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ments. . In such cases there is, fortunately, not yet any established etiquette, or despotic authority: the speaker or writer is left to the freedom of his own will; only having once made choice as to plural or singular, there is propriety in keeping to it; not saying, my people do not consider: it has not known me : or, my people does not consider: they have not known me, &c.
4. Any noun, pronoun, or member of a sentence immediately preceded by a preposition, is never included in the nominative to a verb. This is worthy of attention, as tending to |. grammatic blunders; many of which happen from supposing that plural nouns, pronouns, or expressions, are the nominative, merely because they come before the verb: hence such instances of false grammar as the following.—The number of the signatures are twenty. The number of places amount to twenty. Many a failure in the transactions of business and in human affairs originate in imprudence. John with James and William live in the country. In all these examples, the nominative is singular, and therefore is, not are, should be employed; and the regular verb should have s affixed, thus: the number of the signatures is twenty: the number of the places amounts to twenty. Many a failure in the transactions, &c., originates in imprudence. John, with James and William, lives in the country.
The following are instances of grammatic impropriety:—
The language should be perspicuous and correct: in proportion as either of these two qualities are wanting, the language is imperfect. Every one of the letters bear date after his banishment. Each of his children behave badly. Of the diversities in human character, some is better and some is worse; none is wholly faultless. None, i.e. no one, is properly singular, but custom has assigned to it a plural import. Some, like many, when a singular noun is not put after it, is always plural: thus, some one says ; some author says; many a one has said so ; many an author has said so, &c. But if these adjectives be not connected with a singular noun, they are always considered plural: thus, some say—not says. Many have said so—not has said.
SECT. VI.-DIRECTIONs conceRNING THE IRREGULAR VERBs.
These have been exhibited; and the grammatic learner should either commit them to memory or practise much upon them. They differ from the regular verbs only in not having ed af. fixed in what is called the past tense. The following are some of the most frequent ungrammatic uses of the irregular verbs:
I knowed him long ago; I have knowed him many years—it should be, I knew, I have known. The wind blowed hard last night; the wind has blowed hard all day—blew, has blown. John buyed a knife yesterday, and he has buyed a pencil to-day—bought. The horse drawed in the waggon yesterday, and he has drawed in the plough to-day—drew, has drawn. The corn growed well in the spring, and has growed well ever since—grew, has grown.
It is to be hoped that literary persons of sufficient influence will set the example of discarding such anomalous proprieties; but, in the mean time, the middle and lower classes of the grammatic world must prudently, perhaps, do homage to established usage.
Sect. VII.-REMARKs on The PREPositions.
When, as already noticed, these come inmediately before any pronoun which has two forms (called nominative and objective), it must be put in the second form, or objective case: thus, I went with her to them from him: John gave this book to me, and said it was a present to both of us, &c.—not with she, to they, from he, &c. There is a very general mistake, as if than and as had the same effect in changing the form of the pronoun: thus, I am older than her; she is wiser than him; we are not so rich as them; but it does not follow that they are more happy than us—it should be, than she, than he, as they, than we. The learner should commit the prepositions to memory, or render them familiar by frequent inspection. There is some diversity in their application; for even such as are strictly synonymous, are not all (according to preponderating usage) interchangeable. In the following examples, the first mode of expression is best sanctioned by established usage:– He found the greatest difficulty in speaking, or of speaking. His abhorrence of Popery—abhorrence to Popery. It is a change for the better— to the better. He was very different then from what he is now—to what he is now. I differ from you in opinion—I differ with you in opinion. There is no need of it—for it. This is no diminution of his greatness—to his greatness. It is derogatory from his authority—to his authority. It is no derogation of his honor— to his honor. It is consonant to our nature— with our nature. Such niceties of appropriation may not be wholly disregarded; but liberty is better than slavish subjection to mere custom. It is of some importance that the grammatic disciple should learn to disuse useless words and syllables. Upon and on are