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ments. In such cases there is, fortunately, not It is to be hoped that literary persons of suffiyet any established etiquette, or despotic autho- cient influence will set the example of discarding rity: the speaker or writer is left to the freedom such anomalous proprieties; but, in the mean of his own will; only having once made choice time, the middle and lower classes of the gramas to plural or singular, there is propriety in matic world must prudently, perhaps, do homage keeping to it; not saying, my people do not con- to established usage. sider : it has not known me : or, my people does not consider: they have not known me, &c.
Sect. VII.—RemaRKS ON THE PREPOSITIONS. 4. Any noun, pronoun, or member of a sen- When, as already noticed, these conie iintence immediately preceded by a preposition, is mediately before any pronoun which has two never included in the nominative to a verb. forms (called nominative and objective), it must This is worthy of attention, as tending to prevent be put in the second form, or objective case : grammatic blunders ; many of which happen thus, I went with her to them from him: John from supposing that plural nouns, pronouns, or gave this book to me, and said it was a present expressions, are the nominative, merely because to both of us, &c.—not with she, to they, from he, they come before the verb : hence such instances &c. There is a very general mistake, as if than of false grammar as the following .-The number and as had the same effect in changing the form of the signatures are twenty. The number of of the pronoun: thus, I am older than her; she places amount to twenty. Many a failure in the is wiser than him ; we are not so rich as them; transactions of business and in huinan affairs but it does not follow that they are more happy originate in imprudence. John with James and than us-it should be, than she, than he, as they, William live in the country. In all these exam- than we. ples, the nominative is singular, and therefore is, The learner should commit the prepositions to not are, should be employed; and the regular memory, or render them familiar by frequent verb should have s affixed, thus : the number of inspection. There is some diversity in their apthe signatures is twenty: the number of the plication ; for even such as are strictly synonyplaces amounts to twenty. Many a failure in the mous, are not all (according to prepondetransactions, &c., originates in imprudence. rating usage) interchangeable. In the following John, with James and William, lives in the examples, the first mode of expression is best country.
sanctioned by established usage :-The following are instances of grammatic im- He found ihe greatest difficulty in speaking, or propriety :-
of speaking. His abhorrence of Popery-abhorThe language should be perspicuous and cor- rence to Popery. It is a change for the betterrect: in proportion as either of these two quali- to the better. He was very different then from ties are wanting, the language is imperfect. what he is now-to what he is now. I differ Every one of the letters bear date after his from you in opinion—I differ with you in banishment. Each of his children behave badly. opinion. There is no need of it--for it. This Of the diversities in human character, some is is no diminution of his greatness-to his greatbetter and some is worse ; none is wholly fault- ness. It is derogatory from his authority-to less. None, i.e. no one, is properly singular, his authority. It is no derogation of his honorbut custom has assigned to it a plural import. to his honor. It is consonant to our natureSome, like many, when a singular noun is not with our nature. put after it, is always plural: thus, some one Such niccties of appropriation may not be says ; some author says; many a one has said wholly disregarded; but liberty is better than so; many an author has said so, &c. But if slavish subjection to mere custom. these adjectives be not connected with a singular It is of some importance that the grammatic noun, they are always considered plural : thus, disciple should learn to disuse useless words and some say—not says. Many have said somnot syllables. Upon and on are synonymous; and, has said.
as the prefix up is useless, it should be discarded:
thus, He came on horseback-not upon horseSect. VI.-DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE
back. Along, together, &c., are often uselessly IRREGULAR VERBS.
