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anatomist would the human frame; for grammar is the anatomy of language. You know the function that each member of the language body has to perform; and you know also the name that is given to each member. So that all you have to do, will be, to write under each the name that you judge to be correct; and then to look into the Dictionary for confirmation or disproof of your opinion. You will find that each word in the Dictionary has the name of the Part of Speech that it belongs to, following it. Thus if you have the words “ I love honesty;": you will find “ I” followed by pr. for Pronoun ; “ love” by v. a. for Verb Active; and “ honesty” by n. for Noun.
34. Though you have now been told sufficient to enable you to know the different Parts of Speech, when met with, there is yet a great deal more concerning each to learn; and therefore I will make each the subject of an entire Letter.
ETYMOLOGY OF ARTICLES.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
35. You know that there are bui two Articles, A or AN, and THE; A becomes AN before a word which begins with a vowel; as, “an orange, an apple.'
A also becomes AN before a word which begins with a silent h; that is to say, an h, which though used in writing, is not sounded in speaking; as, “ An honest man; an heir of misfortune.” This change of the A to AN, is made solely on account of the sound; because it would be very inharmonious to say, "a apple, a orange, a honest man, or, a heir of misfortune." A is used, when the sense of the sentence requires an Article, before all words which begin with an h, that is sound. ed; as, a harp, a house, and before all words that begin with any other consonant than h; as, a man, a store.
36. The Article A or An, is called by all grammarians who consider it a Part of Speech, the Indefinite Article. At the same time, these persons generally say, that “ Article is a word prefixed to Nouns to point them out.” Now, if the Article be indefinite in its signification, how can it " point out the Noun?” Some grammarians even say, that the Indefinite Article limits the Noun to one of a kind.” Ah! indeed! Well just let us look at the Diction. ary, and see what indefinite means. Why, we find that it means, indeterminate, unlimited. So then the UNLIMITED Article LIMITS the Noun! This is sad work; so sad that I deem it proper to change the name of this Article from Indefinite to General ; the latter being much more easily understood, more expressive, and less liable to cause such a direct contradiction. I do not, however, altogether subscribe to the assertion, " that an Article is a word prefixed to Nouns to point them out ; because if I did, the name which I have just given, would also be liable to objection; for how could a thing be spoken of in a general way, and yet pointed out. I subscribe to the assertion so far as it relates to the Article THE, but no further.
37. The General Article is one which is general in its application to Names, that is, it never applies to a particular Noun, but will apply to any Noun in a general way; as “a river is frozen.” By this we learn that some river is frozen, but not what river." As the direct opposite of this, the Article THIE, the name of which, for reasons simi. lar to those given in the preceding paragraph, I deem it necessary to change from Definite to Particular, determines the particular object spoken of, as, " the river is frozen.” By this we learn, not only that a river is frozen, but we also learn the particular river that is frozen; namely, the river that is nearest to us; or the river that we are most acquainted with. Take another example: “George hand me a book.” Here you perceive that I want a book; not a particular book, but any book, it is no matter what one. But when I say, “ George hand me the book ;" you perceive that I have reference to some particular book, which is in George's possession; or which is near him; and which he readily understands I mean.
38. The General Article applies to Nouns in the singular number only ; for, though it would be correct to say a horse, it would be outrageous to say a horses. The Par. ticular Article, however applies equally to Nouns in both numbers; as, THE horse, THE horses. This Article is used with a Noun in the singular number, when by that number, we wish to express a whole species or sort; as, “the dog is a faithful animal;” meaning that “dogs are faithful animals." Either of these modes of expression will do ; though I think that the first is best. I have not yet told you what number means; but you will find in my next Letter that it means one or more.
ETYMOLOGY OF NOUNS.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
39. Just turn back to paragraphs 12, and 13, and read carefully what you find in them. Having done this, you are ready to proceed with me. I need not tell you that a Noun is whatever has an existence; because this you already know; but I need tell you, that Nouns have branches, numbers, genders, and cases; all of which must be carefully attended to.
40. THE BRANCHES are two. They divide Nours into Common and Proper. A common Noun is one which has the same name that all Nouns of its kind have; as, mun, town, river. We know that all men have the name of man, all towns, the name of town; and all rivers, the name of river. The names are common to all; and are therefore called Common Nouns; that is, common names.
