termination affects only the latter of the two words; as, 'The two Doctor Nettletons'--'The two Miss Thomsons;' though a strict analogy would plead for the alteration of the former word, and lead us to say, 'The two Doctors Nettleton'--'The two Misses Thomson.'"--Priestley's Gram., p. 59. The following quotations show the opinions of some other grammarians: "Two or more nouns in concordance, and forming one complex name, or a name and a title, have the plural termination annexed to the last only; as, 'The Miss Smiths'--'The three Doctor Simpsons'--'The two Master Wigginses.' With a few exceptions, and those not parallel to the examples just given, we almost uniformly, in complex names, confine the inflection to the last or the latter noun."--Dr. Crombie. The foregoing opinion from Crombie, is quoted and seconded by Maunder, who adds the following examples: "Thus, Dr. Watts: 'May there not be Sir Isaac Newtons in every science?'--'You must not suppose that the world is made up of Lady Aurora Granvilles.'"--Maunder's Gram., p. 2.

OBS. 16.--These writers do not seem to accord with W. L. Stone, the editor above quoted, nor would his reasoning apply well to several of their examples. Yet both opinions are right, if neither be carried too far. For when the words are in apposition, rather than in composition, the first name or title must be made plural, if it refers to more than one: as, "The Misses Bell and Brown,"--"Messrs. Lambert and Son,"--"The Lords Calthorpe and Erskine,"--"The Lords Bishops of Durham and St. David's,"--"The Knights Hospitalers,"--"The Knights Templars,"--"The Knights Baronets." But this does not prove the other construction, which varies the last word only, to be irregular; and, if it did, there is abundant authority for it. Nor is that which varies the first only, to be altogether condemned, though Dr. Priestley is unquestionably wrong respecting the "strict analogy" of which he speaks. The joining of a plural title to one singular noun, as, "Misses Roy,"--"The Misses Bell,"--"The two Misses Thomson," produces a phrase which is in itself the least analogous of the three; but, "The Misses Jane and Eliza Bell," is a phrase which nobody perhaps will undertake to amend. It appears, then, that each of these forms of expression may be right in some cases; and each of them may be wrong, if improperly substituted for either of the others.

OBS. 17.--The following statements, though erroneous in several particulars, will show the opinions of some other grammarians, upon the foregoing point: "Proper nouns have the plural only when they refer to a race or family; as, The Campbells; or to several persons of the same name; as, The eight Henrys; the two Mr. Sells; the two Miss Browns; or, without the numeral, the Miss Roys. But in addressing letters in which both or all are equally concerned, and also when the names are different, we pluralize the title, (Mr. or Miss,) and write, Misses Brown; Misses Roy; Messrs, (for Messieurs, Fr.) Guthrie and Tait."--Lennie's Gram., p. 7. "If we wish to distinguish the unmarried from the married Howards, we call them the Miss Howards. If we wish to distinguish these Misses from other Misses, we call them the Misses Howard."--Fowle's Gram. "To distinguish several persons of the same name and family from others of a different name and family, the title, and not the proper name, is varied to express the distinction; as, the Misses Story, the Messrs. Story. The elliptical meaning is, the Misses and Messrs, who are named Story. To distinguish unmarried from married ladies, the proper name, and not the title, should be varied; as, the Miss Clarks. When we mention more than one person of different names, the title should be expressed before each; as, Miss Burns, Miss Parker, and Miss Hopkinson, were present."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 79. In the following examples from Pope's Works, the last word only is varied: "He paragons himself to two Lord Chancellors for law."--Vol. iii, p. 61. "Yearly panegyrics upon the Lord Mayors."--Ib., p. 83.

  "Whence hapless Monsieur much complains at Paris
   Of wrongs from Duchesses and Lady Maries."--Dunciad, B. ii, L 135.

OBS. 18.--The following eleven nouns in f, change the f into v and assume es for the plural: sheaf, sheaves; leaf, leaves; loaf, loaves; leaf, beeves; thief, thieves; calf, calves; half, halves; elf, elves; shelf, shelves; self, selves; wolf, wolves. Three others in fe are similar: life, lives; knife, knives; wife, wives. These are specific exceptions to the general rule for plurals, and not a series of examples coming under a particular rule; for, contrary to the instructions of nearly all our grammarians, there are more than twice as many words of the same endings, which take s only: as, chiefs, kerchiefs, handkerchiefs, mischiefs, beliefs, misbeliefs, reliefs, bassreliefs, briefs, feifs, griefs, clefs, semibrefs, oafs, waifs, coifs, gulfs, hoofs, roofs, proofs, reproofs, woofs, califs, turfs, scarfs, dwarfs, wharfs, fifes, strifes, safes. The plural of wharf is sometimes written wharves; but perhaps as frequently, and, if so, more accurately, wharfs. Examples and authorities: "Wharf, wharfs."--Brightland's Gram., p. 80; Ward's, 24; Goar's, 26; Lennie's, 7; Bucke's, 39. "There were not in London so many wharfs, or keys, for the landing of merchants' goods."--CHILD: in Johnson's Dict. "The wharfs of Boston are also worthy of notice."--Balbi's Geog., p. 37. "Between banks thickly clad with dwelling-houses, manufactories, and wharfs."--London Morn. Chronicle, 1833. Nouns in ff take s only; as, skiffs, stuffs, gaffs. But the plural of staff has hitherto been generally written staves; a puzzling and useless anomaly, both in form and sound: for all the compounds of staff are regular; as, distaffs, whipstaffs, tipstaffs, flagstaffs, quarterstaffs; and staves is the regular plural of stave, a word now in very common use with a different meaning, as every cooper and every musician knows. Staffs is now sometimes used; as, "I saw the husbandmen bending over their staffs."--Lord Carnarvon. "With their staffs in their hands for very age."--Hope of Israel, p. 16. "To distinguish between the two staffs."--Comstock's Elocution, p. 43. In one instance, I observe, a very excellent scholar has written selfs for selves, but the latter is the established plural of self:

  "Self-love would cease, or be dilated, when
   We should behold as many selfs as men."--Waller's Poems, p. 55.

OBS. 19.--Of nouns purely English, the following thirteen are the only simple words that form distinct plurals not ending in s or es, and four of these are often regular: man, men; woman, women; child, children; brother, brethren or brothers; ox, oxen; goose, geese; foot, feet; tooth, teeth; louse, lice; mouse, mice; die, dice or dies; penny, pence or pennies; pea, pease or peas. The word brethren is now applied only to fellow-members of the same church or fraternity; for sons of the same parents we always use brothers; and this form is sometimes employed in the other sense. Dice are spotted cubes for gaming; dies are stamps for coining money, or for impressing metals. Pence, as six pence, refers to the amount of money in value; pennies denotes the corns themselves. "We write peas, for two or more individual seeds; but pease, for an indefinite number in quantity or bulk."--Webster's Dict. This last anomaly, I think, might well enough "be spared; the sound of the word being the same, and the distinction to the eye not always regarded." Why is it not as proper, to write an order for "a bushel of peas," as for "a bushel of beans?" "Peas and beans may be severed from the ground before they be quite dry."--Cobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 31.

OBS. 20.--When a compound, ending with any of the foregoing irregular words, is made plural, it follows the fashion of the word with which it ends: as, Gentleman, gentlemen; bondwoman, bondwomen; foster-child, foster-children; solan-goose, solan-geese; eyetooth, eyeteeth; woodlouse, woodlice;[143] dormouse, dormice; half-penny, halfpence, half-pennies. In this way, these irregularities extend to many words; though some of the metaphorical class, as kite's-foot, coltsfoot, bear's-foot, lion's-foot, being names of plants, have no plural. The word man, which is used the most frequently in this way, makes more than seventy such compounds. But there are some words of this ending, which, not being compounds of man, are regular: as, German, Germans; Turcoman, Turcomans; Mussulman, Mussulmans; talisman, talismans; leman, lemans; caiman, caimans.

OBS. 21.--Compounds, in general, admit but one variation to form the plural, and that must be made in the principal word, rather than in the adjunct; but where the terms differ little in importance, the genius of the language obviously inclines to a variation of the last only. Thus we write fathers-in-law, sons-in-law, knights-errant, courts-martial, cousins-german, hangers-on, comings-in, goings-out, goings-forth, varying the first; and manhaters, manstealers, manslayers, maneaters, mandrills, handfuls, spoonfuls, mouthfuls, pailfuls, outpourings, ingatherings, downsittings, overflowings, varying the last. So, in many instances, when there is a less intimate connexion of the parts, and the words are written with a hyphen, if not separately, we choose to vary the latter or last: as, fellow-servants, queen-consorts, three-per-cents, he-goats, she-bears, jack-a-dandies, jack-a-lanterns, piano-fortes. The following mode of writing is irregular in two respects; first, because the words are separated, and secondly, because both are varied: "Is it unreasonable to say with John Wesley, that 'men buyers are exactly on a level with men stealers?"--GOODELL'S LECT. II: Liberator, ix, 65. According to analogy, it ought to be: "Manbuyers are exactly on a level with manstealers." J. W. Wright alleges, that, "The phrase, 'I want two spoonfuls or handfuls,' though common, is improperly constructed;" and that, "we should say, 'Two spoons or hands full.'"--Philos. Gram., p. 222. From this opinion, I dissent: both authority and analogy favour the former mode of expressing the plural of such quantities.

OBS. 22.--There is neither difficulty nor uncertainty respecting the proper forms for the plurals of compound nouns in general; but the two irregular words man and woman are often varied at the beginning of the looser kind of compounds, contrary to what appears to be the general analogy of similar words. Of the propriety of this, the reader may judge, when I shall have quoted a few examples: "Besides their man-servants and their maid-servants."--Nehemiah, vii, 67. "And I have oxen and asses, flocks, and men-servants, and women-servants."--Gen., xxxii, 5. "I gat me men-singers, and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men."--Ecclesiastes, ii, 8. "And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron."--Rev., xii, 5.--"Why have ye done this, and saved the men-children alive?"--Exod., i, 18. Such terms as these, if thought objectionable, may easily be avoided, by substituting for the former part of the compound the separate adjective male or female; as, male child, male children. Or, for those of the third example, one might say, "singing men and singing women," as in Nehemiah, vii, 67; for, in the ancient languages, the words are the same. Alger compounds "singing-men and singing-women."

OBS. 23.--Some foreign compound terms, consisting of what are usually, in the language from which they come, distinct words and different parts of speech, are made plural in English, by the addition of e or es at the end. But, in all such cases, I think the hyphen should be inserted in the compound, though it is the practice of many to omit it. Of this odd sort of words, I quote the following examples from Churchill; taking the liberty to insert the hyphen, which he omits: "Ave-Maries, Te-Deums, camera-obscuras, agnus-castuses, habeas-corpuses, scire-faciases, hiccius-docciuses, hocus-pocuses, ignis-fatuuses, chef-d'oeuvres, congé-d'élires, flower-de-luces, louis-d'-ores, tête-à-têtes."--Churchill's Gram., p. 62.

OBS. 24.--Some nouns, from the nature of the things meant, have no plural. For, as there ought to be no word, or inflection of a word, for which we cannot conceive an appropriate meaning or use, it follows that whatever is of such a species that it cannot be taken in any plural sense, must naturally be named by a word which is singular only: as, perry, cider, coffee, flax, hemp, fennel, tallow, pitch, gold, sloth, pride, meekness, eloquence. But there are some things, which have in fact neither a comprehensible unity, nor any distinguishable plurality, and which may therefore be spoken of in either number; for the distinction of unity and plurality is, in such instances, merely verbal; and, whichever number we take, the word will be apt to want the other: as, dregs, or sediment; riches, or wealth; pains, or toil; ethics, or moral philosophy; politics, or the science of government; belles-lettres, or polite literature. So darkness, which in English appears to have no plural, is expressed in Latin by tenebræ, in French by ténèbres, which have no singular. It is necessary that every noun should be understood to be of one number or the other; for, in connecting it with a verb, or in supplying its place by a pronoun, we must assume it to be either singular or plural. And it is desirable that singulars and plurals should always abide by their appropriate forms, so that they may be thereby distinguished with readiness. But custom, which regulates this, as every thing else of the like nature, does not always adjust it well; or, at least, not always upon principles uniform in themselves and obvious to every intellect.

OBS. 25.--Nouns of multitude, when taken collectively, generally admit the regular plural form; which of course is understood with reference to the individuality of the whole collection, considered as one thing: but, when taken distributively, they have a plural signification without the form; and, in this case, their plurality refers to the individuals that compose the assemblage. Thus, a council, a committee, a jury, a meeting, a society, a flock, or a herd, is singular; and the regular plurals are councils, committees, juries, meetings, societies, flocks, herds. But these, and many similar words, may be taken plurally without the s, because a collective noun is the name of many individuals together. Hence we may say, "The council were unanimous."--"The commi ttee are in consultation."--"The jury were unable to agree."--"The meeting have shown their discretion."--"The society have settled their dispute."--"The flock are widely scattered."--"The whole herd were drowned in the sea." The propriety of the last example seems questionable; because whole implies unity, and were drowned is plural. Where a purer concord can be effected, it may be well to avoid such a construction, though examples like it are not uncommon: as, "Clodius was acquitted by a corrupt jury, that had palpably taken shares of money before they gave their verdict."--Bacon. "And the whole multitude of the people were praying without, at the time of incense."--Luke, i, 10.

OBS. 26.--Nouns have, in some instances, a unity or plurality of meaning, which seems to be directly at variance with their form. Thus, cattle, for beasts of pasture, and pulse, for peas and beans, though in appearance singulars only, are generally, if not always, plural; and summons, gallows, chintz, series, superficies, molasses, suds, hunks, jakes, trapes, and corps, with the appearance of plurals, are generally, if not always, singular. Dr. Webster says that cattle is of both numbers; but wherein the oneness of cattle can consist, I know not. The Bible says, "God made--cattle after their kind."--Gen., i, 25. Here kind is indeed singular, as if cattle were a natural genus of which one must be a cattle; as sheep are a natural genus of which one is a sheep: but whether properly expressed so or not, is questionable; perhaps it ought to be, "and cattle after their kinds." Dr. Gillies says, in his History of Greece, "cattle was regarded as the most convenient measure of value." This seems to me to be more inaccurate and unintelligible, than to say, "Sheep was regarded as the most convenient measure of value." And what would this mean? Sheep is not singular, unless limited to that number by some definitive word; and cattle I conceive to be incapable of any such limitation.

OBS. 27.--Of the last class of words above cited, some may assume an additional es, when taken plurally; as, summonses, gallowses, chintses: the rest either want the plural, or have it seldom and without change of form. Corps, a body of troops, is a French word, which, when singular, is pronounced c=ore, and when plural, c=ores. But corpse, a dead body, is an English word, pronounced k~orps, and making the plural in two syllables, corpses. Summonses is given in Cobb's Dictionary as the plural of summons; but some authors have used the latter with a plural verb: as, "But Love's first summons seldom are obey'd."--Waller's Poems, p. 8. Dr. Johnson says this noun is from the verb to summon; and, if this is its origin, the singular ought to be a summon, and then summons would be a regular plural. But this "singular noun with a plural termination," as Webster describes it, more probably originated from the Latin verb submoneas, used in the writ, and came to us through the jargon of law, in which we sometimes hear men talk of "summonsing witnesses." The authorities for it, however, are good enough; as, "This present summons."--SHAK.: Joh. Dict. "This summons he resolved to disobey."--FELL: ib. Chints is called by Cobb a "substantive plural" and defined as "cotton cloths, made in India;" but other lexicographers define it as singular, and Worcester (perhaps more properly) writes it chintz. Johnson cites Pope as speaking of "a charming chints," and I have somewhere seen the plural formed by adding es. "Of the Construction of single Words, or Serieses of Words."--Ward's Gram., p. 114. Walker, in his Elements of Elocution, makes frequent use of the word "serieses," and of the phrase "series of serieses." But most writers, I suppose, would doubt the propriety of this practice; because, in Latin, all nouns of the fifth declension, such as caries, congeries, series, species, superficies, make their nominative and vocative cases alike in both numbers. This, however, is no rule for writing English. Dr. Blair has used the word species in a plural sense; though I think he ought rather to have preferred the regular English word kinds: "The higher species of poetry seldom admit it."--Rhet., p. 403. Specie, meaning hard money, though derived or corrupted from species, is not the singular of that word; nor has it any occasion for a plural form, because we never speak of a specie. The plural of gallows, according to Dr. Webster, is gallowses; nor is that form without other authority, though some say, gallows is of both numbers and not to be varied: "Gallowses were occasionally put in order by the side of my windows."--Leigh Hunt's Byron, p. 369.

  "Who would not guess there might be hopes,
   The fear of gallowses and ropes,
   Before their eyes, might reconcile
   Their animosities a while?"--Hudibras, p. 90.

OBS. 28.--Though the plural number is generally derived from the singular, and of course must as generally imply its existence, we have examples, and those not a few, in which the case is otherwise. Some nouns, because they signify such things as nature or art has made plural or double; some, because they have been formed from other parts of speech by means of the plural ending which belongs to nouns; and some, because they are compounds in which a plural word is principal, and put last, are commonly used in the plural number only, and have, in strict propriety, no singular. Though these three classes of plurals may not be perfectly separable, I shall endeavour to exhibit them in the order of this explanation.

1. Plurals in meaning and form: analects, annals,[144] archives, ashes, assets, billiards, bowels, breeches, calends, cates, chops, clothes, compasses, crants, eaves, embers, estovers, forceps, giblets, goggles, greaves, hards or hurds, hemorrhoids, ides, matins, nippers, nones, obsequies, orgies, [145] piles, pincers or pinchers, pliers, reins, scissors, shears, skittles, snuffers, spectacles, teens, tongs, trowsers, tweezers, umbles, vespers, victuals.

2. Plurals by formation, derived chiefly from adjectives: acoustics, aeronautics, analytics, bitters, catoptrics, commons, conics, credentials, delicates, dioptrics, economics, ethics, extraordinaries, filings, fives, freshes, glanders, gnomonics, goods, hermeneutics, hustings, hydrodynamics, hydrostatics, hydraulics, hysterics, inwards, leavings, magnetics, mathematics, measles, mechanics, mnemonics, merils, metaphysics, middlings, movables, mumps, nuptials, optics, phonics, phonetics, physics,[146] pneumatics, poetics, politics, riches, rickets, settlings, shatters, skimmings, spherics, staggers, statics, statistics, stays, strangles, sundries, sweepings, tactics, thanks, tidings, trappings, vives, vitals, wages,[147] withers, yellows.

3. Plurals by composition: backstairs, cocklestairs, firearms,[148] headquarters, hotcockles, spatterdashes, self-affairs. To these may be added the Latin words, aborigines, antipodes, antes, antoeci, amphiscii, anthropophagi, antiscii, ascii, literati, fauces, regalia, and credenda, with the Italian vermicelli, and the French belles-lettres and entremets.

OBS. 29.--There are several nouns which are set down by some writers as wanting the singular, and by others as having it. Of this class are the following: amends,[149] ancients, awns, bots, catacombs, chives, cloves, cresses, dogsears, downs, dregs,[150] entrails, fetters, fireworks, greens, gyves, hatches, intestines, lees,[151] lungs, malanders, mallows, moderns, oats, orts, pleiads, premises, relics, remains, shackles, shambles,[152] stilts, stairs, tares, vetches. The fact is, that these words have, or ought to have, the singular, as often as there is any occasion to use it; and the same may, in general terms, be said of other nouns, respecting the formation of the plural.[153] For where the idea of unity or plurality comes clearly before the mind, we are very apt to shape the word accordingly, without thinking much about the authorities we can quote for it.

OBS. 30.--In general, where both numbers exist in common use, there is some palpable oneness or individuality, to which the article a or an is applicable; the nature of the species is found entire in every individual of it; and a multiplication of the individuals gives rise to plurality in the name. But the nature of a mass, or of an indefinite multitude taken collectively, is not found in individuals as such; nor is the name, whether singular, as gold, or plural, as ashes, so understood. Hence, though every noun must be of one number or the other, there are many which have little or no need of both. Thus we commonly speak of wheat, barley, or oats, collectively; and very seldom find occasion for any other forms of these words. But chafferers at the corn-market, in spite of Cobbett,[154] will talk about wheats and barleys, meaning different kinds[155] or qualities; and a gardener, if he pleases, will tell of an oat, (as does Milton, in his Lycidas,) meaning a single seed or plant. But, because wheat or barley generally means that sort of grain in mass, if he will mention a single kernel, he must call it a grain of wheat or a barleycorn. And these he may readily make plural, to specify any particular number; as, five grains of wheat, or three barleycorns.

OBS. 31.--My chief concern is with general principles, but the illustration of these requ ires many particular examples--even far more than I have room to quote. The word amends is represented by Murray and others, as being singular as well as plural; but Webster's late dictionaries exhibit amend as singular, and amends as plural, with definitions that needlessly differ, though not much. I judge "an amends" to be bad English; and prefer the regular singular, an amend. The word is of French origin, and is sometimes written in English with a needless final e; as, "But only to make a kind of honourable amende to God."--Rollin's Ancient Hist., Vol. ii, p. 24. The word remains Dr. Webster puts down as plural only, and yet uses it himself in the singular: "The creation of a Dictator, even for a few months, would have buried every remain of freedom."--Webster's Essays, p. 70. There are also other authorities for this usage, and also for some other nouns that are commonly thought to have no singular; as, "But Duelling is unlawful and murderous, a remain of the ancient Gothic barbarity."--Brown's Divinity, p. 26. "I grieve with the old, for so many additional inconveniences, more than their small remain of life seemed destined to undergo."--POPE: in Joh. Dict. "A disjunctive syllogism is one whose major premise is disjunctive."--Hedge's Logic. "Where should he have this gold? It is some poor fragment, some slender ort of his remainder."--SHAK.: Timon of Athens.

OBS. 32.--There are several nouns which are usually alike in both numbers. Thus, deer, folk, fry, gentry, grouse, hose, neat, sheep, swine, vermin, and rest, (i. e. the rest, the others, the residue,) are regular singulars, but they are used also as plurals, and that more frequently. Again, alms, aloes, bellows, means, news, odds, shambles, and species, are proper plurals, but most of them are oftener construed as singulars. Folk and fry are collective nouns. Folk means people; a folk, a people: as, "The ants are a people not strong;"--"The conies are but a feeble folk."--Prov., xxx, 25, 26. "He laid his hands on a few sick folk, and healed them."--Mark, vi, 5. Folks, which ought to be the plural of folk, and equivalent to peoples, is now used with reference to a plurality of individuals, and the collective word seems liable to be entirely superseded by it. A fry is a swarm of young fishes, or of any other little creatures living in water: so called, perhaps, because their motions often make the surface fry. Several such swarms might properly be called fries; but this form can never be applied to the individuals, without interfering with the other. "So numerous was the fry."--Cowper. "The fry betake themselves to the neighbouring pools."--Quarterly Review. "You cannot think more contemptuously of these gentry than they were thought of by the true prophets."--Watson's Apology, p. 93. "Grouse, a heathcock."--Johnson.

  "The 'squires in scorn will fly the house
   For better game, and look for grouse."--Swift.

"Here's an English tailor, come hither for stealing out of a French hose."--Shak. "He, being in love, could not see to garter his hose."--Id. Formerly, the plural was hosen: "Then these men were bound, in their coats, their hosen, and their hats."--Dan., iii, 21. Of sheep, Shakspeare has used the regular plural: "Two hot sheeps, marry!"--Love's Labour Lost, Act ii, Sc. 1.

  "Who both by his calf and his lamb will be known,
   May well kill a neat and a sheep of his own."--Tusser.
   "His droves of asses, camels, herds of neat,
   And flocks of sheep, grew shortly twice as great."--Sandys.

"As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout."--Prov., xi, 22. "A herd of many swine, feeding."--Matt., viii, 30. "An idle person only lives to spend his time, and eat the fruits of the earth, like a vermin or a wolf."--Taylor. "The head of a wolf, dried and hanged up, will scare away vermin."--Bacon. "Cheslip, a small vermin that lies under stones or tiles."--SKINNER: in Joh. and in Web. Dict. "This is flour, the rest is bran."--"And the rest were blinded."--Rom., xi, 7. "The poor beggar hath a just demand of an alms."--Swift. "Thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."--Acts, x, 4. "The draught of air performed the function of a bellows."--Robertson's Amer., ii, 223. "As the bellows do."--Bicknell's Gram., ii, 11. "The bellows are burned."--Jer., vi, 29. "Let a gallows be made."--Esther, v, 14. "Mallows are very useful in medicine."--Wood's Dict. "News," says Johnson, "is without the singular, unless it be considered as singular."--Dict. "So is good news from a far country."--Prov., xxv, 25. "Evil news rides fast, while good news baits."--Milton. "When Rhea heard these news, she fled."--Raleigh. "News were brought to the queen."--Hume's Hist., iv, 426. "The news I bring are afflicting, but the consolation with which they are attended, ought to moderate your grief."--Gil Blas, Vol. ii, p. 20. "Between these two cases there are great odds."--Hooker. "Where the odds is considerable."--Campbell. "Determining on which side the odds lie."--Locke. "The greater are the odds that he mistakes his author."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 1. "Though thus an odds unequally they meet."--Rowe's Lucan, B. iv, l. 789. "Preëminent by so much odds."--Milton. "To make a shambles of the parliament house."--Shak. "The earth has been, from the beginning, a great Aceldama, a shambles of blood."--Christian's Vade-Mecum, p. 6. "A shambles" sounds so inconsistent, I should rather say, "A shamble." Johnson says, the etymology of the word is uncertain; Webster refers it to the Saxon scamel: it means a butcher's stall, a meat-market; and there would seem to be no good reason for the s, unless more than one such place is intended. "Who sells his subjects to the shambles of a foreign power."--Pitt. "A special idea is called by the schools a species."--Watts. "He intendeth the care of species, or common natures."--Brown. "ALOE, (al~o) n.; plu. ALOES."--Webster's Dict., and Worcester's. "But it was aloe itself to lose the reward."-- Tupper's Crock of Gold, p. 16.

  "But high in amphitheatre above,
   His arms the everlasting aloes threw."
       --Campbell, G. of W., ii, 10. 

OBS. 33.--There are some nouns, which, though really regular in respect to possessing the two forms for the two numbers, are not free from irregularity in the manner of their application. Thus means is the regular plural of mean; and, when the word is put for mediocrity, middle point, place, or degree, it takes both forms, each in its proper sense; but when it signifies things instrumental, or that which is used to effect an object, most writers use means for the singular as well as for the plural:[156] as, "By this means"--"By those means," with reference to one mediating cause; and, "By these means,"--"By those means," with reference to more than one. Dr. Johnson says the use of means for mean is not very grammatical; and, among his examples for the true use of the word, he has the following: "Pamela's noble heart would needs gratefully make known the valiant mean of her safety."--Sidney. "Their virtuous conversation was a mean to work the heathens' conversion."--Hooker. "Whether his wits should by that mean have been taken from him."--Id. "I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor out of the way."--Shak. "No place will please me so, no mean of death."--Id. "Nature is made better by no mean, but nature makes that mean."--Id. Dr. Lowth also questioned the propriety of construing means as singular, and referred to these same authors as authorities for preferring the regular form. Buchanan insists that means is right in the plural only; and that, "The singular should be used as perfectly analogous; by this mean, by that mean."--English Syntax, p. 103. Lord Kames, likewise, appears by his practice to have been of the same opinion: "Of this the child must be sensible intuitively, for it has no other mean of knowledge."--Elements of Criticism, Vol. i, p. 357. "And in both the same mean is employed."--Ib. ii, 271. Caleb Alexander, too, declares "this means," "that means." and "a means," to be "ungrammatical."--Gram., p. 58. But common usage has gone against the suggestions of these critics, and later grammarians have rather confirmed the irregularity, than attempted to reform it.

OBS. 34.--Murray quotes sixteen good authorities to prove that means may be singular; but whether it ought to be so or not, is still a disputable point. Principle is for the regular word mean, and good practice favours the irregularity, but is still divided. Cobbett, to the disgrace of grammar, says, "Mean, as a noun, is never used in the singular. It, like some other words, has broken loose from all principle and rule. By universal consent, it is become always a plural, whether used with singular or plural pronouns and articles, or not."--E. Gram., p. 144. This is as ungrammatical, as it is untrue. Both mean and means are sufficiently authorized in the singular: "The prospect which by this mean is opened to you."--Melmoth's Cicero. "Faith in this doctrine never terminates in itself, but is a mean, to holiness as an end."--Dr. Chalmers, Sermons, p. v. "The mean of basely affronting him."--Brown's Divinity, p. 19. "They used every mean to prevent the re-establishment of their religion."--Dr Jamieson's Sacred Hist., i, p. 20. "As a necessary mean to prepare men for the discharge of that duty."-- Bolingbroke, on Hist., p. 153. "Greatest is the power of a mean, when its power is least suspected."--Tupper's Book of Thoughts, p. 37. "To the deliberative orator the reputation of unsullied virtue is not only useful, as a mean of promoting his general influence, it is also among his most efficient engines of persuasion, upon every individual occasion."--J. Q. Adams's Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, i, 352. "I would urge it upon you, as the most effectual mean of extending your respectability and usefulness in the world."--Ib., ii, 395. "Exercise will be admitted to be a necessary mean of improvement."--Blair's Rhet., p. 343. "And by that means we have now an early prepossession in their favour."--Ib., p. 348. "To abolish all sacrifice by revealing a better mean of reconciliation." --Keith's Evidences, p. 46. "As a mean of destroying the distinction." --Ib., p. 3. "Which however is by no mean universally the case."-- Religious World Displayed, Vol. iii, p. 155.

OBS. 35.--Again, there are some nouns, which, though they do not lack the regular plural form, are sometimes used in a plural sense without the plural termination. Thus manner makes the plural manners, which last is now generally used in the peculiar sense of behaviour, or deportment, but not always: it sometimes means methods, modes, or ways; as, "At sundry times and in divers manners."--Heb., i, 1. "In the manners above mentioned."--Butler's Analogy, p. 100. "There be three manners of trials in England."--COWELL: Joh. Dict., w. Jury. "These two manners of representation."--Lowth's Gram., p. 15. "These are the three primary modes, or manners, of expression."--Lowth's Gram., p. 83. "In arrangement, too, various manners suit various styles."--Campbell's Phil. of Rhet., p. 172. "Between the two manners."--Bolingbroke, on Hist., p. 35. "Here are three different manners of asserting."-- Barnard's Gram., p. 59. But manner has often been put for sorts, without the s; as, "The tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits."--Rev., xxii, 2. "All manner of men assembled here in arms."--Shak. "All manner of outward advantages."--Atterbury. Milton used kind in the same way, but not very properly; as, "All kind of living creatures."--P. Lost, B. iv, l. 286. This irregularity it would be well to avoid. Manners may still, perhaps, be proper for modes or ways; and all manner, if allowed, must be taken in the sense of a collective noun; but for sorts, kinds, classes, or species, I would use neither the plural nor the singular of this word. The word heathen, too, makes the regular plural heathens, and yet is often used in a plural sense without the s; as, "Why do the heathen rage?"--Psalms, ii, 1. "Christianity was formerly propagated among the heathens."--Murray's Key, 8vo, p. 217. The word youth, likewise, has the same peculiarities.

OBS. 36.--Under the present head come names of fishes, birds, or other things, when the application of the singular is extended from the individual to the species, so as to supersede the plural by assuming its construction: as, Sing. "A great fish."--Jonah, i, 17. Plur. "For the multitude of fishes'."--John, xxi, 6. "A very great multitude of fish."--Ezekiel, xlvii, 9.[157] The name of the genus being liable to this last construction, men seem to have thought that the species should follow; consequently, the regular plurals of some very common names of fishes are scarcely known at all. Hence some grammarians affirm, that salmon, mackerel, herring, perch, tench, and several others, are alike in both numbers, and ought never to be used in the plural form. I am not so fond of honouring these anomalies. Usage is here as unsettled, as it is arbitrary; and, if the expression of plurality is to be limited to either form exclusively, the regular plural ought certainly to be preferred. But, for fish taken in bulk, the singular form seems more appropriate; as, "These vessels take from thirty-eight to forty-five quintals of cod and pollock, and six thousand barrels of mackerel, yearly."--Balbi's Geog., p. 28.

OBS. 37.--The following examples will illustrate the unsettled usage just mentioned, and from them the reader may judge for himself what is right. In quoting, at second-hand, I generally think it proper to make double references; and especially in citing authorities after Johnson, because he so often gives the same passages variously. But he himself is reckoned good authority in things literary. Be it so. I regret the many proofs of his fallibility. "Hear you this Triton of the minnows?"--Shak. "The shoal of herrings was of an immense extent."--Murray's Key, p. 185. "Buy my herring fresh."--SWIFT: in Joh. Dict. "In the fisheries of Maine, cod, herring, mackerel alewives, salmon, and other fish, are taken."--Balbi's Geog., p. 23. "MEASE, n. The quantity of 500; as, a mease of herrings."--Webster's Dict. "We shall have plenty of mackerel this season."--ADDISON: in Joh. Dict. "Mackarel is the same in both numbers. Gay has improperly mackarels."--Churchill's Gram., p. 208. "They take salmon and trouts by groping and tickling them under the bellies."--CAREW: in Joh. Dict. "The pond will keep trout and salmon in their seasonable plight."--Id., ib., w. Trout. "Some fish are preserved fresh in vinegar, as turbot."--Id., ib., w. Turbot. "Some fish are boiled and preserved fresh in vinegar, as tunny and turbot."--Id., ib., w. Tunny. "Of round fish, there are brit, sprat, barn, smelts."--Id., ib., w. Smelt. "For sprats and spurlings for your house."--TUSSEE: ib., w. Spurling. "The coast is plentifully stored with pilchards, herrings, and haddock."--CAREW: ib., w. Haddock. "The coast is plentifully stored with round fish, pilchard, herring, mackerel, and cod"--Id., ib., w. Herring. "The coast is plentifully stored with shellfish, sea-hedgehogs, scallops, pilcherd, herring, and pollock."--Id., ib., w. Pollock. "A roach is a fish of no great reputation for his dainty taste. It is noted that roaches recover strength and grow a fortnight after spawning."--WALTON: ib., w. Roach. "A friend of mine stored a pond of three or four acres with carps and tench."--HALE: ib., w. Carp. "Having stored a very great pond with carps, tench, and other pond-fish, and only put in two small pikes, this pair of tyrants in seven years devoured the whole."--Id., ib., w. Tench. "Singular, tench; plural, tenches."--Brightland's Gram., p. 78. "The polar bear preys upon seals, fish, and the carcasses of whales."--Balbi's Geog., p. 172. "Trouts and salmons swim against the stream."--BACON: Ward's Gram., p. 130.

  "'Tis true no turbots dignify my boards,
   But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords."--Pope.

OBS. 38.--Prom the foregoing examples it would seem, if fish or fishes are often spoken of without a regular distinction of the grammatical numbers, it is not because the words are not susceptible of the inflection, but because there is some difference of meaning between the mere name of the sort and the distinct modification in regard to number. There are also other nouns in which a like difference may be observed. Some names of building materials, as brick, stone, plank, joist, though not destitute of regular plurals, as bricks, stones, planks, joists, and not unadapted to ideas distinctly singular, as a brick, a stone, a plank, a joist, are nevertheless sometimes used in a plural sense without the s, and sometimes in a sense which seems hardly to embrace the idea of either number; as, "Let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly."--Gen., xi, 3. "And they had brick for stone."--Ib. "The tale of bricks."--Exod., v, 8 and 18. "Make brick."--Ib., v, 16. "From your bricks."--Ib., v, 19. "Upon altars of brick."--Isaiah. lxv, 3. "The bricks are fallen down."--Ib., ix, 10. The same variety of usage occurs in respect to a few other words, and sometimes perhaps without good reason; as, "Vast numbers of sea fowl frequent the rocky cliffs."--Balbi's Geog., p. 231. "Bullocks, sheep, and fowls."--Ib., p. 439. "Cannon is used alike in both numbers."--Everest's Gram., p. 48. "Cannon and shot may be used in the singular or plural sense."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 37. "The column in the Place Vendome is one hundred and thirty-four feet high, and is made of the brass of the cannons taken from the Austrians and Prussians."--Balbi's Geog., p. 249. "As his cannons roar."--Dryden's Poems, p. 81. "Twenty shot of his greatest cannon."--CLARENDON: Joh. Dict. "Twenty shots" would here, I think, be more proper, though the word is not made plural when it means little balls of lead. "And cannons conquer armies."--Hudibras, Part III, Canto iii, l. 249.

  "Healths to both kings, attended with the roar
   Of cannons echoed from th' affrighted shore."--Waller, p. 7.

OBS. 39.--Of foreign nouns, many retain their original plural; a few are defective; and some are redundant, because the English form is also in use. Our writers have laid many languages under contribution, and thus furnished an abundance of irregular words, necessary to be explained, but never to be acknowledged as English till they conform to our own rules.

1. Of nouns in a, saliva, spittle, and scoria, dross, have no occasion for the plural; lamina, a thin plate, makes laminæ; macula, a spot, maculæ; minutia, a little thing, minutiæ; nebula, a mist, nebulæ; siliqua, a pod, siliqiuæ. Dogma makes dogmas or dogmata; exanthema, exanthemas or exanthemata; miasm or miasma, miasms or miasmata; stigma, stigmas or stigmata.

2. Of nouns in um, some have no need of the plural; as, bdellium, decorum, elysium, equilibrium, guaiacum, laudanum, odium, opium, petroleum, serum, viaticum. Some form it regularly; as, asylums, compendiums, craniums, emporiums, encomiums, forums, frustums, lustrums, mausoleums, museums, pendulums, nostrums, rostrums, residuums, vacuums. Others take either the English or the Latin plural; as, desideratums or desiderata, mediums or media, menstruums or menstrua, memorandums or memoranda, spectrums or spectra, speculums or specula, stratums or strata, succedaneums or succedanea, trapeziums or trapezia, vinculums or vincula. A few seem to have the Latin plural only: as, arcanum, arcana; datum, data; effluvium, effluvia; erratum, errata; scholium, scholia.

3. Of nouns in us, a few have no plural; as, asparagus, calamus, mucus. Some have only the Latin plural, which usually changes us to i; as, alumnus, alumni; androgynus, androgyni; calculus, calculi; dracunculus, dracunculi; echinus, echini; magus, magi. But such as have properly become English words, may form the plural regularly in es; as, chorus, choruses: so, apparatus, bolus, callus, circus, fetus, focus, fucus, fungus, hiatus, ignoramus, impetus, incubus, isthmus, nautilus, nucleus, prospectus, rebus, sinus, surplus. Five of these make the Latin plural like the singular; but the mere English scholar has no occasion to be told which they are. Radius makes the plural radii or radiuses. Genius has genii, for imaginary spirits, and geniuses, for men of wit. Genus, a sort, becomes genera in Latin, and genuses in English. Denarius makes, in the plural, denarii or denariuses.

4. Of nouns in is, some are regular; as, trellis, trellises: so, annolis, butteris, caddis, dervis, iris, marquis, metropolis, portcullis, proboscis. Some seem to have no need of the plural; as, ambergris, aqua-fortis, arthritis, brewis, crasis, elephantiasis, genesis, orris, siriasis, tennis. But most nouns of this ending follow the Greek or Latin form, which simply changes is to =es: as, amanuensis, amanuenses; analysis, analyses; antithesis, antitheses; axis, axes; basis, bases; crisis, crises; diæresis, diæreses; diesis, dieses; ellipsis, ellipses; emphasis, emphases; fascis, fasces; hypothesis, hypotheses; metamorphosis, metamorphoses; oasis, oases; parenthesis, parentheses; phasis, phases; praxis, praxes; synopsis, synopses; synthesis, syntheses; syrtis, syrtes; thesis, theses. In some, however, the original plural is not so formed; but is made by changing is to ~ides; as, aphis, aphides; apsis, apsides; ascaris, ascarides; bolis, bolides; cantharis, cantharides; chrysalis, chrysalides; ephemeris, ephemerides; epidermis, epidermides. So iris and proboscis, which we make regular; and perhaps some of the foregoing may be made so too. Fisher writes Praxises for praxes, though not very properly. See his Gram, p. v. Eques, a Roman knight, makes equites in the plural.

5. Of nouns in x, there are few, if any, which ought not to form the plural regularly, when used as English words; though the Latins changed x to ces, and ex to ices, making the i sometimes long and sometimes short: as, apex, apices, for apexes; appendix, appendices, for appendixes; calix, calices, for calixes; calx, calces, for calxes; calyx, calyces, for calyxes; caudex, caudices, for caudexes; cicatrix, cicatrices, for cicatrixes; helix, helices, for helixes; index, indices, for indexes; matrix, matrices, for matrixes; quincunx, quincunces, for quincunxes; radix, radices, for radixes; varix, varices, for varixes; vertex, vertices, for vertexes; vortex, vortices, for vortexes. Some Greek words in x change that letter to ges; as, larynx, larynges, for larinxes; phalanx, phalanges, for phalanxes. Billet-doux, from the French, is billets-doux in the plural.

6. Of nouns in on, derived from Greek, the greater part always form the plural regularly; as, etymons, gnomons, ichneumons, myrmidons, phlegmons, trigons, tetragons, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, octagons, enneagons, decagons, hendecagons, dodecagons, polygons. So trihedrons, tetrahedrons, pentahedrons, &c., though some say, these last may end in dra, which I think improper. For a few words of this class, however, there are double plurals in use; as, automata or atomatons, criteria or criterions, parhelia or parhelions; and the plural of phenomenon appears to be always phenomena.

7. The plural of legumen is legumens or legumina; of stamen, stamens or stamina: of cherub, cherubs or cherubim; of seraph, seraphs or seraphim; of beau, beaus or beaux; of bandit, bandits or banditti. The regular forms are in general preferable. The Hebrew plurals cherubim and seraphim, being sometimes mistaken for singulars, other plurals have been formed from them; as, "And over it the cherubims of glory."--Heb. ix, 5. "Then flow one of the seraphims unto me."--Isaiah, vi, 6. Dr. Campbell remarks: "We are authorized, both by use and by analogy, to say either cherubs and seraphs, according to the English idiom, or cherubim and seraphim, a ccording to the oriental. The former suits better the familiar, the latter the solemn style. I shall add to this remark," says he, "that, as the words cherubim and seraphim are plural, the terms cherubims and seraphims, as expressing the plural, are quite improper."--Phil. of Rhet., p. 201.

OBS. 40.--When other parts of speech become nouns, they either want the plural, or form it regularly,[158] like common nouns of the same endings; as, "His affairs went on at sixes and sevens."--Arbuthnot. "Some mathematicians have proposed to compute by twoes; others, by fours; others, by twelves."--Churchill's Gram., p. 81. "Three fourths, nine tenths."--Ib., p. 230. "Time's takings and leavings."-- Barton. "The yeas and nays."--Newspaper. "The ays and noes."--Ib. "Oes and spangles."--Bacon. "The ins and the outs."--Newspaper."--We find it more safe against outs and doubles."--Printer's Gram. "His ands and his ors."--Mott. "One of the buts."--Fowle. "In raising the mirth of stupids."--Steele. "Eatings, drinkings, wakings, sleepings, walkings, talkings, sayings, doings--all were for the good of the public; there was not such a things as a secret in the town."--LANDON: Keepsake, 1833. "Her innocent forsooths and yesses."--Spect., No. 266.

  "Henceforth my wooing mind shall be expressed
   In russet yeas and honest kersey noes."
       --SHAK. See Johnson's Dict., w. Kersey.


Genders, in grammar, are modifications that distinguish objects in regard to sex.

There are three genders; the masculine, the feminine, and the neuter.

The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind; as, man, father, king.

The feminine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the female kind; as, woman, mother, queen.

The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female; as, pen, ink, paper.

Hence, names of males are masculine; names of females, feminine; and names of things inanimate, literally, neuter.

Masculine nouns make regular feminines, when their termination is changed to ess: as, hunter, huntress; prince, princess; lion, lioness.


OBS. 1.--The different genders in grammar are founded on the natural distinction of sex in animals, and on the absence of sex in other things. In English, they belong only to nouns and pronouns; and to these they are usually applied, not arbitrarily, as in some other languages, but agreeably to the order of nature. From this we derive a very striking advantage over those who use the gender differently, or without such rule; which is, that our pronouns are easy of application, and have a fine effect when objects are personified. Pronouns are of the same gender as the nouns for which they stand.

OBS. 2.--Many nouns are equally applicable to both sexes; as, cousin, friend, neighbour, parent, person, servant. The gender of these is usually determined by the context; and they are to be called masculine or feminine accordingly. To such words, some grammarians have applied the unnecessary and improper term common gender. Murray justly observes, "There is no such gender belonging to the language. The business of parsing can be effectually performed, without having recourse to a common gender."--Gram., 8vo. p. 39. The term is more useful, and less liable to objection, as applied to the learned languages; but with us, whose genders distinguish objects in regard to sex, it is plainly a solecism.

OBS. 3.--A great many of our grammars define gender to be "the distinction of sex," and then speak of a common gender, in which the two sexes are left undistinguished; and of the neuter gender, in which objects are treated as being of neither sex. These views of the matter are obviously inconsistent. Not genders, or a gender, do the writers undertake to define, but "gender" as a whole; and absurdly enough, too; because this whole of gender th ey immediately distribute into certain other genders, into genders of gender, or kinds of gender, and these not compatible with their definition. Thus Wells: "Gender is the distinction of objects, with regard to sex. There are four genders;--the masculine, the feminine, the common, and the neuter."--School Gram., 1st Ed., p. 49. [Those] "Nouns which are applicable alike to both sexes, are of the common gender."--Ib. This then is manifestly no gender under the foregoing definition, and the term neuter is made somewhat less appropriate by the adoption of a third denomination before it. Nor is there less absurdity in the phraseology with which Murray proposes to avoid the recognition of the common gender: "Thus we may say, Parents is a noun of the masculine and feminine gender; Parent, if doubtful, is of the masculine or feminine gender; and Parent, if the gender is known by the construction, is of the gender so ascertained."--Gram., 8vo, p. 39. According to this, we must have five genders, exclusive of that which is called common; namely, the masculine, the feminine, the neuter, the androgynal, and the doubtful.

OBS. 4.--It is plain that many writers on grammar have had but a confused notion of what a gender really is. Some of them, confounding gender with sex, deny that there are more than two genders, because there are only two sexes. Others, under a like mistake, resort occasionally, (as in the foregoing instance,) to an androgynal, and also to a doubtful gender: both of which are more objectionable than the common gender of the old grammarians; though this common "distinction with regard to sex," is, in our language, confessedly, no distinction at all. I assume, that there are in English the three genders, masculine, feminine, and neuter, and no more; and that every noun and every pronoun must needs be of some gender; consequently, of some one of these three. A gender is, literally, a sort, a kind, a sex. But genders, in grammar, are attributes of words, rather than of persons, or animals, or things; whereas sexes are attributes, not of words, but of living creatures. He who understands this, will perceive that the absence of sex in some things, is as good a basis for a grammatical distinction, as the presence or the difference of it in others; nor can it be denied, that the neuter, according to my definition, is a gender, is a distinction "in regard to sex," though it does not embrace either of the sexes. There are therefore three genders, and only three.

OBS. 5.--Generic names, even when construed as masculine or feminine, often virtually include both sexes; as, "Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible."--Job, xxxix, 19. "Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?"--Ib., ver. 26. These were called, by the old grammarians, epicene nouns--that is, supercommon; but they are to be parsed each according to the gender of the pronoun which is put for it.

OBS. 6.--The gender of words, in many instances, is to be determined by the following principle of universal grammar. Those terms which are equally applicable to both sexes, (if they are not expressly applied to females,) and those plurals which are known to include both sexes, should be called masculine in parsing; for, in all languages, the masculine gender is considered the most worthy,[159] and is generally employed when both sexes are included under one common term. Thus parents is always masculine, and must be represented by a masculine pronoun, for the gender of a word is a property indivisible, and that which refers to the male sex, always takes the lead in such cases. If one say, "Joseph took the young child and his mother by night, and fled with them into Egypt," the pronoun them will be masculine; but let "his" be changed to its, and the plural pronoun that follows, will be feminine. For the feminine gender takes precedence of the neuter, but not of the masculine; and it is not improper to speak of a young child without designating the sex. As for such singulars as parent, friend, neighbour, thief, slave, and many others, they are feminine when expressly applied to any of the female sex; but otherwise, masculine.

OBS. 7.--Nouns of multitude, when they convey the idea of unity or take the plural form, are of the neuter gender; but when they convey the idea of plurality without the form, they follow the gender of the individuals which compose the assemblage. Thus a congress, a council, a committee, a jury, a sort, or a sex, if taken collectively, is neuter; being represented in discourse by the neuter pronoun it: and the formal plurals, congresses, councils, committees, juries, sorts, sexes, of course, are neuter also. But, if I say, "The committee disgraced themselves," the noun and pronoun are presumed to be masculine, unless it be known that I am speaking of a committee of females. Again: "The fair sex, whose task is not to mingle in the labours of public life, have their own part assigned them to act."--Comly's Gram., p. 132. Here sex, and the three pronouns which have that word for their antecedent, are all feminine. Again: "Each sex, dressing themselves in the clothes of the other."--Wood's Dictionary, v. Feast of Purim. Here sex, and the pronoun which follows, are masculine; because, the male sex, as well as the female, is here spoken of plurally.

OBS. 8.--To persons, of every description, known or unknown, real or imaginary, we uniformly ascribe sex.[160] But, as personality implies intelligence, and sex supposes some obvious difference, a young child may be spoken of with distinction of sex or without, according to the notion of the speaker; as, "I went to see the child whilst they were putting on its cloaths."--Priestley's Gram., p. 125. "Because the child has no idea of any nurse besides his own."--Ib., p. 153. To brute animals also, the same distinction is generally applied, though with less uniformity. Some that are very small, have a gender which seems to be merely occasional and figurative; as, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."--Prov., vi, 6. "The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces."--Prov., xxx, 28. So the bee is usually made feminine, being a little creature of admirable industry and economy. But, in general, irrational creatures whose sex is unknown, or unnecessary to be regarded, are spoken of as neuter; as, "And it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand."--Exod., iv, 3, 4. Here, although the word serpent is sometimes masculine, the neuter pronoun seems to be more proper. So of some imaginary creatures: as, "Phenix, the fowl which is said to exist single, and to rise again from its own ashes."--Webster's Dict. "So shall the Phoenix escape, with no stain on its plumage."--Dr. Bartlett's Lect., p. 10.

OBS. 9.--But this liberty of representing animals as of no sex, is often carried to a very questionable extent; as, "The hare sleeps with its eyes open."--Barbauld. "The hedgehog, as soon as it perceives itself attacked, rolls itself into a kind of ball, and presents nothing but its prickles to the foe."--Blair's Reader, p. 138. "The panther is a ferocious creature: like the tiger it seizes its prey by surprise."--Ib., p. 102. "The leopard, in its chace of prey, spares neither man nor beast."--Ib., p. 103. "If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it."--Exod., xxii, 1. "A dog resists its instinct to run after a hare, because it recollects the beating it has previously received on that account. The horse avoids the stone at which it once has stumbled."--Spurzheim, on Education, p. 3. "The racehorse is looked upon with pleasure; but it is the warhorse, that carries grandeur in its idea."--Blair's Rhet., p. 30.

OBS. 10.--The sexes are distinguished by words, in four different ways. First, by the use of different terminations: as, Jew, Jewess; Julius, Julia; hero, heroine. Secondly, by the use of entirely different names: as, Henry, Mary; king, queen. Thirdly, by compounds or phrases including some distinctive term: as, Mr. Murray, Mrs. Murray; Englishman, Englishwoman; grandfather, grandmother; landlord, landlady; merman, mermaid; servingman, servingmaid; man-servant, maid-servant; schoolmaster, schoolmistress; school-boy, school-girl; peacock, peahen; cock-sparrow, hen-sparrow; he-goat, she-goat; buck-rabbit, doe-rabbit; male elephant, female elephant; male convicts, female convicts. Fourthly, by the pronouns he, his, him, put for nouns masculine; and she, her, hers, for nouns feminine: as, "Ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?"--Jer., xlviii, 19.

  "O happy peasant! Oh unhappy bard!
   His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward."--Cowper.

OBS. 11.--For feminine nouns formed by inflection, the regular termination is ess; but the manner in which this ending is applied to the original or masculine noun, is not uniform:--

1. In some instances the syllable ess is simply added: as, accuser, accuseress; advocate, advocatess; archer, archeress; author, authoress; avenger, avengeress; barber, barberess; baron, baroness; canon, canoness; cit, cittess;[161] coheir, coheiress; count, countess; deacon, deaconess; demon, demoness; diviner, divineress; doctor, doctoress; giant, giantess; god, goddess; guardian, guardianess; Hebrew, Hebrewess; heir, heiress; herd, herdess; hermit, hermitess; host, hostess; Jesuit, Jesuitess; Jew, Jewess; mayor, mayoress; Moabite, Moabitess; monarch, monarchess; pape, papess; or, pope, popess; patron, patroness; peer, peeress; poet, poetess; priest, priestess; prior, prioress; prophet, prophetess; regent, regentess; saint, saintess; shepherd, shepherdess; soldier, soldieress; tailor, tailoress; viscount, viscountess; warrior, warrioress.

2. In other instances, the termination is changed, and there is no increase of syllables: as, abbot, abbess; actor, actress; adulator, adulatress; adulterer, adulteress; adventurer, adventuress; advoutrer, advoutress; ambassador, ambassadress; anchorite, anchoress; or, anachoret, anachoress; arbiter, arbitress; auditor, auditress; benefactor, benefactress; caterer, cateress; chanter, chantress; cloisterer, cloisteress; commander, commandress; conductor, conductress; creator, creatress; demander, demandress; detractor, detractress; eagle, eagless; editor, editress; elector, electress; emperor, emperess, or empress; emulator, emulatress; enchanter, enchantress; exactor, exactress; fautor, fautress; fornicator, fornicatress; fosterer, fosteress, or fostress; founder, foundress; governor, governess; huckster, huckstress; or, hucksterer, hucksteress; idolater, idolatress; inhabiter, inhabitress; instructor, instructress; inventor, inventress; launderer, launderess, or laundress; minister, ministress; monitor, monitress; murderer, murderess; negro, negress; offender, offendress; ogre, ogress; porter, portress; progenitor, progenitress; protector, protectress; proprietor, proprietress; pythonist, pythoness; seamster, seamstress; solicitor, solicitress; songster, songstress; sorcerer, sorceress; suitor, suitress; tiger, tigress; traitor, traitress; victor, victress; votary, votaress.

3. In a few instances the feminine is formed as in Latin, by changing or to rix; but some of these have also the regular form, which ought to be preferred: as, adjutor, adjutrix; administrator, administratrix; arbitrator, arbitratrix; coadjutor, coadjutrix; competitor, competitress, or competitrix; creditor, creditrix; director, directress, or directrix; executor, executress, or executrix; inheritor, inheritress, or inheritrix; mediator, mediatress, or mediatrix; orator, oratress, or oratrix; rector, rectress, or rectrix; spectator, spectatress, or spectatrix; testator, testatrix; tutor, tutoress, or tutress, or tutrix; deserter, desertress, or desertrice, or desertrix.

4. The following are irregular words, in which the distinction of sex is chiefly made by the termination: amoroso, amorosa: archduke, archduchess; chamberlain, chambermaid; duke, duchess; gaffer, gammer; goodman, goody; hero, heroine; landgrave, landgravine; margrave, margravine; marquis, marchioness; palsgrave, palsgravine; sakeret, sakerhawk; sewer, sewster; sultan, sultana; tzar, tzarina; tyrant, tyranness; widower, widow.

OBS. 12.--The proper names of persons almost always designate their sex; for it has been found convenient to make the names of women different from those of men. We have also some appellatives which correspond to each other, distinguishing the sexes by their distinct application to each: as, bachelor, maid; beau, belle; boy, girl; bridegroom, bride; brother, sister; buck, doe; boar, sow; bull, cow; cock, hen; colt, filly; dog, bitch; drake, duck; earl, countess; father, mother; friar, nun; gander, goose; grandsire, grandam; hart, roe; horse, mare; husband, wife; king, queen; lad, lass; lord, lady; male, female; man, woman; master, mistress; Mister, Missis; (Mr., Mrs.;) milter, spawner; monk, nun; nephew, niece; papa, mamma; rake, jilt; ram, ewe; ruff, reeve; sire, dam; sir, madam; sloven, slut; son, daughter; stag, hind; steer, heifer; swain, nymph; uncle, aunt; wizard, witch; youth, damsel; young man, maiden.

OBS. 13.--The people of a particular country are commonly distinguished by some name derived from that of their country; as, Americans, Africans, Egyptians, Russians, Turks. Such words are sometimes called gentile names. There are also adjectives, of the same origin, if not the same form, which correspond with them. "Gentile names are for the most part considered as masculine, and the feminine is denoted by the gentile adjective and the noun woman: as, a Spaniard, a Spanish woman; a Pole, or Polander, a Polish woman. But, in a few instances, we always use a compound of the adjective with man or woman: as, an Englishman, an Englishwoman; a Welshman, a Welshwoman; an Irishman, an Irishwoman; a Frenchman, a Frenchwoman; a Dutchman, a Dutchwoman: and in these cases the adjective is employed as the collective noun; as, the Dutch, the French, &c. A Scotchman, and a Scot, are both in use; but the latter is not common in prose writers: though some employ it, and these generally adopt the plural, Scots, with the definite article, as the collective term."--Churchill's New Gram., p. 70.

OBS. 14.--The names of things without life, used literally, are always of the neuter gender: as, "When Cleopatra fled, Antony pursued her in a five-oared galley; and, coming along side of her ship, entered it without being seen by her."--Goldsmith's Rome, p. 160. "The sun, high as it is, has its business assigned; and so have the stars."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 138. But inanimate objects are often represented figuratively as having sex. Things remarkable for power, greatness, or sublimity, are spoken of as masculine; as, the sun, time, death, sleep, fear, anger, winter, war. Things beautiful, amiable, or prolific, are spoken of as feminine; as, a ship, the moon, the earth, nature, fortune, knowledge, hope, spring, peace. Figurative gender is indicated only by the personal pronouns of the singular number: as, "When we say of the sun, He is setting; or of a ship, She sails well."--L. Murray. For these two objects, the sun and a ship, this phraseology is so common, that the literal construction quoted above is rarely met with.

OBS. 15.--When any inanimate object or abstract quality is distinctly personified, and presented to the imagination in the character of a living and intelligent being, there is necessarily a change of the gender of the word; for, whenever personality is thus ascribed to what is literally neuter, there must be an assumption of one or the other sex: as, "The Genius of Liberty is awakened, and springs up; she sheds her divine light and creative powers upon the two hemispheres. A great nation, astonished at seeing herself free, stretches her arms from one extremity of the earth to the other, and embraces the first nation that became so."--Abbé Fauchet. But there is an inferior kind of personification, or of what is called such, in which, so far as appears, the gender remains neuter: as, "The following is an instance of personification and apostrophe united: 'O thou sword of the Lord! how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put thyself up into thy scabbard, rest, and be still! How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Askelon, and against the sea-shore? there hath he appointed it.'"--Murray's Gram., p. 348. See Jer., xlvii, 6.

OBS. 16.--If what is called personification, does not always imply a change of gender and an ascription of sex, neither does a mere ascription of sex to what is literally of no sex, necessarily imply a personification; for there may be sex without personality, as we see in brute animals. Hence the gender of a brute animal personified in a fable, may be taken literally as before; and the gender which is figuratively ascribed to the sun, the moon, or a ship, is merely metaphorical. In the following sentence, nature is animated and made feminine by a metaphor, while a lifeless object bearing the name of Venus, is spoken of as neuter: "Like that conceit of old, which declared that the Venus of Gnidos was not the work of Praxiteles, since nature herself had concreted the boundary surface of its beauty."--Rush, on the Voice, p. xxv.

OBS. 17.--"In personifications regard must be had to propriety in determining the gender. Of most of the passions and moral qualities of man the ancients formed deities, as they did of various other things: and, when these are personified, they are usually made male or female, according as they were gods or goddesses in the pagan mythology. The same rule applies in other cases: and thus the planet Jupiter will be masculine; Venus, feminine: the ocean, Oce=anus, masculine: rivers, months, and winds, the same: the names of places, countries, and islands, feminine."--Churchill's Gram., p. 71.

OBS. 18.--These suggestions are worthy of consideration, but, for the gender which ought to be adopted in personifications, there seems to be no absolute general rule, or none which English writers have observed with much uniformity. It is well, however, to consider what is most common in each particular case, and abide by it. In the following examples, the sex ascribed is not that under which these several objects are commonly figured; for which reason, the sentences are perhaps erroneous:--

  "Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
   Wisdom is humble that he knows no more."--Cowper.
   "But hoary Winter, unadorned and bare,
   Dwells in the dire retreat, and freezes there;
   There she assembles all her blackest storms,
   And the rude hail in rattling tempests forms."--Addison.
   "Her pow'r extends o'er all things that have breath,
   A cruel tyrant, and her name is Death."--Sheffield.


Cases, in grammar, are modifications that distinguish the relations of nouns or pronouns to other words.

There are three cases; the nominative, the possessive, and the objective.

The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb: as, The boy runs; I run.

The subject of a finite verb is that which answers to who or what before it; as, "The boy runs."--Who runs? "The boy." Boy is therefore here in the nominative case.

The possessive case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the relation of property: as, The boy's hat; my hat.

The possessive case of nouns is formed, in the singular number, by adding to the nominative s preceded by an apostrophe; and, in the plural, when the nominative ends in s, by adding an apostrophe only: as, singular, boy's; plural, boys';--sounded alike, but written differently.

The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition: as, I know the boy, having seen him at school; and he knows me.

The object of a verb, participle, or preposition, is that which answers to whom or what after it; as, "I know the boy."--I know whom? "The boy." Boy is therefore here in the objective case.

The nominative and the objective of nouns, are always alike in form, being distinguishable from each other only by their place in a sentence, or by their simple dependence according to the sense.


OBS. 1.--The cases, in grammar, are founded on the different relations under which things are represented in discourse; and from which the words acquire correspondent relations; or connexions and dependences according to the sense. In Latin, there are six cases; and in Greek, five. Consequently, the nouns and pronouns of those languages, and also their adjectives and participles, (which last are still farther inflected by the three genders,) are varied by many different terminations unknown to our tongue. In English, those modifications or relations which we call cases, belong only to nouns and pronouns; nor are there ever more than three. Pronouns are not necessarily like their antecedents in case.

OBS. 2.--Because the infinitive mood, a phrase, or a sentence, may in some instances be made the subject of a verb, so as to stand in that relation in which the nominative case is most commonly found; very many of our grammarians have deliberately represented all terms used in this manner, as being "in the nominative case:" as if, to sustain any one of the relations which are usually distinguished by a particular case, must necessarily constitute that modification itself. Many also will have participles, infinitives, phrases, and sentences, to be occasionally "in the objective case:" whereas it must be plain to every reader, that they are, all of them, indeclinable terms; and that, if used in any relation common to nouns or pronouns, they assume that office, as participles, as infinitives, as phrases, or as sentences, and not as cases. They no more take the nature of cases, than they become nouns or pronouns. Yet Nixon, by assuming tha t of, with the word governed by it, constitutes a possessive case, contrives to give to participles, and even to the infinitive mood, all three of the cases. Of the infinitive, he says, "An examination of the first and second methods of parsing this mood, must naturally lead to the inference that it is a substantive; and that, if it has the nominative case, it must also have the possessive and objective cases of a substantive. The fourth method proves its [capacity of] being in the possessive case: thus, 'A desire to learn;' that is, 'of learning.' When it follows a participle, or a verb, as by the fifth or [the] seventh method, it is in the objective case. Method sixth is analogous to the Case Absolute of a substantive."--Nixon's Parser, p. 83. If the infinitive mood is really a declinable substantive, none of our grammarians have placed it in the right chapter; except that bold contemner of all grammatical and literary authority, Oliver B. Peirce. When will the cause of learning cease to have assailants and underminers among those who profess to serve it? Thus every new grammatist, has some grand absurdity or other, peculiar to himself; and what can be more gross, than to talk of English infinitives and participles as being in the possessive case?

OBS. 3.--It was long a subject of dispute among the grammarians, what number of cases an English noun should be supposed to have. Some, taking the Latin language for their model, and turning certain phrases into cases to fill up the deficits, were for having six in each number; namely, the nominative, the genitive, the dative, the accusative, the vocative, and the ablative. Others, contending that a case in grammar could be nothing else than a terminational inflection, and observing that English nouns have but one case that differs from the nominative in form, denied that there were more than two, the nominative and the possessive. This was certainly an important question, touching a fundamental principle of our grammar; and any erroneous opinion concerning it, might well go far to condemn the book that avouched it. Every intelligent teacher must see this. For what sense could be made of parsing, without supposing an objective case to nouns? or what propriety could there be in making the words, of, and to, and from, govern or compose three different cases? Again, with what truth can it be said, that nouns have no cases in English? or what reason can be assigned for making more than three?

OBS. 4.--Public opinion is now clear in the decision, that it is expedient to assign to English nouns three cases, and no more; and, in a matter of this kind, what is expedient for the purpose of instruction, is right. Yet, from the works of our grammarians, may be quoted every conceivable notion, right or wrong, upon this point. Cardell, with Tooke and Gilchrist on his side, contends that English nouns have no cases. Brightland averred that they have neither cases nor genders.[162] Buchanan, and the author of the old British Grammar, assigned to them one case only, the possessive, or genitive. Dr. Adam also says, "In English, nouns have only one case, namely, the genitive, or possessive case."--Latin and Eng. Gram., p. 7. W. B. Fowle has two cases, but rejects the word case: "We use the simple term agent for a noun that acts, and object for the object of an action."--Fowle's True Eng. Gram., Part II, p. 68. Spencer too discards the word case, preferring "form," that he may merge in one the nominative and the objective, giving to nouns two cases, but neither of these. "Nouns have two Forms, called the Simple and [the] Possessive."--Spencer's E. Gram., p. 30. Webber's Grammar, published at Cambridge in 1832, recognizes but two cases of nouns, declaring the objective to be "altogether superfluous."--P. 22. "Our substantives have no more cases than two."--Jamieson's Rhet., p. 14. "A Substantive doth not properly admit of more than two cases: the Nominative, and the Genitive."--Ellen Devis's Gram., p. 19. Dr. Webster, in his Philosophical Grammar, of 1807, and in his Improved Grammar, of 1831, teaches the same doctrine, but less positively. This assumption has also had the support of Lowth, Johnson, Priestley, Ash, Bicknell, Fisher, Dalton, and our celebrated Lindley Murray.[163] In Child's or Latham's English Grammar, 1852, it is said, "The cases in the present English are three:--1. Nominative; 2. Objective; 3. Possessive." But this seems to be meant of pronouns only; for the next section affirms, "The substantives in English have only two out of the three cases."--See pp. 79 and 80. Reckless of the current usage of grammarians, and even of self-consistency, both author and reviser will have no objective case of nouns, because this is like the nominative; yet, finding an objective set after "the adjective like," they will recognize it as "a dative still existing in English!"--See p. 156. Thus do they forsake their own enumeration of cases, as they had before, in all their declensions, forsaken the new order in which they had at first so carefully set them!

OBS. 5.--For the true doctrine of three cases, we have the authority of Murray, in his later editions; of Webster, in his "Plain and Comp. Grammar, grounded on True Principles," 1790; also in his "Rudiments of English Grammar," 1811; together with the united authority of Adams, Ainsworth, Alden, Alger, Bacon, Barnard, Bingham, Burr, Bullions, Butler, Churchill, Chandler, Cobbett, Cobbin, Comly, Cooper, Crombie, Davenport, Davis, Fisk, A. Flint, Frost, Guy, Hart, Hiley, Hull, Ingersoll, Jaudon, Kirkham, Lennie, Mack, M'Culloch, Maunder, Merchant, Nixon, Nutting, John Peirce, Perley, Picket, Russell, Smart, R. C. Smith, Rev. T. Smith, Wilcox, and I know not how many others.

OBS. 6.--Dearborn, in 1795, recognized four cases: "the nominative, the possessive, the objective, and the absolute."--Columbian Gram., pp. 16 and 20. Charles Bucke, in his work misnamed "A Classical Grammar of the English Language," published in London in 1829, asserts, that, "Substantives in English do not vary their terminations;" yet he gives them four cases; "the nominative, the genitive, the accusative, and the vocative." So did Allen, in a grammar much more classical, dated, London, 1813. Hazen, in 1842, adopted "four cases; namely, the nominative, the possessive, the objective, and the independent."--Hazen's Practical Gram., p. 35. Mulligan, since, has chosen these four: "Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative."--Structure of E. Lang., p. 185. And yet his case after to or for is not "dative," but "accusative!"-- Ib., p. 239. So too, Goodenow, of Maine, makes the cases four: "the subjective,[164] the possessive, the objective, and the absolute."--Text-Book, p. 31. Goldsbury, of Cambridge, has also four: "the Nominative, the Possessive, the Objective, and the Vocative."--Com. S. Gram., p. 13. Three other recent grammarians,--Wells, of Andover,-- Weld, of Portland,--and Clark, of Bloomfield, N. Y.,--also adopt "four cases;--the nominative, the possessive, the objective, and the independent."--Wells's Gram., p. 57; Weld's, 60; Clark's, 49. The first of these gentlemen argues, that, "Since a noun or pronoun, used independently, cannot at the same time be employed as 'the subject of a verb,' there is a manifest impropriety in regarding it as a nominative." It might as well be urged, that a nominative after a verb, or in apposition with an other, is, for this reason, not a nominative. He also cites this argument: "'Is there not as much difference between the nominative and [the] independent case, as there is between the nominative and [the] objective? If so, why class them together as one case?'--S. R. Hall."--Wells's School Gram., p. 51. To this I answer, No. "The nominative is that case which primely denotes the name of any person or thing;" (Burn's Gram., p. 36;) and this only it is, that can be absolute, or independent, in English. This scheme of four cases is, in fact, a grave innovation. As authority for it, Wells cites Felton; and bids his readers, "See also Kennion, Parkhurst, Fowle, Flint, Goodenow, Buck, Hazen, Goldsbury, Chapin, S. Alexander, and P. Smith."--Page 57. But is the fourth case of these authors the same as his? Is it a case which "has usually the nominative form," but admits occasionally of "me" and "him," and embraces objective nouns of "time, measure, distance, direction, or place?" No. Certainly one half of them, and probably more, give little or no countenance to such an independent case as he has adopted. Parkhurst admitted but three cases; though he thought two others "might be an improvement." What Fowle has said in support of Wells's four cases, I have sought with diligence, and not found. Felton's "independent case" is only what he absurdly calls, "The noun or pronoun addressed."-- Page 91. Bucke and Goldsbury acknowledge "the nominative case absolute;" and none of the twelve, so far as I know, admit any objective word, or what others call objective, to be independent or absolute, except perhaps Goldsbury.

OBS. 7.--S. R. Hall, formerly principal of the Seminary for Teachers at Andover, (but no great grammarian,) in 1832, published a manual, called "The Grammatical Assistant;" in which he says, "There are at least five cases, belonging to English nouns, differing as much from each other, as the cases of Latin and Greek nouns. They may be called Nominative, Possessive, Objective, Independent and Absolute."--P. 7. O. B. Peirce will have both nouns and pronouns to be used in five cases, which he thus enumerates: "Four simple cases; the Subjective, Possessive, Objective, and the Independent; and the Twofold case."--Gram., p. 42. But, on page 56th, he speaks of a "twofold subjective case," "the twofold objective case," and shows how the possessive may be twofold also; so that, without taking any of the Latin cases, or even all of Hall's, he really recognizes as many as seven, if not eight. Among the English grammars which assume all the six cases of the Latin Language, are Burn's, Coar's, Dilworth's, Mackintosh's, Mennye's, Wm. Ward's, and the "Comprehensive Grammar," a respectable little book, published by Dobson of Philadelphia, in 1789, but written by somebody in England.

OBS. 8.--Of the English grammars which can properly be said to be now in use, a very great majority agree in ascribing to nouns three cases, and three only. This, I am persuaded, is the best number, and susceptible of the best defence, whether we appeal to authority, or to other argument. The disputes of grammarians make no small part of the history of grammar; and in submitting to be guided by their decisions, it is proper for us to consider what degree of certainty there is in the rule, and what difference or concurrence there is among them: for, the teaching of any other than the best opinions, is not the teaching of science, come from what quarter it may. On the question respecting the objective case of nouns, Murray and Webster changed sides with each other; and that, long after they first appeared as grammarians. Nor was this t he only, or the most important instance, in which the different editions of the works of these two gentlemen, present them in opposition, both to themselves and to each other. "What cases are there in English? The nominative, which usually stands before a verb; as, the boy writes: The possessive, which takes an s with a comma, and denotes property; as, John's hat: The objective, which follows a verb or preposition; as, he honors virtue, or it is an honor to him."--Webster's Plain and Comp. Gram., Sixth Edition, 1800, p. 9. "But for convenience, the two positions of nouns, one before, the other after the verb, are called cases. There are then three cases, the nominative, possessive, and objective."--Webster's Rudiments of Gram., 1811, p. 12. "In English therefore names have two cases only, the nominative or simple name, and the possessive."-- Webster's Philosoph. Gram., 1807, p. 32: also his Improved Gram., 1831, p. 24.

