Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

6

contraction for--'I am not come to send peace on earth, I am come to send a sword'.

“For God sent (not) his son into the world 'not’to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved'.

• It is (not only) hard to distinguish 'not only' between too little and too much reform, but between the good and the evil intentions of (different) reformers'.

The following sentence from Swift is very loose and perplexing : 'You are not obliged to take any money which is not gold or silver : not only the halfpence or farthings of England, but of any other country'. “You are not obliged to take any money but what is either gold or silver; you need not take any halfpence or farthings, whether of England or of any other country'.

· Aristotle would be, indeed, the sorriest plagiary on record, were the thefts believed of him by his Oxford votaries not false only, but ridiculous ’; were not the thefts not only false, but also ridiculous'; were the thefts not both false and ridiculous'; 'not ridiculous as well as false'.

* Psychical states that often recur in a given order not only become increasingly coherent but the transitions from each to the next become more rapid'. A much deeper derangement. The 'not only' and the 'but' do not correspond : 'not only' is placed before the verb in the first clause, “but' precedes the entire clause. The harmony is restored thus : Not only do psychical states that often recur in a given order become increasingly coherent, but also the transitions from each to the next, became more rapid'.

Scott's works were the daily food not only of his countrymen, but of all educated Europe', should be ‘of all the rest of educated Europe'. Or, 'the daily food not of his countrymen alone'. The writer does not mean, though he says, that Scott's countrymen were not educated. This involves a breach of propriety rather than of grammar, and is exemplified in such sentences as the following: With all bis faults about him, he was still perhaps the greatest of his contemporaries' (greater than any of his contemporaries);

6

he has made the highest number of marks ever made in any former year'-'a higher number of marks than was made in any former year'.

• Whitgift did probably more than any one man to establish the Church of England:-than any other man'.

Northumberland was the most extensive of any AngloSaxon state' (Hallam): 'the most extensive of all the AngloSaxon states', or more extensive than any other AngloSaxon state'.

So: “We find the Celts furthest to the west of any Aryan people’.

Very common also is the misplacing of the alternative couples : 'neither-nor', 'not-or'.

• Passengers are cautioned not to open a carriage door or to put their heads out of the windows, when the train is in motion'. The placing of 'not' here commands both infinitives, as is meant. But'or' is an awkward and unmanageable word; it supposes a preceding either', and does not tally well with a previous ' not'. Better to repeat the ‘not', or else make it 'neither' and 'nor': 'not to open a carriage door, and not to put their heads; neither to open, nor to put'. Otherwise : ‘While the train is in motion, passengers should neither open the carriage doors, nor put their heads out of the windows'.

PLACING OF ADJUNCTS GENERALLY.

The following examples are meant to draw attention to the position of qualifying words, phrases, and clauses, whether as adjectives or as adverbs. Each qualifying word or set of words should be looked at in its setting; we should try the bearing both before and after.

The common newspaper formula—The death is announced of—' must be regarded as at best a necessary evil. Somewhat less painful would be-'Announcement is made of the death of '. We are not at liberty to begin with the verb• announced is the death of', unless with some adverb 'there is announced the death '; 'just announced, the death '; 'today is announced'. We may, however, adopt another arrangement: 'it is announced that William Brown is dead —died on the 9th at his house in Mayfield Street'.

In this grate all the heat from back and sides comes into the room instead of being lost in the wall as usual'. 'In this grate, all the heat from back and sides, instead of being lost in the wall as usual, comes into the room'.

All free admissions are abolished in this theatre'. This is the use of an adjective before the subject, in place of an adverb before the verb. I conceive the proper form to beFree admissions in this theatre are wholly abolished'. The phrase 'in this theatre' exemplifies a very common redundancy; the hanging up of the notice in a particular theatre shows the one that is meant.

“There are four things in a proposition, each of which may be changed into its contrary; subject, predicate, order, and copula'. The arrangement here is such as to sever all the important points from what they should be taken along with. Try this amendment: 'In a proposition there are four things—subject, predicate, order, and copula; and each of these may be changed into its contrary'.

