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So far as concerns not repeating a noun, the pronoun is not the sole device resorted to. For the proper name of a person, we often use a more general designation applicable to the person : for ‘Pitt', we may substitute 'the minister,' 'the orator,' the statesman'.
There is an inverted operation of substituting a noun for a Pronoun, as in addressing persons in high office or rank,
your Majesty,' 'your Excellency'. But, in addition to the pronominal force, these expressions indicate in most cases the rank or position of the individuals addressed. The meaning of the pronoun is fully given, with a qualifying circumstance in addition.
The study of what is called “Universal Grammar and Philology', has shown that pronouns are among the earliest parts of speech ; they are as old as the oldest nouns or verbs. They were not invented at that stage of language when people began to feel the wearisomeness of repeating a proper name; they existed when such fastidiousness of ear was neither experienced nor indulged. The occasion of their being invented was the great frequency of the situation wherein two or more human beings came together, the one speaking the others listening, while some third person, persons, or things, might be the subject of discourse. To give ex officio designations to persons when occupying one or other of these three positions was a very early necessity of speech, or at least a very apparent convenience. The words for the personal pronouns are shown to be a primitive class; they are derived from certain simple and elementary syllables, also used to make the personal inflections of the verb; thay may also have been the first form of the numerals, one, two, three. They were, in fact, simply demonstrative particles, indicating palpable relations of space or position (this or here, that or there, what or where)
For these reasons, Pronouns were defined by Dr. Findlater (English Grammar, Chambers's Information for the People) as 'symbols, names, or highly-generalized marks, applied to objects to signify, not any inherent attribute,
but merely their relation to the act of speaking '.
They are, therefore, relational names.
DEFINITION OF THE ADJECTIVE. The old and familiar definition of the Adjective is—the word expressing the quality of a noun'. Varied thus:-“the kind or quality of a noun’; 'to qualify a noun, or distinguish it from others of the same name'; 'used with a noun to denote some quality, attribute, or fact, which we connect in thought with that for which the noun stands, so that the adjective and noun together form a compound description' (Mason).
It would take a good deal of explanation to make a beginner understand what is meant by a quality ; to the apprehension of children, Quality is on a level with Quiddity and Nonentity. Evidently the meaning is very little present to the minds of either the young or the old; for while the definition states that all adjectives express quality, the classification of them under Quantity and Quality, implies that some do not signify a quality.
Dr. Latham, who excels in the Logic of Grammar, says"A word capable, by itself, of forming the Predicate, but not capable of forming the subject of a Proposition, is called an Adjective'. This is an important circumstance respecting the Adjective, but is not well suited for a definition. He goes on : 'An Adjective shows that the substantive with which it is united possesses a certain quality'.
The first fact to be stated respecting the Adjective is that it is the adjunct of the noun, as the adverb is of the verb. The next fact is that the adjective and the noun together make but one meaning, and that meaning different from the meaning of the noun alone : 'tall man', although two words, has only one meaning, and that is different from the meaning of 'man' by itself. The Adjective alone has not a complete meaning: 'tall' needs us to suppose something to apply it to—man, tree, pillar.
The point is, to say exactly and intelligibly what change the adjective makes in the noun that it accompanies. Now, it is to common or class nouns that adjectives are appliedman, horse, tree; and when we look at the meaning of the combination of adjective and class noun, we see that a class is still named, but a smaller class ; ' tall men' is a smaller class than 'men'; 'black horse' is a smaller class than horse'; 'old trees' are fewer in number than trees'.
Moreover, this narrowing of the class is accompanied with increase in the class peculiarities or distinctions. The peculiarities of the class 'man' are all found in the smaller class tall man', with the peculiarity of being tall superadded; tall men are not the whole of men, but a distinguished selection of men, and the distinguishing feature is signified by the adjective tall'.
In Natural History, it is usual to express objects by two names, one called the generic name—a noun, the other the specific or specifying name—an adjective or something serving the same purpose : red rose, white rose; 'rose', genus or larger class; 'red', specifying adjunct to select from the class 'rose' the smaller class ‘red rose'. Rose' contains
many other sorts; any one select sort is discriminated by the specifying terms, 'red', 'white', &c.