OBS. 9.--Murray altered his opinion after the tenth or eleventh edition of his duodecimo Grammar. His instructions stand thus: "In English, substantives have but two cases, the nominative, and [the] possessive or genitive."--Murray's Gram. 12mo, Second Edition, 1796, p. 35. "For the assertion, that there are in English but two cases of nouns, and three of pronouns, we have the authority of Lowth, Johnson, Priestley, &c. names which are sufficient to decide this point."--Ib., p. 36. "In English, substantives have three cases, the nominative, the possessive, and the objective."--Murray's Gram., 12mo, Twenty-third Edition, 1816, p. 44. "The author of this work long doubted the propriety of assigning to English substantives an objective case: but a renewed critical examination of the subject; an examination to which he was prompted by the extensive and increasing demand for the grammar, has produced in his mind a full persuasion, that the nouns of our language are entitled to this comprehensive objective case."--Ib., p. 46. If there is any credit in changing one's opinions, it is, doubtless, in changing them for the better; but, of all authors, a grammarian has the most need critically to examine his subject before he goes to the printer. "This case was adopted in the twelfth edition of the Grammar."--Murray's Exercises, 12mo, N. Y., 1818, p. viii.

OBS. 10.--The possessive case has occasioned no less dispute than the objective. On this vexed article of our grammar, custom has now become much more uniform than it was a century ago; and public opinion may be said to have settled most of the questions which have been agitated about it. Some individuals, however, are still dissatisfied. In the first place, against those who have thought otherwise, it is determined, by infinite odds of authority, that there is such a case, both of nouns and of pronouns. Many a common reader will wonder, who can have been ignorant enough to deny it. "The learned and sagacious Wallis, to whom every English grammarian owes a tribute of reverence, calls this modification of the noun an adjective possessive; I think, with no more propriety than he might have applied the same to the Latin genitive."--Dr. Johnson's Gram., p. 5. Brightland also, who gave to adjectives the name of qualities, included all possessives among them, calling them "Possessive Qualities, or Qualities of Possession."--Brightland's Gram., p. 90.

OBS. 11.--This exploded error, William S. Cardell, a few years ago, republished as a novelty; for which, among other pretended improvements of a like sort, he received the ephemeral praise of some of our modern literati. William B. Fowle also teaches the same thing. See his Common School Gram., Part II, p. 104. In Felch's Grammar, too, published in Boston in 1837, an attempt is made, to revive this old doctrine; but the author takes no notice of any of the above-named authorities, being probably ignorant of them all. His reasoning upon the point, does not appear to me to be worthy of a detailed answer.[165] That the possessive case of nouns is not an adjective, is demonstrable; because it may have adjectives of various kinds, relating to it: as, "This old man's daughter."--Shak. It may also govern an other possessive; as, "Peter's wife's mother."--Bible. Here the former possessive is governed by the latter; but, if both were adjectives, they would both relate to the noun mother, and so produce a confusion of ideas. Again, nouns of the possessive case have a distinction of number, which adjectives have not. In gender also, there lies a difference. Adjectives, whenever they are varied by gender or number, agree with their nouns in these respects. Not so with possessives; as, "In the Jews' religion."--Gal., i. 13. "The children's bread."--Mark, vii, 27. "Some men's sins."--1 Tim., v, 24. "Other men's sins."--Ib., ver. 22.

OBS. 12.--Secondly, general custom has clearly determined that the possessive case of nouns is always to be written with an apostrophe: except in those few instances in which it is not governed singly by the noun following, but so connected with an other that both are governed jointly; as, "Cato the Censor's doctrine,"--"Sir Walter Scott's Works,"--"Beaumont and Fletcher's Plays." This custom of using the apostrophe, however, has been opposed by many. Brightland, and Buchanan, and the author of the British Grammar, and some late writers in the Philological Museum, are among those who have successively taught, that the possessive case should be formed like the nominative plural, by adding s when the pronunciation admits the sound, and es when the word acquires an additional syllable. Some of these approve of the apostrophe, and others do not. Thus Brightland gives some examples, which are contrary to his rule, adopting that strange custom of putting the s in Roman, and the name in Italic; "as, King Charles's Court, and St. James's Park."--Gram. of the English Tongue, p. 91.

OBS. 13.--"The genitive case, in my opinion," says Dr. Ash, "might be much more properly formed by adding s, or when the pronunciation requires it, es, without an Apostrophe: as, men, mens; Ox, Oxes; Horse, Horses; Ass, Asses."--Ash's Gram., p. 23. "To write Ox's, Ass's, Fox's, and at the same time pronounce it Oxes, Asses, Foxes, is such a departure from the original formation, at least in writing, and such an inconsistent use of the Apostrophe, as cannot be equalled perhaps in any other language."--Ib. Lowth, too, gives some countenance to this objection: "It [i.e., 'God's grace'] was formerly written 'Godis grace;' we now always shorten it with an apostrophe; often very improperly, when we are obliged to pronounce it fully; as, 'Thomas's book,' that is, 'Thomasis book,' not 'Thomas his book,' as it is commonly supposed."--Lowth's Gram., p. 17. Whatever weight there may be in this argument, the objection has been overruled by general custom. The convenience of distinguishing, even to the eye alone, the numbers and cases of the noun, is found too great to be relinquished. If the declension of English nouns is ever to be amended, it cannot be done in this way. It is understood by every reader, that the apostrophic s adds a syllable to the noun, whenever it will not unite with the sound in which the nominative ends; as, torch's, pronounced torchiz.

  "Yet time ennobles or degrades each line;
   It brightened Craggs's, and may darken thine."--Pope.

OBS. 14.--The English possessive case unquestionably originated in that form of the Saxon genitive which terminates in es, examples of which may be found in almost any specimen of the Saxon tongue: as, "On Herodes dagum,"--"In Herod's days;"--"Of Aarones dohtrum,"--"Of Aaron's daughters."--Luke, i, 5. This ending was sometimes the same as that of the plural; and both were changed to is or ys, before they became what we now find them. This termination added a syllable to the word; and Lowth suggests, in the quotation above, that the apostrophe was introduced to shorten it. But some contend, that the use of this mark originated in a mistake. It appears from the testimony of Brightland, Johnson, Lowth, Priestley, and others, who have noticed the error in order to correct it, that an opinion was long entertained, that the termination 's was a contraction of the word his. It is certain that Addison thought so; for he expressly says it, in the 135th number of the Spectator. Accordingly he wrote, in lieu of the regular possessive, "My paper is Ulysses his bow."--Guardian, No. 98. "Of Socrates his rules of prayer."--Spect., No. 207. So Lowth quotes Pope: "By young Telemachus his blooming years."--Lowth's Gram., p. 17.[166] There is also one late author who says, "The 's is a contraction of his, and was formerly written in full; as, William Russell his book."--Goodenow's Gram., p. 32. This is undoubtedly bad English; and always was so, however common may have been the erroneous notion which gave rise to it. But the apostrophe, whatever may have been its origin, is now the acknowledged distinctive mark of the possessive case of English nouns. The application of the 's, frequently to feminines, and sometimes to plurals, is proof positive that it is not a contraction of the pronoun his; as,

  "Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
   Weighs the men's wits against the Lady's hair."
       --Pope, R. of L., C. v, l. 72.

OBS. 15.--Many of the old grammarians, and Guy, Pinneo, and Spencer, among the moderns, represent the regular formation of the possessive case as being the same in both numbers, supposing generally in the plural an abbreviation of the word by the omission of the second or syllabic s. That is, they suppose that such terms as eagles' wings, angels' visits, were written for eagles's wings, angels's visits, &c. This odd view of the matter accounts well enough for the fashion of such plurals as men's, women's, children's, and makes them regular. But I find no evidence at all of the fact on which these authors presume; nor do I believe that the regular possessive plural was ever, in general, a syllable longer than the nominative. If it ever had been so, it would still be easy to prove the point, by citations from ancient books. The general principle then is, that the apostrophe forms the possessive case, with an s in the singular, and without it in the plural; but there are some exceptions to this rule, on either hand; and these must be duly noticed.

OBS. 16.--The chief exceptions, or irregularities, in the formation of the possessive singular, are, I think, to be accounted mere poetic licenses; and seldom, if ever, to be allowed in prose. Churchill, (closely copying Lowth,) speaks of them thus: "In poetry the s is frequently omitted after proper names ending in s or x as, 'The wrath of Peleus' son.' Pope. This is scarcely allowable in prose, though instances of it occur: as, 'Moses' minister.' Josh., i, 1. 'Phinehas' wife.' 1 Sam., iv, 19. 'Festus came into Felix' room.' Acts, xxiv, 27. It was done in prose evidently to avoid the recurrence of a sibilant sound at the end of two following syllables; but this may as readily be obviated by using the preposition of, which is now commonly substituted for the possessive case in most instances."--Churchill's New Gram., p. 215. In Scott's Bible, Philadelphia, 1814, the texts here quoted are all of them corrected, thus: "Moses's minister,"--"Phinehas's wife,"--"Felix's room." But the phrase, "for conscience sake," (Rom., xiii, 5,) is there given without the apostrophe. Alger prints it, "for conscience' sake," which is better; and though not regular, it is a common form for this particular expression. Our common Bibles have this text: "And the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den."--Isaiah, xi, 8. Alger, seeing this to be wrong, wrote it, "on the cockatrice-den."--Pronouncing Bible. Dr. Scott, in his Reference Bible, makes this possessive regular, "on the cockatrice's den." This is right. The Vulgate has it, "in caverna reguli;" which, however, is not classic Latin. After z also, the poets sometimes drop the s: as,

  "Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
   When first from Shiraz' walls I bent my way."--Collins.

OBS. 17.--A recent critic, who, I think, has not yet learned to speak or write the possessive case of his own name properly, assumes that the foregoing occasional or poetical forms are the only true ones for the possessive singular of such words. He says, "When the name does end with the sound of s or z, (no matter what letter represents the sound,) the possessive form is made by annexing only an apostrophe."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 44. Agreeably to this rule, he letters his work, "Peirce' Grammar," and condemns, as bad English, the following examples and all others like them: "James Otis's letters, General Gates's command, General Knox's appointment, Gov. Meigs's promptness, Mr. Williams's oration, The witness's deposition."--Ib., p. 60. It is obvious that this gentleman's doctrine and criticism are as contrary to the common practice of all good authors, as they are to the common grammars, which he ridicules. Surely, such expressions as, "Harris's Hermes, Philips's Poems, Prince's Bay, Prince's Island, Fox's Journal, King James's edict, a justice's warrant, Sphinx's riddle, the lynx's beam, the lass's beauty," have authority enough to refute the cavil of this writer; who, being himself wrong, falsely charges the older grammarians, that," their theories vary from the principles of the language correctly spoken or written."--Ib., p. 60. A much more judicious author treats this point of grammar as follows: "When the possessive noun is singular, and terminates with an s, another s is requisite after it, and the apostrophe must be placed between the two; as, 'Dickens's works,'--'Harris's wit.'"--Day's Punctuation, Third London Edition, p. 136. The following example, too, is right: "I would not yield to be your house's guest."--Shakespeare.

OBS. 18.--All plural nouns that differ from the singular without ending in s, form the possessive case in the same manner as the singular: as, man's, men's; woman's, women's j child's, children's; brother's, brothers' or brethren's; ox's, oxen's; goose, geese's. In two or three words which are otherwise alike in both numbers, the apostrophe ought to follow the s in the plural, to distinguish it from the singular: as, the sheep's fleece, the sheeps' fleeces; a neat's tongue, neats' tongues; a deer's horns, a load of deers' horns.

OBS. 19.--Dr. Ash says, "Nouns of the plural number that end in s, will not very properly admit of the genitive case."--Ash's Gram., p. 54. And Dr. Priestley appears to have been of the same opinion. See his Gram., p. 69. Lowth too avers, that the sign of the possessive case is "never added to the plural number ending in s."--Gram., p. 18. Perhaps he thought the plural sign must involve an other s, like the singular. This however is not true, neither is Dr. Ash's assertion true; for the New Testament speaks as properly of "the soldiers' counsel," as of the "centurion's servant;" of "the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part," as of "Paul's sister's son." It would appear, however, that the possessive plural is less frequently used than the possessive singular; its place being much oftener supplied by the preposition of and the objective. We cannot say that either of them is absolutely necessary to the language; but they are both worthy to be commended, as furnishing an agreeable variety of expression.

  "Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend
   His actions', passions', being's use and end."--Pope.

OBS. 20.--The apostrophe was introduced into the possessive case, at least for the singular number, in some part of the seventeenth century. Its adoption for the plural, appears to have been later: it is not much used in books a hundred years old. In Buchanan's "Regular English Syntax," which was written, I know not exactly when, but near the middle of the eighteenth century, I find the following paragraph: "We have certainly a Genitive Plural, though there has been no Mark to distinguish it. The Warriors Arms, i. e. the Arms of the Warriors, is as much a Genitive Plural, as the Warrior's Arms, for the Arms of the Warrior is a Genitive Singular. To distinguish this Genitive Plural, especially to Foreigners, we might use the Apostrophe reversed, thus, the Warrior`s Arms, the Stone`s End, for the End of the Stones, the Grocer`s, Taylor`s, Haberdasher`s, &c. Company; for the Company of Grocers, Taylors, &c. The Surgeon`s Hall, for the Hall of the Surgeons; the Rider`s Names, for the Names of the Riders; and so of all Plural Possessives."--See Buchan. Synt., p. 111. Our present form of the possessive plural, being unknown to this grammarian, must have had a later origin; nor can it have been, as some imagine it was, an abbreviation of a longer and more ancient form.

OBS. 21.--The apostrophic s has often been added to nouns improperly; the words formed by it not being intended for the possessive singular, but for the nominative or objective plural. Thus we find such authors as Addison and Swift, writing Jacobus's and genius's, for Jacobuses and geniuses; idea's, toga's, and tunica's, for ideas, togas, and tunicas; enamorato's and virtuoso's, for enamoratoes and virtuosoes. Errors of this kind, should be carefully avoided.

OBS. 22.--The apostrophe and s are sometimes added to mere characters, to denote plurality, and not the possessive case; as, two a's, three b's, four 9's. These we cannot avoid, except by using the names of the things: as, two Aes, three Bees, four Nines. "Laced down the sides with little c's."--Steele. "Whenever two gg's come together, they are both hard."--Buchanan. The names of c and g, plural, are Cees and Gees. Did these authors know the words, or did they not? To have learned the names of the letters, will be found on many occasions a great convenience, especially to critics. For example: "The pronunciation of these two consecutive s's is hard."--Webber's Gram., p. 21. Better: "Esses." "S and x, however, are exceptions. They are pluralyzed by adding es preceded by a hyphen [-], as the s-es; the x-es."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 40. Better, use the names, Ess and Ex, and pluralize thus: "the Esses; the Exes."

  "Make Q's of answers, to waylay
   What th' other party's like to say."
       --Hudibras, P. III, C. ii, l. 951.

Here the cipher is to be read Kues, but it has not the meaning of this name merely. It is put either for the plural of Q., a Question, like D. D.'s, (read Dee-Dees,) for Doctors of Divinity; or else, more erroneously, for cues, the plural of cue, a turn which the next speaker catches.

OBS. 23.--In the following example, the apostrophe and s are used to give the sound of a verb's termination, to words which the writer supposed were not properly verbs: "When a man in a soliloquy reasons with himself, and pro's and con's, and weighs all his designs."--Congreve. But here, "proes and cons," would have been more accurate. "We put the ordered number of m's into our composing-stick."--Printer's Gram. Here "Ems" would have done as well. "All measures for folio's and quarto's, should be made to m's of the English body; all measures for octavo's, to Pica m's."--Ibid. Here regularity requires, "folios, quartoes, octavoes," and "pica Ems." The verb is, when contracted, sometimes gives to its nominative the same form as that of the possessive case, it not being always spaced off for distinction, as it may be; as,

  "A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod;
   An honest man's the noblest work of God."
       --Pope, on Man, Ep. iv, l. 247.

OBS. 24.--As the objective case of nouns is to be distinguished from the nominative, only by the sense, relation, and position, of words in a sentence, the learner must acquire a habit of attending to these several things. Nor ought it to be a hardship to any reader to understand that which he thinks worth reading. It is seldom possible to mistake one of these cases for the other, without a total misconception of the author's meaning. The nominative denotes the agent, actor, or doer; the person or thing that is made the subject of an affirmation, negation, question, or supposition: its place, except in a question, is commonly before the verb. The objective, when governed by a verb or a participle, denotes the person on whom, or the thing on which, the action falls and terminates: it is commonly placed after the verb, participle, or preposition, which governs it. Nouns, then, by changing places, may change cases: as, "Jonathan loved David;" "David loved Jonathan." Yet the case depends not entirely upon position; for any order in which the words cannot be misunderstood, is allowable: as, "Such tricks hath strong imagination."--Shak. Here the cases are known, because the meaning is plainly this: "Strong imagination hath such tricks." "To him give all the prophets witness."--Acts, x, 43. This is intelligible enough, and more forcible than the same meaning expressed thus: "All the prophets give witness to him." The order of the words never can affect the explanation to be given of them in parsing, unless it change the sense, and form them into a different sentence.


The declension of a noun is a regular arrangement of its numbers and cases. Thus:--


Sing. Nom.   friend,      Plur. Nom.   friends,
      Poss.  friend's,          Poss.  friends',
      Obj.   friend;            Obj.   friends.


Sing. Nom.   man,         Plur. Nom.   men,
      Poss.  man's,             Poss.  men's,
      Obj.   man;               Obj.   men.


Sing. Nom.   fox,         Plur. Nom.   foxes,
      Poss.  fox's,             Poss.  foxes',
      Obj.   fox;               Obj. foxes.


Sing. Nom.   fly,         Plur. Nom.   flies,
      Poss.  fly's,             Poss.  flies',
      Obj.   fly;               Obj.   flies.



In the Third Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and define the different parts of speech, and the classes and modifications of the ARTICLES and NOUNS.

The definitions to be given in the Third Praxis, are two for an article, six for a noun, and one for an adjective, a pronoun, a verb, a participle, an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an interjection. Thus:--


"The writings of Hannah More appear to me more praiseworthy than Scott's."

The is the definite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things.

Writings is a common noun, of the third person, plural number, neuter gender, and nominative case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The plural number is that which denotes more than one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Of is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Hannah More is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number, feminine gender, and objective case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A proper noun is the name of some particular individual, or people, or group. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The feminine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the female kind. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

Appear is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

To is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Me is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.

More is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Praiseworthy is an adjective. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality.

Than is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

Scott's is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and possessive case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A proper noun is the name of some particular individual, or people, or group. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The possessive case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the relation of property.


"The virtue of Alexander appears to me less vigorous than that of Socrates. Socrates in Alexander's place I can readily conceive: Alexander in that of Socrates I cannot. Alexander will tell you, he can subdue the world: it was a greater work in Socrates to fulfill the duties of life. Worth consists most, not in great, but in good actions."--Kames's Art of Thinking, p. 70.

"No one should ever rise to speak in public, without forming to himself a just and strict idea of what suits his own age and character; what suits the subject, the hearers, the place, the occasion."--Blair's Rhetoric, p. 260.

"In the short space of little more than a century, the Greeks became such statesmen, warriors, orators, historians, physicians, poets, critics, painters, sculptors, architects, and, last of all, philosophers, that one can hardly help considering that golden period, as a providential event in honour of human nature, to show to what perfection the species might ascend."--Harris's Hermes, p. 417.

  "Is genius yours? Be yours a glorious end,
   Be your king's, country's, truth's, religion's friend."--You ng.


"He that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also, he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant."--1 Cor., vii, 22.

"What will remain to the Alexanders, and the Cæsars, and the Jenghizes, and the Louises, and the Charleses, and the Napoleons, with whose 'glories' the idle voice of fame is filled?"--J. Dymond. "Good sense, clear ideas, perspicuity of language, and proper arrangement of words and thoughts, will always command attention."--Blair's Rhet., p. 174.

"A mother's tenderness and a father's care are nature's gifts for man's advantage.--Wisdom's precepts form the good man's interest and happiness."--Murray's Key, p. 194.

"A dancing-school among the Tuscaroras, is not a greater absurdity than a masquerade in America. A theatre, under the best regulations, is not essential to our happiness. It may afford entertainment to individuals; but it is at the expense of private taste and public morals."--Webster's Essays, p. 86.

  "Where dancing sunbeams on the waters played,
   And verdant alders form'd a quivering shade."--Pope.


"I have ever thought that advice to the young, unaccompanied by the routine of honest employments, is like an attempt to make a shrub grow in a certain direction, by blowing it with a bellows."--Webster's Essays, p. 247.

"The Arabic characters for the writing of numbers, were introduced into Europe by Pope Sylvester II, in the eleventh century."--Constable's Miscellany.

"Emotions raised by inanimate objects, trees, rivers, buildings, pictures, arrive at perfection almost instantaneously; and they have a long endurance, a second view producing nearly the same pleasure with the first."--Kames's Elements, i, 108.

"There is great variety in the same plant, by the different appearances of its stem, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit, size, and colour; and yet, when we trace that variety through different plants, especially of the same kind, there is discovered a surprising uniformity."--Ib., i, 273.

  "Attitude, action, air, pause, start, sigh, groan,
   He borrow'd, and made use of as his own."--Churchill.
   "I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe,
   With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear!"--Burns.




"All the ablest of the Jewish Rabbis acknowledge it."--Wilson's Heb. Gram., p. 7.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the word Rabbi is here made plural by the addition of s only. But, according to Observation 12th on the Numbers, nouns in i ought rather to form the plural in ies. The capital R, too, is not necessary. Therefore, Rabbis should be rabbies, with ies and a small r.]

"Who has thoroughly imbibed the system of one or other of our Christian rabbis."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 378. "The seeming singularitys of reason soon wear off."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 47. "The chiefs and arikis or priests have the power of declaring a place or object taboo."--Balbi's Geog., p. 460. "Among the various tribes of this family, are the Pottawatomies, the Sacs and Foxes, or Saukis and Ottogamis."--Ib., p. 178. "The Shawnees, Kickapoos, Menomonies, Miamis and Delawares, are of the same region."--Ib., p. 178. "The Mohegans and Abenaquis belonged also to this family."--Ib., p. 178. "One tribe of this family, the Winnebagos, formerly resided near lake Michigan."--Ib., p. 179. "The other tribes are the Ioways, the Otoes, the Missouris, the Quapaws."--Ib., p. 179. "The great Mexican family comprises the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Tarascos."--Ib., p. 179. "The Mulattoes are born of negro and white parents; the Zambos, of Indians and negroes."--Ib., p. 165. "To have a place among the Alexanders, the Cæsars, the Lewis', or the Charles', the scourges and butchers of their fellow-creatures."--Burgh's Dignity, i, 132. "Which was the notion of the Platonic Philosophers and Jewish rabbii."--Ib., p. 248. "That they should relate to the whole body of virtuosos."--Gobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 212. "What thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them."--Luke, vi, 32. "There are five ranks of nobility; dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons."--Balbi's Geog., p. 228. "Acts, which were so well known to the two Charles's."--Payne's Geog., ii, 511. "Court Martials are held in all parts, for the trial of the blacks."--Observer, No. 458. "It becomes a common noun, and may have a plural number; as, the two Davids; the two Scipios, the two Pompies."--Staniford's Gram., p. 8. "The food of the rattlesnake is birds, squirrels, hare, rats, and reptiles."--Balbi's Geog., p. 177. "And let fowl multiply in the earth."--Genesis, i, 22. "Then we reached the hill-side where eight buffalo were grazing."--Martineau's Amer., i, 202. "Corset, n. a pair of bodice for a woman."--Worcester's Dict., 12mo. "As the be's; the ce's, the doubleyu's."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 40. "Simplicity is the means between ostentation and rusticity."--Pope's Pref. to Homer. "You have disguised yourselves like tipstaves."--Gil Blas, i, 111. "But who, that hath any taste, can endure the incessant quick returns of the also's, and the likewise's, and the moreover's, and the however's, and the notwithstanding's?"--Campbell's Rhet., p. 439.

  "Sometimes, in mutual sly disguise,
   Let Aye's seem No's, and No's seem Aye's."--Gay, p. 431.


"For whose name sake, I have been made willing."--Wm. Penn.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the noun name, which is here meant for the possessive case singular, has not the true form of that case. But, according to a principle on page 258th, "The possessive case of nouns is formed, in the singular number, by adding to the nominative s preceded by an apostrophe; and, in the plural, when the nominative ends in s, by adding an apostrophe only." Therefore, name should be name's; thus, "For whose name's sake, I have been made willing."]

"Be governed by your conscience, and never ask anybodies leave to be honest."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 105. "To overlook nobodies merit or misbehaviour."--Ib., p. 9. "And Hector at last fights his way to the stern of Ajax' ship."--Coleridge's Introd., p. 91. "Nothing is lazier, than to keep ones eye upon words without heeding their meaning."-- Philological Museum, i, 645. "Sir William Joneses division of the day."--Ib., Contents. "I need only refer here to Vosses excellent account of it."--Ib., i, 465. "The beginning of Stesichoruses palinode has been preserved."--Ib., i, 442. "Though we have Tibulluses elegies, there is not a word in them about Glycera."--Ib., p. 446. "That Horace was at Thaliarchuses country-house."--Ib., i, 451. "That Sisyphuses foot-tub should have been still in existence."--Ib., i, 468. "How every thing went on in Horace's closet, and in Mecenases antechamber."--Ib., i, 458. "Who, for elegant brevities sake, put a participle for a verb."--Walker's Particles, p. 42. "The countries liberty being oppressed, we have no more to hope."--Ib., p. 73. "A brief but true account of this peoples' principles."--Barclay's Pref. "As, the Churche's Peace, or the Peace of the Church; Virgil's Eneid, or the Eneid of Virgil"--British Gram., p. 93. "As, Virgil's Æneid, for the Æneid of Virgil; the Church'es Peace, for the Peace of the Church."--Buchanan's Syntax, p. 18. "Which, with Hubner's Compend, and Wells' Geographia Classica, will be sufficient."-- Burgh's Dignity, i, 155. "Witness Homer's speaking horses, scolding goddesses, and Jupiter enchanted with Venus' girdle."--Ib., i, 184. "Dr. Watts' Logic may with success be read and commented on to them."--Ib., p. 156. "Potter's Greek, and Kennet's Roman Antiquities, Strauchius' and Helvicus' Chronology."--Ib., p. 161. "Sing. Alice' friends, Felix' property; Plur. The Alices' friends, The Felixes' property."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 46. "Such as Bacchus'es company,"--"at Bacchus'es festivals."--Ainsworth's Dict., w. Thyrsus. "Burn's inimitable Tam o'Shanter turns entirely upon such a circumstance."--Scott's Lay, Notes, p. 201. "Nominative, Men. Genitive, Mens. Objective, Men."--Cutler's Gram., p. 20. "Mens Happiness or Misery is most part of their own making."--Locke, on Education, p. 1. "That your Sons Cloths be never made strait, especially about the Breast."--Ib., p. 15. "Childrens Minds are narrow and weak."--Ib., p. 297. "I would not have little Children much tormented about Punctilio's, or Niceties of Breeding."--Ib., p. 90. "To fill his Head with suitable Idea's."--Ib., p. 113. "The Burgusdiscius's and the Scheiblers did not swarm in those Days, as they do now."--Ib., p. 163. "To see the various ways of dressing--a calve's head!"--Shenstone, Brit. Poets, Vol. vii, p. 143.

  "He puts it on, and for decorum sake
   Can wear it e'en as gracefully as she."--Cowper's Task.


"Simon the witch was of this religion too."--Bunyan's P. P., p. 123.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the feminine name witch is here applied to a man. But, according to the doctrine of genders, on page 254th, "Names of males are masculine; names of females, feminine;" &c. Therefore, witch should be wizard; thus, "Simon the wizard," &c.]

"Mammodis, n. Coarse, plain India muslins."--Webster's Dict. "Go on from single persons to families, that of the Pompeyes for instance."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 142. "By which the ancients were not able to account for phænomenas."--Bailey's Ovid, p. vi. "After this I married a wife who had lived at Crete, but a Jew by birth."--Josephus's Life, p. 194. "The very heathen are inexcusable for not worshipping him."--Student's Manual, p. 328. "Such poems as Camoen's Lusiad, Voltaire's Henriade, &c."--Blair's Rhet., p. 422. "My learned correspondent writes a word in defence of large scarves."--SPECT.: in Joh. Dict. "The forerunners of an apoplexy are dulness, vertigos, tremblings."--ARBUTHNOT: ib. "Vertigo changes the o into ~in= es, making the plural vertig~in=es."--Churchill's Gram., p. 59. "Noctambulo changes the o into =on=es, making the plural noctambul=on=es."--Ib., p. 59. "What shall we say of noctambulos?"--ARBUTHNOT: in Joh. Dict. "In the curious fretwork of rocks and grottos."--Blair's Rhet., p. 220. "Wharf makes the plural wharves."--Smith's Gram., p. 45; Merchant's, 29; Picket's, 21; Frost's, 8. "A few cent's worth of maccaroni supplies all their wants."--Balbi's Geog., p. 275. "C sounds hard, like k, at the end of a word or syllables."--Blair's Gram., p. 4. "By which the virtuosi try The magnitude of every lie."--Hudibras. "Quartos, octavos, shape the lessening pyre."--Pope's Dunciad, B. i, l. 162. "Perching within square royal rooves."--SIDNEY: in Joh. Dict. "Similies should, even in poetry, be used with moderation."--Blair's Rhet., p. 166. "Similies should never be taken from low or mean objects."--Ib., p. 167. "It were certainly better to say, 'The house of lords,' than 'the Lord's house.'"--Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 177. "Read your answers. Unit figure? 'Five.' Ten's? 'Six.' Hundreds? 'Seven.'"--Abbott's Teacher, p. 79. "Alexander conquered Darius' army."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 58. "Three days time was requisite, to prepare matters."--Brown's Estimate, ii, 156. "So we say that Ciceros stile and Sallusts, were not one, nor Cesars and Livies, nor Homers and Hesiodus, nor Herodotus and Theucidides, nor Euripides and Aristophanes, nor Erasmus and Budeus stiles."--Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, iii, 5. "Lex (i.e. legs) is no other than our ancestors past participle læg, laid down."--Tooke's Diversions, ii, 7. "Achaia's sons at Ilium slain for the Atridæ' sake."--Cowper's Iliad. "The corpse[167] of half her senate manure the fields of Thessaly."--Addison's Cato.

  "Poisoning, without regard of fame or fear:
   And spotted corpse are frequent on the bier."--Dryden.


An Adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality: as, A wise man; a new book. You two are diligent.


OBS. 1.--Adjectives have been otherwise called attributes, attributives, qualities, adnouns; but none of these names is any better than the common one. Some writers have classed adjectives with verbs; because, with a neuter verb for the copula, they often form logical predicates: as, "Vices are contagious." The Latin grammarians usually class them with nouns; consequently their nouns are divided into nouns substantive and nouns adjective. With us, substantives are nouns; and adjectives form a part of speech by themselves. This is generally acknowledged to be a much better distribution. Adjectives cannot with propriety be called nouns, in any language; because they are not the names of the qualities which they signify. They must be added to nouns or pronouns in order to make sense. But if, in a just distribution of words, the term "adjective nouns" is needless and improper, the term "adjective pronouns" is, certainly, not less so: most of the words which Murray and others call by this name, are not pronouns, but adjectives.

OBS. 2.--The noun, or substantive, is a name, which makes sense of itself. The adjective is an adjunct to the noun or pronoun. It is a word added to denote quality, situation, quantity, number, form, tendency, or whatever else may characterize and distinguish the thing or things spoken of. Adjectives, therefore, are distinguished from nouns by their relation to them; a relation corresponding to that which qualities bear to things: so that no part of speech is more easily discriminated than the adjective. Again: English adjectives, as such, are all indeclinable. When, therefore, any words usually belonging to this class, are found to take either the plural or the possessive form, like substantive nouns, they are to be parsed as nouns. To abbreviate expression, we not unfrequently, in this manner, convert adjectives into nouns. Thus, in grammar, we often speak of nominatives, possessives, or objectives, meaning nouns or pronouns of the nominative, the possessive, or the objective case; of positives, comparatives, or superlatives, meaning adjectives of the positive, the comparative, or the superlative degree; of infinitives, subjunctives, or imperatives, meaning verbs of the infinitive, the subjunctive, or the imperative mood; and of singulars, plurals, and many other such things, in the same way. So a man's superiors or inferiors are persons superior or inferior to himself. His betters are persons better than he. Others are any persons or things distinguished from some that are named or referred to; as, "If you want enemies, excel others; if you want friends, let others excel you."--Lacon. All adjectives thus taken substantively, become nouns, and ought to be parsed as such, unless this word others is to be made an exception, and called a "pronoun."

  "Th' event is fear'd; should we again provoke
   Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find."
       --Milton, P. L., B. ii, l. 82.

OBS. 3.--Murray says, "Perhaps the words former and latter may be properly ranked amongst the demonstrative pronouns, especially in many of their applications. The following sentence may serve as an example: 'It was happy for the state, that Fabius continued in the command with Minutius: the former's phlegm was a check upon the latter's vivacity.'"--Gram., 8vo, p. 57. This I take to be bad English. Former and latter ought to be adjectives only; except when former means maker. And, if not so, it is too easy a way of multiplying pronouns, to manufacture two out of one single anonymous sentence. If it were said, "The deliberation of the former was a seasonable chock upon the fiery temper of the latter" the words former and latter would seem to me not to be pronouns, but adjectives, each relating to the noun commander understood after it.

OBS. 4.--The sense and relation of words in sentences, as well as their particular form and meaning, must be considered in parsing, before the learner can say, with certainty, to what class they belong. Other parts of speech, and especially nouns and participles, by a change in their construction, may become adjectives. Thus, to denote the material of which a thing is formed, we very commonly make the name of the substantive an adjective to that of the thing: as, A gold chain, a silver spoon, a glass pitcher, a tin basin, an oak plank, a basswood slab, a whalebone rod. This construction is in general correct, whenever the former word may be predicated of the latter; as, "The chain is gold."--"The spoon is silver." But we do not write gold beater for goldbeater, or silver smith for silversmith; because the beater is not gold, nor is the smith silver. This principle, however, is not universally observed; for we write snowball, whitewash, and many similar compounds, though the ball is snow and the wash is white; and linseed oil, or Newark cider, may be a good phrase, though the former word cannot well be predicated of the latter. So in the following examples: "Let these conversation tones be the foundation of public pronunciation."--Blair's Rhet., p. 334. "A muslin flounce, made very full, would give a very agreeable flirtation air."--POPE: Priestley's Gram., p. 79.

  "Come, calm Content, serene and sweet,
   O gently guide my pilgrim feet
   To find thy hermit cell."--Barbauld.

OBS. 5.--Murray says, "Various nouns placed before other nouns assume the nature of adjectives: as, sea fish, wine vessel, corn field, meadow ground, &c."--Octavo Gram., p. 48. This is, certainly, very lame instruction. If there is not palpable error in all his examples, the propriety of them all is at least questionable; and, to adopt and follow out their principle, would be, to tear apart some thousands of our most familiar compounds. "Meadow ground" may perhaps be a correct phrase, since the ground is meadow; it seems therefore preferable to the compound word meadow-ground. What he meant by "wine vessel" is doubtful: that is, whether a ship or a cask, a flagon or a decanter. If we turn to our dictionaries, Webster has sea-fish and wine-cask with a hyphen, and cornfield without; while Johnson and others have corn-field with a hyphen, and seafish without. According to the rules for the figure of words, we ought to write them seafish, winecask, cornfield. What then becomes of the thousands of "adjectives" embraced in the "&c." quoted above?

OBS. 6.--The pronouns he and she, when placed before or prefixed to nouns merely to denote their gender, appear to be used adjectively; as, "The male or he animals offered in sacrifice."--Wood's Dict., w. Males. "The most usual term is he or she, male or female, employed as an adjective: as, a he bear, a she bear; a male elephant, a female elephant."--Churchill's Gram., p. 69. Most writers, however, think proper to insert a hyphen in the terms here referred to: as, he-bear, she-bear, the plurals of which are he-bears and she-bears. And, judging by the foregoing rule of predication, we must assume that this practice only is right. In the first example, the word he is useless; for the term "male animals" is sufficiently clear without it. It has been shown in the third chapter, that he and she are sometimes used as nouns; and that, as such, they may take the regular declension of nouns, making the plurals hes and shes. But whenever these words are used adjectively to denote gender, whether we choose to insert the hyphen or not, they are, without question, indeclinable, like other adjectives. In the following example, Sanborn will have he to be a noun in the objective case; but I consider it rather, to be an adjective, signifying masculine:

  "(Philosophy, I say, and call it He;
   For, whatsoe'er the painter's fancy be,
   It a male-virtue seems to me.")--Cowley, Brit. Poets, Vol. ii, p. 54.

OBS. 7.--Though verbs give rise to many adjectives, they seldom, if ever, become such by a mere change of construction. It is mostly by assuming an additional termination, that any verb is formed into an adjective: as in teachable, moveable, oppressive, diffusive, prohibitory. There are, however, about forty words ending in ate, which, without difference of form, are either verbs or adjectives; as, aggregate, animate, appropriate, articulate, aspirate, associate, complicate, confederate, consummate, deliberate, desolate, effeminate, elate, incarnate, intimate, legitimate, moderate, ordinate, precipitate, prostrate, regenerate, reprobate, separate, sophisticate, subordinate. This class of adjectives seems to be lessening. The participials in ed, are superseding some of them, at least in popular practice: as, contaminated, for contaminate, defiled; reiterated, for reiterate, repeated; situated, for situate, placed; attenuated, for attenuate, made thin or slender. Devote, exhaust, and some other verbal forms, are occasionally used by the poets, in lieu of the participial forms, devoted, exhausted, &c.

OBS. 8.--Participles, which have naturally much resemblance to this part of speech, often drop their distinctive character, and become adjectives. This is usually the case whenever they stand immediately before the nouns to which they relate; as, A pleasing countenance, a piercing eye, an accomplished scholar, an exalted station. Many participial adjectives are derivatives formed from participles by the negative prefix un, which reverses the meaning of the primitive word; as, undisturbed, undivided, unenlightened. Most words of this kind differ of course from participles, because there are no such verbs as to undisturb, to undivide, &c. Yet they may be called participial adjectives, because they have the termination, and embrace the form, of participles. Nor should any participial adjective be needlessly varied from the true orthography of the participle: a distinction is, however, observed by some writers, between past and passed, staid and stayed; and some old words, as drunken, stricken, shotten, rotten, now obsolete as participles, are still retained as adjectives. This sort of words will be further noticed in the chapter on participles.

OBS. 9.--Adverbs are generally distinguished from adjectives, by the form, as well as by the construction, of the words. Yet, in instances not a few, the same word is capable of being used both adjectively and adverbially. In these cases, the scholar must determine the part of speech, by the construction alone; remembering that adjectives belong to nouns or pronouns only; and adverbs, to verbs, participles, adjectives, or other adverbs, only. The following examples from Scripture, will partially illustrate this point, which will be noticed again under the head of syntax: "Is your father well?"--Gen., xliii, 27. "Thou hast well said."--John, iv, 17. "He separateth very friends."--Prov., xvii, 9. "Esaias is very bold."--Rom., x, 20. "For a pretence, ye make long prayer."--Matt., xxiii, 14. "They that tarry long at the wine."--Prov., xxiii, 30. "It had not much earth."--Mark, iv, 5. "For she loved much."--Luke, vii, 47.

OBS. 10.--Prepositions, in regard to their construction, differ from adjectives, almost exactly as active-transitive participles differ syntactically from adjectives: that is, in stead of being mere adjuncts to the words which follow them, they govern those words, and refer back to some other term; which, in the usual order of speech, stands before them. Thus, if I say, "A spreading oak," spreading is an adjective relating to oak; if, "A boy spreading hay," spreading is a participle, governing hay, and relating to boy, because the boy is the agent of the action. So, when Dr. Webster says, "The off horse in a team," off is an adjective, relating to the noun horse; but, in the phrase, "A man off his guard," off is a preposition, showing the relation between man and guard, and governing the latter. The following are other examples: "From the above speculations."--Harris's Hermes, p. 194. "An after period of life."--MARSHALL: in Web. Dict. "With some other of the after Judaical rites."--Right of Tythes, p. 86. "Whom this beneath world doth embrace and hug."--Shak. "Especially is over exertion made."--Journal of Lit. Conv., p. 119. "To both the under worlds."--Hudibras. "Please to pay to A. B. the amount of the within bill." Whether properly used or not, the words above, after, beneath, over, under, and within, are here unquestionably made adjectives; yet every scholar knows, that they are generally prepositions, though sometimes adverbs.


Adjectives may be divided into six classes; namely, common, proper, numeral, pronominal, participial, and compound.

I. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation; as, Good, bad, peaceful, warlike--eastern, western, outer, inner.

II. A proper adjective is an adjective formed from a proper name; as, American, English, Platonic, Genoese.

III. A numeral adjective is an adjective that expresses a definite number; as, One, two, three, four, five, six, &c.

IV. A pronominal adjective is a definitive word which may either accompany its noun, or represent it understood; as, "All join to guard what each desires to gain."--Pope. That is, "All men join to guard what each man desires to gain."

V. A participial adjective is one that has the form of a participle, but differs from it by rejecting the idea of time; as, "An amusing story,"--"A lying divination."

VI. A compound adjective is one that consists of two or more words joined together, either by the hyphen or solidly: as, Nut-brown, laughter-loving, four-footed; threefold, lordlike, lovesick.


OBS. 1.--This distribution of the adjectives is no less easy to be applied, than necessary to a proper explanation in parsing. How many adjectives there are in the language, it i s difficult to say; none of our dictionaries profess to exhibit all that are embraced in some of the foregoing classes. Of the Common Adjectives, there are probably not fewer than six thousand, exclusive of the common nouns which we refer to this class when they are used adjectively. Walker's Rhyming Dictionary contains five thousand or more, the greater part of which may be readily distinguished by their peculiar endings. Of those which end in ous, as generous, there are about 850. Of those in y or ly, as shaggy, homely, there are about 550. Of those in ive, as deceptive, there are about 400. Of those in al, as autumnal, there are about 550. Of those in ical, as mechanical, there are about 350. Of those in able, as valuable, there are about 600. Of those in ible, as credible, there are about 200. Of those in ent, as different, there are about 300. Of those in ant, as abundant, there are about 170. Of those in less, as ceaseless, there are about 220. Of those in ful, as useful, there are about 130. Of those in ory, as explanatory, there are about 200. Of those in ish, as childish, there are about 100. Of those in ine, as masculine, there are about 70. Of those in en, as wooden, there are about 50. Of those in some, as quarrelsome, there are about 30. These sixteen numbers added together, make 4770.

OBS. 2.--The Proper Adjectives are, in many instances, capable of being converted into declinable nouns: as, European, a European, the Europeans; Greek, a Greek, the Greeks; Asiatic, an Asiatic, the Asiatics. But with the words English, French, Dutch, Scotch, Welsh, Irish, and in general all such as would acquire an additional syllable in their declension, the case is otherwise. The gentile noun has frequently fewer syllables than the adjective, but seldom more, unless derived from some different root. Examples: Arabic, an Arab, the Arabs; Gallic, a Gaul, the Gauls; Danish, a Dane, the Danes; Moorish, a Moor, the Moors; Polish, a Pole, or Polander, the Poles; Swedish, a Swede, the Swedes; Turkish, a Turk, the Turks. When we say, the English, the French, the Dutch, the Scotch, the Welsh, the Irish,--meaning, the English people, the French people, &c., many grammarians conceive that English, French, &c., are indeclinable nouns. But in my opinion, it is better to reckon them adjectives, relating to the noun men or people understood. For if these words are nouns, so are a thousand others, after which there is the same ellipsis; as when we say, the good, the great, the wise, the learned.[168] The principle would involve the inconvenience of multiplying our nouns of the singular form and a plural meaning, indefinitely. If they are nouns, they are, in this sense, plural only; and, in an other, they are singular only. For we can no more say, an English, an Irish, or a French, for an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Frenchman; than we can say, an old, a selfish, or a rich, for an old man, a selfish man, or a rich man. Yet, in distinguishing the languages, we call them English, French, Dutch, Scotch, Welsh, Irish; using the words, certainly, in no plural sense; and preferring always the line of adjectives, where the gentile noun is different: as, Arabic, and not Arab; Danish, and not Dane; Swedish, and not Swede. In this sense, as well as in the former, Webster, Chalmers, and other modern lexicographers, call the words nouns; and the reader will perceive, that the objections offered before do not apply here. But Johnson, in his two quarto volumes, gives only two words of this sort, English and Latin; and both of these he calls adjectives: "ENGLISH, adj. Belonging to England; hence English[169] is the language of England." The word Latin, however, he makes a noun, when it means a schoolboy's exercise; for which usage he quotes, the following inaccurate example from Ascham: "He shall not use the common order in schools for making of Latins."

OBS. 3.--Dr. Webster gives us explanations like these: "CHINESE, n. sing. and plu. A native of China; also the language of China."--"JAPANESE, n. A native of Japan; or the language of the inhabitants."--"GENOESE, n. pl. the people of Genoa in Italy. Addison."--"DANISH, n. The language of the Danes."--"IRISH, n. 1. A native of Ireland. 2. The language of the Irish; the Hiberno-Celtic." According to him, then, it is proper to say, a Chinese, a Japanese, or an Irish; but not, a Genoese, because he will have this word to be plural only! Again, if with him we call a native of Ireland an Irish, will not more than one be Irishes?[170] If a native of Japan be a Japanese, will not more than one be Japaneses? In short, is it not plain, that the words, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Maltese, Genoese, Milanese, and all others of like formation, should follow one and the same rule? And if so, what is that rule? Is it not this;--that, like English, French, &c., they are always adjectives; except, perhaps, when they denote languages? There may possibly be some real authority from usage, for calling a native of China a Chinese,--of Japan a Japanese,--&c.; as there is also for the regular plurals, Chineses, Japaneses, &c.; but is it, in either case, good and sufficient authority? The like forms, it is acknowledged, are, on some occasions, mere adjectives; and, in modern usage, we do not find these words inflected, as they were formerly. Examples: "The Chinese are by no means a cleanly people, either in person or dress."--Balbi's Geog., p. 415. "The Japanese excel in working in copper, iron, and steel."--Ib., p. 419. "The Portuguese are of the same origin with the Spaniards."--Ib., p. 272. "By whom the undaunted Tyrolese are led."--Wordsworth's Poems, p. 122. Again: "Amongst the Portugueses, 'tis so much a Fashion, and Emulation, amongst their Children, to learn to Read, and Write, that they cannot hinder them from it."--Locke, on Education, p. 271. "The Malteses do so, who harden the Bodies of their Children, and reconcile them to the Heat, by making them go stark Naked."--Idem, Edition of 1669, p. 5. "CHINESE, n. s. Used elliptically for the language and people of China: plural, Chineses. Sir T. Herbert."--Abridgement of Todd's Johnson. This is certainly absurd. For if Chinese is used elliptically for the people of China, it is an adjective, and does not form the plural, Chineses: which is precisely what I urge concerning the whole class. These plural forms ought not to be imitated. Horne Tooke quotes some friend of his, as saying, "No, I will never descend with him beneath even a Japanese: and I remember what Voltaire remarks of that country."--Diversions of Purley, i, 187. In this case, he ought, unquestionably, to have said--"beneath even a native of Japan;" because, whether Japanese be a noun or not, it is absurd to call a Japanese, "that country." Butler, in his Hudibras, somewhere uses the word Chineses; and it was, perhaps, in his day, common; but still, I say, it is contrary to analogy, and therefore wrong. Milton, too, has it:

  "But in his way lights on the barren plains
   Of Sericana, where Chineses[171]  drive
   With sails and wind their cany waggons light."
       --Paradise Lost, B. iii, l. 437.

OBS. 4.--The Numeral Adjectives are of three kinds, namely, cardinal, ordinal, and multiplicative: each kind running on in a series indefinitely. Thus:--

1. Cardinal; One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, &c.

2. Ordinal; First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, twenty-first, twenty-second, &c.

3. Multiplicative; Single or alone, double or twofold, triple or threefold, quadruple or fourfold, quintuple or fivefold, sextuple or sixfold, septuple or sevenfold, octuple or eightfold, &c. But high terms of this series are seldom used. All that occur above decuple or tenfold, are written with a hyphen, and are usually of round numbers only; as, thirty-fold, sixty-fold, hundred-fold.

OBS. 5.--A cardinal numeral denotes the whole number, but the corresponding ordinal denotes only the last one of that number, or, at the beginning of a series, the first of several or many. Thus: "One denotes simply the number one, without any regard to more; but first has respect to more, and so denotes only the first one of a greater number; and two means the number two completely; but second, the last one of two: and so of all the rest."--Burn's Gram., p. 54. A cardinal number answers to the question, "How many?" An ordinal number answers to the question, "Which one?" or, "What one?" All the ordinal numbers, except first, second, third, and the compounds of these, as twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, are formed directly from the cardinal numbers by means of the termination th. And as the primitives, in this case, are many of them either compound words, or phrases consisting of several words, it is to be observed, that the addition is made to the last term only. That is, of every compound ordinal number, the last term only is ordinal in form. Thus we say, forty-ninth, and not fortieth-ninth; nor could the meaning of the phrase, four hundred and fiftieth, be expressed by saying, fourth hundredth and fiftieth; for this, if it means any thing, speaks of three different numbers.

OBS. 6.--Some of the numerals are often used as nouns; and, as such, are regularly declined: as, Ones, twoes, threes, fours, fives, &c. So, Fifths, sixths, sevenths, eighths, ninths, tenths, &c. "The seventy's translation."--Wilson's Hebrew Gram., p. 32. "I will not do it for forty's sake."--Gen., xviii, 29. "I will not destroy it for twenty's sake."--Ib., ver. 31. "For ten's sake."--Ib., ver. 32. "They sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties."--Mark, vi, 40. "There are millions of truths that a man is not concerned to know."--Locke. With the compound numerals, such a construction is less common; yet the denominator of a fraction may be a number of this sort: as, seven twenty-fifths. And here it may be observed, that, in stead of the ancient phraseology, as in 1 Chron., xxiv, 17th, "The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul, the three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah," we now generally say, the twenty-first, the twenty-second, &c.; using the hyphen in all compounds till we arrive at one hundred, or one hundredth, and then first introducing the word and; as, one hundred and one, or one hundred and first, &c.

OBS. 7.--The Pronominal Adjectives are comparatively very few; but frequency of use gives them great importance in grammar. The following words are perhaps all that properly belong to this class, and several of these are much oftener something else: All, any, both, certain, divers, each, either, else, enough, every, few, fewer, fewest, former, first, latter, last, little, less, least, many, more, most, much, neither, no or none, one, other, own, only, same, several, some, such, sundry, that, this, these, those, what, whatever, whatsoever, which, whichever, whichsoever.[172] Of these forty-six words, seven are always singular, if the word one is not an exception; namely, each, either, every, neither, one, that, this: and nine or ten others are always plural, if the word many is not an exception; namely, both, divers, few, fewer, fewest, many, several, sundry, these, those. All the rest, like our common adjectives, are applicable to nouns of either number. Else, every, only, no, and none, are definitive words, which I have thought proper to call pronominal adjectives, though only the last can now with propriety be made to represent its noun understood. "Nor has Vossius, or any else that I know of, observed it."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 279. Say, "or any one else." Dr. Webster explains this word else thus: "ELSE, a. or pron. [Sax. elles] Other; one or something beside; as, Who else is coming?"--Octavo Dict. "Each and every of them," is an old phrase in which every is used pronominally, or with ellipsis of the word to which it refers; but, in common discourse, we now say, every one, every man, &c., never using the word every alone to suggest its noun. Only is perhaps most commonly an adverb; but it is still in frequent use as an adjective; and in old books we sometimes find an ellipsis of the noun to which it belongs; as, "Neither are they the only [verbs] in which it is read."--Johnson's Grammatical Commentaries, p. 373. "But I think he is the only [one] of these Authors."--Ib., p. 193. No and none seem to be only different forms of the same adjective; the former being used before a noun expressed, and the latter when the noun is understood, or not placed after the adjective; as, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."--Romans, xiv, 7. None was anciently used for no before all words beginning with a vowel sound; as, "They are sottish children; and they have none understanding."--Jeremiah, iv, 22. This practice is now obsolete. None is still used, when its noun precedes it; as,

  "Fools! who from hence into the notion fall,
   That vice or virtue there is none at all."--Pope.

OBS. 8.--Of the words given in the foregoing list as pronominal adjectives, about one third are sometimes used adverbially. They are the following: All, when it means totally; any, for in any degree; else, meaning otherwise; enough, signifying sufficiently; first, for in the first place; last, for in the last place; little, for in a small degree; less, for in a smaller degree; least, for in the smallest degree; much, for in a great degree; more, for in a greater degree; most, for in the greatest degree; no, or none, for in no degree; only, for singly, merely, barely; what, for in what degree, or in how great a degree.[173] To these may perhaps be added the word other, when used as an alternative t o somehow; as, "Somehow or other he will be favoured."--Butler's Analogy, p. 89. Here other seems to be put for otherwise; and yet the latter word would not be agreeable in such a sentence. "Somewhere or other," is a kindred phrase equally common, and equally good; or, rather, equally irregular and puzzling. Would it not be better, always to avoid both, by saying, in their stead, "In some way or other,"--"In someplace or other?" In the following examples, however, other seems to be used for otherwise, without such a connection: "How is THAT used, other than as a Conjunction?"--Ainsworth's Gram., p. 88.

  "Will it not be receiv'd that they have done 't?
   --Who dares receive it other?"--SHAK.: Joh. Dict., w. Other.

OBS. 9.--All and enough, little and much, more and less, sometimes suggest the idea of quantity so abstractly, that we can hardly consider them as adjuncts to any other words; for which reason, they are, in this absolute sense, put down in our dictionaries as nouns. If nouns, however, they are never inflected by cases or numbers; nor do they in general admit the usual adjuncts or definitives of nouns.[174] Thus, we can neither say, the all, for the whole, nor an enough, for a sufficiency. And though a little, the more, and the less, are common phrases, the article does not here prove the following word to be a noun; because the expression may either be elliptical, or have the construction of an adverb: as, "Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."--2 Cor., xii, 15. Dr. Johnson seems to suppose that the partitive use of these words makes them nouns; as, "They have much of the poetry of Mecænas, but little of his liberality."--DRYDEN: in Joh. Dict. Upon this principle, however, adjectives innumerable would be made nouns; for we can just as well say, "Some of the poetry,"--"Any of the poetry,"--"The best of Poetry," &c. In all such expressions, the name of the thing divided, is understood in the partitive word; for a part of any thing must needs be of the same species as the whole. Nor was this great grammarian sufficiently attentive to adjuncts, in determining the parts of speech. Nearly all, quite enough, so little, too much, vastly more, rather less, and an abundance of similar phrases, are familiar to every body; in none of which, can any of these words of quantity, however abstract, be very properly reckoned nouns; because the preceding word is an adverb, and adverbs do not relate to any words that are literally nouns. All these may also be used partitively; as, "Nearly all of us."

OBS. 10.--The following are some of Dr. Johnson's "nouns;" which, in connexion with the foregoing remarks, I would submit to the judgement of the reader: "'Then shall we be news-crammed.'--'All the better; we shall be the more remarkable.'"--SHAK.: in Joh. Dict. "All the fitter, Lentulus; our coming is not for salutation; we have business."--BEN JONSON: ib. "'Tis enough for me to have endeavoured the union of my country."--TEMPLE: ib. "Ye take too much upon you."--NUMBERS: ib. "The fate of love is such, that still it sees too little or too much."--DRYDEN: ib. "He thought not much to clothe his enemies."--MILTON: ib. "There remained not so much as one of them."--Ib., Exod., xiv, 28. "We will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need."--Ib., 2 Chronicles. "The matter of the universe was created before the flood; if any more was created, then there must be as much annihilated to make room for it."--BURNET: ib. "The Lord do so, and much more, to Jonathan."--1 SAMUEL: ib. "They that would have more and more, can never have enough; no, not if a miracle should interpose to gratify their avarice."--L'ESTRANGE: ib. "They gathered some more, some less."--EXODUS: ib. "Thy servant knew nothing of this, less or more."--1 SAMUEL: ib. The first two examples above, Johnson explains thus: "That is, 'Every thing is the better.'--Every thing is the fitter."--Quarto Dict. The propriety of this solution may well be doubted; because the similar phrases, "So much the better,"--"None the fitter," would certainly be perverted, if resolved in the same way: much and none are here, very clearly, adverbs.

OBS. 11.--Whatever disposition may be made of the terms cited above, there are instances in which some of the same words can hardly be any thing else than nouns. Thus all, when it signifies the whole, or every thing, may be reckoned a noun; as, "Our all is at stake, and irretrievably lost, if we fail of success."--Addison. "A torch, snuff and all, goes out in a moment, when dipped in the vapour."--Id. "The first blast of wind laid it flat on the ground; nest, eagles, and all."--L'Estrange.

  "Finding, the wretched all they here can have,
   But present food, and but a future grave."--Prior.
   "And will she yet debase her eyes on me;
   On me, whose all not equals Edward's moiety?"--Shak.
   "Thou shalt be all in all, and I in thee,
   Forever; and in me all whom thou lov'st."--Milton.

OBS. 12.--There are yet some other words, which, by their construction alone, are to be distinguished from the pronominal adjectives. Both, when it stands as a correspondent to and, is reckoned a conjunction; as, "For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one."--Heb., ii, 11. But, in sentences like the following, it seems to be an adjective, referring to the nouns which precede: "Language and manners are both established by the usage of people of fashion."--Amer. Chesterfield, p. 83. So either, corresponding to or, and neither, referring to nor, are conjunctions, and not adjectives. Which and what, with their compounds, whichever or whichsoever, whatever or whatsoever, though sometimes put before nouns as adjectives, are, for the most part, relative or interrogative pronouns. When the noun is used after them, they are adjectives; when it is omitted, they are pronouns: as, "There is a witness of God, which witness gives true judgement."--I. Penington. Here the word witness might be omitted, and which would become a relative pronoun. Dr. Lowth says, "Thy, my, her, our, your, their, are pronominal adjectives."--Gram., p. 23. This I deny; and the reader may see my reasons, in the observations upon the declension of pronouns.

OBS. 13.--The words one and other, besides their primitive uses as adjectives, in which they still remain without inflection, are frequently employed as nouns, or as substitutes for nouns; and, in this substantive or pronominal character, they commonly have the regular declension of nouns, and are reckoned such by some grammarians; though others call them indefinite pronouns, and some, (among whom are Lowth and Comly,) leave them with the pronominal adjectives, even when they are declined in both numbers. Each of them may be preceded by either of the articles; and so general is the signification of the former, that almost any adjective may likewise come before it: as, Any one, some one, such a one, many a one, a new one, an old one, an other one, the same one, the young ones, the little ones, the mighty ones, the wicked one, the Holy One, the Everlasting One. So, like the French on, or l'on, the word one, without any adjective, is now very frequently used as a general or indefinite term for any man, or any person. In this sense, it is sometimes, unquestionably, to be preferred to a personal pronoun applied indefinitely: as, "Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself [better, one's self] unspotted from the world."--James, i, 27. But, as its generality of meaning seems to afford a sort of covering for egotism, some writers are tempted to make too frequent a use of it. Churchill ridicules this practice, by framing, or anonymously citing, the following sentence: "If one did but dare to abide by one's own judgement, one's language would be much more refined; but one fancies one's self obliged to follow, whereever the many choose to lead one."--See Churchill's Gram., p. 229. Here every scholar will concur with the critic in thinking, it would be better to say: "If we did but dare to abide by our own judgement, our language would be much more refined; but we fancy ourselves obliged to follow wherever the many choose to lead us."--See ib.

OBS. 14.--Of the pronominal adjectives the following distribution has been made: "Each, every, and either, are called distributives; because, though they imply all the persons or things that make up a number, they consider them, not as one whole, but as taken separately. This, that, former, latter, both, neither, are termed demonstratives; because they point out precisely the subjects to which they relate. This has these for its plural; that has those. This and that are frequently put in opposition to each other; this, to express what is nearer in place or time; that, what is more remote. All, any, one, other, some, such, are termed indefinite. Another is merely other in the singular, with the indefinite article not kept separate from it.[175] Other, when not joined with a noun, is occasionally used both in the possessive case, and in the plural number: as,

   'Teach me to feel an other's wo, to hide the fault I see;
   That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.'--Pope.

Each other and one another, when used in conjunction, may be termed reciprocals; as they are employed to express a reciprocal action; the former, between two persons or things; the latter, between[176] more than two. The possessive cases of the personal pronouns have been also ranked under the head of pronominal adjectives, and styled possessives; but for this I see no good reason."--Churchill's Gram., p. 76.

OBS. 15.--The reciprocal terms each other and one an other divide, according to some mutual act or interchangeable relation, the persons or things spoken of, and are commonly of the singular number only. Each other, if rightly used, supposes two, and only two, to be acting and acted upon reciprocally; one an other, if not misapplied, supposes more than two, under like circumstances, and has an indefinite reference to all taken distributively: as, "Brutus and Aruns killed each other." That is, Each combatant killed the other. "The disciples were commanded to love one an other, and to be willing to wash one an other's feet." That is, All the disciples were commanded to love mutually; for both terms, one and other, or one disciple and an other disciple, must be here understood as taken indefinitely. The reader will observe, that the two terms thus brought together, if taken substantively or pronominally in parsing, must be represente d as being of different cases; or, if we take them adjectively the noun, which is twice to be supplied, will necessarily be so.

OBS. 16.--Misapplications of the foregoing reciprocal terms are very frequent in books, though it is strange that phrases so very common should not be rightly understood. Dr. Webster, among his explanations of the word other, has the following: "Correlative to each, and applicable to any number of individuals."--Octavo Dict. "Other is used as a substitute for a noun, and in this use has the plural number and the sign of the possessive case."--Ib. Now it is plain, that the word other, as a "correlative to each," may be so far "a substitute for a noun" as to take the form of the possessive case singular, and perhaps also the plural; as, "Lock'd in each other's arms they lay." But, that the objective other, in any such relation, can convey a plural idea, or be so loosely applicable--"to any number of individuals," I must here deny. If it were so, there would be occasion, by the foregoing rule, to make it plural in form; as, "The ambitious strive to excel each others." But this is not English. Nor can it be correct to say of more than two, "They all strive to excel each other." Because the explanation must be, "Each strives to excel other;" and such a construction of the word other is not agreeable to modern usage. Each other is therefore not equivalent to one an other, but nearer perhaps to the one the other: as, "The two generals are independent the one of the other."--Voltaire's Charles XII, p. 67. "And these are contrary the one to the other."--Gal., v, 17. "The necessary connexion of the one with the other."--Blair's Rhet., p. 304. The latter phraseology, being definite and formal, is now seldom used, except the terms be separated by a verb or a preposition. It is a literal version of the French l'un l'autre, and in some instances to be preferred to each other; as,

  "So fellest foes, whose plots have broke their sleep,
   To take the one the other, by some chance."--Shak.

OBS. 17.--The Greek term for the reciprocals each other and one an other, is a certain plural derivative from [Greek: allos], other; and is used in three cases, the genitive, [Greek: allælon], the dative, [Greek: allælois], the accusative, [Greek: allælous]: these being all the cases which the nature of the expression admits; and for all these we commonly use the objective;--that is, we put each or one before the objective other. Now these English terms, taken in a reciprocal sense, seldom, if ever, have any plural form; because the article in one an other admits of none; and each other, when applied to two persons or things, (as it almost always is,) does not require any. I have indeed seen, in some narrative, such an example as this: "The two men were ready to cut each others' throats." But the meaning could not be, that each was ready to cut "others' throats;" and since, between the two, there was but one throat for each to cut, it would doubtless be more correct to say, "each other's throat." So Burns, in touching a gentler passion, has an inaccurate elliptical expression:

  "'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
   In others' arms, breathe out the tender tale."
       --Cotter's Sat. Night.

He meant, "In each other's arms;" the apostrophe being misplaced, and the metre improperly allowed to exclude a word which the sense requires. Now, as to the plural of each other, although we do not use the objective, and say of many, "They love each others," there appear to be some instances in which the possessive plural, each others', would not be improper; as, "Sixteen ministers, who meet weekly at each other's houses."--Johnson's Life of Swift. Here the singular is wrong, because the governing noun implies a plurality of owners. "The citizens of different states should know each others characters."--Webster's Essays, p. 35. This also is wrong, because no possessive sign is used. Either write, "each others' characters," or say, "one an other's character."

OBS. 18.--One and other are, in many instances, terms relative and partitive, rather than reciprocal; and, in this use, there seems to be an occasional demand for the plural form. In French, two parties are contrasted by les uns--les autres; a mode of expression seldom, if ever imitated in English. Thus: "Il les séparera les uns d'avec les autres." That is, "He shall separate them some from others;"--or, literally, "the ones from the others." Our version is: "He shall separate them one from an other."--Matt., xxv, 32. Beza has it: "Separabit eos alteros ab alteris." The Vulgate: "Separabit eos ab invicem." The Greek: "[Greek: Aphoriei autous ap allælon]." To separate many "one from an other," seems, literally, to leave none of them together; and this is not, "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." To express such an idea with perfect propriety, in our language, therefore, we must resort to some other phraseology. In Campbell's version, we read: "And out of them he will separate the good from the bad, as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats." Better, perhaps, thus: "And he shall separate them, the righteous from the wicked, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."

OBS. 19.--Dr. Bullions says, "One and other refer to the singular only."--Eng. Gram., p. 98. Of ones and others he takes no notice; nor is he sufficiently attentive to usage in respect to the roots. If there is any absurdity in giving a plural meaning to the singulars one and other, the following sentences need amendment: "The one preach Christ of contention; but the other, of love."--Philippians, i, 16. Here "the one" is put for "the one class," and "the other" for "the other class;" the ellipsis in the first instance not being a very proper one. "The confusion arises, when the one will put their sickle into the other's harvest."--LESLEY: in Joh. Dict. This may be corrected by saying, "the one party," or, "the one nation," in stead of "the one." "It is clear from Scripture, that Antichrist shall be permitted to work false miracles, and that they shall so counterfeit the true, that it will be hard to discern the one from the other."--Barclay's Works , iii, 93. If in any ease we may adopt the French construction above, "the ones from the others," it will be proper here. Again: "I have seen children at a table, who, whatever was there, never asked for any thing, but contentedly took what was given them: and, at an other place, I have seen others cry for every thing they saw; they must be served out of every dish, and that first too. What made this vast difference, but this: That one was accustomed to have what they called or cried for; the other to go without it?"--Locke, on Education, p. 55. Here, (with were for was,) the terms of contrast ought rather to have been, the ones--the others; the latter--the former; or, the importunate--the modest. "Those nice shades, by which virtues and vices approach each one another."--Murray's Gram., i, p. 350. This expression should be any thing, rather than what it is. Say, "By which virtue and vice approach each other." Or: "By which certain virtues and vices approximate-- blend--become difficult of distinction."

OBS. 20.--"Most authors have given the name of pronoun adjectives, ['pronouns adjective,' or 'pronominal adjectives,'] to my, mine; our, ours; thy, thine; your, yours; his, her, hers; their, theirs: perhaps because they are followed by, or refer to, some substantive [expressed or understood after them]. But, were they adjectives, they must either express the quality of their substantive, or limit its extent: adjectives properly so called, do the first; definitive pronouns do the last. All adjectives [that are either singular or plural,] agree with their substantives in number; but I can say, 'They are my books:' my is singular, and books plural; therefore my is not an adjective. Besides, my does not express the quality of the books, but only ascertains the possessor, the same as the genitive or substantive does, to which it is similar. Examples: 'They are my books;'--'They are John's books;' &c."--Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 108.

OBS. 21.--To the class of Participial Adjectives, should be referred all such words as the following: (1.) The simple participles made adjectives by position; as. "A roaring lion,"--"A raging bear,"--"A brawling woman,"--"A flattering mouth,"--"An understanding heart,"--"Burning coals,"--"The hearing ear, and the seeing eye."--Bible. "A troubled fountain,"--"A wounded spirit,"--"An appointed time."--Ib. (2.) Words of a participial appearance, formed from nouns by adding ed; as, "The eve thy sainted mother died."--W. Scott. "What you write of me, would make me more conceited, than what I scribble myself."--Pope. (3.) Participles, or participial adjectives, reversed in sense by the prefix un; as, unaspiring, unavailing, unbelieving, unbattered, uninjured, unbefriended. (4.) Words of a participial form construed elliptically, as if they were nouns; as, "Among the dying and the dead."--"The called of Jesus Christ."--Rom., i, 6. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you."--1 Pet., ii, 11. "The redeemed of the Lord shall return."--Isaiah, li, 11. "They talk, to the grief of thy wounded."--Psalms, lxix, 26: Margin.

OBS. 22.--In the text, Prov., vii, 26, "She hath cast down many wounded," wounded is a participle; because the meaning is, "many men wounded," and not, "many wounded men." Our Participial Adjectives are exceedingly numerous. It is not easy to ascertain how many there are of them; because almost any simple participle may be set before a noun, and thus become an adjective: as,

  "Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
   And parting summer's ling'ring blooms delay'd."--Goldsmith.

OBS. 23.--Compound Adjectives, being formed at pleasure, are both numerous and various. In their formation, however, certain analogies may be traced: (1.) Many of them are formed by joining an adjective to its noun, and giving to the latter the participial termination ed; as, able-bodied, sharp-sighted, left-handed, full-faced, flat-nosed, thick-lipped, cloven-footed, high-heeled. (2.) In some, two nouns are joined, the latter assuming ed, as above; as, bell-shaped, hawk-nosed, eagle-sighted, lion-hearted, web-footed. (3.) In some, the object of an active participle is placed before it; as, money-getting, time-serving, self-consuming, cloud-compelling, fortune-hunting, sleep-disturbing. (4.) Some, embracing numerals, form a series, though it is seldom carried far; as, one-legged, two-legged, three-legged, four-legged. So, one-leaved, two-leaved, three-leaved, four-leaved: or, perhaps better as Webster will have them, one-leafed, two-leafed, &c. But, upon the same principle, short-lived, should be short-lifed, and long-lived, long-lifed. (5.) In some, there is a combination of an adjective and a participle; as, noble-looking, high-sounding, slow-moving, thorough-going, hard-finished, free-born, heavy-laden, only-begotten. (6.) In some, we find an adverb and a participle united; as, ever-living, ill-judging, well-pleasing, far-shooting, forth-issuing, back-sliding, ill-trained, down-trodden, above-mentioned. (7.) Some consist of a noun and a participle which might be reversed with a preposition between them; as, church-going, care-crazed, travel-soiled, blood-bespotted, dew-sprinkled. (8.) A few, and those inelegant, terminate with a preposition; as, unlooked-for, long-looked-for, unthought-of, unheard-of. (9.) Some are phrases of many words, converted into one part of speech by the hyphen; as, "Where is the ever-to-be-honoured Chaucer?"--Wordsworth.

  "And, with God-only-knows-how-gotten light,
   Informs the nation what is wrong or right."
       --Snelling's Gift for Scribblers, p. 49.

OBS. 24.--Nouns derived from compound adjectives, are generally disapproved by good writers; yet we sometimes meet with them: as, hard-heartedness, for hardness of heart, or cruelty; quick-sightedness, for quickness of sight, or perspicacity; worldly-mindedness, for devotion to the world, or love of gain; heavenly-mindedness, for the love of God, or true piety. In speaking of ancestors or descendants, we take the noun, father, mother, son, daughter, or child; prefix the adjective grand; for the second generation; great, for the, third; and then, sometimes, repeat the same, for degrees more remote: as, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather. "What would my great-grandmother say, thought I, could she know that thou art to be chopped up for fuel to warm the frigid fingers of her great-great-great-granddaughters!"--T. H. Bayley.


Adjectives have, commonly, no modifications but the forms of comparison. Comparison is a variation of the adjective, to express quality in different degrees: as, hard, harder, hardest; soft, softer, softest.

There are three degrees of comparison; the positive, the comparative, and the superlative.

The positive degree is that which is expressed by the adjective in its simple form: as, "An elephant is large; a mouse, small; a lion, fierce, active, bold, and strong."

The comparative degree is that which is more or less than something contrasted with it: as, "A whale is larger than an elephant; a mouse is a much smaller animal than a rat."

The superlative degree is that which is most or least of all included with it: as, "The whale is the largest of the animals that inhabit this globe; the mouse is the smallest of all beasts."--Dr. Johnson.