*No doubt this implies powers of discrimination and taste on the part of the female which will at first sight appear extremely improbable; but I hope hereafter to shew that this is not the case'. 'No doubt this implies, on the part of the female, powers of discrimination and taste which will appear extremely improbable at first sight; but I hope hereafter to show that such is not the case'. The phrase ' at first sight' is put at the end, not to be an unnecessary interpolation besween the auxiliary and the verb; there being a semicolon break, the reference cannot be carried forward.

I have rarely seen a public notice of any length that would stand to be critically examined. The following intimation in the London omnibuses is unexceptionable: To prevent over-charge, please to pay your fare before arriving at your destination, and see the amount duly registered in the way-bill on the door'. It is not at all uncommon in such notices, to put the commencing phrase 'to prevent over

charge'-at the end ; a far inferior arrangement. Another form, not on the whole better, might be—' Before you arrive at your destination (more Saxon-before coming to (the place) where you get out] please to pay your fare, and see the amount duly entered in the way-bill (on the door); thereby preventing over-charge'.

'It may be remarked, that the attaching of importance to declaratory oaths, as a political security, is an indication of minds of a certain stamp, and of a certain amount of intelligence, which is nearly infallible'. The greatest misplacement here is the removing of the relative clause so far from its antecedent 'indication'. 'To regard declaratory oaths as an important political security, almost infallibly indicates a particular stamp of mind, and a particular amount of intelligence'.

This is a specimen of good arrangement: 'From the market place of Alsdorf, the little capital of the canton, the procession makes its way to the place of meeting at Bözlingen'. The main action—the procession makes its way'-has two qualifying adjuncts, both of some length, the one the 'from', the other the 'to'. The writer prefers to make the 'from' precede and the 'to' follow, and the effect justifies his choice. Remark another delicacy of placing in the apposition couples; there was an alternative—the little capital of the canton, the market-place of Alsdorf'; in favour of which might be pleaded the suspension of the graphic circumstance to the last. The second couple is arranged on this idea ; the general phrase, place of meeting', precedes the specific name 'Bözlingen'.

• The speech of Lord Strafford, upon his trial, is, in my opinion, one of the most simple, touching, and noble in our language'. (Chatham.) The subject 'speech' is qualified by two adjunct phrases, which must come after; they are both unmistakeably related to the subject, and the second is related to the first by the possessive adjective 'bis'. Moreover, ‘The speech of Lord Strafford' is better than ‘Lord Strafford's speech'; our attention is to be called more particularly to the speech, and therefore it should have the place of prominence. The next point to consider is the placing of

[ocr errors]

the adverbial adjunct in my opinion' between the incomplete verb 'is' and its completion. To make the phraso dangle loosely at the end would be obviously bad. It might, however, come to the beginning, seeing that it sweeps the entire sentence: 'In my opinion, the speech, &c., The objections to this are that too much prominence is given to the person expressing his opinion, while the speech' looses a little of the prominence due to it. If there were serious difference of opinion as to the merits of the speech, the person giving the assertion would be justified in beginning ‘In my opinion’; he would then insinuate that others might think differently, and that he spoke only for himself. His using the phrase at all suggests this; but by placing it in the heart of the sentence, he calls the least possible attention to the circumstance that he is merely giving his own opinion. The importance of the speech would probably be enhanced by beginningThe speech delivered by Lord Strafford, on his trial Our language does not so readily allow the form that would make on his trial' precede 'Lord Strafford'. 'On his trial, Lord Strafford delivered a speech, in my opinion, one of the most simple -'. We might, as a variety by no means ineffective, turn the sentence thus—'In my opinion, our language does not furnish many speeches more simple, touching, and noble, than the one delivered by Lord Strafford on his trial'—'on his trial by Lord Strafford'. • There is not to be found in our language a speech, in my opinio more simple, touching, and noble than Lord Strafford's defence (of himself)'.

* Yours is so laborious a calling, and your competitors are so many and so keen, that not only ambition but amusement tempts many to quit the Inns of Court, and I have known several

able young men drawn aside by a single continental tour during the long vacation'. So laborious is your calling, and so many and so keen your competitors, that not ambition merely but amusement tempts many to quit the Inns of Court; to my knowledge, a single continental tour, during the long vacation, has drawn aside several

very

very
able
young

men'.

« ZurückWeiter »