Thus the definition of the Adjective is 'a word united to a class noun to narrow its range, and increase its meaning': bright colours, square table, first rank, our streets, beautiful
This definition is as intelligible as the case admits of. For the very abstract term 'quality', I substitute the terms
peculiarity', distinction', distinguishing feature', " in. crease of meaning', which seem to me more suggestive of a definite idea. The pupil must be able to comprehend the difference between a class and a selection from a class; which is to comprehend what is implied in genus and species.
Dr. Latham's principle follows from this definition. An adjective, though it may be a predicate, cannot be a subject; 'tall' by itself is not a subject; it is a limiting word, and must have some other word to limit. As a predicate 'John is tall’,-it is employed to limit the unexpressed class 'man', to which John is affirmed to belong. But given as a subject without any other word, it would have nothing to limit: 'tall is excellent' is devoid of meaning; 'tall men are powerful' has a meaning; and so has “tallness is excellent', the adjective being turned into a noun (abstract).
So much for the Definition of the Adjective. In applying it to adjectives in detail, there are serious difficulties, which it will be our business to cope with. These are considered under the PARTS OF SPEECH (Adjective).
DEFINITION OF THE VERB. The verb is so pointeály and exclusively the Predicate word, that its definition should be free from dispute. We cannot assert or deny without a finite verb; we cannot use a verb without making an assertion or a denial (allowance being made for Imperatives and Interrogatives).
It is a property of the verb to undergo changes for Time, Person, Number, &c., and by this it is marked no less than by predication. But in our language, these changes are so few, that they would often fail us in distinguishing a verb from a noun; the forms 'lovest,' 'loved,' are certainly verbs, 'love' may be either a verb or a noun.
Among its many modifications, the verb has forms that serve as Nouns (the infinitives), and forms that serve as Adjectives (the participles). Such words do not constitute predicates, and they have, therefore, to be excepted from the definition. What is termed the 'finite' verb leaves these out of account, and comprises only the predicating parts of the verb.
It is no objection to the defining by predication, that the verb often needs some other word, a noun or an adjective, joined with it to complete a predicate: ‘he is a soldier,' 'I bought a horse'. The 'is' and the 'bought' are the asserting words, because they are of the kind that can never be dispensed with ; whether they are, or are not, sufficient in a given case, is an accident of the meaning to be conveyed. Whatever other part of speech the predicate may contain, it must have a verb; whereas the verb does not occur except in the predicate.
The old definition of the verb, still maintained in some Grammars, is faulty in the extreme. The verb is said to express being, doing, or suffering'. A slightly varied, but still more objectionable, form is that it denotes' what we do, think, or suffer'. Again : 'A verb tells what anything does, or what is done to it, or what state it is in'.
Now, in the first place, this definition does not separate the Verb from the Noun. We have nouns to express all the modes of being, doing, and suffering; 'existence' is being; 'motion, action, impulsion' are modes of doing, pain, agony, remorse, distress, discomfort', are modes of suffering.
In the next place, there are verbs that do not express being, doing, thinking, or suffering. The verbs have', 'may', 'can' are in point. 'I can'expresses not what I do, but what I am able to do; action in potentiality, as it is called. To include these verbs, the ‘doing' would have to be amended to “doing, actual or potential'.
Third, it appears a strange caprice that we should have a class of verbs for ' suffering', and none for being pleased or enjoying ourselves. As this is not either being or doing, it would have to come under suffering! The reason no doubt is that suffer' is intended to mean all modes of receiving impressions, or, as it is correctly expressed, being acted on'.
Fourth, there is no grammatical reason for inculcating such an abstruse distinction as these words imply. It matters not what a verb means, or what classes of general ideas verbs express; this is considered in Logic and Metaphysics, but is useless and intolerable in Grammar. point of fact, however, the test is not really applied in teaching; pupils discover which are the verbs by some other means, and merely parrot the definition when asked. Probably no teacher ever required a pupil to apply the definition to 'may' and 'can '. *
* The following is a fifth consideration, although somewhat more abstruse. It is only in very peculiar instances that we define by classifying : defining is & prior and distinct process ; classifying succeeds and is ruled by different