synonymous; and, as the prefix up is useless, it should be discarded: thus, He came on horseback—not upon horseback. Along, together, &c., are often uselessly employed before with: John went along with James—better, John went with James. The ship, together with her cargo, was burned—The ship with her cargo was burned—or, The ship and her cargo were burned. Wherever prepositions can be omitted, without obscuring the meaning, composition is im– roved by the omission: thus, He went last K.,”, better than, He went on last Monday. The rain has been falling a long time—is better than, The rain has been falling for a long time. He could not forbear expressing his displeasure—is better than, He could not forbear from expressing his displeasure, &c. It is become a kind of rule, that whenever a resent participle (i.e. a verb with ing affixed), i. the before it, of should be placed after “...s, At the hearing of this intelligence—no: At the hearing this intelligence. But it would be better to omit both the and of: thus, “If the cares of Hampden had been directed to the unfolding and guiding his dispositions.’ ‘Mallet, of the King's Bench, fell under the displeasure of the House of Lords for being privy to the preparing a petition.' It would be better to omit the (which is often as useless in composition as a mummy in a deliberative assembly), and write, If the cares of Hampden had been directed to unfolding and guiding his disposition; better still—directed to unfold and guide his disposition. Mallet fell under displeasure—for being privy to preparing a petition; still better—for being concerned in preparing a petition. Such clumsy modes of expression might be easily avoided; but the and of are equally useless in such connexions. A good general rule is, to omit every word not necessary to express the meaning of a sentence; and to adopt such modes of construction as will enable the comoser to express his meaning in the fewest words. Swerve from the path—is better than, Swerve out of the path—because, in the first sentence, one word (from) performs the office of two words (out of) in the last. There is always a want of dignity in terminating sentences with such insignificant words as prepositions: Whom will you present it to ? He is a poet I am much pleased with—better, To whom will you present it? He is a poet with whom I am much pleased—or still better, I am much pleased with |. as a poet.
SECT. VIII.-DIRECTIONs concean INo ADJEctives.
1. Ungrammatic speakers and writers are apt to use adjectives instead of adverbs: thus, He walks bad—for walks badly. He is miserable #. miserably poor. He acts agreeable to is instructions—for agreeably. He speaks his mind very free—freely. John went direct to the city—directly. James is steady employed— steadily employed. The rule is, to add ly to the adjective to exso the manner of any action or quality: thus, e sleeps soundly—not He sleeps sound. They wait patiently—not patient. They stand peaceably (contraction off peaceablely)—not peaceable. He spoke forcibly (contraction of f forciblely)— not forcible. He is evidently prejudiced—not evident. There is an awkwardness in the double affix ly, which is better avoided: He lived soberly and godlily—better piously. He acted friendlily towards me—better kindly. - 2. Double comparatives and superlatives should not be employed; such as, more stronger, more superior, most strongest, &c. More is equivalent to the affixer, and most to est; when, therefore, they are united there is manifest tautology. 3. Such adjectives as the following do not admit of comparative or superlative words and affixes, viz. chief, extreme, perfect, right, universal, &c. It is evidently illogical to say chiefest, ertremest, more perfect, most perfect, more right, most or more universal.
More and most, or the affixes er and eit, may be employed at pleasure; but the general prac. tice is to use the form which is most agreeable to the ear: thus, more friendly, most friendly, in preference to—friendlier, friendliest
4. According to the grammatists the comparative should be employed in reference to two objects: thus, John and James are of the same age, but James is the stronger of the two—not strongest. This rule, however, is not uniformly observed even by grammatic speakers, and it has some appearance of grammatic pedantry. There is, however, an evident propriety in using only the superlative in reference to three or more objects: Of the three brothers Robert is most learned.
The following expressions are faulty: Of all the nations of Europe our own has fewer imperfections—fewest. The representative form of government is the best of any; better thus: Of all forms of government the representative form is the best; or, the representative is the best of all the different forms of government; or simply, (certainly the best mode of expression), the representative is the best form of government. The simplest and shortest mode of expression is the best of any: the two last words are wholly expletive.
