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another form is preferable: 'was not completed until the author was sixty years of age, he having spent upon it twenty years of toil'.
Speaking of a party ascending a mountain in Switzerland, a writer says— The first two named only ascended to the summit'; that is, they did no more than ascend to the summit, the others ascending higher than the summit. Of the party, two alone went to the summit'; the summit was gained by only two'.
'For fifty miles, the river could (only) be distinguished from the ocean
only' by its calmness and discoloured water'.
'Speculative truth is (only) pursued, and is (only) held of value, 'only' for the sake of intellectual activity'.
* The crown of the three kingdoms can (only) be worn 'only' by a protestant'.
'One practice, however, can be reformed, (that of) namely', giving prizes and commendations only [correctly placed] to (those who) 'such as' get on the fastest'.
The intimation printed on the Post Cards contains apparently a misplacement of 'only'. The address only to be written on this side'. The composer probably thought that 'only' would qualify 'address' by being placed after it. This would be very well at the end—' On tbis side you are to write the address only'. But in tracing the operation of a qualifying adjunct, we must in the first instance look forward; and here we find a verb immediately following, to which the 'only' most readily applies. The fair rendering is that whatever may be done with the address on the other side (it may be printed, for example), on this side it can only be written. The real meaning requires us to isolate ' address ’, by putting it to the end, and prefixing 'only'. “On this side to be written only the address '. On this side write nothing but the address'. 'Nothing is to be written on this side but the address'. 'Write the address on this side and nothing more?. Or with alone': The address alone to be written on this side'.
In the postal card of Germany, 'only' is placed so as to
modify the address': 'Auf die Vorderseite ist nur die Adresse zu schreiben'.
It is not at all uncommon to expect people to refer 'only' tol a previous word; the more so, that, in speaking, we can obviate the ambiguity by emphasis. By emphatically pronouncing 'I only am to blame', with a pause after 'only', we can show that the restriction intended by 'only' is to
But in composition the safe rule is to place the subject to be restricted after the 'only'; 'the blame falls only on me', 'on me alone'.
As a parallel instance, observe the placing of 'first' in this
passage. Queen Anne was not partial to Austria. She first weakened the friendship existing between the two countries by abandoning the Grand Alliance, and forming a separate peace with France'. The operation of 'first' may be either backward upon ‘she', or forward upon the rest of the sentence. The meanings are quite different. The one would be—She was the first to weaken the friendship’; the other is—the first thing she did was to weaken the friendship’. There may also be a difference of meaning according as 'first' sweeps the whole sentence, or is restricted to 'weakening the friendship existing between the two countries'. If there be a restriction of this kind, the two infinitive phrases should precede, thus : 'By abandoning the Grand Alliance and by' forming a separate peace with France, she was the first to weaken (if that be the sense] the friendship between Austria and France'.
• The public are admitted to these grounds on Friday only between 2 and 5'. The intention is to confine the admission to three hours in the week, from two to five on Friday. If we study the placing of the adjuncts, we find that the public are excluded on Fridays on all hours except those three; but there is nothing to exclude them in any other day of the week. Better give it the positive form, thus: “The public are admitted to view the grounds on Fridays, from two to five'. This sufficiently excludes them at all other times, and is a more gracious form, as stating permission, and only implying restriction.
. He only came home yesterday', is hardly worth changing to 'he came home only yesterday'. There is something gained by interposing before ' came home' the intended qualification. We expect after the verb a simple unqualified date- he came yesterday, last Tuesday'. When the meaning is that he might have been much sooner but did not actually arrive till yesterday, there is a want of some qualification prefixed. “He did not come till yesterday', is the full expression, but rather long and formal for colloquial address.
The following passage is left to the reader's ingenuity. In every instance but one, 'only' is misplaced :
* We can only know a substance through its qualities, but also, we can only know qualities as inhering in a substance. Substance and attribute are correlative, and can only be thought together: the knowledge of each, therefore, is relative to the other; but need not be, and indeed is not, relative to us. For we know attributes as they are in themselves, and our knowledge of them is only relative inasinuch as attributes have only a relative existence. It is relative knowledge in a sense not contradictory to absolute. absolute knowledge, though of things which only exist in a necessary relation to another thing called a substance'.