Those adjectives whose signification does not admit of different degrees, cannot be compared; as, two, second, all, every, immortal, infinite.

Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are compared by means of adverbs; as, fruitful, more fruitful, most fruitful--fruitful, less fruitful, least fruitful.


OBS. 1.--"Some scruple to call the positive a degree of comparison; on the ground, that it does not imply either comparison, or degree. But no quality can exist, without existing in some degree: and, though the positive is very frequently used without reference to any other degree; as it is the standard, with which other degrees of the quality are compared, it is certainly an essential object of the comparison. While these critics allow only two degrees, we might in fact with more propriety say, that there are five: 1, the quality in its standard state, or positive degree; as wise: 2, in a higher state, or the comparative ascending; more wise: 3, in a lower, or the comparative descending; less wise: 4, in the highest state, or superlative ascending; most wise: 5, in the lowest state, or superlative descending; least wise. All grammarians, however, agree about the things themselves, and the forms used to express them; though they differ about the names, by which these forms should be called: and as those names are practically best, which tend least to perplex the learner, I see no good reason here for deviating from what has been established by long custom."--Churchill's Gram., p. 231.

OBS. 2.--Churchill here writes plausibly enough, but it will be seen, both from his explanation, and from the foregoing definitions of the degrees of comparison, that there are but three. The comparative and the superlative may each be distinguishable into the ascending and the descending, as often as we prefer the adverbial form to the regular variation of the adjective itself; but this imposes no necessity of classing and defining them otherwise than simply as the comparative and the superlative. The assumption of two comparatives and two superlatives, is not only contrary to the universal practice of the teachers of grammar; but there is this conclusive argument against it--that the regular method of comparison has no degrees of diminution, and the form which has such degrees, is no inflection of the adjective. If there is any exception, it is in the words, small, smaller, smallest, and little, less, least. But of the smallness or littleness, considered abstractly, these, like all others, are degrees of increase, and not of diminution. Smaller is as completely opposite to less small, as wiser is to less wise. Less itself is a comparative descending, only when it diminishes some other quality: less little, if the phrase were proper, must needs be nearly equivalent to greater or more. Churchill, however, may be quite right in the following remark: "The comparative ascending of an adjective, and the comparative descending of an adjective expressing the opposite quality, are often considered synonymous, by those who do not discriminate nicely between ideas. But less imprudent does not imply precisely the same thing as more prudent; or more brave, the same as less cowardly."--New Gram., p. 231.

OBS. 3.--The definitions which I have given of the three degrees of comparison, are new. In short, I know not whether any other grammarian has ever given what may justly be called a definition, of any one of them. Here, as in most other parts of grammar, loose remarks, ill-written and untrue assertions, have sufficed. The explanations found in many English grammars are the following: "The positive state expresses the quality of an object, without any increase or diminution; as, good, wise, great. The comparative degree increases or lessens the positive in signification; as, wiser, greater, less wise. The superlative degree increases or lessens the positive to the highest or [the] lowest degree; as, wisest, greatest, least wise. The simple word , or positive, becomes [the] comparative by adding r or er; and the superlative by adding st or est, to the end of it. And the adverbs more and most, placed before the adjective, have the same effect; as, wise, more wise, most wise."--Murray's Grammar, 2d Ed., 1796, p. 47. If a man wished to select some striking example of bad writing--of thoughts ill conceived, and not well expressed--he could not do better than take the foregoing: provided his auditors knew enough of grammar to answer the four simple questions here involved; namely, What is the positive degree? What is the comparative degree? What is the superlative degree? How are adjectives regularly compared? To these questions I shall furnish direct answers, which the reader may compare with such as he can derive from the foregoing citation: the last two sentences of which Murray ought to have credited to Dr. Lowth; for he copied them literally, except that he says, "the adverbs more AND most," for the Doctor's phrase, "the adverbs more OR most." See the whole also in Kirkham's Grammar, p. 72; in Ingersoll's, p. 35; in Alger's, p. 21; in Bacon's, p. 18; in Russell's, p. 14; in Hamlin's, p. 22; in J. M. Putnam's, p. 33; in S. Putnam's, p. 20; in R. C. Smith's, p. 51; in Rev. T. Smith's, p. 20.

OBS. 4.--In the five short sentences quoted above, there are more errors, than can possibly be enumerated in ten times the space. For example: (1.) If one should say of a piece of iron, "It grows cold or hot very rapidly," cold and hot could not be in the "positive state," as they define it: because, either the "quality" or the "object," (I know not which,) is represented by them as "without any increase or diminution;" and this would not, in the present case, be true of either; for iron changes in bulk, by a change of temperature. (2.) What, in the first sentence, is erroneously called "the positive state," in the second and the third, is called, "the positive degree;" and this again, in the fourth, is falsely identified with "the simple word." Now, if we suppose the meaning to be, that "the positive state," "the positive degree," or "the simple word," is "without any increase or diminution;" this is expressly contradicted by three sentences out of the five, and implicitly, by one of the others. (3.) Not one of these sentences is true, in the most obvious sense of the words, if in any other; and yet the doctrines they were designed to teach, may have been, in general, correctly gathered from the examples. (4.) The phrase, "positive in signification," is not intelligible in the sense intended, without a comma after positive; and yet, in an armful of different English grammars which contain the passage, I find not one that has a point in that place. (5.) It is not more correct to say, that the comparative or the superlative degree, "increases or lessens the positive," than it would be to aver, that the plural number increases or lessens the singular, or the feminine gender, the masculine. Nor does the superlative mean, what a certain learned Doctor understands by it--namely, "the greatest or least possible degree." If it did, "the thickest parts of his skull," for example, would imply small room for brains; "the thinnest," protect them ill, if there were any. (6.) It is improper to say, "The simple word becomes [the] comparative by adding r or er; and the superlative by adding st or est." The thought is wrong; and nearly all the words are misapplied; as, simple for primitive, adding for assuming, &c. (7.) Nor is it very wise to say, "the adverbs more and most, placed before the adjective, have the same effect:" because it ought to be known, that the effect of the one is very different from that of the other! "The same effect," cannot here be taken for any effect previously described; unless we will have it to be, that these words, more and most, "become comparative by adding r or er; and the superlative by adding st or est, to the end of them:" all of which is grossly absurd. (8.) The repetition of the word degree, in saying, "The superlative degree increases or lessens the positive to the highest or lowest degree," is a disagreeable tautology. Besides, unless it involves the additional error of presenting the same word in different senses, it makes one degree swell or diminish an other to itself; whereas, in the very next sentence, this singular agency is forgotten, and a second equally strange takes its place: "The positive becomes the superlative by adding st or est, to the end of it;" i. e., to the end of itself. Nothing can be more ungrammatical, than is much of the language by which grammar itself is now professedly taught!

OBS. 5.--It has been almost universally assumed by grammarians, that the positive degree is the only standard to which the other degrees can refer; though many seem to think, that the superlative always implies or includes the comparative, and is consequently inapplicable when only two things are spoken of. Neither of these positions is involved in any of the definitions which I have given above. The reader may think what he will about these points, after observing the several ways in which each form may be used. In the phrases, "greater than Solomon,"--"more than a bushel,"--"later than one o'clock," it is not immediately obvious that the positives great, much, and late, are the real terms of contrast. And how is it in the Latin phrases, "Dulcior melle, sweeter than honey,"--"Præstantior auro, better than gold?" These authors will resolve all such phrases thus: "greater, than Solomon was great,"--"more, than a bushel is much," &c. As the conjunction than never governs the objective case, it seems necessary to suppose an ellipsis of some verb after the noun which follows it as above; and possibly the foregoing solution, uncouth as it seems, may, for the English idiom, be the true one: as, "My Father is greater than I."--John, xiv, 28. That is, "My Father is greater than I am;"--or, perhaps, "than I am great." But if it appear that some degree of the same quality must always be contrasted with the comparative, there is still room to question whether this degree must always be that which we call the positive. Cicero, in exile, wrote to his wife: "Ego autem hoc miserior sum, quam tu, quæ es miserrima, quod ipsa calamitas communis est utriusque nostrùm, sed culpa mea propria est."--Epist. ad Fam., xiv, 3. "But in this I am more wretched, than thou, who art most wretched, that the calamity itself is common to us both, but the fault is all my own."

OBS. 6.--In my Institutes and First Lines of English Grammar, I used the following brief definitions: "The comparative degree is that which exceeds the positive; as, harder, softer, better." "The superlative degree is that which is not exceeded; as, hardest, softest, best." And it is rather for the sake of suggesting to the learner the peculiar application of each of these degrees, than from any decided dissatisfaction with these expressions, that I now present others. The first, however, proceeds upon the common supposition, that the comparative degree of a quality, ascribed to any object, must needs be contrasted with the positive in some other, or with the positive in the same at an other time. This idea may be plausibly maintained, though it is certain that the positive term referred to, is seldom, if ever, allowed to appear. Besides, the comparative or the superlative may appear, and in such a manner as to be, or seem to be, in the point of contrast. Thus: "Objects near our view are apt to be thought greater than those of a larger size, that are more remote."--Locke's Essay, p. 186. Upon the principle above, the explanation here must be, that the meaning is--"greater than those of a larger size are thought great." "The poor man that loveth Christ, is richer than the richest man in the world, that hates him."--Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, p. 86. This must be "richer than the richest man is rich." The riches contemplated here, are of different sorts; and the comparative or the superlative of one sort, may be exceeded by either of these degrees of an other sort, though the same epithet be used for both. So in the following instances: "He that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they."--Eccl., v, 8. That is, "He that is higher than the highest earthly dignitaries, regardeth; and there are higher authorities than these." "Fairer than aught imagined else fairest."--Pollok. "Sadder than saddest night."--Byron. It is evident that the superlative degree is not, in general, that which cannot be exceeded, but that which, in the actual state of the things included, "is not exceeded." Again, as soon as any given comparative or superlative is, by a further elevation or intension of the quality, surpassed and exceeded, that particular degree, whatever it was, becomes merely positive; for the positive degree of a quality, though it commonly includes the very lowest measure, and is understood to exceed nothing, may at any time equal the very highest. There is no paradox in all this, which is not also in the following simple examples: "Easier, indeed, I was, but far from easy."--Cowper's Life, p. 50.

  "Who canst the wisest wiser make,
   And babes as wise as they."--Cowper's Poems.

OBS. 7.--The relative nature of these degrees deserves to be further illustrated. (1.) It is plain, that the greatest degree of a quality in one thing, may be less than the least in an other; and, consequently, that the least degree in one thing, may be greater than the greatest in an other. Thus, the heaviest wood is less heavy than the lightest of the metals; and the least valuable of the metals is perhaps of more value than the choicest wood. (2.) The comparative degree may increase upon itself, and be repeated to show the gradation. Thus, a man may ascend into the air with a balloon, and rise higher, and higher, and higher, and higher, till he is out of sight. This is no uncommon form of expression, and the intension is from comparative to comparative. (3.) If a ladder be set up for use, one of its rounds will be the highest, and one other will be the lowest, or least high. And as that which is highest, is higher than all the rest, so every one will be higher than all below it. The higher rounds, if spoken of generally, and without definite contrast, will be those in the upper half; the lower rounds, referred to in like manner, will be those in the lower half, or those not far from the ground. The highest rounds, or the lowest, if we indulge such latitude of speech, will be those near the top or the bottom; there being, absolutely, or in strictness of language, but one of each. (4.) If the highest round be removed, or left uncounted, the next becomes the highest, though not so high as the former. For every one is the highest of the number which it completes. All admit this, till we come to three. And, as the third is the highest of the three, I see not why the second is not properly the highest of the two. Yet nearly all our grammarians condemn this phrase, and prefer "the higher of the two." But can they give a reason for their preference? That the comparative degree is implied between the positive and the superlative, so that there must needs be three terms before the latter is applicable, is a doctrine which I deny. And if the second is the higher of the two, because it is higher than the first; is it not also the highest of the two, because it completes the number? (5.) It is to be observed, too, that as our ordinal numeral first, denoting the one which begins a series, and having reference of course to more, is an adjective of the superlative degree, equivalent to foremost, of which it is perhaps a contraction; so last likewise, though no numeral, is a superlative also. (6.) These, like other superlatives, admit of a looser application, and may possibly include more than one thing at the beginning or at the end of a series: as, "The last years of man are often helpless, like the first." (7.) With undoubted propriety, we may speak of the first two, the last two, the first three, the last three, &c.; but to say, the two first, the two last, &c., with this meaning, is obviously and needlessly inaccurate. "The two first men in the nation," may, I admit, be good English; but it can properly be meant only of the two most eminent. In specifying any part of a series, we ought rather to place the cardinal number after the ordinal. (8.) Many of the foregoing positions apply generally, to almost all adjectives that are susceptible of comparison. Thus, it is a common saying, "Take the best first, and all will be best." That is, remove that degree which is now superlative, and the epithet will descend to an other, "the next best."

OBS. 8.--It is a common assumption, maintained by almost all our grammarians, that the degrees which add to the adjective the terminations er and est, as well as those which are expressed by more and most, indicate an increase, or heightening, of the quality expressed by the positive. If such must needs be their import, it is certainly very improper, to apply them, as many do, to what can be only an approximation to the positive. Thus Dr. Blair: "Nothing that belongs to human nature, is more universal than the relish of beauty of one kind or other."--Lectures, p. 16. "In architecture, the Grecian models were long esteemed the most perfect."--Ib., p. 20. Again: In his reprehension of Capernaum, the Saviour said, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgement, than for thee."--Matt., xi, 24. Now, although [Greek: anektoteron], more tolerable, is in itself a good comparative, who would dare infer from this text, that in the day of judgement Capernaum shall fare tolerably, and Sodom, still better? There is much reason to think, that the essential nature of these grammatical degrees has not been well understood by those who have heretofore pretended to explain them. If we except those few approximations to sensible qualities, which are signified by such words as whitish, greenish, &c., there will be found no actual measure, or inherent degree of any quality, to which the simple form of the adjective is not applicable; or which, by the help of intensive adverbs of a positive character, it may not be made to express; and that, too, without becoming either comparative or superlative, in the technical sense of those terms. Thus very white, exceedingly white, perfectly white, are terms quite as significant as whiter and whitest, if not more so. Some grammarians, observing this, and knowing that the Romans often used their superlative in a sense merely intensive, as altissimus for very high, have needlessly divided our English superlative into two, "the definite, and the indefinite;" giving the latter name to that degree which we mark by the adverb very, and the former to that which alone is properly called the superlative. Churchill does this: while, (as we have seen above,) in naming the degrees, he pretends to prefer "what has been established by long custom."--New Gram., p. 231. By a strange oversight also, he failed to notice, that this doctrine interferes with his scheme of five degrees, and would clearly furnish him with six: to which if he had chosen to add the "imperfect degree" of Dr. Webster, (as whitish, greenish, &c.,) which is recognized by Johnson, Murray, and others, he might have had seven. But I hope my readers will by-and-by believe there is no need of more than three.

OBS. 9.--The true nature of the Comparative degree is this: it denotes either some excess or some relative deficiency of the quality, when one thing or party is compared with an other, in respect to what is in both: as, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."--1 Cor., i, 25. "Few languages are, in fact, more copious than the English."--Blair's Rhet., p. 87. "Our style is less compact than that of the ancients."--Ib., p. 88. "They are counted to him less than nothing and vanity."--Isaiah, xl, 17. As the comparatives in a long series are necessarily many, and some of them higher than others, it may be asked, "How can the comparative degree, in this case, be merely 'that which exceeds the positive?'" Or, as our common grammarians prompt me here to say, "May not the comparative degree increase or lessen the comparative, in signification?" The latter form of the question they may answer for themselves; remembering that the comparative may advance from the comparative, step by step, from the second article in the series to the utmost. Thus, three is a higher or greater number than two; but four is higher than three; five, than four; and so on, ad infinitum. My own form of the question I answer thus: "The highest of the higher is not higher than the rest are higher, but simply higher than they are high."

OBS. 10.--The true nature of the Superlative degree is this: it denotes, in a quality, some extreme or unsurpassed extent. It may be used either absolutely, as being without bounds; or relatively, as being confined within any limits we choose to give it. It is equally applicable to that which is naturally unsurpassable, and to that which stands within the narrowest limits of comparison. The heaviest of three feathers would scarcely be thought a heavy thing, and yet the expression is proper; because the weight, whatever it is, is relatively the greatest. The youngest of three persons, may not be very young; nor need we suppose the oldest in a whole college to have arrived at the greatest conceivable age. What then shall be thought of the explanations which our grammarians have given of this degree of comparison? That of Murray I have already criticised. It is ascribed to him, not upon the supposition that he invented it; but because common sense continues to give place to the authority of his name in support of it. Comly, Russell, Alger, Ingersoll, Greenleaf, Fisk, Merchant, Kirkham, T. Smith, R. C. Smith, Hall, Hiley, and many others, have copied it into their grammars, as being better than any definition they could devise. Murray himself unquestionably took it from some obscure pedagogue among the old grammarians. Buchanan, who long preceded him, has nearly the same words: "The Superlative increases or diminishes the Positive in Signification, to the highest or [the] lowest Degree of all."--English Syntax, p. 28. If this is to be taken for a grammatical definition, what definition shall grammar itself bear?

OBS. 11.--Let us see whether our later authors have done better. "The superlative expresses a quality in the greatest or [the] least possible degree; as, wisest, coldest, least wise."--Webster's Old Gram., p. 13. In his later speculations, this author conceives that the termination ish forms the first degree of comparison; as, "Imperfect, dankish," Pos. dank, Comp. danker, Superl. dankest. "There are therefore four degrees of comparison."--Webster's Philosophical Gram. p. 65. "The fourth denotes the utmost or [the] least degree of a quality; as, bravest, wisest, poorest, smallest. This is called the superlative degree."--Ib.; also his Improved Gram., 1831, p. 47. "This degree is called the Superlative degree, from its raising the amount of the quality above that of all others."--Webber's Gram., 1832, p. 26. It is not easy to quote, from any source, a worse sentence than this; if, indeed, so strange a jumble of words can be called a sentence. "From its raising the amount," is in itself a vicious and untranslatable phrase, here put for "because it raises the amount;" and who can conceive of the superlative degree, as "raising the amount of the quality above that of all other qualities?" Or, if it be supposed to mean, "above the amount of all other degrees," what is this amount? Is it that of one and one, the positive and the comparative added numerically? or is it the sum of all the quantities which these may indicate? Perhaps the author meant, "above the amount of all other amounts." If none of these absurdities is here taught, nothing is taught, and the words are nonsense. Again: "The superlative degree increases or diminishes the positive to the highest or [the] lowest degree of which it is susceptible."--Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 49. "The superlative degree is generally formed by adding st or est to the positive; and denotes the greatest excess."--Nutting's Gram., p. 33. "The Superlative increases or diminishes the Signification of the Positive or Adjective, to a very high or a very low Degree."--British Gram., p. 97. What excess of skill, or what very high degree of acuteness, have the brightest and best of these grammarians exhibited? There must be some, if their definitions are true.

OBS. 12.--The common assertion of the grammarians, that the superlative degree is not applicable to two objects,[177] is not only unsupported by any reason in the nature of things, but it is contradicted in practice by almost every man who affirms it. Thus Maunder: "When only two persons or things are spoken of comparatively, to use the superlative is improper: as, 'Deborah, my dear, give those two boys a lump of sugar each; and let Dick's be the largest, because he spoke first.' This," says the critic, "should have been 'larger.'"--Maunder's Gram., p. 4. It is true, the comparative might here have been used; but the superlative is clearer, and more agreeable to custom. And how can "largest" be wrong, if "first" is right? "Let Dick's be the larger, because he spoke sooner," borders too much upon a different idea, that of proportion; as when we say, "The sooner the better,"--"The more the merrier." So Blair: "When only two things are compared, the comparative degree should be used, and not the superlative."--Practical Gram., p. 81. "A Trochee has the first syllable accented, and the last unaccented."--Ib., p. 118. "An Iambus has the first syllable unaccented, and the last accented."--Ibid. These two examples are found also in Jamieson's Rhetoric, p. 305; Murray's Gram., p. 253; Kirkham's, 219; Bullions's, 169; Guy's, 120; Merchant's, 166. So Hiley: "When two persons or things are compared, the comparative degree must be employed. When three or more persons or things are compared, the superlative must be used."--Treatise on English Gram., p. 78. Contradiction in practice: "Thomas is wiser than his brothers."--Ib., p. 79. Are not "three or more persons" here compared by "the comparative" wiser? "In an Iambus the first syllable is unaccented."--Ib., p. 123. An iambus has but two syllables; and this author expressly teaches that "first" is "superlative."--Ib., p. 21. So Sanborn: "The positive degree denotes the simple form of an adjective without any variation of meaning. The comparative degree increases or lessens the meaning of the positive, and denotes a comparison between two persons or things. The superlative degree increases or lessens the positive to the greatest extent, and denotes a comparison between more than two persons or things."--Analytical Gram., p. 30 and p. 86. These pretended definitions of the degrees of comparison embrace not only the absurdities which I have already censured in those of our common grammars, but several new ones peculiar to this author. Of the inconsistency of his doctrine and practice, take the following examples: "Which of two bodies, that move with the same velocity, will exercise the greatest power?"--Ib., p. 93; and again, p. 203, "'I was offered a dollar;'--'A dollar was offered (to) me.' The first form should always be avoided."--Ib., p. 127. "Nouns in apposition generally annex the sign of the possessive case to the last; as, 'For David my servant's sake.'--'John the Baptist's head.' Bible."--Ib., p. 197.

OBS. 13.--So Murray: "We commonly say, 'This is the weaker of the two;' or, 'The weakest of the two;'[178] but the former is the regular mode of expression, because there are only two things compared."--Octavo Gram., i, 167. What then of the following example: "Which of those two persons has most distinguished himself?"--Ib., Key, ii, 187. Again, in treating of the adjectives this and that, the same hand writes thus: "This refers to the nearest person or thing, and that to the most distant: as, 'This man is more intelligent than that.' This indicates the latter, or last mentioned; that, the former, or first mentioned: as, 'Both wealth and poverty are temptations; that tends to excite pride, this, discontent.'"--Murray's Gram., i, 56. In the former part of this example, the superlative is twice applied where only two things are spoken of; and, in the latter, it is twice made equivalent to the comparative, with a like reference. The following example shows the same equivalence: "This refers to the last mentioned or nearer thing, that to the first mentioned or more distant thing."--Webber's Gram., p. 31. So Churchill: "The superlative should not be used, when only two persons or things are compared."--New Gram., p. 80. "In the first of these two sentences."--Ib., p. 162; Lowth, p. 120. According to the rule, it should have been, "In the former of these two sentences;" but this would be here ambiguous, because former might mean maker. "When our sentence consists of two members, the longest should, generally, be the concluding one."--Blair's Rhet., p. 117: and Jamieson's, p. 99. "The shortest member being placed first, we carry it more readily in our memory as we proceed to the second."--Ib., & Ib. "Pray consider us, in this respect, as the weakest sex."--Spect., No. 533. In this last sentence, the comparative, weaker, would perhaps have been better; because, not an absolute, but merely a comparative weakness is meant. So Latham and Child: "It is better, in speaking of only two objects, to use the comparative degree rather than the superlative, even, where we use the article the. This is the better of the two, is preferable to this is the best of the two."--Elementary Gram., p. 155. Such is their rule; but very soon they forget it, and write thus: "In this case the relative refers to the last of the two."--Ib., p. 163.

OBS. 14.--Hyperboles are very commonly expressed by comparatives or superlatives; as, "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins."--1 Kings, xii, 10. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given."--Ephesians, iii, 8. Sometimes, in thus heightening or lowering the object of his conception, the writer falls into a catachresis, solecism, or abuse of the grammatical degrees; as, "Mustard-seed--which is less than all the seeds that be in the earth."--Mark, iv, 31. This expression is objectionable, because mustard-seed is a seed, and cannot be less than itself; though that which is here spoken of, may perhaps have been "the least of all seeds:" and it is the same Greek phrase, that is thus rendered in Matt, xiii, 32. Murray has inserted in his Exercises, among "unintelligible and inconsistent words and phrases," the following example from Milton:

  "And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
   Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide."--Exercises, p. 122.

For this supposed inconsistency, ho proposes in his Key the following amendment:

  "And, in the lower deep, another deep
   Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide."--Key, p. 254.

But, in an other part of his book, he copies from Dr. Blair the same passage, with commendation: saying, "The following sentiments of Satan in Milton, as strongly as they are described, contain nothing but what is natural and proper:

   'Me miserable! which way shall I fly
   Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
   Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
   And in the lowest depth, a lower deep,
   Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide,
   To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.' P. Lost, B. iv, l. 73."
        Blair's Lectures, p. 153; Murray's Grammar, p. 352.

OBS. 15.--Milton's word, in the fourth line above, is deep, and not depth, as these authors here give it: nor was it very polite in them, to use a phraseology which comes so near to saying, the devil was in the poet. Alas for grammar! accuracy in its teachers has become the most rare of all qualifications. As for Murray's correction above, I see not how it can please any one who chooses to think Hell a place of great depth. A descent into his "lower deep" and "other deep," might be a plunge less horrible than two or three successive slides in one of our western caverns! But Milton supposes the arch-fiend might descend to the lowest imaginable depth of Hell, and there be liable to a still further fall of more tremendous extent. Fall whither? Into the horrid and inconceivable profundity of the bottomless pit! What signifies it, to object to his language as "unintelligible" if it conveys his idea better than any other could? In no human conception of what is infinite, can there be any real exaggeration. To amplify beyond the truth, is here impossible. Nor is there any superlation which can fix a limit to the idea of more and more in infinitude. Whatever literal absurdity there may be in it, the duplication seems greatly to augment what was even our greatest conception of the thing. Homer, with a like figure, though expressed in the positive degree, makes Jupiter threaten any rebel god, that he shall be thrown down from Olympus, to suffer the burning pains of the Tartarean gulf; not in the centre, but,

  "As deep beneath th' infernal centre hurl'd,
   As from that centre to th' ethereal world."
       --Pope's Iliad, B. viii, l. 19.


Adjectives are regularly compared, when the comparative degree is expressed by adding er, and the superlative, by adding est to them: as, Pos., great, Comp., greater, Superl., greatest; Pos., mild, Comp., milder, Superl., mildest.

In the variation of adjectives, final consonants are doubled, final e is omitted, and final y is changed to i, agreeably to the rules for spelling: as, hot, hotter, hottest; wide, wider, widest; happy, happier, happiest.

The regular method of comparison belongs almost exclusively to monosyllables, with dissyllables ending in w or y, and such others as receive it and st ill have but one syllable after the accent: as, fierce, fiercer, fiercest; narrow, narrower, narrowest; gloomy, gloomier, gloomiest; serene, serener, serenest; noble, nobler, noblest; gentle, gentler, gentlest.


The two degrees of superiority may also be expressed with precisely the same import as above, by prefixing to the adjective the adverbs more and most: as, wise, more wise, most wise; famous, more famous, most famous; amiable, more amiable, most amiable.

The degrees of inferiority are expressed, in like manner, by the adverbs less and least: as, wise, less wise, least wise; famous, less famous, least famous; amiable, less amiable, least amiable. The regular method of comparison has, properly speaking, no degrees of this kind.

Nearly all adjectives that admit of different degrees, may be compared by means of the adverbs; but, for short words, the regular method is generally preferable: as, quick, quicker, quickest; rather than, quick, more quick, most quick.


OBS. 1.--The genius of our language is particularly averse to the lengthening of long words by additional syllables; and, in the comparison of adjectives, er and est always add a syllable to the word, except it end in le after a mute. Thus, free, freer, freest, increases syllabically; but ample, ampler, amplest, does not. Whether any particular adjective admits of comparison or not, is a matter of reasoning from the sense of the term; by which method it shall be compared, is in some degree a matter of taste; though custom has decided that long words shall not be inflected, and for the shorter, there is generally an obvious bias in favour of one form rather than the other. Dr. Johnson says, "The comparison of adjectives is very uncertain; and being much regulated by commodiousness of utterance, or agreeableness of sound, is not easily reduced to rules. Monosyllables are commonly compared. Polysyllables, or words of more than two syllables, are seldom compared otherwise than by more and most. Dissyllables are seldom compared if they terminate in full, less, ing, ous, ed, id, at, ent, ain, or ive."--Gram. of the English Tongue, p. 6. "When the positive contains but one syllable, the degrees are usually formed by adding er or est. When the positive contains two syllables, it is matter of taste which method you shall use in forming the degrees. The ear is, in this case, the best guide. But, when the positive contains more than two syllables, the degrees must be formed by the use of more and most. We may say, tenderer and tenderest, pleasanter and pleasantest, prettier and prettiest; but who could endure delicater and delicatest?"--Cobbett's E. Gram., p. 81. Quiet, bitter, clever, sober, and perhaps some others like them, are still regularly compared; but such words as secretest, famousest, virtuousest, powerfullest, which were used by Milton, have gone out of fashion. The following, though not very commonly used, are perhaps allowable. "Yet these are the two commonest occupations of mankind."--Philological Museum, i, 431. "Their pleasantest walks throughout life must be guarded by armed men."--Ib., i, 437. "Franklin possessed the rare talent of drawing useful lessons from the commonest occurrences."--Murray's Sequel, p. 323. "Unbidden guests are often welcomest when they are gone."--SHAK.: in Joh. Dict.

  "There was a lad, th' unluckiest of his crew,
   Was still contriving something bad, but new."--KING: ib.

OBS. 2.--I make a distinction between the regular comparison by er and est, and the comparison by adverbs; because, in a grammatical point of view, these two methods are totally different: the meaning, though the same, being expressed in the one case, by an inflection of the adjective; and in the other, by a phrase consisting of two different parts of speech. If the placing of an adverb before an adjective is to be called a grammatical modification or variation of the latter word, we shall have many other degrees than those which are enumerated above. The words may with much more propriety be parsed separately, the degree being ascribed to the adverb--or, if you please, to both words, for both are varied in sense by the inflection of the former. The degrees in which qualities may exist in nature, are infinitely various; but the only degrees with which the grammarian is concerned, are those which our variation of the adjective or adverb enables us to express--including, as of course we must, the state or sense of the primitive word, as one. The reasoning which would make the positive degree to be no degree, would also make the nominative case, or the casus rectus of the Latins, to be no case.

OBS. 3.--Whenever the adjective itself denotes these degrees, and is duly varied in form to express them, they properly belong to it; as, worthy, worthier, worthiest. (Though no apology can be made for the frequent error of confounding the degree of a quality, with the verbal sign which expresses it.) If an adverb is employed for this purpose, that also is compared, and the two degrees thus formed or expressed, are properly its own; as, worthy, more worthy, most worthy. But these same degrees may be yet otherwise expressed; as, worthy, in a higher degree worthy, in the highest degree worthy. Here also the adjective worthy is virtually compared, as before; but only the adjective high is grammatically modified. Again, we may form three degrees with several adverbs to each, thus: Pos., very truly worthy; Comp., much more truly worthy; Sup., much the most truly worthy. There are also other adverbs, which, though not varied in themselves like much, more, most, may nevertheless have nearly the same effect upon the adjective; as, worthy, comparatively worthy, superlatively worthy. I make these remarks, because many grammarians have erroneously parsed the adverbs more and most, less and least, as parts of the adjective.

OBS. 4.--Harris, in his Hermes, or Philosophical Inquiry concerning Universal Grammar, has very unceremoniously pronounced the doctrine of three degrees of comparison, to be absurd; and the author of the British Grammar, as he emotes the whole passage without offering any defence of that doctrine, seems to second the allegation. "Mr. Harris observes, that, 'There cannot well be more than two degrees; one to denote simple excess, and one to denote superlative. Were we indeed to introduce more degrees, we ought perhaps to introduce infinite, which is absurd. For why stop at a limited number, when in all subjects, susceptible of intension, the intermediate excesses are in a manner infinite? There are infinite degrees of more white between the first simple white and the superlative whitest; the same may be said of more great, more strong, more minute, &c. The doctrine of grammarians about three such degrees, which they call the Positive, the Comparative, and the Superlative, must needs be absurd; both because in their Positive there is no comparison at all, and because their Superlative is a Comparative as much as their Comparative itself.' Hermes, p. 197."--Brit. Gram., p. 98. This objection is rashly urged. No comparison can be imagined without bringing together as many as two terms, and if the positive is one of these, it is a degree of comparison; though neither this nor the superlative is, for that reason, "a Comparative." Why we stop at three degrees, I have already shown: we have three forms, and only three.

OBS. 5.--"The termination ish may be accounted in some sort a degree of comparison, by which the signification is diminished below the positive, as black, blackish, or tending to blackness; salt, saltish, or having a little taste of salt:[179] they therefore admit of no comparison. This termination is seldom added but to words expressing sensible qualities, nor often to words of above one syllable, and is scarcely used in the solemn or sublime style."--Dr. Johnson's Gram. "The first [degree] denotes a slight degree of the quality, and is expressed by the termination ish; as, reddish, brownish, yellowish. This may be denominated the imperfect degree of the attribute."--Dr. Webster's Improved Gram., p. 47. I doubt the correctness of the view taken above by Johnson, and dissent entirely from Webster, about his "first degree of comparison." Of adjectives in ish we have perhaps a hundred; but nine out of ten of them are derived clearly from nouns, as, boyish, girlish; and who can prove that blackish, saltish, reddish, brownish, and yellowish, are not also from the nouns, black, salt, red, brown, and yellow? or that "a more reddish tinge,"--"a more saltish taste," are not correct phrases? There is, I am persuaded, no good reason for noticing this termination as constituting a degree of comparison. All "double comparisons" are said to be ungrammatical; but, if ish forms a degree, it is such a degree as may be compared again: as,

  "And seem more learnedish than those
   That at a greater charge compose."--Butler.

OBS. 6.--Among the degrees of comparison, some have enumerated that of equality; as when we say, "It is as sweet as honey." Here is indeed a comparison, but it is altogether in the positive degree, and needs no other name. This again refutes Harris; who says, that in the positive there is no comparison at all. But further: it is plain, that in this degree there may be comparisons of inequality also; as, "Molasses is not so sweet as honey."--"Civility is not so slight a matter as it is commonly thought."--Art of Thinking, p. 92. Nay, such comparisons may equal any superlative. Thus it is said, I think, in the Life of Robert Hall: "Probably no human being ever before suffered so much bodily pain." What a preëminence is here! and yet the form of the adjective is only that of the positive degree. "Nothing so uncertain as general reputation."--Art of Thinking, p. 50. "Nothing so nauseous as undistinguishing civility."--Ib., p. 88. These, likewise, would be strong expressions, if they were correct English. But, to my apprehension, every such comparison of equality involves a solecism, when, as it here happens, the former term includes the latter. The word nothing is a general negative, and reputation is a particular affirmative. The comparison of equality between them, is therefore certainly improper: because nothing cannot be equal to something; and, reputation being something, and of course equal to itself, the proposition is evidently untrue. It ought to be, "Nothing is more uncertain than general reputation." This is the same as to say, "General reputation is as uncertain as any thing that can be named." Or else the former term should exempt the latter; as. "Nothing else"--or, "No other thing, is so uncertain as" this popular honour, public esteem, or "general reputation." And so of all similar examples.

OBS. 7.--In all comparisons, care must be taken to adapt the terms to the degree which is expressed by the adjective or adverb. The superlative degree requires that the object to which it relates, be one of those with which it is compared; as, "Eve was the fairest of women." The comparative degree, on the contrary, requires that the object spoken of be not included among those with which it is compared; as, "Eve was fairer than any of her daughters." To take the inclusive term here, and say, "Eve was fairer than any woman," would be no less absurd, than Milton's assertion, that "Eve was the fairest of her daughters:" the former supposes that she was not a woman; the latter, that she was one of her own daughters. But Milton's solecism is double; he makes Adam one of his own sons:--

  "Adam the goodliest man of men since born
   His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve."--P. Lost, B. iv, l. 324.

OBS. 8.--"Such adjectives," says Churchill, "as have in themselves a superlative signification, or express qualities not susceptible of degrees, do not properly admit either the comparative or [the] superlative form. Under this rule may be included all adjectives with a negative prefix."--New Gram., p. 80. Again: "As immediate signifies instant, present with regard to time, Prior should not have written 'more immediate.' Dr. Johnson."--Ib., p. 233. "Hooker has unaptest; Locke, more uncorrupted; Holder, more undeceivable: for these the proper expressions would have been the opposite signs without the negation: least apt, less corrupted, less deceivable. Watts speaks of 'a most unpassable barrier.' If he had simply said 'an unpassable barrier,' we should have understood it at once in the strongest sense, as a barrier impossible to be surmounted: but, by attempting to express something more, he gives an idea of something less; we perceive, that his unpassable means difficult to pass. This is the mischief of the propensity to exaggeration; which, striving after strength, sinks into weakness."--Ib., p. 234.

OBS. 9.--The foregoing remarks from Churchill appear in general to have been dictated by good sense; but, if his own practice is right, there must be some exceptions to his rule respecting the comparison of adjectives with a negative prefix; for, in the phrase "less imprudent," which, according to a passage quoted before, he will have to be different from "more prudent," he himself furnishes an example of such comparison. In fact, very many words of that class are compared by good writers: as, "Nothing is more unnecessary."--Lowth's Gram., Pref., p. v. "What is yet more unaccountable."--ROGERS: in Joh. Dict. "It is hard to determine which is most uneligible."--Id., ib. "Where it appears the most unbecoming and unnatural."--ADDISON: ib. "Men of the best sense and of the most unblemished lives."--Id., ib. "March and September are the most unsettled and unequable of seasons."--BENTLEY: ib. "Barcelona was taken by a most unexpected accident."--SWIFT: ib. "The most barren and unpleasant."--WOODWARD: ib. "O good, but most unwise patricians!"--SHAK.: ib. "More unconstant than the wind."--Id., ib. "We may say more or less imperfect."--Murray's Gram., p. 168. "Some of those [passions] which act with the most irresistible energy upon the hearts of mankind, are altogether omitted in the catalogue of Aristotle."--Adams's Rhet., i, 380. "The wrong of him who presumes to talk of owning me, is too unmeasured to be softened by kindness."--Channing, on Emancipation, p. 52. "Which, we are sensible, are more inconclusive than the rest."--Blair's Rhet., p. 319.

  "Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
   Had left the flushing in her galled eyes."--Shak.

OBS. 10.--Comparison must not be considered a general property of adjectives. It belongs chiefly to the class which I call common adjectives, and is by no means applicable to all of these. Common adjectives, or epithets denoting quality, are perhaps more numerous than all the other classes put together. Many of these, and a few that are pronominal, may be varied by comparison; and some participial adjectives may be compared by means of the adverbs. But adjectives formed from proper names, all the numerals, and most of the compounds, are in no way susceptible of comparison. All nouns used adjectively, as an iron bar, an evening school, a mahogany chair, a South-Sea dream, are also incapable of comparison. In the title of "His Most Christian Majesty," the superlative adverb is applied to a proper adjective; but who will pretend that we ought to understand by it "the highest degree" of Christian attainment? It might seem uncourtly to suggest that this is "an abuse of the king's English," I shall therefore say no such thing. Pope compares the word Christian, in the following couplet:--

  "Go, purified by flames ascend the sky,
   My better and more Christian progeny."--Dunciad, B. i, l. 227.


The following adjectives are compared irregularly: good, better, best; bad, evil, or ill, worse, worst; little, less, least; much, more, most; many, more, most.


OBS. 1.--In English, and also in Latin, most adjectives that denote place or situation, not only form the superlative irregularly, but are also either defective or redundant in comparison. Thus:

I. The following nine have more than one superlative: far, farther, farthest, farmost, or farthermost; near, nearer, nearest or next; fore, former, foremost or first; hind, hinder, hindmost or hindermost; in, inner, inmost or innermost; out, outer, or utter, outmost or utmost, outermost or uttermost; up, upper, upmost or uppermost; low, lower, lowest or lowermost; late, later or latter, latest or last.

II. The following five want the positive: [aft, adv.,] after, aftmost or aftermost; [forth, adv., formerly furth,[180]] further, furthest or furthermost; hither, hithermost; nether, nethermost; under, undermost.

III. The following want the comparative: front, frontmost; rear, rearmost; head, headmost; end, endmost; top, topmost; bottom, bottommost; mid or middle, midst,[181] midmost or middlemost; north, northmost; south, southmost; east, eastmost; west, westmost; northern, northernmost; southern, southernmost; eastern, easternmost; western, westernmost.

OBS. 2.--Many of these irregular words are not always used as adjectives, but oftener as nouns, adverbs, or prepositions. The sense in which they are employed, will show to what class they belong. The terms fore and hind, front and rear, right and left, in and out, high and low, top and bottom, up and down, upper and under, mid and after, all but the last pair, are in direct contrast with each other. Many of them are often joined in composition with other words; and some, when used as adjectives of place, are rarely separated from their nouns: as, inland, outhouse, mid-sea, after-ages. Practice is here so capricious, I find it difficult to determine whether the compounding of these terms is proper or not. It is a case about which he that inquires most, may perhaps be most in doubt. If the joining of the words prevents the possibility of mistaking the adjective for a preposition, it prevents also the separate classification of the adjective and the noun, and thus in some sense destroys the former by making the whole a noun. Dr. Webster writes thus: "FRONTROOM, n. A room or apartment in the forepart of a house. BACKROOM, n. A room behind the front room, or in the back part of the house."--Octavo Dict. So of many phrases by which people tell of turning things, or changing the position of their parts; as, inside out, outside in; upside down, downside up; wrong end foremost, but-end foremost; fore-part back, fore-end aft; hind side before, backside before. Here all these contrasted particles seem to be adjectives of place or situation. What grammarians in general would choose to call them, it is hard to say; probably, many would satisfy themselves with calling the whole "an adverbial phrase,"--the common way of disposing of every thing which it is difficult to analyze. These, and the following examples from Scott, are a fair specimen of the uncertainty of present usage:

  "The herds without a keeper strayed,
   The plough was in mid-furrow staid."--Lady of the Lake.
   "The eager huntsman knew his bound,
   And in mid chase called off his hound."--Ibidem.

OBS. 3.--For the chief points of the compass, we have so many adjectives, and so many modes of varying or comparing them, that it is difficult to tell their number, or to know which to choose in practice. (1.) North, south, east, and west, are familiarly used both as nouns and as adjectives. From these it seems not improper to form superlatives, as above, by adding most; as, "From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild of southmost Abarim."--Milton. "There are no rivulets or springs in the island of Feror, the westmost of the Canaries."--White's Nat. Hist. (2.) These primitive terms may also be compared, in all three of the degrees, by the adverbs farther and farthest, or further and furthest; as, "Which is yet farther west."--Bacon. (3.) Though we never employ as separate words the comparatives norther, souther, easter, wester, we have northerly, southerly, easterly, and westerly, which seem to have been formed from such comparatives, by adding ly; and these four may be compared by the adverbs more and most, or less and least: as, "These hills give us a view of the most easterly, southerly, and westerly parts of England."--GRAUNT: in Joh. Dict. (4.) From these supposed comparatives likewise, some authors form the superlatives northermost, southermost, eastermost, and westermost; as, "From the westermost part of Oyster bay."--Dr. Webster's Hist. U. S., p. 126. "And three miles southward of the southermost part of said bay."--Trumbull's Hist. of Amer., Vol. i, p. 88. "Pockanocket was on the westermost line of Plymouth Colony."--Ib., p. 44. "As far as the northermost branch of the said bay or river."--Ib., p. 127. The propriety of these is at least questionable; and, as they are neither very necessary to the language, nor recognized by any of our lexicographers, I forbear to approve them. (5.) From the four primitives we have also a third series of positives, ending in ern; as, northern, southern, eastern, western. These, though they have no comparatives of their own, not only form superlatives by assuming the termination most, but are sometimes compared, perhaps in both degrees, by a separate use of the adverbs: as, "Southernmost, a. Furthest towards the south."--Webster's Dict. "Until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude."--Articles of Peace. "To the north-westernmost head of Connecticut river."--Ib. "Thence through the said lake to the most north-western point thereof."--Ib.

OBS. 4.--It may be remarked of the comparatives former and latter or hinder, upper and under or nether, inner and outer or utter, after and hither; as well as of the Latin superior and inferior, anterior and posterior, interior and exterior, prior and ulterior, senior and junior, major and minor; that they cannot, like other comparatives, be construed with the conjunction than. After all genuine English comparatives, this conjunction may occur, because it is the only fit word for introducing the latter term of comparison; but we never say one thing is former or latter, superior or inferior, than an other. And so of all the rest here named. Again, no real comparative or superlative can ever need an other superadded to it; but inferior and superior convey ideas that do not always preclude the additional conception of more or less: as, "With respect to high and low notes, pronunciation is still more inferior to singing."--Kames, Elements of Criticism, Vol. ii, p. 73. "The mistakes which the most superior understanding is apt to fall into."--West's Letters to a Young Lady, p. 117.

OBS. 5.--Double comparatives and double superlatives, being in general awkward and unfashionable, as well as tautological, ought to be avoided. Examples: "The Duke of Milan, and his more braver daughter, could control thee."--Shak., Tempest. Say, "his more gallant daughter." "What in me was purchased, falls upon thee in a more fairer sort."--Id., Henry IV. Say, "fairer," or, "more honest;" for "purchased" here means stolen. "Changed to a worser shape thou canst not be."--Id., Hen. VI. Say, "a worse shape"--or, "an uglier shape." "After the most straitest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee."--Acts, xxvi, 5. Say, "the strictest sect." "Some say he's mad; others, that lesser hate him, do call it valiant fury."--Shak. Say, "others, that hate him less." In this last example, lesser is used adverbially; in which construction it is certainly incorrect. But against lesser as an adjective, some grammarians have spoken with more severity, than comports with a proper respect for authority. Dr. Johnson says, "LESSER, adj. A barbarous corruption of less, formed by the vulgar from the habit of terminating comparatives in er; afterward adopted by poets, and then by writers of prose, till it has all the authority which a mode originally erroneous can derive from custom."--Quarto Dict. With no great fairness, Churchill quotes this passage as far as the semicolon, and there stops. The position thus taken, he further endeavours to strengthen, by saying, "Worser, though not more barbarous, offends the ear in a much greater degree, because it has not been so frequently used."--New Gram., p. 232. Example: "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night."--Gen., i, 16. Kirkham, after making an imitation of this passage, remarks upon it: "Lesser is as incorrect as badder, gooder, worser."--Gram., p. 77. The judgement of any critic who is ignorant enough to say this, is worthy only of contempt. Lesser is still frequently used by the most tasteful authors, both in verse and prose: as, "It is the glowing style of a man who is negligent of lesser graces."--Blair's Rhet., p. 189.

  "Athos, Olympus, Ætna, Atlas, made
   These hills seem things of lesser dignity."--Byron.

OBS. 6.--The adjective little is used in different senses; for it contrasts sometimes with great, and sometimes with much. Lesser appears to refer only to size. Hence less and lesser are not always equivalent terms. Lesser means smaller, and contrasts only with greater. Less contrasts sometimes with greater, but oftener with more, the comparative of much; for, though it may mean not so large, its most common meaning is not so much. It ought to be observed, likewise, that less is not an adjective of number,[182] though not unfrequently used as such. It does not mean fewer, and is therefore not properly employed in sentences like the following: "In all verbs, there are no less than three things implied at once."--Blair's Rhet., p. 81. "Smaller things than three," is nonsense; and so, in reality, is what the Doctor here says. Less is not the proper opposite to more, when more is the comparative of many: few, fewer, fewest, are the only words which contrast regularly with many, more, most. In the following text, these comparatives are rightly employed: "And to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance."--Numbers, xxxiii, 54. But if writers will continue to use less for fewer, so that "less cattle," for instance, may mean "fewer cattle;" we shall be under a sort of necessity to retain lesser, in order to speak intelligibly: as, "It shall be for the sending-forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle."--Isaiah, vii, 25. I have no partiality for the word lesser, neither will I make myself ridiculous by flouting at its rudeness. "This word," says Webster, "is a corruption, but [it is] too well established to be discarded. Authors always write the Lesser Asia."--Octavo Dict. "By the same reason, may a man punish the lesser breaches of that law."--Locke. "When we speak of the lesser differences among the tastes of men."--Blair's Rhet., p. 20. "In greater or lesser degrees of complexity."--Burke, on Sublime, p. 94. "The greater ought not to succumb to the lesser."--Dillwyn's Reflections, p. 128. "To such productions, lesser composers must resort for ideas."--Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 413.

  "The larger here, and there the lesser lambs,
   The new-fall'n young herd bleating for their dams."--Pope.

OBS. 7.--Our grammarians deny the comparison of many adjectives, from a false notion that they are already superlatives. Thus W. Allen: "Adjectives compounded with the Latin preposition per, are already superlative: as, perfect, perennial, permanent, &c."--Elements of E. Gram., p. 52. In reply to this, I would say, that nothing is really superlative, in English, but what has the form and construction of the superlative; as, "The most permanent of all dyes." No word beginning with per, is superlative by virtue of this Latin prefix. "Separate spirits, which are beings that have perfecter knowledge and greater happiness than we, must needs have also a perfecter way of communicating their thoughts than we have."--Locke's Essay, B. ii, Ch. 24, §36, This mode of comparison is not now good, but it shows that perfect is no superlative. Thus Kirkham: "The following adjectives, and many others, are always in the superlative degree; because, by expressing a quality in the highest degree, they carry in themselves a superlative signification: chief, extreme, perfect, right, wrong, honest, just, true, correct, sincere, vast, immense, ceaseless, infinite, endless, unparalleled, universal, supreme, unlimited, omnipotent, all-wise, eternal." [183]--Gram., p. 73. So the Rev. David Blair: "The words perfect, certain, infinite, universal, chief, supreme, right, true, extreme, superior, and some others, which express a perfect and superlative sense in themselves, do not admit of comparison."--English Gram., p. 81. Now, according to Murray's definition, which Kirkham adopts, none of these words can be at all in the superlative degree. On the contrary, there are several among them, from which true superlatives are frequently and correctly formed. Where are the positives which are here supposed to be "increased to the highest degree?" Every real superlative in our language, except best and worst, most and least, first and last, with the still more irregular word next, is a derivative, formed from some other English word, by adding est or most; as, truest, hindmost. The propriety or impropriety of comparing the foregoing words, or any of the "many others" of which this author speaks, is to be determined according to their meaning, and according to the usage of good writers, and not by the dictation of a feeble pedant, or upon the supposition that if compared they would form "double superlatives."

OBS. 8.--Chief is from the French word chef, the head: chiefest is therefore no more a double superlative than headmost: "But when the headmost foes appeared."--Scott. Nor are chief and chiefest equivalent terms: "Doeg an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdsmen."--1 Samuel, xxi, 7. "The chief of the herdsmen," would convey a different meaning; it would be either the leader of the herdsmen, or the principal part of them. Chiefest, however, has often been used where chief would have been better; as, "He sometimes denied admission to the chiefest officers of the army."--Clarendon, let us look further at Kirkham's list of absolute "superlatives."

OBS. 9.--Extreme is from the Latin superlative extremus, and of course its literal signification is not really susceptible of increase. Yet extremest has been used, and is still used, by some of the very best writers; as, "They thought it the extremest of evils."--Bacon. "That on the sea's extremest border stood."--Addison. "How, to extremest thrill of agony."--Pollok, B. viii, l. 270. "I go th' extremest remedy to prove."--Dryden. "In extremest poverty."--Swift. "The hairy fool stood on th' extremest verge of the swift brook, augmenting it with tears."--Shak. "While the extremest parts of the earth were meditating submission."--Atterbury. "His writings are poetical to the extremest boundaries of poetry."--Adams's Rhetoric, i, 87. In prose, this superlative is not now very common; but the poets still occasionally use it, for the sake of their measure; and it ought to be noticed that the simple adjective is not partitive. If we say, for the first example, "the extreme of evils;" we make the word a noun, and do not convey exactly the same idea that is there expressed.

OBS. 10.--Perfect, if taken in its strictest sense, must not be compared; but this word, like many others which mean most in the positive, is often used with a certain latitude of meaning, which renders its comparison by the adverbs not altogether inadmissible; nor is it destitute of authority, as I have already shown. (See Obs. 8th, p. 280.) "From the first rough sketches, to the more perfect draughts."--Bolingbroke, on Hist., p. 152. "The most perfect."--Adams's Lect. on Rhet., i, 99 and 136; ii, 17 and 57: Blair's Lect., pp. 20 and 399. "The most beautiful and perfect example of analysis."--Lowth's Gram., Pref., p. 10. "The plainest, most perfect, and most useful manual."--Bullions's E. Gram., Rev., p. 7. "Our sight is the most perfect, and the most delightful, of all our senses."--Addison, Spect., No. 411; Blair's Lect., pp. 115 and 194; Murray's Gram., i, 322. Here Murray anonymously copied Blair. "And to render natives more perfect in the knowledge of it."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 171; Murray's Gram., p. 366. Here Murray copied Campbell, the most accurate of all his masters. Whom did he copy when he said, "The phrases, more perfect, and most perfect, are improper?"--Octavo Gram., p. 168. But if these are wrong, so is the following sentence: "No poet has ever attained a greater perfection than Horace."--Blair's Lect., p. 398. And also this: "Why are we brought into the world less perfect in respect to our nature?"--West's Letters to a Young Lady, p. 220.

OBS. 11.--Right and wrong are not often compared by good writers; though we sometimes see such phrases as more right and more wrong, and such words as rightest and wrongest: "'Tis always in the wrongest sense."--Butler. "A method of attaining the rightest and greatest happiness."--PRICE: Priestley's Gram., p. 78. "It is no more right to steal apples, than it is to steal money."--Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 118. There are equivalent expressions which seem preferable; as, more proper, more erroneous, most proper, most erroneous.

OBS. 12.--Honest, just, true, correct, sincere, and vast, may all be compared at pleasure. Pope's Essay on Criticism is more correct than any thing this modest pretender can write; and in it, he may find the comparative juster, the superlatives justest, truest, sincerest, and the phrases, "So vast a throng,"--"So vast is art:" all of which are contrary to his teaching. "Unjuster dealing is used in buying than in selling."--Butler's Poems, p. 163. "Iniquissimam pacem justissimo bello antefero."--Cicero. "I prefer the unjustest peace before the justest war."--Walker's English Particles, p. 68. The poet Cowley used the word honestest; which is not now very common. So Swift: "What honester folks never durst for their ears."--The Yahoo's Overthrow. So Jucius: "The honestest and ablest men."--Letter XVIII. "The sentence would be more correct in the following form."--Murray's Gram., i, p. 223. "Elegance is chiefly gained by studying the correctest writers."--Holmes's Rhetoric, p. 27. Honest and correct, for the sake of euphony, require the adverbs; as, more honest, "most correct."--Lowth's Gram., Pref., p. iv. Vast, vaster, vastest, are words as smooth, as fast, faster, fastest; and more vast is certainly as good English as more just: "Shall mortal man be more just than God?"--Job, iv, 17. "Wilt thou condemn him that is most just?"--Ib., xxxiv, 17. "More wise, more learn'd, more just, more-everything."--Pope. Universal is often compared by the adverbs, but certainly with no reënforcement of meaning: as, "One of the most universal precepts, is, that the orator himself should feel the passion."--Adams's Rhet., i, 379. "Though not so universal."--Ib., ii, 311. "This experience is general, though not so universal, as the absence of memory in childhood."--Ib., ii, 362. "We can suppose no motive which would more universally operate."--Dr. Blair's Rhet., p. 55. "Music is known to have been more universally studied."--Ib., p. 123. "We shall not wonder, that his grammar has been so universally applauded."--Walker's Recommendation in Murray's Gram., ii, 306. "The pronoun it is the most universal of all the pronouns."--Cutler's Gram., p. 66. Thus much for one half of this critic's twenty-two "superlatives." The rest are simply adjectives that are not susceptible of comparison: they are not "superlatives" at all. A man might just as well teach, that good is a superlative, and not susceptible of comparison, because "there is none good but one."

OBS. 13.--Pronominal adjectives, when their nouns are expressed, simply relate to them, and have no modifications: except this and that, which form the plurals these and those; and much, many, and a few others, which are compared. Examples: "Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?"--Matt., xiii, 54. "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?"--1 Cor., xv, 35. "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."--Ib., 45. So, when one pronominal adjective "precedes an other, the former must be taken simply as an adjective;" as,

  "Those suns are set. O rise some other such!"
       --Cowper's Task, B. ii, l. 252.

OBS. 14.--Pronominal adjectives, when their nouns are not expressed, may be parsed as representing them in person, number, gender, and case; but those who prefer it, may supply the ellipsis, and parse the adjective, simply as an adjective. Example: "He threatens many, who injures one."--Kames. Here it may be said, "Many is a pronominal adjective, meaning many persons; of the third person, plural number, masculine gender, and objective case." Or those who will take the word simply as an adjective, may say, "Many is a pronominal adjective, of the positive degree, compared many, more, most, and relating to persons understood." And so of "one," which represents, or relates to, person understood. Either say, "One is a pronominal adjective, not compared," and give the three definitions accordingly; or else say, "One is a pronominal adjective, relating to person understood; of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and objective case," and give the six definitions accordingly.

OBS. 15.--Elder for older, and eldest for oldest, are still frequently used; though the ancient positive, eld for old, is now obsolete. Hence some have represented old as having a two-fold comparison; and have placed it, not very properly, among the irregular adjectives. The comparatives elder and better, are often used as nouns; so are the Latin comparatives superior and inferior, interior and exterior, senior and junior, major and minor: as, The elder's advice,--One of the elders,--His betters,--Our superiors,--The interior of the country,--A handsome exterior,--Your seniors,--My juniors,--A major in the army,--He is yet a minor. The word other, which has something of the nature of a comparative, likewise takes the form of a noun, as before suggested; and, in that form, the reader, if he will, may call it a noun: as, "What do ye more than others?"--Bible. "God in thus much is bounded, that the evil hath he left unto an other; and that Dark Other hath usurped the evil which Omnipotence laid down."--Tupper's Book of Thoughts, p. 45. Some call it a pronoun. But it seems to be pronominal, merely by ellipsis of the noun after it; although, unlike a mere adjective, it assumes the ending of the noun, to mark that ellipsis. Perhaps therefore, the best explanation of it would be this: "'Others is a pronominal adjective, having the form of a noun, and put for other men; in the third person, plural number, masculine gender, and nominative case." The gender of this word varies, according to that of the contrasted term; and the case, according to the relation it bears to other words. In the following example, it is neuter and objective: "The fibres of this muscle act as those of others."--Cheyne. Here, "as those of others," means, "as the fibres of other muscles."

OBS. 16.--"Comparatives and superlatives seem sometimes to part with their relative nature, and only to retain their intensive, especially those which are formed by the superlative adverb most; as, 'A most learned man,'--'A most brave man:' i. e. not the bravest or the most learned man that ever was, but a man possessing bravery or learning in a very eminent degree."--See Alexander Murray's Gram., p. 110. This use of the terms of comparison is thought by some not to be very grammatical.

OBS. 17.--Contractions of the superlative termination est, as high'st for highest, bigg'st for biggest, though sometimes used by the poets, are always inelegant, and may justly be considered grammatically improper. They occur most frequently in doggerel verse, like that of Hudibras; the author of which work, wrote, in his droll fashion, not only the foregoing monosyllables, but learned'st for most learned, activ'st for most active, desperat'st for most desperate, epidemical'st for most epidemical, &c.

  "And th' activ'st fancies share as loose alloys,
   For want of equal weight to counterpoise."--Butler's Poems.
   "Who therefore finds the artificial'st fools
   Have not been chang'd i th' cradle, but the schools."--Ib., p. 143.

OBS. 18.--Nouns used adjectively are not varied in number to agree with the nouns to which they relate, but what is singular or plural when used substantively, is without number when taken as an adjective: as, "One of the nine sister goddesses."--Webster's Dict., w. Muse. "He has money in a savings bank." The latter mode of expression is uncommon, and the term savings-bank is sometimes compounded, but the hyphen does not really affect the nature of the former word. It is doubtful, however, whether a plural noun can ever properly assume the character of an adjective; because, if it is not then really the same as the possessive case, it will always be liable to be thought a false form of that case. What Johnson wrote "fullers earth" and "fullers thistle;" Chalmers has "fullers earth" and "fuller's thistle;" Webster, "fuller's-earth" and "fuller's-thistle;" Ainsworth, "fuller's earth" and "fuller's thistle;" Walker has only "fullers-earth;" Worcester, "fuller's-earth;" Cobb, "fullers earth;" the Treasury of Knowledge, "fullers'-earth." So unsettled is this part of our grammar, that in many such cases it is difficult cult to say whether we ought to use the apostrophe, or the hyphen, or both, or neither. To insert neither, unless we make a close compound, is to use a plural noun adjectively; which form, I think, is the most objectionable of all. See "All souls day,"--"All-fools-day,"--"All-saints'-day," &c., in the dictionaries. These may well be written "All Souls' Day" &c.



In the Fourth Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and define the different parts of speech, and the classes and modifications of the ARTICLES, NOUNS, and ADJECTIVES.

The definitions to be given in the Fourth Praxis, are two for an article, six for a noun, three for an adjective, and one for a pronoun, a verb, a participle, an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an interjection. Thus:--


"The best and most effectual method of teaching grammar, is precisely that of which the careless are least fond: teach learnedly, rebuking whatsoever is false, blundering, or unmannerly."--G. Brown.

The is the definite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things.

Best is a common adjective, of the superlative degree; compared irregularly, good, better, best. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 3. The superlative degree is that which is most or least of all included with it.

And, is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in constructing, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

Most is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Effectual is a common adjective, compared by means of the adverbs; effectual, more effectual, most effectual; or, effectual, less effectual, least effectual. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 3. Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are compared by means of adverbs.

Method is a common noun, of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The third person, is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Of is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Teaching is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

Grammar is a common noun, of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and objective case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

Is is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Precisely is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

That is a pronominal adjective, not compared; standing for that method, in the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case. [See OBS. 14th,] 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A pronominal adjective is a definitive word which may either accompany its noun or represent it understood. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Of is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Which is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.

The is the definite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things.

Careless is a common adjective, compared by means of the adverbs; careless, more careless, most careless; or, careless, less careless, least careless. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 3. Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are compared by means of adverbs.

Are is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Least is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Fond is a common adjective, compared regularly, fond, fonder, fondest; but here made superlative by the adverb least. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 8. The superlative degree is that which is most or least of all included with it.

Teach is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Learnedly is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Rebuking is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

Whatsoever is a pronoun. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun.

Is is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

False is a common adjective, of the positive degree; compared regularly, false, falser, falsest. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 3. The positive degree is that which is expressed by the adjective in its simple form.

Blundering is a participial adjective, compared by means of the adverbs; blundering, more blundering, most blundering; or, blundering, less blundering, least blundering. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A participial adjective is one that has the form of a participle, but differs from it by rejecting the idea of time. 3. Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are compared by means of adverbs.

Or is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

Unmannerly is a common adjective, compared by means of the adverbs; unmannerly, more unmannerly, most unmannerly; or, unmannerly, less unmannerly, least unmannerly. 1. An adjective is a word added to a noun or pronoun, and generally expresses quality. 2. A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation. 3. Those adjectives which may be varied in sense, but not in form, are compared by means of adverbs.


"The noblest and most beneficial invention of which human ingenuity can boast, is that of writing."--Robertson's America, Vol. II, p. 193.

"Charlemagne was the tallest, the handsomest, and the strongest man of his time; his appearance was truly majestic, and he had surprising agility in all sorts of manly exercises."--Stories of France, p. 19.

"Money, like other things, is more or less valuable, as it is less or more plentiful."--Beanie's Moral Science, p. 378.

"The right way of acting, is, in a moral sense, as much a reality, in the mind of an ordinary man, as the straight or the right road."--Dr. Murray's Hist. Lang., i, 118.

"The full period of several members possesses most dignity and modulation, and conveys also the greatest degree of force, by admitting the closest compression of thought."--Jamieson's Rhet., p. 79.

"His great master, Demosthenes, in addressing popular audiences, never had recourse to a similar expedient. He avoided redundancies, as equivocal and feeble. He aimed only to make the deepest and most efficient impression; and he employed for this purpose, the plainest, the fewest, and the most emphatic words."--Ib., p. 68.

"The high eloquence which I have last mentioned, is always the offspring of passion. A man actuated by a strong passion, becomes much greater than he is at other times. He is conscious of more strength and force; he utters greater sentiments, conceives higher designs, and executes them with a boldness and felicity, of which, on other occasions, he could not think himself capable."--Blair's Rhet., p. 236.

  "His words bore sterling weight, nervous and strong,
   In manly tides of sense they roll'd along."--Churchill.
   "To make the humble proud, the proud submiss,
   Wiser the wisest, and the brave more brave."--W. S. Landor.


"I am satisfied that in this, as in all cases, it is best, safest, as well as most right and honorable, to speak freely and plainly."--Channing's Letter to Clay, p. 4.

"The gospel, when preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, through the wonder-working power of God, can make the proud humble, the selfish disinterested, the worldly heavenly, the sensual pure."--Christian Experience, p. 399.

"I am so much the better, as I am the liker[184] the best; and so much the holier, as I am more conformable to the holiest, or rather to Him who is holiness itself."--Bp. Beneridge.

"Whether any thing in Christianity appears to them probable, or improbable; consistent, or inconsistent; agreeable to what they should have expected, or the contrary; wise and good, or ridiculous and useless; is perfectly irrelevant."--M'Ilvaine's Evidences, p. 523.

"God's providence is higher, and deeper, and larger, and stronger, than all the skill of his adversaries; and his pleasure shall be accomplished in their overthrow, except they repent and become his friends."--Cox, on Christianity, p. 445.

"A just relish of what is beautiful, proper, elegant, and ornamental, in writing or painting, in architecture or gardening, is a fine preparation for the same just relish of these qualities in character and behaviour. To the man who has acquired a taste so acute and accomplished, every action wrong or improper must be highly disgustful: if, in any instance, the overbearing power of passion sway him from his duty, he returns to it with redoubled resolution never to be swayed a second time."--Kames, Elements of Criticism, Vol. i, p. 25.

  "In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find
   The justest rules and clearest method join'd."--Pope, on Crit.


"There are several sorts of scandalous tempers; some malicious, and some effeminate; others obstinate, brutish, and savage. Some humours are childish and silly; some, false, and others, scurrilous; some, mercenary, and some, tyrannical."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 52.

"Words are obviously voluntary signs: and they are also arbitrary; excepting a few simple sounds expressive of certain internal emotions, which sounds being the same in all languages, must be the work of nature: thus the unpremeditated tones of admiration are the same in all men."--Kames, Elements of Crit., i, 347.

"A stately and majestic air requires sumptuous apparel, which ought not to be gaudy, nor crowded with little ornaments. A woman of consummate beauty can bear to be highly adorned, and yet shows best in a plain dress."--Ib., p. 279. "Of all external objects a graceful person is the most agreeable. But in vain will a person attempt to be graceful, who is deficient in amiable qualities."--Ib., p. 299.

"The faults of a writer of acknowledged excellence are more dangerous, because the influence of his example is more extensive; and the interest of learning requires that they should be discovered and stigmatized, before they have the sanction of antiquity bestowed upon them, and become precedents of indisputable authority."--Dr. Johnson, Rambler, Vol. ii, No. 93.

"Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverend than plausible, and more advised than confident; above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue."--Bacon's Essays, p. 145.

"The wisest nations, having the most and best ideas, will consequently have the best and most copious languages."--Harris's Hermes, p. 408.

"Here we trace the operation of powerful causes, while we remain ignorant of their nature; but everything goes on with such regularity and harmony, as to give a striking and convincing proof of a combining directing intelligence."--Life of W. Allen, Vol. i, p. 170.

  "The wisest, unexperienced, will be ever
   Timorous and loth, with novice modesty,
   Irresolute, unhardy, unadventurous."--Milton.




"I have the real excuse of the honestest sort of bankrupts."--Cowley's Preface, p. viii.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the adjective honestest is harshly compared by est. But, according to a principle stated on page 283d concerning the regular degrees, "This method of comparison is to be applied only to monosyllables, and to dissyllables of a smooth termination, or such as receive it and still have but one syllable after the accent." Therefore, honestest should be most honest; thus, "I have real excuse of the most honest sort of bankrupts."]

"The honourablest part of talk, is, to give the occasion."--Bacon's Essays, p. 90. "To give him one of his own modestest proverbs."-- Barclay's Works, iii, 340. "Our language is now certainly properer and more natural, than it was formerly."--Bp. Burnet. "Which will be of most and frequentest use to him in the world."--Locke, on Education, p. 163. "The same is notified in the notablest places in the diocese."--Whitgift. "But it was the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw."--Pilgrim's Progress, p. 70. "Four of the ancientest, soberest, and discreetest of the brethren, chosen for the occasion, shall regulate it."--Locke, on Church Gov. "Nor can there be any clear understanding of any Roman author, especially of ancienter time, without this skill."--Walker's Particles, p. x. "Far the learnedest of the Greeks."--Ib., p. 120. "The learneder thou art, the humbler be thou."--Ib., p. 228. "He is none of the best or honestest."-- Ib., p. 274. "The properest methods of communicating it to others."-- Burn's Gram., Prof, p. viii. "What heaven's great King hath powerfullest to send against us."--Paradise Lost. "Benedict is not the unhopefullest husband that I know."--SHAK.: in Joh. Dict. "That he should immediately do all the meanest and triflingest things himself."--RAY: in Johnson's Gram., p. 6. "I shall be named among the famousest of women."--MILTON'S Samson Agonistes: ib. "Those have the inventivest heads for all purposes."--ASCHAM: ib. "The wretcheder are the contemners of all helps."--BEN JONSON: ib. "I will now deliver a few of the properest and naturallest considerations that belong to this piece."--WOTTON: ib. "The mortalest poisons practised by the West Indians, have some mixture of the blood, fat, or flesh of man."--BACON: ib. "He so won upon him, that he rendered him one of the faithfulest and most affectionate allies the Medes ever had."--Rollin, ii, 71. "'You see before you,' says he to him, 'the most devoted servant, and the faithfullest ally, you ever had.'"--Ib., ii, 79. "I chose the flourishing'st tree in all the park."--Cowley. "Which he placed, I think, some centuries backwarder than Julius Africanus thought fit to place it afterwards."--Bolingbroke, on History, p. 53. "The Tiber, the notedest river of Italy."--Littleton's Dict.

  "To fartherest shores the ambrosial spirit flies."
       --Cutler's Gram., p. 140.
   ----"That what she wills to do or say,
   Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best."
       --Milton, B. viii, l. 550.


"During the three or four first years of its existence."--Taylor's District School, p. 27.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the cardinal numbers, three and four are put before the ordinal first. But, according to the 7th part of Obs. 7th, page 280th, "In specifying any part of a series, we ought to place the cardinal number after the ordinal." Therefore the words three and four should be placed after first; thus, "During the first three or four years of its existence."]

"To the first of these divisions, my ten last lectures have been devoted."--Adams's Rhet., Vol. i, p. 391. "There are in the twenty-four states not less than sixty thousand common schools."--Taylor's District School, p. 38. "I know of nothing which gives teachers so much trouble as this want of firmness."--Ib., p. 57. "I know of nothing that throws such darkness over the line which separates right from wrong."--Ib., p. 58. "None need this purity and simplicity of language and thought so much as the common school instructor."--Ib., p. 64. "I know of no periodical that is so valuable to the teacher as the Annals of Education."--Ib., p. 67. "Are not these schools of the highest importance? Should not every individual feel the deepest interest in their character and condition?"--Ib., p. 78. "If instruction were made a profession, teachers would feel a sympathy for each other."--Ib., p. 93. "Nothing is so likely to interest children as novelty and change."--Ib., p. 131. "I know of no labour which affords so much happiness as that of the teacher's."--Ib., p. 136. "Their school exercises are the most pleasant and agreeable of any that they engage in."--Ib., p. 136. "I know of no exercise so beneficial to the pupil as that of drawing maps."--Ib., p. 176. "I know of nothing in which our district schools are so defective as they are in the art of teaching grammar."--Ib., p. 196. "I know of nothing so easily acquired as history."--Ib. p. 206. "I know of nothing for which scholars usually have such an abhorrence, as composition."--Ib., p. 210. "There is nothing in our fellow-men that we should respect with so much sacredness as their good name."--Ib., p. 307. "Sure never any thing was so unbred as that odious man."--CONGREVE: in Joh. Dict. "In the dialogue between the mariner and the shade of the deceast."--Philological Museum, i, 466. "These master-works would still be less excellent and finisht"--Ib., i, 469. "Every attempt to staylace the language of polisht conversation, renders our phraseology inelegant and clumsy."--Ib., i, 678. "Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words that ever blotted paper."--SHAK.: in Joh. Dict. "With the most easy, undisobliging transitions."--BROOME: ib. "Fear is, of all affections, the unaptest to admit any conference with reason."--HOOKER: ib. "Most chymists think glass a body more undestroyable than gold itself."--BOYLE: ib. "To part with unhackt edges, and bear back our barge undinted."--SHAK.: ib. "Erasmus, who was an unbigotted Roman Catholic, was transported with this passage."--ADDISON: ib. "There are no less than five words, with any of which the sentence might have terminated."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 397. "The one preach Christ of contention; but the other, of love."--Philippians, i, 16. "Hence we find less discontent and heart-burnings, than where the subjects are unequally burdened."--Art of Thinking, p. 56.