SECT. IX.-REMARKs on Composition.
The reader must be aware that good composition and good grammar are not identical; §. the last is, at best, only an accomplishment; and that the first is of the highest importance. There are two very different senses in which composition may be pronounced good, according as it is viewed in reference to logic or to rhetoric, i.e. as tried by sense or by taste. Concerning the last there is no wisdom in disputing; for it is as arbitrary as fashion. Persons, indeed, who wish to have an agreeable style, will not wholly disregard it; and they may read with advantage the writings of Blair and other rhetoricians. All who wish to have smooth diction will avoid, as much as possible, harsh words and combinations of words in sentences: all who value elegance of composition will avoid low words, phrases, and metaphors. Persons of rhetorical habitudes delight in eulogistic and dyslogistic phraseology; those of a logical determination prefer neutrologistic expression. It is believed that such persons, however different from one another, may consult, with some advantage, a preceding par. of this work. All we intend here, is to present a few remarks on composition, considered simply as a medium of meaning, or of mental intercommunication, i.e. as an interpreter of the understanding, without any reference to taste, considered as a distinct entity from sense. Swift, we believe, defines good composition— ‘right words in right places.' This, with due allowance for the vagueness of epigrammatic brevity, is a tolerable approximation to a good definition; and it indicates two important particulars necessary to be kept in view: judicious choice and skilful arrangement of words. The best preparation for such judicious choice, and skilful arrangement, is intimate acquaintance with etymology and literature.
The properties essential to a perfect sentence, as defined by Blair, are, ‘perspicuity, unity, strength, harmony.’ The last property is excluded from our present consideration. A judicious composer will not disregard the ear; but the understanding is the primary object; and he will never sacrifice sense to sound, or meaning to euphony.
Perspicuity, according to the above rhetorician, is resolvable into purity, propriety, and precision. His remarks on purity and propriety are too vague to merit transcription. “Precision,' he writes, ‘signifies retrenching all superfluities, and pruning the expression in such a manner as to exhibit neither more nor less than an exact copy of his idea who uses it.’ This does not seem essentially different from his account of strength in composition. ‘The first rule which we shall give for promoting the strength of a sentence is, to take from it all redundant words.’ “As sentences should be divested of superfluous words, so, also, should they appear without superfluous members.” Much that he advances on strength belongs to harmony. Two or three of his remarks on unity seem worthy of transcription. ‘Unity is an indispensable property. The very nature of a sentence implies one proposition to be expressed. It may consist indeed of parts; but these parts must be so intimately knit together as to make the impression upon the mind of one object, not of many. To preserve this, we must observe that, during the course of the sentence, the scene should be changed as little as possible. There is generally, in every sentence, some person or thing which is the governing word. This should be continued so, if possible, from the beginning to the end. Should a man express himself in this manner: After we came to anchor, they put me on shore, where I was saluted by all my friends, who received me with the greatest kindness. Here, though the objects are sufficiently connected, yet, by shifting so often the person—we, they, I, who—the sense is nearly lost. The sentence is restored to its roper unity by the following construction: Having come to anchor I was put on shore, where I was saluted by all my friends, and received by them with the greatest kindness. Another rule is, never to crowd into one sentence things which have so little connexion that they might be divided into two or more sentences. The following is an instance of faulty compoposition: Their march was through an uncultivated country, whose savage inhabitants fared hardly, having no other riches than a breed of lean sheep, whose flesh was rank and unsavory, by reason of their continual feeding upon seafish. Here the scene is repeatedly changed. The march of the Greeks, the description of the inhabitants, through whose country they passed, the account of their sheep, and the reason of their sheep being disagreeable food, make a jumble of objects slightly related to each other, which the reader cannot, without difficulty, comprehend under one view.’