employed before with: John went along with These have been exhibited ; and the gram- James-better, John went with James. The matic learner should either commit them to me- ship, together with her cargo, was burned--The mory or practise much upon them. They differ ship with her cargo was burned-or, The ship from the regular verbs only in not having ed af- and her cargo were burned. fixed in what is called the past tense. The Wherever prepositions can be omitted, without following are some of the most frequent ungram- obscuring the meaning, composition is immatic uses of the irregular verbs :
proved by the omission: thus, He went last I knowed bim long ago; I have knowed Monday-is better than, He went on last Monhim many years—it should be, I knew, I have day. The rain has been falling a long time-is known. The wind blowed hard last night; the better than, The rain has been falling for a long wind has blowed hard all day-blew, has blown. time. He could not forbear expressing his John buyed a knife yesterday, and he has buyed a displeasure-is better than, He could not forpencil to-day-bought. The horse drawed in the bear from expressing his displeasure, &c. waggon yesterday, and he has drawed in the It is become a kind of rule, that whenever a plough to-day-drew, has drawn. The corn present participle (i. e. a verb with ing affixed), frowed well in the spring, and has growed well has the before it, of should be placed after : ".S, ever since-grew, has grown.
At the hearing of this intelligence--no! At the
hearing this intelligence. But it would be better More and most, or the affixes er and est, may to omit both the and of: thus, “ If the cares of be employed at pleasure; but the general pracHampden had been directed to the unfolding tice is to use the form which is most agreeable to and guiding his dispositions. Mallet, of the the ear: thus, more friendly, most friendly, in King's Bench, fell under the displeasure of the preference to-friendlier, friendliest House of Lords for being privy to the preparing 4. According to the grammatists the compaa petition. It would be better to omit the rative should be employed in reference to two (which is often as useless in composition as a objects: thus, John and James are of the same mummy in a deliberative assembly), and write, age, but James is the stronger of the two-not If the cares of Hampden had been directed to strongest. This rule, however, is not uniformly unfolding and guiding his disposition; better observed even by grammatic speakers, and it has still-directed to unfold and guide his disposition. some appearance of grammatic pedantry. There Mallet fell under displeasure—for being privy to is, however, an evident propriety in using only preparing a petition ; still better--for being con- the superlative in reference to three or more obcerned in preparing a petition.
jects : Of the three brothers Robert is most Such clumsy modes of expression might be learned. easily avoided; but the and of are equally use The following expressions are faulty : Of all less in such connexions. A good general rule the nations of Europe our own has fewer imperis, to omit every word not necessary to express fections--fewest. The representative form of the meaning of a sentence; and to adopt such government is the best of any; better thus : Of modes of construction as will enable the com- all forms of government the representative form poser to express his meaning in the fewest words. is the best; or, the representative is the best of Swerve from the path-is better than, Swerve all the different forms of government; or simply, out of the path--because, in the first sentence, (certainly the best mode of expression), the reone word (from) performs the office of two words presentative is the best form of government. (out of) in the last.
The simplest and shortest mode of expression is There is always a want of dignity in termi- the best of any: the two last words are wholly nating sentences with such insignificant words as expletive. prepositions: Whom will you present it to? He
Sect. IX.-REMARKS ON COMPOSITIOK. is a poet I am much pleased with—better, To whom will you present it? He is a poet with
The reader must be aware that good compowhom I am much pleased—or still better, I am sition and good grammar are not identical; that much pleased with him as a poet.
the last is, at best, only an acc
and that the first is of the highest importance. Sect. VIII.-DIRECTIONS CONCERNINO
There are two very different senses in which ADJECTIVES.
composition may be pronounced good, according 1. Ungrammatic speakers and writers are apt as it is viewed in reference to logic or to rhetoric, to use adjectives instead of adverbs: thus, i.e. as tried by sense or by taste. Concerning He walks bad-for walks badly. lle is miserable the last there is no wisdom in disputing; for it poor—for miserably poor. He acts agreeable to is as arbitrary as fashion. Persons, indeed, who his instructions—for agreeably. He speaks his wish to have an agreeable style, will not wholly mind very free-freely. John went direct to the disregard it; and they may read with advantage city-directly. "James is steady employed the writings of Blair and other rhetoricians. All steadily employed.