  "The serpent, subtil'st beast of all the field,
   I knew; but not with human voice indu'd."
       --MILTON: Joh. Dict., w. Human.
  "How much more grievous would our lives appear,
   To reach th' eighth hundred, than the eightieth year?"
       --DENHAM: B. P., ii, 244.


"Brutus engaged with Aruns; and so fierce was the attack, that they pierced one another at the same time."--Lempriere's Dict.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the phrase one another is here applied to two persons only, the words an and other being needlessly compounded. But, according to Observation 15th, on the Classes of Adjectives, each other must be applied to two persons or things, and one an other to more than two. Therefore one another should here be each other; thus, "Brutus engaged with Aruns; and so fierce was the attack, that they pierced each other at the same time."]

"Her two brothers were one after another turned into stone."--Art of Thinking, p. 194. "Nouns are often used as adjectives; as, A gold-ring, a silver-cup."--Lennie's Gram., p. 14. "Fire and water destroy one another."--Wanostrocht's Gram., p. 82. "Two negatives in English destroy one another, or are equivalent to an affirmative."--Lowth's Gram., p. 94; E. Devis's, 111; Mack's, 147; Murray's, 198; Churchill's, 148; Putnam's, 135; C. Adams's, 102; Hamlin's, 79; Alger's, 66; Fisk's, 140; Ingersoll's, 207; and many others. "Two negatives destroy one another, and are generally equivalent to an affirmative."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 191; Felton's, 85. "Two negatives destroy one another and make an affirmative."--J. Flint's Gram., p. 79. "Two negatives destroy one another, being equivalent to an affirmative."--Frost's El. of E. Gram., p. 48. "Two objects, resembling one another, are presented to the imagination."--Parker's Exercises in Comp., p. 47. "Mankind, in order to hold converse with each other, found it necessary to give names to objects."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 42. "Words are derived from each other[185] in various ways."--Cooper's Gram., p. 108. "There are many other ways of deriving words from one another."--Murray's Gram., p. 131. "When several verbs connected by conjunctions, succeed each other in a sentence, the auxiliary is usually omitted except with the first."--Frost's Gram., p. 91. "Two or more verbs, having the same nominative case, and immediately following one another, are also separated by commas." [186]--Murray's Gram., p. 270; C. Adams's, 126; Russell's, 113; and others. "Two or more adverbs immediately succeeding each other, must be separated by commas."--Same Grammars. "If, however, the members succeeding each other, are very closely connected, the comma is unnecessary."--Murray's Gram., p. 273; Comly's, 152; and others. "Gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man."--Mur., p. 287. "Several verbs in the infinitive mood, having a common dependence, and succeeding one another, are also divided by commas."--Comly's Gram., p. 153. "The several words of which it consists, have so near a relation to each other."--Murray's Gram., p. 268; Comly's, 144; Russell's, 111; and others. "When two or more verbs have the same nominative, and immediately follow one another, or two or more adverbs immediately succeed one another, they must be separated by commas."--Comly's Gram., p. 145. "Nouns frequently succeed each other, meaning the same thing."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 63. "And these two tenses may thus answer one another."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 322. "Or some other relation which two objects bear to one another."--Jamieson's Rhet., p. 149. "That the heathens tolerated each other, is allowed."--Gospel its own Witness, p. 76. "And yet these two persons love one another tenderly."--Murray's E. Reader, p. 112. "In the six hundredth and first year."--Gen., viii, 13. "Nor is this arguing of his but a reiterate clamour."--Barclay's Works, i, 250. "In severals of them the inward life of Christianity is to be found."--Ib., iii, 272. "Though Alvarez, Despauterius, and other, allow it not to be Plural."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 169. "Even the most dissipate and shameless blushed at the sight."--Lemp. Dict., w. Antiochus. "We feel a superior satisfaction in surveying the life of animals, than that of vegetables."--Jamieson's Rhet., 172. "But this man is so full fraughted with malice."--Barclay's Works, i11, 205. "That I suggest some things concerning the properest means."--Blair's Rhet., p. 337.

  "So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
   That ever since in love's embraces met."
       --Milton, P. L., B., iv, l. 321.
  "Aim at the high'est, without the high'est attain'd
   Will be for thee no sitting, or not long."
       --Id., P. R., B. iv, l. 106.


A Pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun: as, The boy loves his book; he has long lessons, and he learns them well.

The pronouns in our language are twenty-four; and their variations are thirty-two: so that the number of words of this class, is fifty-six.


OBS. 1.--The word for which a pronoun stands, is called its antecedent, because it usually precedes the pronoun. But some have limited the term antecedent to the word represented by a relative pronoun. There can be no propriety in this, unless we will have every pronoun to be a relative, when it stands for a noun which precedes it; and, if so, it should be called something else, when the noun is to be found elsewhere. In the example above, his and he represent boy, and them represents lessons; and these nouns are as truly the antecedents to the pronouns, as any can be. Yet his, he, and them, in our most approved grammars, are not called relative pronouns, but personal.

OBS. 2.--Every pronoun may be explained as standing for the name of something, for the thing itself unnamed, or for a former pronoun; and, with the noun, pronoun, or thing, for which it stands, every pronoun must agree in person, number, and gender. The exceptions to this, whether apparent or real, are very few; and, as their occurrence is unfrequent, there will be little occasion to notice them till we come to syntax. But if the student will observe the use and import of pronouns, he may easily see, that some of them are put substantively, for nouns not previously introduced; some, relatively, for nouns or pronouns going before; some, adjectively, for nouns that must follow them in any explanation which can be made of the sense. These three modes of substitution, are very different, each from the others. Yet they do not serve for an accurate division of the pronouns; because it often happens, that a substitute which commonly represents the noun in one of these ways, will sometimes represent it in an other.

OBS. 3.--The pronouns I and thou, in their different modifications, stand immediately for persons that are, in general, sufficiently known without being named; (I meaning the speaker, and thou, the hearer;) their antecedents, or nouns, are therefore generally understood. The other personal pronouns, also, are sometimes taken in a general and demonstrative sense, to denote persons or things not previously mentioned; as, "He that hath knowledge, spareth his words."--Bible. Here he is equivalent to the man, or the person. "The care of posterity is most in them that have no posterity."--Bacon. Here them is equivalent to those persons. "How far do you call it to such a place?"--Priestley's Gram., p. 85. Here it, according to Priestley, is put for the distance. "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth."--Malachi, ii, 7. Here they is put indefinitely for men or people. So who and which, though called relatives, do not always relate to a noun or pronoun going before them; for who may be a direct substitute for what person; and which may mean which person, or which thing: as, "And he that was healed, wist not who it was."--John, v, 13. That is, "The man who was healed, knew not what person it was." "I care not which you take; they are so much alike, one cannot tell which is which."

OBS. 4.--A pronoun with which a question is asked, usually stands for some person or thing unknown to the speaker; the noun, therefore, cannot occur before it, but may be used after it or in place of it. Examples: "In the grave, who shall give thee thanks?"--Ps., vi, 5. Here the word who is equivalent to what person, taken interrogatively. "Which of you convinceth me of sin?"--John, viii, 46. That is, "Which man of you?" "Master, what shall we do?"--Luke, iii, 12. That is, "What act, or thing?" These solutions, however, convert which and what into adjectives: and, in fact, as they have no inflections for the numbers and cases, there is reason to think them at all times essentially such. We call them pronouns, to avoid the inconvenience of supposing and supplying an infinite multitude of ellipses. But who, though often equivalent (as above) to an adjective and a noun, is never itself used adjectively; it is always a pronoun.

OBS. 5.--In respect to who or whom, it sometimes makes little or no difference to the sense, whether we take it as a demonstrative pronoun equivalent to what person, or suppose it to relate to an antecedent understood before it: as, "Even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."--John, v, 21. That is--"what persons he will," or, "those persons whom he will;" for the Greek word for whom, is, in this instance, plural. The former is a shorter explanation of the meaning, but the latter I take to be the true account of the construction; for, by the other, we make whom a double relative, and the object of two governing words at once. So, perhaps, of the following example, which Dr. Johnson cites under the word who, to show what he calls its "disjunctive sense:"--

  "There thou tellst of kings, and who aspire;
   Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan."--Daniel.

OBS. 6.--It sometimes happens that the real antecedent, or the term which in the order of the sense must stand before the pronoun, is not placed antecedently to it, in the order given to the words: as, "It is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see; and they that have not heard, shall understand."--Romans, xv, 21. Here the sense is, "They to whom he was not spoken of, shall see." Whoever takes the passage otherwise, totally misunderstands it. And yet the same order of the words might be used to signify, "They shall see to whom (that is, to what persons) he was not spoken of." Transpositions of this kind, as well as of every other, occur most frequently in poetry. The following example is from an Essay on Satire, printed with Pope's Works, but written by one of his friends:--

  "Whose is the crime, the scandal too be theirs;
   The knave and fool are their own libellers."--J. Brown.

OBS. 7.--The personal and the interrogative pronouns often stand in construction as the antecedents to other pronouns: as, "He also that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster."--Prov., xviii. 9. Here he and him are each equivalent to the man, and each is taken as the antecedent to the relative which follows it. "For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one: for which cause, he is not ashamed to call them brethren."--Heb., ii, 11. Here he and they may be considered the antecedents to that and who, of the first clause, and also to he and them, of the second. So the interrogative who may be the antecedent to the relative that; as, "Who that has any moral sense, dares tell lies?" Here who, being equivalent to what person, is the term with which the other pronoun agrees. Nay, an interrogative pronoun, (or the noun which is implied in it,) may be the antecedent to a personal pronoun; as, "Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again?"--Romans, xi, 35. Here the idea is, "What person hath first given any thing to the Lord, so that it ought to be repaid him?" that is, "so that the gift ought to be recompensed from Heaven to the giver?" In the following example, the first pronoun is the antecedent to all the rest:--

  "And he that never doubted of his state,
   He may perhaps--perhaps he may--too late."--Cowper.

OBS. 8.--So the personal pronouns of the possessive case, (which some call adjectives,) are sometimes represented by relatives, though less frequently than their primitives: as, "How different, O Ortogrul, is thy condition, who art doomed to the perpetual torments of unsatisfied desire!"--Dr. Johnson. Here who is of the second person, singular, masculine; and represents the antecedent pronoun thy: for thy is a pronoun, and not (as some writers will have it) an adjective. Examples like this, disprove the doctrine of those grammarians who say that my, thy, his, her, its, and their plurals, our, your, their, are adjectives. For, if they were mere adjectives, they could not thus be made antecedents. Examples of this construction are sufficiently common, and sufficiently clear, to settle that point, unless they can be better explained in some other way. Take an instance or two more: "And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."--1 Cor., x, 11.

  "Be thou the first true merit to befriend;
   His praise is lost, who stays till all commend."--Pope.


Pronouns are divided into three classes; personal, relative, and interro gative.

I. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person it is; as, "Whether it[187] were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed."--1 Cor., xv, 11.

The simple personal pronouns are five: namely, I, of the first person; thou, of the second person; he, she, and it, of the third person.

The compound personal pronouns are also five: namely, myself, of the first person; thyself, of the second person; himself, herself, and itself, of the third person.

II. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence; as, "No people can be great, who have ceased to be virtuous."--Dr. Johnson.

The relative pronouns are who, which, what, that, as, and the compounds whoever or whosoever, whichever or whichsoever, whatever or whatsoever.[188]

What is a kind of double relative, equivalent to that which or those which; and is to be parsed, first as antecedent, and then as relative: as, "This is what I wanted; that is to say, the thing which I wanted."--L. Murray. III. An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun with which a question is asked; as, "Who touched my clothes?"--Mark, v, 30.

The interrogative pronouns are who, which, and what; being the same in form as relatives.

Who demands a person's name; which, that a person or thing be distinguished from others; what, the name of a thing, or a person's occupation and character.


OBS. 1.--The pronouns I and myself, thou and thyself, with their inflections, are literally applicable to persons only; but, figuratively, they represent brutes, or whatever else the human imagination invests with speech and reason. The latter use of them, though literal perhaps in every thing but person, constitutes the purest kind of personification. For example: "The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them: and they said unto the olive-tree, 'Reign thou over us.' But the olive-tree said unto them, 'Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?'" See Judges, ix, from 8 to 16.

OBS. 2.--The pronouns he and himself, she and herself, with their inflections, are literally applicable to persons and to brutes, and to these only; if applied to lifeless objects, they animate them, and are figurative in gender, though literal perhaps in every other respect. For example: "A diamond of beauty and lustre, observing at his side in the same cabinet, not only many other gems, but even a loadstone, began to question the latter how he came there--he, who appeared to be no better than a mere flint, a sorry rusty-looking pebble, without the least shining quality to advance him to such honour; and concluded with desiring him to keep his distance, and to pay a proper respect to his superiors."--Kames's Art of Thinking, p. 226.

OBS. 3.--The pronoun it, as it carries in itself no such idea as that of personality, or sex, or life, is chiefly used with reference to things inanimate; yet the word is, in a certain way, applicable to animals, or even to persons; though it does not, in itself, present them as such. Thus we say, "It is I;"--"It was they;"--"It was you;"--"It was your agent;"--"It is your bull that has killed one of my oxen." In examples of this kind, the word it is simply demonstrative; meaning, the thing or subject spoken of. That subject, whatever it be in itself, may be introduced again after the verb, in any person, number, or gender, that suits it. But, as the verb agrees with the pronoun it, the word which follows, can in no sense be made, as Dr. Priestley will have it to be, the antecedent to that pronoun. Besides, it is contrary to the nature of what is primarily demonstrative, to represent a preceding word of any kind. The Doctor absurdly says, "Not only things, but persons, may be the antecedent to this pronoun; as, Who is it? Is it not Thomas? i. e. Who is the person? Is not he Thomas?"--Priestley's Gram., p. 85. In these examples, the terms are transposed by interrogation; but that circumstance, though it may have helped to deceive this author and his copiers, affects not my assertion.

OBS. 4.--The pronoun who is usually applied only to persons. Its application to brutes or to things is improper, unless we mean to personify them. But whose, the possessive case of this relative, is sometimes used to supply the place of the possessive case, otherwise wanting, to the relative which. Examples: "The mutes are those consonants whose sounds cannot be protracted."--Murray's Gram., p. 9. "Philosophy, whose end is, to instruct us in the knowledge of nature."--Ib., p. 54; Campbell's Rhet., 421. "Those adverbs are compared whose primitives are obsolete."--Adam's Latin Gram., p. 150. "After a sentence whose sense is complete in itself, a period is used."--Nutting's Gram., p. 124. "We remember best those things whose parts are methodically disposed, and mutually connected."--Beattie's Moral Science, i, 59. "Is there any other doctrine whose followers are punished?"--ADDISON: Murray's Gram., p. 54; Lowth's, p. 25.

  "The question, whose solution I require,
   Is, what the sex of women most desire."--DRYDEN: Lowth, p. 25.

OBS. 5.--Buchanan, as well as Lowth, condemns the foregoing use of whose, except in grave poetry: saying, "This manner of personification adds an air of dignity to the higher and more solemn kind of poetry, but it is highly improper in the lower kind, or in prose."--Buchanan's English Syntax, p. 73. And, of the last two examples above quoted, he says, "It ought to be of which, in both places: i. e. The followers of which; the solution of which."--Ib., p. 73. The truth is, that no personification is here intended. Hence it may be better to avoid, if we can, this use of whose, as seeming to imply what we do not mean. But Buchanan himself (stealing the text of an older author) has furnished at least one example as objectionable as any of the foregoing: "Prepositions are naturally placed betwixt the Words whose Relation and Dependence each of them is to express."--English Syntax, p. 90; British Gram., p. 201. I dislike this construction, and yet sometimes adopt it, for want of another as good. It is too much, to say with Churchill, that "this practice is now discountenanced by all correct writers."--New Gram., p. 226. Grammarians would perhaps differ less, if they would read more. Dr. Campbell commends the use of whose for of which, as an improvement suggested by good taste, and established by abundant authority. See Philosophy of Rhetoric, p. 420. "WHOSE, the possessive or genitive case of who or which; applied to persons or things."--Webster's Octavo Dict. "Whose is well authorized by good usage, as the possessive of which."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 69. "Nor is any language complete, whose verbs have not tenses."--Harris's Hermes.

  "--------'Past and future, are the wings
   On whose support, harmoniously conjoined,
   Moves the great spirit of human knowledge.'--MS."
          Wordsworth's Preface to his Poems, p. xviii.

OBS. 6.--The relative which, though formerly applied to persons and made equivalent to who, is now confined to brute animals and inanimate things. Thus, "Our Father which art in heaven," is not now reckoned good English; it should be, "Our Father who art in heaven." In this, as well as in many other things, the custom of speech has changed; so that what was once right, is now ungrammatical. The use of which for who is very common in the Bible, and in other books of the seventeenth century; but all good writers now avoid the construction. It occurs seventy-five times in the third chapter of Luke; as, "Joseph, which was the son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat," etc. etc. After a personal term taken by metonymy for a thing, which is not improper; as, "Of the particular author which he is studying."--Gallaudet. And as an interrogative or a demonstrative pronoun or adjective, the word which is still applicable to persons, as formerly; as, "Which of you all?"--"Which man of you all?"--"There arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest."--Luke, ix, 46. "Two fair twins--the puzzled Strangers, which is which, inquire."--Tickell.

OBS. 7.--If which, as a direct relative, is inapplicable to persons, who ought to be preferred to it in all personifications: as,

  "The seal is set. Now welcome thou dread power,
   Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here
   Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour."
       BYRON: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Cant, iv, st. 138.

What sort of personage is here imagined and addressed, I will not pretend to say; but it should seem, that who would be more proper than which, though less agreeable in sound before the word here. In one of his notes on this word, Churchill has fallen into a strange error. He will have who to represent a horse! and that, in such a sense, as would require which and not who, even for a person. As he prints the masculine pronoun in Italics, perhaps he thought, with Murray and Webster, that which must needs be "of the neuter gender." [189] He says, "In the following passage, which seems to be used instead of who:--

   'Between two horses, which doth bear him best;
   I have, perhaps, some shallow spirit of judgment'
                  SHAKS., 1 Hen. VI."--Churchill's Gram., p. 226. 

OBS. 8.--The pronoun what is usually applied to things only. It has a twofold relation, and is often used (by ellipsis of the noun) both as antecedent and as relative, in the form of a single word; being equivalent to that which, or the thing which,--those which, or the things which. In this double relation, what represents two cases at the same time: as, "He is ashamed of what he has done;" that is, "of what [thing or action] he has done;"--or, "of that [thing or action] which he has done." Here are two objectives. The two cases are sometimes alike, sometimes different; for either of them may be the nominative, and either, the objective. Examples: "The dread of censure ought not to prevail over what is proper."--Kames, El. of Crit., Vol. i, p. 252. "The public ear will not easily bear what is slovenly and incorrect."--Blair's Rhet., p. 12. "He who buys what he does not need, will often need what he cannot buy."--Student's Manual, p. 290. "What is just, is honest; and again, what is honest, is just."--Cicero. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."--Rev., ii, 7, 11, 17, 29; iii, 6, 13, 22.

OBS. 9.--This pronoun, what, is usually of the singular number, though sometimes plural: as, "I must turn to the faults, or what appear such to me."--Byron. "All distortions and mimicries, as such, are what raise aversion instead of pleasure."--Steele. "Purified indeed from what appear to be its real defects."--Wordsworth's Pref., p. xix. "Every single impression, made even by the same object, is distinguishable from what have gone before, and from what succeed."--Kames, El. of Crit., Vol. i, p. 107. "Sensible people express no thoughts but what make some figure."--Ib., Vol. i, p. 399. The following example, which makes what both singular and plural at once, is a manifest solecism: "What has since followed are but natural consequences."--J. C. CALHOUN, Speech in U. S. Senate, March 4, 1850. Here has should be have; or else the form should be this: "What has since followed, is but a natural consequence."

OBS. 10.--The common import of this remarkable pronoun, what, is, as we see in the foregoing examples, twofold; but some instances occur, in which it does not appear to have this double construction, but to be simply declaratory; and many, in which the word is simply an adjective: as, "What a strange run of luck I have had to-day!"--Columbian Orator, p. 293. Here what is a mere adjective; and, in the following examples, a pronoun indefinite:--

  "I tell thee what, corporal, I could tear her."--Shak.
   "He knows what's what, and that's as high
   As metaphysic wit can fly."--Hudibras.

OBS. 11.--What is sometimes used both as an adjective and as a relative at the same time, and is placed before the noun which it represents; being equivalent to the adjective any or all, and the simple relative who, which[190] or that: as, "What money we had, was taken away." That is, "All the money that we had, was taken away." "What man but enters, dies." That is, "Any man who enters, dies." "It was agreed that what goods were aboard his vessels, should be landed."--Mickle's India, p. 89. "What appearances of worth afterwards succeeded, were drawn from thence."--Internal Policy of Great Britain, p. 196. That is, "All the appearances of worth, which afterwards succeeded."--Priestley's Gram., p. 93. Indeed, this pronoun does not admit of being construed after a noun, as a simple relative: none but the most illiterate ever seriously use it so. What put for who or which, is therefore a ludicrous vulgarism; as, "The aspiring youth what fired the Ephesian dome."--Jester. The word used as above, however, does not always preclude the introduction of a personal pronoun before the subsequent verb; as,[191]

  "What god but enters yon forbidden field,
   Who yields assistance, or but wills to yield,
   Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven,
   Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven."--Pope's Homer.

OBS. 12.--The compound whatever or whatsoever has the same peculiarities of construction as has the simpler word what: as, "Whatever word expresses an affirmation, or assertion, is a verb; or thus, Whatever word, with a noun or pronoun before or after it, makes full sense, is a verb."--Adam's Latin Gram., p. 78. That is, "Any word which expresses," &c. "We will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth."--Jeremiah, xliv, 17. That is--"any thing, or every thing, which." "Whatever sounds are difficult in pronunciation, are, in the same proportion, harsh and painful to the ear."--Blair's Rhet., p. 121; Murray's Gram., p. 325. "Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning."--Romans, xv, 4. In all these examples, the word whatever or whatsoever appears to be used both adjectively and relatively. There are instances, however, in which the relation of this term is not twofold, but simple: as, "Whatever useful or engaging endowments we possess, virtue is requisite in order to their shining with proper lustre."--English Reader, p. 23. Here whatever is simply an adjective. "The declarations contained in them [the Scriptures] rest on the authority of God himself; and there can be no appeal from them to any other authority whatsoever."--London Epistle, 1836. Here whatsoever may be parsed either as an adjective relating to authority, or as an emphatic pronoun in apposition with its noun, like himself in the preceding clause. In this general explanatory sense, whatsoever may be applied to persons as well as to things; as, "I should be sorry if it entered into the imagination of any person whatsoever, that I was preferred to all other patrons."--Duncan's Cicero, p. 11. Here the word whomsoever might have been used.

OBS. 13.--But there is an other construction to be here explained, in which whatever or whatsoever appears to be a double relative, or a term which includes both antecedent and relative; as, "Whatever purifies, fortifies also the heart."--English Reader, p. 23. That is. "All that purifies--or, Everything which purifies--fortifies also the heart." "Whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper."--Psal., i, 3. That is, "All that he doeth--or, All the things which he doeth--shall prosper." This construction, however, may be supposed elliptical. The Latin expression is, "Omnia quæcumque faciet prosperabuntur."--Vulgate. The Greek is similar: [Greek: "Kai panta hosa an poiæi kateuodothæsetai."]-- Septuagint. It is doubtless by some sort of ellipsis which familiarity of use inclines us to overlook, that what, whatever, and whatsoever, which are essentially adjectives, have become susceptible of this double construction as pronouns. But it is questionable what particular ellipsis we ought here to suppose, or whether any; and certainly, we ought always to avoid the supposing of an ellipsis, if we can.[192] Now if we say the meaning is, "Whatsoever things he doeth, shall prosper;" this, though analogous to other expressions, does not simplify the construction. If we will have it to be, "Whatsoever things he doeth, they shall prosper;" the pronoun they appears to be pleonastic. So is the word it, in the text, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."--John, ii, 5. If we say the full phrase is, "All things whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper;" this presents, to an English ear, a still more obvious pleonasm. It may be, too, a borrowed idiom, found nowhere but in translations; as, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."--Matt., xxi, 22. From these views, there seems to be some objection to any and every method of parsing the above-mentioned construction as elliptical. The learner may therefore say, in such instances, that whatever or whatsoever is a double relative, including both antecedent and relative; and parse it, first as antecedent, in connexion with the latter verb, and then as relative, in connexion with the former. But let him observe that the order of the verbs may be the reverse of the foregoing; as, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."--John, xv, 14. That is, according to the Greek, "If ye do whatsoever I command to you;" Though it would be better English to say, "If ye do whatsoever I command you to do." In the following example, however, it seems proper to recognize an ellipsis; nay, the omissions in the construction of the last line, are as many as three or four;--

  "Expatiate with glad step, and choose at will
   Whate'er bright spoils the florid earth contains,
   Whate'er the waters, or the liquid air."--Akenside. 

OBS. 14.--As the simple word who differs from which and what, in being always a declinable pronoun; so its compounds differ from theirs, in being incapable of either of the double constructions above described. Yet whoever and whoso or whosoever, as well as whichever and whichsoever, whatever and whatsoever, derive, from the affix which is added, or from the peculiarity of their syntax, an unlimited signification--or a signification which is limited only by the following verb; and, as some general term, such as any person, or all persons, is implied as the antecedent, they are commonly connected with other words as if they stood for two cases at once: as, "Whoever seeks, shall find." That is, "Any person who seeks, shall find." But as the case of this compound, like that of the simple word who, whose, or whom, is known and determined by its form, it is necessary, in parsing, to treat this phraseology as being elliptical. The compounds of who do not, therefore, actually stand for two cases, though some grammarians affirm that they do.[193] Example: "The soldiers made proclamation, that they would sell the empire to whoever would purchase it at the highest price."--Goldsmith's Rome, p. 231. That is--"to any man who would purchase it." The affix ever or soever becomes unnecessary when the ellipsis is supplied; and this fact, it must be confessed, is a plausible argument against the supposition of an ellipsis. But the supposing of an antecedent understood, is here unavoidable; because the preposition to cannot govern the nominative case, and the word whoever cannot be an objective. And so in all other instances in which the two cases are different: as, "He bids whoever is athirst, to come."--Jenks's Devotions, p. 151. "Elizabeth publicly threatened, that she would have the head of whoever had advised it."--HUME: in Priestley's Gram., p. 104.

OBS. 15.--If it is necessary in parsing to supply the antecedent to whoever or whosoever, when two different cases are represented, it is but analogous and reasonable to supply it also when two similar cases occur: as, "Whoever borrows money, is bound in conscience to repay it."--Paley. "Whoever is eager to find excuses for vice and folly, will find his own backwardness to practise them much diminished."-- Chapone. "Whoever examines his own imperfections, will cease to be fastidious; whoever restrains humour and caprice, will cease to be squeamish."--Crabb's Synonymes. In all these examples, we have the word in the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. And here it is most commonly found. It is always of the third person; and, though its number may be plural; its gender, feminine; its case, possessive or objective; we do not often use it in any of these ways. In some instances, the latter verb is attended with an other pronoun, which represents the same person or persons; as, "And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely."--Rev., xxii, 17. The case of this compound relative always depends upon what follows it, and not upon what precedes; as, "Or ask of whomsoever he has taught."--Cowper. That is--"of any person whom he has taught." In the following text, we have the possessive plural: "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them."--John, xx, 23. That is, "Whatever persons' sins."

OBS. 16.--In such phraseology as the following, there is a stiffness which ought to be avoided: "For whomever God loves, he loves them in Christ, and no otherways."--Barclay's Works, Vol. iii, p. 215. Better: "For all whom God loves, he loves in Christ, and no otherwise." "When the Father draws, whomever he draws, may come."--Penington. Better: "When the Father draws, all whom he draws, (or, every one whom he draws.) may come." A modern critic of immense promise cites the following clause as being found in the Bible: "But he loveth whomsoever followeth after righteousness."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 72. It is lamentable to see the unfaithfulness of this gentleman's quotations. About half of them are spurious; and I am confident that this one is neither Scripture nor good English. The compound relative, being the subject of followeth, should be in the nominative case; for the object of the verb loveth is the antecedent every one, understood. But the idea may be better expressed, without any ellipsis, thus: "He loveth every one who followeth after righteousness." The following example from the same hand is also wrong, and the author's rule and reasoning connected with it, are utterly fallacious: "I will give the reward to whomsoever will apprehend the rogue."--Ib., p. 256. Much better say, "to any one who;" but, if you choose the compound word, by all analogy, and all good authority, it must here be whoever or whosoever. The shorter compound whoso, which occurs very frequently in the Bible, is now almost obsolete in prose, but still sometimes used by the poets. It has the same meaning as whosoever, but appears to have been confined to the nominative singular; and whatso is still more rare: as, "Whoso diggeth a pit, shall fall therein."--Prov., xxvi, 27.

  "Which whoso tastes, can be enslaved no more."--Cowper.
   "On their intended journey to proceed,
   And over night whatso thereto did need."--Hubbard.

OBS. 17.--The relative that is applied indifferently to persons, to brute animals, and to inanimate things. But the word that is not always a relative pronoun. It is sometimes a pronoun, sometimes an adjective, and sometimes a conjunction. I call it not a demonstrative pronoun and also a relative; because, in the sense in which Murray and others have styled it a "demonstrative adjective pronoun," it is a pronominal adjective, and it is better to call it so. (1.) It is a relative pronoun whenever it is equivalent to who, whom, or which: as, "There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not"--Eccl., vii, 20. "It was diverse from all the beasts that were before it."--Dan., vii, 7. "And he had a name written, that no man knew but he himself."-- Rev., xix, 12. (2.) It is a pronominal adjective whenever it relates to a noun expressed or understood after it: as, "Thus with violence shall that great city, Babylon, be thrown down."--Rev., xviii, 21. "Behold that [thing] which I have seen."--Eccl., v, 18. "And they said, 'What is that[194] [matter] to us? See thou to that' [matter]."--Matt., xxvii, 4. (3.) In its other uses, it is a conjunction, and, as such, it most commonly makes what follows it, the purpose, object, or final cause, of what precedes it: as, "I read that I may learn."--Dr. Adam. "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious."--St. Paul. "Live well, that you may die well."--Anon. "Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob."--Genesis. "Judge not, that ye be not judged."--Matthew.

OBS. 18.--The word that, or indeed any other word, should never be so used as to leave the part of speech uncertain; as, "For in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."--Gen., ii, 17. Here that seems to be a relative pronoun, representing day, in the third person, singular, neuter; yet, in other respects, it seems to be a conjunction, because there is nothing to determine its case. Better: "For in the day on which thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." This mongrel construction of the word that, were its justification possible, is common enough in our language to be made good English. But it must needs be condemned, because it renders the character of the term ambiguous, and is such a grammatical difficulty as puts the parser at a dead nonplus. Examples: (1.) "But at the same time THAT men are giving their orders, God on his part is likewise giving his."--Rollin's Hist., ii, 106. Here the phrase, "at the same time that," is only equivalent to the adverb while; and yet it is incomplete, because it means, "at the same time at which," or, "at the very time at which." (2.) "The author of this work, at the same time THAT he has endeavoured to avoid a plan, which may be too concise or too extensive, defective in its parts or irregular in the disposition of them, has studied to render his subject sufficiently easy, intelligible, and comprehensive."--Murray's Gram., Introd., p. 1. This sentence, which is no unfair specimen of its author's original style, needs three corrections: 1. For "at the same time that," say while: 2. Drop the phrase, "which may be," because it is at least useless: 3. For "subject," read treatise, or compilation. You will thus have tolerable diction. Again: (3.) "The participles of active verbs act upon objects and govern them in the objective case, in the same manner that the verbs do, from which they are derived. A participle in the nature of an adjective, belongs or refers to nouns or pronouns in the same manner that adjectives do; and when it will admit the degrees of comparison, it is called a participial adjective."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 38. This is the style of a gentleman of no ordinary pretensions, one who thinks he has produced the best grammar that has ever appeared in our language. To me, however, his work suggests an abundance of questions like these; each of which would palpably involve him in a dilemma: What is here meant by "objects," the words, or the things? if the former, how are they acted upon? if the latter, how are they governed? If "a participle is called an adjective," which is it, an adjective, or a participle? If "a participle refers to nouns or pronouns," how many of these are required by the relation? When does a participle "admit the degrees of comparison?" How shall we parse the word that in the foregoing sentences?

OBS. 19.--The word as, though usually a conjunction or an adverb, has sometimes the construction of a relative pronoun, especially after such, so many, or as many; and, whatever the antecedent noun may be, this is the only fit relative to follow any of these terms in a restrictive sense. Examples: "We have been accustomed to repose on its veracity with such humble confidence as suppresses curiosity."--Johnson's Life of Cowley. "The malcontents made such demands as none but a tyrant could refuse."--Bolingbroke, on Hist., Let. 7. "The Lord added to the church daily such [persons] as should be saved."--Acts, ii, 47. "And as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed."--Acts, xiii, 48. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten."--Rev., iii, 19. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death?"--Rom., vi, 3. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ."--Gal., iii, 27. "A syllable is so many letters as are spoken with one motion of the voice."--Perley's Gram., p. 8. "The compound tenses are such as cannot be formed without an auxiliary verb."--Murray's Gram., p. 91. "Send him such books as will please him."--Webster's Improved Gram., p. 37. "In referring to such a division of the day as is past, we use the imperfect."-- Murray's Gram., p. 70. "Participles have the same government as the verbs from which they are derived."--Ib., Rule xiv. "Participles have the same government as the verbs have from which they are derived."-- Sanborn's Gram., p. 94. In some of these examples, as is in the nominative case, and in others, in the objective; in some, it is of the masculine gender, and in others, it is neuter; in some, it is of the plural number, and in others, it is singular: but in all, it is of the third person; and in all, its person, number, gender, and case, are as obvious as those of any invariable pronoun can be.

OBS. 20.--Some writers--(the most popular are Webster, Bullions, Wells, and Chandler--) imagine that as, in such sentences as the foregoing, can be made a conjunction, and not a pronoun, if we will allow them to consider the phraseology elliptical. Of the example for which I am indebted to him, Dr. Webster says, "As must be considered as the nominative to will please, or we must suppose an ellipsis of several words: as, 'Send him such books as the books which will please him, or as those which will please him.'"--Improved Gram., p. 37. This pretended explanation must be rejected as an absurdity. In either form of it, two nominatives are idly imagined between as and its verb; and, I ask, of what is the first one the subject? If you say, "Of are understood," making the phrase, "such books as the books are;" does not as bear the same relation to this new verb are, that is found in the pronoun who, when one says, "Tell him who you are?" If so, as is a pronoun still; so that, thus far, you gain nothing. And if you will have the whole explanation to be, "Send him such books as the books are books which will please him;" you multiply words, and finally arrive at nothing, but tautology and nonsense. Wells, not condescending to show his pupils what he would supply after this as, thinks it sufficient to say, the word is "followed by an ellipsis of one or more words required to complete the construction; as, 'He was the father of all such as [] handle the harp and organ.'--Gen. 4: 21."--Wells's School Gram., 1st Ed., p. 164; 3d Ed., p. 172.

OBS. 21.--Chandler exhibits the sentence, "These are not such as are worn;" and, in parsing it, expounds the words as and are, thus; the crotchets being his, not mine: "as.... is an adverb, connecting the two sentences in comparing them, [It is a fault of some, that they make as a pronoun, when, in a comparative sentence, it corresponds with such, and is immediately followed by a verb, as in the sentence now given. This is probably done from an ignorance of the real nominative to the verb. The sentence should stand thus: 'These (perhaps bonnets) are not such (bonnets) as (those bonnets) are (which are) worn.' Then] are .... is the substantive verb, third person, plural number, indicative mood, present tense, and agrees with the noun bonnets, understood."--Chandler's Common School Gram., p. 162. All this bears the marks of shallow flippancy. No part of it is accurate. "Are worn," which the critic unwarrantably divides by his misplaced curves and uncouth impletions, is a passive verb, agreeing with the pronoun as. But the text itself is faulty, being unintelligible through lack of a noun; for, of things that may be "worn," there are a thousand different sorts. Is it not ridiculous, for a great grammarian to offer, as a model for parsing, what he himself, "from an ignorance of the real nominative," can only interpret with a "perhaps?" But the noun which this author supplies, the meaning which he guesses that he had, he here very improperly stows away within a pair of crotchets. Nor is it true, that "the sentence should stand" as above exhibited; for the tautological correction not only has the very extreme of awkwardness, but still makes as a pronoun, a nominative, belonging after are: so that the phrase, "as are worn," is only encumbered and perverted by the verbose addition made. So of an other example given by this expounder, in which as is an objective: "He is exactly such a man as I saw."--Chandler's Com. Sch. Gram., p. 163. Here as is the object of saw. But the author says, "The sentence, however, should stand thus: 'He is exactly such a man as that person was whom I saw.'"--Ibid. This inelegant alteration makes as a nominative dependent on was.

OBS. 22.--The use of as for a relative pronoun, is almost entirely confined to those connexions in which no other relative would be proper; hence few instances occur, of its absolute equivalence to who, which, or that, by which to establish its claim to the same rank. Examples like the following, however, go far to prove it, if proof be necessary; because who and which are here employed, where as is certainly now required by all good usage: "It is not only convenient, but absolutely needful, that there be certain meetings at certain places and times, as may best suit the convenience of such, who may be most particularly concerned in them."--Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 495. "Which, no doubt, will be found obligatory upon all such, who have a sense and feeling of the mind of the Spirit."--Ib., i, p. 578. "Condemning or removing such things, which in themselves are evil."--Ib., i, p. 511. In these citations, not only are who and which improperly used for as, but the commas before them are also improper, because the relatives are intended to be taken in a restrictive sense. "If there be such that walk disorderly now."--Ib., i, p. 488. Here that ought to be as; or else such ought to be persons, or those. "When such virtues, as which still accompany the truth, are necessarily supposed to be wanting."--Ib., i, p. 502. Here which, and the comma before as, should both be expunged. "I shall raise in their minds the same course of thought as has taken possession of my own."--Duncan's Logic, p. 61. "The pronoun must be in the same case as the antecedent would be in, if substituted for it."--Murray's Gram., p. 181. "The verb must therefore have the same construction as it has in the following sentence."--Murray's Key, p. 190. Here as is exactly equivalent to the relative that, and either may be used with equal propriety. We cannot avoid the conclusion, therefore, that, as the latter word is sometimes a conjunction and sometimes a pronoun, so is the former.

OBS. 23.--The relatives that and as have this peculiarity; that, unlike whom and which, they never follow the word on which their case depends; nor indeed can any simple relative be so placed, except it be governed by a preposition or an infinitive. Thus, it is said, (John, xiii, 29th,) "Buy those things that we have need of;" so we may say, "Buy such things as we have need of." But we cannot say, "Buy those things of that we have need;" or, "Buy such things of as we have need." Though we may say, "Buy those things of which we have need," as well as, "Buy those things which we have need of;" or, "Admit those persons of whom we have need," as well as, "Admit those persons whom we have need of." By this it appears that that and as have a closer connexion with their antecedents than the other relatives require: a circumstance worthy to have been better remembered by some critics. "Again, that and as are used rather differently. When that is used, the verb must be repeated; as, 'Participles require the same government, that their verbs require.'--'James showed the same credulity, that his minister showed.' But when as is used, the verb generally may, or may not be repeated; as, 'Participles require the same government as their verbs;' or, 'as their verbs require.'--'James showed the same credulity as his minister;' or, 'as his minister showed:' the second nominative minister being parsed as the nominative to the same verb showed understood."--Nixon's Parser, p. 140.[195]

OBS. 24.--The terminating of a sentence with a preposition, or other small particle, is in general undignified, though perhaps not otherwise improper. Hence the above-named inflexibility in the construction of that and as, sometimes induces an ellipsis of the governing word designed; and is occasionally attended with some difficulty respecting the choice of our terms. Examples: "The answer is always in the same case that the interrogative word is."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 70. Here is a faulty termination; and with it a more faulty ellipsis. In stead of ending the sentence with is in, say, "The answer always agrees in case with the interrogative word." Again: "The relative is of the same person with the antecedent."--Lowth's Gram., p. 101. This sentence is wrong, because the person of the relative is not really identical with the antecedent. "The relative is of the same person as the antecedent."--Murray's Gram., p. 154. Here the writer means--"as the antecedent is of." "A neuter verb becomes active, when followed by a noun of the same signification with its own."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 127. Here same is wrong, or else the last three words are useless. It would therefore be improper to say--"of the same signification as its own." The expression ought to be--"of a signification similar to its own." "Ode is, in Greek, the same with song or hymn."--Blair's Rhet., p. 396. Song being no Greek word, I cannot think the foregoing expression accurate, though one might say, "Ode is identical with song or hymn." Would it not be better to say, "Ode is the same as song or hymn?" That is, "Ode is, literally, the same thing that song or hymn is?" "Treatises of philosophy, ought not to be composed in the same style with orations."--Blair's Rhet., p. 175. Here neither with nor as can be proper; because orations are not a style. Expunge same; and say--"in the style of orations."

OBS. 25.--Few writers are sufficiently careful in their choice and management of relatives. In the following instance, Murray and others violate a special rule of their own grammars, by using whom for that "after an adjective of the superlative degree:" "Modifying them according to the genius of that tongue, and the established practice of the best speakers and writers by whom it is used."--Octavo Gram., p. 1; Fisk's, p. 11; et al. According to Priestley and himself, the great Compiler is here in an error. The rule is perhaps too stringent; but whoever teaches it, should keep it. If he did not like to say, "the best speakers and writers that it is used by;" he ought to have said, "the best speakers and writers that use it." Or, rather, he ought to have said nothing after the word "writers;" because the whole relative clause is here weak and useless. Yet how many of the amenders of this grammar have not had perspicacity enough, either to omit the expression, or to correct it according to the author's own rule!

OBS. 26.--Relative pronouns are capable of being taken in two very different senses: the one, restrictive of the general idea suggested by the antecedent; the other, resumptive of that idea, in the full import of the term--or, in whatever extent the previous definitives allow. The distinction between these two senses, important as it is, is frequently made to depend solely upon the insertion or the omission of a comma. Thus, if I say, "Men who grasp after riches, are never satisfied;" the relative who is taken restrictively, and I am understood to speak only of the avaricious. But, if I say, "Men, who grasp after riches, are never satisfied;" by separating the terms men and who, I declare all men to be covetous and unsatisfied. For the former sense, the relative that is preferable to who; and I shall presently show why. This example, in the latter form, is found in Sanborn's Grammar, page 142d; but whether the author meant what he says, or not, I doubt. Like many other unskillful writers, he has paid little regard to the above-mentioned distinction; and, in some instances, his meaning cannot have been what his words declare: as, "A prism is a solid, whose sides are all parallelograms."--Analytical Gram., p. 142. This, as it stands, is no definition of a prism, but an assertion of two things; that a prism is a solid, and that all the sides of a solid are parallelograms. Erase the comma, and the words will describe the prism as a peculiar kind of solid; because whose will then be taken in the restrictive sense. This sense, however, may be conveyed even with a comma before the relative; as, "Some fictitious histories yet remain, that were composed during the decline of the Roman empire."--Blair's Rhet., p. 374. This does not suggest that there are no other fictitious histories now extant, than such as were composed during the decline of the Roman empire; but I submit it to the reader, whether the word which, if here put for that, would not convey this idea.

OBS. 27.--Upon this point, many philologists are open to criticism; and none more so, than the recent author above cited. By his own plain showing, this grammarian has no conception of the difference of meaning, upon which the foregoing distinction is founded. What marvel, then, that he falls into errors, both of doctrine and of practice? But, if no such difference exists, or none that is worthy of a critic's notice; then the error is mine, and it is vain to distinguish between the restrictive and the resumptive sense of relative pronouns. For example: "The boy that desires to assist his companions, deserves respect."--G. Brown. "That boy, who desires to assist his companions, deserves respect."--D. H. Sanborn. According to my notion, these two sentences clearly convey two very different meanings; the relative, in the former, being restrictive, but, in the latter, resumptive of the sense of the antecedent. But of the latter example this author says, "The clause, 'who desires to assist his companions,' with the relative who at its head, explains or tells what boy deserves respect; and, like a conjunction, connects this clause to the noun boy."--Analytical Gram., p. 69. He therefore takes it in a restrictive sense, as if this sentence were exactly equivalent to the former. But he adds, "A relative pronoun is resolvable into a personal pronoun and a conjunction. The sentence would then read, 'That boy desires to assist his companions, and he deserves respect.' The relative pronoun governs the nearer verb, and the antecedent the more distant one."--Ib., p. 69. Now, concerning the restrictive relative, this doctrine of equivalence does not hold good; and, besides, the explanation here given, not only contradicts his former declaration of the sense he intended, but, with other seeming contradiction, joins the antecedent to the nearer verb, and the substituted pronoun to the more distant.

OBS. 28.--Again, the following principles of this author's punctuation are no less indicative of his false views of this matter: "RULE xiv.--Relative pronouns in the nominative or [the] objective case, are preceded by commas, when the clause which the relative connects [,] ends a sentence; as, 'Sweetness of temper is a quality, which reflects a lustre on every accomplishment'--B. Greenleaf.' Self [-] denial is the sacrifice [,] which virtue must make.' [--L. Murray.] The comma is omitted before the relative, when the verb which the antecedent governs, follows the relative clause; as, 'He that suffers by imposture, has too often his virtue more impaired than his fortune.'--Johnson." See Sanborn's Analytical Gram., p. 269. Such are some of our author's principles--"the essence of modern improvements." His practice, though often wrong, is none the worse for contradicting these doctrines. Nay, his proudest boast is ungrammatical, though peradventure not the less believed: "No [other] grammar in the language probably contains so great a quantity of condensed and useful matter with so little superfluity."--Sanborn's Preface, p. v.

OBS. 29.--Murray's rule for the punctuation of relatives, (a rule which he chiefly copied from Lowth,) recognizes virtually the distinction which I have made above; but, in assuming that relatives "generally" require a comma before them, it erroneously suggests that the resumptive sense is more common than the restrictive. Churchill, on the contrary, as wrongly makes it an essential characteristic of all relatives, "to limit or explain the words to which they refer." See his New Gram., p. 74. The fact is, that relatives are so generally restrictive, that not one half of them are thus pointed; though some that do restrict their antecedent, nevertheless admit the point. This may be seen by the first example given us by Murray: "Relative pronouns are connective words, and generally admit a comma before them: as, 'He preaches sublimely, who lives a sober, righteous, and pious life.' But when two members, or phrases, [say clauses,] are closely connected by a relative, restraining the general notion of the antecedent to a particular sense, the comma should be omitted: as, 'Self-denial is the sacrifice which virtue must make;' 'A man who is of a detracting spirit, will misconstrue the most innocent words that can be put together.' In the latter example, the assertion is not of 'a man in general,' but of 'a man who is of a detracting spirit;' and therefore they [say the pronoun and its antecedent] should not be separated."--Murray's Gram., Octavo, p. 273; Ingersoll's, 285; Comly's, 152. This reasoning, strictly applied, would exclude the comma before who in the first example above; but, as the pronoun does not "closely" or immediately follow its antecedent, the comma is allowed, though it is not much needed. Not so, when the sense is resumptive: as, "The additions, which are very considerable, are chiefly such as are calculated to obviate objections." See Murray's Gram., p. ix. Here the comma is essential to the meaning. Without it, which would be equivalent to that; with it, which is equivalent to and they. But this latter meaning, as I imagine, cannot be expressed by the relative that.

OBS. 30.--Into the unfortunate example which Sanborn took from Murray, I have inserted the comma for him; not because it is necessary or right, but because his rule requires it: "Self-denial is the sacrifice," &c. The author of "a complete system of grammar," might better contradict even Murray, than himself. But why was this text admired? and why have Greene, Bullions, Hiley, Hart, and others, also copied it? A sacrifice is something devoted and lost, for the sake of a greater good; and, if Virtue sacrifice self-denial, what will she do, but run into indulgence? The great sacrifice which she demands of men, is rather that of their self-love. Wm. E. Russell has it, "Self defence is the sacrifice which virtue must make!"--Russell's Abridgement of Murray's Gram., p. 116. Bishop Butler tells us, "It is indeed ridiculous to assert, that self-denial is essential to virtue and piety; but it would have been nearer the truth, though not strictly the truth itself, to have said, that it is essential to discipline and improvement."--Analogy of Religion, p. 123.

OBS. 31.--The relative that, though usually reckoned equivalent to who or which, evidently differs from both, in being more generally, and perhaps more appropriately, taken in the restrictive sense. It ought therefore, for distinction's sake, to be preferred to who or which, whenever an antecedent not otherwise limited, is to be restricted by the relative clause; as, "Men that grasp after riches, are never satisfied."--"I love wisdom that is gay and civilized."--Art of Thinking, p. 34. This phraseology leaves not the limitation of the meaning to depend solely upo n the absence of a pause after the antecedent; because the relative that is seldom, if ever, used by good writers in any other than a restrictive sense. Again: "A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving."--Addison, Spect., No. 411. Here, too, according to my notion, that is obviously preferable to which; though a great critic, very widely known, has taken some pains to establish a different opinion. The "many pleasures" here spoken of, are no otherwise defined, than as being such as "the vulgar are not capable of receiving." The writer did not mean to deny that the vulgar are capable of receiving a great many pleasures; but, certainly, if that were changed to which, this would be the meaning conveyed, unless the reader were very careful to avoid a pause where he would be apt to make one. I therefore prefer Addison's expression to that which Dr. Blair would substitute.

OBS. 32.--The style of Addison is more than once censured by Dr. Blair, for the frequency with which the relative that occurs in it, where the learned lecturer would have used which. The reasons assigned by the critic are these: "Which is a much more definitive word than that, being never employed in any other way than as a relative; whereas that is a word of many senses; sometimes a demonstrative pronoun, often a conjunction. In some cases we are indeed obliged to use that for a relative, in order to avoid the ungraceful repetition of which in the same sentence. But when we are laid under no necessity of this kind, which is always the preferable word, and certainly was so in this sentence: 'Pleasures which the vulgar are not capable of receiving,' is much better than 'pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving.'"--Blair's Rhetoric, Lect. xx, p. 200. Now the facts are these: (1.) That that is the more definitive or restrictive word of the two. (2.) That the word which has as many different senses and uses as the word that. (3.) That not the repetition of which or who in a series of clauses, but a needless change of the relative, is ungraceful. (4.) That the necessity of using that rather than which or who, depends, not upon what is here supposed, but upon the different senses which these words usually convey. (5.) That as there is always some reason of choice, that is sometimes to be preferred; which, sometimes; and who, sometimes: as, "It is not the man who has merely taught, or who has taught long, or who is able to point out defects in authors, that is capable of enlightening the world in the respective sciences which have engaged his attention; but the man who has taught well."--Kirkham's Elocution, p. 7.

OBS. 33.--Blair's Rhetoric consists of forty-seven lectures; four of which are devoted to a critical examination of the style of Addison, as exhibited in four successive papers of the Spectator. The remarks of the professor are in general judicious; but, seeing his work is made a common textbook for students of "Belles Lettres," it is a pity to find it so liable to reprehension on the score of inaccuracy. Among the passages which are criticised in the twenty-first lecture, there is one in which the essayist speaks of the effects of novelty as follows:

'It is this which bestows charms on a monster, and makes even the imperfections of nature please us. It is this that recommends variety, where the mind is every instant called off to something new, and the attention not suffered to dwell too long and waste itself on any particular object. It is this, likewise, that improves what is great or beautiful, and makes it afford the mind a double entertainment.'--Spectator, No. 412.

This passage is deservedly praised by the critic, for its "perspicuity, grace, and harmony;" but, in using different relatives under like circumstances, the writer has hardly done justice to his own good taste. Blair's remark is this: "His frequent use of that, instead of which, is another peculiarity of his style; but, on this occasion in particular, [it] cannot be much commended, as, 'It is this which,' seems, in every view, to be better than, 'It is this that,' three times repeated."--Lect. xxi, p. 207. What is here meant by "every view," may, I suppose, be seen in the corresponding criticism which is noticed in my last observation above; and I am greatly deceived, if, in this instance also, the relative that is not better than which, and more agreeable to polite usage. The direct relative which corresponds to the introductory pronoun it and an other antecedent, should, I think, be that, and not who or which: as, "It is not ye that speak."--Matt., x, 20. "It is thou, Lord, who hast the hearts of all men in thy hands, that turnest the hearts of any to show me favour."--Jenks's Prayers, p. 278. Here who has reference to thou or Lord only; but that has some respect to the pronoun it, though it agrees in person and gender with thou. A similar example is cited at the close of the preceding observation; and I submit it to the reader, whether the word that, as it there occurs, is not the only fit word for the place it occupies. So in the following examples: "There are Words, which are not Verbs, that signify actions and passions, and even things transient."--Brightland's Gram., p. 100. "It is the universal taste of mankind, which is subject to no such changing modes, that alone is entitled to possess any authority."--Blair's Rhetoric, p. 286.

OBS. 34.--Sometimes the broad import of an antecedent is doubly restricted, first by one relative clause, and then by an other; as, "And all that dwell upon the earth, shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life."--Rev., xiii, 8. "And then, like true Thames-Watermen, they abuse every man that passes by, who is better dressed than themselves."--Brown's Estimate, Vol. ii, p. 10. Here and, or if he, would be as good as "who;" for the connective only serves to carry the restriction into narrower limits. Sometimes the limit fixed by one clause is extended by an other; as, "There is no evil that you may suffer, or that you may expect to suffer, which prayer is not the appointed means to alleviate."--Bickersteth, on Prayer, p. 16. Here which resumes the idea of "evil," in the extent last determined; or rather, in that which is fixed by either clause, since the limits of both are embraced in the assertion. And, in the two limiting clauses, the same pronoun was requisite, on account of their joint relation; but the clause which assu mes a different relation, is rightly introduced by a different pronoun. This is also the case in the following examples: "For there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."--Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 432. "I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns."--Rev., xvii, 7. Here the restrictive sense is well expressed by one relative, and the resumptive by an other. When neither of these senses is intended by the writer, any form of the relative must needs be improper: as, "The greatest genius which runs through the arts and sciences, takes a kind of tincture from them, and falls unavoidably into imitation."--Addison, Spect., No. 160. Here, as I suppose, which runs should be in running. What else can the author have meant?

OBS. 35.--Having now, as I imagine, clearly shown the difference between the restrictive and the resumptive sense of a relative pronoun, and the absolute necessity of making such a choice of words as will express that sense only which we intend; I hope the learner will see, by these observations, not merely that clearness requires the occasional use of each of our five relatives, who, which, what, that, and as; but that this distinction in the meaning, is a very common principle by which to determine what is, and what is not, good English. Thus that and as are appropriately our restrictive relatives, though who and which are sometimes used restrictively; but, in a resumptive sense, who or which is required, and required even after those terms which usually demand that or as: thus, "We are vexed at the unlucky chance, and go away dissatisfied. Such impressions, which ought not to be cherished, are a sufficient reason for excluding stories of that kind from the theatre."--Kames, El. of Crit., ii, 279. Here which is proper to the sense intended; but such requires as, when the latter term limits the meaning of the former. In sentences like the following, who or which may be used in lieu of that; whether with any advantage or not, the reader may judge: "You seize the critical moment that is favorable to emotion."--Bair's Rhet., p. 321. "An historian that would instruct us, must know when to be concise."--Ib., p. 359. "Seneca has been censured for the affectation that appears in his style."--Ib., p. 367. "Such as the prodigies that attended the death of Julius Cæsar."--Ib., p. 401. "By unfolding those principles that ought to govern the taste of every individual."--Kames's Dedication to El. of Crit. "But I am sure he has that that is better than an estate."--Spect., No. 475. "There are two properties, that characterize and essentially distinguish relative pronouns."--Churchill's Gram., p. 74. By these examples, it may be seen, that Dr. Blair often forgot or disregarded his own doctrine respecting the use of this relative; though he was oftener led, by the error of that doctrine, to substitute which for that improperly.

OBS. 36.--Whether was formerly used as an interrogative pronoun, in which sense it always referred to one of two things; as, "Ye fools and blind! for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?"--Matt., xxiii, 17. This usage is now obsolete; and, in stead of it, we say, "Which is greater?" But as a disjunctive conjunction, corresponding to or, the word whether is still in good repute; as, "Resolve whether you will go or not."--Webster's Dict. In this sense of the term, some choose to call whether an adverb.

OBS. 37.--In the view of some writers, interrogative pronouns differ from relatives chiefly in this; that, as the subject referred to is unknown to the speaker, they do not relate to a preceding noun, but to something which is to be expressed in the answer to the question. It is certain that their person, number, and gender, are not regulated by an antecedent noun; but by what the speaker supposes or knows of a subject which may, or may not, agree with them in these respects: as, "What lies there?" Answer, "Two men asleep." Here what, standing for what thing, is of the third person, singular number, and neuter gender; but men, which is the term that answers to it, is of the third person, plural, masculine. There is therefore no necessary agreement between the question and the answer, in any of those properties in which a pronoun usually agrees with its noun. Yet some grammarians will have interrogatives to agree with these "subsequents," as relatives agree with their antecedents. The answer, it must be granted, commonly contains a noun, corresponding in some respects to the interrogative pronoun, and agreeing with it in case; but this noun cannot be supposed to control the interrogation, nor is it, in any sense, the word for which the pronoun stands. For every pronoun must needs stand for something that is uttered or conceived by the same speaker; nor can any question be answered, until its meaning is understood. Interrogative pronouns must therefore be explained as direct substitutes for such other terms as one might use in stead of them. Thus who means what person?

  "Who taught that heav'n-directed spire to rise?
   The Man of Ross, each lisping babe replies."--Pope.

OBS. 38.--In the classification of the pronouns, and indeed in the whole treatment of them, almost all our English grammars are miserably faulty, as well as greatly at variance. In some forty or fifty, which I have examined on this point, the few words which constitute this part of speech, have more than twenty different modes of distribution. (1.) Cardell says, "There is but one kind of pronouns"--Elements of Gram., p. 30. (2.) D. Adam's, Greenleaf, Nutting, and Weld, will have two kinds; "personal and relative." (3.) Dr. Webster's "Substitutes, or pronouns, are of two kinds:" the one, "called personal;" the other, without name or number. See his Improved Gram., p. 24. (4.) Many have fixed upon three sorts; "personal, relative, and adjective;" with a subdivision of the last. Of these is Lindley Murray, in his late editions, with his amenders, Ainsworth, Alger, Bacon, Bullions, Fisk, A. Flint, Frost, Guy, Hall, Kirkham, Lennie, Merchant, Picket, Pond, and S. Putnam. (5.) Kirkham, however, changes the order of the classes; thus, "personal, adjective, and relative;" and, with ridiculous absurdity, makes mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, and theirs to be "compounds." (6.) Churchill adopts the plan of "personal, relative, and adjective pronouns;" and then destroys it by a valid argument. (7.) Comly, Wilcox, Wells, and Perley, have these three classes; "personal, relative, and interrogative:" and this division is right. (8.) Sanborn makes the following bull: "The general divisions of pronouns are into personal, relative, interrogative, and several sub-divisions."--Analytical Gram., p. 91. (9.) Jaudon has these three kinds; "personal, relative, and distributive." (10.) Robbins, these; "simple, conjunctive, and interrogative." (11.) Lindley Murray, in his early editions, had these four; "personal, possessive, relative, and adjective." (12.) Bucke has these; "personal, relative, interrogative, and adjective." (13.) Ingersoll, these; "personal, adjective, relative, and interrogative." (14.) Buchanan; "personal, demonstrative, relative, and interrogative." (15.) Coar; "personal, possessive or pronominal adjectives, demonstrative, and relative." (16.) Bicknell; "personal, possessive, relative, and demonstrative." (17.) Cobbett; "personal, relative, demonstrative, and indefinite." (18) M'Culloch; "personal, possessive, relative, and reciprocal." (19.) Staniford has five; "personal, relative, interrogative, definitive, and distributive." (20.) Alexander, six; "personal, relative, demonstrative, interrogative, definitive, and adjective." (21.) Cooper, in 1828, had five; "personal, relative, possessive, definite, and indefinite." (22.) Cooper, in 1831, six; "personal, relative, definite, indefinite, possessive, and possessive pronominal adjectives." (23.) Dr. Crombie says: "Pronouns may be divided into Substantive, and Adjective; Personal, and Impersonal; Relative, and Interrogative." (24.) Alden has seven sorts; "personal, possessive, relative, interrogative, distributive, demonstrative, and indefinite." (25.) R. C. Smith has many kinds, and treats them so badly that nobody can count them. In respect to definitions, too, most of these writers are shamefully inaccurate, or deficient. Hence the filling up of their classes is often as bad as the arrangement. For instance, four and twenty of them will have interrogative pronouns to be relatives; but who that knows what a relative pronoun is, can coincide with them in opinion? Dr. Crombie thinks, "that interrogatives are strictly relatives;" and yet divides the two classes with his own hand!


Pronouns have the same modifications as nouns; namely, Persons, Numbers, Genders, and Cases. Definitions universally applicable have already been given of all these things; it is therefore unnecessary to define them again in this place.


OBS. 1.--In the personal pronouns, most of these properties are distinguished by the words themselves; in the relative and the interrogative pronouns, they are ascertained chiefly by means of the antecedent and the verb. Interrogative pronouns, however, as well as the relatives which, what, as, and all the compounds of who, which, and what, are always of the third person. Even in etymological parsing, some regard must be had to the syntactical relations of words. By modifications, we commonly mean actual changes in the forms of words, by which their grammatical properties are inherently distinguished; but, in all languages, the distinguishable properties of words are somewhat more numerous than their actual variations of form; there being certain principles of universal grammar, which cause the person, number, gender, or case, of some words, to be inferred from their relation to others; or, what is nearly the same thing, from the sense which is conveyed by the sentence. Hence, if in a particular instance it happen, that some, or even all, of these properties, are without any index in the form of the pronoun itself, they are still to be ascribed in parsing, because they may be easily and certainly discovered from the construction. For example: in the following text, it is just as easy to discern the genders of the pronouns, as the cases of the nouns; and both are known and asserted to be what they are, upon principles of mere inference: "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?"--1 Cor., vii, 16. Again: "Who betrayed her companion? Not I."--Murray's Key, p. 211. Here her being of the feminine gender, it is the inference of every reader, that who and I are so too; but whether the word companion is masculine or feminine, is not so obvious.

OBS. 2.--The personal pronouns of the first and second persons, are equally applicable to both sexes; and should be considered masculine or feminine, according to the known application of them. [See Levizac's French Gram., p. 73.] The speaker and the hearer, being present to each other, of course know the sex to which they respectively belong; and, whenever they appear in narrative or dialogue, we are told who they are. In Latin, an adjective or a participle relating to these pronouns, is varied to agree with them in number, gender, and case. This is a sufficient proof that ego, I, and tu, thou, are not destitute of gender, though neither the Latin words nor the English are themselves varied to express it:--

         "Miseræ hoc tamen unum
   Exequere, Anna, mihi: solam nam perfidus ille
   Te colere, arcanos etiam tibi credere sensus;
   Sola viri molles aditus et tempora nôras. "--Virgil.

OBS. 3.--Many English grammarians, and Murray at their head, deny the first person of nouns, and the gender of pronouns of the first and second persons; and at the same time teach, that, "Pronouns must always agree with their antecedents, and the nouns for which they stand, in gender, number, and person:" (Murray's Gr., 2d Ed., p. 111; Rev. T. Smith's, p. 60:) and further, with redundance of expression, that, "The relative is of the same person with the antecedent, and the verb agrees with it accordingly."--Same. These quotations form Murray's fifth rule of syntax, as it stands in his early editions.[196] In some of his revisings, the author erased the word person from the former sentence, and changed with to as in the latter. But other pronouns than relatives, agree with their nouns in person; so that his first alteration was not for the better, though Ingersoll, Kirkham, Alger, Bacon, J. Greenleaf, and some others, have been very careful to follow him in it. And why did he never discern, that the above-named principles of his etymology are both of them contradicted by this rule of his syntax, and one of them by his rule as it now stands? It is manifest, that no two words can possibly agree in any property which belongs not to both. Else what is agreement? Nay, no two things in nature, can in any wise agree, accord, or be alike, but by having some quality or accident in common. How strange a contradiction then is this! And what a compliment to learning, that it is still found in well-nigh all our grammars!

OBS. 4.--If there were truth in what Murray and others affirm, that "Gender has respect only to the third person singular of the pronouns, he, she, it," [197] no two words could ever agree in gender; because there can be no such agreement between any two of the words here mentioned, and the assertion is, that gender has respect to no others. But, admitting that neither the author nor the numerous copiers of this false sentence ever meant to deny that gender has respect to nouns, they do deny that it has respect to any other pronouns than these; whereas I affirm that it ought to be recognized as a property of all pronouns, as well as of all nouns. Not that the gender of either is in all instances invariably fixed by the forms of the particular words; but there is in general, if not in every possible case, some principle of grammar, on which the gender of any noun or pronoun in a sentence may be readily ascertained. Is it not plain, that if we know who speaks or writes, who hears or is addressed, we know also the gender of the pronouns which are applied to these persons? The poet of The Task looked upon his mother's picture, and expressed his tender recollections of a deceased parent by way of address; and will any one pretend, that the pronouns which he applied to himself and to her, are either of the same gender, or of no gender? If we take neither of these assumptions, must we not say, they are of different genders? In this instance, then, let the parser call those of the first person, masculine; and those of the second, feminine:--

  "My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead,
   Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed?"--Cowper.

OBS. 5.--That the pronouns of the first and second persons are sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine, is perfectly certain; but whether they can or cannot be neuter, is a question difficult to be decided. To things inanimate they are applied only figuratively; and the question is, whether the figure always necessarily changes the gender of the antecedent noun. We assume the general principle, that the noun and its pronoun are always of the same gender; and we know that when inanimate objects are personified in the third person, they are usually represented as masculine or feminine, the gender being changed by the figure. But when a lifeless object is spoken to in the second person, or represented as speaking in the first, as the pronouns here employed are in themselves without distinction of gender, no such change can be proved by the mere words; and, if we allow that it would be needless to imagine it where the words do not prove it, the gender of these pronouns must in such cases be neuter, because we have no ground to think it otherwise. Examples: "And Jesus answered and said unto it, [the barren figtree,] No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever."--Mark, xi, 14. "O earth, cover not thou my blood."--Job, xvi, 18. "O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet?"--Jeremiah, xlvii, 6. In these instances, the objects addressed do not appear to be figuratively invested with the attribute of sex. So likewise with respect to the first person. If, in the following example, gold and diamond are neuter, so is the pronoun me; and, if not neuter, of what gender are they? The personification indicates or discriminates no other.

  "Where thy true treasure? Gold says, 'Not in me;
   And, 'Not in me,' the diamond. Gold is poor."--Young.


The declension of a pronoun is a regular arrangement of its numbers and cases.


The simple personal pronouns are thus declined:--

I, of the FIRST PERSON, any of the genders.[198]

Sing. Nom. I, Plur. Nom. we,

     Poss. my, or mine,[199]        Poss. our, or ours,
     Obj.  me;                        Obj.  us.

THOU, of the SECOND PERSON, any of the genders.

Sing. Nom. thou,[200] Plur. Nom. ye, or you,

     Poss. thy, or thine,           Poss. your, or yours,
     Obj.  thee;                      Obj.  you, or ye.[201]

HE, of the THIRD PERSON, masculine gender.

Sing. Nom. he, Plur. Nom. they,

     Poss. his,                       Poss. their, or theirs,
     Obj.  him;                       Obj.  them.

SHE, of the THIRD PERSON, feminine gender.

Sing. Nom. she, Plur. Nom. they,

     Poss. her, or hers,            Poss. their, or theirs,
     Obj.  her;                       Obj.  them.

IT, of the THIRD PERSON, neuter gender.

Sing. Nom, it, Plur. Nom. they,

     Poss. its,                       Poss. their, or theirs,
     Obj.  it;                        Obj.  them.


The word self, added to the simple personal pronouns, forms the class of compound personal pronouns; which are used when an action reverts upon the agent, and also when some persons are to be distinguished from others: as, sing, myself, plur. ourselves; sing, thyself, plur. yourselves; sing, himself, plur. themselves; sing, herself, plur. themselves; sing, itself, plur. themselves. They all want the possessive case, and are alike in the nominative and objective. Thus:--

MYSELF, of the FIRST PERSON,[202] any of the genders.

Sing. Nom. myself, Plur. Nom. ourselves,

     Poss. ------,                    Poss. ---------,
     Obj.  myself;                    Obj.  ourselves. 

THYSELF, of the SECOND PERSON, any of the genders.

Sing. Nom. thyself,[203] Plur. Nom. yourselves,

     Poss. -------,                   Poss. ----------,
     Obj.  thyself;                   Obj.  yourselves.

HIMSELF, of the THIRD PERSON, masculine gender.

Sing. Nom. himself, Plur. Nom. themselves,

     Poss. -------,                   Poss. ----------,
     Obj.   himself;                   Obj. themselves.

HERSELF, of the THIRD PERSON, feminine gender.

Sing. Nom. herself, Plur. Nom. themselves,

     Poss. -------,                   Poss. ----------,
     Obj.  herself;                   Obj.  themselves.

ITSELF, of the THIRD PERSON, neuter gender.

Sing. Nom. itself, Plur. Nom. themselves,

     Poss. ------,                    Poss. ----------,
     Obj.  itself;                    Obj.  themselves.


The relative and the interrogative pronouns are thus declined:--

WHO, literally applied to persons only.

Sing. Nom. who, Plur. Nom. who,

     Poss. whose,                     Poss. whose,
     Obj.  whom;                      Obj.  whom.

WHICH, applied to animals and things.

Sing. Nom. which, Plur. Nom. which,

     Poss. [204]--,                   Poss. -----,
     Obj.  which;                     Obj.  which.

WHAT, applied ordinarily to things only.[205]

Sing. Nom. what, Plur. Nom. what,

     Poss. ----,                      Poss. ----,
     Obj.  what;                      Obj.  what. 

THAT, applied to persons, animals, and things.

Sing. Nom. that, Plur. Nom. that,

     Poss. ----,                      Poss. ----,
     Obj.  that;                      Obj.  that.

AS, applied to persons, animals, and things.

Sing. Nom. as, Plur. Nom. as,

     Poss.    ----,                   Poss. ----,
     Obj.     as;                     Obj.  as.


The compound relative pronouns, whoever or whosoever, whichever or whichsoever, and whatever or whatsoever[206] are declined in the same manner as the simples, who which, what. Thus:--

WHOEVER or WHOSOEVER, applied only to persons.

Sing. Nom. whoever, Plur. Nom. whoever,

     Poss. whosever,                  Poss. whosever,
     Obj.  whomever;                  Obj.  whomever.

Sing. Nom. whosoever, Plur. Nom. whosoever,

     Poss. whosesoever,               Poss. whosesoever,
     Obj.  whomsoever;                Obj.  whomsoever.

WHICHEVER or WHICHSOEVER, applied to persons, animals, and things.

Sing. Nom. whichever, Plur. Nom. whichever,

     Poss. ---------,                 Poss. --------,
     Obj.  whichever;                 Obj.  whichever.

Sing. Nom. whichsoever, Plur. Nom. whichsoever,

     Poss. ---------,                 Poss. --------,
     Obj.  whichsoever;               Obj.  whichsoever.

WHATEVER or WHATSOEVER, applied ordinarily to things only.

Sing. Nom. whatever, Plur. Nom. whatever,

     Poss. --------,                  Poss. --------,
     Obj.  whatever;                  Obj.  whatever.

Sing. Nom. whatsoever, Plur. Nom. whatsoever,

     Poss. ---------,                 Poss. --------,
     Obj.  whatsoever;                Obj.  whatsoever.


OBS. 1.--Most of the personal pronouns have two forms of the possessive case, in each number: as, my or mine, our or ours; thy or thine, your or yours; her or hers, their or theirs. The former is used before a noun expressed, or when nothing but an adjective intervenes; the latter, when the governing noun is understood, or is so placed that a repetition of it is implied in or after the pronoun: as, "My powers are thine; be thine alone The glory of my song."--Montgomery. "State what mine and your principles are."--Legh Richmond, to his Daughters. Better, perhaps: "State what my principles and yours are;"--"State what your principles and mine are;"--or, "State what are my principles and your own."

  "Resign'd he fell; superior to the dart
   That quench'd its rage in yours and Britain's heart."--J. Brown.
   "Behold! to yours and my surprise,
   These trifles to a volume rise."--Lloyd, p. 186.