Definiteness seems the single word most expressive of our notion of good composition; for indefiniteness is the most predominant fault, and that which, more than any other, defeats the pro
fessed purpose of language. The great object of every composer should be, to express his meaning so distinctly as to render doubts concerning it impossible. Rules never can create excellence, but they may afford considerable assistance in acquiring mastery in an art; and for the benefit of young composers we venture a few directions. 1. Endeavour to express your meaning in as few words as possible.—The shortest is (all other things being equal) the best mode of expression. Many a bad sentence is rendered a good one merely by throwing away useless expletives or superfluous words. Such terms as verbality, verbiage, verbosity, wordiness, indicate the general sentiment concerning the present question, and admonish the composer that his words should be few and well ordered. He will find this the surest guide—the best assistant in composing well; whilst it tends, more than any other rule, to relieve him from perplexity, and to render his task easy. “Feeble writers, says Blair, ‘employ a multitude of words to make themselves understood, as they think, more distinctly; and they only confound the reader.’ ‘The first rule which we shall give for promoting the strength, |. definiteness] of a sentence is, to take rom it all redundant words. Whatever can be easily supplied in the mind is better omitted in the expression. It is certainly one of the most useful exercises of correction, in reviewing what we have written, to contract that round-about mode of expression, and to cut off those useless excrescences which are usually found in a first draught.” “As sentences should be divested of superfluous words, they should also appear without superfluous members. In opposition to this is the fault so frequently met with, of the last member of a period being no other than the repetition of the former in a different dress. For example, speaking of beauty, “the very first discovery of it,' says Mr. Addison, “strikes the mind with inward joy, and spreads delight through all its faculties.” In this instance scarcely anything is added by the second member of the sentence to what was already expressed in the first.’ The composition of Addison was long consi. dered the ‘model of the middle style;' but it is remarkably surcharged with redundant words. and young composers will find it a very improving exercise to practise condensation on the loose papers of the Spectator, “by contracting roundabout modes of expression and cutting off useless excrescences.’ Let them try how many superfluous words can be discarded; or with what brevity of expression the same meaning may be conveyed. Let them try how much better than Addison they can express a meaning or construct a sentence. This emulous mode of studying the most excellent compositions is far more conducive to improvement than imitation, which tends more to enslave and enfeeble the imitator than to produce original excellence. It should be a rule never to use a word, or mode of expression, merely because it has been employed. Bad sentences escape from the best writers; and, therefore, instead of relying ot. doubtful authorities, or following the guidance of precedents, young composers should endeavour to erect a standard for themselves by acquiring a perfect knowledge of language, i. e. by intimate acquaintance with etymology and literature. Many of the worst modes of expression are imitated faults; and, when called in question, persons using them can give no better reason than that they have seen or heard them. 2. Avoid as much as possible insignificant words.-Of all the parts of speech, those commonly called articles, conjunctions, prepositions, and adverbs, are the least significant. It is a good general rule, therefore, to omit them whenever the omission does not mar the meaning of composition, or do violence to established usage; and to adopt such modes of expression as render them least necessary. The same remark applies to pronouns, especially those of the third person, and the relatives and demonstratives. When these are much employed, the usual consequence is indefiniteness; for as there are, generally, several preceding entities, the reader has to guess which of them is referred to by it, they, who, which, &c., when such words are frequently interposed. And, though skilful disposition or collocation will tend greatly to secure distinctness, the best general rule is to adopt such modes of construction as render fewest of those words necessary which have any tendency to throw confusion or obscurity over composition. 3. Guard against tautology in employing synonymous words.-This is a very common fault. Many writers suppose that they are enriching their composition with additional thoughts, when they are only encumbering it with synonymous terms; or that they are expressing their meaning more fully and forcibly, when they are only muffling it in verbality. This is so much the general practice—the established usage in composition, that young composers should rather lean to the opposite extreme; and in the structure of language —all the usual modes of expression are so essentially tautologic and verbose, that there is very little danger of pruning verbality too unsparingly, and of not leaving sufficient foliage (as advised by Dr. Blair) to shelter and adorn the fruit. 4. Adopt that arrangement of words which presents your meaning most distinctly. The following remark of Dr. Blair is judicious : “From the nature of our language, a leading rule in the arrangement of our sentences is, that the words or members most nearly related, should be placed as near to each other as possible, so as to make their mutual relation clearly appear. This rule is too frequently neglected even by good writers. A few instances will show both its importance and its application.’ Some of these instances we will, for the sake of brevity, present in our own manner: “By greatness,’ says Mr. Addison, “I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view.’ Better thus: I mean by greatness, not merely the magnitude of any single object, but that of a whole view. “Are these designs,’ says lord Bolingbroke, ‘which any man who is born a Briton, in any circumstances, in any situation, ought to be ashamed