who wish to have smooth diction will avoid, as The rule is, to add ly to the adjective to ex much as possible, harsh words and combinations press the manner of any action or quality: thus, of words in sentences : all who value elegance He sleeps soundly—not He sleeps sound. They of composition will avoid low words, phrases, wait patiently—not patient. They stand peace and metaphors. Persons of rhetorical habitudes ably (contraction of f peaceablely) - not peaceable. delight in eulogistic and dyslogistic phraseology; He spoke forcibly (contraction of 1 forciblely), those of a logical determination prefer neutrolonot forcible. He is evidently prejudiced- not gistic expression. It is believed that such perevident
sons, however different from one another, may There is an awkwardness in the double affix consult, with some advantage, a preceding pai. ly, which is better avoided : He lived soberly of this work. All we intend here, is to present and godlily-better piously. He acted friendlily a few remarks on composition, considered simply towards me-better kindly.
as a medium of meaning, or of mental intercom2. Double comparatives and superlatives munication, i. e. as an interpreter of the undershould not be employed ; such as, more stronger, standing, without any reference to taste, conmore superior, most strongest, &c. More is sidered as a distinct entity from sense. equivalent to the affix er, and most to est; when, Swift, we believe, defines good compositiontherefore, they are united there is manifest tau- 'right words in right places.' This, with due tology
allowance for the agueness of epigrammatic 3. Such adjectires as the following do not brevity, is a tolerable approximation to a good admit of comparative or superlative words and definition ; and it indicates two important paraffixes, viz. chief, extreme, perfect, right, uni- ticulars necessary to be kept in view : judicious versal, &c.
choice and skilful arrangement of words. The It is evidently illogical to say chiefest, er- best preparation for such judicious choice, and tremest, more perfect, most perfect, more right, skilful arrangement, is intimate acquaintance with most or more universal.
etymology and literature.
The properties essential to a perfect sentence, fessed purpose of language. The great object as defined by Blair, are, perspicuity, unity, of every composer should be, to express his strength, harmony. The last property is ex- meaning so distinctly as to render doubts concluded from our present consideration. A cerning it impossible. Rules never can create judicious composer will not disregard the ear; excellence, but they may afford considerable but the understanding is the primary object; assistance in acquiring mastery in an art; and and he will never sacrifice sense to sound, or for the benefit of young composers we venture a meaning to euphony.
few directions. Perspicuity, according to the above rhetorician, 1. Endeavour to express your meaning in as is resolvable into purity, propriety, and pre- few words as possible. The shortest is (all other cision. His remarks on purity and propriety things being equal) the best mode of expression. are too vague to merit transcription. Precision, Many a bad sentence is rendered a good one he writes, signifies retrenching all superfluities, merely by throwing away useless expletives or and pruning the expression in such a manner superfluous words. Such terms as verbality, as to exhibit neither more nor less than an exact verbiage, verbosity, wordiness, indicate the copy of his idea who uses it.' This does not general sentiment concerning the present quesseem essentially different from his account of tion, and admonish the composer that his words strength in composition. The first rule which should be few and well ordered. He will find we shall give for promoting the strength of a this the surest guide-the best assistant in comsentence is, to take from it all redundant words.' posing well; whilst it tends, more than any other
As sentences should be divested of superfluous rule, to relieve him from perplexity, and to render words, so, also, should they appear without su- his task easy. “Feeble writers,' says Blair, employ perfluous members.' Much that he advances on a multitude of words to make themselves understrength belongs to harmony. Two or three of stood, as they think, more distinctly; and they his remarks on unity seem worthy of transcrip- only confound the reader. The first rule tion. Unity is an indispensable property. The which we shall give for promoting the strength, very nature of a sentence implies one proposi- [substitute definiteness of a sentence is, to take tion to be expressed. It may consist indeed of from it all redundant words. Whatever can be parts; but these parts must be so intimately knit easily supplied in the mind is better omitted in together as to make the impression upon the the expression. It is certainly one of the most mind of one object, not of many. To preserve useful exercises of correction, in reviewing what this, we must observe that, during the course of: we have written, to contract that round-about the sentence, the scene should be changed as mode of expression, and to cut off those useless little as possible. There is generally, in every excrescences which are usually found in a first sentence, some person or thing which is the go- draught.' 