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PRE FAO E.
IN supplying a series of examples, together with a running commentary, to accompany and follow out the Higher English Grammar, my aim is to be thoroughly practical, that is, to dwell upon such principles and usages as bear most directly upon the art of writing well.
Seeing that precision in grammar must begin from correctly defining the PARTS OF SPEECH, in an Introductory chapter, I have discussed the various current defi. nitions, and have given reasons for my own.
In exemplifying the Parts of Speech in the detail, the next point, after settling the definitions, is to subdivide and classify each upon some grounds strictly pertaining to grammar.
As regards Nouns, there are four classes grammatically important-Proper, Common, Material, Abstract. I point out the niceties connected with these classes ; and exemplify at some length the converting of Material and of Abstract nouns into Common or Class nouns. I take special notice of the Abstract Nouns originating in Verbs.
The Pronoun necessarily comes in for a large share of attention. Some niceties in the Personal Pronouns are briefly touched upon. The negligent use of the Demonstratives—be, she, it, they-is among the chief remaining causes of obscurity in good composition of the present day; and to put pupils on their guard, I have adduced a copious array of instances of the mischief. Not inferior in importance are the Relative Pronouns. Regarding as unsatisfactory the prevalent uses of 'who' and ' which’, I give numerous examples, so as to enable the effects to be felt. A considerable space is also given to the pronoun couples obtained from the demonstrative adjectives.
Under the Adjective, I have discussed the employment of Nouns as adjectives; pointing out that this usage leaves a gap to be filled up by the reader, and that with many adjectives so called we are placed in the same position. I also exemplify a number of delicacies of construction in the Numeral Adjectives and the Demonstratives ; and conclude with a notice of the irregularities in the use of the Articles.
In connexion with the Verb, I consider it of great importance to show that verb accompaniments often adhere to the verbal Abstract Noun; and urge
the propriety of noticing the fact in parsing. It grows out of the extensive operation of shortening sentences by converting clauses into words or phrases ; and involves a further transformation of abverbs into adjectives.
Reasons of pure grammar do not fully justify the difficult classifications of Adverbs, Prepositions, and Conjunctions. The real justification is given ; namely, that in these three parts of speech, and more particularly in the two last, the meanings of individual words are discriminated. In carrying out this view, a selection is made of some leading Prepositions and Conjunctions, and their use and misuse copiously exemplified.
In the treatment of INFLECTION, the same stress is laid upon whatever is deemed of practical interest. With respect to Gender, Number, and Case, I enquire how far our several usages affect the clear conveyance of meaning; and suggest the motives of preference where there is a choice.
The largest department of Inflection is of course the Conjugation of the Verb. There is here wide scope for the study of delicate constructions. The first leading topic comprises the boundary line between the Infinitive and the Participle, which in several of our idioms seems to be stealthily crossed. A good many pages of examples are devoted to the complications of “Shall' and 'Will', and to the still greater complications of “Should' and • Would'. Notice is taken of the delicacies of the Subjunctive mood. And finally, additional illustrations are afforded of the leading distinctions of Tense.
The first part of DERIVATION takes in the Sources of the Vocabulary. Under this head, the absorbing question, in the practical point of view, is—What are the distinctive functions of the Saxon and the Classical names for the same things ? At the outset, I state generally what would appear to be the respective merits and deficiencies of the two classes of words. I next adduce a series of examples to impress these peculiarities; and point the conclusion that our habitual tendency is to draw to excess upon the classical part of the vocabulary.
The second part of Derivation is the Composition of Words. In the grammar, the prefixes and suffixes are given briefly ; here they are detailed with exhaustive completeness. To aid the teacher in making these dry bones live, no effort is spared to relieve the tediousness of the enumeration, and to make it of avail in