41. A Proper Noun is the particular name of a person, or place, or river, or mountain, or the like. For example : “ Thomas, Philadelphia, Ohio, Chimborazo.” Thomas is proper, because all men have not that name. Philadelphia is proper, because all cities have not that name. Ohio is proper, because all rivers have not that name. And Chim. borazo is proper, because all mountains have not that name
The name of each is peculiar to itself, and not common to all of its kind. Proper Nouns take no Article before them, because they do not require it; the extent of their significa. tion being fully made known by the Noun itself. In figu. rative language, however, the Article is sometimes used; as, “ Lee was a good orator, but could not be placed beside the Henries, the Adamses, the Rutledges, or the Ameses." We here mean, could not be placed beside men of the class of Henry, Adams, Rutledge, or Ames. And again : " who would not like to be in principle and practice, a Washington.” The article is also used before Proper Nouns, when, a Common Noun is understood, but left out; as, “the Schuylkill;" that is, the river Schuylkill; or when this Proper Noun performs the part of an Adjective; as, “the Schuylkill river.” When more than one person of the same name is spoken of, the article is also used; as "the Adames, the Livingstons."
42. THE NUMBERS. There are two numbers; Sin. gular, and Plural. The Singular is limited to one object; as, a house, a republi.. This is the original word; and from this the Plural is generally formed by adding an 8 ; as, house, houses, republic, republics. If, however, the Singular end in ch, sh, s, or x, es must be added in order to form the Plural; as, speech, speeches; dish, dishes glass, glasses ; box, boxes. And if the Singular end in y, without a vowel immediately before the y, the letter changes into ies in order to form the Plural; as, lady, ladies; beauty, beauties. But if the terminating y, have a vowel immediately before it, then it does not change in order to form the Plural; but simply takes an s after it ; as, day, days; boy, boys. When a Noun ends in f, or fe, the Plural is formed by changing the f or fe into ves; as loaf, loaves ; wife, wives ; grief, dwarf, relief, and some others, are exceptions; these simply take an s to form the Plural. The Noun man, and every Noun formed in part of this word, such as woman, fireman, horseman, merely change the a into e, to form the Plural. Thus men, women, firemen, horsemen, are the Plurals of these. Ox, and child, change to oxen and children. Foot becomes feet; goose becomes geese ; tooth becomes teeth; louse and mouse be
come lice, and mice ; die becomes dice. Some Nouns are used in the Singular number, only; as wheat, grain, pride, honesty, silver, gold, and the like. Other Nouns are used in the Plural number, only; as, ashes, tongs, scissors, riches and the like. Some Nouns are the same in both numbers; such as deer, sheep.
43. THE GENDERS. The word gender means a distinction with regard to sex. And is accordingly used in grammar to distinguish the sexes. All males are of the masculine gender, and all females of the feminine. All other Nouns are of the neuter gender; and even in speaking of living creatures of which we do not know the gender, we consider them to be of the neuter. Thus if I see a baby sleeping in the cradle, I will say “how tranquilly it sleeps;" though I know that its sex must be either male or female.
44. In figurative language, however, we often speak of things destitute of all sexual properties, in the same way that we would of living creatures. For example, we say, “ How glorious is the gun, to-day. His light enlivens the drooping spirits of many an afflicted child of earth. His rays impart such a genial influence to all upon which, or whom they shine, that it is no wonder he was worshipped as a god, before philosophy had lifted her magic wand, and dissipated the intellectual darkness that overspread the world” Again : "What pleasure is it to gaze upon the shining moon. How serenely beautiful is her light. When the heart is overpowered with grief, or when the soul is sickened with the world's dishonesty, what comfort do her beams bestow. She is the world's family physician. The smiles of her countenance diffuse restoration from all cares and disgusts; though unfortunately the healing influence lasts but while the visits continue ; for upon her departure, the patient relapses into his former state.”
45. This is a liberty allowed in figurative language; and though it is a great advantage to a writer, it should never be abused. It should not be used upon every trifling occa. sion; or as applying to things of little importance; for if it be, our language will lose much of its force; and our hes and shes, when applied to things of the neuter gender