It is an
Not. On the general principle of priority, 'not' must be taken as qualifying all that follows to the first break;
Not in the regions
In evils, to top Macbeth'. The negation in the following sentence comes in so late as to be a surprise. 'We have, for the age of Sulla, as for so many other important periods of history, no one consecutive contemporary narrative'. 'For the age of Sulla, as for so many other important periods of history, we do not possess one consecutive contemporary narrative'. other important periods of history, so of the age of Sulla, we do not possess—'. 'As is the case with so many other important periods of history, we do not possess one consecutive contemporary narrative of the age of Sulla'.
As of so many “They have no share in all that's done
Beneath the circuit of the sun'. Here the 'no' is placed so as to command 'share' with all its qualifications. This is quite right. There is, however, an insufficiency in the word 'all' as here used. The interpretation is that 'they (the dead) share in some or many things done, but not in all’. The proper word is 'aught' for anything; 'not anything’ is thorough exclusion. “They do not share in aught that's done'.
The following are a few miscellaneous examples of singleword adverbs.
• There is no subject that wants to be more kept within bounds'. Better that more wants to be kept within bounds'. The word 'more' qualifies not the narrower action 'kept within bounds', but the wider action 'wants to be kept'.
He informs me that he has never seen some of the branches of the red-deer horns brought into action'. The author apparently means that while he has seen some branches brought into action, there are others that he has never seen brought into action ; but, by the place of the 'never', it is implied that he has not seen any. There are some branches that he has never seen brought into action '.
* But’ is not very liable to misplacement: 'we are (but) young 'but’once'. (Thackeray.)
It is otherwise with even': 'The common people seem (even) to have enjoyed 'even’ more liberty among them than among the natives of Gaul'. (Hume.)
"Even 'the convenience of feeding their cattle was (even) a sufficient motive for removing their seats'.
'Enough' is specially understood to follow the word it modifies : 'good enough', 'not seriously enough'.
A tear at least is due to the unhappy'. 'At least' is intended to qualify .tear’; and we are pretty well accustomed to refer this phrase to the word going before. Yet there would be more precision and certainty in the arrangement• To the unhappy is due (we owe to the unhappy) at least a tear',
EXAMPLES OF ADVERBIAL PLACING.
Placing of Adverbs generally. 'He led his army skilfully through the passes'. Take skilfully' forward: ‘he skilfully led his army through the passes'. 'Skilfully (with skill) he led his army -'.
‘Damon is mentioned by Plato generally with much eulogy'. The adverb 'generally' is obviously meant to qualify ' with much eulogy' coming after, and so it does. Only it might also have a bearing upon the preceding phrase "by Plato'. Moreover, the thing really to be qualified is 'mentioning with eulogy', and the adverb should precede and command the verb: “Damon is generally mentioned with much eulogy by Plato'
• What is the effect on the note of tightening the string?' A very awkward arrangement of phrases. What effect does tightening the string have upon the note?' •How is the note affected by tightening the string?' 'When the string is tightened, what is the effect on the note ?'
"A house to let, furnished’ is not a happy arrangement. Better say—'To let, a furnished house'.
*For the Spaniards, though terrible visitors in other respects, did not at once create a famine in those parts which they occupied, by reason of the comparative smallness of their numbers'. The last clause is greatly misplaced. Being at the end, it must be supposed to qualify what immediately precedes, namely, the relative clause, 'which they occupied'. We find, however, that it is meant to qualify 'did not create a famine, &c.' It should be brought in earlier, thus: 'For the Spaniards, though in other respects terrible visitors, yet, by reason of the comparative smallness of their numbers, did not at once create a famine in the parts occupied by them '.
Similarly: “The French nation is not consoled for the misfortunes which it has endured by the incidental triumph of justice in Italy'. 'Consoled' is the word meant to be qualified.
• He looked and muttered in a way that could not but fill those whose life it was to watch him and obey him with