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The following are examples :


Men. William Brown,

509 Cast Fourteenth Street,

New York.

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M1. ll. Ale. Sanders,

Pike Co.,


Lbis Excellency d. B. Cornell,
Gxecutive Chamber



Hon. R. G. Flower, M. C.,
Lbouse of Representatives



QUALITIES OF STYLE. STYLE is the particular manner in which a person expresses his conceptions by means of language. It is different from mere words, and is not to be regulated altogether by rules of construction. It always has some relation to the author's peculiar manner of thinking; and, being that sort of expression which his thoughts most readily assume, sometimes partakes, not only of what is characteristic of the man, but even of national peculiarity. The words which an author employs, may be proper, and so constructed as to violate no rule of syntax; and yet his style may have great faults.

To designate the general characters of style, such epithets as concise, diffuse,-neat, negligent,-nervous, feeble, -simple, affected, -easy, stiff, -perspicuous, obscure,-elegant, florid,

-are employed. A considerable diversity of style, may be found in compositions all equally excellent in their kind. And, indeed, different subjects, as well as the different endowments by which genius is distinguished, require this diversity. But in forming his style, the learner should remember, that a negligent, feeble, affected, stiff, or obscure style, is always faulty ; and that perspicuity, ease, simplicity, strength, and neatness, are qualities always to be aimed at.

In order to acquire a good style, the frequent practice of composing and writing something, is indispensably necessary. Without exercise and diligent attention, rules or precepts for the attainment of this object will be of no avail. When the learner has acquired such a knowledge of grammar, as to be in some degree qualified for the undertaking, he should devote a stated portion of his time to composition. This exercise will bring the powers of his mind into requisition, in a way that is well calculated to strengthen them. And if he has opportunity for reading, he may, by a diligent perusal of the best authors, acquire both language and taste, as well as sentiment;, and these three are the essential qualifications of a good writer.

In regard to the qualities which constitute a good style, we can here offer no more than a few brief hints. With respect to words and phrases, particular attention should be paid to purity, propriety, and precision ; and, with respect to sentences, to perspicuity, unity, and strength. Under each of these heads, we shall arrange, in the form of short precepts, a few of the most important directions for the forming of a good style.

1.-Purity. Purity of style consists in the use of such words and phrases only, as belong to the language which we write or speak,


PRECEPT 1.–Avoid the unnecessary use of foreign words or idioms : as fraicheur, hauteur, delicatesse, politesse, noblesse ; he repented himself ; it serves to an excellent purpose.

PRECEPT 2.—Avoid, on ordinary occasions, obsolete or antiquated words; as, whilom, erewhile, whoso, albeit, moreover, aforetime, methinks.

PRECEPT 3.--Avoid strange or unauthorized words; as, flutteration, inspectator, judgematical, incumberment, connexity, electerized, martyr

PRECEPT 4.-Avoid bombast, or affectation of fine writing. It is ridiculous, however serious the subject: as, “ Personifications, however rich the depictions, and unconstrained their latitude; analogies, however imposing the objects of parallel, and the media of comparison ; can never expose the consequences of sin to the extent of fact, or the range of demonstration.”-- Anonymous.

11.--Propriety. Propriety of language consists in the selection and right construction, of such words as the best usage has appropriated to those ideas which we intend to express by them.

PRECEPT 1.- Avoid low and provincial expressions: such as, Says I;"-" Thinks 1 to myself ;”_" To get into a scrape ;”—“Stay here while I return.”

PRECEPT 2.-In writing prose, avoid words and phrases that are merely poctical : such as, morn, eve, plaint, lone, amit, oft, steepy ;" what time the winds arise.”

PRECEPT 3.-- Avoid technical terms; except where they are necessary, in treating of a particular art or science. In technology, they are proper.

PRECEPT 4. --- Avoid the recurrence of words in different senses, or such a repetition of words as denotes paucity of language; as, “His own reason might have suggested better reasons.”—“Gregory favored the undertaking, for no other reason than this, that the manager, in countenance, favored his friend.”—“I want to go and see what he wants."

