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Mas. Gen. Third Femin. Person.
Him. Her. It.
Nominative. Possessive. Objective. First Person,
Theirs, S 61. In this table you perceive that I, Thou, She, We, You, and They, have two words to represent the objective case of each ; as My and Mine, Our and Ours.
The former word of each of these two examples, is used when the thing possessed follows it; as, “ My book;” “ Our house.” And the latter word of each of the examples is used, when the thing possessed does not follow, as, book which is mine;"the house which is ours." The same rules apply to the possessive cases of Thou, She, You, and They.
62. You see that Thou is given in the table as the second person, singular ; but this Pronoun is now very little used. It is confined almost entirely to poetry; to which it seems to be much better adapted than to prose. It gives dignity to phrases; and therefore suits that kind of composition, which is universally known as the most dignified. In prose it seems to be entirely too pompous ; and he who would use it in such, would certainly be charged with affectation, and want of discernment. You and your are made use of instead of Thou, and Thy and Thee. Thus the second person plural is used for the second person singular.
63. The words self and 'selves are sometimes added to the Personal Pronouns; as myself, himself, ourselves ; but as these compounded words are liable to no variation that can possibly lead to error, it will be useless to do any thing more than merely to notice them.
64. RELATIVE PRONOUNS. These are Who, Which, and That. The two latter are always the same, through all numbers, genders, persons and cases; but the former changes its endings to express the possessive and objective cases; as, who, whose, whom.
65. These Pronouns are called Relative, because they always relate (except when used in an interrogative form, and even then, sometimes) to some Noun, or some Per. sonal Pronoun, or some combination of words, which is called the antecedent ; (that is, the person or thing before going ; ante, meaning before; and cedent meaning going.) For example: “General Arnold, who became a traitor to his country, was a bold, but an unprincipled man, no matter in what station we view him." You perceive that Arnold is the antecedent, and that who relates to him. Take another example: “Of the thousands and tens of thousands of men who were engaged in the sacred cause of American freedom, General Arnold was the only one, whose soul could be corrupted by offers of great wealth ; or with whom the love of country was not paramount to every thing else.” Men is here the antecedent to the who, and Arnold, the antecedent to the whose and whom. This sentence exhibits all the variations to which the Relative Pronouns are liable.
66. Who, Whose, and Whom, cannot correctly be Relatives to any Nouns or Pronouns, which do not represent, men, women or children. It would not be correct to say, " the horse who won the race;" although this does not sound badly; neither would it be correct to say, “ the horse whose feet were white;" nor would it do to say, “the horse whom I rode.” If we wished to speak correctly, we would have to say,
“ the horse which won the race ;' " the horse, the feet of which were white; " " the horse which I rode." The Relative That, however, is applied to Nouns of al}
" the man that endeavoured to betray his country;
" the horse that won the race ; " the house that was burned."
67. Which, as a Relative, is confined to irrational creatures; and in this capacity it may be used indifferently with That; as, “the horse which won the race ;” “the house which was burned.” Bear in mind, then, that Who is applied only to rational creatures; and Which only to irrational ones; but that That is applied to both kinds.
68 I did not place What amongst the. Relatives when I enumerated them; because it is only sometimes a Relative; and because it is of far less importance than the three Relatives above named. What we call it is of no consequence, provided we understand its use; and as it is subject to no variation, to do this is no hard matter. This What, together with Who, Whose, Whom, and Which, are employed in asking questions ; and are, therefore, by some grammarians called Interrogative Pronouns. It is unnecessary to make this classification; because these words never entirely lose their relative capacity; though they do not always relate to Nouns or Personal Pronouns, in the way that you have seen them. When used in an interrogative manner, they mostly precede instead of following the Nouns or Personal Pronouns; as, “ Who is the man that last passed us ?"!
of whom do you speak ?" " whose house is that?” As these Pronouns here precede the Nouns, of course they cannot be said to have an antecedent.
69. What sometimes stands for both Noun and Relative Pronoun; as, " What you say, is true," that is to say, " the thing which you say, is true.”. Indeed, you will find What, to have, in all cases, this signification ; for when we do not distinctly hear what is said to us, and inquiringly say, " what ?” our full meaning is, tell us that which you have just told us;” or “repeat to us the words which you have just spoken.' 70. DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS.
These are called so, because they demonstrate, or point out, the Nouns, before which they are placed, or for which they sometimes stand. They are, This, That, These, and Th 18e, This and That apply to singular Nouns; These and Those
to plural ones. A few paragraphs above, you had That as a Relative; here you have it as a Demonstrative; and you know that it is sometimes a Conjunction. Now let me give you an example, in which you will find it acting in these three capacities.
That book that you gave me, is so poorly printed, that it can scarcely be read.'' The first That is a Demonstrative Pronoun; the second, a Relative; and the third a Conjunction, which merely serves to connect the effect of the printing with the cause of that effect; that is, with the printirg itself.
71. This word, That, is of great use in our language; and can be placed immediately after another word like itself, for several times, and yet make sense, though destitute of beauty. Thus: “s'hat that that that man told me, was not true." *
This sentence no doubt presents to you a queer appearance, and hns a much qucerer sound. It is exceedingly awkward, but still it is not what you may suppose it to be. The same tone of voice should not be given to all the “lhats;" for if it be, I know that they will be monotonous and senseless.
But if a strong emphasis be placed on the second and fourth “thats," and the two others sounded but slightly, thus, “that that that that man told me,” the meaning will be easily obtained. The first “that," is a Demonstrative Pronoun ; the second is a Noun; meaning that thing that story, that affair, or the like; the third is a Relative Pronoun, and the fourth a Demonstrative. Perhaps the sentence quoted, is, however, more ingenious than useful. Indeed in my opinion, it is; and I merely give it to show you the various offices which the word “that" may fulfil.
72. I will conclude this letter with a brief notice of the INDETERMINATE PRONOUNS, which are so called, because they express their objects in a general and inde. terminate nianner. Most of these Pronouns are also Ad. jectives. They must be considered Pronouns, only when they are used alone; that is to say, without Nouns. Thus :
* In looking over the Spectator, I find that there is in No. 81, a similar combination of thats. The sentence, however, that em. braces these words, was written nearly two years ago; and without the knowledge of the existence of any similar one.
May 4th 1840.
a one is often injured by the duplicity of one person or another." The first “one,” is a Pronoun; the last, an Adjective; as is the word • another;" for a Noun is understood to follow, though not expressed. These Indeterminate Pronouns are, one, any, each. more, some, other, edery, either, many, all, neilher, whatever, whoever, and some others; but all of them words subject to no variation in orthography, and all of very common use.
ETYMOLCGY OF ADJECTIVES.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
73. Do you recollect what was said concerning Adjectives? If you do not, just look back at Letter III, paragraphs 18 and 19, and read carefu'ly what is there written.
74. In English, Ar'jectives have no changes to express gender, or number, or case, or person ; that is to say, do not change their form to agree with the gender or number of the Noun which they express the quality or property of. In French they do. Let me give you an example : French.
The white horse.
Les vaches blanches, Here you see, that the French Adjective changes to ex press gender, and also number; but that the English Ad. jective is always the sanie. The latter however, changes to express something else: It changes to express degrees of comparison. Adjectives, you know, express the qualities and properties of Nouns; and as these qualities and properties, may be possess d in a greater degree by one person, than by another, the Adjectives have degrees of comparison, or changes in their endings to suit these vary. ing circumstances. Thus, a man may be strong, but another may be stronger, and a third may be the strongest.
The white horses.