OBS. 2.--Possibly, when the same persons or things stand in a joint relation of this kind to different individuals or parties, it may be proper to connect two of the simple possessives to express it; though this construction can seldom, if ever, be necessary, because any such expression as thy and her sister, my and his duty, if not erroneous, can mean nothing but your sister, our duty, &c. But some examples occur, the propriety of which it is worth while to consider: as, "I am sure it will be a pleasure to you to hear that she proves worthy of her father, worthy of you, and of your and her ancestors."--Spectator, No. 525. This sentence is from a version of Pliny's letter to his wife's aunt; and, as the ancestors of the two individuals are here the same, the phraseology may be allowable. But had the aunt commended her niece to Pliny, she should have said, "worthy of you and of your ancestors and hers." "Is it her or his honour that is tarnished? It is not hers, but his."--Murray's Gram., p. 175. This question I take to be bad English. It ought to be, "Is it her honour or his, that is tarnished?" Her honour and his honour cannot be one and the same thing. This example was framed by Murray to illustrate that idle and puzzling distinction which he and some others make between "possessive adjective pronouns" and "the genitive case of the personal pronouns;" and, if I understand him, the author will here have her and his to be of the former class, and hers and his of the latter. It were a better use of time, to learn how to employ such words correctly. Unquestionably, they are of the same class and the same case, and would be every way equivalent, if the first form were fit to be used elliptically. For example: "The same phrenzy had hindered the Dutch from improving to their and to the common advantage the public misfortunes of France."--Bolingbroke, on Hist., p. 309. Here the possessive case their appears to be governed by advantage understood, and therefore it would perhaps be better to say, theirs, or their own. But in the following instance, our may be proper, because both possessives appear to be governed by one and the same noun:--

  "Although 'twas our and their opinion
   Each other's church was but a Rimmon."--Hudibras.

OBS. 3.--Mine and thine were formerly preferred to my and thy, before all words beginning with a vowel sound; or rather, mine and thine were the original forms,[207] and my and thy were first substituted for them before consonants, and afterwards before vowels: as, "But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance."--Psalms, lv, 13. "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."--Acts, x, 4. When the Bible was translated, either form appears to have been used before the letter h; as, "Hath not my hand made all these things?"--Acts, vii, 50. "By stretching forth thine hand to heal."--Acts, iv, 30. According to present practice, my and thy are in general to be preferred before all nouns, without regard to the sounds of letters. The use of the other forms, in the manner here noticed, has now become obsolete; or, at least, antiquated, and peculiar to the poets. We occasionally meet with it in modern verse, though not very frequently, and only where the melody of the line seems to require it: as,

  "Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow."--Byron.
   "Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes."--Johnson.
   "Mine eyes beheld the messenger divine."--Lusiad.
   "Thine ardent symphony sublime and high."--Sir W. Scott.

OBS. 4.--The possessives mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, theirs, usually denote possession, or the relation of property, with an ellipsis of the name of the thing possessed; as, "My sword and yours are kin."--Shakspeare. Here yours means your sword. "You may imagine what kind of faith theirs was."--Bacon. Here theirs means their faith. "He ran headlong into his own ruin whilst he endeavoured to precipitate ours."--Bolingbroke. Here ours means our ruin. "Every one that heareth these saying of mine."--Matt., vii, 26. Here mine means my sayings. "Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his."--Psalms, xxx, 4. Here his means his saints. The noun which governs the possessive, is here understood after it, being inferred from that which precedes, as it is in all the foregoing instances. "And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart."--1 Samuel, ii, 33. Here thine, in the first phrase, means thy men; but, in the subsequent parts of the sentence, both mine and thine mean neither more nor less than thy and my, because there is no ellipsis. Of before the possessive case, governs the noun which is understood after this case; and is always taken in a partitive sense, and not as the sign of the possessive relation: as, "When we say, 'a soldier of the king's', we mean, 'one of the king's soldiers.'"--Webster's Improved Gram., p. 29. There is therefore an ellipsis of the word soldiers, in the former phrase. So, in the following example, mine is used elliptically for my feet; or rather, feet is understood after mine, though mine feet is no longer good English, for reasons before stated:--

  "Ere I absolve thee, stoop I that on thy neck
   Levelled with earth tins foot of mine may tread."--Wordsworth.

OBS. 5.--Respecting the possessive case of the simple personal pronouns, there appears among our grammarians a strange diversity of sentiment. Yet is there but one view of the matter, that has in it either truth or reason, consistency or plausibility. And, in the opinion of any judicious teacher, an erroneous classification of words so common and so important as these, may well go far to condemn any system of grammar in which it is found. A pronoun agrees in person, number, and gender, with the noun for which it is a substitute; and, if it is in the possessive case, it is usually governed by an other noun expressed or implied after it. That is, if it denotes possession, it stands for the name of the possessor, and is governed by the name of the thing possessed. Now do not my, thy, his, her, our, your, their, and mine, thine, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs, all equally denote possession? and do they not severally show by their forms the person, the number, and sometimes also the gender, of whomever or whatever they make to be the possessor? If they do, they are all of them pronouns, and nothing else; all found in the possessive case, and nowhere else. It is true, that in Latin, Greek, and some other languages, there are not only genitive cases corresponding to these possessives, but also certain declinable adjectives which we render in English by these same words: that is, by my or mine, our or ours; thy or thine, your or yours; &c. But this circumstance affords no valid argument for considering any of these English terms to be mere adjectives; and, say what we will, it is plain that they have not the signification of adjectives, nor can we ascribe to them the construction of adjectives, without making their grammatical agreement to be what it very manifestly is not. They never agree, in any respect, with the nouns which follow them, unless it be by mere accident. This view of the matter is sustained by the authority of many of our English grammars; as may be seen by the declensions given by Ash, C. Adams, Ainsworth, R. W. Bailey, Barnard, Buchanan, Bicknell, Blair, Burn, Butler, Comly, Churchill, Cobbett, Dalton, Davenport, Dearborn, Farnum, A. Flint, Fowler, Frost, Gilbert, S. S. Green, Greenleaf, Hamlin, Hiley, Kirkham, Merchant, Murray the schoolmaster, Parkhurst, Picket, Russell, Sanborn, Sanders, R. C. Smith, Wilcox.

OBS. 6.--In opposition to the classification and doctrine adopted above, many of our grammarians teach, that my, thy, this, her, our, your, their, are adjectives or "adjective pronouns;" and that mine, thine, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs, are personal pronouns in the possessive case. Among the supporters of this notion, are D. Adams, Alden, Alger, Allen, Bacon, Barrett, Bingham, Bucke, Bullions, Cutler, Fisk, Frost, (in his small Grammar,) Guy, Hall, Hart, Harrison, Ingersoll, Jaudon, Lennie, Lowth, Miller, L. Murray, Pond, T. Smith, Spear, Spencer, Staniford, Webber, Woodworth. The authority of all these names, however, amounts to little more than that of one man; for Murray pretended to follow Lowth, and nearly all the rest copied Murray. Dr. Lowth says, "Thy, my, her, our, your, their, are pronominal adjectives; but his, (that is, he's,) her's, our's, your's, their's, have evidently the form of the possessive case: And, by analogy, mine, thine, may be esteemed of the same rank."--Lowth's Gram., p. 23.[208] But why did he not see, that by the same analogy, and also by the sense and meaning of the words, as well as by their distinctions of person, number, and gender, all the other six are entitled to "the same rank?" Are not the forms of my, thy, her, our, your, their, as fit to denote the relation of property, and to be called the possessive case, as mine, thine, his, or any others? In grammar, all needless distinctions are reprehensible. And where shall we find a more blamable one than this? It seems to have been based merely upon the false notion, that the possessive case of pronouns ought to be formed like that of nouns; whereas custom has clearly decided that they shall always be different: the former must never be written with an apostrophe; and the latter, never without it. Contrary to all good usage, however, the Doctor here writes "her's, our's, your's, their's," each with a needless apostrophe. Perhaps he thought it would serve to strengthen his position; and help to refute what some affirmed, that all these words are adjectives.

OBS. 7.--Respecting mine, thine, and his, Lowth and L. Murray disagree. The latter will have them to be sometimes "possessive pronouns," and sometimes "possessive cases." An admirable distinction this for a great author to make! too slippery for even the inventor's own hold, and utterly unintelligible to those who do not know its history! In short, these authors disagree also concerning my, thy, her, our, your, their; and where two leaders of a party are at odds with each other, and each is in the wrong, what is to be expected from their followers? Perceiving that Lowth was wrong in calling these words "pronominal adjectives," Murray changed the term to "possessive pronouns," still retaining the class entire; and accordingly taught, in his early editions, that, "There are four kinds of pronouns, viz., the personal, the possessive, the relative, and the adjective pronouns."--Murray's Gram., 2d Edition, p. 37. "The Possessive Pronouns are such as principally relate to possession or property. There are seven of them; viz. my, thy, his, her, our, your, their. The possessives his, mine, thine, may be accounted either possessive pronouns, or the possessive cases of their respective personal pronouns."--Ib., p. 40. He next idly demonstrates that these seven words may come before nouns of any number or case, without variation; then, forgetting his own distinction, adds, "When they are separated from the noun, all of them, except his, vary their terminations; as, this hat is mine, and the other is thine; those trinkets are hers; this house is ours, and that is yours; theirs is more commodious than ours"--Ib., p. 40. Thus all his personal pronouns of the possessive case, he then made to be inflections of pronouns of a different class! What are they now? Seek the answer under the head of that gross solecism, "Adjective Pronouns." You may find it in one half of our English grammars.

OBS. 8.--Any considerable error in the classing of words, does not stand alone; it naturally brings others in its train. Murray's "Adjective Pronouns," (which he now subdivides into four little classes, possessive, distributive, demonstrative, and indefinite,) being all of them misnamed and misplaced in his etymology, have led both him and many others into strange errors in syntax. The possessives only are "pronouns;" and these are pronouns of the possessive case. As such, they agree with the antecedent nouns for which they stand, in person, number, and gender; and are governed, like all other possessives, by the nouns which follow them. The rest are not pronouns, but pronominal adjectives; and, as such, they relate to nouns expressed or understood after them. Accordingly, they have none of the above-mentioned qualities, except that the words this and that form the plurals these and those. Or, if we choose to ascribe to a pronominal adjective all the properties of the noun understood, it is merely for the sake of brevity in parsing. The difference, then, between a "pronominal adjective" and an "adjective pronoun," should seem to be this; that the one is an adjective, and the other a pronoun: it is like the difference between a horserace and a racehorse. What can be hoped from the grammarian who cannot discern it? And what can be made of rules and examples like the following? "Adjective pronouns must agree, in number, with their substantives: as, 'This book, these books; that sort, those sorts; another road, other roads.'"--Murray's Gram., Rule viii, Late Editions; Alger's Murray, p. 56; Alden's, 85; Bacon's, 48; Maltby's, 59; Miller's, 66; Merchant's, 81; S. Putnam's, 10; and others. "Pronominal adjectives must agree with their nouns in gender, number, and person; thus, 'My son, hear the instructions of thy father.' 'Call the labourers, and give them their hire.'"--Maunder's Gram., Rule xvii. Here Murray gives a rule for pronouns, and illustrates it by adjectives; and Maunder, as ingeniously blunders in reverse: he gives a rule for adjectives, and illustrates it by pronouns. But what do they mean by "their substantives," or "their nouns?" As applicable to pronouns, the phrase should mean nouns antecedent; as applicable to adjectives, it should mean nouns subsequent. Both these rules are therefore false, and fit only to bewilder; and the examples to both are totally inapplicable. Murray's was once essentially right, but he afterwards corrupted it, and a multitude of his admirers have since copied the perversion. It formerly stood thus: "The pronominal adjectives this and that, &c. and the numbers[209] one, two, &c., must agree in number with their substantives: as, 'This book, these books; that sort, those sorts; one girl, ten girls; another road, other roads.' "--Murray's Gram., Rule viii, 2d Ed., 1796.

OBS. 9.--Among our grammarians, some of considerable note have contended, that the personal pronouns have but two cases, the nominative and the objective. Of this class, may be reckoned Brightland, Dr. Johnson, Fisher, Mennye, Cardell, Cooper, Dr. Jas. P. Wilson, W. B. Fowle. and, according to his late grammars, Dr. Webster. But, in contriving what to make of my or mine, our or ours, thy or thine, your or yours, his, her or hers, its, and their or theirs, they are as far from any agreement, or even from self-consistency, as the cleverest of them could ever imagine. To the person, the number, the gender, and the case, of each of these words, they either profess themselves to be total strangers, or else prove themselves so, by the absurdities they teach. Brightland calls them "Possessive Qualities, or Qualities of Possession;" in which class he also embraces all nouns of the possessive case. Johnson calls them pronouns; and then says of them, "The possessive pronouns, like other adjectives, are without cases or change of termination."--Gram., p. 6. Fisher calls them "Personal Possessive Qualities;" admits the person of my, our, &c.; but supposes mine, ours, &c. to supply the place of the nouns which govern them! Mennye makes them one of his three classes of pronouns, "personal, possessive, and relative;" giving to both forms the rank which Murray once gave, and which Allen now gives, to the first form only. Cardell places them among his "defining adjectives." With Fowle, these, and all other possessives, are "possessive adjectives." Cooper, in his grammar of 1828. copies the last scheme of Murray: in that of 1831, he avers that the personal pronouns "want the possessive case." Now, like Webster and Wilson, he will have mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, and theirs, to be pronouns of the nominative or the objective case. Dividing the pronouns into six general classes, he makes these the fifth; calling them "Possessive Pronouns," but preferring in a note the monstrous name, "Possessive Pronouns Substitute." His sixth class are what he calls, "The Possessive Pronominal Adjectives;" namely, "my, thy, his, her, our, your, their, its, own, and sometimes mine and thine."--Cooper's Pl. and Pr. Gram., p. 43. But all these he has, unquestionably, either misplaced or misnamed; while he tells us, that, "Simplicity of arrangement should be the object of every compiler."--Ib., p. 33. Dr. Perley, (in whose scheme of grammar all the pronouns are nouns,) will have my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, and their, to be in the possessive case; but of mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, and theirs, he says, "These may be called Desiderative Personal Pronouns."--Perley's Gram., p. 15.

OBS. 10.--Kirkham, though he professes to follow Murray, declines the simple personal pronouns as I have declined them; and argues admirably, that my, thy, his, &c., are pronouns of the possessive case, because, "They always stand for nouns in the possessive case." But he afterwards contradicts both himself and the common opinion of all former grammarians, in referring mi ne, thine, hers, &c., to the class of "Compound Personal Pronouns." Nay, as if to outdo even himself in absurdity, he first makes mine, thine, hers, ours, &c., to be compounds, by assuming that, "These pluralizing adjuncts, ne and s, were, no doubt, formerly detached from the pronouns with which they now coalesce;" and then, because he finds in each of his supposed compounds the signification of a pronoun and its governing noun, reassumes, in parsing them, the very principle of error, on which he condemns their common classification. He says, "They should be parsed as two words." He also supposes them to represent the nouns which govern them--nouns with which they do not agree in any respect! Thus is he wrong in almost every thing he says about them. See Kirkham's Gram., p. 99, p. 101, and p. 104. Goodenow, too, a still later writer, adopts the major part of all this absurdity. He will have my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, their, for the possessive case of his personal pronouns; but mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, theirs, he calls "compound possessive pronouns, in the subjective or [the] objective case."--Text-Book of E. Gram., p. 33. Thus he introduces a new class, unknown to his primary division of the pronouns, and not included in his scheme of their declension. Fuller, too, in a grammar produced at Plymouth, Mass., in 1822, did nearly the same thing. He called I, thou, he, she, and it, with their plurals, "antecedent pronouns;" took my, thy, his, her, &c., for their only possessive forms in his declension; and, having passed from them by the space of just half his book, added: "Sometimes, to prevent the repetition of the same word, an antecedent pronoun in the possessive case, is made to represent, both the pronoun and a noun; as, 'That book is mine'--i. e. 'my book.' MINE is a compound antecedent pronoun, and is equivalent to my book. Then parse my, and book, as though they were both expressed."--Fuller's Gram., p. 71.

OBS. 11.--Amidst all this diversity of doctrine at the very centre of grammar, who shall so fix its principles that our schoolmasters and schoolmistresses may know what to believe and teach? Not he that speculates without regard to other men's views; nor yet he that makes it a merit to follow implicitly "the footsteps of" one only. The true principles of grammar are with the learned; and that man is in the wrong, with whom the most learned will not, in general, coincide. Contradiction of falsities, is necessary to the maintenance of truth; correction of errors, to the success of science. But not every man's errors can be so considerable as to deserve correction from other hands than his own. Misinstruction in grammar has for this reason generally escaped censure. I do not wish any one to coincide with me merely through ignorance of what others inculcate. If doctors of divinity and doctors of laws will contradict themselves in teaching grammar, so far as they do so, the lovers of consistency will find it necessary to deviate from their track. Respecting these pronouns, I learned in childhood, from Webster, a doctrine which he now declares to be false. This was nearly the same as Lowth's, which is quoted in the sixth observation above. But, in stead of correcting its faults, this zealous reformer has but run into others still greater. Now, with equal reproach to his etymology, his syntax, and his logic, he denies that our pronouns have any form of the possessive case at all. But grant the obvious fact, that substitution is one thing, and ellipsis an other, and his whole argument is easily overthrown; for it is only by confounding these, that he reaches his absurd conclusion.

OBS. 12.--Dr. Webster's doctrine now is, that none of the English pronouns have more than two cases. He says, "mine, thine, his, hers, yours, and theirs, are usually considered as [being of] the possessive case. But the three first are either attributes, and used with nouns, or they are substitutes. The three last are always substitutes, used in the place of names WHICH ARE UNDERSTOOD."--"That mine, thine, his, [ours,] yours, hers, and theirs, do not constitute a possessive case, is demonstrable; for they are constantly used as the nominatives to verbs and as the objectives after verbs and prepositions, as in the following passages. 'Whether it could perform its operations of thinking and memory out of a body organized as ours is.'--Locke. 'The reason is, that his subject is generally things; theirs, on the contrary, is persons.'--Camp. Rhet. 'Therefore leave your forest of beasts for ours of brutes, called men.'--Wycherley to Pope. It is needless to multiply proofs. We observe these pretended possessives uniformly used as nominatives or objectives.[210] Should it be said that a noun is understood; I reply, this cannot be true," & c.--Philosophical Gram., p. 35; Improved Gram., p. 26. Now, whether it be true or not, this very position is expressly affirmed by the Doctor himself, in the citation above; though he is, unquestionably, wrong in suggesting that the pronouns are "used in the place of [those] names WHICH ARE UNDERSTOOD." They are used in the place of other names--the names of the possessors; and are governed by those which he here both admits and denies to be "understood."

OBS. 13.--The other arguments of Dr. Webster against the possessive case of pronouns, may perhaps be more easily answered than some readers imagine. The first is drawn from the fact that conjunctions connect like cases. "Besides, in three passages just quoted, the word yours is joined by a connective to a name in the same case; 'To ensure yours and their immortality.' 'The easiest part of yours and my design.' 'My sword and yours are kin.' Will any person pretend that the connective here joins different cases?"--Improved Gram., p. 28; Philosophical Gram., p. 36. I answer, No. But it is falsely assumed that yours is here connected by and to immortality, to design, or to sword; because these words are again severally understood after yours: or, if otherwise, the two pronouns alone are connected by and, so that the proof is rather, that their and my are in the possessive case. The second argument is drawn from the use of the preposition of before the possessive. "For we say correctly, 'an acquaintance of yours, ours, or theirs'--of being the sign of the possessive; but if the words in themselves are possessives, then there must be two signs of the same case, which is absurd."--Improved Gram., p. 28; Phil. Gr., 36. I deny that of is here the sign of the possessive, and affirm that it is taken partitively, in all examples of this sort. "I know my sheep, and am known of mine," is not of this kind; because of here means by--a sense in which the word is antiquated. In recurring afterwards to this argument, the Doctor misquotes the following texts, and avers that they "are evidently meant to include the whole number: 'Sing to the Lord, all ye saints of his.'--Ps. 30, 4. 'He that heareth these sayings of mine.'--Matt. 7."--Improved Gram., p. 29; Phil. Gr., 38. If he is right about the meaning, however, the passages are mistranslated, as well as misquoted: they ought to be, "Sing unto the Lord, O ye his Saints."--"Every one that heareth these my sayings." But when a definitive particle precedes the noun, it is very common with us, to introduce the possessive elliptically after it; and what Dr. Wilson means by suggesting that it is erroneous, I know not: "When the preposition of precedes mine, ours, yours, &c. the errour lies, not in this, that there are double possessive cases, but in forming an implication of a noun, which the substitute already denotes, together with the persons."--Essay on Gram., p. 110.

OBS. 14.--In his Syllabus of English Grammar, Dr. Wilson teaches thus: "My, our, thy, your, his, her, its, their, whose, and whosesoever are possessive pronominal adjectives. Ours, yours, hers, and theirs are pronoun substantives, used either as subjects, or [as] objects; as singulars, or [as] plurals; and are substituted both for [the names of] the possessors, and [for those of the] things possessed. His, its, whose, mine, and thine, are sometimes used as such substantives; but also are at other times pronominal possessive adjectives."--Wilson's Syllabus, p. X. Now compare with these three positions, the following three from the same learned author. "In Hebrew, the adjective generally agrees with its noun in gender and number, but pronouns follow the gender of their antecedents, and not of the nouns with which they stand. So in English, my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, and their, agree with the nouns they represent, in number, gender, and person. But adjectives, having no change expressive of number, gender, or case, cannot accord with their nouns."--Wilson's Essay on Gram., p. 192. "Ours, yours, hers, and theirs, are most usually considered possessive cases of personal pronouns; but they are, more probably, possessive substitutes, not adjectives, but nouns."--Ib., p. 109. "Nor can mine or thine, with any more propriety than ours, yours, &c. be joined to any noun, as possessive adjectives and possessive cases may."--Ib., p. 110. Whoever understands these instructions, cannot but see their inconsistency.

OBS. 15.--Murray argues at some length, without naming his opponents, that the words which he assumes to be such, are really personal pronouns standing rightfully in the possessive case; and that, "they should not, on the slight pretence of their differing from nouns, be dispossessed of the right and privilege, which, from time immemorial they have enjoyed."--Octavo Gram., p. 53. Churchill as ably shows, that the corresponding terms, which Lowth calls pronominal adjectives, and which Murray and others will have to be pronouns of no case, are justly entitled to the same rank. "If mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, theirs, be the possessive case; my, thy, her, our, your, their, must be the same. Whether we say, 'It is John's book,' or, 'The book is John's;' John's is not less the possessive case in one instance, than it is in the other. If we say, 'It is his book,' or, 'The book is his;' 'It is her book,' or, 'The book is hers;' 'It is my book,' or, 'The book is mine;' 'It is your book,' or, 'The book is yours;' are not these parallel instances? Custom has established it as a law, that this case of the pronoun shall drop its original termination, for the sake of euphony, when it precedes the noun that governs it; retaining it only where the noun is understood: but this certainly makes no alteration in the nature of the word; so that either my is as much a possessive case as mine; or mine and my are equally pronominal adjectives."--Churchill's New Gram., p. 221. "Mr. Murray considers the phrases, 'our desire,' 'your intention,' 'their resignation,' as instances of plural adjectives agreeing with singular nouns; and consequently exceptions to the general (may we not say universal?) rule: but if they [the words our, your, their,] be, as is attempted to be proved above, the possessive cases of pronouns, no rule is here violated."--Ib., p. 224.

OBS. 16.--One strong argument, touching this much-disputed point of grammar, was incidentally noticed in the observations upon antecedents: an adjective cannot give person, number, and gender, to a relative pronoun; because, in our language, adjectives do not possess these qualities; nor indeed in any other, except as they take them by immediate agreement with nouns or pronouns in the same clause. But it is undeniable, that my, thy, his, her, our, your, their, do sometimes stand as antecedents, and give person, number, and gender to relatives, which head other clauses. For the learner should remember, that, "When a relative pronoun is used, the sentence is divided into two parts; viz. the antecedent sentence, or that which contains the antecedent; and the relative sentence, containing the relative."--Nixon's Parser, p. 123. We need not here deny, that Terence's Latin, as quoted in the grammars, "Omnes laudare fortunas meas, qui haberem gnatum tali ingeuio præditum," is quite as intelligible syntax, as can literally be made of it in English--"That all would praise my fortunes, who had a son endued with such a genius." For, whether the Latin be good or not, it affords no argument against us, except that of a supposed analogy; nor does the literality of the version prove, at all points, either the accuracy or the sameness of the construction.

OBS. 17.--Surely, without some imperative reason, we ought not, in English, to resort to such an assumption as is contained in the following Rule: "Sometimes the relative agrees in person with that pronoun substantive, from which the possessive pronoun adjective is derived; as, Pity my condition, who am so destitute. I rejoice at thy lot, who art so fortunate. We lament his fate, who is so unwary. Beware of her cunning, who is so deceitful. Commiserate our condition, who are so poor. Tremble at your negligence, who are so careless. It shall be their property, who are so diligent. We are rejoicing at thy lot, who hast been so fortunate."--Nixon's Parser, p. 142. In his explanation of the last of these sentences, the author says, "Who is a relative pronoun; in the masculine gender, singular number, second person, and agrees with thee, implied in the adjective thy. RULE.--Sometimes the relative agrees in person, &c. And it is the nominative to the verb hast been. RULE.--When no nominative comes between the relative and the verb, the relative is the nominative to the verb."--Ib., p. 143. A pupil of G. Brown's would have said, "Who is a relative pronoun, representing 'thy,' or the person addressed, in the second person, singular number, and masculine gender; according to the rule which says, 'A pronoun must agree with its antecedent, or the noun or pronoun which it represents, in person, number, and gender:' and is in the nominative case, being the subject of hast been; according to the rule which says, 'A noun or a pronoun which is the subject of a finite verb, must be in the nominative case.' Because the meaning is--who hast been; that is, thy lot, or the lot of thee, who hast been."

OBS. 18.--Because the possessive case of a noun or pronoun is usually equivalent in meaning to the preposition of and the objective case, some grammarians, mistaking this equivalence of meaning for sameness of case, have asserted that all our possessives have a double form. Thus Nixon: "When the particle of comes between two substantives signifying different things, it is not to be considered a preposition, but the sign of the substantive's being in the possessive case, equally as if the apostrophic s had been affixed to it; as, 'The skill of Cæsar,' or Cæsar's skill.'"--English Parser, p. 38. "When the apostrophic s is used, the genitive is the former of the two substantives; as, 'John's house:' but when the particle of is used, it is the latter; as, 'The house of John.'"--Ib., p. 46. The work here quoted is adapted to two different grammars; namely, Murray's and Allen's. These the author doubtless conceived to be the best English grammars extant. And it is not a little remarkable, that both of these authors, as well as many others, teach in such a faulty manner, that their intentions upon this point may be matter of dispute. "When Murray, Allen, and others, say, 'we make use of the particle of to express the relation of the genitive,' the ambiguity of their assertion leaves it in doubt whether or not they considered the substantive which is preceded by of and an other substantive, as in the genitive case."--Nixon's English Parser, p. 38. Resolving this doubt according to his own fancy, Nixon makes the possessive case of our personal pronouns to be as follows: "mine or of me, ours or of us; thine or of thee, yours or of you; his or of him, theirs or of them; hers or of her, theirs or of them; its or of it, theirs or of them."--English Parser, p. 43. This doctrine gives us a form of declension that is both complex and deficient. It is therefore more objectionable than almost any of those which are criticised above. The arguments and authorities on which the author rests his position, are not thought likely to gain many converts; for which reason, I dismiss the subject, without citing or answering them.

OBS. 19.--In old books, we sometimes find the word I written for the adverb ay, yes: as, "To dye, to sleepe; To sleepe, perchance to dreame; I, there's the rub."--Shakspeare, Old Copies. The British Grammar, printed in 1784, and the Grammar of Murray the schoolmaster, published some years earlier than Lindley Murray's, say: "We use I as an Answer, in a familiar, careless, or merry Way; as, 'I, I, Sir, I, I;' but to use ay, is accounted rude, especially to our Betters." See Brit. Gram., p. 198. The age of this rudeness, or incivility, if it ever existed, has long passed away; and the fashion seems to be so changed, that to write or utter I for ay, would now in its turn be "accounted rude"--the rudeness of ignorance--a false orthography, or a false pronunciation. In the word ay, the two sounds of ah-ee are plainly heard; in the sound of I, the same elements are more quickly blended. (See a note at the foot of page 162.) When this sound is suddenly repeated, some writers make a new word of it, which must be called an interjection: as, "'Pray, answer me a question or two.' 'Ey, ey, as many as you please, cousin Bridget, an they be not too hard.'"--Burgh's Speaker, p. 99. "Ey, ey, 'tis so; she's out of her head, poor thing."--Ib., p. 100. This is probably a corruption of ay, which is often doubled in the same manner: thus,

  "Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange, and frown."--Shakspeare.

OBS. 20.--The common fashion of address being nowadays altogether in the plural form, the pronouns thou, thy, thine, thee, and thyself, have become unfamiliar to most people, especially to the vulgar and uneducated. These words are now confined almost exclusively to the writings of the poets, to the language of the Friends, to the Holy Scriptures, and to the solemn services of religion. They are, however, the only genuine representatives of the second person singular, in English; and to displace them from that rank in grammar, or to present you, your, and yours, as being literally singular, though countenanced by several late writers, is a useless and pernicious innovation. It is sufficient for the information of the learner, and far more consistent with learning and taste, to say, that the plural is fashionably used for the singular, by a figure of syntax; for, in all correct usage of this sort, the verb is plural, as well as the pronoun--Dr. Webster's fourteen authorities to the contrary notwithstanding. For, surely, "You was" cannot be considered good English, merely because that number of respectable writers have happened, on some particular occasions, to adopt the phrase; and even if we must needs concede this point, and grant to the Doctor and his converts, that "You was is primitive and correct," the example no more proves that you is singular, than that was is plural. And what is one singular irregular preterit, compared with all the verbs in the language?

OBS. 21.--In our present authorized version of the Bible, the numbers and cases of the second person are kept remarkably distinct,[211] the pronouns being always used in the following manner: thou for the nominative, thy or thine for the possessive, and thee for the objective, singular; ye for the nominative, your or yours for the possessive, and you for the objective, plural. Yet, before that version was made, fashionable usage had commonly substituted you for ye, making the former word nominative as well as objective, and applying it to one hearer as well as to more. And subsequently, as it appears, the religious sect that entertained a scruple about applying you to an individual, fell for the most part into an ungrammatical practice of putting thee for thou; making, in like manner, the objective pronoun to be both nominative and objective; or, at least, using it very commonly so in their conversation. Their manner of speaking, however, was not--or, certainly, with the present generation of their successors, is not--as some grammarians represent it to be, that formal and antique phraseology which we call the solemn style.[212] They make no more use of the pronoun ye, or of the verbal termination eth, than do people of fashion; nor do they, in using the pronoun thou, or their improper nominative thee, ordinarily inflect with st or est the preterits or the auxiliaries of the accompanying verbs, as is done in the solemn style. Indeed, to use the solemn style familiarly, would be, to turn it into burlesque; as when Peter Pindar "telleth what he troweth." [213] And let those who think with Murray, that our present version of the Scriptures is the best standard of English grammar,[214] remember that in it they have no warrant for substituting s or es for the old termination eth, any more than for ceasing to use the solemn style of the second person familiarly. That version was good in its day, yet it shows but very imperfectly what the English language now is. Can we consistently take for our present standard, a style which does not allow us to use you in the nominative case, or its for the possessive? And again, is not a simplification of the verb as necessary and proper in the familiar use of the second person singular, as in that of the third? This latter question I shall discuss in a future chapter.

OBS. 22.--The use of the pronoun ye in the nominative case, is now mostly confined to the solemn style;[215] but the use of it in the objective, which is disallowed in the solemn style, and nowhere approved by our grammarians, is nevertheless common when no emphasis falls upon the word: as,

  "When you're unmarried, never load ye
   With jewels; they may incommode ye."--Dr. King, p. 384.

Upon this point, Dr. Lowth observes, "Some writers have used ye as the objective case plural of the pronoun of the second person, very improperly and ungrammatically; [as,]

   'The more shame for ye; holy men I thought ye.' Shak. Hen. VIII.
   'But tyrants dread ye, lest your just decree
   Transfer the pow'r, and set the people free.' Prior.
   'His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both.' Milt. P. L. ii. 734.

Milton uses the same manner of expression in a few other places of his Paradise Lost, and more frequently in his [smaller] poems, It may, perhaps, be allowed in the comic and burlesque style, which often imitates a vulgar and incorrect pronunciation; but in the serious and solemn style, no authority is sufficient to justify so manifest a solecism."--Lowth's Gram., p. 22. Churchill copies this remark, and adds; "Dryden has you as the nominative, and ye as the objective, in the same passage:[216]

   'What gain you, by forbidding it to tease ye?
   It now can neither trouble ye, nor please ye.'

Was this from a notion, that you and ye, thus employed, were more analogous to thou and thee in the singular number?"--Churchill's Gram., p. 25. I answer, No; but, more probably, from a notion, that the two words, being now confessedly equivalent in the one case, might as well be made so in the other: just as the Friends, in using thee for you, are carelessly converting the former word into a nominative, to the exclusion of thou; because the latter has generally been made so, to the exclusion of ye. When the confounding of such distinctions is begun, who knows where it will end? With like ignorance, some writers suppose, that the fashion of using the plural for the singular is a sufficient warrant for putting the singular for the plural: as,

  "The joys of love, are they not doubly thine,
   Ye poor! whose health, whose spirits ne'er decline?"
       --Southwick's Pleas. of Poverty.
   "But, Neatherds, go look to the kine,
     Their cribs with fresh fodder supply;
   The task of compassion be thine,
     For herbage the pastures deny."--Perfect's Poems, p. 5.

OBS. 23.--When used in a burlesque or ludicrous manner, the pronoun ye is sometimes a mere expletive; or, perhaps, intended rather as an objective governed by a preposition understood. But, in such a construction, I see no reason to prefer it to the regular objective you; as,

  "He'll laugh ye, dance ye, sing ye, vault, look gay,
   And ruffle all the ladies in his play."--King, p. 574.

Some grammarians, who will have you to be singular as well as plural, ignorantly tell us, that "ye always means more than one." But the fact is, that when ye was in common use, it was as frequently applied to one person as you: thus,

  "Farewell my doughter lady Margarete,
   God wotte full oft it grieued hath my mynde,
   That ye should go where we should seldome mete:
   Now am I gone, and haue left you behynde."--Sir T. More, 1503. 

In the following example, ye is used for thee, the objective singular; and that by one whose knowledge of the English language, is said to have been unsurpassed:--

  "Proud Baronet of Nova Scotia!
   The Dean and Spaniard must reproach ye."--Swift.

So in the story of the Chameleon:--

  "'Tis green, 'tis green, Sir, I assure ye."--Merrick.

Thus we have ye not only for the nominative in both numbers, but at length for the objective in both; ye and you being made everywhere equivalent, by very many writers. Indeed this pronoun has been so frequently used for the objective case, that one may well doubt any grammarian's authority to condemn it in that construction. Yet I cannot but think it ill-chosen in the third line below, though right in the first:--

  "Ye! who have traced the Pilgrim to the scene
   Which is his last, if in your memories dwell
   A thought which once was his, if on ye swell
   A single recollection, not in vain
   He wore his sandal-shoon, and scallop-shell."--Byron.

OBS. 24.--The three pronouns of the third person, he, she, and it, have always formed their plural number after one and the same manner, they, their or theirs, them. Or, rather, these plural words, which appear not to be regular derivatives from any of the singulars, have ever been applied alike to them all. But it, the neuter pronoun singular, had formerly no variation of cases, and is still alike in the nominative and the objective. The possessive its is of comparatively recent origin. In our common Bible, the word is not found, except by misprint; nor do other writings of the same age contain it. The phrase, of it, was often used as an equivalent; as, "And it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it."--Dan., vii, 5. That is--"in its mouth, between its teeth." But, as a possessive case was sometimes necessary, our ancestors used to borrow one; commonly from the masculine, though sometimes from the feminine. This produced what now appears a strange confusion of the genders: as, "Learning hath his infancy, when it is but beginning, and almost childish; then his youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then his strength of years, when it is solid and reduced; and lastly his old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust."--Bacon's Essays, p. 58. "Of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same."--Exodus, xxv, 31. "They came and emptied the chest, and took it and carried it to his place again."--2 Chron., xxiv, 11. "Look not thou upon the wine, when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright."--Prov., xxiii, 31. "The tree is known by his fruit."--Matt., xii, 33. "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength."--Gen., iv, 12. "He that pricketh the heart, maketh it to show her knowledge."--Eccl., xxii, 19. Shakspeare rarely, if ever, used its; and his style is sometimes obscure for the want of it: as,

  "There is no vice so simple, but assumes
   Some mark of virtue on his outward parts."
       --Merch. of Venice.
   "The name of Cassius honours this corruption,
   And chastisement doth therefore hide his head."
       --Jul. Cæs., Act iv.

OBS. 25.--The possessive case of pronouns should never be written with an apostrophe. A few pronominal adjectives taken substantively receive it; but the construction which it gives them, seems to make them nouns: as, one's, other's, and, according to Murray, former's and latter's. The real pronouns that end in s, as his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs, though true possessives after their kind, have no occasion for this mark, nor does good usage admit it. Churchill, with equal disregard of consistency and authority, gives it to one of them, and denies it to the rest. Referring to the classification of these words as possessives, and of my, thy, her, our, your, their, as adjectives, he says: "It seems as if the termination in s had led to the distinction: but no one will contend, that ours is the possessive case of our, or theirs of their; though ours, yours, hers, and theirs, are often very improperly spelt with an apostrophe, a fault not always imputable to the printer; while in it's, which is unquestionably the possessive case of it, the apostrophe, by a strange perverseness, is almost always omitted."--Churchill Gram., p. 222. The charge of strange perverseness may, in this instance, I think, be retorted upon the critic; and that, to the fair exculpation of those who choose to conform to the general usage which offends him.

OBS. 26.--Of the compound personal pronouns, this author gives the following account: "Self, in the plural selves, a noun, is often combined with the personal pronouns, in order to express emphasis, or opposition, or the identity of the subject and [the] object of a verb; and thus forms a pronoun relative: as, 'I did it myself;' 'he was not himself, when he said so;' 'the envious torment themselves more than others.' Formerly self and selves were used simply as nouns, and governed the pronoun, which was kept distinct from it [them] in the possessive case: but since they [the pronoun and the noun] have coalesced into one word, they [the compounds] are used only in the following forms: for the first person, myself, ourselves; for the second, thyself, or yourself, yourselves; for the third, himself, herself, itself, themselves: except in the regal style, in which, as generally in the second person, the singular noun is added to the plural pronoun, [making] ourself. Each of these is the same in all three cases."--Churchill's Gram., p. 75. In a note referring to the close of this explanation, he adds: "Own also is often employed with the possessive cases of the personal pronouns by way of emphasis, or opposition; but separately, as an adjective, and not combining with them to form a relative: as, 'I did it of my own free will:' 'Did he do it with his own hand?'"--Ib., p. 227.

OBS. 27.--The preceding instructions, faulty and ungrammatical as they are, seem to be the best that our writers have furnished upon this point. To detect falsities and blunders, is half the grammarian's duty. The pronouns of which the term self or selves forms a part, are used, not for the connecting of different clauses of a sentence, but for the purpose of emphatic distinction in the sense. In calling them "relatives," Churchill is wrong, even by his own showing. They have not the characteristics which he himself ascribes to relatives; but are compound personal pronouns, and nothing else. He is also manifestly wrong in asserting, that they are severally "the same in all three cases." From the very nature of their composition, the possessive case is alike impossible to them all. To express ownership with emphasis or distinction, we employ neither these compounds nor any others; but always use the simple possessives with the separate adjective own: as, "With my own eyes,"--"By thy own confession,"--"To his own house,"--"For her own father,"--"By its own weight,"--"To save our own lives,"--"For your own sake,"--"In their own cause."

OBS. 28.--The phrases, my own, thy own, his own, and so forth, Dr. Perley, in his little Grammar, has improperly converted by the hyphen into compound words: calling them the possessive forms of myself, thyself, himself, and so forth; as if one set of compounds could constitute the possessive case of an other! And again, as if the making of eight new pronouns for two great nations, were as slight a feat, as the inserting of so many hyphens! The word own, anciently written owen, is an adjective; from an old form of the perfect participle of the verb to owe; which verb, according to Lowth and others, once signified to possess. It is equivalent to due, proper, or peculiar; and, in its present use as an adjective, it stands nowhere else than between the possessive case and the name of the thing possessed; as, "The Boy's Own Book,"--"Christ's own words,"--"Solomon's own and only son." Dr. Johnson, while he acknowledges the abovementioned derivation, very strangely calls own a noun substantive; and, with not more accuracy, says: "This is a word of no other use than as it is added to the possessive pronouns, my, thy, his, our, your, their."--Quarto Dict., w. Own. O. B. Peirce, with obvious untruth, says, "Own is used in combination with a name or substitute, and as a part of it, to constitute it emphatic."--Gram., p. 63. He writes it separately, but parses it as a part of the possessive noun or pronoun which precedes it!

OBS. 29.--The word self was originally an adjective, signifying same, very, or particular; but, when used alone, it is now generally a noun. This may have occasioned the diversity which appears in the formation of the compound personal pronouns. Dr. Johnson, in his great Dictionary, calls self a pronoun; but he explains it as being both adjective and substantive, admitting that, "Its primary signification seems to be that of an adjective."--Again he observes, "Myself, himself, themselves, and the rest, may, contrary to the analogy of my, him, them, be used as nominatives." Hisself, itsself, and theirselves, would be more analogical than himself, itself, themselves; but custom has rejected the former, and established the latter. When an adjective qualifies the term self, the pronouns are written separately in the possessive case; as, My single self,--My own self,--His own self,--Their own selves. So, anciently, without an adjective: as, "A man shall have diffused his life, his self, and his whole concernments so far, that he can weep his sorrows with an other's eyes."--South. "Something valuable for its self without view to anything farther."--Harris's Hermes, p. 293. "That they would willingly, and of their selves endeavour to keep a perpetual chastity."--Stat. Ed. VI. in Lowth's Gram., p. 26. "Why I should either imploy my self in that study or put others upon it."--Walker's English Particles, p. xiv. "It is no matter whether you do it by your proctor, or by your self."--Ib., p. 96. The compound oneself is sometimes written in stead of the phrase one's self; but the latter is preferable, and more common. Even his self, when written as two words, may possibly be right in some instances; as,

  "Scorn'd be the wretch that quits his genial bowl,
    His loves, his friendships, ev'n his self, resigns;
   Perverts the sacred instinct of his soul,
    And to a ducat's dirty sphere confines."
       --SHENSTONE: Brit. Poets, Vol. vii, p. 107.

OBS. 30.--In poetry, and even in some compositions not woven into regular numbers, the simple personal pronouns are not unfrequently used, for brevity's sake, in a reciprocal sense; that is, in stead of the compound personal pronouns, which are the proper reciprocals: as, "Wash you, make you clean."--Isaiah, i, 16. "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; I made me gardens and orchards."--Ecclesiastes, ii, 4. "Thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all as with an ornament, and bind them on thee as a bride doeth."--Isaiah, xlix, 18. Compare with these the more regular expression: "As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels."--Isaiah, lxi, 10. This phraseology is almost always preferable in prose; the other is a poetical license, or peculiarity: as,

  "I turn me from the martial roar."--Scott's L. L., p. 97.
   "Hush thee, poor maiden, and be still."--Ib., p. 110.
   "Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow."--Ib., p. 49.

OBS. 31.--To accommodate the writers of verse, the word ever is frequently contracted into e'er, pronounced like the monosyllable air. An easy extension of this license, gives us similar contractions of all the compound relative pronouns; as, whoe'er or whosoe'er, whose'er or whosesoe'er, whome 'er or whomsoe'er, whiche'er or whichsoe'er, whate'er or whatsoe'er. The character and properties of these compounds are explained, perhaps sufficiently, in the observations upon the classes of pronouns. Some of them are commonly parsed as representing two cases at once; there being, in fact, an ellipsis of the noun, before or after them: as,

  "Each art he prompts, each charm he can create,
   Whate'er he gives, are given for you to hate."--Pope's Dunciad.

OBS. 32.--For a form of parsing the double relative what, or its compound whatever or whatsoever, it is the custom of some teachers, to suggest equivalent words, and then proceed to explain these, in lieu of the word in question. This is the method of Russell's Gram., p. 99; of Merchants, p. 110; of Kirkham's, p. 111; of Gilbert's, p. 92. But it should be remembered that equivalence of meaning is not sameness of grammatical construction; and, even if the construction be the same, to parse other equivalent words, is not really to parse the text that is given. A good parser, with the liberty to supply obvious ellipses, should know how to explain all good English as it stands; and for a teacher to pervert good English into false doctrine, must needs seem the very worst kind of ignorance. What can be more fantastical than the following etymology, or more absurd than the following directions for parsing? "What is compounded of which that. These words have been contracted and made to coalesce, a part of the orthography of both being still retained: what--wh[ich--t]hat; (which-that.) Anciently it appeared in the varying forms, tha qua, qua tha, qu'tha, quthat, quhat, hwat, and finally what."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 111. This bald pedantry of "tha qua, qua tha," was secretly borrowed from the grammatical speculations of William S. Cardell:[217] the "which-that" notion contradicts it, and is partly of the borrower's own invention. If what is a compound, it was compounded more than a thousand years ago; and, of course, long before any part of the English language existed as such. King Alfred used it, as he found it, in the Saxon form of hwæt. The Scotch afterwards spelled it quhat. Our English grammarians have improperly called it a compound; and Kirkham, still more absurdly, calls the word others a compound, and mine, thine, ours, yours, &e. compounds.[218]

OBS. 33.--According to this gentleman's notion of things, there is, within the little circle of the word what, a very curious play of antecedent parts and parts relative--a dodging contra-dance of which that and that which, with things which, and so forth. Thus: "When what is a compound relative you must always parse it as two words; that is, you must parse the antecedent part as a noun, and give it case; the relative part you may analyze like any other relative, giving it a case likewise. Example: 'I will try what (that which) can be found in female delicacy.' Here that, the antecedent part of what, is in the obj. case, governed by the verb 'will try;' which, the relative part, is in the nom. case to 'can be found.' 'I have heard what (i.e. that which, or the thing which) has been alleged.' "--Kirkham's Gram., p. 111. Here, we sec, the author's "which-that" becomes that which, or something else. But this is not a full view of his method. The following vile rigmarole is a further sample of that "New Systematick Order of Parsing," by virtue of which he so very complacently and successfully sets himself above all other grammarians: "'From what is recorded, he appears, &c.' What is a comp. rel. pron. including both the antecedent and the relative, and is equivalent to that which, or the thing which.--Thing, the antecedent part of what, is a noun, the name of a thing--com. the name of a species--neuter gender, it has no sex--third person, spoken of--sing. number, it implies but one--and in the obj. case, it is the object of the relation expressed by the prep. 'from,' and gov. by it: RULE 31. (Repeat the Rule, and every other Rule to which I refer.) Which, the relative part of what, is a pronoun, a word used instead of a noun--relative, it relates to 'thing' for its antecedent--neut. gender, third person, sing, number, because the antecedent is with which it agrees, according to RULE 14. Rel. pron. &c. Which is in the nom. case to the verb 'is recorded,' agreeably to RULE 15. The relative is the nominative case to the verb, when no nominative comes between it and the verb."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 113.

OBS. 34.--The distinction which has been made by Murray and others, between etymological parsing and syntactical--or, between that exercise which simply classifies and describes the words of a sentence, and that which adds to this the principles of their construction--is rejected by Kirkham, and also by Ingersoll, Fuller, Smith, Sanborn, Mack, and some others, it being altogether irreconcilable with their several modes of confounding the two main parts of grammar. If such a distinction is serviceable, the want of it is one of the inherent faults of the schemes which they have adopted. But, since "grammar is the art of speaking and writing with propriety" who that really values clearness and accuracy of expression, can think the want of them excusable in models prescribed for the exercise of parsing? And is it not better to maintain the distinction above named, than to interlace our syntactical parsing with broken allusions to the definitions which pertain to etymology? If it is, this new mode of parsing, which Kirkham claims to have invented, and Smith pretends to have got from Germany, whatever boast may be made of it, is essentially defective and very immethodical.[219] This remark applies not merely to the forms above cited, respecting the pronoun what, but to the whole method of parsing adopted by the author of "English Grammar in Familiar Lectures."

OBS. 35.--The forms of etymological parsing which I have adopted, being designed to train the pupil, in the first place, by a succession of easy steps, to a rapid and accurate description of the several species of words, and a ready habit of fully defining the technical terms employed in such descriptions, will be found to differ more from the forms of syntactical parsing, than do those of perhaps any other grammarian. The definitions, which constitute so large a portion of the former, being omitted as soon as they are thoroughly learned, give place in the latter, to the facts and principles of syntax. Thus have we fullness in the one part, conciseness in the other, order and distinctness in both. The separation of etymology from syntax, however, though judiciously adopted by almost all grammarians, is in itself a mere matter of convenience. No one will pretend that these two parts of grammar are in their nature totally distinct and independent. Hence, though a due regard to method demands the maintenance of this ancient and still usual division of the subject, we not unfrequently, in treating of the classes and modifications of words, exhibit contingently some of the principles of their construction. This, however, is very different from a purposed blending of the two parts, than which nothing can be more unwise.

OBS. 36.--The great peculiarity of the pronoun what, or of its compound whatever or whatsoever, is a peculiarity of construction, rather than of etymology. Hence, in etymological parsing, it may be sufficient to notice it only as a relative, though the construction be double. It is in fact a relative; but it is one that reverses the order of the antecedent, whenever the noun is inserted with it. But as the noun is usually suppressed, and as the supplying of it is attended with an obvious difficulty, arising from the transposition, we cut the matter short, by declaring the word to have, as it appears to have, a double syntactical relation. Of the foregoing example, therefore--viz., "From what is recorded," &c.,--a pupil of mine, in parsing etymologically, would say thus: "What is a relative pronoun, of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which denotes the subject of a verb." In parsing syntactically, he would say thus: "What is a double relative, including both antecedent and relative, being equivalent to that which. As antecedent, it is of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and objective case; being governed by from; according to the rule which says, 'A Noun or a Pronoun made the object of a preposition, is goverved [sic--KTH] by it in the objective case.' Because the meaning is--from what. As relative, it is of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case; being the subject of is recorded; according to the rule which says, 'A Noun or a Pronoun which is the subject of a finite verb, must be in the nominative case.' Because the meaning is--what is recorded."

OBS. 37.--The word what, when uttered independently as a mark of surprise, or as the prelude to an emphatic question which it does not ask, becomes an interjection; and, as such, is to be parsed merely as other interjections are parsed: as, "What! came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?"--1 Cor., xiv, 36. "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?"--1 Cor., vi, 19. "But what! is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?"--2 Kings, viii, 13. "What! are you so ambitious of a man's good word, who perhaps in an hour's time shall curse himself to the pit of hell?"--Collier's Antoninus, p. 152.

  "What! up and down, carv'd like an apple-tart?"--Shakspeare.
   "What! can you lull the winged winds asleep?"--Campbell.



In the Fifth Praxis, it is required of the pupil--to distinguish and define the different parts of speech, and the classes and modifications of the ARTICLES, NOUNS, ADJECTIVES, and PRONOUNS.

The definitions to be given in the Fifth Praxis, are two for an article, six for a noun, three for an adjective, six for a pronoun, and one for a verb, a participle, an adverb, a conjunction, a preposition, or an interjection. Thus:--


"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus."--Rom., ix, 20.

Nay is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

But is a conjunction. 1. A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected.

O is an interjection. 1. An interjection is a word that is uttered merely to indicate some strong or sudden emotion of the mind.

Man is a common noun, of the second person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Who is an interrogative pronoun, of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun with which a question is asked. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Art is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Thou is a personal pronoun, of the second person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person it is. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

That is a relative pronoun, of the second person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Repliest is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Against is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

God is a proper noun, of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and objective case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known, or mentioned. 2. A proper noun is the name of some particular individual, or people, or group. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

Shall is a verb, auxiliary to say, and may be taken with it.

The is the definite article. 1. An article is the word the, an, or a, which we put before nouns to limit their signification. 2. The definite article is the, which denotes some particular thing or things.

Thing is a common noun of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case. 1. A noun is the name of any person, place, or thing, that can be known or mentioned. 2. A common noun is the name of a sort, kind, or class, of beings or things. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Formed is a participle. 1. A participle is a word derived from a verb, participating the properties of a verb, and of an adjective or a noun; and is generally formed by adding ing, d, or ed, to the verb.

Say, or shall say, is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

To is a preposition. 1. A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun.

Him is a personal pronoun, of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what pe rson it is. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

That is a relative pronoun, of the third person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A relative pronoun is a pronoun that represents an antecedent word or phrase, and connects different clauses of a sentence. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Formed is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon. It is a personal pronoun, of the third person, singular number, neuter gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person it is. 3. The third person is that which denotes the person or thing merely spoken of. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

Why is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.

Hast is a verb, auxiliary to made, and may be taken with it.

Thou is a personal pronoun, of the second person, singular number, masculine gender, and nominative case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person it is. 3. The second person is that which denotes the hearer, or the person addressed. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The masculine gender is that which denotes persons or animals of the male kind. 6. The nominative case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun, which usually denotes the subject of a finite verb.

Made, or hast made, is a verb. 1. A verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon.

Me is a personal pronoun, of the first person, singular number, neuter gender, and objective case. 1. A pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun. 2. A personal pronoun is a pronoun that shows, by its form, of what person it is. 3. The first person is that which denotes the speaker or writer. 4. The singular number is that which denotes but one. 5. The neuter gender is that which denotes things that are neither male nor female. 6. The objective case is that form or state of a noun or pronoun which usually denotes the object of a verb, participle, or preposition.

Thus is an adverb. 1. An adverb is a word added to a verb, a participle, an adjective, or an other adverb; and generally expresses time, place, degree, or manner.


"Every man has undoubtedly an inward perception of the celestial goodness by which he is quickened. But, if to obtain some ideas of God, it be not necessary for us to go beyond ourselves, what an unpardonable indolence it is in those who will not descend into themselves that they may find him?"--Calvin's Institutes, B. i, Ch. 5.

"Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him; but I know him."--John, viii, 54.

"What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not."--1 Cor., xi, 22.

"We know not what we ought to wish for, but He who made us, knows."--Burgh's Dignity, Vol. ii, p. 20.

"And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?"--1 Peter, iii, 13.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."--2 Cor., x, 12.

"Whatever is humane, is wise; whatever is wise, is just; whatever is wise, just, and humane, will be found the true interest of states."--Dr. Rush, on Punishments, p. 19.

"But, methinks, we cannot answer it to ourselves, as-well-as to our Maker, that we should live and die ignorant of ourselves, and thereby of him, and of the obligations which we are under to him for ourselves."--William Penn.

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? The depth saith, 'It is not in me;' and the sea saith, 'It is not with me.' Destruction and death say, 'We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.'"--See Job, xxviii, 12, 14, 22; and Blair's Lect., p. 417.

  "I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
   Amidst these humble bow'rs to lay me down."--Goldsmith.
   "Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,
   Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?"--Milton' ', P. R.


"I would, methinks, have so much to say for myself, that if I fell into the hands of him who treated me ill, he should be sensible when he did so: his conscience should be on my side, whatever became of his inclination."--Steele, Spect., No. 522.

"A boy should understand his mother tongue well before he enters upon the study of a dead language; or, at any rate, he should be made perfect master of the meaning of all the words which are necessary to furnish him with a translation of the particular author which he is studying."--Gallaudet, Lit. Conv., p. 206.

"No discipline is more suitable to man, or more congruous to the dignity of his nature, than that which refines his taste, and leads him to distinguish, in every subject, what is regular, what is orderly, what is suitable, and what is fit and proper."--Kames's El. of Crit., i, 275.

"Simple thoughts are what arise naturally; what the occasion or the subject suggests unsought; and what, when once suggested, are easily apprehended by all. Refinement in writing, expresses a less natural and [less] obvious train of thought."--Blair's Rhet., p. 184.

"Where the story of an epic poem is founded on truth, no circumstances must be added, but such as connect naturally with what are known to be true: history may be supplied, but it must not be contradicted."--See Kames's El. of Crit., ii, 280.

"Others, I am told, pretend to have been once his friends. Surely they are their enemies, who say so; for nothing can be more odious than to treat a friend as they have treated him. But of this I cannot persuade myself, when I consider the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to a good one."--Cleland, in Defence of Pope.

  "From side to side, he struts, he smiles, he prates,
   And seems to wonder what's become of Yates."--Churchill.
   "Alas! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
   That call'd them from their native walks away!"--Goldsmith.


"It is involved in the nature of man, that he cannot be indifferent to an event that concerns him or any of his connexions: if it be fortunate, it gives him joy; if unfortunate, it gives him sorrow."--Kames's El. of Crit., i, 62.

"I knew a man who had relinquished the sea for a country life: in the corner of his garden he reared an artificial mount with a level summit, resembling most accurately a quarter-deck, not only in shape, but in size; and here he generally walked."--Ib., p. 328.

"I mean, when we are angry with our Maker. For against whom else is it that our displeasure is pointed, when we murmur at the distribution of things here, either because our own condition is less agreeable than we would have it, or because that of others is more prosperous than we imagine they deserve?"--Archbishop Seeker.

"Things cannot charge into the soul, or force us upon any opinions about them; they stand aloof and are quiet. It is our fancy that makes them operate and gall us; it is we that rate them, and give them their bulk and value."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 212.

"What is your opinion of truth, good-nature, and sobriety? Do any of these virtues stand in need of a good word; or are they the worse for a bad one? I hope a diamond will shine ne'er the less for a man's silence about the worth of it."--Ib., p. 49.

"Those words which were formerly current and proper, have now become obsolete and barbarous. Alas! this is not all: fame tarnishes in time too; and men grow out of fashion, as well as languages."--Ib., p. 55.

  "O Luxury! thou curs'd by Heaven's decree,
   How ill exchang'd are things like these for thee."--Goldsmith.
   "O, then, how blind to all that truth requires,
   Who think it freedom when a part aspires!"--Id. 




"At the same time that we attend to this pause, every appearance of sing-song and tone must be carefully guarded against."--Murray's English Reader, p. xx.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the word that had not clearly the construction either of a pronoun or of a conjunction. But, according to Observation 18th, on the Classes of Pronouns, "The word that, or indeed any other word, should never be so used as to leave the part of speech uncertain." Therefore, the expression should be altered: thus, "While we attend to this pause, every appearance of singsong must be carefully avoided."]

"For thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee."--Jeremiah, i, 7; Gurney's Obs., p. 223. "Ah! how happy would it have been for me, had I spent in retirement these twenty-three years that I have possessed my kingdom."--See Sanborn's Gram., p. 242. "In the same manner that relative pronouns and their antecedents are usually parsed."--Ib., p. 71. "Parse or mention all the other nouns in the parsing examples, in the same manner that you do the word in the form of parsing."--Ib., p. 8. "The passive verb will always be of the person and number that the verb be is, of which it is in part composed."--Ib., p. 53. "You have been taught that a verb must always be of the same person and number that its nominative is."--Ib., p. 68. "A relative pronoun, also, must always be of the same person, number, and even gender that its antecedent is."--Ib., p. 68. "The subsequent is always in the same case that the word is, which asks the question."--Ib., p. 95. "One sometimes represents an antecedent noun in the same definite manner that personal pronouns do."--Ib., p. 98. "The mind being carried forward to the time that an event happens, easily conceives it to be present."--Ib., p. 107. "Save and saving are parsed in the same manner that except and excepting are."--Ib., p. 123. "Adverbs describe, qualify, or modify the meaning of a verb in the same manner that adjectives do nouns."--Ib., p. 16. "The third person singular of verbs, is formed in the same manner, that the plural number of nouns is."--Ib., p. 41. "He saith further: 'that the apostles did not anew baptize such persons, that had been baptized with the baptism of John.'"--Barclay's Works, i, 292. "For we which live, are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake."--2 Cor., iv, 11. "For they, which believe in God, must be careful to maintain good works."--Barclay's Works, i, 431. "Nor yet of those which teach things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."--Ib., i, 435. "So as to hold such bound in heaven, whom they bind on earth, and such loosed in heaven, whom they loose on earth."--Ib., i, 478. "Now, if it be an evil to do any thing out of strife; then such things that are seen so to be done, are they not to be avoided and forsaken?"--Ib., i, 522. "All such who satisfy themselves not with the superficies of religion."--Ib., ii, 23. "And he is the same in substance, what he was upon earth, both in spirit, soul and body."--Ib., iii, 98. "And those that do not thus, are such, to whom the Church of Rome can have no charity."--Ib., iii, 204. "Before his book he placeth a great list of that he accounts the blasphemous assertions of the Quakers."--Ib., iii, 257. "And this is that he should have proved."--Ib., iii, 322. "Three of which were at that time actual students of philosophy in the university."--Ib., iii, 180. "Therefore it is not lawful for any whatsoever * * * to force the consciences of others."--Ib., ii, 13. "What is the cause that the former days were better than these?"--Eccl., vii, 10. "In the same manner that the term my depends on the name books."--O. B. Peirce's Gram., p. 54. "In the same manner as the term house depends on the relative near."--Ib., p. 58. "James died on the day that Henry returned."--Ib., p. 177.


"Other makes the plural others, when it is found without it's substantive."--Priestley's Gram., p. 12.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the pronoun it's is written with an apostrophe. But, according to Observation 25th, on the Declensions of Pronouns, "The possessive case of pronouns should never be written with an apostrophe." Therefore, this apostrophe should be omitted; thus, "Other makes the plural others, when it is found without its substantive."]

"But his, her's, our's, your's, their's, have evidently the form of the possessive case."--Lowth's Gram., p. 23. "To the Saxon possessive cases, hire, ure, eower, hira, (that is, her's, our's, your's, their's,) we have added the s, the characteristic of the possessive case of nouns."--Ib., p. 23. "Upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's."--FRIENDS' BIBLE: 1 Cor., i, 2. "In this Place His Hand is clearly preferable either to Her's or It's." [220]--Harris's Hermes, p. 59. "That roguish leer of your's makes a pretty woman's heart ake."--ADDISON: in Joh. Dict. "Lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumbling-block."--FRIENDS' BIBLE: 1 Cor., viii, 9. "First person: Sing. I, mine, me; Plur. we, our's, us."--Wilbur and Livingston's Gram., p. 16. "Second person: Sing. thou, thine, thee; Plur. ye or you, your's, you."--Ib. "Third person: Sing. she, her's, her; Plur. they, their's, them."--Ib. "So shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your's."--SCOTT ET AL.: Jer., v, 19. "Second person, Singular: Nom. thou or you, Poss. thine or yours, Obj. thee or you."--Frost's El. of E. Gram., p. 13. "Second person, Dual: Nom. Gyt, ye two; Gen. Incer, of ye two; Dat. Inc, incrum, to ye two; Acc. Inc, ye two; Voc. Eala inc, O ye two; Abl. Inc, incrum, from ye two."--Gwill's Saxon Gram., p. 12. "Second person, Plural; Nom. Ge, ye; Gen. Eower, of ye; Dat. Eow, to ye; Acc. Eow, ye; Voc. Eala ge, O ye; Abl. Eow, from ye."--Ib. (written in 1829.) "These words are, mine, thine, his, her's, our's, your's, their's, and whose."--Cardell's Essay, p. 88. "This house is our's, and that is your's. Their's is very commodious."--Ib., p. 90. "And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds."--Jeremiah, v, 17. "Whoever and Whichever are thus declined. Sing. and Plu. nom. whoever, poss. whoseever, obj. whomever. Sing. and Plu. nom. whichever, poss. whoseever, obj. whichever."--Cooper's Plain and Practical Gram., p. 38. "The compound personal pronouns are thus declined; Sing. N. Myself, P. my-own, O. myself; Plur. N. ourselves, P. our-own, O. ourselves. Sing. N. Thyself or yourself, P. thy-own or your-own, O. thyself or yourself;" &c.--Perley's Gram., p. 16. "Every one of us, each for hisself, laboured how to recover him."--SIDNEY: in Priestley's Gram., p. 96. "Unless when ideas of their opposites manifestly suggest their selves."--Wright's Gram., p. 49. "It not only exists in time, but is time its self."--Ib., p. 75. "A position which the action its self will palpably deny."--Ib., p. 102. "A difficulty sometimes presents its self."--Ib., p. 165. "They are sometimes explanations in their selves."--Ib., p. 249. "Our's, Your's, Their's, Her's, It's."--S. Barrett's Gram., p. 24.

  "Their's the wild chace of false felicities:
   His, the compos'd possession of the true."
       --Murray's E. Reader, p. 216.


"It is the boast of Americans, without distinction of parties, that their government is the most free and perfect, which exists on the earth."--Dr. Allen's Lectures, p. 18.

[FORMULE.--Not proper, because the relative which is here intended to be taken in a restrictive sense. But, according to Observation 26th, on the Classes of Pronouns, (and others that follow it,) the word who or which, with a comma before it, does not usually limit the preceding term. Therefore, which should be that, and the comma should be omitted; thus,--"that their government is the most free and perfect that exists on the earth."]

"Children, who are dutiful to their parents, enjoy great prosperity."--Sanborn's Gram., p. 69. "The scholar, who improves his time, sets an example worthy of imitation."--Ib., p. 69. "Nouns and pronouns, which signify the same person, place, or thing, agree in case."--Cooper's Gram., p. 115. "An interrogative sentence is one, which asks a question."--Ib., p. 114. "In the use of words and phrases, which in point of time relate to each other, a due regard to that relation should be observed."--Ib., p. 146; see L. Murray's Rule xiii. "The same observations, which have been made respecting the effect of the article and participle, appear to be applicable to the pronoun and participle."--Murray's Gram., p. 193. "The reason that they have not the same use of them in reading, may be traced to the very defective and erroneous method, in which the art of reading is taught."--Ib., p. 252. "Since the time that reason began to exert her powers, thought, during our waking hours, has been active in every breast, without a moment's suspension or pause."--Murray's Key, p. 271; Merchant's Gram., p. 212. "In speaking of such who greatly delight in the same."--Notes to Dunciad, 177. "Except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live."--Esther, iv, 11.--"But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all."--Luke, xvii, 29. "In the next place I will explain several cases of nouns and pronouns which have not yet come under our notice."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 129. "Three natural distinctions of time are all which can exist."--Rail's Gram., p. 15. "We have exhibited such only as are obviously distinct; and which seem to be sufficient, and not more than sufficient."--Murray's Gram., p. 68; Hall's, 14. "This point encloses a part of a sentence which may be omitted without materially injuring the connexion of the other members."--Hall's Gram., p. 39. "Consonants are letters, which cannot be sounded without the aid of a Vowel."--Bucke's Gram., p. 9. "Words are not simple sounds, but sounds, which convey a meaning to the mind."--Ib., p. 16. "Nature's postures are always easy; and which is more, nothing but your own will can put you out of them."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 197. "Therefore ought we to examine our ownselves, and prove our ownselves."--Barclay's Works, i, 426. "Certainly it had been much more natural, to have divided Active Verbs into Immanent, or such whose Action is terminated in it self, and Transient, or such whose Action is terminated in something without it self."--Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 273. "This is such an advantage which no other lexicon will afford."--DR. TAYLOR: in Pike's Lex., p. iv. "For these reasons, such liberties are taken in the Hebrew tongue with those words as are of the most general and frequent use."--Pike's Heb. Lexicon, p. 184. "At the same time that we object to the laws, which the antiquarian in language would impose upon us, we must enter our protest against those authors, who are too fond of innovations."--Murray's Gram., Vol. i, p. 136.


A Verb is a word that signifies to be, to act, or to be acted upon: as, I am, I rule, I am ruled; I love, thou lovest, he loves. VERBS are so called, from the Latin Verbum, a Word; because the verb is that word which most essentially contains what is said in any clause or sentence.

An English verb has four CHIEF TERMS, or PRINCIPAL PARTS, ever needful to be ascertained in the first place; namely, the Present, the Preterit, the Imperfect Participle, and the Perfect Participle. The Present is that form of the verb, which is the root of all the rest; the verb itself; or that simple term which we should look for in a dictionary: as, be, act, rule, love, defend, terminate.

The Preterit is that simple form of the verb, which denotes time past; and which is always connected with some noun or pronoun, denoting the subject of the assertion: as, I was, I acted, I ruled, I loved, I defended.

The Imperfect Participle is that which ends commonly[221] in ing, and implies a continuance of the being, action, or passion: as, being, acting, ruling, loving, defending, terminating.

The Perfect Participle is that which ends commonly in ed or en, and implies a completion of the being, action, or passion: as, been, acted, ruled, loved.


Verbs are divided, with respect to their form, into four classes; regular and irregular, redundant and defective.

I. A regular verb is a verb that forms the preterit and the perfect participle by assuming d or ed; as, love, loved, loving, loved.

II. An irregular verb is a verb that does not form the preterit and the perfect participle by assuming d or ed; as, see, saw, seeing, seen.

III. A redundant verb is a verb that forms the preterit or the perfect participle in two or more ways, and so as to be both regular and irregular; as, thrive, thrived or throve, thriving, thrived or thriven.

IV. A defective verb is a verb that forms no participles, and is used in but few of the moods and tenses; as, beware, ought, quoth.

Verbs are divided again, with respect to their signification, into four classes; active-transitive, active-intransitive, passive, and neuter.

I. An active-transitive verb is a verb that expresses an action which has some person or thing for its object; as, "Cain slew Abel."--"Cassius loved Brutus."

II. An active-intransitive verb is a verb that expresses an action which has no person or thing for its object; as, "John walks."--"Jesus wept."

III. A. passive verb is a verb that represents its subject, or what the nominative expresses, as being acted upon; as, "I am compelled."--"Cæsar was slain."

IV. A neuter verb is a verb that expresses neither action nor passion, but simply being, or a state of being; as, "There was light."--"The babe sleeps."


OBS. 1.--So various have been the views of our grammarians, respecting this complex and most important part of speech, that almost every thing that is contained in any theory o r distribution of the English verbs, may be considered a matter of opinion and of dispute. Nay, the essential nature of a verb, in Universal Grammar, has never yet been determined by any received definition that can be considered unobjectionable. The greatest and most acute philologists confess that a faultless definition of this part of speech, is difficult, if not impossible, to be formed. Horne Tooke, at the close of his Diversions of Purley, cites with contempt nearly a dozen different attempts at a definition, some Latin, some English, some French; then, with the abruptness of affected disgust, breaks off the catalogue and the conversation together, leaving his readers to guess, if they can, what he conceived a verb to be. He might have added some scores of others, and probably would have been as little satisfied with any one of them. A definition like that which is given above, may answer in some degree the purpose of distinction; but, after all, we must judge what is, and what is not a verb, chiefly from our own observation of the sense and use of words.[222]

OBS. 2.--Whether participles ought to be called verbs or not, is a question that has been much disputed, and is still variously decided; nor is it possible to settle it in any way not liable to some serious objections. The same may perhaps be said of all the forms called infinitives. If the essence of a verb be made to consist in affirmation, predication, or assertion, (as it is in many grammars,) neither infinitives nor participles can be reckoned verbs, without a manifest breach of the definition. Yet are the former almost universally treated as verbs, and by some as the only pure verbs; nor do all deny them this rank, who say that affirmation is essential to a verb. Participles, when unconnected with auxiliaries, are most commonly considered a separate part of speech; but in the formation of many of our moods and tenses, we take them as constituent parts of the verb. If there is absurdity in this, there is more in undertaking to avoid it; and the inconvenience should be submitted to, since it amounts to little or nothing in practice. With auxiliaries, then, participles are verbs: without auxiliaries, they are not verbs, but form a separate part of speech.

OBS. 3.--The number of verbs in our language, amounts unquestionably to four or five thousand; some say, (perhaps truly,) to eight thousand. All these, whatever be the number, are confessedly regular in their formation, except about two hundred. For, though the catalogues in our grammars give the number somewhat variously, all the irregular, redundant, and defective verbs, put together, are commonly reckoned fewer than two hundred. I admit, in all, two hundred and nineteen. The regular verbs, therefore, are vastly more numerous than those which deviate from the stated form. But, since many of the latter are words of very frequent occurrence, the irregular verbs appear exceedingly numerous in practice, and consequently require a great deal of attention. The defective verbs being very few, and most of these few being mere auxiliaries, which are never parsed separately, there is little occasion to treat them as a distinct class; though Murray and others have ranked them so, and perhaps it is best to follow their example. The redundant verbs, which are regular in one form and irregular in an other, being of course always found written either one way or the other, as each author chooses, may be, and commonly have been, referred in parsing to the class of regular or irregular verbs accordingly. But, as their number is considerable, and their character peculiar, there may be some advantage in making them a separate class. Besides, the definition of an irregular verb, as given in any of our grammars, seems to exclude all such as may form the preterit and the perfect participle by assuming d or ed.