PRECEPT 5.-Supply words that are wanting: thus, instead of saying, “This action increased his former services,” say, “This action increased the merit of his former services.”

PRECEPT 6.-Avoid equivocal or ambiguous expressions ; as, “His memory shall be lost on the earth.”-“I long since learned to like nothing but what you do.

PRECEPT 7.-Avoid unintelligible and inconsistent expressions; as, “I have observed that the superiority among these coffee-house politicians, proceeds from an opinion of gallantry and fashion.”—“These words do not convey even an opaque idea of the author's meaning."

PRECEPT 8.-Observe the natural order of things or events, and do not put the cart, before the horse ; as, “The scribes taught and studied the law of Moses.”—“ They can neither return to nor leave their houses." -"He tumbled, head over heels, into the water."

III.-Precision. Precision consists in avoiding all superfluous words, and adapting the expression exactly to the thought, so as to exhibit neither more nor less than is intended by the author.

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PRECEPT 1.-Avoid a useless tautology, either of expression or sentiment: as in, “Return again ;-return back again ;-converse together; -rise up ;-fall doron ;-enter in ;-a mutual likeness to each other, the latter end;-liquid streams ;-grateful thanks ;-the last of all;throughout the whole book." “Whenever I go, he always meets me there.”-“Where is he at? In there.”—“Nothing else but that.” " It is odious and hateful.—“His faithfulness and fidelity should be rewarded."

PRECEPT 2.-Observe the exact meaning of words accounted synonymous, and employ those words which are the most suitable; as, “A diligent scholar may acquire knowledge, gain celebrity, obtain rewards, win prizes, and get high honor, though he earn no money.” These six verbs have nearly the same meaning, and yet they cannot well be changed.

IV.Perspicuity. Perspicuity consists in freedom from obscurity or ambiguity. It is a quality so essential, in every kind of writing, that for the want of it, no merit can atone. Without this, the richest ornaments of style, only glimmer through the dark, and puzzle instead of pleasing the reader.” Blair. Perspicuity, being the most important property of language, and an exemption from the most embarrassing defects, seems even to rise to a degree of positive beauty. We are naturally pleased with a style that frees us from all suspense in regard to the meaning; that " carries us through the subject without embarrassment or confusion; and that always flows like a limpid stream, through which we can see to the very bottom.”

PRECEPT 1. -Place adjectives, relative pronouns, participles, adverbs, and explanatory phrases, as near as possible to the words to which they relate, and in such a situation as the sense requires. The following sentences are deficient in perspicuity : “ Reverence is the veneration paid to superior sanctity, intermixed with a certain degree of awe.The Romans understood liberty, at least, as well as we.

6 Taste was never made to cater for vanity.”

PRECEPT 2.-In prose, avoid a poetic collocation of words.

PRECEPT 3.--Avoid faulty ellipses, and repeat all words necessary to preserve the sense. The following sentences require the words inserted in crotchets : “Restlessness of mind disqualifies us, both for the enjoyment of peace, and [for] the performance of our duty.”Murray's Key. “The Christian religion gives a more lovely character of God, than any [other] religion ever did."-Ibid.

V.--Unity. Unity consists in avoiding useless breaks or pauses, and keeping one object predominant throughout a sentence or paragraph. Every sentence, whether its parts be few or many, requires strict unity.

PRECEPT 1.--Avoid brokenness and hitching. The following example lacks the very quality of which it speaks : “But most of all, in a single sentence, is required the strictest unity. It may consist of parts, indeed, but these parts must be so closely bound together, as to make the impression upon the mind, of one object, not of many."Murray's Grammar.

PRECEPT 2.- Treat different topics in separate paragraphs, and distinct sentiments in separate sentences. Error: “ The two volumes are, indeed, intimately connected, and constitute one uniform system of English grammar." -Murray's Preface.

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