'As sentences should be divested of verning word. This should be continued so, if superfluous words, they should also appear withpossible, from the beginning to the end. Should out superfluous members. In opposition to a man express himself in this manner : After we this is the fault so frequently met with, of the came to anchor, they put me on shore, where I last member of a period being no other than the was saluted by all my friends, who received me repetition of the former in a different dress. with the greatest kindness. Here, though the For example, speaking of beauty, 'the very first objects are sufficiently connected, yet, by shifting discovery of it,' says Mr. Addison, strikes the so often the person-we, they, I, who--the sense mind with inward joy, and spreads delight is nearly lost. The sentence is restored to its through all its faculties.' In this instance rroper unity by the following construction: scarcely any thing is added by the second memHaving come to anchor I was put on shore, ber of the sentence to what was already expressed where I was saluted by all my friends, and re- in the first. ceived by them with the greatest kindness. The composition of Addison was long consi Another rule is, never to crowd into one sentence dered the model of the middle style ;' but it is things which have so little connexion that they remarkably surcharged with redundant words. might be divided into two or more sentences. and young composers will find it a very improvThe following is an instance of faulty compo- ing exercise to practise condensation on the loose position : Their march was through an uncul- papers of the Spectator, by contracting roundtivated country, whose savage inhabitants fared about modes of expression and cutting off usehardly, having no other riches than a breed of less excrescences. Let them try how many lean sheep, whose flesh was rank and unsavory, superfluous words can be discarded; or with by reason of their continual feeding upon sea- what brevity of expression the same meaning fish. Here the scene is repeatedly changed. may be conveyed. Let them try how much The march of the Greeks, the description of the better than Addison they can express a meaning inhabitants, through whose country they passed, or construct a sentence. This emulous mode of the account of their sheep, and the reason of their studying the most excellent compositions is far sheep being disagreeable food, make a jumble of more conducive to improvement than imitation, objects slightly related to each other, which the which tends more to enslave and enfeeble the reader cannot, without difficulty, comprehend imitator than to produce original excellence. under one view.'
It should be a rule never to use a word, or mode Definiteness seems the single word most ex- of expression, merely because it has been empressive of our notion of good composition; for ployed. Bad sentences escape from the best indefiniteness is the most predominant fault, and writers; and, therefore, instead of relying or that which, more than any other, defeats the pro- doubtful authorities, or following the guidance
of precedents, young composers should endea or afraid to avow?' Better thus : Should any vour to erect a standard for themselves by ac Briton ever be ashamed or afraid to avow these quiring a perfect knowledge of language, i. e. designs: or, Are not these designs worthy tne by intimate acquaintance with etymology and fearless avowal of every Briton? It is folly to literature. Many of the worst modes of expres- pretend (Sherlock's Sermons) to arm ourselves sion are imitated faults; and, when called in against the accidents of life by heaping up treaquestion, persons using them can give no better sures, which nothing can protect us against but reason than that they have seen or heard them. the good providence of our Heavenly Father.'–
2. Aroid as much us possible insignificant It is folly to endeavour, by heaping up riches, to words.-Of all the parts of speech, those com arm ourselves against the accidents of life : for monly called articles, conjunctions, prepositions, nothing can protect us against them but the good and adverbs, are the least significant." It is a providence of our Heavenly Father. The good general rule, therefore, to omit them when- reader may compare the above with Blair's Lecever the omission does not mar the meaning of tures. composition, or do violence to established usage; The following quotations are remarkable inand to adopt such modes of expression as render stances of faulty composition. them least necessary.
"The tide of fortune had set so strongly in faThe same remark applies to pronouns, espe- vor of the king, immediately after the surrender cially those of the third person, and the relatives of Bristol, as would infallibly have reduced and demonstratives. When these are much hearts less devoted and minds less energetic, than employed, the usual consequence is indefinite- those of many who guided the resistance against ness ; for as there are, generally, several preceding him, to despair.'—The tide of fortune, which set entities, the reader has to guess which of them so strongly in favor of the king, immediately afis referred to by it, they, who, which, &c., when ter the surrender of Bristol, would infallibly have such words are frequently interposed. And, reduced to despair, hearts less devoted and minds though skilful disposition or collocation will tend less energetic than those which guided the resistgreatly to secure distinctness, the best general ance against him. "This had, for a series of rule is to adopt such modes of construction as years, had the effect of giving an appearance of render fewest of those words necessary which peace and tranquillity to Ireland, which had have any tendency to throw confusion or obscu- been almost without example.' Perhaps all this rity over composition.