OBS. 4.--In most grammars and dictionaries, verbs are divided, with respect to their signification, into three classes only; active, passive, and neuter. In such a division, the class of active verbs includes those only which are active-transitive, and all the active-intransitive verbs are called neuter. But, in the division adopted above, active-intransitive verbs are made a distinct class; and those only are regarded as neuter, which imply a state of existence without action. When, therefore, we speak of verbs without reference to their regimen, we may, if we please, apply the simple term active to all those which express action, whether transitive or intransitive. "We act whenever we do any thing; but we may act without doing any thing."--Crabb's Synonymes.

OBS. 5.--Among the many English grammars in which verbs are divided, as above mentioned, into active, passive, and neuter, only, are those of the following writers: Lowth, Murra y, Ainsworth, Alden, Allen, Alger, Bacon, Bicknell, Blair, Bullions, (at first,) Charles Adams, Bucke, Cobbett, Cobbin, Dilworth, A. Flint, Frost, (at first,) Greenleaf, Hall, Johnson,[223] Lennie, Picket, Pond, Sanborn, R. C. Smith, Rev. T. Smith, and Wright. These authors, and many more, agree, that, "A verb neuter expresses neither action nor passion, but being, or a state of being."--L. Murray. Yet, according to their scheme, such words as walk, run, fly, strive, struggle, wrestle, contend, are verbs neuter. In view of this palpable absurdity, I cannot but think it was a useful improvement upon the once popular scheme of English grammar, to make active-intransitive verbs a distinct class, and to apply the term neuter to those few only which accord with the foregoing definition. This had been done before the days of Lindley Murray, as may be seen in Buchanan's English Syntax, p. 56, and in the old British Grammar, p. 153, each published many years before the appearance of his work;[224] and it has often been done since, and is preferred even by many of the professed admirers and followers of Murray; as may be seen in the grammars of Comly, Fisk, Merchant, Kirkham, and others.

OBS. 6.--Murray himself quotes this improved distribution, and with some appearance of approbation; but strangely imagines it must needs be inconvenient in practice. Had he been a schoolmaster, he could hardly have so judged. He says, "Verbs have been distinguished by some writers, into the following kinds:--

"1st. Active-transitive, or those which denote an action that passes from the agent to some object: as, Cæsar conquered Pompey.

"2d. Active-intransitive, or those which express that kind of action, which has no effect upon any thing beyond itself: as, Cæsar walked.

"3d. Passive, or those which express, not action, but passion, whether pleasing or painful: as, Portia was loved; Pompey was conquered.

"4th. Neuter, or those which express an attribute that consists neither in action nor passion: as, Cæsar stood.

"This appears to be an orderly arrangement. But if the class of active-intransitive verbs were admitted, it would rather perplex than assist the learner: for the difference between verbs active and neuter, as transitive and intransitive is easy and obvious: but the difference between verbs absolutely neuter and [those which are] intransitively active, is not always clear. It is, indeed, often very difficult, if not impossible to be ascertained."--Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 60.[225]

OBS. 7.--The following note, from a book written on purpose to apply the principles of Murray's Grammar, and of Allen's, (the two best of the foregoing two dozen,) may serve as an offset to the reason above assigned for rejecting the class of active-intransitive verbs: "It is possible that some teachers may look upon the nice distinction here made, between the active transitive and the active intransitive verbs, as totally unnecessary. They may, perhaps, rank the latter with the neuter verbs. The author had his choice of difficulties: on the one hand, he was aware that his arrangement might not suit the views of the above-mentioned persons; and, on the other, he was so sensible of the inaccuracy of their system, and of its clashing with the definitions, as well as rules, laid down in almost every grammar, that he was unwilling to bring before the public a work containing so well-known and manifest an error. Of what use can Murray's definition of the active verb be, to one who endeavours to prove the propriety of thus assigning an epithet to the various parts of speech, in the course of parsing? He says, 'A verb active expresses an action, and necessarily implies an agent, and an object acted upon.' In the sentence, 'William hastens away,' the active intransitive verb hastens has indeed an agent, 'William,' but where is the object? Again, he says, 'Active verbs govern the objective case;' although it is clear it is not the active meaning of the verb which requires the objective case, but the transitive, and that only. He adds, 'A verb neuter expresses neither action, nor passion, but being, or a state of being;' and the accuracy of this definition is borne out by the assent of perhaps every other grammarian. If, with this clear and forcible definition before our eyes, we proceed to class active intransitive verbs with neuter verbs, and direct our pupils to prove such a classification by reciting Murray's definition of the neuter verb, we may indeed expect from a thinking pupil the remonstrance which was actually made to a teacher on that system, while parsing the verb 'to run.' 'Sir,' asks the boy, 'does not to run imply action, for it always makes me perspire?'"--Nixon's English Parser, p. 9.

OBS. 8.--For the consideration of those classical scholars who may think we are bound by the authority of general usage, to adhere to the old division of verbs into active, passive, and neuter, it may be proper to say, that the distribution of the verbs in Latin, has been as much a matter of dispute among the great grammarians of that language, as has the distribution of English verbs, more recently, among ourselves; and often the points at issue were precisely the same.[226] To explain here the different views of the very old grammarians, as Charisius, Donatus, Servius, Priscian; or even to notice the opinions of later critics, as Sanctius, Scioppius, Vossius, Perizonius; might seem perhaps a needless departure from what the student of mere English grammar is concerned to know. The curious, however, may find interesting citations from all these authors, under the corresponding head, in some of our Latin grammars. See Prat's Grammatica Latina, 8vo, London, 1722. It is certain that the division of active verbs, into transitive and intransitive--or, (what is the same thing,) into "absolute and transitive"--or, into "immanent and transient"--is of a very ancient date. The notion of calling passive verbs transitive, when used in their ordinary and proper construction, as some now do, is, I think, a modern one, and no small error.

OBS. 9.--Dr. Adam's distribution of verbs, is apparently the same as the first part of Murray's; and his definitions are also in nearly the same words. But he adds, "The verb Active is also called Transitive, when the action passeth over to the object, or hath an effect on some other thing; as, scribo literas, I write letters: but when the action is confined within the agent, and passeth not over to any object, it is called Intransitive; as, ambulo, I walk; curro, I run: [fist] which are likewise called Neuter Verbs."--Adam's Latin and English Gram., p. 79. But he had just before said, "A Neuter verb properly expresses neither action nor passion, but simply the being, state, or condition of things; as, dormio, I sleep; sedeo, I sit."--Ibid. Verbs of motion or action, then, must needs be as improperly called neuter, in Latin, as in English. Nor is this author's arrangement orderly in other respects; for he treats of "Deponent and Common Verbs," of "Irregular Verbs," of "Defective Verbs," and of "Impersonal Verbs," none of which had he mentioned in his distribution. Nor are the late revisers of his grammar any more methodical.

OBS. 10.--The division of our verbs into active-transitive, active-intransitive, passive, and neuter, must be understood to have reference not only to their signification as of themselves, but also to their construction with respect to the government of an objective word after them. The latter is in fact their most important distinction, though made with reference to a different part of speech. The classical scholar, too, being familiar with the forms of Latin and Greek verbs, will doubtless think it a convenience, to have the arrangement as nearly correspondent to those ancient forms, as the nature of our language will admit. This is perhaps the strongest argument for the recognition of the class of passive verbs in English. Some grammarians, choosing to parse the passive participle separately, reject this class of verbs altogether; and, forming their division of the rest with reference to the construction alone, make but two classes, transitive and intransitive. Such is the distribution adopted by C. Alexander, D. Adams, Bingham, Chandler, E. Cobb, Harrison, Nutting, and John Peirce; and supported also by some British writers, among whom are McCulloch and Grant. Such too was the distribution of Webster, in his Plain and Comprehensive Grammar, as published in 1800. He then taught: "We have no passive verb in the language; and those which are called neuter are mostly active."--Page 14. But subsequently, in his Philosophical, Abridged, and Improved Grammars, he recognized "a more natural and comprehensive division" of verbs, "transitive, intransitive, and passive."--Webster's Rudiments, p. 20. This, in reality, differs but little from the old division into active, passive, and neuter. In some grammars of recent date, as Churchill's, R. W. Bailey's, J. R. Brown's, Butler's, S. W. Clark's, Frazee's, Hart's, Hendrick's, Perley's, Pinneo's, Weld's, Wells's, Mulligan's, and the improved treatises of Bullions and Frost, verbs are said to be of two kinds only, transitive and intransitive; but these authors allow to transitive verbs a "passive form," or "passive voice,"--absurdly making all passive verbs transitive, and all neuters intransitive, as if action were expressed by both. For this most faulty classification, Dr. Bullions pretends the authority of "Mr. Webster;" and Frazee, that of "Webster, Bullions, and others."--Frazee's Gram., Ster. Ed., p. 30. But if Dr. Webster ever taught the absurd doctrine that passive verbs are transitive, he has contradicted it far too much to have any weight in its favour.

OBS. 11.--Dalton makes only two classes; and these he will have to be active and passive: an arrangement for which he might have quoted Scaliger, Sanctius, and Scioppius. Ash and Coar recognize but two, which they call active and neuter. This was also the scheme of Bullions, in his Principles of E. Gram., 4th Edition, 1842. Priestley and Maunder have two, which they call transitive and neuter; but Maunder, like some named above, will have transitive verbs to be susceptible of an active and a passive voice, and Priestley virtually asserts the same. Cooper, Day, Davis, Hazen, Hiley, Webster, Wells, (in his 1st Edition,) and Wilcox. have three classes; transitive, intransitive, and passive. Sanders's Grammar has three; "Transitive, Intransitive, and Neuter;" and two voices, both transitive! Jaudon has four: transitive, intransitive, auxiliary, and passive. Burn has four; active, passive, neuter, and substantive. Cardell labours hard to prove that all verbs are both active and transitive; and for this, had he desired their aid, he might have cited several ancient authorities.[227] Cutler avers, "All verbs are active;" yet he divides them "into active transitive, active intransitive, and participial verbs."--Grammar and Parser, p. 31. Some grammarians, appearing to think all the foregoing modes of division useless, attempt nothing of the kind. William Ward, in 1765, rejected all such classification, but recognized three voices; "Active, Passive, and Middle; as, I call, I am called, I am calling." Farnum, in 1842, acknowledged the first two of these voices, but made no division of verbs into classes.

OBS. 12.--If we admit the class of active-intransitive verbs, that of verbs neuter will unquestionably be very small. And this refutes Murray's objection, that the learner will "often" be puzzled to know which is which. Nor can it be of any consequence, if he happen in some instances to decide wrong. To be, to exist, to remain, to seem, to lie, to sleep, to rest, to belong, to appertain, and perhaps a few more, may best be called neuter; though some grammarians, as may be inferred from what is said above, deny that there are any neuter verbs in any language. "Verba Neutra, ait Sanctius, nullo pacto esse possunt; quia, teste Aristotele, omnis motus, actio, vel passio, nihil medium est."--Prat's Latin Gram., p. 117. John Grant, in his Institutes of Latin Grammar, recognizes in the verbs of that language the distinction which Murray supposes to be so "very difficult" in those of our own; and, without falling into the error of Sanctius, or of Lily,[228] respecting neuter verbs, judiciously confines the term to such as are neuter in reality.

OBS. 13.--Active-transitive verbs, in English, generally require, that the agent or doer of the action be expressed before them in the nominative case, and the object or receiver of the action, after them in the objective; as, "Cæsar conquered Pompey." Passive verbs, which are never primitives, but always derived from active-transitive verbs, (in order to form sentences of like import from natural opposites in voice and sense,) reverse this order, change the cases of the nouns, and denote that the subject, named before them, is affected by the action; while the agent follows, being introduced by the preposition by: as, "Pompey was conquered by Cæsar." But, as our passive verb always consists of two or more separable parts, this order is liable to be varied, especially in poetry; as,

  "How many things by season seasoned are
   To their right praise and true perfection!"--Shakspeare.
   "Experience is by industry achieved,
   And perfected by the swift course of time."--Id.

OBS. 14.--Most active verbs may be used either transitively or intransitively. Active verbs are transitive whenever there is any person or thing expressed or clearly implied on which the action terminates; as, "I knew him well, and every truant knew."--Goldsmith. When they do not govern such an object, they are intransitive, whatever may be their power on other occasions; as, "The grand elementary principles of pleasure, by which he knows, and feels, and lives, and moves."--Wordsworth's Pref., p. xxiii. "The Father originates and elects. The Son mediates and atones. The Holy Spirit regenerates and sanctifies."--Gurney's Portable Evidences, p. 66. "Spectators remark, judges decide, parties watch."--Blair's Rhet., p. 271. "In a sermon, a preacher may explain, demonstrate, infer, exhort, admonish, comfort."--Alexander's E. Gram., p. 91.

OBS. 15.--Some verbs may be used in either an active or a neuter sense. In the sentence, "Here I rest," rest is a neuter verb; but in the sentence, "Here I rest my hopes," rest is an active-transitive verb, and governs hopes. And a few that are always active in a grammatical sense, as necessarily requiring an object after them, do not always indicate such an exertion of force as we commonly call action. Such perhaps are the verbs to have, to possess, to owe, to cost; as, "They have no wine."--"The house has a portico."--"The man possesses no real estate."--"A son owes help and honour to his father."--Holyday. "The picture cost a crown."--Wright, p. 181. Yet possibly even these may be sometimes rather active-intransitive; as, "I can bear my part; 'tis my occupation: have at it with you."--Shakspeare. "Kings have to deal with their neighbours."--Bacon. "She will let her instructions enter where folly now possesses."--Shakspeare.

  "Thou hast deserv'd more love than I can show;
   But 'tis thy fate to give, and mine to owe."--Dryden.

OBS. 16.--An active-intransitive verb, followed by a preposition and its object, will sometimes admit of being put into the passive form: the object of the preposition being assumed for the nominative, and the preposition itself being retained with the verb, as an adverb: as, (Active,) "They laughed at him."--(Passive,) "He was laughed at." "For some time the nonconformists were connived at."--Robertson's America, Vol. ii, p. 414. "Every man shall be dealt equitably with."--Butler's Analogy, p. 212. "If a church would be looked up to, it must stand high."--Parker's Idea, p. 15.

OBS. 17.--In some instances, what is commonly considered the active form of the verb, is used in a passive sense; and, still oftener, as we have no other passive form that so well denotes continuance, we employ the participle in ing in that sense also: as, "I'll teach you all what's owing to your Queen."--Dryden. That is--what is due, or owed. "The books continue selling; i.e. upon the sale, or to be sold."--Priestley's Gram., p. 111. "So we say the brass is forging; i.e. at the forging, or in [being forged."]--Ib. "They are to blame; i.e. to be blamed."--Ib. Hence some grammarians seem to think, that in our language the distinction between active and passive verbs is of little consequence: "Mr. Grant, however, observes, p. 65, 'The component parts of the English verb, or name of action, are few, simple, and natural; they, consist of three words, as plough, ploughing, ploughed. Now these words, and their inflections, may be employed either actively or passively. Actively, 'They plough the fields; they are ploughing the fields; they ploughed, or have ploughed, the fields.' Passively, 'The fields plough well; the fields are ploughing; the fields are ploughed.' This passive use of the present tense and participle is, however, restricted to what he denominates 'verbs of external, material, or mechanical action;' and not to be extended to verbs of sensation and perception; e.g. love, feel, see, &c."--Nutting's Gram., p. 40.


Verbs have modifications of four kinds; namely, Moods, Tenses, Persons and Numbers.


Moods [229] are different forms of the verb, each of which expresses the being, action, or passion, in some particular manner.

There are five moods; the Infinitive, the Indicative, the Potential, the Subjunctive, and the Imperative.

The Infinitive mood is that form of the verb, which expresses the being, action, or passion, in an unlimited manner, and without person or number: as, "To die,--to sleep;--To sleep!--perchance, to dream!"

The Indicative mood is that form of the verb, which simply indicates or declares a thing: as, I write; you know: or asks a question; as, "Do you know?"--"Know ye not?"

The Potential mood is that form of the verb which expres ses the power, liberty, possibility, or necessity, of the being, action, or passion: as, "I can walk; he may ride; we must go."

The Subjunctive mood is that form of the verb, which represents the being, action, or passion, as conditional, doubtful, and contingent: as, "If thou go, see that thou offend not."--"See thou do it not."--Rev., xix, 10.

The Imperative mood is that form of the verb which is used in commanding, exhorting, entreating, or permitting: as, "Depart thou."--"Be comforted."--"Forgive me."--"Go in peace."


OBS. 1.--The Infinitive mood is so called in opposition to the other moods, in which the verb is said to be finite. In all the other moods, the verb has a strict connexion, and necessary agreement in person and number, with some subject or nominative, expressed or understood; but the infinitive is the mere verb, without any such agreement, and has no power of completing sense with a noun. In the nature of things, however, all being, action, or passion, not contemplated abstractly as a thing, belongs to something that is, or acts, or is acted upon. Accordingly infinitives have, in most instances, a reference to some subject of this kind; though their grammatical dependence connects them more frequently with some other term. The infinitive mood, in English, is distinguished by the preposition to; which, with a few exceptions, immediately precedes it, and may be said to govern it. In dictionaries, and grammars, to is often used as a mere index, to distinguish verbs from the other parts of speech. But this little word has no more claim to be ranked as a part of the verb, than has the conjunction if, which is the sign of the subjunctive. It is the nature of a preposition, to show the relation of different things, thoughts, or words, to each other; and this "sign of the infinitive" may well be pursued separately as a preposition, since in most instances it manifestly shows the relation between the infinitive verb and some other term. Besides, by most of our grammarians, the present tense of the infinitive mood is declared to be the radical form of the verb; but this doctrine must be plainly untrue, upon the supposition that this tense is a compound.

OBS. 2.--The Indicative mood is so called because its chief use is, to indicate, or declare positively, whatever one wishes to say. It is that form of the verb, which we always employ when we affirm or deny any thing in a direct and independent manner. It is more frequently used, and has a greater number of tenses, than any other mood; and is also, in our language, the only one in which the principal verb is varied in termination. It is not, however, on all occasions, confined to its primary use; else it would be simply and only declarative. But we use it sometimes interrogatively, sometimes conditionally; and each of these uses is different from a simple declaration. Indeed, the difference between a question and an assertion is practically very great. Hence some of the old grammarians made the form of inquiry a separate mood, which they called the Interrogative Mood. But, as these different expressions are distinguished, not by any difference of form in the verb itself, but merely by a different order, choice, or delivery of the words, it has been found most convenient in practice, to treat them as one mood susceptible of different senses. So, in every conditional sentence, the prot'asis, or condition, differs considerably from the apod'osis, or principal clause, even where both are expressed as facts. Hence some of our modern grammarians, by the help of a few connectives, absurdly merge a great multitude of Indicative or Potential expressions in what they call the Subjunctive Mood. But here again it is better to refer still to the Indicative or Potential mood whatsoever has any proper sign of such mood, even though it occur in a dependent clause.

OBS. 3.--The Potential mood is so called because the leading idea expressed by it, is that of the power of performing some action. This mood is known by the signs may, can, must, might, could, would, and should. Some of these auxiliaries convey other ideas than that of power in the agent; but there is no occasion to explain them severally here. The potential mood, like the indicative, may be used in asking a question; as, "Must I budge? must I observe you? must I stand and crouch under your testy humour?"--Shakspeare. No question can be asked in any other mood than these two. By some grammarians, the potential mood has been included in the subjunctive, because its meaning is often expressed in Latin by what in that language is called the subjunctive. By others, it has been entirely rejected, because all its tenses are compound, and it has been thought the words could as well be parsed separately. Neither of these opinions is sufficiently prevalent, or sufficiently plausible, to deserve a laboured refutation. On the other hand, James White, in his Essay on the English Verb, (London, 1761,) divided this mood into the following five: "the Elective," denoted by may or might; "the Potential," by can or could; "the Determinative" by would; "the Obligative," by should; and "the Compulsive," by must. Such a distribution is needlessly minute. Most of these can as well be spared as those other "moods, Interrogative, Optative, Promissive, Hortative, Precative, &c.", which Murray mentions only to reject. See his Octavo Gram., p. 68.

OBS. 4.--The Subjunctive mood is so called because it is always subjoined to an other verb. It usually denotes some doubtful contingency, or some supposition contrary to fact. The manner of its dependence is commonly denoted by one of the following conjunctions; if, that, though, lest, unless. The indicative and potential moods, in all their tenses, may be used in the same dependent manner, to express any positive or potential condition; but this seems not to be a sufficient reason for considering them as parts of the subjunctive mood. In short, the idea of a "subjunctive mood in the indicative form," (which is adopted by Chandler, Frazee, Fisk, S. S. Greene, Comly, Ingersoll, R. C. Smith, Sanborn, Mack, Butler, Hart, Weld, Pinneo, and others,) is utterly inconsistent with any just notion of what a mood is; and the suggestion, which we frequently meet with, that the regular indicative or potential mood may be thrown into the subjunctive by merely prefixing a conjunction, is something worse than nonsense. Indeed, no mood can ever be made a part of an other, without the grossest confusion and absurdity. Yet, strange as it is, some celebrated authors, misled by an if, have tangled together three of them, producing such a snarl of tenses as never yet can have been understood without being thought ridiculous. See Murray's Grammar, and others that agree with his late editions.

OBS. 5.--In regard to the number and form of the tenses which should constitute the subjunctive mood in English, our grammarians are greatly at variance; and some, supposing its distinctive parts to be but elliptical forms of the indicative or the potential,[230] even deny the existence of such a mood altogether. On this point, the instructions published by Lindley Murray, however commended and copied, are most remarkably vague and inconsistent.[231] The early editions of his Grammar gave to this mood six tenses, none of which had any of the personal inflections; consequently there was, in all the tenses, some difference between it and the indicative. His later editions, on the contrary, make the subjunctive exactly like the indicative, except in the present tense, and in the choice of auxiliaries for the second-future. Both ways, he goes too far. And while at last he restricts the distinctive form of the subjunctive to narrower bounds than he ought, and argues against, "If thou loved, If thou knew," &c., he gives to this mood not only the last five tenses of the indicative, but also all those of the potential, with its multiplied auxiliaries; alleging, "that as the indicative mood is converted into the subjunctive, by the expression of a condition, motive, wish, supposition, &c.[232] being superadded to it, so the potential mood may, in like manner, be turned into the subjunctive."--Octavo Gram., p. 82. According to this, the subjunctive mood of every regular verb embraces, in one voice, as many as one hundred and thirty-eight different expressions; and it may happen, that in one single tense a verb shall have no fewer than fifteen different forms in each person and number. Six times fifteen are ninety; and so many are the several phrases which now compose Murray's pluperfect tense of the subjunctive mood of the verb to strow--a tense which most grammarians very properly reject as needless! But this is not all. The scheme not only confounds the moods, and utterly overwhelms the learner with its multiplicity, but condemns as bad English what the author himself once adopted and taught for the imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood, "If thou loved, If thou knew," &c., wherein he was sustained by Dr. Priestley, by Harrison, by Caleb Alexander, by John Burn, by Alexander Murray, the schoolmaster, and by others of high authority. Dr. Johnson, indeed, made the preterit subjunctive like the indicative; and this may have induced the author to change his plan, and inflect this part of the verb with st. But Dr. Alexander Murray, a greater linguist than either of them, very positively declares this to be wrong: "When such words as if, though, unless, except, whether, and the like, are used before verbs, they lose their terminations of est, eth, and s, in those persons which commonly have them. No speaker of good English, expressing himself conditionally, says, Though thou fallest, or Though he falls, but, Though thou fall, and Though he fall; nor, Though thou camest, but, Though, or although, thou came."--History of European Languages, Vol. i, p. 55.

OBS. 6.--Nothing is more important in the grammar of any language, than a knowledge of the true forms of its verbs. Nothing is more difficult in the grammar of our own, than to learn, in this instance and some others, what forms we ought to prefer. Yet some authors tell us, and Dr. Lowth among the rest, that our language is wonderfully simple and easy. Perhaps it is so. But do not its "simplicity and facility" appear greatest to those who know least about it?--i.e., least of its grammar, and least of its history? In citing a passage from the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel, Lord Kames has taken the liberty to change the word hath to have seven times in one sentence. This he did, upon the supposition that the subjunctive mood has a perfect tense which differs from that of the indicative; and for such an idea he had the authority of Dr. Johnson's Grammar, and others. The sentence is this: "But if he be a robber, a shedder of blood

if he

have eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife; if he have oppressed the poor and needy, have spoiled by violence, have not restored the pledge, have lift up his eyes to idols, have given forth upon usury, and have taken increase: shall he live? he shall not live."--Elements of Criticism, Vol. ii, p. 261. Now, is this good English, or is it not? One might cite about half of our grammarians in favour of this reading, and the other half against it; with Murray, the most noted of all, first on one side, and then on the other. Similar puzzles may be presented concerning three or four other tenses, which are sometimes ascribed, and sometimes denied, to this mood. It seems to me, after much examination, that the subjunctive mood in English should have two tenses, and no more; the present and the imperfect. The present tense of this mood naturally implies contingency and futurity, while the imperfect here becomes an aorist, and serves to suppose a case as a mere supposition, a case contrary to fact. Consequently the foregoing sentence, if expressed by the subjunctive at all, ought to be written thus: "But if he be a robber, a shedder of blood; if he eat upon the mountains, and defile his neighbour's wife; if he oppress the poor and needy, spoil by violence, restore not the pledge, lift up his eyes to idols, give forth upon usury, and take increase; shall he live? he shall not live."

OBS. 7.--"Grammarians generally make a present and a past time under the subjunctive mode."--Cobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 100. These are the tenses which are given to the subjunctive by Blair, in his "Practical Grammar." If any one will give to this mood more tenses than these, the five which are adopted by Staniford, are perhaps the least objectionable: namely, "Present, If thou love, or do love; Imperfect, If thou loved, or did love; Perfect, If thou have loved; Pluperfect, If thou had loved; Future, If thou should or would love."--Staniford's Gram., p. 22. But there are no sufficient reasons for even this extension of its tenses.--Fisk, speaking of this mood, says: "Lowth restricts it entirely to the present tense."--"Uniformity on this point is highly desirable."--"On this subject, we adopt the opinion of Dr. Lowth."--English Grammar Simplified, p. 70. His desire of uniformity he has both heralded and backed by a palpable misstatement. The learned Doctor's subjunctive mood, in the second person singular, is this: "Present time. Thou love; AND, Thou mayest love. Past time. Thou mightest love; AND, Thou couldst, &c. love; and have loved."--Lowth's Gram., p. 38. But Fisk's subjunctive runs thus: "Indic. form, If thou lovest; varied form, If thou love." And again: "Present tense, If thou art, If thou be; Imperfect tense, If thou wast, If thou wert."--Fisk's Grammar Simplified, p. 70. His very definition of the subjunctive mood is illustrated only by the indicative; as, "If thou walkest."--"I will perform the operation, if he desires it."--Ib., p. 69. Comly's subjunctive mood, except in some of his early editions, stands thus: "Present tense, If thou lovest; Imperfect tense, If thou lovedst or loved; First future tense, If thou (shalt) love."--Eleventh Ed., p. 41. This author teaches, that the indicative or potential, when preceded by an if, "should be parsed in the subjunctive mood."--Ib., p. 42. Of what is in fact the true subjunctive, he says: "Some writers use the singular number in the present tense of the subjunctive mood, without any variation; as, 'if I love, if thou love, if he love.' But this usage must be ranked amongst the anomalies of our language."--Ib., p. 41. Cooper, in his pretended "Abridgment of Murray's Grammar, Philad., 1828," gave to the subjunctive mood the following form, which contains all six of the tenses: "2d pers. If thou love, If thou do love, If thou loved, If thou did love, If thou have loved, If thou had loved, If thou shall (or will) love, If thou shall (or will) have loved." This is almost exactly what Murray at first adopted, and afterwards rejected; though it is probable, from the abridger's preface, that the latter was ignorant of this fact. Soon afterwards, a perusal of Dr. Wilson's Essay on Grammar dashed from the reverend gentleman's mind the whole of this fabric; and in his "Plain and Practical Grammar, Philad., 1831," he acknowledges but four moods, and concludes some pages of argument thus: "From the above considerations, it will appear to every sound grammarian, that our language does not admit a subjunctive mode, at least, separate and distinct from the indicative and potential."--Cooper's New Gram., p. 63.

OBS. 8.--The true Subjunctive mood, in English, is virtually rejected by some later grammarians, who nevertheless acknowledge under that name a greater number and variety of forms than have ever been claimed for it in any other tongue. All that is peculiar to the Subjunctive, all that should constitute it a distinct mood, they represent as an archaism, an obsolete or antiquated mode of expression, while they willingly give to it every form of both the indicative and the potential, the two other moods which sometimes follow an if. Thus Wells, in his strange entanglement of the moods, not only gives to the subjunctive, as well as to the indicative, a "Simple" or "Common Form," and a "Potential Form;" not only recognizes in each an "Auxiliary Form," and a "Progressive Form;" but encumbers the whole with distinctions of style,--with what he calls the "Common Style," and the "Ancient Style;" or the "Solemn Style," and the "Familiar Style:" yet, after all, his own example of the Subjunctive, "Take heed, lest any man deceive you," is obviously different from all these, and not explainable under any of his paradigms! Nor is it truly consonant with any part of his theory, which is this: "The subjunctive of all verbs except be, takes the same form as the indicative. Good writers were formerly much accustomed to drop the personal termination in the subjunctive present, and write 'If he have,' 'If he deny,' etc., for 'If he has,' 'If he denies,' etc.; but this termination is now generally retained, unless an auxiliary is understood. Thus, 'If he hear,' may properly be used for 'If he shall hear' or 'If he should hear,' but not for 'If he hears.'"--Wells's School Gram., 1st Ed., p. 83; 3d Ed., p. 87. Now every position here taken is demonstrably absurd. How could "good writers" indite "much" bad English by dropping from the subjunctive an indicative ending which never belonged to it? And how can a needless "auxiliary" be "understood," on the principle of equivalence, where, by awkwardly changing a mood or tense, it only helps some grammatical theorist to convert good English into bad, or to pervert a text? The phrases above may all be right, or all be wrong, according to the correctness or incorrectness of their application: when each is used as best it may be, there is no exact equivalence. And this is true of half a dozen more of the same sort; as, "If he does hear,"--"If he do hear,"--"If he is hearing,"--"If he be hearing,"--"If he shall be hearing,"--"If he should be hearing."

OBS. 9.--Similar to Wells's, are the subjunctive forms of Allen H. Weld. Mistaking annex to signify prefix, this author teaches thus: "ANNEX if, though, unless, suppose, admit, grant, allow, or any word implying a condition, to each tense of the Indicative and Potential modes, to form the subjunctive; as, If thou lovest or love. If he loves, or love. Formerly it was customary to omit the terminations in the second and third persons of the present tense of the Subjunctive mode. But now the terminations are generally retained, except when the ellipsis of shall or should is implied; as, If he obey, i. e., if he shall, or should obey."--Weld's Grammar, Abridged Edition, p. 71. Again: "In general, the form of the verb in the Subjunctive, is the same as that of the Indicative; but an elliptical form in the second and third person [persona] singular, is used in the following instances: (1.) Future contingency is expressed by the omission of the Indicative termination; as, If he go, for, if he shall go. Though he slay me, i.e., though he should slay me. (2.) Lest and that annexed to a command are followed by the elliptical form of the Subjunctive; as, Love not sleep [,] lest thou come to poverty. (3.) If with but following it, when futurity is denoted, requires the elliptical form; as, If he do but touch the hills, they shall smoke."--Ib., p. 126. As for this scheme, errors and inconsistencies mark every part of it. First, the rule for forming the subjunctive is false, and is plainly contradicted by all that is true in the examples: "If thou love," or, "If he love" contains not the form of the indicative. Secondly, no terminations have ever been "generally" omitted from, or retained in, the form of the subjunctive present; because that part of the mood, as commonly exhibited, is well known to be made of the radical verb, without inflection. One might as well talk of suffixes for the imperative, "Love thou," or "Do thou love." Thirdly, shall or should can never be really implied in the subjunctive present; because the supposed ellipsis, needless and unexampled, would change the tense, the mood, and commonly also the meaning. "If he shall," properly implies a condition of future certainty; "If he should," a supposition of duty: the true subjunctive suggests neither of these. Fourthly, "the ellipsis of shall, or should," is most absurdly called above, "the omission of the Indicative termination." Fifthly, it is very strangely supposed, that to omit what pertains to the indicative or the potential mood, will produce an "elliptical form of the Subjunctive." Sixthly, such examples as the last, "If he do but touch the hills," having the auxiliary do not inflected as in the indicative, disprove the whole theory.

OBS. 10.--In J. B. Chandler's grammars, are taken nearly the same views of the "Subjunctive or Conditional Mood," that have just been noticed. "This mood," we are told, "is only the indicative or potential mood, with the word if placed before the nominative case."--Gram. of 1821, p. 48; Gram. of 1847, p. 73. Yet, of even this, the author has said, in the former edition, "It would, perhaps, be better to abolish the use of the subjunctive mood entirely. Its use is a continual source of dispute among grammarians, and of perplexity to scholars."--Page 33. The suppositive verb were,--(as, "Were I a king,"--"If I were a king,"--) which this author formerly rejected, preferring was, is now, after six and twenty years, replaced in his own examples; and yet he still attempts to disgrace it, by falsely representing it as being only "the indicative plural" very grossly misapplied! See Chandler's Common School Gram., p. 77.

OBS. 11.--The Imperative mood is so called because it is chiefly used in commanding. It is that brief form of the verb, by which we directly urge upon others our claims and wishes. But the nature of this urging varies according to the relation of the parties. We command inferiors; exhort equals; entreat superiors; permit whom we will;--and all by this same imperative form of the verb. In answer to a request, the imperative implies nothing more than permission. The will of a superior may also be urged imperatively by the indicative, future. This form is particularly common in solemn prohibitions; as, "Thou shalt not kill. * * * Thou shalt not steal."--Exodus, xx, 13 and 15. Of the ten commandments, eight are negative, and all these are indicative in form. The other two are in the imperative mood: "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Honour thy father and thy mother."--Ib. But the imperative form may also be negative: as, "Touch not; taste not; handle not."--Colossians, ii, 21.


Tenses are those modifications of the verb, which distinguish time. There are six tenses; the Present, the Imperfect, the Perfect, the Pluperfect, the First-future, and the Second-future.

The Present tense is that which expresses what now exists, or is taking place: as, "I hear a noise; somebody is coming."

The Imperfect tense is that which expresses what took place, or was occurring, in time fully past: as, "I saw him yesterday, and hailed him as he was passing."

The Perfect tense is that which expresses what has taken place, within some period of time not yet fully past: as, "I have seen him to-day; something must have detained him."

The Pluperfect tense is that which expresses what had taken place, at some past time mentioned: as, "I had seen him, when I met you."

The First-future tense is that which expresses what will take place hereafter: as, "I shall see him again, and I will inform him."

The Second-future tense is that which expresses what will have taken place, at some future time mentioned: as, "I shall have seen him by tomorrow noon."


OBS. 1.--The terms here defined are the names usually given to those parts of the verb to which they are in this work applied; and though some of them are not so strictly appropriate as scientific names ought to be, it is thought inexpedient to change them. In many old grammars, and even in the early editions of Murray, the three past tenses are called the Preterimperfect, Preterperfect, and Preterpluperfect. From these names, the term Preter, (which is from the Latin preposition præter, meaning beside, beyond, or past,) has been well dropped for the sake of brevity.[233]

OBS. 2.--The distinctive epithet Imperfect, or Preterimperfect, appears to have been much less accurately employed by the explainers of our language, than it was by the Latin grammarians from whom it was borrowed. That tense which passes in our schools for the Imperfect, (as, I slept, did sleep, or was sleeping,) is in fact, so far as the indicative mood is concerned, more completely past, than that which we call the Perfect. Murray indeed has attempted to show that the name is right; and, for the sake of consistency, one could wish he had succeeded. But every scholar must observe, that the simple preterit, which is the first form of this tense, and is never found in any other, as often as the sentence is declarative, tells what happened within some period of time fully past, as last week, last year; whereas the perfect tense is used to express what has happened within some period of time not yet fully past, as this week, this year. As to the completeness of the action, there is no difference; for what has been done to-day, is as completely done, as what was achieved a year ago. Hence it is obvious that the term Imperfect has no other applicability to the English tense so called, than what it may have derived from the participle in ing, which we use in translating the Latin imperfect tense: as, Dormiebam, I was sleeping; Legebam, I was reading; Docebam, I was teaching. And if for this reason the whole English tense, with all its variety of forms in the different moods, "may, with propriety, be denominated imperfect;" surely, the participle itself should be so denominated a fortiori: for it always conveys this same idea, of "action not finished," be the tense of its accompanying auxiliary what it may.

OBS. 3.--The tenses do not all express time with equal precision; nor can the whole number in any language supersede the necessity of adverbs of time, much less of dates, and of nouns that express periods of duration. The tenses of the indicative mood, are the most definite; and, for this reason, as well as for some others, the explanations of all these modifications of the verb, are made with particular reference to that mood. Some suppose the compound or participial form, as I am writing, to be more definite in time, than the simple form, as I write, or the emphatic form, as I do write; and accordingly they divide all the tenses into Indefinite and Definite. Of this division Dr. Webster seems to claim the invention; for he gravely accuses Murray of copying it unjustly from him, though the latter acknowledges in a note upon his text, it "is, in part, taken from Webster's Grammar."--Murray's Octavo Gram., p. 73. The distribution, as it stands in either work, is not worth quarrelling about: it is evidently more cumbersome than useful. Nor, after all, is it true that the compound form is more definite in time than the other. For example; "Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, was always betraying his unhappiness."--Art of Thinking, p. 123. Now, if was betraying were a more definite tense than betrayed, surely the adverb "always" would require the latter, rather than the former.

OBS. 4.--The present tense, of the indicative mood, expresses not only what is now actually going on, but general truths, and customary actions: as, "Vice produces misery."--"He hastens to repent, who gives sentence quickly."--Grant's Lat. Gram., p. 71. "Among the Parthians, the signal is given by the drum, and not by the trumpet."--Justin. Deceased authors may be spoken of in the present tense, because they seem to live in their works; as, "Seneca reasons and moralizes well."--Murray. "Women talk better than men, from the superior shape of their tongues: an ancient writer speaks of their loquacity three thousand years ago."--Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 27.

OBS. 5.--The text, John, viii, 58, "Before Abraham was, I am," is a literal Grecism, and not to be cited as an example of pure English: our idiom would seem to require, "Before Abraham was, I existed." In animated narrative, however, the present tense is often substituted for the past, by the figure enallage. In such cases, past tenses and present may occur together; because the latter are used merely to bring past events more vividly before us: as, "Ulysses wakes, not knowing where he was."--Pope. "The dictator flies forward to the cavalry, beseeching them to dismount from their horses. They obeyed; they dismount, rush onward, and for vancouriers show their bucklers."--Livy. On this principle, perhaps, the following couplet, which Murray condemns as bad English, may be justified:--

  "Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
   The young who labour, and the old who rest."
       See Murray's Key, R. 13.

OBS. 6.--The present tense of the subjunctive mood, and that of the indicative when preceded by as soon as, after, before, till, or when, is generally used with reference to future time; as, "If he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?"--Matt., vii, 10. "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me."--John, xxi, 22. "When he arrives, I will send for you." The imperative mood has but one tense, and that is always present with regard to the giving of the command; though what is commanded, must be done in the future, if done at all. So the subjunctive may convey a present supposition of what the will of an other may make uncertain: as, "If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself."--St. Paul to Philemon, 17. The perfect indicative, like the present, is sometimes used with reference to time that is relatively future; as, "He will be fatigued before he has walked a mile."--"My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes."--Psalms, cxix, 171. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves, shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."--John, v, 28.

OBS. 7.--What is called the present infinitive, can scarcely be said to express any particular time.[234] It is usually dependent on an other verb, and therefore relative in time. It may be connected with any tense of any mood: as, "I intend to do it; I intended to do it; I have intended to do it; I had intended to do it;" &c. For want of a better mode of expression, we often use the infinitive to denote futurity, especially when it seems to be taken adjectively; as, "The time to come,"--"The world to come,"--"Rapture yet to be." This, sometimes with the awkward addition of about, is the only substitute we have for the Latin future participle in rus, as venturus, to come, or about to come. This phraseology, according to Horne Tooke, (see Diversions of Purley, Vol. ii, p. 457,) is no fitter than that of our ancestors, who for this purpose used the same preposition, but put the participle in ing after it, in lieu of the radical verb, which we choose to employ: as, "Generacions of eddris, who shewide to you to fle fro wraththe to comynge?"--Matt., iii, 7. Common Version: "O generation of vipers! who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" "Art thou that art to comynge, ether abiden we another?"--Matt., xi, 3. Common Version: "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" "Sotheli there the ship was to puttyng out the charge."--Dedis, xxi, 3. Common Version: "For there the ship was to unlade her burden."--Acts, xxi, 3. Churchill, after changing the names of the two infinitive tenses to "Future imperfect" and "Future perfect," adds the following note: "The tenses of the infinitive mood are usually termed present and preterperfect: but this is certainly improper; for they are so completely future, that what is called the present tense of the infinitive mood is often employed simply to express futurity; as, 'The life to come.'"--New Gram., p. 249.

OBS. 8.--The pluperfect tense, when used conditionally, in stead of expressing what actually had taken place at a past time, almost always implies that the action thus supposed never was performed; on the contrary, if the supposition be made in a negative form, it suggests that the event had occurred: as, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."--John, xi, 32. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin."--John, xv, 22. "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes."--Luke, xix, 42. The supposition is sometimes indicated by a mere transposition of the verb and its subject; in which case, the conjunction if is omitted; as, "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me."--John, v, 46.

  "Had I but fought as wont, one thrust
   Had laid De Wilton in the dust."--Scott

OBS. 9.--In the language of prophecy we find the past tenses very often substituted for the future, especially when the prediction is remarkably clear and specific. Man is a creature of present knowledge only; but it is certain, that He who sees the end from the beginning, has sometimes revealed to him, and by him, things deep in futurity. Thus the sacred seer who is esteemed the most eloquent of the ancient prophets, more than seven hundred years before the events occurred, spoke of the vicarious sufferings of Christ as of things already past, and even then described them in the phraseology of historical facts: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed."--Isaiah, liii, 4 and 5. Multiplied instances of a similar application of the past tenses to future events, occur in the Bible, especially in the writings of this prophet.


The person and number of a verb are those modifications in which it agrees with its subject or nominative.

In each number, there are three persons; and in each person, two numbers: thus,

Singular. Plural. 1st per. I love, 1st per. We love, 2d per. Thou lovest, 2d per. You love, 3d per. He loves; 3d per. They love.

Definitions universally applicable have already been given of all these things; it is therefore unnecessary to define them again in this place.

Where the verb is varied, the second person singular is regularly formed by adding st or est to the first person; and the third person singular, in like manner, by adding s or es: as, I see, thou seest, he sees; I give, thou givest, he gives; I go, thou goest, he goes; I fly, thou fliest, he flies; I vex, thou vexest, he vexes; I lose, thou losest, he loses.

Where the verb is not varied to denote its person and number, these properties are inferred from its subject or nominative: as, If I love, if thou love, if he love; if we love, if you love, if they love.


OBS. 1.--It is considered a principle of Universal Grammar, that a finite verb must agree with its subject or nominative in person and number. Upon this principle, we ascribe to every such verb the person and number of the nominative word, whether the verb itself be literally modified by the relation or not. The doctrine must be constantly taught and observed, in every language in which the verbs have any variations of this kind. But suppose an instance, of a language in which all the verbs were entirely destitute of such inflections; the principle, as regards that language, must drop. Finite verbs, in such a case, would still relate to their subjects, or nominatives, agreeably to the sense; but they would certainly be rendered incapable of adding to this relation any agreement or disagreement. So the concords which belong to adjectives and participles in Latin and Greek, are rejected in English, and there remains to these parts of speech nothing but a simple relation to their nouns according to the sense. And by the fashionable substitution of you for thou, the concord of English verbs with their nominatives, is made to depend, in common practice, on little more than one single terminational s, which is used to mark one person of one number of one tense of one mood of each verb. So near does this practice bring us to the dropping of what is yet called a universal principle of grammar.[235]

OBS. 2.--In most languages, there are in each tense, through all the moods of every verb, six different terminations to distinguish the different persons and numbers. This will be well understood by every one who has ever glanced at the verbs as exhibited in any Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, or Italian grammar. To explain it to others, a brief example shall be given: (with the remark, that the Latin pronouns, here inserted, are seldom expressed, except for emphasis:) "Ego amo, I love; Tu amas, Thou lovest; Ille amat, He loves; Nos amamus, We love; Vos amatis, You love; Illi amant, They love." Hence it may be perceived, that the paucity of variations in the English verb, is a very striking peculiarity of our language. Whether we are gainers or losers by this simplicity, is a question for learned idleness to discuss. The common people who speak English, have far less inclination to add new endings to our verbs, than to drop or avoid all the remains of the old. Lowth and Murray tell us, "This scanty provision of terminations is sufficient for all the purposes of discourse;" and that, "For this reason, the plural termination en, (they loven, they weren,) formerly in use, was laid aside as unnecessary, and has long been obsolete."--Lowth's Gram., p. 31; Murray's, 63.

OBS. 3.--Though modern usage, especially in common conversation, evidently inclines to drop or shun all unnecessary suffixes and inflections, still it is true, that the English verb in some of its parts, varies its termination, to distinguish, or agree with, the different persons and numbers. The change is, however, principally confined to the second and third persons singular of the present tense of the indicative mood, and to the auxiliaries hast and has of the perfect. In the ancient biblical style, now used only on solemn occasions, the second person singular is distinguished through all the tenses of the indicative and potential moods. And as the use of the pronoun thou is now mostly confined to the solemn style, the terminations of that style are retained in connexion with it, through all the following examples of the conjugation of verbs. In the plural number, there is no variation of ending, to denote the different persons; and the verb in the three persons plural, (with the two exceptions are and were, from am and was,) is the same as in the first person singular. Nor does the use of you for the singular, warrant its connexion with any other than the plural form of the verb. This strange and needless confusion of the numbers, is, in all languages that indulge it, a practical inconvenience. It would doubtless have been much better, had thou and you still kept their respective places--the one, nominative singular--the other, objective plural--as they appear in the Bible. But as the English verb is always attended by a noun or a pronoun, expressing the subject of the affirmation, no ambiguity arises from the want of particular terminations in the verb, to distinguish the different persons and numbers.

OBS. 4.--Although our language, in its ordinary use, exhibits the verbs in such forms only, as will make, when put together, but a very simple conjugation; there is probably no other language on earth, in which it would be so difficult for a learned grammarian to fix, settle, and exhibit, to the satisfaction of himself and others, the principles, paradigms, rules, and exceptions, which are necessary for a full and just exhibition of this part of speech. This difficulty is owing, partly to incompatibilities or unsettled boundaries between the solemn and the familiar style; partly to differences in the same style between ancient usage and modern; partly to interfering claims of new and old forms of the preterit and the perfect participle; partly to the conflicting notions of different grammarians respecting the subjunctive mood; and partly to the blind tenacity with which many writers adhere to rugged derivatives, and prefer unutterable contractions to smooth and easy abbreviations. For example: a clergyman says to a lucky gamester, (1.) "You dwell in a house which you neither planned nor built." A member of the Society of Friends would say, (2.) "Thou dwellst in a house which thou neither planned nor built." Or, if not a scholar, as likely as not, (3.) "Thee dwells in a house which thee neither planned nor built." The old or solemn style would b3, (4.) "Thou dwellest in a house which thou neither plannedst nor buildedst." Some untasteful and overgrammatical poet will have it, (5.) "Thou dwell'st in halls thou neither plann'dst nor build'dst." The doctrine of Murray's Grammar, and of most others, would require, (6.) "Thou dwellest in a house which thou neither plannedst nor builtest." Or, (according to this author's method of avoiding unpleasant sounds,) the more complex form, (7.) "Thou dost dwell in a house which thou neither didst plan nor didst build." Out of these an other poet will make the line, (8.) "Dost dwell in halls which thou nor plann'dst nor built'st." An other, more tastefully, would drop the st of the preterit, and contract the present, as in the second instance above: thus,

   (9.) "Thou dwellst in halls thou neither planned nor built,
        And revelst there in riches won by guilt."

OBS. 5.--Now let all these nine different forms of saying the same thing, by the same verbs, in the same mood, and the same two tenses, be considered. Let it also be noticed, that for these same verbs within these limits, there are yet other forms, of a complex kind; as, "You do dwell," or, "You are dwelling;" used in lieu of, "Thou dost dwell," or, "Thou art dwelling:" so, "You did plan," or, "You were planning;" used in lieu of, "Thou didst plan," or, "Thou wast planning." Take into the account the opinion of Dr. Webster and others, that, "You was planning," or, "You was building," is a still better form for the singular number; and well "established by national usage, both here and in England."--Improved Gram., p. 25. Add the less inaccurate practice of some, who use was and did familiarly with thou; as, "Thou was planning, did thou build?" Multiply all this variety tenfold, with a view to the other moods and tenses of these three verbs, dwell, plan, and build; then extend the product, whatever it is, from these three common words, to all the verbs in the English language. You will thus begin to have some idea of the difficulty mentioned in the preceding observation. But this is only a part of it; for all these things relate only to the second person singular of the verb. The double question is, Which of these forms ought to be approved and taught for that person and number? and which of them ought to be censured and rejected as bad English? This question is perhaps as important, as any that can arise in English grammar. With a few candid observations by way of illustration, it will be left to the judgement of the reader.

OBS. 6.--The history of youyouing and thoutheeing appears to be this. Persons in high stations, being usually surrounded by attendants, it became, many centuries ago, a species of court flattery, to address individuals of this class, in the plural number, as if a great man were something more than one person. In this way, the notion of greatness was agreeably multiplied, and those who laid claim to such honour, soon began to think themselves insulted whenever they were addressed with any other than the plural pronoun.[236] Humbler people yielded through fear of offence; and the practice extended, in time, to all ranks of society: so that at present the customary mode of familiar as well as complimentary address, is altogether plural; both the verb and the pronoun being used in that form.[237] This practice, which confounds one of the most important distinctions of the language, affords a striking instance of the power of fashion. It has made propriety itself seem improper. But shall it be allowed, in the present state of things, to confound our conjugations and overturn our grammar? Is it right to introduce it into our paradigms, as the only form of the second person singular, that modern usage acknowledges? Or is it expedient to augment by it that multiplicity of other forms, which must either take this same place or be utterly rejected? With due deference to those grammarians who have adopted one or the other of these methods, the author of this work answers all these questions decidedly in the negative. It is not to be denied, that the use of the plural for the singular is now so common as to form the customary mode of address to individuals of every rank. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, however, continue to employ the singular number in familiar discourse; and custom, which has now destroyed the compliment of the plural, has removed also the supposed opprobrium of the singular, and placed it on an equality with the plural in point of respect. The singular is universally employed in reference to the Supreme Being; and is generally preferred in poetry. It is the language of Scripture, and of the Prayer-Book; and is consistently retained in nearly all our grammars; though not always, perhaps, consistently treated.

OBS. 7.--Whatever is fashionable in speech, the mere disciples of fashion will always approve; and, probably, they will think it justifiable to despise or neglect all that is otherwise. These may be contented with the sole use of such forms of address as, "You, you, sir;"--"You, you, madam." But the literati who so neglect all the services of religion, as to forget that these are yet conducted in English independently of all this fashionable youyouing, must needs be poor judges of what belongs to their own justification, either as grammarians or as moral agents. A fashion by virtue of which millions of youths are now growing up in ignorance of that form of address which, in their own tongue, is most appropriate to poetry, and alone adapted to prayer, is perhaps not quite so light a matter as some people imagine. It is at least so far from being a good reason for displacing that form from the paradigms of our verbs in a grammar, that indeed no better needs be offered for tenaciously retaining it. Many children may thus learn at school what all should know, and what there is little chance for them to learn elsewhere. Not all that presume to minister in religion, are well acquainted with what is called the solemn style. Not all that presume to explain it in grammars, do know what it is. A late work, which boasted the patronage of De Witt Clinton, and through the influence of false praise came nigh to be imposed by a law of New York on all the common schools of that State; and which, being subsequently sold in Philadelphia for a great price, was there republished under the name of the "National School Manual;" gives the following account of this part of grammar: "In the solemn and poetic styles, the second person singular, in both the above tenses, is thou; and the second person plural, is ye, or you. The verb, to agree with the second person singular, changes its termination. Thus: 2d person, sing. Pres. Tense, Thou walkest, or Thou walketh. Imperfect Tense, Thou walkedst. In the third person singular, in the above styles, the verb has sometimes a different termination; as, Present Tense, He, she, or it walks or walketh. The above form of inflection may be applied to all verbs used in the solemn or poetic styles; but for ordinary purposes, I have supposed it proper to employ the form of the verb, adopted in common conversation, as least perplexing to young minds."--Bartlett's Common School Manual, Part ii, p. 114. What can be hoped from an author who is ignorant enough to think "Thou walketh" is good English? or from one who tells us, that "It walks" is of the solemn style? or from one who does not know that you is never a nominative in the style of the Bible?

OBS. 8.--Nowhere on earth is fashion more completely mistress of all the tastes and usages of society, than in France. Though the common French Bible still retains the form of the second person singular, which in that language is shorter and perhaps smoother than the plural; yet even that sacred book, or at least the New Testament, and that by different persons, has been translated into more fashionable French, and printed at Paris, and also at New York, with the form of address everywhere plural; as, "Jesus anticipated him, saying, 'What do you think, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take taxes and tribute?'"--Matt., xvii, 24. "And, going to prayers, they said, '0 Lord, you who know the hearts of all men, show which of these two you have chosen.'"--Acts, i, 24. This is one step further in the progress of politeness, than has yet been taken in English. The French grammarians, however, as far as I can perceive, have never yet disturbed the ancient order of their conjugations and declensions, by inserting the plural verb and pronoun in place of the singular; and, in the familiarity of friendship, or of domestic life, the practice which is denominated tutoyant, or thoutheeing, is far more prevalent in France than in England. Also, in the prayers of the French, the second person singular appears to be yet generally preserved, as it is in those of the English and the Americans. The less frequent use of it in the familiar conversation of the latter, is very probably owing to the general impression, that it cannot be used with propriety, except in the solemn style. Of this matter, those who have laid it aside themselves, cannot with much modesty pretend to judge for those who have not; or, if they may, there is still a question how far it is right to lay it aside. The following lines are a sort of translation from Horace; and I submit it to the reader, whether it is comely for a Christian divine to be less reverent toward God, than a heathen poet; and whether the plural language here used, does not lack the reverence of the original, which is singular:--

  "Preserve, Almighty Providence!
   Just what you gave me, competence."--Swift.

OBS. 9.--The terms, solemn style, familiar style, modern style, ancient style, legal style, regal style, nautic style, common style, and the like, as used in grammar, imply no certain divisions of the language; but are designed merely to distinguish, in a general way, the occasions on which some particular forms of expression may be considered proper, or the times to which they belong. For what is grammatical sometimes, may not be so always. It would not be easy to tell, definitely, in what any one of these styles consists; because they all belong to one language, and the number or nature of the peculiarities of each is not precisely fixed. But whatever is acknowledged to be peculiar to any one, is consequently understood to be improper for any other: or, at least, the same phraseology cannot belong to styles of an opposite character; and words of general use belong to no particular style.[238] For example: "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."--Rom., ix, 16. If the termination eth is not obsolete, as some say it is, all verbs to which this ending is added, are of the solemn style; for the common or familiar expression would here be this; "So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." Ben Jonson, in his grammar, endeavoured to arrest this change of eth to s; and, according to Lindley Murray, (Octavo Gram., p. 90,) Addison also injudiciously disapproved it. In spite of all such objections, however, some future grammarian will probably have to say of the singular ending eth, as Lowth and Murray have already said of the plural en: "It was laid aside as unnecessary."

OBS. 10.--Of the origin of the personal terminations of English verbs, that eminent etymologist Dr. Alexander Murray, gives the following account: "The readers of our modern tongue may be reminded, that the terminations, est, eth, and s, in our verbs, as in layest, layeth, and laid'st, or laidest; are the faded remains of the pronouns which were formerly joined to the verb itself, and placed the language, in respect of concise expression, on a level with the Greek, Latin, and Sanscrit, its sister dialects."--History of European Languages, Vol. i, p. 52. According to this, since other signs of the persons and numbers are now employed with the verb, it is not strange that there should appear a tendency to lay aside such of these endings as are least agreeable and least necessary. Any change of this kind will of course occur first in the familiar style. For example: "Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them."--Acts, xi, 3. "These things write I unto thee, that thou mayst know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God."--1 Tim., iii, 15. These forms, by universal consent, are now of the solemn style; and, consequently, are really good English in no other. For nobody, I suppose, will yet pretend that the inflection of our preterits and auxiliaries by st or est, is entirely obsolete;[239] and surely no person of any literary taste ever uses the foregoing forms familiarly. The termination est, however, has in some instances become obsolete; or has faded into st or t, even in the solemn style. Thus, (if indeed, such forms ever were in good use,) diddest has become didst; havest, hast; haddest, hadst; shallest, shalt; willest, wilt; and cannest, canst. Mayest, mightest, couldest, wouldest, and shouldest, are occasionally found in books not ancient; but mayst, mightst, couldst, wouldst, and shouldst, are abundantly more common, and all are peculiar to the solemn style. Must, burst, durst, thrust, blest, curst, past, lost, list, crept, kept, girt, built, felt, dwelt, left, bereft, and many other verbs of similar endings, are seldom, if ever, found encumbered with an additional est. For the rule which requires this ending, has always had many exceptions that have not been noticed by grammarians.[240] Thus Shakspeare wrote even in the present tense, "Do as thou list," and not "Do as thou listest." Possibly, however, list may here be reckoned of the subjunctive mood; but the following example from Byron is certainly in the indicative:--

  "And thou, who never yet of human wrong
   Lost the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!"--Harold, C. iv, st. 132.

OBS. 11.--Any phraseology that is really obsolete, is no longer fit to be imitated even in the solemn style; and what was never good English, is no more to be respected in that style, than in any other. Thus: "Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?"--Acts, xxi, 38. Here, (I think,) the version ought to be, "Art not thou that Egyptian, who a while ago made an uproar, and led out into the wilderness four thousand men, that were murderers?" If so, there is in this no occasion to make a difference between the solemn and the familiar style. But what is the familiar form of expression for the texts cited before? The fashionable will say, it is this: "You went in to men uncircumcised, and did eat with them."--"I write these things to you, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God." But this is not literally of the singular number: it is no more singular, than vos in Latin, or vous in French, or we used for I in English, is singular. And if there remains to us any other form, that is both singular and grammatical, it is unquestionably the following: "Thou went in to men uncircumcised, and did eat with them."--"I write these things to thee, that thou may know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God." The acknowledged doctrine of all the teachers of English grammar, that the inflection of our auxiliaries and preterits by st or est is peculiar to "the solemn style," leaves us no other alternative, than either to grant the propriety of here dropping the suffix for the familiar style, or to rob our language of any familiar use of the pronoun thou forever. Who, then, are here the neologists, the innovators, the impairers of the language? And which is the greater innovation, merely to drop, on familiar occasions, or when it suits our style, o ne obsolescent verbal termination,--a termination often dropped of old as well as now,--or to strike from the conjugations of all our verbs one sixth part of their entire scheme?[241]

  "O mother myn, that cleaped were Argyue,
   Wo worth that day that thou me bare on lyue."--Chaucer.

OBS. 12.--The grammatical propriety of distinguishing from the solemn style both of the forms presented above, must be evident to every one who considers with candour the reasons, analogies, and authorities, for this distinction. The support of the latter is very far from resting solely on the practice of a particular sect; though this, if they would forbear to corrupt the pronoun while they simplify the verb, would deserve much more consideration than has ever been allowed it. Which of these modes of address is the more grammatical, it is useless to dispute; since fashion rules the one, and a scruple of conscience is sometimes alleged for the other. A candid critic will consequently allow all to take their choice. It is enough for him, if he can demonstrate to the candid inquirer, what phraseology is in any view allowable, and what is for any good reason reprehensible. That the use of the plural for the singular is ungrammatical, it is neither discreet nor available to affirm; yet, surely, it did not originate in any regard to grammar rules. Murray the schoolmaster, whose English Grammar appeared some years before that of Lindley Murray, speaks of it as follows: "Thou, the second person singular, though strictly grammatical, is seldom used, except in addresses to God, in poetry, and by the people called Quakers. In all other cases, a fondness for foreign manners,[242] and the power of custom, have given a sanction to the use of you, for the second person singular, though contrary to grammar,[243] and attended with this particular inconveniency, that a plural verb must be used to agree with the pronoun in number, and both applied to a single person; as, you are, or you were,--not you wast, or you was."--Third Edition, Lond., 1793, p. 34. This author everywhere exhibits the auxiliaries, mayst, mightst, couldst, wouldst, and shouldst, as words of one syllable; and also observes, in a marginal note, "Some writers begin to say, 'Thou may, thou might,' &c."--Ib., p. 36. Examples of this are not very uncommon: "Thou shall want ere I want."--Old Motto; Scott's Lay, Note 1st to Canto 3. "Thyself the mournful tale shall tell."--Felton's Gram., p. 20.

  "One sole condition would I dare suggest,
   That thou would save me from my own request."--Jane Taylor.

OBS. 13.--In respect to the second person singular, the grammar of Lindley Murray makes no distinction between the solemn and the familiar style; recognizes in no way the fashionable substitution of you for thou; and, so far as I perceive, takes it for granted, that every one who pretends to speak or write grammatically, must always, in addressing an individual, employ the singular pronoun, and inflect the verb with st or est, except in the imperative mood and the subjunctive present. This is the more remarkable, because the author was a valued member of the Society of Friends; and doubtless his own daily practice contradicted his doctrine, as palpably as does that of every other member of the Society. And many a schoolmaster, taking that work for his text-book, or some other as faulty, is now doing precisely the same thing. But what a teacher is he, who dares not justify as a grammarian that which he constantly practices as a man! What a scholar is he, who can be led by a false criticism or a false custom, to condemn his own usage and that of every body else! What a casuist is he, who dares pretend conscience for practising that which he knows and acknowledges to be wrong! If to speak in the second person singular without inflecting our preterits and auxiliaries, is a censurable corruption of the language, the Friends have no alternative but to relinquish their scruple about the application of you to one person; for none but the adult and learned can ever speak after the manner of ancient books: children and common people can no more be brought to speak agreeably to any antiquated forms of the English language, than according to the imperishable models of Greek and Latin. He who traces the history of our vernacular tongue, will find it has either simplified or entirely dropped several of its ancient terminations; and that the st or est of the second person singular, never was adopted in any thing like the extent to which our modern grammarians have attempted to impose it. "Thus becoming unused to inflections, we lost the perception of their meaning and nature."--Philological Museum, i, 669. "You cannot make a whole people all at once talk in a different tongue from that which it has been used to talk in: you cannot force it to unlearn the words it has learnt from its fathers, in order to learn a set of newfangled words out of [a grammar or] a dictionary."--Ib., i, 650. Nor can you, in this instance, restrain our poets from transgressing the doctrine of Lowth and Murray:--

  "Come, thou pure Light,--which first in Eden glowed.
   And threw thy splendor round man's calm abode."--Alonzo Lewis.

OBS. 14.--That which has passed away from familiar practice, may still be right in the solemn style, and may there remain till it becomes obsolete. But no obsolescent termination has ever yet been recalled into the popular service. This is as true in other languages as in our own: "In almost every word of the Greek," says a learned author, "we meet with contractions and abbreviations; but, I believe, the flexions of no language allow of extension or amplification. In our own we may write sleeped or slept, as the metre of a line or the rhythm of a period may require; but by no license may we write sleepeed."--Knight, on the Greek Alphabet, 4to, p. 107. But, if after contracting sleeped into slept, we add an est and make sleptest, is there not here an extension of the word from one syllable to two? Is there not an amplification that is at once novel, disagreeable, unauthorized, and unnecessary? Nay, even in the regular and established change, as of loved to lovedst, is there not a syllabic increase, which is unpleasant to the ear, and unsuited to familiar speech? Now, to what extent do these questions apply to the verbs in our language? Lindley Murray, it is presumed, had no conception of that extent; or of the weight of the objection which is implied in the second. With respect to a vast number of our most common verbs, he himself never knew, nor does the greatest grammarian now living know, in what way he ought to form the simple past tense in the second person singular, otherwise than by the mere uninflected preterit with the pronoun thou. Is thou sleepedst or thou sleptest, thou leavedst or thou leftest, thou feeledst or thou feltest, thou dealedst or thou dealtest, thou tossedst or thou tostest, thou losedst or thou lostest, thou payedst or thou paidest, thou layedst or thou laidest, better English than thou slept, thou left, thou felt, thou dealt, thou tossed, thou lost, thou paid, thou laid? And, if so, of the two forms in each instance, which is the right one? and why? The Bible has "saidst" and "layedst;" Dr. Alexander Murray, "laid'st" and "laidest!" Since the inflection of our preterits has never been orderly, and is now decaying and waxing old, shall we labour to recall what is so nearly ready to vanish away?

  "Tremendous Sea! what time thou lifted up
   Thy waves on high, and with thy winds and storms
   Strange pastime took, and shook thy mighty sides
   Indignantly, the pride of navies fell."--Pollok, B. vii, l. 611.

OBS. 15.--Whatever difficulty there is in ascertaining the true form of the preterit itself, not only remains, but is augmented, when st or est is to be added for the second person of it. For, since we use sometimes one and sometimes the other of these endings; (as, saidst, sawest, bidst, knewest, lovedst, wentest;) there is yet need of some rule to show which we ought to prefer. The variable formation or orthography of verbs in the simple past tense, has always been one of the greatest difficulties that the learners of our language have had to encounter. At present, there is a strong tendency to terminate as many as we can of them in ed, which is the only regular ending. The pronunciation of this ending, however, is at least threefold; as in remembered, repented, relinquished. Here the added sounds are, first d, then ed, then t; and the effect of adding st, whenever the ed is sounded like t, will certainly be a perversion of what is established as the true pronunciation of the language. For the solemn and the familiar pronunciation of ed unquestionably differ. The present tendency to a regular orthography, ought rather to be encouraged than thwarted; but the preferring of mixed to mixt, whipped to whipt, worked to wrought, kneeled to knelt, and so forth, does not make mixedst, whippedst, workedst, kneeledst, and the like, any more fit for modern English, than are mixtest, whiptest, wroughtest, kneltest, burntest, dweltest, heldest, giltest, and many more of the like stamp. And what can be more absurd than for a grammarian to insist upon forming a great parcel of these strange and crabbed words for which he can quote no good authority? Nothing; except it be for a poet or a rhetorician to huddle together great parcels of consonants which no mortal man can utter,[244] (as lov'dst, lurk'dst, shrugg'dst,) and call them "words." Example: "The clump of subtonick and atonick elements at the termination of such words as the following, is frequently, to the no small injury of articulation, particularly slighted: couldst, wouldst, hadst, prob'st, prob'dst, hurl'st, hurl'dst, arm'st, arm'dst, want'st, want'dst, burn'st, burn'dst, bark'st, bark'dst, bubbl'st, bubbl'dst, troubbl'st, troubbl'dst."--Kirkham's Elocution, p. 42. The word trouble may receive the additional sound of st, but this gentleman does not here spell so accurately as a great author should. Nor did they who penned the following lines, write here as poets should:--

  "Of old thou build'st thy throne on righteousness."
       --Pollok's C. of T., B. vi, l. 638.
   "For though thou work'dst my mother's ill."
       --Byron's Parasina.
   "Thou thyself doat'dst on womankind, admiring."
       --Milton's P. R., B. ii, l. 175.
   "But he, the sev'nth from thee, whom thou beheldst."
       --Id., P. L., B. xi, l. 700.
   "Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheldst."
       --Id., ib., B. xi, l. 819.
   "Thou, who inform'd'st this clay with active fire!"
       --Savage's Poems, p. 247.
   "Thy valiantness was mine, thou suck'dst it from me."
       --Shak., Coriol., Act iii.
   "This cloth thou dipp'dst in blood of my sweet boy."
       --Id., Henry VI, P. i.
   "Great Queen of arms, whose favour Tydeus won;
   As thou defend'st the sire, defend the son."
       --Pope, Iliad, B. x, l. 337.

OBS. 16.--Dr. Lowth, whose popular little Grammar was written in or about 1758, made no scruple to hem up both the poets and the Friends at once, by a criticism which I must needs consider more dogmatical than true; and which, from the suppression of what is least objectionable in it, has become, her hands, the source of still greater errors: "Thou in the polite, and even in the familiar style, is disused, and the plural you is employed instead of it; we say, you have, not thou hast. Though in this case, we apply you to a single person, yet the verb too must agree with it in the plural number; it must necessarily be, you have, not you hast. You was is an enormous solecism,[245] and yet authors of the first rank have inadvertently fallen into it. * * * On the contrary, the solemn style admits not of you for a single person. This hath led Mr. Pope into a great impropriety in the beginning of his Messiah:--

  'O thou my voice inspire,
   Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!'

The solemnity of the style would not admit of you for thou, in the pronoun; nor the measure of the verse touchedst, or didst touch, in the verb, as it indispensably ought to be, in the one or the other of those two forms; you, who touched, or thou, who touchedst, or didst touch.

  'Just of thy word, in every thought sincere;
   Who knew no wish, but what the world might hear.'--Pope.

It ought to be your in the first line, or knewest in the second. In order to avoid this grammatical inconvenience, the two distinct forms of thou and you, are often used promiscuously by our modern poets, in the same paragraph, and even in the same sentence, very inelegantly and improperly:--

  'Now, now, I seize, I clasp thy charms;
   And now you burst, ah cruel! from my arms.'--Pope."
       --Lowth's English Gram., p. 34.

OBS. 17.--The points of Dr. Lowth's doctrine which are not sufficiently true, are the following: First, it is not true, that thou, in the familiar style, is totally disused, and the plural you employed universally in its stead; though Churchill, and others, besides the good bishop, seem to represent it so. It is now nearly two hundred years since the rise of the Society of Friends: and, whatever may have been the practice of others before or since, it is certain, that from their rise to the present day, there have been, at every point of time, many thousands who made no use of you for thou; and, but for the clumsy forms which most grammarians hold to be indispensable to verbs of the second person singular, the beautiful, distinctive, and poetical words, thou, thyself, thy, thine, and thee, would certainly be in no danger yet of becoming obsolete. Nor can they, indeed, at any rate, become so, till the fairest branches of the Christian Church shall wither; or, what should seem no gracious omen, her bishops and clergy learn to pray in the plural number, for fashion's sake. Secondly, it is not true, that, "thou, who touch'd," ought indispensably to be, "thou, who touchedst, or didst touch." It is far better to dispense with the inflection, in such a case, than either to impose it, or to resort to the plural pronoun. The "grammatical inconvenience" of dropping the st or est of a preterit, even in the solemn style, cannot be great, and may be altogether imaginary; that of imposing it, except in solemn prose, is not only real, but is often insuperable. It is not very agreeable, however, to see it added to some verbs, and dropped from others, in the same sentence: as,

  "Thou, who didst call the Furies from the abyss,
   And round Orestes bade them howl and hiss."
       --Byron's Childe Harold, Canto iv, st. 132.
  "Thou satt'st from age to age insatiate,
   And drank the blood of men, and gorged their flesh."
       --Pollok's Course of Time, B. vii, l. 700. 

OBS. 18.--We see then, that, according to Dr. Lowth and others, the only good English in which one can address an individual on any ordinary occasion, is you with a plural verb; and that, according to Lindley Murray and others, the only good English for the same purpose, is thou with a verb inflected with st or est. Both parties to this pointed contradiction, are more or less in the wrong. The respect of the Friends for those systems of grammar which deny them the familiar use of the pronoun thou, is certainly not more remarkable, than the respect of the world for those which condemn the substitution of the plural you. Let grammar be a true record of existing facts, and all such contradictions must vanish. And, certainly, these great masters here contradict each other, in what every one who reads English, ought to know. They agree, however, in requiring, as indispensable to grammar, what is not only inconvenient, but absolutely impossible. For what "the measure of verse will not admit," cannot be used in poetry; and what may possibly be crowded into it, will often be far from ornamental. Yet our youth have been taught to spoil the versification of Pope and others, after the following manner: "Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire." Say, "Who touchedst or didst touch."--Murray's Key, 8vo, p. 180. "For thee that ever felt another's wo." Say, "Didst feel."--Ib. "Who knew no wish but what the world might hear." Say, "Who knewest or didst know."--Ib. "Who all my sense confin'd." Say, "Confinedst or didst confine."--Ib., p. 186. "Yet gave me in this dark estate." Say, "Gavedst or didst give."--Ib. "Left free the human will."--Pope. Murray's criticism extends not to this line, but by the analogy we must say, "Leavedst or leftest." Now it would be easier to fill a volume with such quotations, and such corrections, than to find sufficient authority to prove one such word as gavedst, leavedst, or leftest, to be really good English. If Lord Byron is authority for "work'dst," he is authority also for dropping the st, even where it might be added:--

   ----"Thou, who with thy frown
   Annihilated senates."
       --Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto iv, st. 83.

