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he should make them public, were no slight considerations in leading him to attempt a task so laborious and difficult. In the execution of this work, the author has neither felt nor displayed a spirit of controversy or denunciation. He has aimed to explain the principles of grammar clearly and concisely, without stopping to controvert the opinions of others any
farther than a clear exhibition of his own views required. Indeed he does not wish to give currency to his own work by unjust strictures - upon those of others. He expects it will stand by its own merits if at all, and not by any adventitious circumstances that he can throw around it.
A partial exhibition of the mode: in which this treatise is executed, will tend to illustrate more clearly, the reasons which have led to its publication.
The subject-matter of this work is made to accord, as far as its utility will allow, with that which is adopted in treatises upon the same subject now in use. The author has not labored to make it singular, either. in respect to manner or matter, merely for the sake of singularity.
But, although the general features of the plan are the same as those of other grammars, yet in the detail it is quite different. The general principles of the work are numbered by sections; and under each section, remarks are introduced, if: necessary,
which also are numbered in the order in which they follow their respective sections. This is done for the purpose of referring the student to the principles which apply to each given exercise. At the close of the discussioni of each part of speech, examples are introduced to be parsed: etymologically. In order to render the exercises simple and adapt them to the capacity of the young student, the rules of syntax are not introduced into the etymological exercises that precede them. In syntax, etymological and syntactical exercises are united. Under each rule there are exercises of false syntax, which the student should be required to correct orally according to the rule and remarks under which they are writ
ten. Following the syntax, a variety of extracts of prose
and poetry are introduced for the student to parse and analyze; and for the purpose of assisting him, references are written at the bottom of each page, directing him to those principles of grammar which are applicable to the exercises written above them. These exercises are so extensive and furnish such a variety of examples, that all the principles of grammar will be repeatedly called into requisition'; and thus the student will be furnished with ample means for acquiring an extensive and thorough knowledge of grammar, without being subjected to the inconvenience of using a distinct book for the purpose of analysis and parsing.
The writer has, in this treatise, introduced some alterations in the classification of the parts of speech. To those words which are usually denominated demonstrative, distributive, and indefinite adjective pronouns, the term pronoun is not applied when they belong to nouns expressed or understood, That is usually called a demonstrative adjective pronoun, when it limits the meaning of a noun. But why call it a pronoun? It surely does not supply the place of a noun, It is also sometimes used as a conjunction ; and why can we not, with the same propriety, apply the term pronoun when used as such, and call it a pronominal conjunction? When the words above named 'represent 'nouns, the term pronoun should be applied, but in no other case. Such a course should be pursued in order to classify them consistently with the defini tion given to the pronoun.
The potential mode is not adopted in this treatise, as the author can see no reason for its use. Those verbs that are usually parsed as being in this mode can, with perfect propriety, come under the indicative. The indicative mode affirm's or denies something or asks a question. Now what'verb, that is usually parsed as being in the potential mode, may not be arranged under the indicative? Do not the propositions, I may walk, I might walk, I could walk, affirm that I have
power or ability to walk ? The author does not see why they are not as really affirmations as I walk, I walked, etc. True there is a difference in what is affirmed by the two kinds of propositions; a possible action being affirmed by the former, and a real action, by the latter. But the difference in what is affirmed would be a dangerous principle: to adopt in the formation of modes. If such a principle be admitted, there would be as many modes as there are verbs; for very few verbs mean precisely the same thing. The course here adopted relieves the grammar from some inconsistencies which can easily be made obvious. According to most grammars, the verb, might love, is parsed as being in the potential mode and imperfect tense. But this proposition does not denote a past action or state, which is uniformly the import of the imperfect tense. This verb usually denotes a present possible action or state. Here then is a palpable inconsistency; a verb which is in the present tense denoting a present possible action, is arranged under the imperfect, and parsed as a verb that denotes an action indefinitely past and finished. It would be as absurd to say that two and two make five, as that the proposition, I might love, denotes a
The conjunctions are divided into six classes, instead of two, which is the usual division, and which, in the opinion of the writer, is in many cases incorrect. As an example, take the conjunction that, which is sometimes parsed as a copulative conjunction, and which is defined as connecting words or sentences by expressing addition, supposition or cause. I have ever toiled hard that I might gain a subsistence.” Now what does that denote in this example? Does it denote addition, supposition or cause ? The author cannot see that it ex
If it denotes neither of them, the common definitions of copulative conjunctions are defective. That in the above example denotes the object or result of the preceding proposition, and therefore it should be denominated a
final conjunction. The reader is referred to the article upon conjunctions for further information upon the subject now considered.
A system of analysis is introduced into this work, which is not contained in any English grammar with which the author is acquainted, except one, and but partially in that. According to this analysis, propositions and compound sentences are analyzed grammatically and logically. This system of analy. sis, the author regards as one of the most valuable parts of the grammar. Indeed, it is bis firm conviction, that it will assist the student more in ascertaining the relation and force of the words in a proposition, than the common method of parsing. The unusual advantages which this system will afford, were there no others contained in this work, are in his view amply sufficient to warrant its publication.
To the syntax special attention has been given. It has been a prominent object in the composition of the syntax, as well as in other parts of this grammar, to introduce precision in the definition of rules and remarks. Those rules and remarks which are clearly defined in other grammars, are in many cases introduced without any modification, while others are newly defined and corrected. The whole the author has labored to make concise and conspicuous.
The materials of this grammar have been derived from various sources. In the composition of this work, the author had before him most of the English grammars that have acquired any valuable reputation. He has consulted them carefully, and adopted, both as to manner and matter, the principles contained in them, so far as they would contribute to the utility of this treatise. The works from which the most assistance has been derived, are the grammars of Murray, Webster, and Andrews and Stoddard. There are others from which some assistance has been derived, but which it is not necessary to specify particularly. Many of the definitions contained in the very excellent Latin grammar of Andrews and Stoddard, are introduced into this treatise without alteration. This has been done not only because an attempt to improve them promised no benefit, but for the convenience of those who may pursue a course of classical study. From this work and that of De Sacy, many principles of the analysis have been collected, and arranged and adapted to the genius of the English language.
But, while the author thus cheerfully acknowledges his obligations to others, he does not admit that he is a mere copyist. Many principles are displayed in this treatise, which he has seen in no other grammar; and the manner and matter derived from other sources, have been so modified as to give the work a consistency with itself and the impress of the author's own mind.
not the province of the grammarian to give law to language, but to develop and teach the principles that accord with the best usage.
His instructions should always accord with reputable and general use, or the practice of the best speakers and writers. Of this principle the author is well aware, and has endeavored to be governed by it in the execution of this work.
Those passages which are taken without alteration, are generally marked with quotations or by subscribing the name of the author of the work from which they are taken.
In commending this work to the patronage of the public, the author does not pretend to be indifferent as to its usefulness and success. It would be presumption to claim for it absolute perfection, but he hopes it will bear the examination of an impartial and dispassionate mind. Should it stand the test of such an examination, should it receive the approbation of an enlightened public and advance the cause of education, he will be amply compensated for his labor, and his highest expectation with regard to it will be fully realized.