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OBS. -Regular verbs form their preterit and perfect participle, by adding d to final e, and ed to all other terminations. The verb hear, heard, hearing, heurd, adds d to r, and is therefore irregular.
Verbs are divided again, with respect to their signification, into four classes : active-transitive, activeintransitive, passive, and neuter.
An active-transitive verb is a verb that expresses an action which has some person or thing for its object; as, “ Cain slew Abel." An active-intransitive verb is a verb that
expresses an action which has no person or thing for its object; as, “John walks."
A passive verb is a verb that represents its subject, or nominative, as being acted upon; as, “I am compelled.”
OBS. 1.-It must be understood that a passive verb expresses action, but action received not performed by the subject. Thus the object of the action becomes the subject of the verb. Hence, every transitive verb may be changed into a passive verb, by making the object of the former the subject of the latter.
Obs. 2.-Active-transitive verbs generally take the agent before them and the object after them ; as, Cæsar conquered Pompey.” Passive verbs (which are derived from active-transitive verbs) reverse this order, and denote that the subject, or nominative, is affected by the action ; and the agent follows, being introduced by the preposition by; as, “ Pompey was conquered by Cæsar.”
OBs. 3.-An active-intransitive verb, followed by a preposition and its object, will sometimes admit of being put into the passive form, the object of the preposition being assumed for the nominative, and the preposition being retained with the verb, as an adverb: as, (Active,) *They laughed at him.”—(Pussive,) “He was laughed at.”
A neuter verb is a verb that expresses neither action nor passion, but simply being, or a state of being; as “Thou art.”—“He sleeps.”
Exercises. 1. Classify all the verbs in the following sentences, both as to form and signification.
[See list of Irregular Verbs, page 98.]
I mailed the letter. The letter was mailed by me. The horse was shod. The pitcher was broken. He has failed in business. The boy told an untruth. The ship has sailed. He was chosen president. I have written a letter. The boiler burst. The man is honest. He walks rapidly. The plant grows. The boy is swimming. The child is sleeping. They sat still. Give me a book. Beware of slanderers. A child ought to obey his parents.
2. Construct another sentence from each of the verbs in the above exercise, using a different form.
3. Write three sentences, each containing a regular verb ;-also three, each containing an irregular verb ;-three, each containing a redundant verb ;-and one containing a defective verb.
Modifications. The modifications or inflections of verbs are for two purposes :-1. To express some particular manner or time of the being, action, or passion. 2. To indicate the person and number of the subject or nominative. Hence it is said :
Verbs have modifications of four kinds; namely, moods, tenses, persons, and numbers.
Moods are different forms of the verb, each of which expresses the being, action, or passion, in some particular manner.
There are five moods: the infinitive, the indicative, the potential, the subjunctive, and the imperative.
The infinitive mood is that form of the verb which expresses the being, action, or passion, in an unlimited manner, and without person or number; as, to read, to speak.
OBS. 1.-The infinitive mood has no person or number, that is, no inflections to indicate person or number, because it has no subject nominative. It may have a subject, that is a word indicating the person or thing of whom the being or action is indirectly asserted; but this word must be in the objective case, depending upon some other verb. Thus, in the sentence, I told John to write, John is the subject of the infinitive write, and the object of the verb told; hence, it is in the objective
OBS. 2.-A verb in any other mood than the infinitive, is called, by way of distinction, a finite verb.
The indicative mood is that form of the verb which simply indicates or declares a thing, or asks a question : as, I write; you know; Do you know?
The potential mood is that form of the verb which expresses the power, liberty, possibility, or necessity of the being, action, or passion : as, I can read ; we must go.
The subjunctive mood is that forin of the verb which represents the being, action, or passion, as conditional, doubtful, and contingent; as, “ If thou go, see that thou offend not.”
OBS. -The subjunctive mood is always connected with another verb. Its dependence is usually denoted by a conjunction; as, if, that, though, lest, unless.
The imperative mood is that form of the verb which is used in commanding, exhorting, entreating, or permitting; as, “ Depart thou.”—“ Be comforted."
Tenses. Tenses are those modifications of the verb which distinguish time.
There are six tenses; the present, the imperfect, the perfect, the pluperfect, the first-future, and the second-future.
The present tense is that which expresses what now exists, or is taking place: as, “I hear a noise; some body is coming.”
The imperfect tense is that which expresses what took place, or was occurring, in time fully past: as, “I saw him yesterday; he was walking out."
7 The perfect tense is that which expresses what has taken place, within some period of time not yet fully past; as, “I have seen him to-day.”
The pluperfect tense is that which expresses what had taken place, at some past time mentioned; as, “I had seen him, when I met you."
The first-future tense is that which expresses what will take place hereafter; as, “I shall see him again.”
The second-future tense is that which expresses what will have taken place, at some future time mentioned; as, “I shall have seen him by to-morrow noon."
OBS. 1.-There are two circumstances on which the distinction of tense is based :
1. Whether the time is present, past, or future.
2. Whether the action is perfect or imperfect-complete or incomplete—in regard to each distinction of time. Hence, there must be six tenses to express this twofold distinction:1. Present
Perfect tense. 5. Past
Pluperfect tense. 6. Future
OBs. 2.—The tenses do not all express time with equal precision. Those of the indicative mood, are the most definite. The time expressed by the same tenses (or what are called by the same names) in the other moods, is frequently relative, and sometimes indefinite.
Obs. 3.-The present tense, in the indicative mood, expresses general truths, and customary actions; as, “Vice produces misery.”—“She often visits us.” We also use it in speaking of persons who are dead, but whose works remain; as, Seneca reasons well."
OBS. 4.—The present tense in the subjunctive mood, and in the other moods, when preceded by as soon as, after, before, till, or when, is gen
erally used with reference to future time; as, “If he ask a fish, will ho give him a serpent ?”—Matt. vi., 10. “When he arrives, I will send for you.”
OBS. 5.—In animated narrative, the present tense is sometimes substituted (by the figure enallage) for the imperfect; as, “Ulysses wakes, not knowing where he was.”—Pope.
OBS. 6.-The present infinitive can scarcely be said to express any particular time. It is usually dependent on another verb, and, therefore, relative in time. It may be connected with any tense of any mood; as, “I intend to do it, I intended to do it, I have intended to do it,” etc. It is often used to express futurity; as, “The time to come.” -"The world to come.”-“Rapture yet to be."
Inflections.- Persons and Numbers. As there are two numbers and three persons, there must be six distinctions, to express which a verb may be inflected, or changed, to agree with its subject; but, as already stated, the inflections used in English are very few. Thus, the verb love, in the indicative mood, present tense, has only the following forms: Singular.
Plural. 1st per. love, love,
1st per. go,
go, 2d per. lovest, love, 2d per. goest, go, 3d per. loves ; love. 3d per. goes ;
go. It will be seen that there are only two inflections, both being in the singular : the addition of st (or est) for the second person, and s (or es) for the third ; the first person, singular, and all the persons in the plural being alike.
OBS. 1.—The third person singular was anciently formed in th or eth, but this inflection is now only used in the formal or solemn style. Doth, hath, and saith are contractions of verbs thus formed.
OBS. 2.- The customary mode of familiar as well as complimentary address is altogether plural, both the verb and the pronoun being used in that form. The singular is, however, invariably employed in refer. ence to the Supreme Being, in poetry, and in the solemn style, generally. Although the pronoun you is used with a singular meaning, the verb must be plural, because the forms must agree.