OBS. 19.--According to Dr. Lowth, as well as Coar and some others, those preterits in which ed is sounded like t, "admit the change of ed into t; as, snacht, checkt, snapt, mixt, dropping also one of the double letters, dwelt, past."--Lowth's Gram., p. 46. If this principle were generally adopted, the number of our regular verbs would be greatly diminished, and irregularities would be indefinitely increased. What confusion the practice must make in the language, especially when we come to inflect this part of the verb with st or est, has already been suggested. Yet an ingenious and learned writer, an able contributor to the Philological Museum, published at Cambridge, England, in 1832; tracing the history of this class of derivatives, and finding that after the ed was contracted in pronunciation, several eminent writers, as Spenser, Milton, and others, adopted in most instances a contracted form of orthography; has seriously endeavoured to bring us back to their practice. From these authors, he cites an abundance of such contractions as the following: 1. "Stowd, hewd, subdewd, joyd, cald, expeld, compeld, spoild, kild, seemd, benumbd, armd, redeemd, staind, shund, paynd, stird, appeard, perceivd, resolvd, obeyd, equald, foyld, hurld, ruind, joynd, scatterd, witherd," and others ending in d. 2. "Clapt, whipt, worshipt, lopt, stopt, stampt, pickt, knockt, linkt, puft, stuft, hist, kist, abasht, brusht, astonisht, vanquisht, confest, talkt, twicht," and many others ending in t. This scheme divides our regular verbs into three classes; leaving but very few of them to be written as they now are. It proceeds upon the principle of accommodating our orthography to the familiar, rather than to the solemn pronunciation of the language. "This," as Dr. Johnson observes, "is to measure by a shadow." It is, whatever show of learning or authority may support it, a pernicious innovation. The critic says, "I have not ventured to follow the example of Spenser and Milton throughout, but have merely attempted to revive the old form of the preterit in t."--Phil. Museum, Vol. i, p. 663. "We ought not however to stop here," he thinks; and suggests that it would be no small improvement, "to write leveld for levelled, enameld for enamelled, reformd for reformed," &c.

OBS. 20.--If the multiplication of irregular preterits, as above described, is a grammatical error of great magnitude; the forcing of our old and well-known irregular verbs into regular forms that are seldom if ever used, is an opposite error nearly as great. And, in either case, there is the same embarrassment respecting the formation of the second person. Thus Cobbett, in his English Grammar in a Series of Letters, has dogmatically given us a list of seventy verbs, which, he says, are, "by some persons, erroneously deemed irregular;" and has included in it the words, blow, build, cast, cling, creep, freeze, draw, throw, and the like, to the number of sixty; so that he is really right in no more than one seventh part of his catalogue. And, what is more strange, for several of the irregularities which he censures, his own authority may be quoted from the early editions of this very book: as, "For you could have thrown about seeds."--Edition of 1818, p. 13. "For you could have throwed about seeds."--Edition of 1832, p. 13. "A tree is blown down."--Ed. of 1818, p. 27. "A tree is blowed down."--Ed. of 1832, p. 25. "It froze hard last night. Now, what was it that froze so hard?"--Ed. of 1818, p. 38. "It freezed hard last night. Now, what was it that freezed so hard?"--Ed. of 1832, p. 35. A whole page of such contradictions may be quoted from this one grammarian, showing that he did not know what form of the preterit he ought to prefer. From such an instructor, who can find out what is good English, and what is not? Respecting the inflections of the verb, this author says, "There are three persons; but, our verbs have no variation in their spelling, except for the third person singular."--Cobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 88. Again: "Observe, however, that, in our language, there is no very great use in this distinction of modes; because, for the most part, our little signs do the business, and they never vary in the letters of which they are composed."--Ib., ¶ 95. One would suppose, from these remarks, that Cobbett meant to dismiss the pronoun thou entirely from his conjugations. Not so at all. In direct contradiction to himself, he proceeds to inflect the verb as follows: "I work, Thou workest, He works; &c. I worked, Thou workedst, He worked; &c. I shall or will work, Thou shalt or wilt work, He shall or will work;" &c.--Ib., ¶ 98. All the compound tenses, except the future, he rejects, as things which "can only serve to fill up a book."

OBS. 21.--It is a common but erroneous opinion of our grammarians, that the unsyllabic suffix st, wherever found, is a modern contraction of the syllable est. No writer, however, thinks it always necessary to remind his readers of this, by inserting the sign of contraction; though English books are not a little disfigured by questionable apostrophes inserted for no other reason. Dr. Lowth says, "The nature of our language, the accent and pronunciation of it, inclines [incline] us to contract even all our regular verbs: thus loved, turned, are commonly pronounced in one syllable lov'd, turn'd: and the second person, which was originally in three syllables, lovedest, turnedest, is [say has] now become a dissyllable, lovedst, turnedst."--Lowth's Gram., p. 45; Hiley's, 45; Churchill's, 104. See also Priestley's Gram., p. 114; and Coar's, p. 102. This latter doctrine, with all its vouchers, still needs confirmation. What is it but an idle conjecture? If it were true, a few quotations might easily prove it; but when, and by whom, have any such words as lovedest, turnedest, ever been used? For aught I see, the simple st is as complete and as old a termination for the second person singular of an English verb, as est; indeed, it appears to be older: and, for the preterit, it is, and (I believe) always has been, the most regular, if not the only regular, addition. If sufferedest, woundedest, and killedest, are words more regular than sufferedst, woundedst, killedst, then are heardest, knewest, slewest, sawest, rannest, metest, swammest, and the like, more regular than heardst, knewst, slewst, sawst, ranst, metst, swamst, satst, saidst, ledst, fledst, toldst, and so forth; but not otherwise.[246] So, in the solemn style, we write seemest, deemest, swimmest, like seemeth, deemeth, swimmeth, and so forth; but, when we use the form which has no increase of syllables, why is an apostrophe more necessary in the second person, than in the third?--in seemst, deemst, swimst, than in seems, deems, swims? When final e is dropped from the verb, the case is different; as,

  "Thou cutst my head off with a golden axe,
   And smil'st upon the stroke that murders me."--Shakspeare.

OBS. 22.--Dr. Lowth supposes the verbal termination s or es to have come from a contraction of eth. He says, "Sometimes, by the rapidity of our pronunciation, the vowels are shortened or lost; and the consonants, which are thrown together, do not coalesce with one another, and are therefore changed into others of the same organ, or of a kindred species. This occasions a farther deviation from the regular form: thus, loveth, turneth, are contracted into lov'th, turn'th, and these, for easier pronunciation, immediately become loves, turns."--Lowth's Gram., p. 46; Hiley's, 45. This etymology may possibly be just, but certainly such contractions as are here spoken of, were not very common in Lowth's age, or even in that of Ben Jonson, who resisted the s. Nor is the sound of sharp th very obviously akin to flat s. The change would have been less violent, if lov'st and turnst had become loves and turns; as some people nowadays are apt to change them, though doubtless this is a grammatical error: as,

  "And wheresoe'er thou casts thy view."
   "Nor thou that flings me floundering from thy back."
       --Bat. of Frogs and Mice, 1,123.
   "Thou sitt'st on high, and measures destinies."
       --Pollok, Course of Time, B. vi, 1, 668.

OBS. 23.--Possibly, those personal terminations of the verb which do not form syllables, are mere contractions or relics of est and eth, which are syllables; but it is perhaps not quite so easy to prove them so, as some authors imagine. In the oldest specimens given by Dr. Johnson in his History of the English Language,--specimens bearing a much earlier date than the English language can claim,--even in what he calls "Saxon in its highest state of purity," both st and th are often added to verbs, without forming additional syllables, and without any sign of contraction. Nor were verbs of the second person singular always inflected of old, in those parts to which est was afterwards very commonly added. Examples: "Buton ic wat thæt thu hoefst thara wæpna."--King Alfred. "But I know that thou hast those weapons." "Thæt thu oncnawe thara worda sothfæstnesse. of tham the thu geloered eart."--Lucæ, i, 4. "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed."--Luke, i, 4. "And thu nemst his naman Johannes."--Lucæ, i, 13. "And his name schal be clepid Jon."--Wickliffe's Version. "And thou shalt call his name John."--Luke, i, 13. "And he ne drincth win ne beor."--Lucæ, i, 15. "He schal not drinke wyn ne sydyr."--Wickliffe. "And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink."--Luke, i, 15. "And nu thu bist suwigende. and thu sprecan ne miht oth thone dæg the thas thing gewurthath. fortham thu minum wordum ne gelyfdest. tha beoth on hyra timan gefyllede."--Lucæ, i, 20. "And lo, thou schalt be doumbe, and thou schalt not mowe speke, til into the day in which these thingis schulen be don, for thou hast not beleved to my wordis, whiche schulen be fulfild in her tyme."--Wickliffe. "And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that[247] these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."--Luke, i, 20.

  "In chaungyng of her course, the chaunge shewth this,
   Vp startth a knaue, and downe there falth a knight."
       --Sir Thomas More.

OBS. 24.--The corollary towards which the foregoing observations are directed, is this. As most of the peculiar terminations by which the second person singular is properly distinguished in the solemn style, are not only difficult of utterance, but are quaint and formal in conversation; the preterits and auxiliaries of our verbs are seldom varied in familiar discourse, and the present is generally simplified by contraction, or by the adding of st without increase of syllables. A distinction between the solemn and the familiar style has long been admitted, in the pronunciation of the termination ed, and in the ending of the verb in the third person singular; and it is evidently according to good taste and the best usage, to admit such a distinction in the second person singular. In the familiar use of the second person singular, the verb is usually varied only in the present tense of the indicative mood, and in the auxiliary hast of the perfect. This method of varying the verb renders the second person singular analogous to the third, and accords with the practice of the most intelligent of those who retain the common use of this distinctive and consistent mode of address. It disencumbers their familiar dialect of a multitude of harsh and useless terminations, which serve only, when uttered, to give an uncouth prominency to words not often emphatic; and, without impairing the strength or perspicuity of the language, increases its harmony, and reduces the form of the verb in the second person singular nearly to the same simplicity as in the other persons and numbers. It may serve also, in some instances, to justify the poets, in those abbreviations for which they have been so unreasonably censured by Lowth, Murray, and some other grammarians: as,

  "And thou their natures knowst, and gave them names,
   Needless to thee repeated."--Milton, P. L., Book vii, line 494.

OBS. 25.--The writings of the Friends, being mostly of a grave cast, afford but few examples of their customary manner of forming the verb in connexion with the pronoun thou, in familiar discourse. The following may serve to illustrate it: "Suitable to the office thou layst claim to."--R. BARCLAY'S Works, Vol. i, p. 27. "Notwithstanding thou may have sentiments opposite to mine."--THOMAS STORY. "To devote all thou had to his service;"--"If thou should come;"--"What thou said;"--"Thou kindly contributed;"--"The epistle which thou sent me;"--"Thou would perhaps allow;"--"If thou submitted;"--"Since thou left;"--"Should thou act;"--"Thou may be ready;"--"That thou had met;"--"That thou had intimated;"--"Before thou puts" [putst];--"What thou meets" [meetst];--"If thou had made;"--"I observed thou was;"--"That thou might put thy trust;"--"Thou had been at my house."--JOHN KENDALL. "Thou may be plundered;"--"That thou may feel;"--"Though thou waited long, and sought him;"--"I hope thou will bear my style;"--"Thou also knows" [knowst];--"Thou grew up;"--"I wish thou would yet take my counsel."--STEPHEN CRISP. "Thou manifested thy tender regard, stretched forth thy delivering hand, and fed and sustained us."--SAMUEL FOTHERGILL. The writer has met with thousands that used the second person singular in conversation, but never with any one that employed, on ordinary occasions, all the regular endings of the solemn style. The simplification of the second person singular, which, to a greater or less extent, is everywhere adopted by the Friends, and which is here defined and explained, removes from each verb eighteen of these peculiar terminations; and, (if the number of English verbs be, as stated by several grammarians, 8000,) disburdens their familiar dialect of 144,000 of these awkward and useless appendages.[248] This simplification is supported by usage as extensive as the familiar use of the pronoun thou; and is also in accordance with the canons of criticism: "The first canon on this subject is, All words and phrases which are remarkably harsh and unharmonious, and not absolutely necessary, should be rejected." See Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric, B. ii, Ch. ii, Sec. 2, Canon Sixth, p. 181. See also, in the same work, (B. hi, Ch. iv, Sec. 2d,) an express defence of "those elisions whereby the sound is improved;" especially of the suppression of the "feeble vowel in the last syllable of the preterits of our regular verbs;" and of "such abbreviations" as "the eagerness of conveying one's sentiments, the rapidity and ease of utterance, necessarily produce, in the dialect of conversation."--Pages 426 and 427. Lord Kames says, "That the English tongue, originally harsh, is at present much softened by dropping many redundant consonants, is undoubtedly true; that it is not capable of being further mellowed without suffering in its force and energy, will scarce be thought by any one who possesses an ear."--Elements of Criticism, Vol. ii, p. 12.

OBS. 26.--The following examples are from a letter of an African Prince, translated by Dr. Desaguillier of Cambridge, England, in 1743, and published in a London newspaper: "I lie there too upon the bed thou presented me;"--"After thou left me, in thy swimming house;"--"Those good things thou presented me;"--"When thou spake to the Great Spirit and his Son." If it is desirable that our language should retain this power of a simple literal version of what in others may be familiarly expressed by the second person singular, it is clear that our grammarians must not continue to dogmatize according to the letter of some authors hitherto popular. But not every popular grammar condemns such phraseology as the foregoing. "I improved, Thou improvedst, &c. This termination of the second person preterit, on account of its harshness, is seldom used, and especially in the irregular verbs."--Harrison's Gram., p. 26. "The termination est, annexed to the preter tenses of verbs, is, at best, a very harsh one, when it is contracted, according to our general custom of throwing out the e; as learnedst, for learnedest; and especially, if it be again contracted into one syllable, as it is commonly pronounced, and made learndst. * * * I believe a writer or speaker would have recourse to any periphrasis rather than say keptest, or keptst. * * * Indeed this harsh termination est is generally quite dropped in common conversation, and sometimes by the poets, in writing."--Priestley's Gram., p. 115. The fact is, it never was added with much uniformity. Examples: "But like the hell hounde thou waxed fall furious, expressing thy malice when thou to honour stied."--FABIAN'S CHRONICLE, V. ii, p. 522: in Tooke's Divers., T. ii, p. 232.

  "Thou from the arctic regions came. Perhaps
   Thou noticed on thy way a little orb,
   Attended by one moon--her lamp by night."
       --Pollok, B. ii, l. 5.
   "'So I believ'd.'--No, Abel! to thy grief,
   So thou relinquish'd all that was belief."
       --Crabbe, Borough, p. 279.

OBS. 27.--L. Murray, and his numerous copyists, Ingersoll, Greenleaf, Kirkham, Fisk, Flint, Comly, Alger, and the rest; though they insist on it, that the st of the second person can never be dispensed with, except in the imperative mood and some parts of the subjunctive; are not altogether insensible of that monstrous harshness which their doctrine imposes upon the language. Some of them tell us to avoid this by preferring the auxiliaries dost and didst: as dost burst, for burstest; didst check, for checkedst. This recommendation proceeds on the supposition that dost and didst are smoother syllables than est and edst; which is not true: didst learn is harsher than either learnedst or learntest; and all three of them are intolerable in common discourse. Nor is the "energy, or positiveness," which grammarians ascribe to these auxiliaries, always appropriate. Except in a question, dost and didst, like do, does, and did, are usually signs of emphasis; and therefore unfit to be substituted for the st, est, or edst, of an unemphatic verb. Kirkham, who, as we have seen, graces his Elocution with such unutterable things, as "prob'dst, hurl'dst, arm'dst, want'dst, burn'dst, bark'dst, bubbl'dst, troubbl'dst," attributes the use of the plural for the singular, to a design of avoiding the raggedness of the latter. "In order to avoid the disagreeable harshness of sound, occasioned by the frequent recurrence of the termination est, edst, in the adaptation of our verbs to the nominative thou, a modern innovation which substitutes you for thou, in familiar style, has generally been adopted. This innovation contributes greatly to the harmony of our colloquial style. You was formerly restricted to the plural number; but now it is employed to represent either a singular or a plural noun."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 99. A modern innovation, forsooth! Does not every body know it was current four hundred years ago, or more? Certainly, both ye and you were applied in this manner, to the great, as early as the fourteenth century. Chaucer sometimes used them so, and he died in 1400. Sir T. More uses them so, in a piece dated 1503.

  "O dere cosyn, Dan Johan, she sayde,
   What eyleth you so rathe to aryse?"--Chaucer.

Shakspeare most commonly uses thou, but he sometimes has you in stead of it. Thus, he makes Portia say to Brutus:

  "You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
   Musing, and sighing, with your arms across;
   And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
   You star'd upon me with ungentle looks."--J. Cæsar, Act ii, Sc. 2.

OBS. 28.--"There is a natural tendency in all languages to throw out the rugged parts which improper consonants produce, and to preserve those which are melodious and agreeable to the ear."--Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 29. "The English tongue, so remarkable for its grammatical simplicity, is loaded with a great variety of dull unmeaning terminations. Mr. Sheridan attributes this defect, to an utter inattention to what is easy to the organs of speech and agreeable to the ear; and further adds, that, 'the French having been adopted as the language of the court, no notice was taken, of the spelling or pronunciation of our words, until the reign of queen Anne.' So little was spelling attended to in the time of Elizabeth, that Dr. Johnson informs us, that on referring to Shakspeare's will, to determine how his name was spelt, he was found to have written it himself [in] no less [fewer] than three different ways."--Ib., p. 477. In old books, our participial or verbal termination ed, is found written in about a dozen different ways; as, ed, de, d, t, id, it, yd, yt, ede, od, ud. For est and eth, we find sometimes the consonants only; sometimes, ist or yst, ith or yth; sometimes, for the latter, oth or ath; and sometimes the ending was omitted altogether. In early times also the th was an ending for verbs of the third person plural, as well as for those of the third person singular;[249] and, in the imperative mood, it was applied to the second person, both singular and plural: as,

  "Demith thyself, that demist other's dede;
   And trouthe the shall deliver, it's no drede."--Chaucer.

OBS. 29.--It must be obvious to every one who has much acquaintance with the history of our language, that this part of its grammar has always been quite as unsettled as it is now; and, however we may wish to establish its principles, it is idle to teach for absolute certainty that which every man's knowledge may confute. Let those who desire to see our forms of conjugation as sure as those of other tongues, study to exemplify in their own practice what tends to uniformity. The best that can be done by the author of a grammar, is, to exhibit usage, as it has been, and as it is; pointing out to the learner what is most fashionable, as well as what is most orderly and agreeable. If by these means the usage of writers and speakers cannot be fixed to what is fittest for their occasions, and therefore most grammatical, there is in grammar no remedy for their inaccuracies; as there is none for the blunders of dull opinionists, none for the absurdities of Ignorance stalled in the seats of Learning. Some grammarians say, that, whenever the preterit of an irregular verb is like the present, it should take edst for the second person singular. This rule, (which is adopted by Walker, in his Principles, No. 372,) gives us such words as cast-edst, cost-edst, bid-dedst, burst-edst, cut-tedst, hit-tedst, let-tedst, put-tedst, hurt-edst, rid-dedst, shed-dedst, &c. But the rule is groundless. The few examples which may be adduced from ancient writings, in support of this principle, are undoubtedly formed in the usual manner from regular preterits now obsolete; and if this were not the case, no person of taste could think of employing, on any occasion, derivatives so uncouth. Dr. Johnson has justly remarked, that "the chief defect of our language, is ruggedness and asperity." And this defect, as some of the foregoing remarks have shown, is peculiarly obvious, when even the regular termination of the second person singular is added to our preterits. Accordingly, we find numerous instances among the poets, both ancient and modern, in which that termination is omitted. See Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, everywhere.

  "Thou, who of old the prophet's eye unsealed."--Pollok.
   "Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste."--Burns.[250] 

OBS. 30.--With the familiar form of the second person singular, those who constantly put you for thou can have no concern; and many may think it unworthy of notice, because Murray has said nothing about it: others will hastily pronounce it bad English, because they have learned at school some scheme of the verb, which implies that this must needs be wrong. It is this partial learning which makes so much explanation here necessary. The formation of this part of speech, form it as you will, is central to grammar, and cannot but be very important. Our language can never entirely drop the pronoun thou, and its derivatives, thy, thine, thee, thyself, without great injury, especially to its poetry. Nor can the distinct syllabic utterance of the termination ed be now generally practised, except in solemn prose. It is therefore better, not to insist on those old verbal forms against which there are so many objections, than to exclude the pronoun of the second person singular from all such usage, whether familiar or poetical, as will not admit them. It is true that on most occasions you may be substituted for thou, without much inconvenience; and so may we be substituted for I, with just as much propriety; though Dr. Perley thinks the latter usage "is not to be encouraged."--Gram., p. 28. Our authors and editors, like kings and emperors, are making we for I their most common mode of expression. They renounce their individuality to avoid egotism. And when all men shall have adopted this enallage, the fault indeed will be banished, or metamorphosed, but with it will go an other sixth part of every English conjugation. The pronouns in the following couplet are put for the first person singular, the second person singular, and the second person plural; yet nobody will understand them so, but by their antecedents:

  "Right trusty, and so forth--we let you to know
   We are very ill used by you mortals below."--Swift.

OBS. 31.--It is remarkable that some, who forbear to use the plural for the singular in the second person, adopt it without scruple, in the first. The figure is the same in both; and in both, sufficiently common. Neither practice is worthy to be made more general than it now is. If thou should not be totally sacrificed to what was once a vain compliment, neither should I, to what is now an occasional, and perhaps a vain assumption. Lindley Murray, who does not appear to have used you for thou, and who was sometimes singularly careful to periphrase [sic--KTH] and avoid the latter, nowhere in his grammar speaks of himself in the first person singular. He is often "the Compiler;" rarely, "the Author;" generally, "We:" as, "We have distributed these parts of grammar, in the mode which we think most correct and intelligible."--Octavo Gram., p. 58. "We shall not pursue this subject any further."--Ib., p. 62. "We shall close these remarks on the tenses."--Ib., p. 76. "We presume no solid objection can be made."--Ib., p. 78. "The observations which we have made."--Ib., p. 100. "We shall produce a remarkable example of this beauty from Milton."--Ib., p. 331. "We have now given sufficient openings into this subject."--Ib., p. 334. This usage has authority enough; for it was not uncommon even among the old Latin grammarians; but he must be a slender scholar, who thinks the pronoun we thereby becomes singular. What advantage or fitness there is in thus putting we for I, the reader may judge. Dr. Blair did not hesitate to use I, as often as ho had occasion; neither did Lowth, or Johnson, or Walker, or Webster: as, "I shall produce a remarkable example of this beauty from Milton."--Blair's Rhet., p. 129. "I have now given sufficient openings into this subject."--Ib., p. 131. So in Lowth's Preface: "I believe,"--"I am persuaded,"--"I am sure,"--"I think,"--"I am afraid,"--"I will not take upon me to say."

OBS. 32.--Intending to be critical without hostility, and explicit without partiality, I write not for or against any sect, or any man; but to teach all who desire to know the grammar of our tongue. The student must distinctly understand, that it is necessary to speak and write differently, according to the different circumstances or occasions of writing. Who is he that will pretend that the solemn style of the Bible may be used in familiar discourse, without a mouthing affectation? In preaching, or in praying, the ancient terminations of est for the second person singular and eth for the third, as well as ed pronounced as a separate syllable for the preterit, are admitted to be generally in better taste than the smoother forms of the familiar style: because the latter, though now frequently heard in religious assemblies, are not so well suited to the dignity and gravity of a sermon or a prayer. In grave poetry also, especially when it treats of scriptural subjects, to which you put for thou is obviously unsuitable, the personal terminations of the verb, though from the earliest times to the present day they have usually been contracted and often omitted by the poets, ought still perhaps to be considered grammatically necessary, whenever they can be uttered, agreeably to the notion of our tuneless critics. The critical objection to their elision, however, can have no very firm foundation while it is admitted by some of the objectors themselves, that, "Writers generally have recourse to this mode of expression, that they may avoid harsh terminations."-- Irving's Elements of English Composition, p. 12. But if writers of good authority, such as Pope, Byron, and Pollok, have sometimes had recourse to this method of simplifying the verb, even in compositions of a grave cast, the elision may, with tenfold stronger reason, be admitted in familiar writing or discourse, on the authority of general custom among those who choose to employ the pronoun thou in conversation.

  "But thou, false Arcite, never shall obtain," &c.
       --Dryden, Fables.
   "These goods thyself can on thyself bestow."
       --Id., in Joh. Dict.
   "What I show, thy self may freely on thyself bestow."
       --Id., Lowth's Gram., p. 26.
   "That thou might Fortune to thy side engage."
   "Of all thou ever conquered, none was left."
       --Pollok, B. vii, l. 760.
   "And touch me trembling, as thou touched the man," &c.
       --Id., B. x, l. 60.

OBS. 33.--Some of the Friends (perhaps from an idea that it is less formal) misemploy thee for thou; and often join it to the third person of the verb in stead of the second. Such expressions as, thee does, thee is, thee has, thee thinks, &c., are double solecisms; they set all grammar at defiance. Again, many persons who are not ignorant of grammar, and who employ the pronoun aright, sometimes improperly sacrifice concord to a slight improvement in sound, and give to the verb the ending of the third person, for that of the second. Three or four instances of this, occur in the examples which have been already quoted. See also the following, and many more, in the works of the poet Burns; who says of himself, "Though it cost the schoolmaster some thrashings, I made an excellent English scholar; and, by the time I was ten or eleven years of age, I was a critic in substantives, VERBS, and particles:"--"But when thou pours;"--"There thou shines chief;"--"Thou clears the head;"--"Thou strings the nerves;"--"Thou brightens black despair;"--"Thou comes;"--"Thou travels far;"--"Now thou's turned out;"--"Unseen thou lurks;"--"O thou pale orb that silent shines." This mode of simplifying the verb, confounds the persons; and, as it has little advantage in sound, over the regular contracted form of the second person, it ought to be avoided. With this author it may be, perhaps, a Scotticism: as,

  "Thou paints auld nature to the nines,
   In thy sweet Caledonian lines."--Burns to Ramsay.

"Thou paintst old nature," would be about as smooth poetry, and certainly much better English. This confounding of the persons of the verb, however, is no modern peculiarity. It appears to be about as old as the use of s for th or eth. Spenser, the great English poet of the sixteenth century, may be cited in proof: as,

  "Siker, thou's but a lazy loord,
   And rekes much of thy swinke."--Joh. Dict., w. Loord.

OBS. 34.--In the solemn style, (except in poetry, which usually contracts these forms,) the second person singular of the present indicative, and that of the irregular preterits, commonly end in est, pronounced as a separate syllable, and requiring the duplication of the final consonant, according to Rule 3d for Spelling: as, I run, thou runnest; I ran, thou rannest. But as the termination ed, in solemn discourse, constitutes a syllable, the regular preterits form the second person singular by assuming st, without further increase of syllables: as, I loved, thou lovedst; not, "lovedest," as Chandler made it in his English Grammar, p. 41, Edition of 1821; and as Wells's rule, above cited, if literally taken, would make it. Dost and hast, and the three irregular preterits, wast, didst, and hadst, are permanently contracted; though doest and diddest are sometimes seen in old books. Saidst is more common, and perhaps more regular, than saidest. Werest has long been contracted into wert: "I would thou werest either cold or hot."--W. Perkins, 1608.[251] The auxiliaries shall and will change the final l to t, and become shalt and wilt. To the auxiliaries, may, can, might, could, would, and should, the termination est was formerly added; but they are now generally written with st only, and pronounced as monosyllables, even in solemn discourse. Murray, in quoting the Scriptures, very often charges mayest to mayst, mightest to mightst, &c. Some other permanent contractions are occasionally met with, in what many grammarians call the solemn style; as bidst for biddest, fledst for fleddest, satst for sattest:

  "Riding sublime, thou bidst the world adore,
   And humblest nature with thy northern blast."
   "Fly thither whence thou fledst."
        --Milton, P. L., B. iv, l. 963.
   "Unspeakable, who sitst above these heavens."
       --Id., ib., B. v, l. 156.
   "Why satst thou like an enemy in wait?"
       --Id., ib., B. iv, l. 825.

OBS. 35.--The formation of the third person singular of verbs, is now precisely the same as that of the plural number of nouns: as, love, loves; show, shows; boast, boasts; fly, flies; reach, reaches. This form began to be used about the beginning of the sixteenth century. The ending seems once to have been es, sounded as s or z: as,

  "And thus I see among these pleasant thynges
   Eche care decayes, and yet my sorrow sprynges."--Earl of Surry.
   "With throte yrent, he roares, he lyeth along."--Sir T. Wyat.
   "He dyeth, he is all dead, he pantes, he restes."--Id., 1540.

In all these instances, the e before the s has become improper. The es does not here form a syllable; neither does the eth, in "lyeth" and "dyeth." In very ancient times, the third person singular appears to have been formed by adding th or eth nearly as we now add s or es[252] Afterwards, as in our common Bible, it was formed by adding th to verbs ending in e, and eth to all others; as, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself."--1 Cor., xi, 29. "He quickeneth man, who is dead in trespasses and sins; he keepeth alive the quickened soul, and leadeth it in the paths of life; he scattereth, subdueth, and conquereth the enemies of the soul."--I. Penington. This method of inflection, as now pronounced, always adds a syllable to the verb. It is entirely confined to the solemn style, and is little used. Doth, hath, and saith, appear to be permanent contractions of verbs thus formed. In the days of Shakspeare, both terminations were common, and he often mixed them, in a way which is not very proper now: as,

  "The quality of mercy is not strained;
   It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
   Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
   It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."
       --Merchant of Venice.

OBS. 36.--When the second person singular is employed in familiar discourse, with any regard to correctness, it is usually formed in a manner strictly analogous to that which is now adopted in the third person singular. When the verb ends with a sound which will unite with that of st or s, the second person singular is formed by adding s only, and the third, by adding s only; and the number of syllables is not increased: as, I read, thou readst, he reads; I know, thou knowst, he knows; I take, thou takest, he takes; I free, thou freest, he frees. For, when the verb ends in mute a, no termination renders this a vocal in the familiar style, if a synæresis can take place. To prevent their readers from ignorantly assuming the pronunciation of the solemn style, the poets have generally marked such words with an apostrophe: as,

  "Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
   To lie the way thou go'st, not whence thou com'st."--Shak.

OBS. 37.--But when the verb ends in a sound which will not unite with that of st or s, the second and third persons are formed by adding est and es; or, if the first person end in mute e, the st and s render that e vocal; so that the verb acquires an additional syllable: as, I trace, thou tracest, he traces; I pass, thou passest, he passes; I fix, thou fixest, he fixes; I preach, thou preachest, he preaches; I blush, thou blushest, he blushes; I judge, thou judgest, he judges. But verbs ending in o or y preceded by a consonant, do not exactly follow either of the foregoing rules. In these, y is changed into i; and, to both o and i, est and es are added without increase of syllables: as, I go, thou goest, he goes; I undo, thou undoest,[253] he undoes; I fly, thou fliest, he flies; I pity, thou pitiest, he pities. Thus, in the following lines, goest must be pronounced like ghost; otherwise, we spoil the measure of the verse:

  "Thou goest not now with battle, and the voice
   Of war, as once against the rebel hosts;
   Thou goest a Judge, and findst the guilty bound;
   Thou goest to prove, condemn, acquit, reward."--Pollok, B. x.

In solemn prose, however, the termination is here made a separate syllable: as, I go, thou goëst, he goëth; I undo, thou undoëst, he undoëth; I fly, thou fliëst, he fliëth; I pity, thou pitiëst, he pitiëth.

OBS. 38.--The auxiliaries do, dost, does,--(pronounced doo, dust, duz; and not as the words dough, dosed, doze,--) am, art, is,--have, hast, has,--being also in frequent use as principal verbs of the present tense, retain their peculiar forms, with distinction of person and number, when they help to form the compound tenses of other verbs. The other auxiliaries are not varied, or ought not to be varied, except in the solemn style. Example of the familiar use: "That thou may be found truly owning it."--Barclay's Works, Vol. i, p. 234.

OBS. 39.--The only regular terminations that are added to English verbs, are ing, d or e, st or est, s or es, th or eth[254] Ing, and th or eth, always add a syllable to the verb; except in doth, hath, saith.[255] The rest, whenever their sound will unite with that of the final syllable of the verb, are usually added without increasing the number of syllables; otherwise, they are separately pronounced. In solemn discourse, however, ed and est are by most speakers uttered distinctly in all cases; except sometimes when a vowel precedes: as in sanctified, glorified, which are pronounced as three syllables only. Yet, in spite of this analogy, many readers will have sanctifiest and glorifiest to be words of four syllables. If this pronunciation is proper, it is only so in solemn prose. The prosody of verse will show how many syllables the poets make: as,

  "Thou diedst, a most rare boy, of melancholy!"         --Shak., Cymb., Act iv, sc. 2.
   "Had not a voice thus warn'd me: What thou seest,     What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself."
       --Milton, B. iv, l. 467.
   "By those thou wooedst from death to endless life."         --Pollok, B. ix, l. 7.
   "Attend: that thou art happy, owe to God;
   That thou continuest such, owe to thyself"         --Milton, B. v, l. 520.

OBS. 40.--If the grave and full form of the second person singular must needs be supposed to end rather with the syllable est than with st only, it is certain that this form may be contracted, whenever the verb ends in a sound which will unite with that of st. The poets generally employ the briefer or contracted forms; but they seem not to have adopted a uniform and consistent method of writing them. Some usually insert the apostrophe, and, after a single vowel, double the final consonant before st; as, hold'st, bidd'st, said'st, ledd'st, wedd'st, trimm'st, may'st, might'st, and so forth: others, in numerous instances, add st only, and form permanent contractions; as, holdst, bidst, saidst, ledst, wedst, trimst, mayst, mightst, and so forth. Some retain the vowel e, in the termination of certain words, and suppress a preceding one; as, quick'nest, happ'nest, scatt'rest, rend'rest, rend'redst, slumb'rest, slumb'redst: others contract the termination of such words, and insert the apostrophe; as, quicken'st, happen'st, scatter'st, render'st, render'dst, slumber'st, slumber'dst. The nature and idiom of our language, "the accent and pronunciation of it," incline us to abbreviate or "contract even all our regular verbs;" so as to avoid, if possible, an increase of syllables in the inflection of them. Accordingly, several terminations which formerly constituted distinct syllables, have been either wholly dropped, or blended with the final syllables of the verbs to which they are added. Thus the plural termination en has become entirely obsolete; th or eth is no longer in common use; ed is contracted in pronunciation; the ancient ys or is, of the third person singular, is changed to s or es, and is usually added without increase of syllables; and st or est has, in part, adopted the analogy. So that the proper mode of forming these contractions of the second person singular, seems to be, to add st only; and to insert no apostrophe, unless a vowel is suppressed from the verb to which this termination is added: as, thinkst, sayst, bidst, sitst, satst, lov'st, lov'dst, slumberst, slumber'dst.

  "And know, for that thou slumberst on the guard,     Thou shalt be made to answer at the bar."--Cotton.

OBS. 41.--Ho man deserves more praise for his attention to English pronunciation, than John Walker. His Pronouncing Dictionary was, for a long period, the best standard of orthoëpy, that our schools possessed. But he seems to me to have missed a figure, in preferring such words as quick'nest, strength'nest, to the smoother and more regular forms, quickenst, strengthenst. It is true that these are rough words, in any form you can give them; but let us remember, that needless apostrophes are as rough to the eye, as needless st's to the ear. Our common grammarians are disposed to encumber the language with as many of both as they can find any excuse for, and vastly more than can be sustained by any good argument. In words that are well understood to be contracted in pronunciation, the apostrophe is now less frequently used than it was formerly. Walker says, "This contraction of the participial ed, and the verbal en, is so fixed an idiom of our pronunciation, that to alter it, would be to alter the sound of the whole language. It must, however, be regretted that it subjects our tongue to some of the most hissing, snapping, clashing, grinding sounds that ever grated the ears of a Vandal; thus, rasped, scratched, wrenched, bridled, fangled, birchen, hardened, strengthened, quickened, &c. almost frighten us when written as they are actually pronounced, as rapt, scratcht, wrencht, bridl'd, fangl'd, birch'n, strength'n'd, quick'n'd, &c.; they become still more formidable when used contractedly in the solemn style, which never ought to be the case; for here instead of thou strength'n'st or strength'n'd'st, thou quick'n'st or quick'n'd'st, we ought to pronounce thou strength'nest or strength'nedst, thou quick'nest or quick'nedst, which are sufficiently harsh of all conscience."--Principles, No. 359. Here are too many apostrophes; for it does not appear that such words as strengthenedest and quickenedest ever existed, except in the imagination of certain grammarians. In solemn prose one may write, thou quickenest, thou strengthenest, or thou quickenedst, thou strengthenedst; but, in the familiar style, or in poetry, it is better to write, thou quickenst, thou strengthenst, thou quickened, thou strengthened. This is language which it is possible to utter; and it is foolish to strangle ourselves with strings of rough consonants, merely because they are insisted on by some superficial grammarians. Is it not strange, is it not incredible, that the same hand should have written the two following lines, in the same sentence? Surely, the printer has been at fault.

  "With noiseless foot, thou walkedst the vales of earth"--     "Most honourable thou appeared, and most     To be desired."--Pollok's Course of Time, B. ix, l. 18, and l. 24.

OBS. 42.--It was once a very common practice, to retain the final y, in contractions of the preterit or of the second person of most verbs that end in y, and to add the consonant terminations d, st, and dst, with an apostrophe before each; as, try'd for tried, reply'd for replied, try'st for triest, try'dst for triedst. Thus Milton:--

  "Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return, fair Eve;     Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'st, of him thou art."         --P. L., B. iv, l. 481.

This usage, though it may have been of some advantage as an index to the pronunciation of the words, is a palpable departure from the common rule for spelling such derivatives. That rule is, "The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a consonant, is changed into i before an additional termination." The works of the British poets, except those of the present century, abound with contractions like the foregoing; but late authors, or their printers, have returned to the rule; and the former practice is wearing out and becoming obsolete. Of regular verbs that end in ay, ey, or oy, we have more than half a hundred; all of which usually retain the y in their derivatives, agreeably to an other of the rules for spelling. The preterits of these we form by adding ed without increase of syllables; as, display, displayed; survey, surveyed; enjoy, enjoyed. These also, in both tenses, may take st without increase of syllables; as, display'st, display'dst; survey'st, survey'dst; enjoy'st, enjoy'dst. All these forms, and such as these, are still commonly considered contractions, and therefore written with the apostrophe; but if the termination st is sufficient of itself to mark the second person singular, as it certainly is considered to be as regards one half of them, and as it certainly was in the Saxon tongue still more generally, then for the other half there is no need of the apostrophe, because nothing is omitted. Est, like es, is generally a syllabic termination; but st, like s, is not. As signs of the third person, the s and the es are always considered equivalent; and, as signs of the second person, the st and the est are sometimes, and ought to be always, considered so too. To all verbs that admit the sound, we add the s without marking it as a contraction for es; and there seems to be no reason at all against adding the st in like manner, whenever we choose to form the second person without adding a syllable to the verb. The foregoing observations I commend to the particular attention of all those who hope to write such English as shall do them honour--to every one who, from a spark of literary ambition, may say of himself,

                 ---------"I twine
   My hopes of being remembered in my line
   With my land's language."--Byron's Childe Harold, Canto iv, st. 9.


The conjugation of a verb is a regular arrangement of its moods, tenses, persons, numbers, and participles.

There are four PRINCIPAL PARTS in the conjugation of every simple and complete verb; namely, the Present, the Preterit, the Imperfect Participle, and the Perfect Participle.[256] A verb which wants any of these parts, is called defective; such are most of the auxiliaries.

An auxiliary is a short verb prefixed to one of the principal parts of an other verb, to express some particular mode and time of the being, action, or passion. The auxiliaries are do, be, have, shall, will, may, can, and must, with their variations.


OBS. 1.--The present, or the verb in the present tense, is radically the same in all the moods, and is the part from which all the rest are formed. The present infinitive is commonly considered the root, or simplest form, of the English verb. We usually place the preposition TO before it; but never when with an auxiliary it forms a compound tense that is not infinitive: there are also some other exceptions, which plainly show, that the word to is neither a part of the verb, as Cobbett, R. C. Smith, S. Kirkham, and Wells, say it is; nor a part of the infinitive mood, as Hart and many others will have it to be, but a distinct preposition. (See, in the Syntax of this work, Observations on Rule 18th.) The preterit and the perfect participle are regularly formed by adding d or ed, and the imperfect participle, by adding ing, to the present.

OBS. 2.--The moods and tenses, in English, are formed partly by inflections, or changes made in the verb itself, and partly by the combination of the verb or its participle, with a few short verbs, called auxiliaries, or helping verbs. This view of the subject, though disputed by some, is sustained by such a preponderance both of authority and of reason, that I shall not trouble the reader with any refutation of those who object to it. Murray the schoolmaster observes, "In the English language, the times and modes of verbs are expressed in a perfect, easy, and beautiful manner, by the aid of a few little words called auxiliaries, or helping verbs. The possibility of a thing is expressed by can or could; the liberty to do a thing, by may or might; the inclination of the will, by will or would; the necessity of a thing, by must or ought, shall or should. The preposition to is never expressed after the helping verbs, except after ought."--Alex. Murray's Gram., p. 112. See nearly the same words in Buchanan's English Syntax, p. 36; and in the British Gram., p. 125.

OBS. 3.--These authors are wrong in calling ought a helping verb, and so is Oliver B. Peirce, in calling "ought to," and "ought to have" auxiliaries; for no auxiliary ever admits the preposition to after it or into it: and Murray of Holdgate is no less in fault, for calling let an auxiliary; because no mere auxiliary ever governs the objective case. The sentences, "He ought to help you," and, "Let him help you," severally involve two different moods: they are equivalent to, "It is his duty to help you;"--"Permit him to help you." Hence ought and let are not auxiliaries, but principal verbs.

OBS. 4.--Though most of the auxiliaries are defective, when compared with other verbs; yet these three, do, be, and have, being also principal verbs, are complete: but the participles of do and have are not used as auxiliaries; unless having, which helps to form the third or "compound perfect" participle, (as having loved,) may be considered such. The other auxiliaries have no participles.

OBS. 5.--English verbs are principally conjugated by means of auxiliaries; the only tenses which can be formed by the simple verb, being the present and the imperfect; as, I love, I loved. And even here an auxiliary is usually preferred in questions and negations; as, "Do you love?"--"You do not love." "Did he love?"--"He did not love." "Do I not yet grieve?"--"Did she not die?" All the other tenses, even in their simplest form, are compounds.

OBS. 6.--Dr. Johnson says, "Do is sometimes used superfluously, as I do love, I did love; simply for I love, or I loved; but this is considered as a vitious mode of speech."--Gram., in 4to Dict., p. 8. He also somewhere tells us, that these auxiliaries "are not proper before be and have;" as, "I do be," for I am; "I did have," for I had. The latter remark is generally true, and it ought to be remembered;[257] but, in the imperative mood, be and have will perhaps admit the emphatic word do before them, in a colloquial style: as, "Now do be careful;"--"Do have a little discretion." Sanborn repeatedly puts do before be, in this mood: as, "Do you be. Do you be guarded. Do thou be. Do thou be guarded."--Analytical Gram., p. 150. "Do thou be watchful."--Ib., p. 155. In these instances, he must have forgotten that he had elsewhere said positively, that, "Do, as an auxiliary, is never used with the verb be or am."--Ib., p. 112. In the other moods, it is seldom, if ever, proper before be; but it is sometimes used before have, especially with a negative: as, "Those modes of charity which do not have in view the cultivation of moral excellence, are essentially defective."--Wayland's Moral Science, p. 428. "Surely, the law of God, whether natural or revealed, does not have respect merely to the external conduct of men."--Stuart's Commentary on Romans, p. 158. "And each day of our lives do we have occasion to see and lament it."--Dr. Bartlett's Lecture on Health, p. 5. "Verbs, in themselves co nsidered, do not have person and number."--R. C. Smith's New Gram., p. 21. [This notion of Smith's is absurd. Kirkham taught the same as regards "person."] In the following example, does he is used for is,--the auxiliary is,--and perhaps allowably: "It is certain from scripture, that the same person does in the course of life many times offend and be forgiven."--West's Letters to a Young Lady, p. 182.

OBS. 7.--In the compound tenses, there is never any variation of ending for the different persons and numbers, except in the first auxiliary: as, "Thou wilt have finished it;" not, "Thou wilt hast finishedst it;" for this is nonsense. And even for the former, it is better to say, in the familiar style, "Thou will have finished it;" for it is characteristic of many of the auxiliaries, that, unlike other verbs, they are not varied by s or eth, in the third person singular, and never by st or est, in the second person singular, except in the solemn style. Thus all the auxiliaries of the potential mood, as well as shall and will of the indicative, are without inflection in the third person singular, though will, as a principal verb, makes wills or willeth, as well as willest, in the indicative present. Hence there appears a tendency in the language, to confine the inflection of its verbs to this tense only; and to the auxiliary have, hast, has, which is essentially present, though used with a participle to form the perfect. Do, dost, does, and am, art, is, whether used as auxiliaries or as principal verbs, are always of the indicative present.

OBS. 8.--The word need,--(though, as a principal verb and transitive, it is unquestionably both regular and complete,--having all the requisite parts, need, needed, needing, needed,--and being necessarily inflected in the indicative present, as, I need, thou needst or needest, he needs or needeth,--) is so frequently used without inflection, when placed before an other verb to express a necessity of the being, action, or passion, that one may well question whether it has not become, under these circumstances, an auxiliary of the potential mood; and therefore proper to be used, like all the other auxiliaries of this mood, without change of termination. I have not yet knowingly used it so myself, nor does it appear to have been classed with the auxiliaries, by any of our grammarians, except Webster.[258] I shall therefore not presume to say now, with positiveness, that it deserves this rank; (though I incline to think it does;) but rather quote such instances as have occurred to me in reading, and leave the student to take his choice, whether to condemn as bad English the uninflected examples, or to justify them in this manner. "He that can swim, need not despair to fly."--Johnson's Rasselas, p. 29. "One therefore needs not expect to do it."--Kirkham's Elocution, p. 155. "In so doing I should only record some vain opinions of this age, which a future one need not know."--Rush, on the Voice, p. 345. "That a boy needs not be kept at school."--LISDSEY: in Kirkham's Elocution, p. 164. "No man need promise, unless he please."--Wayland's Moral Science, p. 312. "What better reason needs be given?"--Campbell's Rhet., p. 51. "He need assign no other reason for his conduct."--Wayland, ib., p. 214. "Sow there is nothing that a man needs be ashamed of in all this."--Collier's Antoninus, p. 45. "No notice need be taken of the advantages."--Walker's Rhyming Dict., Vol. ii, p. 304. "Yet it needs not be repeated."--Bicknell's Gram., Part ii, p. 51. "He need not be anxious."--Greenleaf's Gram. Simplified, p. 38. "He needs not be afraid."--Fisk's Gram. Simplified, p. 124. "He who will not learn to spell, needs not learn to write."--Red Book, p. 22. "The heeder need be under no fear."--Greenleaf's Gram., p. 38.[259] "More need not be said about it."--Cobbett's E. Gram., ¶ 272. "The object needs not be expressed."--Booth's Introduct. to Dict., p. 37. "Indeed, there need be no such thing."--Fosdick's De Sacy, p. 71. "This needs to be illustrated."--Ib., p. 81. "And no part of the sentence need be omitted."--Parkhurst's Grammar for Beginners, p. 114. "The learner needs to know what sort of words are called verbs."--Ib., p. 6. "No one need be apprehensive of suffering by faults of this kind."--Sheridan's Elocution, p. 171. "The student who has bought any of the former copies needs not repent."--Dr. Johnson, Adv. to Dict. "He need not enumerate their names."--Edward's First Lessons in Grammar, p. 38. "A quotation consisting of a word or two only need not begin with a capital."--Churchill's Gram., p. 383. "Their sex is commonly known, and needs not to be marked."--Ib., p. 72; Murray's Octavo Gram., 51. "One need only open Lord Clarendon's history, to find examples every where."--Blair's Rhet., p. 108. "Their sex is commonly known, and needs not be marked."--Lowth's Gram., p. 21; Murray's Duodecimo Gram., p. 51. "Nobody need be afraid he shall not have scope enough."--LOCKE: in Sanborn's Gram., p. 168. "No part of the science of language, needs to be ever uninteresting to the pursuer."--Nutting's Gram., p. vii. "The exact amount of knowledge is not, and need not be, great."--Todd's Student's Manual, p. 44. "He needs to act under a motive which is all-pervading."--Ib., p. 375. "What need be said, will not occupy a long space."--Ib., p. 244. "The sign TO needs not always be used."--Bucke's Gram., p. 96. "Such as he need not be ashamed of."--Snelling's Gift for Scribblers, p. 23.

  "Needst thou--need any one on earth--despair?"--Ib., p. 32.
   "Take timely counsel; if your dire disease
   Admits no cure, it needs not to displease."--Ib., p. 14.

OBS. 9.--If need is to be recognized as an auxiliary of the potential mood, it must be understood to stood to belong to two tenses; the present and the perfect; like may, can, and must: as, "He need not go, he need not have gone; Thou need not go, Thou need not have gone;" or, in the solemn style, "Thou needst not go, Thou needst not have gone." If, on the contrary, we will have it to be always a principal verb, the distinction of time should belong to itself, and also the distinction of person and number, in the parts which require it: as, "He needs not go. He needed not go; Thou needst not go, Thou needed not go;" or, in the solemn style, "Thou needest not go, Thou neededst not go." Whether it can be right to say, "He needed not have gone," is at least questionable. From the observations of Murray, upon relative tenses, under his thirteenth rule of syntax, it seems fair to infer that he would have judged this phraseology erroneous. Again, "He needs not have gone," appears to be yet more objectionable, though for the same reason. And if, "He need not have gone," is a correct expression, need is clearly proved to be an auxiliary, and the three words taken together must form the potential perfect. And so of the plural; for the argument is from the connexion of the tenses, and not merely from the tendency of auxiliaries to reject inflection: as, "They need not have been under great concern about their public affairs."--Hutchinson's History, i, 194, From these examples, it may be seen that an auxiliary and a principal verb have some essential difference; though these who dislike the doctrine of compound tenses, pretend not to discern any. Take some further citations; a few of which are erroneous in respect to time. And observe also that the regular verb sometimes admits the preposition to after it: "' There is great dignity in being waited for,' said one who had the habit of tardiness, and who had not much else of which he need be vain."--Students Manual, p. 64. "But he needed not have gone so far for more instances."-- Johnson's Gram. Com., p. 143. "He need not have said, 'perhaps the virtue.'"--Sedgwick's Economy, p. 196. "I needed not to ask how she felt."--Abbott's Young Christian, p. 84. "It need not have been so."--Ib., p. 111. "The most unaccommodating politician need not absolutely want friends."--Hunts Feast of the Poets, p. iii. "Which therefore needs not be introduced with much precaution."--Campbell's Rhet., p. 326. "When an obscurer term needs to be explained by one that is clearer."--Ib., p. 367. "Though, if she had died younger, she need not have known it."--West's Letters, p. 120. "Nothing need be said, but that they were the most perfect barbarisms."--Blair's Rhet., p. 470. "He need not go."--Goodenow's Gram., p. 36. "He needed but use the word body."--LOCKE: in Joh. Dict. "He need not be required to use them."--Parker's Eng. Composition, p. 50. "The last consonant of appear need not be doubled."--Dr. Webster. "It needs the less to be inforced."--Brown's Estimate, ii, 158. "Of these pieces of his, we shall not need to give any particular account."--Seneca's Morals, p. vi "And therefore I shall need say the less of them."--Scougal, p. 1101. "This compounding of words need occasion no surprise."--Cardell's Essay on Language, p. 87.

  "Therefore stay, thou needst not to be gone."--Shakspeare.
   "Thou need na start awa sae hasty."--Burns, Poems, p. 15.
   "Thou need na jouk behint the hallan."--Id., ib., p. 67.

OBS. 10.--The auxiliaries, except must, which is invariable, have severally two forms in respect to tense, or time; and when inflected in the second and third persons singular, are usually varied in the following manner:--



Sing. I do, thou dost, he does; Plur. We do, you do, they do.


Sing. I did, thou didst, he did; Plur. We did, you did, they did.



Sing. I am, thou art, he is; Plur. We are, you are, they are.


Sing. I was, thou wast, he was; Plur. We were, you were; they were.



Sing. I have, thou hast, he has; Plur. We have, you have, they have.


Sing. I had, thou hadst, he had; Plur. We had, you had, they had.


These auxiliaries have distinct meanings, and, as signs of the future, they are interchanged thus:


1. Simply to express a future action or event:--

Sing. I shall, thou wilt, he will; Plur. We shall, you will, they will.

2. To express a promise, command, or threat:--

Sing.: I will, thou shalt, he shall; Plur. We will, you shall, they shall.


1. Used with reference to duty or expediency:--

Sing. I should, thou shouldst, he should; Plur. We should, you should, they should.

2. Used with reference to volition or desire:--

Sing. I would, thou wouldst, he would; Plur. We would, you would, they would.



Sing. I may, thou mayst, he may; Plur. We may, you may, they may.


Sing. I might, thou mightst, he might; Plur. We might, you might, they might.



Sing. I can, thou canst, he can; Plur. We can, you can, they can.


Sing. I could, thou couldst, he could; Plur. We could, you could, they could.



Sing. I must, thou must, he must; Plur. We must, you must, they must.

If must is ever used in the sense of the Imperfect tense, or Preterit, the form is the same as that of the Present: this word is entirely invariable.

OBS. 11.--Several of the auxiliaries are occasionally used as mere expletives, being quite unnecessary to the sense: as, 1. DO and DID: "And it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth."--Psalms, civ, 20. "And ye, that on the sands with printless foot do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him when he comes back."--Shak. "And if a man did need a poison now."--Id. This needless use of do and did is now avoided by good writers. 2. SHALL, SHOULD, and COULD: "'Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes, which after-hours give leisure to repent of.' I should advise you to proceed. I should think it would succeed. He, it should seem, thinks otherwise."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 65. "I could wish you to go."--Ib., p. 71. 3. WILL, &c. The following are nearly of the same character, but not exactly: "The isle is full of noises; sometimes a thousand twanging instruments will hum about mine ears."--Shak. "In their evening sports she would steal in amongst them."--Barbauld.

  "His listless length at noontide would he stretch."--Gray.

OBS. 12.--As our old writers often formed the infinitive in en, so they sometimes dropped the termination of the perfect participle. Hence we find, in the infancy of the language, done used for do, and do for done; and that by the same hand, with like changes in other verbs: as, "Thou canst nothing done."--Chaucer. "As he was wont to done."--Id. "The treson that to women hath be do."--Id. "For to ben honourable and free."--Id. "I am sworn to holden it secre."--Id. "Our nature God hath to him unyte."--Douglas. "None otherwise negligent than I you saie haue I not bee."--Id. See W. Allen's E. Gram., p. 97.

  "But netheless the thynge is do,
   That fals god was soone go."--GOWER: H. Tooke, Vol. i, p. 376.

OBS. 13.--"May is from the Anglo-Saxon, mægan, to be able. In the parent language also, it is used as an auxiliary. It is exhibited by Fortescue, as a principal verb; 'They shall may do it:' i. e. they shall be able (to) do it."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 70. "May not, was formerly used for must not; as, 'Graces for which we may not cease to sue.' Hooker."--Ib., p. 91. "May frequently expresses doubt of the fact; as, 'I may have the book in my library, but I think I have not.' It is used also, to express doubt, or a consequence, with a future signification; as, 'I may recover the use of my limbs, but I see little probability of it.'--'That they may receive me into their houses.' Luke, xvi, 4."--Churchill's Gram., p. 247. In these latter instances, the potential present is akin to the subjunctive. Hence Lowth and others improperly call "I may love," &c. the subjunctive mood. Others, for the same reason, and with as little propriety, deny that we have any subjunctive mood; alleging an ellipsis in every thing that bears that name: as, "'If it (may) be possible, live peaceably with all men.' Scriptures."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 61. May is also a sign of wishing, and consequently occurs often in prayer: as, "May it be thy good pleasure;"--"O that it may please thee;"--"Mayst thou be pleased." Hence the potential is akin also to the imperative: the phrases, "Thy will be done,"--"May thy will be done,"--"Be thy will done,"--"Let thy will be done,"--are alike in meaning, but not in mood or construction.

OBS. 14.--Can, to be able, is etymologically the same as the regular verbs ken, to see, and con, to learn; all of them being derived from the Saxon connan or cunnan, to know: whence also the adjective cunning, which was formerly a participle. In the following example will and can are principal verbs: "In evil, the best condition is, not to will; the second, not to can."--Ld. Bacon. "That a verb which signifies knowledge, may also signify power, appears from these examples: Je ne saurois, I should not know how, (i. e. could not.) (Greek characters) [Greek: Asphalisasthe hos oidate], Strengthen it as you know how, (i. e. as you can.) Nescio mentiri, I know not how to (i.e. I cannot) lie."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 71. Shall, Saxon sceal, originally signified to owe; for which reason should literally means ought. In the following example from Chaucer, shall is a principal verb, with its original meaning:

  "For, by the faith I shall to God, I wene,
   Was neuer straungir none in hir degre."--W. Allen's Gram., p. 64.

OBS. 15.--Do and did are auxiliary only to the present infinitive, or the radical verb; as, do throw, did throw: thus the mood of do throw or to throw is marked by do or to. Be, in all its parts, is auxiliary to either of the simple participles; as, to be throwing, to be thrown; I am throwing, I am thrown: and so, through the whole conjugation. Have and had, in their literal use, are auxiliary to the perfect participle only; as, have thrown, had thrown. Have is from the Saxon habban, to possess; and, from the nature of the perfect participle, the tenses thus formed, suggest in general a completion of the action. The French idiom is similar to this: as, J'ai vu, I have seen. Shall and should, will and would, may and might, can and could, must, and also need, (if we call the last a helping verb,) are severally auxiliary to both forms of the infinitive, and to these only: as, shall throw, shall have thrown; should throw, should have thrown; and so of all the rest.

OBS. 16.--The form of the indicative pluperfect is sometimes used in lieu of the potential pluperfect; as, "If all the world could have seen it, the wo had been universal."--Shakspeare. That is,--"would have been universal." "I had been drowned, but that the shore was shelvy and shallow."--Id. That is,--"I should have been drowned." This mode of expression may be referred to the figure enallage, in which one word or one modification is used for an other. Similar to this is the use of were for would be: "It were injustice to deny the execution of the law to any individual;" that is, "it would be injustice."--Murray's Grammar, p. 89. In some instances, were and had been seem to have the same import; as, "Good were it for that man if he had never been born."--Mark, xiv, 21. "It had been good for that man if he had not been born."--Matt., xxvi, 24. In prose, all these licenses are needless, if not absolutely improper. In poetry, their brevity may commend them to preference; but to this style, I think, they ought to be confined: as,

  "That had been just, replied the reverend bard;     But done, fair youth, thou ne'er hadst met me here."--Pollok.
   "The keystones of the arch!--though all were o'er,
   For us repeopled were the solitary shore."--Byron.

OBS. 17.--With an adverb of comparison or preference, as better, rather, best, as lief, or as lieve, the auxiliary had seems sometimes to be used before the infinitive to form the potential imperfect or pluperfect: as, "He that loses by getting, had better lose than get."--Penn's Maxims. "Other prepositions had better have been substituted."-- Priestley's Gram., p. 166. "I had as lief say."--LOWTH: ib., p. 110. "It compels me to think of that which I had rather forget."-- Bickersteth, on Prayer, p. 25. "You had much better say nothing upon the subject."--Webster's Essays, p. 147. "I had much rather show thee what hopes thou hast before thee."--Baxter. "I had rather speak five words with my understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."--1 Cor., xiv, 19. "I knew a gentleman in America who told me how much rather he had be a woman than the man he is."--Martineau's Society in America, Vol. i, p. 153. "I had as lief go as not."-- Webster's Dict., w. Lief. "I had as lieve the town crier spoke my lines."--SHAK.: Hamlet. "We had best leave nature to her own operations."--Kames, El. of Crit., Vol. i, p. 310. "What method had he best take?"--Harris's Hermes, p. ix. These are equivalent to the phrases, might better lose--might better have been substituted--would as lief say--would rather forget--might much better say--would much rather show--would rather speak--how much rather he would be--would as lief go--should best leave--might he best take; and, for the sake of regularity, these latter forms ought to be preferred, as they sometimes are: thus, "For my own part, I would rather look upon a tree in all its luxuriancy."--Addison, Spect., No. 414; Blair's Rhet., p. 223. The following construction is different: "Augustus had like to have been slain."--S. Butler. Here had is a principal verb of the indicative imperfect. The following examples appear to be positively erroneous: "Much that was said, had better remained unsaid."--N. Y. Observer. Say, "might better have remained." "A man that is lifting a weight, if he put not sufficient strength to it, had as good put none at all."--Baxter. Say, "might as well put." "You were better pour off the first infusion, and use the latter."--Bacon. Say, "might better pour;" or, if you prefer it, "had better pour." Shakspeare has an expression which is still worse:--

  "Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
   Thou hadst been better have been born a dog."--Beauties, p. 295.

OBS. 18.--The form of conjugating the active verb, is often called the Active Voice, and that of the passive verb, the Passive Voice. These terms are borrowed from the Latin and Greek grammars, and, except as serving to diversify expression, are of little or no use in English grammar. Some grammarians deny that there is any propriety in them, with respect to any language. De Sacy, after showing that the import of the verb does not always follow its form of voice, adds: "We must, therefore, carefully distinguish the Voice of a Verb from its signification. To facilitate the distinction, I denominate that an Active Verb which contains an Attribute in which the action is considered as performed by the Subject; and that a Passive Verb which contains an Attribute in which the action is considered as suffered by the Subject, and performed upon it by some agent. I call that voice a Subjective Voice which is generally appropriated to the Active Verb, and that an Objective Voice which is generally appropriated to the Passive Verb. As to the Neuter Verbs, if they possess a peculiar form, I call it a Neuter Voice."--Fosdick's Translation, p. 99.

OBS. 19.--A recognition of the difference between actives and passives, in our original classification of verbs with respect to their signification,-- a principle of division very properly adopted in a great majority of our grammars and dictionaries, but opinionately rejected by Webster, Bolles, and sundry late grammarians,--renders it unnecessary, if not improper, to place Voices, the Active Voice and the Passive, among the modifications of our verbs, or to speak of them as such in the conjugations. So must it be in respect to "a Neuter Voice," or any other distinction which the classification involves. The significant characteristic is not overlooked; the distinction is not neglected as nonessential; but it is transferred to a different category. Hence I cannot exactly approve of the following remark, which "the Rev. W. Allen" appears to cite with approbation: "'The distinction of active or passive,' says the accurate Mr. Jones, 'is not essential to verbs. In the infancy of language, it was, in all probability, not known. In Hebrew, the difference but imperfectly exists, and, in the early periods of it, probably did not exist at all. In Arabic, the only distinction which obtains, arises from the vowel points, a late invention compared with the antiquity of that language. And in our own tongue, the names of active and passive would have remained unknown, if they had not been learnt in Latin.'"--Allen's Elements of English Gram., p. 96.

OBS. 20.--By the conjugation of a verb, some teachers choose to understand nothing more than the naming of its principal parts; giving to the arrangement of its numbers and persons, through all the moods and tenses, the name of declension. This is a misapplication of terms, and the distinction is as needless, as it is contrary to general usage. Dr. Bullions, long silent concerning principal parts, seems now to make a singular distinction between "conjugating" and "conjugation." His conjugations include the moods, tenses, and inflections of verbs; but he teaches also, with some inaccuracy, as follows: "The principal parts of the verb are the Present indicative, the Past indicative and the Past participle. The mentioning of these parts is called CONJUGATING THE VERB."--Analyt. and Pract. Gram., 1849, p. 80.

OBS. 21.--English verbs having but very few inflections to indicate to what part of the scheme of moods and tenses they pertain, it is found convenient to insert in our conjugations the preposition to, to mark the infinitive; personal pronouns, to distinguish the persons and numbers; the conjunction if, to denote the subjunctive mood; and the adverb not, to show the form of negation. With these additions, or indexes, a verb may be conjugated in four ways:--

1. Affirmatively; as, I write, I do write, or, I am writing; and so on.

2. Negatively; as, I write not, I do not write, or, I am not writing.

3. Interrogatively; as, Write I? Do I write? or, Am I writing?

4. Interrogatively and negatively; as, Write I not? Do I not write? or, Am I not writing?


The simplest form of an English conjugation, is that which makes the present and imperfect tenses without auxiliaries; but, even in these, auxiliaries are required for the potential mood, and are often preferred for the indicative.


The regular active verb LOVE, conjugated affirmatively.


Present. Preterit. Imperfect Participle. Perfect Participle.

   Love.     Loved.          Loving.                Loved.


The infinitive mood is that form of the verb, which expresses the being, action, or passion, in an unlimited manner, and without person or number. It is used only in the present and perfect tenses.


This tense is the root, or radical verb; and is usually preceded by the preposition to, which shows its relation to some other word: thus,

To love.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary have to the perfect participle; and, like the infinitive present, is usually preceded by the preposition to: thus,

To have loved.


The indicative mood is that form of the verb, which simply indicates or declares a thing, or asks a question. It is used in all the tenses.


The present indicative, in its simple form, is essentially the same as the present infinitive, or radical verb; except that the verb be has am in the indicative.

1. The simple form of the present tense is varied thus:--

 Singular.         Plural.

1st person, I love, 1st person. We love, 2d person, Thou lovest, 2d person, You love, 3d person, He loves; 3d person, They love.

2. This tense may also be formed by prefixing the auxiliary do to the verb: thus,

 Singular.        Plural.

1. I do love, 1. We do love, 2. Thou dost love, 2. You do love, 3. He does love; 3. They do love.


This tense, in its simple form is the preterit; which, in all regular verbs, adds d or ed to the present, but in others is formed variously.

1. The simple form of the imperfect tense is varied thus:--

   Singular.   Plural.

1. I loved, 1. We loved, 2. Thou lovedst, 2. You loved, 3. He loved; 3. They loved.

2. This tense may also be formed by prefixing the auxiliary did to the present: thus,

   Singular.   Plural.

1. I did love, 1. We did love, 2. Thou didst love, 2. You did love, 3. He did love; 3. They did love.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary have to the perfect participle: thus,

   Singular.     Plural.

1. I have loved, 1. We have loved, 2. Thou hast loved, 2. You have loved, 3. He has loved; 3. They have loved.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary had to the perfect participle: thus,

   Singular.       Plural.

1. I had loved, 1. We had loved, 2. Thou hadst loved, 2. You had loved, 3. He had loved; 3. They had loved.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary shall or will to the present: thus,

1. Simply to express a future action or event:--

   Singular.        Plural.

1. I shall love, 1. We shall love, 2. Thou wilt love, 2. You will love, 3. He will love; 3. They will love;

2. To express a promise, volition, command, or threat:--

   Singular.      Plural.

1. I will love, 1. We will love, 2. Thou shalt love, 2. You shall love, 3. He shall love; 3. They shall love.


This tense prefixes the auxiliaries shall have or will have to the perfect participle: thus,

  Singular.          Plural.

1. I shall have loved, 1. We shall have loved, 2. Thou wilt have loved, 2. You will have loved, 3. He will have loved; 3. They will have loved.

OBS.--The auxiliary shall may also be used in the second and third persons of this tense, when preceded by a conjunction expressing condition or contingency; as, "If he shall have completed the work by midsummer."--L. Murray's Gram., p. 80. So, with the conjunctive adverb when; as, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power."--1 Cor., xv, 24. And perhaps will may here be used in the first person to express a promise, though such usage, I think, seldom occurs. Professor Fowler has given to this tense, first, the "Predictive" form, as exhibited above, and then a form which he calls "Promissive," and in which the auxiliaries are varied thus: "Singular. 1. I will have taken. 2. Thou shalt have taken, you shall have taken. 3. He shall have taken. Plural. 1. We will have taken. 2. Ye or you shall have taken. 3. He [say They,] shall have taken."--Fowler's E. Gram., 8vo., N. Y., 1850, p. 281. But the other instances just cited show that such a form is not always promissory.


The potential mood is that form of the verb, which expresses the power, liberty, possibility, or necessity of the being, action, or passion. It is used in the first four tenses; but the potential imperfect is properly an aorist: its time is very indeterminate; as, "He would be devoid of sensibility were he not greatly satisfied."--Lord Kames, El. of Crit., Vol. i, p. 11.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary may, can, or must, to the radical verb: thus,

   Singular.                Plural.

1. I may love, 1. We may love, 2. Thou mayst love, 2. You may love, 3. He may love; 3. They may love.


This tense prefixes the auxiliary might, could, would, or should, to the radical verb: thus,

   Singular.                Plural.

1. I might love, 1. We might love, 2. Thou mightst love, 2. You might love, 3. He might love; 3. They might love.


This tense prefixes the auxiliaries, may have, can have, or must have, to the perfect participle: thus,

   Singular.                Plural.

1. I may have loved, 1. We may have loved, 2. Thou mayst have loved, 2. You may have loved, 3. He may have loved; 3. They may have loved.


This tense prefixes the auxiliaries, might have, could have, would have, or should have, to the perfect participle: thus,

   Singular.               Plural.

1. I might have loved, 1. We might have loved, 2. Thou mightst have loved, 2. You might have loved, 3. He might have loved; 3. They might have loved.


The subjunctive mood is that form of the verb, which represents the being, action, or passion, as conditional, doubtful, or contingent. This mood is generally preceded by a conjunction; as, if, that, though, lest, unless, except. But sometimes, especially in poetry, it is formed by a mere placing of the verb before the nominative; as, "Were I," for, "If I were;"--"Had he," for, "If he had;"--"Fall we" for, "If we fall;"--"Knew they," for, "If they knew." It does not vary its termination at all, in the different persons.[261] It is used in the present, and sometimes in the imperfect tense; rarely--and perhaps never properly--in any other. As this mood can be used only in a dependent clause, the time implied in its tenses is always relative, and generally indefinite; as,

  "It shall be in eternal restless change,
   Self-fed, and self-consum'd: if this fail,
   The pillar'd firmament is rottenness."--Milton, Comus, l. 596.


This tense is generally used to express some condition on which a future action or event is affirmed. It is therefore erroneously considered by some grammarians, as an elliptical form of the future.

Singular. Plural. 1. If I love, 1. If we love, 2. If Thou love, 2. If you love, 3. If He love; 3. If they love.

OBS.--In this tense, the auxiliary do is sometimes employed; as, "If thou do prosper my way."--Genesis, xxiv, 42. "If he do not utter it."--Leviticus, v, 1. "If he do but intimate his desire."--Murray's Key, p. 207. "If he do promise, he will certainly perform."--Ib., p. 208. "An event which, if it ever do occur, must occur in some future period."--Hiley's Gram., (3d Ed., Lond.,) p. 89. "If he do but promise, thou art safe."--Ib., 89.

  "Till old experience do attain
   To something like prophetic strain."--MILTON: Il Penseroso.

These examples, if they are right, prove the tense to be present, and not future, as Hiley and some others suppose it to be.


This tense, like the imperfect of the potential mood, with which it is frequently connected, is properly an aorist, or indefinite tense; for it may refer to time past, present, or future: as, "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that an other priest should rise?"--Heb., vii, 11. "They must be viewed exactly in the same light, as if the intention to purchase now existed."--Murray's Parsing Exercises, p. 24. "If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."--Matt., xxiv, 24. "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?"--1 Corinthians, xii, 17. "If the thankful refrained, it would be pain and grief to them."--Atterbury.

Singular. Plural. 1. If I loved, 1. If we loved, 2. If thou loved, 2. If you loved, 3. If he loved; 3. If they loved.