means nothing more than, This gave to Ireland, for 3. Guard against tautology in employing syno- a series of years, an unusual appearance of trannymous words.—This is a very common fault. quillity. In unison with these proceedings, on Many writers suppose that they are enriching the part of those who supported the public cause their composition with additional thoughts, when and commensurate with the urgency of the case, they are only encuinbering it with synonymous were the preparations made for the protection of terms; or that they are expressing their meaning the metropolis.'—The preparations made for the more fully and forcibly, when they are only muf- protection of the metropolis, were in unison with fling it in verbality. This is so much the general these proceedings, and commensurate with the practice—the established usage in composition, urgency of the case. The sentence is still very that young composers should rather lean to the indifferent: 'on the part of those who supported opposite extreme; and in the structure of language the public cause,' is mere surplus. -all the usual modes of expression are so essen These examples furnish abundant evidence tially tautologic and verbose, that there is very that there is a close connexion between multiplilittle danger of pruning verbality too unspar- city of words and faulty arrangement. We have, ingly, and of not leaving sufficient foliage (as said, that many a bad sentence is rendered a good advised by Dr. Blair) to shelter and adorn the one, simply by throwing away useless words. In fruit.
the following instances the useless parts are 4. Adopt that arrangement of words which marked by italics. presents your meaning most distinctly. The follow The king's march against Gloucester was the ing remark of Dr. Blair is judicious : “From the first decisive evidence that was afforded of the nature of our language, a leading rule in the ar- change in public affairs.' The defence of the rangement of our sentences is, that the words or city was conducted with great courage and resomembers most nearly related, should be placed lution. The events announced were far from as near to each other as possible, so as to make being such as be wished them to prove,'— which their mutual relation clearly appear. This rule is are uisite to the forming a great warlike too frequently neglected even by good writers. leader,'— devoted himself to the forwarding the A few instances will show both its importance cause of his sovereign: still better, devoted himand its application.'
self to promote the cause of his sovereign; better Some of these instances we will, for the sake still, he devoted himself to the cause of his soveof brevity, present in our own manner: • By reign ; for whatever can be easily supplied in greatness,' says Mr. Addison, 'I do not only the mind is better omitted in the sentence.' "The mean the bulk of any single object, but the large- judicious use of ellipsis tends rather to producness of a whole view.' Better thus: I mean by explicitness than obscurity, whilst it affects bregreatness, not merely the magnitude of any sin- vity. We ought to put others to as little trouble gle object, but that of a whole view. *Are as possible in apprehending our meaning; hence these designs,' says lord Bolingbroke, 'which the importance of endeavouring to present it to any man who is born a Briton, in any circum- them both distinctly and concisely. The two stances, in any situation, ought to be ashamed grand qualities, therefore, of good composition,
are definiteness and conciseness, or perspicuity emotion. The answer of the poet, whose own and brevity. These excellencies rest not on taste, feelings of misery come at once upon the canvas, but on sense; and every sensible man may, if he is the very epic of melancholy discontentmentchooses, possess them.
a discontentment engendered by the finest sensiA few remarks concerning metaphor may not hility, blasted in its hopes and its efforts for ame be wholly without utility. A great part of lan- liorating human sufferings and amending human guage is, of necessity, metaphoric, and therefore institutions.' . But that fatal pre-eminence which we cannot reasonably interdict figurative expres- the lowly worship and the envious malign, gives sion. Whether a better system of mental inter- only a fiuer faculty for suffering; and while it communication might not be invented is a fair opens the sources of petty vexations, and exalts question for consideration; but that which we the poignancy of the greater moral afflictions, it now employ is essentially metaphoric; and per- places its gifted victim at an immeasurable dishaps more logical error, or metaphysical absur- tance from the heartless enjoyments and trifling dity, results from mistaking figurative for literal pleasures of more ordinary humanity.' phraseology, than from the injudicious use of These are eloquent specimens of the metametaphors. All, therefore, that can be rea- phoric prolification of the present literature, sonably insisted on, is a judicious use of figura- whose characteristic peculiarities are ambitious tive language.
