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doing away with it, and making men intemperate. "The reform of drunkenness' would be nearer the writer's intention. “Reform of' would apply first to the source or author of the reform- the Reform of Cleisthenes, next to the
persons or thing to be reformed—the Irish, the people, the law; if it applies to the subject matter of the reform, it should be followed rather by the vice to be removed, than by the virtue to be created : 'reform of indolence', 'of pleasure-loving', 'of inequalities'.
Such examples as “house of detention', 'day of judgment', possess all the uncertainty of the use of a noun for an adjective: detention house', `judgment day', would be equally appropriate.
It may be safely affirmed that to have this preposition occurring frequently indicates a loose disconnected style.
As with the Prepositions, the classing of Conjunctions has nothing to do with their grammatical employment; it is a help to explain their several meanings or uses. This alone justifies the seeming complicacy of the classification given in the Grammar. Complicated as it is, if it be good on its own principles, it makes the work of the pupil shorter than any simpler arrangement would do.
The delicacies of the Conjunctions are dwelt upon at some length in the Grammar. A fuller expansion would conduct us to the Rhetoric of the Sentence and the Paragraph, in which the appropriateness of the conjunctions chosen is all-important. (ENGLISH COMPOSITION and RHETORIC, p. 109.)
As regards composition generally, the greatest refinements and the most common inaccuracies attend the four simple conjunctions—AND, OR, BUT, IF.
AND. The chief nicety in connexion with 'and', when
cumulation is to be expressed, is to distinguish between the effect of using it and the effect of omitting it. To use it implies that the new statement is superadded to, and distinct from, the previous; to omit it is to signify that the new statement is in substance the same as the previous, or a mere varying of the expression.
*To a man who has no capital, who has laid by nothing—'. Here the second clause repeats the substance of the first; the conjunction is, therefore, left out. The presence of
and would signify or insinuate that 'who has laid by nothing' is a new circumstance, distinct from 'has no capital'; whereas the author means them to be identical.
• He was deeply conversant in the ancients, both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them; ( ) there is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors whom he has not translated in Sejanus and Catiline'. The 'and' in the first member is strictly correct; borrowing boldly' is a fact additional to being conversant with’. Equally proper is the omitting of the conjunction at the commencement of the second member, which repeats in greater detail the same fact of borrowing:
' Ideas quickly fade, and often vanish quite out of the understanding, leaving no more footsteps or remaining characters of themselves than shadows do flying over a field of corn'. Better--Ideas quickly fade; they often vanish, &c.'. The participle leaving' is correct; it has the same effect as they leave' without a conjunction. * Pictures drawn in our mind are laid in fading colours; (and) unless sometimes refreshed, they'vanish (and) 'or' disappear
• A system of philosophy is bound by two main requisitions—it ought to be true and it ought to be reasoned'. The' and 'here is emphatic. The first clause is only a part of the case; and demands something of equal importance to be superadded. The emphasis is aided by the repetition of 'it ought to be'. Another mode is—' it ought to be both tru and reasoned'. If a synonymous repetition of the first had been given, there would not have been a conjunction;
'it ought to be true, it ought to be free from error or mistake'.
'Man often loathes what he imitates, (and) conforms to what he knows to be wrong'. The two clauses here are so nearly the same in substance, that the conjunction might be dispensed with.
OR. This is the only conjunction comparable to the preposition' of ', in respect of vagueness and ambiguity.
In the first place, this conjunction is very frequently employed where 'and' would be more suitable; the alternative being only a mere semblance. Examples are given in the Grammar (p. 176). In the next place, the alternative is so often confined to a choice between two names, that the conjunction is rendered too weak for alternative facts or assertions of great importance.
The instances will exemplify both points.
'All that part of our happiness arising from our hopes or our fears depends on imagination'. The proper conjunction is 'and'.
To point out a synonymous, or explanatory alternative, the more explicit phrases are—' in other words', 'that is to say', 'that is '. 'He was called an empiric, that is, a quack'.
