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intellectual philosophy; literature, and the active concerns of life. . 227. English verbs receive four kinds of modifieation, denoted by the technical words, mood, tense, person, and number.
'MOOD. Mood is the distinctive manner in which actions are represented. There are are three moods, distinguished by personal relation. These are named the indicative, or declaring; the imperative, or commanding; and the infinitive, or unrestricted, These take their respective names from the leading idea; but are subject to many secondary modifications.
Some writers attempt to explain one or more moods, in addition to these; but as such additional moods have no existence in fact, it is unphilosophic and unprofitable to invent artificial systems to create them.
228. The indicative is used to assert, deny, or interrogate, and has reference to the simple fact of the action's being done, or not done. It has one personal relation ; that is, of direct agreement with the actor; as “ Brutus saw a vision." " Bonaparte issued the Berlin decree.”
The distinctive trait of the imperative mood is, that itimplies the volition of a first person, addressed to the agency of a second, to do or not to do an action. Whether the imperative mood is to be considered under the idea of authoritative command, of supplication, or of request, depends on the countless relative conditions in which men may stand, with reference to each other. As no dividing line can
be drawn, between these minor circumstances, they can not be made the basis of any consistent classification.
“Pull out this javelin, and let me bleed.”—Epaminondas to his attendants.
Who can say whether this expression is the dying man's request to his friends, to relieve him from excruciating pain, or the last command of the military chieftain to his subalterns ?
“ Bear witness for me to my countrymen, that I die like a brave man.”—Col. Hale.
229. As the imperative mood is always addressed to a second person, thou, you, or an equivalent noun, is necessarily understood: but the verb itself is never varied in English, for number, person, nor tense ; though it is always future by construction. There needs no argument to prove the absurdity of commanding a person to do an action, yesterday, or at any other time than after the command is expressed. Nearly all which is said in European grammars respecting the tenses of this verb, is perfectly childish. No sophistry can make it any thing else but future. If a man sees instant danger threaten his friend, and says, “ take care,” all he can mean is, that his friend may take care, in consequence of his warning.
The infinitive mood expresses action, without any direct connexion with the actor. It is seldom goyerned by a single word, as has been supposed; but generally depends on an indicative proposition.
He tries to learn. I am now ready to be offered. It sometimes follows an imperative verb. Try to shun evil, learn to do well.
An affirmation must of course contain a verb, and on this verb the infinitive is commonly considered
as more immediately depending. This partial modification, however, is no way contrary to the general rule above advanced.
The infinitive verb some times makes part of the affirmation, as, “ To see is pleasant.” In this kind of sentence the infinitive may be the subject or object of an indicative verb.
As the radical verb may almost always be used as a noun, in English, without change of the word, it is made a convenient practice, to prefix, to the infinitive mood, the word to, by way of distinction.
The ideas of mood and tense are very intimately combined. Farther explanations will therefore be made upon them in connexion.
230. Writers on language have very generally adopted the technical word tense, to denote different verbal references to the order of time.
According to philosophic understanding, there are three tenses, or relative periods, which include the whole extent of duration. The present instant, taken as a point, or crossing line, in the progress of time, is without measure of continuance, the everadvancing now, dividing the past from the untried future.
Though each word appears to have had one only original form, yet, in the progress of several languages, the verb has assumed different changes, to express these periods of time; and, in some, has more numerous variations to mark the relative order of events.
231. An English verb has, in form, two tenses only; the present and the past. The organization
of our language, which, in this particular, is simple
I had Had is the contraction for haved, as in many other words of similar structure.
132. The future, in English, can only be expressed by two distinct verbs, one depending on the other; as, I intend to go tomorrow.
In this expression, the idea of the future, which is unequivocal, even without the word tomorrow, depends on this simple deduction. The verb intend is present tense, in form and meaning. It declares a purpose of the mind to do an action : that action not commenced, and therefore future. Neither can this deduction of the future be, in substance, varied by any qualifying words. Whether I intend to go instantly, next week, or next year, the grammar and the logic are the same : for it is not the business of either to inquire, how far the proposed action is in advance of the present moment. What is to be, in one second of time, is as absolutely future, as the praises which are to be offered after the lapse of ten thousand ages.
I wish, I will, I must, I propose, to go, with every similar form of expression, are all to be explained in the same manner. 'No other kind of future can be expressed in the English language. This future tense, then, strictly speaking, is not one of grammatical form; but of logical deduction.
233. The principle is the same if the reference is
to an action now doing : as, I have been writing two hours, and I intend to write an hour longer. This intention refers entirely to that portion of the action which remains unfinished, that is, the future.
If the first verb is put in the past tense, the second is future in relation to the time of the intention, and not to the present time; as, I intended, last Monday, to write on Tuesday.
This relatie future may exist, when both the verbs signify present and continuing action; as “He causeth the sun to shine on the just and on the unjust.” Here the idea is a continuing cause, and a consequent continuing action. The shining depends on the causing, and is future in relation to it. Under these circumstances of continuance, the two actions are partly consecutive, and partly concomitant.
234. The verb do, by its meaning and use, when put before the infinitive mood, presents the idea of two actions nearly coeval ; as, I do write; “I do believe ; help thou my unbelief." The close connexion in the time of the two verbs, in this instance, depends on the special meaning of the word do, which signifies immediate and efficient action. In the phrase, “I dare write,” the grammatical structure is precisely the same ; but the logical expositions are different; and the assertion
may derstood that I do write, or that I do not.
The same close relation exists between the indicative and the infinitive verb, in point of time, when they both imply the affections of the mind; as, ss will you admit the correctness of my statement ?" Ans. I will admit it. There is no constructive future, in English, which can come nearer to an absolute present than this. To will, is the present act of the mind. Admit also implies an act of pure vo