display and striking effect. The following suggestions, perhaps, deserve the When the author or the orator is actuated by attention of young composers :
any rhetorical rage for metaphors, it is not wonNever employ metaphor for the sake of meta- derful that they should be strangely obtruded and phor, i. e. never adopt a figurative except when jumbled and mangled and misapplied; or, that it evidently expresses your meaning more effec- they should frequently answer any purpose save tually than a literal mode of expression. The that of being a distinct medium of intercommuconverse of this seems the rule adopted by many. nication between one understanding and another. They appear never to employ plain unmetapho- It would be easy to collect in a short space of ric diction, but when they cannot conveniently time a thousand objectionable examples from the avoid it: they are always making an effort to most eloquent and tasteful productions of the produce effect, or to display their genius : their current literature; but the young composer main object is to surprise or astonish by the no- should view them not as patterns of excellence velty and brilliancy of their imagery. Take the or models for imitation, but as beacons to warn following specimens from a work now before us: him of the danger of venturing eagerly, among .Too agitated to still down his bitter and per- metaphors on which so many make shipwreck of turbed spirit to the tranquil pursuit of his art, the reason and common sense. When the imaginastingings of his lacerated and disappointed feel- tion is not the servant but the tyrant of the underings found vent in a medium more adapted to standing : there is some degree of mental derangegive a rapid and ready expression to powerful ment.
GRAMMARIAN was anciently a title of ho- GRAMMONT, or GEERSBERGHE, a town of nor, literature, and erudition, being given to per- West Flanders, on the Dender, and divided by song accounted learned in any art or faculty. that river into the upper and lower towns. Its But it is now often used as a term of reproach, manufactures are linen, carpeting, and paper. to signify a dry plodding person, employed There is a canal to Alost. Population 6000. about words and phrases, but inattentive to the Fourteen miles east by south of Oudenarde, true beauties of expression and delicacy of sen- and twenty-one W.S. W of Brussels. timent. The ancient grammarians, called also GRAMPIAN Hills, a chain of mountains philologers, must not be confounded with the in Scotland, which run from east to west, almost grammatists, whose sole business was to teach the whole breadth of the kingdom. See Scotchildren the first elements of language. Varro, LAND. Cicero, Messala, and even Julius Cæsar, thought GRAMPOUND, a town of England, in it no disgrace to be ranked amongst grammarians, Cornwall, seated on the Valle, over which there who had many privileges granted to them by is a bridge. The inhabitants have a considerthe Roman emperors.
able manufacture of gloves; and send two memGRAMMONT (Philibert, count), son of bers to parliament. It is supposed to be the Antony, duke of Grammont, a celebrated wit of Voluba of the ancients, as it stands on the same Charles II.'s court. He served in the French river; and, on the building of the bridge, the army under the prince of Condé and Turenne, name was changed into Grand-pont. It was but, having paid his addresses to a lady who was made a borough by Edward III., and endowed also a favorite of Louis XIV., he was obliged to with several privileges, particularly freedom from retire to England, and was highly distinguished toll through all Cornwall, a market on Saturday, by Charles II. He was indebted for his chief and three fairs; which the burgessers hold of support to his gambling habits, in which he was the duchy of Cornwall in fee farm, at the rent very successful. He married Miss Elizabeth, of about twelve guineas. Its privileges were daughter of Sir George Hamilton, and died in confirmed by Henry VIII.; but it did not send 1707. His Memoirs were written by his bro members to parliament till the reign of Edward ther-in-law, count Hamilton, who followed the VI. It is a corporation, and has a mayor, eight fortunes of James II.
magistrates, a recorder, and town clerk. The