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PREFACE TO THE FOURTEENTH EDITION.
THE publication of the fourteenth edition of the present work renders it superfluous to enter into an elaborate justification of those views and methods which distinguish it from previous works on the same subject. The improvements which I have striven to introduce have met with the cordial approbation of many thoughtful writers, and are gradually being adopted by other labourers in the same field. In fact, I have never yet met with a serious attempt to controvert any of the principles that are set forth in this work. The results which I steadily aimed to secure were exactness in definition, and thoroughness in investigating the grammatical force of words, and their structure in sentences. That learners advance more rapidly when these points are carefully attended to, I know by long and wide experience both as a teacher and as an examiner.
In grammar, as in every other science, the accuracy of the definitions is of vital importance. They must be such that there shall be no ambiguity in their terms, and that they shall be convertible ; that is, that the description given as a definition of the thing defined shall apply to it, and to nothing else ; so that the definition remains true when read conversely. To say that “a square is a plane rectilinear figure with four equal sides,” would not be to give a definition, because it is not true that “a (i.e. any) plane rectilinear figure with four equal sides is a square.” No doubt, it is often difficult to give perfectly accurate grammatical definitions, and still more difficult for a pupil to understand them thoroughly; but difficulties are not surmounted by being evaded : and the clumsy, slipshod attempts at definition, with which most of the school grammars in current use abound, are worse than useless.
One of the first distinctions that a learner must get thoroughly familiar with is that between a substantive and an adjective,-between a word that can be the subject of a sentence, or be governed