or afraid to avow?' Better thus: Should any Briton ever be ashamed or afraid to avow these designs: or, Are not these designs worthy the fearless avowal of every Briton? “It is folly to pretend (Sherlock's Sermons) to arm ourselves against the accidents of life by heaping up treasures, which nothing can protect us against but the good providence of our Heavenly Father.'— It is folly to endeavour, by heaping up riches, to arm ourselves against the accidents of life: for nothing can protect us against them but the good providence of our Heavenly Father.—The reader may compare the above with Blair's Lectures. The following quotations are remarkable instances of faulty composition. “The tide of fortune had set so strongly in favor of the king, immediately after the surrender of Bristol, as would infallibly have reduced hearts less devoted and minds less energetic, than those of many who guided the resistance against him, to despair.’—The tide of fortune, which set so strongly in favor of the king, immediately after the surrender of Bristol, would infallibly have reduced to despair, hearts less devoted and minds less energetic than those which guided the resistance against him. “This had, for a series of years, had the effect of giving an appearance of peace and tranquillity to Ireland, which had been almost without example.' Perhaps all this means nothing more than, This gave to Ireland, for a series of years, an unusual appearance of tranquillity. “In unison with these proceedings, on the part of those who supported the public cause and commensurate with the urgency of the case, were the preparations made for the protection of the metropolis."—The preparations made for the protection of the metropolis, were in unison with these proceedings, and commensurate with the urgency of the case. The sentence is still very indifferent: ‘on the part of those who supported the public cause,' is mere surplus. These examples furnish abundant evidence that there is a close connexion between multiplicity of words and faulty arrangement. We have, said, that many a bad sentence is rendered a good one, simply by throwing away useless words. In the following instances the useless parts are marked by italics. “The king's march against Gloucester was the first decisive evidence that was afforded of the change in public affairs.’ ‘The defence of the city was conducted with great courage and resolution.’ ‘The events announced were far from being such as he wished them to prove,'—‘which are requisite to the forming a great warlike leader,’—‘devoted himself to the forwarding the cause of his sovereign:' still better, devoted himself to promote the cause of his sovereign; better still, he devoted himself to the cause of his sovereign; for ‘whatever can be easily supplied in the mind is better omitted in the sentence." -The judicious use of ellipsis tends rather to produce explicitness than obscurity, whilst it affects brevity. We ought to put others to as little trouble as possible in apprehending our meaning; hence the importance of endeavouring to present it to them both distinctly and concisely. The two grand qualities, therefore, of good composition,
are definiteness and conciseness, or perspicuity and brevity. These excellencies rest not on taste, but on sense; and every sensible man may, if he chooses, possess them. A few remarks concerning metaphor may not be wholly without utility. A great part of language is, of necessity, o: and therefore we cannot reasonably interdict figurative expression. Whether a better system of mental intercommunication might not be invented is a fair question for consideration; but that which we now employ is essentially metaphoric; and perhaps more logical error, or metaphysical absurdity, results from mistaking figurative for literal phraseology, than from the injudicious use of metaphors. All, therefore, that can be reasonably insisted on, is a judicious use of figurative language. The following suggestions, perhaps, deserve the attention of young composers: Never employ metaphor for the sake of metahor, i.e. never adopt a figurative except when it evidently expresses your meaning more effectually than a literal mode of expression. The converse of this seems the rule adopted by many. They appear never to employ plain unmetaphoric diction, but when they cannot conveniently avoid it: they are always making an effort to produce effect, or to display their genius: their main object is to surprise or astonish by the novelty and brilliancy of their imagery. Take the following specimens from a work now before us: “Too agitated to still down his bitter and perturbed spirit to the tranquil pursuit of his art, the stingings of his lacerated and disappointed feelings found vent in a medium more adapted to give a rapid and ready expression to powerful
emotion.’ ‘The answer of the poet, whose own feelings of misery come at once upon the canvas, is the very epic of melancholy discontentment— a discontentment engendered by the finest sensibility, blasted in its hopes and its efforts for ame liorating human sufferings and amending human institutions.” “But that fatal pre-eminence which the lowly worship and the envious malign, gives only a filter faculty for suffering; and while it opens the sources of petty vexations, and exalts the poignancy of the greater moral afflictions, it places its gifted victim at an immeasurable distance from the heartless enjoyments and trifling pleasures of more ordinary humanity.'