OBS.--In this tense, the auxiliary did is sometimes employed. The subjunctive may here be distinguished from the indicative, by these circumstances; namely, that the time is indefinite, and that the supposition is always contrary to the fact: as, "Great is the number of those who might attain to true wisdom, if they did not already think themselves wise."--Dillwyn's Reflections, p. 36. This implies that they do think themselves wise; but an indicative supposition or concession--(as, "Though they did not think themselves wise, they were so--") accords with the fact, and with the literal time of the tense,--here time past. The subjunctive imperfect, suggesting the idea of what is not, and known by the sense, is sometimes introduced without any of the usual signs; as, "In a society of perfect men, where all understood what was morally right, and were determined to act accordingly, it is obvious, that human laws, or even human organization to enforce God's laws, would be altogether unnecessary, and could serve no valuable purpose."--PRES. SHANNON: Examiner, No. 78.


The imperative mood is that form of the verb, which is used in commanding, exhorting, entreating, or permitting. It is commonly used only in the second person of the present tense.


Singular. 2. Love [thou,] or Do thou love;

Plural. 2. Love [ye or you,] or Do you love.

OBS.--In the Greek language, which has three numbers, the imperative mood is used in the second and third persons of them all; and has also several different tenses, some of which cannot be clearly rendered in English. In Latin, this mood has a distinct form for the third person, both singular and plural. In Italian, Spanish, and French, the first person plural is also given it. Imitations of some of these forms are occasionally employed in English, particularly by the poets. Such imitations must be referred to this mood, unless by ellipsis and transposition we make them out to be something else; and against this there are strong objections. Again, as imprecation on one's self is not impossible, the first person singular may be added; so that this mood may possibly have all the persons and numbers. Examples: "Come we now to his translation of the Iliad."--Pope's Pref. to Dunciad. "Proceed we therefore in our subject."--Ib. "Blessed be he that blesseth thee."--Gen., xxvii, 29. "Thy kingdom come."--Matt., vi, 10. "But pass we that."--W. Scott. "Third person: Be he, Be they."--Churchill's Gram., p. 92.

  "My soul, turn from them--turn we to survey," &c.--Goldsmith.
   "Then turn we to her latest tribune's name."--Byron.
   "Where'er the eye could light these words you read:
   'Who comes this way--behold, and fear to sin!'"--Pollok.
   "Fall he that must, beneath his rival's arms,
   And live the rest, secure of future harms."--Pope.
   "Cursed be I that did so!--All the charms
   Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!"--Shakspeare.
   "Have done thy charms, thou hateful wither'd hag!"--Idem.


1. The Imperfect. 2. The Perfect. 3. The Preperfect.

  Loving.    Loved.      Having loved.



IND. I love or do love, I loved or did love, I have loved. I had loved, I shall or will love, I shall or will have loved. POT. I may, can, or must love; I might, could, would, or should love; I may, can, or must have loved; I might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If I love, If I loved.


IND. Thou lovest or dost love, Thou lovedst or didst love, Thou hast loved, Thou hadst loved, Thou shalt or wilt love, Thou shalt or wilt have loved. POT. Thou mayst, canst, or must love; Thou mightst, couldst, wouldst, or shouldst love; Thou mayst, canst, or must have loved; Thou mightst, couldst, wouldst or shouldst have loved. SUBJ. If thou love, If thou loved. IMP. Love [thou,] or Do thou love.


IND. He loves or does love, He loved or did love, He has loved, He had loved, He shall or will love, He shall or will have loved. POT. He may, can, or must love; He might, could, would, or should love; He may, can, or must have loved; He might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If he love, If he loved.


IND. We love or do love, We loved or did loved, We have loved, We had loved, We shall or will love, We shall or will have loved. POT. We may, can, or must love, We might, could, would, or should love; We may, can, or must have loved; We might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If we love, If we loved.


IND. You love or do love, You loved or did love, You have loved, You had loved, You shall or will love, You shall or will have loved. POT. You may, can, or must love; You might, could, would, or should love; You may, can, or must have loved; You might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If you love, If you loved. IMP. Love [ye or you,] or Do you love.


IND. They love or do love, They loved or did love, They have loved, They had loved, They shall or will love, They shall or will have loved. POT. They may, can, or must love; They might, could, would, or should love; They may, can, or must have loved; They might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If they love, If they loved.


NOTE.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb, is usually and more properly formed thus:

IND. Thou lov'st or dost love, Thou loved or did love, Thou hast loved, Thou had loved, Thou shall or will love, Thou shall or will have loved. POT. Thou may, can, or must love; Thou might, could, would, or should love; Thou may, can, or must have loved; Thou might, could, would, or should have loved. SUBJ. If thou love, If thou loved. IMP. Love [thou,] or Do thou love.


The irregular active verb SEE, conjugated affirmatively.


Present. Preterit. Imp. Participle. Perf. Participle. See. Saw. Seeing. Seen.



PERFECT TENSE. To have seen.



Singular. 1. I see, 2. Thou seest, 3. He sees;

Plural. 1. We see, 2. You see, 3. They see.


Singular. 1. I saw, 2. Thou sawest, 3. He saw;

Plural. 1. We saw, 2. You saw, 3. They saw.


Singular. 1. I have seen, 2. Thou hast seen, 3. He has seen;

Plural. 1. We have seen, 2. You have seen, 3. They have seen.


Singular. 1. I had seen, 2. Thou hadst seen, He had seen;

Plural. 1. We had seen, 2. You had seen, 3. They had seen.


Singular. 1. I shall see, 2. Thou wilt see, He will see;

Plural. 1. We shall see, 2. You will see, 3. They will see.


Singular. 1. I shall have seen, 2. Thou wilt have seen, 3. He will have seen;

Plural. 1. We shall have seen, 2. You will have seen, 3. They will have seen. POTENTIAL MOOD.


Singular. 1. I may see, 2. Thou mayst see, 3. He may see;

Plural. 1. We may see, 2. You may see, 3. They may see.


Singular. 1. I might see, 2. Thou mightst see, 3. He might see;

Plural. 1. We might see, 2. You might see, 3. They might see.


Singular. 1. I may have seen, 2. Thou mayst have seen, 3. He may have seen;

Plural. 1. We may have seen, 2. You may have seen, 3. They may have seen.


Singular. 1. I might have seen, 2. Thou mightst have seen, 3. He might have seen;

Plural. 1. We might have seen, 2. You might have seen, 3. They might have seen.



Singular. 1. If I see, 2. If thou see, 3. If he see;

Plural. 1. If we see, 2. If you see, 3. If they see.


Singular. 1. If I saw, 2. If thou saw, 3. If he saw;

Plural. 1. If we saw, 2. If you saw, 3. If they saw.



Singular. 2. See [thou,] or Do thou see; Plural. 2. See [ye or you,] or Do you see.


1. The Imperfect. 2. The Perfect. 3. The Preperfect.

Seeing. Seen. Having seen.


NOTE I--The student ought to be able to rehearse the form of a verb, not only according to the order of the entire conjugation, but also according to the synopsis of the several persons and numbers. One sixth part of the paradigm, thus recited, gives in general a fair sample of the whole: and, in class recitations, this mode of rehearsal will save much time: as, IND. I see or do see, I saw or did see, I have seen, I had seen, I shall or will see, I shall or will have seen. POT. I may, can, or must see; I might, could, would, or should see; I may, can, or must have seen; I might, could, would, or should have seen. SUBJ. If I see, If I saw.

NOTE II.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb is usually and more properly formed thus: IND. Thou seest or dost see, Thou saw or did see, Thou hast seen, Thou had seen, Thou shall or will see, Thou shall or will have seen. POT. Thou may, can, or must see; Thou might, could, would, or should see; Thou may, can, or must have seen; Thou might, could, would, or should have seen. SUBJ. If thou see, If thou saw. IMP. See [thou,] or Do thou see.


The irregular neuter verb BE, conjugated affirmatively.


Present. Preterit. Imp. Participle. Perf. Participle.

   Be.        Was.            Being.               Been.



PERFECT TENSE. To have been.



   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I am, 1. We are, 2. Thou art, 2. You are, 3. He is; 3. They are.


   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I was, 1. We were, 2. Thou wast, (or wert,)[262] 2. You were, 3. He was; 3. They were.


   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I have been, 1. We have been, 2. Thou hast been, 2. You have been, 3. He has been; 3. They have been.


   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I had been, 1. We had been, 2. Thou hadst been, 2. You had been, 3. He had been; 3. They had been.


   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I shall be, 1. We shall be, 2. Thou wilt be, 2. You will be, 3. He will be; 3. They will be.


   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I shall have been, 1. We shall have been, 2. Thou wilt have been, 2. You will have been, 3. He will have been; 3. They will have been.



   Singular.                       Plural.

1. I may be, 1. We may be, 2. Thou mayst be, 2. You may be, 3. He may be, 3. They may be.


   Singular.                      Plural.

1. I might be, 1. We might be, 2. Thou mightst be, 2. You might be, 3. He might be; 3. They might be.


   Singular.                      Plural.

1. I may have been, 1. We may have been, 2. Thou mayst have been, 2. You may have been, 3. He may have been; 3. They may have been.


   Singular.                      Plural.

1. I might have been, 1. We might have been, 2. Thou mightst have been, 2. You might have been, 3. He might have been; 3. They might have been.



   Singular.                      Plural.

1. If I be, 1. If we be, 2. If thou be, 2. If you be, 3. If he be; 3. If they be.


   Singular.                      Plural.

1. If I were,[263] 1. If we were, 2. If thou were, or wert,[264] 2. If you were, 3. If he were; If they were.



Singular. 2. Be [thou,] or Do thou be; Plural. 2. Be [ye or you,] or Do you be.


1. The Imperfect. 2. The Perfect. 3. The Preperfect.

   Being.                Been.            Having been.


NOTE.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb, is usually and more properly formed thus: IND. Thou art, Thou was, Thou hast been, Thou had been, Thou shall or will be, Thou shall or will have been. POT. Thou may, can, or must be; Thou might, could, would, or should be; Thou may, can, or must have been; Thou might, could, would, or should have been. SUBJ. If thou be, If thou were. IMP. Be [thou,] or Do thou be. OBSERVATIONS.

OBS. 1.--It appears that be, as well as am, was formerly used for the indicative present: as, "I be, Thou beest, He be; We be, Ye be, They be." See Brightland's Gram., p. 114. Dr. Lowth, whose Grammar is still preferred at Harvard University, gives both forms, thus: "I am, Thou art, He is; We are, Ye are, They are. Or, I be, Thou beest, He is; We be, Ye be, They be." To the third person singular, he subjoins the following example and remark: "'I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in it.' Shak. Hamlet. Be, in the singular number of this time and mode, especially in the third person, is obsolete; and is become somewhat antiquated in the plural."--Lowth's Gram., p. 36. Dr. Johnson gives this tense thus: "Sing. I am; thou art; he is; Plur. We are, or be; ye are, or be; they are, or be." And adds, "The plural be is now little in use."--Gram. in Johnson's Dict., p. 8. The Bible commonly has am, art, is, and are, but not always; the indicative be occurs in some places: as, "We be twelve brethren."--Gen., xlii, 32. "What be these two olive branches?"--Zech., iv, 12. Some traces of this usage still occur in poetry: as,

  "There be more things to greet the heart and eyes
   In Arno's dome of Art's most princely shrine,
   Where Sculpture with her rainbow sister vies;
   There be more marvels yet--but not for mine."
       --Byron's Childe Harold, Canto iv, st. 61.

OBS. 2.--Respecting the verb wert, it is not easy to determine whether it is most properly of the indicative mood only, or of the subjunctive mood only, or of both, or of neither. The regular and analogical form for the indicative, is "Thou wast;" and for the subjunctive, "If thou were." Brightland exhibits, "I was or were, Thou wast or wert, He was or were," without distinction of mood, for the three persons singular; and, for the plural, were only. Dr. Johnson gives us, for the indicative, "Thou wast, or wert;" with the remark, "Wert is properly of the conjunctive mood, and ought not to be used in the indicative."--Johnson's Gram., p. 8. In his conjunctive (or subjunctive) mood, he has, "Thou beest," and "Thou wert." So Milton wrote, "If thou beest he."--P. Lost, B. i, l. 84. Likewise Shakspeare: "If thou beest Stephano."--Tempest. This inflection of be is obsolete: all now say, "If thou be." But wert is still in use, to some extent, for both moods; being generally placed by the grammarians in the subjunctive only, but much oftener written for the indicative: as, "Whate'er thou art or wert."--Byron's Harold, Canto iv, st. 115. "O thou that wert so happy!"--Ib., st. 109. "Vainly wert thou wed."--Ib., st. 169.

OBS. 3.--Dr. Lowth gave to this verb, BE, that form of the subjunctive mood, which it now has in most of our grammars; appending to it the following examples and questions: "'Before the sun, Before the Heavens, thou wert.'--Milton. 'Remember what thou wert.'--Dryden. 'I knew thou wert not slow to hear.'--Addison. 'Thou who of old wert sent to Israel's court.'--Prior. 'All this thou wert.'--Pope. 'Thou, Stella, wert no longer young.'--Swift. Shall we, in deference to these great authorities," asks the Doctor, "allow wert to be the same with wast, and common to the indicative and [the] subjunctive mood? or rather abide by the practice of our best ancient writers; the propriety of the language, which requires, as far as may be, distinct forms, for different moods; and the analogy of formation in each mood; I was, thou wast; I were, thou wert? all which conspire to make wert peculiar to the subjunctive mood."--Lowth's Gram., p. 37; Churchill's, p. 251. I have before shown, that several of the "best ancient writers" did not inflect the verb were, but wrote "thou were;" and, surely, "the analogy of formation," requires that the subjunctive be not inflected. Hence "the propriety which requires distinct forms," requires not wert, in either mood. Why then should we make this contraction of the old indicative form werest, a solitary exception, by fixing it in the subjunctive only, and that in opposition to the best authorities that ever used it? It is worthier to take rank with its kindred beest, and be called an archaism.

OBS. 4.--The chief characteristical difference between the indicative and the subjunctive mood, is, that in the latter the verb is not inflected at all, in the different persons: IND. "Thou magnifiest his work." SUBJ. "Remember that thou magnify his work."--Job, xxxvi, 24. IND. "He cuts off, shuts up, and gathers together." SUBJ. "If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?"--Job, xl, 10. There is also a difference of meaning. The Indicative, "If he was," admits the fact; the Subjunctive, "If he were," supposes that he was not. These moods may therefore be distinguished by the sense, even when their forms are alike: as, "Though it thundered, it did not rain."--"Though it thundered, he would not hear it." The indicative assumption here is, "Though it did thunder," or, "Though there was thunder;" the subjunctive, "Though it should thunder," or, "Though there were thunder." These senses are clearly different. Writers however are continually confounding these moods; some in one way, some in an other. Thus S. R. Hall, the teacher of a Seminary for Teachers: "SUBJ. Present Tense. 1. If I be, or am, 2. If thou be, or art, 3. If he be, or is; 1. If we be, or are, 2. If ye or you be, or are, 3. If they be, or are. Imperfect Tense. 1. If I were, or was, 2. If thou wert, or wast, 3. If he were, or was; 1. If we were, 2. If ye or you were, 3. If they were."--Hall's Grammatical Assistant, p. 11. Again: "SUBJ. Present Tense. 1. If I love, 2. If thou lovest, 3. If he love," &c. "The remaining tenses of this mode, are, in general, similar to the correspondent tenses of the Indicative mode, only with the conjunction prefixed."--Ib., p. 20. Dr. Johnson observes, "The indicative and conjunctive moods are by modern writers frequently confounded; or rather the conjunctive is wholly neglected, when some convenience of versification does not invite its revival. It is used among the purer writers of former times; as, 'Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not.'"--Gram. in Joh. Dict., p.

9. To neglect the subjunctive mood, or to confound it with the indicative, is to augment several of the worst faults of the language.


Active and neuter verbs may also be conjugated, by adding the Imperfect Participle to the auxiliary verb BE, through all its changes; as, "I am writing a letter."--"He is sitting idle."--"They are going." This form of the verb denotes a continuance of the action or state of being, and is, on many occasions, preferable to the simple form of the verb.


The irregular active verb READ, conjugated affirmatively, in the Compound Form.


Present. Preterit. Imp. Participle. Perf. Participle. R=ead. R~ead. R=eading. R~ead.


PRESENT TENSE. To be reading.

PERFECT TENSE. To have been reading.



Singular. Plural. 1. I am reading, 1. We are reading, 2. Thou art reading, 2. You are reading, 3. He is reading; 3. They are reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I was reading, 1. We were reading, 2. Thou wast reading, 2. You were reading, 3. He was reading; 3. They were reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I have been reading, 1. We have been reading, 2. Thou hast been reading, 2. You have been reading, 3. He has been reading; 3. They have been reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I had been reading, 1. We had been reading, 2. Thou hadst been reading, 2. You had been reading, 3. He had been reading; 3. They had been reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I shall be reading, 1. We shall be reading, 2. Thou wilt be reading, 2. You will be reading, 3. He will be reading; 3. They will be reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I shall have been reading, 1. We shall have been reading, 2. Thou wilt have been reading, 2. You will have been reading, 3. He will have been reading; 3. They will have been reading. POTENTIAL MOOD.


Singular. Plural. 1. I may be reading, 1. We may be reading, 2. Thou mayst be reading, 2. You may be reading, 3. He may be reading; 3. They may be reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I might be reading, 1. We might be reading, 2. Thou mightst be reading, 2. You might be reading, 3. He might be reading; 3. They might be reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I may have been reading, 1. We may have been reading, 2. Thou mayst have been reading, 2. You may have been reading, 3. He may have been reading; 3. They may have been reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. I might have been reading, 1. We might have been reading, 2. Thou mightst have been reading, 2. You might have been reading, 3. He might have been reading; 3. They might have been reading.



Singular. Plural. 1. If I be reading, 1. If we be reading, 2. If thou be reading, 2. If you be reading, 3. If he be reading; 3. If they be reading.


Singular. Plural. 1. If I were reading, 1. If we were reading, 2. If thou were reading, 2. If you were reading, 3. If he were reading; 3. If they were reading.


Sing. 2. Be [thou] reading, or Do thou be reading; Plur. 2. Be [ye or you] reading, or Do you be reading.


1. The Imperfect. 2. The Perfect. 3. The Preperfect.

  Being reading.       ---------          Having been reading.


NOTE.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb, is usually and more properly formed thus: IND. Thou art reading, Thou was reading, Thou hast been reading, Thou had been reading, Thou shall or will be reading, Thou shall or will have been reading. POT. Thou may, can, or must be reading; Thou might, could, would, or should be reading; Thou may, can, or must have been reading; Thou might, could, would, or should have been reading. SUBJ. If thou be reading, If thou were reading. IMP. Be [thou,] reading, or Do thou be reading.


OBS. 1.--Those verbs which, in their simple form, imply continuance, do not admit the compound form: thus we say, "I respect him;" but not, "I am respecting him." This compound form seems to imply that kind of action, which is susceptible of intermissions and renewals. Affections of the mind or heart are supposed to last; or, rather, actions of this kind are complete as soon as they exist. Hence, to love, to hate, to desire, to fear, to forget, to remember, and many other such verbs, are incapable of this method of conjugation.[265] It is true, we often find in grammars such models, as, "I was loving, Thou wast loving, He was loving," &c. But this language, to express what the authors intend by it, is not English. "He was loving," can only mean, "He was affectionate:" in which sense, loving is an adjective, and susceptible of comparison. Who, in common parlance, has ever said, "He was loving me," or any thing like it? Yet some have improperly published various examples, or even whole conjugations, of this spurious sort. See such in Adam's Gram., p. 91; Gould's Adam, 83; Bullions's English Gram., 52; his Analyt. and Pract. Gram., 92; Chandler's New Gram., 85 and 86; Clark's, 80; Cooper's Plain and Practical, 70; Frazee's Improved, 66 and 69; S. S. Greene's, 234; Guy's, 25; Hallock's, 103; Hart's, 88; Hendrick's, 38; Lennie's, 31; Lowth's, 40; Harrison's, 34; Perley's, 36; Pinneo's Primary, 101.

OBS. 2.--Verbs of this form have sometimes a passive signification; as, "The books are now selling."--Allen's Gram., p. 82. "As the money was paying down."--Ainsworth's Dict., w. As. "It requires no motion in the organs whilst it is forming."--Murray's Gram., p. 8. "Those works are long forming which must always last."--Dr. Chetwood. "While the work of the temple was carrying on."--Dr. J. Owen. "The designs of Providence are carrying on."--Bp. Butler. "A scheme, which has been carrying on, and is still carrying on."--Id., Analogy, p. 188. "We are permitted to know nothing of what is transacting in the regions above us."--Dr. Blair. "While these things were transacting in Germany."--Russell's Modern Europe, Part First, Let. 59. "As he was carrying to execution, he demanded to be heard."--Goldsmith's Greece, Vol. i, p. 163. "To declare that the action was doing or done."--Booth's Introd., p. 28. "It is doing by thousands now."--Abbott's Young Christian, p. 121. "While the experiment was making, he was watching every movement."--Ib., p. 309. "A series of communications from heaven, which had been making for fifteen hundred years."--Ib., p. 166. "Plutarch's Lives are re-printing."--L. Murray's Gram., 8vo, p. 64. "My Lives are reprinting."--DR. JOHNSON: Worcester's Univ. and Crit. Dict., p. xlvi. "All this has been transacting within 130 miles of London."--BYRON: Perley's Gram., p. 37. "When the heart is corroding by vexations."--Student's Manual, p. 336. "The padlocks for our lips are forging."--WHITTIER: Liberator, No. 993. "When his throat is cutting."--Collier's Antoninus. "While your story is telling."--Adams's Rhet., i, 425. "But the seeds of it were sowing some time before."--Bolingbroke, on History, p. 168. "As soon as it was formed, nay even whilst it was forming."--Ib., p. 163. "Strange schemes of private ambition were formed and forming there."--Ib., p. 291. "Even when it was making and made."--Ib., 299. "Which have been made and are making."--HENRY CLAY: Liberator, ix, p. 141. "And they are in measure sanctified, or sanctifying, by the power thereof."--Barclay's Works, i, 537. "Which is now accomplishing amongst the uncivilized countries of the earth."--Chalmers, Sermons, p. 281. "Who are ruining, or ruined, [in] this way."--Locke, on Ed., p. 155. "Whilst they were undoing."--Ibid. "Whether he was employing fire to consume [something,] or was himself consuming by fire."--Crombie, on Etym. and Syntax, p. 148. "At home, the greatest exertions are making to promote its progress."--Sheridan's Elocution, p. iv. "With those [sounds] which are uttering."--Ib., p. 125. "Orders are now concerting for the dismissal of all officers of the Revenue marine."--Providence Journal, Feb. 1, 1850. Expressions of this kind are condemned by some critics, under the notion that the participle in ing must never be passive; but the usage is unquestionably of far better authority, and, according to my apprehension, in far better taste, than the more complex phraseology which some late writers adopt in its stead; as, "The books are now being sold."--"In all the towns about Cork, the whiskey shops are being closed, and soup, coffee, and tea houses [are] establishing generally."--Dublin Evening Post, 1840.

OBS. 3.--The question here is, Which is the most correct expression, "While the bridge was building,"--"While the bridge was a building,"--or, "While the bridge was being built?" And again, Are they all wrong? If none of these is right, we must reject them all, and say, "While they were building the bridge;"--"While the bridge was in process of erection;"--or resort to some other equivalent phrase. Dr. Johnson, after noticing the compound form of active-intransitives, as, "I am going"--"She is dying,"--"The tempest is raging,"--"I have been walking," and so forth, adds: "There is another manner of using the active participle, which gives it a passive signification:[266] as, The grammar is now printing, Grammatica jam nunc chartis imprimitur. The brass is forging, Æra excuduntur. This is, in my opinion," says he, "a vitious expression, probably corrupted from a phrase more pure, but now somewhat obsolete: The book is a printing, The brass is a forging; a being properly at, and printing and forging verbal nouns signifying action, according to the analogy of this language."--Gram. in Joh. Dict., p. 9.

OBS. 4.--A is certainly sometimes a preposition; and, as such, it may govern a participle, and that without converting it into a "verbal noun." But that such phraseology ought to be preferred to what is exhibited with so many authorities, in a preceding paragraph, and with an example from Johnson among the rest, I am not prepared to concede. As to the notion of introducing a new and more complex passive form of conjugation, as, "The bridge is being built," "The bridge was being built," and so forth, it is one of the most absurd and monstrous innovations ever thought of. Yet some two or three men, who seem to delight in huge absurdities, declare that this "modern innovation is likely to supersede" the simpler mode of expression. Thus, in stead of, "The work is now publishing," they choose to say, "The work is now being published."--Kirkham's Gram., p. 82. This is certainly no better English than, "The work was being published, has been being published, had been being published, shall or will be being published, shall or will have been being published;" and so on, through all the moods and tenses. What a language shall we have when our verbs are thus conjugated!

OBS. 5.--A certain Irish critic, who even outdoes in rashness the above-cited American, having recently arrived in New York, has republished a grammar, in which he not only repudiates the passive use of the participle in ing, but denies the usual passive form of the present tense, "I am loved, I am smitten" &c., as taught by Murray and others, to be good English; and tells us that the true form is, "I am being loved, I am being smitten," &c. See the 98th and 103d pages of Joseph W. Wright's Philosophical Grammar, (Edition of 1838,) dedicated "TO COMMON SENSE!" [267] But both are offset, if not refuted, by the following observations from a source decidedly better: "It has lately become common to use the present participle passive [,] to express the suffering of an action as continuing, instead of the participle in -ing in the passive sense; thus, instead of, 'The house is building,' we now very frequently hear, 'The house is being built.' This mode of expression, besides being awkward, is incorrect, and does not express the idea intended. This will be obvious, I think, from the following considerations.

"1. The expression, 'is being,' is equivalent to 'is,' and expresses no more; just as, 'is loving,' is equivalent to, 'loves.' Hence, 'is being built,' is precisely equivalent to, 'is built.'

"2. 'Built,' is a perfect participle; and therefore cannot, in any connexion, express an action, or the suffering of an action, now in progress. The verb to be, signifies to exist; 'being,' therefore, is equivalent to 'existing.' If then we substitute the synonyme, the nature of the expression will be obvious; thus, 'the house is being built,' is, in other words, 'the house is existing built,' or more simply as before, 'the house is built;' plainly importing an action not progressing, but now existing in a finished state.

"3. If the expression, 'is being built,' be a correct form of the present indicative passive, then it must be equally correct to say in the perfect, 'has been being built;' in the past perfect, 'had been being built;' in the present infinitive,'to be being built;' in the perfect infinitive,'to have been being built;' and in the present participle, 'being being built;' which all will admit to be expressions as incorrect as they are inelegant, but precisely analogous to that which now begins to prevail."--Bullions's Principles of English Gram., p. 58.

OBS. 6.--It may be replied, that the verbs to be and to exist are not always synonymous; because the former is often a mere auxiliary, or a mere copula, whereas the latter always means something positive, as to be in being, to be extant. Thus we may speak of a thing as being destroyed, or may say, it is annihilated; but we can by no means speak of it as existing destroyed, or say, it exists annihilated. The first argument above is also nugatory. These drawbacks, however, do not wholly destroy the force of the foregoing criticism, or at all extenuate the obvious tautology and impropriety of such phrases as, is being, was being, &c. The gentlemen who affirm that this new form of conjugation "is being introduced into the language," (since they allow participles to follow possessive pronouns) may very fairly be asked, "What evidence have you of its being being introduced?" Nor can they, on their own principles, either object to the monstrous phraseology of this question, or tell how to better it![268]

OBS. 7.--D. H. Sanborn, an other recent writer, has very emphatically censured this innovation, as follows: "English and American writers have of late introduced a new kind of phraseology, which has become quite prevalent in the periodical and popular publications of the day. Their intention, doubtless, is, to supersede the use of the verb in the definite form, when it has a passive signification. They say, 'The ship is being built,'--'time is being wasted,"--'the work is being advanced,' instead of, 'the ship is building, time is wasting, the work is advancing.' Such a phraseology is a solecism too palpable to receive any favor; it is at war with the practice of the most distinguished writers in the English language, such as Dr. Johnson and Addison. "When an individual says, 'a house is being burned,' he declares that a house is existing, burned, which is impossible; for being means existing, and burned, consumed by fire. The house ceases to exist as such, after it is consumed by fire. But when he says, 'a house is burning,' we understand that it is consuming by fire; instead of inaccuracy, doubt, and ambiguity, we have a form of expression perfectly intelligible, beautiful, definite, and appropriate."--Sanborn's Analytical Gram., p. 102.

OBS. 8.--Dr. Perley speaks of this usage thus: "An attempt has been made of late to introduce a kind of passive participial voice; as, 'The temple is being built.' This ought not to be encouraged. For, besides being an innovation, it is less convenient than the use of the present participle in the passive sense. Being built signifies action finished; and how can, Is being built, signify an action unfinished?"--Perley's Gram., p. 37.

OBS. 9.--The question now before us has drawn forth, on either side, a deal of ill scholarship and false logic, of which it would be tedious to give even a synopsis. Concerning the import of some of our most common words and phrases, these ingenious masters,--Bullions, Sanborn, and Perley,--severally assert some things which seem not to be exactly true. It is remarkable that critics can err in expounding terms so central to the language, and so familiar to all ears, as "be, being, being built, burned, being burned, is, is burned, to be burned," and the like. That to be and to exist, or their like derivatives, such as being and existing, is and exists, cannot always explain each other, is sufficiently shown above; and thereby is refuted Sanborn's chief argument, that, "is being burned," involves the contradiction of "existing, burned," or "consumed by fire." According to his reasoning, as well as that of Bullions, is burned must mean exists consumed; was burned, existed consumed; and thus our whole passive conjugation would often be found made up of bald absurdities! That this new unco-passive form conflicts with the older and better usage of taking the progressive form sometimes passively, is doubtless a good argument against the innovation; but that "Johnson and Addison" are fit representatives of the older "practice" in this case, may be doubted. I know not that the latter has anywhere made use of such phraseology; and one or two examples from the former are scarcely an offset to his positive verdict against the usage. See OBS. 3rd, above.

OBS. 10.--As to what is called "the present or the imperfect participle passive,"--as, "being burned," or "being burnt,"--if it is rightly interpreted in any of the foregoing citations, it is, beyond question, very improperly thus named. In participles, ing denotes continuance: thus being usually means continuing to be; loving, continuing to love; building, continuing to build,--or (as taken passively) continuing to be built: i. e., (in words which express the sense more precisely and certainly,) continuing to be in process of construction. What then is "being built," but "continuing to be built," the same, or nearly the same, as "building" taken passively? True it is, that built, when alone, being a perfect participle, does not mean "in process of construction," but rather, "constructed" which intimates completion; yet, in the foregoing passive phrases, and others like them, as well as in all examples of this unco-passive voice, continuance of the passive state being first suggested, and cessation of the act being either regarded as future or disregarded, the imperfect participle passive is for the most part received as equivalent to the simple imperfect used in a passive sense. But Dr. Bullions, who, after making "is being built precisely equivalent to is built," classes the two participles differently, and both erroneously,--the one as a "present participle," and the other, of late, as a "past,"--has also said above, "'Built,' is a perfect participle: and THEREFORE cannot, in any connexion, express an action, or the suffering of an action, now in progress." And Dr. Perley, who also calls the compound of being a "present participle," argues thus: "Being built signifies an action, finished; and how can Is being built, signify an action unfinished?" To expound a passive term actively, or as "signifying action," is, at any rate, a near approach to absurdity; and I shall presently show that the fore-cited notion of "a perfect participle," now half abandoned by Bullions himself, has been the seed of the very worst form of that ridiculous neology which the good Doctor was opposing.

OBS. 11.--These criticisms being based upon the meaning of certain participles, either alone or in phrases, and the particular terms spoken of being chiefly meant to represent classes, what is said of them may be understood of their kinds. Hence the appropriate naming of the kinds, so as to convey no false idea of any participle's import, is justly brought into view; and I may be allowed to say here, that, for the first participle passive, which begins with "being," the epithet "Imperfect" is better than "Present," because this compound participle denotes, not always what is present, but always the state of something by which an action is, or was, or will be, undergone or undergoing--a state continuing, or so regarded, though perhaps the action causative may be ended--or sometimes perhaps imagined only, and not yet really begun. With a marvellous instability of doctrine, for the professed systematizer of different languages and grammars, Dr. Bullions has recently changed his names of the second and third participles, in both voices, from "Perfect" and "Compound Perfect," to "Past" and "Perfect." His notion now is, that, "The Perfect participle is always compound; as, Having finished, Having been finished."--Bullions's Analyt. and Pract. Grammar, 1849, p. 77. And what was the "Perfect" before, in his several books, is now called the "Past;" though, with this change, he has deliberately made an other which is repugnant to it: this participle, being the basis of three tenses always, and of all the tenses sometimes, is now allowed by the Doctor to lend the term "perfect" to the three,--"Present-perfect, Past-perfect, Future-perfect,"--even when itself is named otherwise!

OBS. 12.--From the erroneous conception, that a perfect participle must, in every connexion, express "action finished," action past,--or perhaps from only a moiety of this great error,--the notion that such a participle cannot, in connexion with an auxiliary, constitute a passive verb of the present tense,--J. W. Wright, above-mentioned, has not very unnaturally reasoned, that, "The expression, 'I am loved,' which Mr. Murray has employed to exhibit the passive conjugation of the present tense, may much more feasibly represent past than present time."--See Wright's Philosophical Gram., p. 99. Accordingly, in his own paradigm of the passive verb, he has formed this tense solely from what he calls the participle present, thus: "I am being smitten, Thou art being smitten," &c.--Ib., p. 98. His "Passed Tense," too, for some reason which I do not discover, he distinguishes above the rest by a double form, thus: "I was smitten, or being smitten; Thou wast smitten, or being smitten;" &c.--P. 99. In his opinion, "Few will object to the propriety of the more familiar phraseology, 'I am in the ACT,--or, suffering the ACTION of BEING SMITTEN;' and yet," says he, "in substance and effect, it is wholly the same as, 'I am being smitten,' which is THE TRUE FORM of the verb in the present tense of the passive voice!"--Ibid. Had we not met with some similar expressions of English or American blunderers, "the act or action of being smitten," would be accounted a downright Irish bull; and as to this ultra notion of neologizing all our passive verbs, by the addition of "being,"--with the author's cool talk of "the presentation of this theory, and [the] consequent suppression of that hitherto employed,"--there is a transcendency in it, worthy of the most sublime aspirant among grammatical newfanglers.

OBS. 13.--But, with all its boldness of innovation, Wright's Philosophical Grammar is not a little self-contradictory in its treatment of the passive verb. The entire "suppression" of the usual form of its present tense, did not always appear, even to this author, quite so easy and reasonable a matter, as the foregoing citations would seem to represent it. The passive use of the participle in ing, he has easily disposed of: despite innumerable authorities for it, one false assertion, of seven syllables, suffices to make it quite impossible.[269] But the usual passive form, which, with some show of truth, is accused of not having always precisely the same meaning as the progressive used passively,--that is, of not always denoting continuance in the state of receiving continued action,--and which is, for that remarkable reason, judged worthy of rejection, is nevertheless admitted to have, in very many instances, a conformity to this idea, and therefore to "belong [thus far] to the present tense."--P. 103. This contradicts to an indefinite extent, the proposition for its rejection. It is observable also, that the same examples, 'I am loved' and 'I am smitten,'--the same "tolerated, but erroneous forms," (so called on page 103,) that are given as specimens of what he would reject,--though at first pronounced "equivalent in grammatical construction," censured for the same pretended error, and proposed to be changed alike to "the true form" by the insertion of "being,"--are subsequently declared to "belong to" different classes and different tenses. "I am loved," is referred to that "numerous" class of verbs, which "detail ACTION of prior, but retained, endured, and continued existence; and therefore, in this sense, belong to the present tense." But "I am smitten," is idly reckoned of an opposite class, (said by Dr. Bullions to be "perhaps the greater number,") whose "ACTIONS described are neither continuous in their nature, nor progressive in their duration; but, on the contrary, completed and perfected; and [which] are consequently descriptive of passed time and ACTION."--Wright's Gram., p. 103. Again: "In what instance soever this latter form and signification can be introduced, their import should be, and, indeed, ought to be, supplied by the perfect tense construction:--for example, 'I am smitten,' [should] be, 'I have been smitten.'"--Ib. Here is self-contradiction indefinitely extended in an other way. Many a good phrase, if not every one, that the author's first suggestion would turn to the unco-passive form, his present "remedy" would about as absurdly convert into "the perfect tense."

OBS. 14.--But Wright's inconsistency, about this matter, ends not here: it runs through all he says of it; for, in this instance, error and inconsistency constitute his whole story. In one place, he anticipates and answers a question thus: "To what tense do the constructions, 'I am pleased;' 'He is expected;' 'I am smitten;' 'He is bound;' belong?" "We answer:--So far as these and like constructions are applicable to the delineation of continuous and retained ACTION, they express present time; and must be treated accordingly."--P. 103. This seems to intimate that even, "I am smitten," and its likes, as they stand, may have some good claim to be of the present tense; which suggestion is contrary to several others made by the author. To expound this, or any other passive term, passively, never enters his mind: with him, as with sundry others, "ACTION," "finished ACTION," or "progressive ACTION," is all any passive verb or participle ever means! No marvel, that awkward perversions of the forms of utterance and the principles of grammar should follow such interpretation. In Wright's syntax a very queer distinction is apparently made between a passive verb, and the participle chiefly constituting it; and here, too, through a fancied ellipsis of "being" before the latter, most, if not all, of his other positions concerning passives, are again disastrously overthrown by something worse--a word "imperceptibly understood." "'I am smitten;' 'I was smitten;' &c., are," he says, "the universally acknowledged forms of the VERBS in these tenses, in the passive voice:--not of the PARTICIPLE. In all verbal constructions of the character of which we have hitherto treated, (see page 103) and, where the ACTIONS described are continuous in their operations,--the participle BEING is imperceptibly omitted, by ellipsis."--P. 144.

OBS. 15.--Dr. Bullions has stated, that, "The present participle active, and the present participle passive, are not counterparts to each other in signification; [,] the one signifying the present doing, and the other the present suffering of an action, [;] for the latter always intimates the present being of an ACT, not in progress, but completed."--Prin. of Eng. Gram., p. 58. In this, he errs no less grossly than in his idea of the "action or the suffering" expressed by "a perfect participle," as cited in OBS. 5th above; namely, that it must have ceased. Worse interpretation, or balder absurdity, is scarcely to be met with; and yet the reverend Doctor, great linguist as he should be, was here only trying to think and tell the common import of a very common sort of English participles; such as, "being loved" and "being seen." In grammar, "an act," that has "present being," can be nothing else than an act now doing, or "in progress;" and if, "the present being of an ACT not in progress," were here a possible thought, it surely could not be intimated by any such participle. In Acts, i, 3 and 4, it is stated, that our Saviour showed himself to the apostles, "alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; and, being assembled together with them commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem." Now, of these misnamed "present participles," we have here one "active," one "passive," and two others--(one in each form--) that are neuter; but no present time, except what is in the indefinite date of "pertaining." The events are past, and were so in the days of St. Luke. Yet each of the participles denotes continuance: not, indeed, in or to the present time, but for a time. "Being seen" means continuing to be seen; and, in this instance, the period of the continuance was "forty days" of time past. But, according to the above-cited "principle of English Grammar," so long and so widely inculcated by "the Rev. Peter Bullions, D. D., Professor of Languages," &c.,--a central principle of interpretation, presumed by him to hold "always"--this participle must intimate "the present being of an act, not in progress, but completed;"--that is, "the present being of" the apostles' act in formerly seeing the risen Saviour!

OBS. 16.--This grammarian has lately taken a deal of needless pains to sustain, by a studied division of verbs into two classes, similar to those which are mentioned in OBS. 13th above, a part of the philosophy of J. W. Wright, concerning our usual form of passives in the present tense. But, as he now will have it, that the two voices sometimes tally as counterparts, it is plain that he adheres but partially to his former erroneous conception of a perfect or "past" participle, and the terms which hold it "in any connexion." The awkward substitutes proposed by the Irish critic, he does not indeed countenance; but argues against them still, and, in some respects, very justly. The doctrine now common to these authors, on this point, is the highly important one, that, in respect to half our verbs, what we commonly take for the passive present, is not such--that, in "the second class, (perhaps the greater number,) the present-passive implies that the act expressed by the active voice has ceased. Thus, 'The house is built.' * * * Strictly speaking, then," says the Doctor, "the PAST PARTICIPLE with the verb TO BE is not the present tense in the passive voice of verbs thus used; that is, this form does not express passively the doing of the act."--Bullions's Analyt. and Pract. Grammar, Ed. of 1849, p. 235. Thus far these two authors agree; except that Wright seems to have avoided the incongruity of calling that "the present-passive" which he denies to be such. But the Doctor, approving none of this practitioner's "remedies," and being less solicitous to provide other treatment than expulsion for the thousands of present passives which both deem spurious, adds, as from the chair, this verdict: "These verbs either have no present-passive, or it is made by annexing the participle in ing, in its passive sense, to the verb to be; as, 'The house is building.'"--Ib., p. 236.

OBS. 17.--It would seem, that Dr. Bullions thinks, and in reality Wright also, that nothing can be a present passive, but what "expresses passively the DOING of the act." This is about as wise, as to try to imagine every active verb to express actively the receiving of an act! It borders exceedingly hard upon absurdity; it very much resembles the nonsense of "expressing receptively the giving of something!" Besides, the word "DOING," being used substantively, does not determine well what is here meant; which is, I suppose, continuance, or an unfinished state of the act received--an idea which seems adapted to the participle in ing, but which it is certainly no fault of a participle ending in d, t, or n, not to suggest. To "express passively the doing of the act," if the language means any thing rational, may be, simply to say, that the act is or was done. For "doings" are, as often as any-wise, "things done," as buildings are fabrics built; and "is built," and "am smitten," the gentlemen's choice examples of false passives, and of "actions finished,"--though neither of them necessarily intimates either continuance or cessation of the act suffered, or, if it did, would be the less or the more passive or present,--may, in such a sense, "express the doing of the act," if any passives can:--nay, the "finished act" has such completion as may be stated with degrees of progress or of frequency; as, "The house is partly built."--"I am oftener smitten." There is, undoubtedly, some difference between the assertions, "The house is building,"--and, "The house is partly built;" though, for practical purposes, perhaps, we need not always be very nice in choosing between them. For the sake of variety, however, if for nothing else, it is to be hoped, the doctrine above-cited, which limits half our passive verbs of the present tense, to the progressive form only, will not soon be generally approved. It impairs the language more than unco-passives are likely ever to corrupt it.

OBS. 18.--"No startling novelties have been introduced," says the preface to the "Analytical and Practical Grammar of the English Language." To have shunned all shocking innovations, is only to have exercised common prudence. It is not pretended, that any of the Doctor's errors here remarked upon, or elsewhere in this treatise, will startle any body; but, if errors exist, even in plausible guise, it may not be amiss, if I tell of them. To suppose every verb or participle to be either "transitive" or "intransitive," setting all passives with the former sort, all neuters with the latter; (p. 59;)--to define the transitive verb or participle as expressing always "an act DONE by one person or thing to another;" (p. 60;)--to say, after making passive verbs transitive, "The object of a transitive verb is in the objective case," and, "A verb that does not make sense with an objective after it, is intransitive;" (p. 60;)--to insist upon a precise and almost universal identity of "meaning" in terms so obviously contrasted as are the two voices, "active" and "passive;" (pp. 95 and 235;)--to allege, as a general principle, "that whether we use the active, or the passive voice, the meaning is the same, except in some cases in the present tense;" (p. 67;)--to attribute to the forms naturally opposite in voice and sense, that sameness of meaning which is observable only in certain whole sentences formed from them; (pp. 67, 95, and 235;)--to assume that each "VOICE is a particular form of the verb," yet make it include two cases, and often a preposition before one of them; (pp. 66, 67, and 95;)--to pretend from the words, "The PASSIVE VOICE represents the subject of the verb as acted upon," (p. 67,) that, "According to the DEFINITION, the passive voice expresses, passively, the same thing that the active does actively;" (p. 235;)--to affirm that, "'Cæsar conquered Gaul,' and 'Gaul was conquered by Cæsar,' express precisely the same idea,"--and then say, "It will be felt at once that the expressions, 'Cæsar conquers Gaul,' and 'Gaul is conquered by Cæsar,' do not express the same thing;" (p. 235;)--to deny that passive verbs or neuter are worthy to constitute a distinct class, yet profess to find, in one single tense of the former, such a difference of meaning as warrants a general division of verbs in respect to it; (ib.;)--to announce, in bad English, that, "In regard to this matter [,] there are evidently Two CLASSES of verbs; namely, those whose present-passive expresses precisely the same thing, passively, as the active voice does actively, and those in which it does not:" (ib.;)--to do these several things, as they have been done, is, to set forth, not "novelties" only, but errors and inconsistencies.

OBS. 19.--Dr. Bullions still adheres to his old argument, that being after its own verb must be devoid of meaning; or, in his own words, "that is being built, if it mean anything, can mean nothing more than is built, which is not the idea intended to be expressed."--Analyt. and Pract. Gram., p. 237. He had said, (as cited in OBS. 5th above,) "The expression, 'is being,' is equivalent to is, and expresses no more; just as, 'is loving,' is equivalent to 'loves.' Hence, 'is being built,' is precisely equivalent to 'is built.'"--Principles of E. Gram., p. 58. He has now discovered "that there is no progressive form of the verb to be, and no need of it:" and that, "hence, there is no such expression in English as is being."--Analyt. and Pract. Gram., p. 236. He should have noticed also, that "is loving" is not an authorized "equivalent to loves;" and, further, that the error of saying "is being built," is only in the relation of the first two words to each other. If "is being," and "is loving," are left unused for the same reason, the truth may be, that is itself, like loves, commonly denotes "continuance;" and that being after it, in stead of being necessary or proper, can only be awkwardly tautologous. This is, in fact, THE GRAND OBJECTION to the new phraseology--"is being practised"--"am being smitten"--and the like. Were there no danger that petty writers would one day seize upon it with like avidity, an other innovation, exactly similar to this in every thing but tense--similar in awkwardness, in tautology, in unmistakeableness--might here be uttered for the sake of illustration. Some men conceive, that "The perfect participle is always compound; as, having seen, having written;"--and that the simple word, seen or written, had originally, and still ought to have, only a passive construction. For such views, they find authorities. Hence, in lieu of the common phrases, "had we seen," "we have written," they adopt such English as this; "Had we having seen you, we should have stopped."--"We have having written but just now, to our correspondent." Now, "We are being smitten," is no better grammar than this;--and no worse: "The idea intended" is in no great jeopardy in either case.

OBS. 20.--J. R. Chandler, of Philadelphia, in his Common School Grammar of 1847, has earnestly undertaken the defence of this new and much-mooted passive expression: which he calls "the Definite Passive Voice," or "the Passive Voice of the Definite Form." He admits it, however, to be a form that "does not sound well,"--a "novelty that strikes the ear unpleasantly;" but he will have the defect to be, not in the tautologous conceit of "is being," "was being," "has been being," and the like, but in everybody's organ of hearing,--supposing all ears corrupted, "from infancy," to a distaste for correct speech, by "the habit of hearing and using words ungrammatically!"--See p. 89. Claiming this new form as "the true passive," in just contrast with the progressive active, he not only rebukes all attempts "to evade" the use of it, "by some real or supposed equivalent," but also declares, that, "The attempt to deprive the transitive definite verb of [this] its passive voice, is to strike at the foundation of the language, and to strip it of one of its most important qualities; that of making both actor and sufferer, each in turn and at pleasure, the subject of conversation."--Ibid. Concerning equivalents, he evidently argues fallaciously; for he urges, that the using of them "does not dispense with the necessity of the definite passive voice."--P. 88. But it is plain, that, of the many fair substitutes which may in most cases be found, if any one is preferred, this form, and all the rest, are of course rejected for the time.

OBS. 21.--By Chandler, as well as others, this new passive form is justified only on the supposition, that the simple participle in ing can never with propriety be used passively. No plausible argument, indeed, can be framed for it, without the assumption, that the simpler form, when used in the same sense, is ungrammatical. But this is, in fact, a begging of the main question; and that, in opposition to abundant authority for the usage condemned. (See OBS. 3d, above.) This author pretends that, "The RULE of all grammarians declares the verb is, and a present participle (is building, or is writing), to be in the active voice" only.--P. 88. (I add the word "only," but this is what he means, else he merely quibbles.) Now in this idea he is wrong, and so are the several grammarians who support the principle of this imaginary "RULE." The opinion of critics in general would be better represented by the following suggestions of the Rev. W. Allen: "When the English verb does not signify mental affection, the distinction of voice is often disregarded: thus we say, actively, they were selling fruit; and, passively, the books are now selling. The same remark applies to the participle used as a noun: as, actively, drawing is an elegant amusement, building is expensive; and, passively, his drawings are good, this is a fine building."--Allen's Elements of E. Gram., p. 82.

OBS. 22.--Chandler admits, that, "When it is said, 'The house is building,' the meaning is easily obtained; though," he strangely insists, "it is exactly opposite to the assertion."--P. 89. He endeavours to show, moreover, by a fictitious example made for the purpose, that the progressive form, if used in both voices, will be liable to ambiguity. It may, perhaps, be so in some instances; but, were there weight enough in the objection to condemn the passive usage altogether, one would suppose there might be found, somewhere, an actual example or two of the abuse. Not concurring with Dr. Bullions in the notion that the active voice and the passive usually "express precisely the same thing," this critic concludes his argument with the following sentence: "There is an important difference between doing and suffering; and that difference is grammatically shown by the appropriate use of the active and passive voices of a verb."--Chandler's Common School Gram., p. 89.

OBS. 23.--The opinion given at the close of OBS. 2d above, was first published in 1833. An opposite doctrine, with the suggestion that it is "improper to say, 'the house is building,' instead of 'the house is being built,'"--is found on page 64th of the Rev. David Blair's Grammar, of 1815,--"Seventh Edition," with a preface dated, "October 20th, 1814." To any grammarian who wrote at a period much earlier than that, the question about unco-passives never occurred. Many critics have passed judgement upon them since, and so generally with reprobation, that the man must have more hardihood than sense, who will yet disgust his readers or hearers with them.[270] That "This new form has been used by some respectable writers," we need not deny; but let us look at the given "instances of it: 'For those who are being educated in our seminaries.' R. SOUTHEY.--'It was being uttered.' COLERIDGE.--'The foundation was being laid.' BRIT. CRITIC."--English Grammar with Worcester's Univ. and Crit. Dict., p. xlvi. Here, for the first example, it would be much better to say, "For those who are educated," [271]--or, "who are receiving their education;" for the others, "It was uttering,"--"was uttered,"--or, "was in uttering."--"The foundation was laying,"--"was laid,"--or, "was about being laid." Worcester's opinion of the "new form" is to be inferred from his manner of naming it in the following sentence: "Within a few years, a strange and awkward neologism has been introduced, by which the present passive participle is substituted, in such cases as the above, for the participle in ing."--Ibid. He has two instances more, in each of which the phrase is linked with an expression of disapprobation; "' It [ (Greek characters)[Greek: tetymmenos] ] signifies properly, though in uncouth English, one who is being beaten.' ABP. WHATELY.--'The bridge is being built, and other phrases of the like kind, have pained the eye.' D. BOOTH."--Ibid.[272]

OBS. 24.--Richard Hiley, in the third edition of his Grammar, published in London, in 1840, after showing the passive use of the participle in ing, proceeds thus: "No ambiguity arises, we presume, from the use of the participle in this manner. To avoid, however, affixing a passive signification to the participle in ing, an attempt has lately been made to substitute the passive participle in its place. Thus instead of 'The house was building,' 'The work imprinting,' we sometimes hear, 'The house was being built,' 'The work is being printed.' But this mode is contrary to the English idiom, and has not yet obtained the sanction of reputable authority."--Hiley's Gram., p. 30.

OBS. 25.--Professor Hart, of Philadelphia, whose English Grammar was first published in 1845, justly prefers the usage which takes the progressive form occasionally in a passive sense; but, in arguing against the new substitute, he evidently remoulds the early reasoning of Dr. Bullions, errors and all; a part of which he introduces thus: "I know the correctness of this mode of expression has lately been very much assailed, and an attempt, to some extent successful, has been made [,] to introduce the form [,] 'is being built.' But, in the first place, the old mode of expression is a well established usage of the language, being found in our best and most correct writers. Secondly, is being built does not convey the idea intended, [;] namely [,] that of progressive action. Is being, taken together, means simply is, just as is writing means writes; therefore, is being built means is built, a perfect and not a progressive ACTION. Or, if being [and] built be taken together, they signify an ACTION COMPLETE, and the phrase means, as before, the house is (EXISTS) being built."--Hart's Gram., p. 76. The last three sentences here are liable to many objections, some of which are suggested above.

OBS. 26.--It is important, that the central phraseology of our language be so understood, as not to be misinterpreted with credit, or falsely expounded by popular critics and teachers. Hence errors of exposition are the more particularly noticed in these observations. In "being built," Prof. Hart, like sundry authors named above, finds nothing but "ACTION COMPLETE." Without doubt, Butler interprets better, when he says, "'The house is built,' denotes an existing state, rather than a completed action." But this author, too, in his next three sentences, utters as many errors; for he adds: "The name of the agent cannot be expressed in phrases of this kind. We cannot say, 'The house is built by John.' When we say, 'The house is built by mechanics,' we do not express an existing state."--Butler's Practical Gram., p. 80. Unquestionably, "is built by mechanics," expresses nothing else than the "existing state" of being "built by mechanics," together with an affirmation:--that is, the "existing state" of receiving the action of mechanics, is affirmed of "the house." And, in my judgement, one may very well say, "The house is built by John;" meaning, "John is building the house." St. Paul says, "Every house is builded by SOME MAN."--Heb., iii, 4. In this text, the common "name of the agent" is "expressed."

OBS. 27.--Wells and Weld, whose grammars date from 1846, being remarkably chary of finding anything wrong in "respectable writers," hazard no opinion of their own, concerning the correctness or incorrectness of either of the usages under discussion. They do not always see absurdity in the approbation of opposites; yet one should here, perhaps, count them with the majorities they allow. The latter says, "The participle in ing is sometimes used passively; as, forty and six years was this temple in building; not in being built."--Weld's English Gram., 2d Ed., p. 170. Here, if he means to suggest, that "in being built" would "not" be good English, he teaches very erroneously; if his thought is, that this phrase would "not" express the sense of the former one, "in building," he palpably contradicts his own position! But he proceeds, in a note, thus: "The form of expression, is being built, is being committed, &c., is almost universally condemned by grammarians; but it is sometimes met with in respectable writers. It occurs most frequently in newspaper paragraphs, and in hasty compositions."--Ibid. Wells comments thus: "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.' But the prevailing practice of the best authors is in favor of the simple form; as, 'The house is building.'"--Wells's School Gram., 1st Ed., p. 148; 113th Ed., p. 161.[273]

OBS. 28.--S. W. Clark, in the second edition of his Practical Grammar, stereotyped and published in New York in 1848, appears to favour the insertion of "being" into passive verbs; but his instructions are so obscure, so often inaccurate, and so incompatible one with an other, that it is hard to say, with certainty, what he approves. In one place, he has this position: "The Passive Voice of a verb is formed by adding the Passive Participle of that verb, to the verb be. EXAMPLES--To be loved. I am feared. They are worshipped."--Page 69. In an other, he has this: "When the Subject is to be represented as receiving the action, the Passive Participle should be used. EXAMPLE--Henry's lesson is BEING RECITED."--P. 132. Now these two positions utterly confound each other; for they are equally general, and "the Passive Participle" is first one thing, and then an other. Again, he has the following assertions, both false: "The Present (or First) Participle always ends in ing, and is limited to the Active Voice. The Past (or Second) Participle of Regular Verbs ends in d or ed, and is limited to the Passive Voice."--P. 131. Afterwards, in spite of the fancied limitation, he acknowledges the passive use of the participle in ing, and that there is "authority" for it; but, at the same time, most absurdly supposes the word to predicate "action," and also to be wrong: saying, "Action is sometimes predicated of a passive subject. EXAMPLE--'The house is building,.. for.. 'The house is being built,'.. which means.. The house is becoming built." On this, he remarks thus: "This is one of the instances in which Authority is against Philosophy. For an act cannot properly be predicated of a passive agent. Many good writers properly reject this idiom. 'Mansfield's prophecy is being realized.'--MICHELET'S LUTHER."--Clark's Practical Gram., p. 133. It may require some study to learn from this which idiom it is. that these "many good writers reject:" but the grammarian who can talk of "a passive agent," without perceiving that the phrase is self-contradictory and absurd, may well be expected to entertain a "Philosophy" which is against "Authority," and likewise to prefer a ridiculous innovation to good and established usage.

OBS. 29.--As most verbs are susceptible of both forms, the simple active and the compound or progressive, and likewise of a transitive and an intransitive sense in each; and as many, when taken intransitively, may have a meaning which is scarcely distinguishable from that of the passive form; it often happens that this substitution of the imperfect participle passive for the simple imperfect in ing, is quite needless, even when the latter is not considered passive. For example: "See by the following paragraph, how widely the bane is being circulated!"--Liberator, No. 999, p. 34. Here is circulating would be better; and so would is circulated. Nor would either of these much vary the sense, if at all; for "circulate" may mean, according to Webster, "to be diffused," or, as Johnson and Worcester have it, "to be dispersed." See the second marginal note on p. 378.

OBS. 30.--R. G. Parker appears to have formed a just opinion of the "modern innovation," the arguments for which are so largely examined in the foregoing observations; but the "principle" which he adduces as "conclusive" against it, if principle it can be called, has scarcely any bearing on the question; certainly no more than has the simple assertion of one reputable critic, that our participle in ing may occasionally be used passively. "Such expressions as the following," says he, "have recently become very common, not only in the periodical publications of the day, but are likewise finding favor with popular writers; as, 'The house is being built.' 'The street is being paved.' 'The actions that are now being performed,' &c. 'The patents are being prepared.' The usage of the best writers does not sanction these expressions; and Mr. Pickbourn lays down the following principle, which is conclusive upon the subject. 'Whenever the participle in ing is joined by an auxiliary verb to a nominative capable of the action, it is taken actively; but, when joined to one incapable of the action, it becomes passive. If we say, The man are building a house, the participle building is evidently used in an active sense; because the men are capable of the action. But when we say, The house is building, or, Patents are preparing, the participles building and preparing must necessarily be understood in a passive sense; because neither the house nor the patents are capable of action.'--See Pickbourn on the English Verb, pp. 78-80."--Parker's Aids to English Composition, p. 105. Pickbourn wrote his Dissertation before the question arose which he is here supposed to decide. Nor is he right in assuming that the common Progressive Form, of which he speaks, must be either active-transitive or passive: I have shown above that it may be active-intransitive, and perhaps, in a few instances, neuter. The class of the verb is determined by something else than the mere capableness of the "nominative."


Passive verbs, in English, are always of a compound form; being made from active-transitive verbs, by adding the Perfect Participle to the auxiliary verb BE, through all its changes: thus from the active-transitive verb love, is formed the passive verb be loved.


The regular passive verb BE LOVED, conjugated affirmatively.


Present. Preterit. Imp. Participle. Perf. Participle.

Love. Loved. Loving. Loved.


PERFECT TENSE. To have been loved.


PRESENT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I am loved, 1. We are loved, 2. Thou art loved, 2. You are loved, 3. He is loved; 3. They are loved.

IMPERFECT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I was loved, 1. We were loved, 2. Thou wast loved, 2. You were loved, 3. He was loved; 3. They were loved.

PERFECT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I have been loved, 1. We have been loved, 2. Thou hast been loved, 2. You have been loved, 3. He has been loved; 3. They have been loved.

PLUPERFECT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I had been loved, 1. We had been loved, 2. Thou hadst been loved, 2. You had been loved, 3. He had been loved; 3. They had been loved.

FIRST-FUTURE TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I shall be loved, 1. We shall be loved, 2. Thou wilt be loved, 2. You will be loved, 3. He will be loved; 3. They will be loved.

SECOND-FUTURE TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I shall have been loved, 1. We shall have been loved, 2. Thou wilt have been loved, 2. You will have been loved, 3. He will have been loved; 3. They will have been loved.


PRESENT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I may be loved, 1. We may be loved, 2. Thou mayst be loved, 2. You may be loved, 3. He may be loved; 3. They may be loved.

IMPERFECT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I might be loved, 1. We might be loved, 2. Thou mightst be loved, 2. You might be loved, 3. He might be loved; 3. They might be loved.

PERFECT TENSE. Singular. Plural. 1. I may have been loved, 1. We may have been loved, 2. Thou mayst have been loved, 2. You may have been loved, 3. He may have been loved; 3. They may have been loved.


Singular. Plural. 1. I might have been loved, 1. We might have been loved, 2. Thou mightst have been loved, 2. You might have been loved, 3. He might have been loved; 3. They might have been loved.



Singular. Plural. 1. If I be loved, 1. If we be loved, 2. If thou be loved, 2. If you be loved, 3. If he be loved; 3. If they be loved.


Singular. Plural. 1. If I were loved, 1. If we were loved, 2. If thou were loved, 2. If you were loved, 3. If he were loved; 3. If they were loved.



Singular. 2. Be [thou] loved, or Do thou be loved; Plural. 2. Be [ye or you] loved, or Do you be loved.


1. The Imperfect. 2. The Perfect. 3. The Preperfect. Being loved. Loved. Having been loved.

FAMILIAR FORM WITH 'THOU.' NOTE.--In the familiar style, the second person singular of this verb, is usually and more properly formed thus: IND. Thou art loved, Thou was loved, Thou hast been loved, Thou had been loved, Thou shall or will be loved, Thou shall or will have been loved. POT. Thou may, can, or must be loved; Thou might, could, would, or should be loved; Thou may, can, or must have been loved; Thou might, could, would, or should have been loved. SUBJ. If thou be loved, If thou were loved. IMP. Be [thou] loved, or Do thou be loved.


OBS. 1.--A few active-intransitive verbs, that signify mere motion, change of place, or change of condition, may be put into this form, with a neuter signification; making not passive but neuter verbs, which express nothing more than the state which results from the change: as, "I am come."--"She is gone."--"He is risen."--"They are fallen." These are what Dr. Johnson and some others call "neuter passives;" a name which never was very proper, and for which we have no frequent use.

OBS. 2.--Most neuter verbs of the passive form, such as, "am grown, art become, is lain, are flown, are vanished, are departed, was sat, were arrived," may now be considered errors of conjugation, or perhaps of syntax. In the verb, to be mistaken, there is an irregularity which ought to be particularly noticed. When applied to persons, this verb is commonly taken in a neuter sense, and signifies, to be in error, to be wrong; as, "I am mistaken, thou art mistaken, he is mistake." But, when used of things, it is a proper passive verb, and signifies, to be misunderstood, or to be taken wrong; as, "The sense of the passage is mistaken; that is, not rightly understood." See Webster's Dict., w. Mistaken. "I have known a shadow across a brook to be mistaken for a footbridge."

OBS. 3.--Passive verbs may be easily distinguished from neuter verbs of the same form, by a reference to the agent or instrument, common to the former class, but not to the latter. This frequently is, and always may be, expressed after passive verbs; but never is, and never can be, expressed after neuter verbs: as, "The thief has been caught by the officer."-- "Pens are made with a knife." Here the verbs are passive; but, "I am not yet ascended," (John, xx, 17,) is not passive, because it does not convey the idea of being ascended by some one's agency.

OBS. 4.--Our ancient writers, after the manner of the French, very frequently employed this mode of conjugation in a neuter sense; but, with a very few exceptions, present usage is clearly in favour of the auxiliary have in preference to be, whenever the verb formed with the perfect participle is not passive; as, "They have arrived,"--not, "They are arrived." Hence such examples as the following, are not now good English: "All these reasons are now ceased. "--Butler's Analogy, p. 157. Say, "have now ceased." "Whether he were not got beyond the reach of his faculties."--Ib., p. 158. Say, "had not got." "Which is now grown wholly obsolete."--Churchill's Gram., p. 330. Say, "has now grown." "And when he was entered into a ship."--Bible. Say, "had entered."-- "What is become of decency and virtue?"--Murray's Key, p. 196. Say, "has become."

OBS. 5.--Dr. Priestley says, "It seems not to have been determined by the English grammarians, whether the passive participles of verbs neuter require the auxiliary am or have before them. The French, in this case, confine themselves strictly to the former. 'What has become of national liberty?' Hume's History, Vol. 6. p. 254. The French would say, what is become; and, in this instance, perhaps, with more propriety."-- Priestley's Gram., p. 128. It is no marvel that those writers who have not rightly made up their minds upon this point of English grammar, should consequently fall into many mistakes. The perfect participle of a neuter verb is not "passive," as the doctor seems to suppose it to be; and the mode of conjugation which he here inclines to prefer, is a mere Gallicism, which is fast wearing out from our language, and is even now but little countenanced by good writers.

OBS. 6.--There are a few verbs of the passive form which seem to imply that a person's own mind is the agent that actuates him; as, "The editor is rejoiced to think," &c.--Juvenile Keepsake. "I am resolved what to do."--Luke, xvi, 4. "He was resolved on going to the city to reside."--Comly's Gram., p. 114. "James was resolved not to indulge himself."--Murray's Key, ii, 220. "He is inclined to go."--"He is determined to go."--"He is bent on going." These are properly passive verbs, notwithstanding there are active forms which are nearly equivalent to most of them; as, "The editor rejoices to think."--"I know what to do."--"He had resolved on going."--"James resolved not to indulge himself." So in the phrase, "I am ashamed to beg," we seem to have a passive verb of this sort; but, the verb to ashame being now obsolete, ashamed is commonly reckoned an adjective. Yet we cannot put it before a noun, after the usual manner of adjectives. To be indebted, is an other expression of the same kind. In the following example, "am remember'd" is used for do remember, and, in my opinion, inaccurately:

  "He said mine eyes were black, and my hair black;
   And, now I am remember'd, scorn'd at me."--Shakspeare.


A verb is conjugated negatively, by placing the adverb not after it, or after the first auxiliary; but the infinitive and participles take the negative first: as, Not to love, Not to have loved; Not loving, Not loved, Not having loved.


IND. I love not, or I do not love; I loved not, or I did not love; I have not loved; I had not loved; I shall not, or will not, love; I shall not, or will not, have loved. POT. I may, can, or must not love; I might, could, would, or should not love; I may, can, or must not have loved; I might, could, would, or should not have loved, SUBJ. If I love not, If I loved not.


SOLEMN STYLE:--IND. Thou lovest not, or Thou dost not love; Thou lovedst not, or Thou didst not love; Thou hast not loved; Thou hadst not loved; Thou shalt not, or wilt not, love; Thou shalt not, or wilt not, have loved. POT. Thou mayst, canst, or must not love; Thou mightst, couldst, wouldst, or shouldst not love; Thou mayst, canst, or must not have loved; Thou mightst, couldst, wouldst, or shouldst not have loved. SUBJ. If thou love not, If thou loved not. IMP. Love [thou] not, or Do thou not love.

FAMILIAR STYLE:--IND. Thou lov'st not, or Thou dost not love; Thou loved not, or Thou did not love; Thou hast not loved; Thou had not loved; Thou shall not, or will not, love; Thou shall not, or will not, have loved. POT. Thou may, can, or must not love; Thou might, could, would, or should not love; Thou may, can, or must not have loved; Thou might, could, would, or should not have loved. SUBJ. If thou love not, If thou loved not. IMP. Love [thou] not, or Do [thou] not love.


IND. He loves not, or He does not love; He loved not, or He did not love; He has not loved; He had not loved; He shall not, or will not, love; He shall not, or will not, have loved. POT. He may, can, or must not love; He might, could, wou ld, or should not love; He may, can, or must not have loved; He might, could, would, or should not have loved. SUBJ. If he love not, If he loved not.


A verb is conjugated interrogatively, in the indicative and potential moods, by placing the nominative after it, or after the first auxiliary: as,


IND. Love I? or Do I love? Loved I? or Did I love? Have I loved? Had I loved? Shall I love? Shall I have loved? POT. May, can, or must I love? Might, could, would, or should I love? May, can, or must I have loved? Might, could, would, or should I have loved?


SOLEMN STYLE:--IND. Lovest thou? or Dost thou love? Lovedst thou? or Didst thou love? Hast thou loved? Hadst thou loved? Wilt thou love? Wilt thou have loved? POT. Mayst, canst, or must thou love? Mightst, couldst, wouldst, or shouldst thou love? Mayst, canst, or must thou have loved? Mightst, couldst, wouldst, or shouldst thou have loved?

FAMILIAR STYLE:--IND. Lov'st thou? or Dost thou love? Loved thou? or Did thou love? Hast thou loved? Had thou loved? Will thou love? Will thou have loved? POT. May, can, or must thou love? Might, could, would, or should thou love? May, can, or must thou have loved? Might, could, would, or should thou have loved?


IND. Loves he? or Does he love? Loved he? or Did he love? Has he loved? Had he loved? Shall or will he love? Will he have loved? POT. May, can, or must he love? Might, could, would, or should he love? May, can, or must he have loved? Might, could, would, or should he have loved?


A verb is conjugated interrogatively and negatively, in the indicative and potential moods, by placing the nominative and the adverb not after the verb, or after the first auxiliary: as,


IND. Love we not? or Do we not love? Loved we not? or Did we not love? Have we not loved? Had we not loved? Shall we not love? Shall we not have loved? POT. May, can, or must we not love? Might, could, would, or should we not love? May, can, or must we not have loved? Might, could, would, or should we not have loved?


IND. See ye not? or Do you not see? Saw ye not? or Did you not see? Have you not seen? Had you not seen? Will you not see? Will you not have seen? POT. May, can, or must you not see? Might, could, would, or should you not see? May, can, or must you not have seen? Might, could, would, or should you not have seen?


IND. Are they not loved? Were they not loved? Have they not been loved? Had they not been loved? Shall or will they not be loved? Will they not have been loved? May, can, or must they not be loved? Might, could, would, or should they not be loved? May, can, or must they not have been loved? Might, could, would, or should they not have been loved?


OBS. 1.--In a familiar question or negation, the compound or auxiliary form of the verb is, in general, preferable to the simple: as, "No man lives to purpose, who does not live for posterity."--Dr. Wayland. It is indeed so much more common, as to seem the only proper mode of express ion: as, "Do I say these things as a man?"--"Do you think that we excuse ourselves?"--"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?"--"Dost thou revile?" &c. But in the solemn or the poetic style, though either may be used, the simple form is more dignified, and perhaps more graceful: as, "Say I these things as a man?"--1 Cor., ix, 8. "Think ye that we excuse ourselves?"--2 Cor., xii, 19. "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"--1 Cor., v, 6. "Revilest thou God's high priest?"--Acts. "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?"--Ib. "Understandest thou what thou readest?"--Ib. "Of whom speaketh the prophet this?"--Id. "And the man of God said, Where fell it?"--2 Kings, vi, 6.

  "What! heard ye not of lowland war?"--Sir W. Scott, L. L.
   "Seems he not, Malise, like a ghost?"--Id., L. of Lake.
   "Where thinkst thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?     Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?"--Shak., Ant. and Cleop.

OBS. 2.--In interrogative sentences, the auxiliaries shall and will are not always capable of being applied to the different persons agreeably to their use in simple declarations: thus, "Will I go?" is a question which there never can be any occasion to ask in its literal sense; because none knows better than I, what my will or wish is. But "Shall I go?" may properly be asked; because shall here refers to duty, and asks to know what is agreeable to the will of an other. In questions, the first person generally requires shall; the second, will; the third admits of both: but, in the second-future, the third, used interrogatively, seems to require will only. Yet, in that figurative kind of interrogation which is sometimes used to declare a negative, there may be occasional exceptions to these principles; as, "Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?"--Psalms, 1, 13. That is, I will not eat, &c.

OBS. 3.--Cannot is not properly one word, but two: in parsing, the adverb must be taken separately, and the auxiliary be explained with its principal. When power is denied, can and not are now generally united--perhaps in order to prevent ambiguity; as, "I cannot go." But when the power is affirmed, and something else is denied, the words are written separately; as, "The Christian apologist can not merely expose the utter baseness of the infidel assertion, but he has positive ground for erecting an opposite and confronting assertion in its place."--Dr. Chalmers. The junction of these terms, however, is not of much importance to the sense; and, as it is plainly contrary to analogy, some writers,--(as Dr. Webster, in his late or "improved" works; Dr. Bullions, in his; Prof. W. C. Fowler, in his new "English Grammar," 8vo; R. C. Trench, in his "Study of Words;" T. S. Pinneo, in his "revised" grammars; J. R. Chandler, W. S. Cardell, O. B. Peirce,--) always separate them. And, indeed, why should we write, "I cannot go, Thou canst not go, He cannot go?" Apart from the custom, we have just as good reason to join not to canst as to can; and sometimes its union with the latter is a gross error: as, "He cannot only make a way to escape, but with the injunction to duty can infuse the power to perform."--Maturin's Sermons, p. 287. The fear of ambiguity never prevents us from disjoining can and not whenever we wish to put a word between them: as, "Though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it."--Jeremiah, v, 22. "Which then I can resist not."--Byron's Manfred, p. 1.