In some legends of saints, we find that they were born with a lambent circle or golden aureola about their heads'. This is the trivial use of 'or', to designate two alternative modes of describing the same appearance. We might here drop the conjunction, on the same principle as the omission of and'-a ‘lambent circle, a golden aureola'; but the use of or' is fully justified by custom.
*This angelic coronet shed light alike upon the chambers of a cottage or a p:lace, upon the gloomy limits of a cottage or the vast expansion of a cathedral'. In this sentence the reasons in favour of 'and’are decided ; indeed, ‘or' has but little to say for itself. The usual construction with alike' is 'and': 'rich and poor alike'. The fact stated in the sentence is laid down with broad generality, as to saints at large, and not with reference to a single saint,
whose birthplace must needs be one, either the cottage or the palace.
In a sentence already quoted (p. 143) there occurs the phrase—there is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors'. The weakening effect of the use of 'or' for synonymous phrases is felt here. But for our knowledge of the meanings, we might easily suppose that 'poet' and historian'were two names for the same person or class. To bring out the alternation of meaning or subject, we must say—'scarcely either a poet or a historian’; scarcely a Roman author, either poet or historian'. Or put in a positive form— nearly all the Roman authors, poets and historians alike'.
* They who (that) have no real feeling always pitch their expressions too high or too low'. The 'or' is inadequate to the occasion. There is an alternative contrast amounting to opposition. Say 'either too high, or else too low'. More decided thus: “They that want real feeling never pitch their expressions at the right point; they are either too high, or else too low'.
'The thing was done by force or fraud'. If ‘force' and ' fraud' are to be marked out as two distinct facts, one of them (and not the other) being the instrument assigned, we should at least repeat the preposition-' by force or by fraud’; the alternative being further improvable, as in the other instances, by else'.
'Notwithstanding all the attempts (which) 'that' have been made to explain this away (or)'and' even to turn it to the poet's credit, it is surely a great defect in him.' The author here evidently thinks that 'or’ followed by 'even' has an emphatic or intensifying effect. If he intends to rise strongly in pitch, he could also say-'to explain this away, nay more, to turn it to the poet's credit -'.
‘Perhaps he (Marlborough) could not have been the great man he was, had he had a heart either for love or hatred, or pity or fear, or regret or remorse'. Might be-'a heart for love or for hatred, for pity or for fear, for regret or for remorse'. Hypercritically viewed, the two last couples are
not really contrasts like the first, and the coupling in their case might be abandoned—' for love or for hatred, for pity, for fear, for regret, for remorse'. Again, as 'regret' and remorse' are nearly synonymous, there is room for the synonymous 'or’, without the emphatic preposition: ‘for regret or remorse'.
Or', 'nor', 'neither', 'either', although originally dual words are freely extended to three or more alternatives. 'Logic neither observes, nor invents, nor discovers, but proves', for • Logic does not observe, it does not invent, it does not discover, it proves'. The following may be regarded as an elegant way of managing a triple alternative:• For surer sign had followed, either hand, Or voice, or else a motion of the mere'.
Morte d' Arthur. For negation, the corresponding form would be 'nor yet': 'The Rector was neither laborious, nor obviously selfdenying, nor 'yet' very copious in almsgiving'.
The following is a gratuitous licence: Of the four elements, neither is self-mixed'. Say 'no one'.
BUT. The chief error with 'but'is to use it where 'and' is enough; an error springing from the tendency to use strong words without sufficient occasion.
* One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it.' Here 'but’ is not the aptest word. It would be in keeping in such a sentence as the following: 'He had wit in abundance, but he was frugal of it'. The 'but' is an arrest upon a natural inference from the first clause; if he had wit in abundance, he would (we should suppose) use it freely. • We cannot say he wanted wit, we can say only that he was frugal of it'; 'he did not want wit, he was only frugal of it’.
‘But’ is somewhat too strong for this instance: 'Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ; but the greatest of these is charity'.
In my opinion, the Revising Committees of our transla