These are eloquent specimens of the metaphoric F. of the present literature, whose characteristic peculiarities are ambitious display and striking effect.
When the author or the orator is actuated by any rhetorical rage for metaphors, it is not wonderful that they should be strangely obtruded and jumbled and mangled and misapplied; or, that they should frequently answer any purpose save that of being a distinct medium of intercommunication between one understanding and another. It would be easy to collect in a short space of time a thousand objectionable examples from the most eloquent and tasteful productions of the current literature; but the young composer should view them not as patterns of excellence or models for imitation, but as beacons to warn him of the danger of venturing eagerly, among metaphors on which so many make shipwreck of reason and common sense. When the imagination is not the servant but the tyrant of the understanding; there is some degree of mental derangeInent.
GRAMMARIAN was anciently a title of honor, literature, and erudition, being given to persons accounted learned in any art or faculty. But it is now often used as a term of reproach, to signify a d lodding person, employed about words j o: but inattentive to the true beauties of expression and delicacy of sentiment. The ancient grammarians, called also philologers, must not be confounded with the grammatists, whose sole business was to teach children the first elements of language. Varro, Cicero, Messala, and even Julius Caesar, thought it no disgrace to be ranked amongst grammarians, who had many privileges granted to them by the Roman emperors.
GRAMMONT (Philibert, count), son of Antony, duke of Grammont, a celebrated wit of Charles II.'s court. He served in the French army under the prince of Condé and Turenne, but, having paid #. addresses to a lady who was also a favorite of Louis XIV., he was obliged to retire to England, and was highly distinguished by Charles II. He was indebted for his chief support to his gambling habits, in which he was very successful. He married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Hamilton, and died in 1707. His Memoirs were written by his brother-in-law, count Hamilton, who followed the fortunes of James II.
GRAMMONT, or GEERsberghe, a town of West Flanders, on the Dender, and divided by that river into the upper and lower towns. Its manufactures are linen, carpeting, and paper. There is a canal to Alost. Population oë00. Fourteen miles east by south of Oudenarde, and twenty-one W. S.W of Brussels.
GRAMPIAN Hills, a chain of mountains in Scotland, which run from east to west, almost the whole breadth of the kingdom. See ScotLAND.
GRAMPOUND, a town of England, in Cornwall, seated on the Valle, over which there is a bridge. The inhabitants have a considerable manufacture of gloves; and send two members to parliament. It is supposed to be the Voluba of the ancients, as it stands on the same river; and, on the building of the bridge, the name was changed into Grand-pont. It was made a borough by Edward III., and endowed with several privileges, particularly freedom from toll through all Cornwall, a market on Saturday, and three fairs; which the burgessers hold of the duchy of Cornwall in fee farm, at the rent of about twelve guineas. Its privileges were confirmed by Henry VIII.; but it did not send members to parliament till the reign of Edward VI. . It is a corporation, and has a mayor, eight magistrates, a recorder, and town clerk. The