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POSITIVE.

POSITIVE.

Adjectives have, then, these three degrees. The first de gree is called the Positive ; the second, the Comparative ; and the third, the Superlative. In order that you inay be able to form these degrees correctly, I will give you four rules, which, if you carefully read, and endeavor to recol. lect, will afford you nearly all the information necessary concerning this Part of Speech.

74. First rule. In general, Adjectives, which in their primitive state, or Positive degree, end in a consonant, form their Comparative degree by adding er to the Posi. tive ; and their Superlative degree by adding est to the Positive. For example: COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Small,
Smaller,

Smallest. 75. Second Rule. Adjectives which end in e, add in forming their Comparative, only an r, and in forming their Superlative, only st. For example : COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Large,
Larger,

Largest. 76. Third Rule. Adjectives which end in d, g, or t, with a single vowel preceding these consonants, double the final consunant, in forming the Comparative, and Superlative. For example: POSITIVE. COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Sad,
Sadder,

Saddest.
Fit,
Fitter,

Fittest.
Big,
Bigger,

Biggest. should, however, the d, g, or t, be immediately preceded by another consonant, or by more than one vowel, the final consonant is not doubled to form the Comparative and Superlative. For example : POSITIVE. COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Round,
Rounder,

Roundest.
Stout,
Stouter,

Stoutest.
Strong,
Stronger,

Strongest. 77. Fourth Rule. Adjectives which end in y, having a consonant immediately before it, change the y, into ier, in forming the Comparative, and into iest in forming the Superlative. For example :

POSITIVE.

Holy,

POSITIVE.

COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Holier,

Holiest.
Ugly,
Uglier,

Ugliest. 78. Some Adjectives have broken loose from all rules, and are now running wild, uninfluenced by the curbs which govern other Adjectives. For example: COMPARATIVE.

SUPERLATIVE.
Bad,
Worse,

Worst.
Good,
Better,

Best.
Much or Many, More,

Most.
Little,
Less,

Least. 79. Such Adjectives as eternal, everlasting, almighty, boundless, all, each, every, one, two, three, first, second, third, have no degrees of comparison, because their signifi. cation admits of no augmentation.

80. All Adjectives ending in most are Superlative, and of course admit of no change ; as, utmost, uppermost.

81. Be careful to observe, however, that the degrees of all Adjectives which admit of comparison, may be formed by prefixing more and most to the Positive. For example:

COMPARATIVE.
Small,
More small,

Most small.
Holy,
More holy,

Most holy. When the Positive contains only one syllable, the degrees are generally formed according to the four rules which 1 have given you.

When the Positive contains two syllables, it is discretionary which method you use in forming the degrees. Your ear, is, in this case, the best guide. But when the Positive contains more than two syllables, the degrees must always be formed by more and most. It will do to say, lovelier, and loveliest, quicter, and quietest, sim. pler, and simplest ; but it will never do to say, eleganter, and elegantest, unfortunater, and unfortunatest.

POSITIVE

SUPERLATIVE.

LETTER VIII.

ETYMOLOGY OF VERBS.

MY YOUNG FRIEND,

81. A Verb is of far more importance for you to under. stand, than is any other part of speech. And this being the case, you must now look back at paragraphs 20, and 21, and read attentively all that you find there. Having done this, and being consequently able readily to distinguish this part of speech, froin all others, you are prepared to enter on an enquiry into the variations to which words of this part of speech are liable.

82. SORTS OF VERES. These are three; active, passive, and neuter. A Verb is active when it expresses an action which is performed by the person or thing that is the nominative of the sentence; and when there is at the same time, a person or thing acted upon; as " Jackson defeated Packenham.” It is passive when it expresses an action which is received or endured, by the person or thing that is the nominative of the sentence; as, “ Packenham was defeated,. It is neuter when it expresses simply the the state of bcing, or of existence of the person or thing that is the nominative of the sentence; as, " the British lie dead upon the banks;" or when it expresses an action confined to the actor; as, "they fell like grass before the scythe.” In this last instance, though there is an action, IT PASSES ON TO NO OBJECT; and is therefore considered to be a neuter Vcrb.

83. Reflect well upon these different definitions; for you will hereafter find a clear understanding of them to be of great importance to you. lloping that you are now able to distinguish the soris of Verbs, I will next proceed to give some information which is applicable to all the sorts :

There are four things to be considered in a Verb; and these four things are, person, number, time and mode.

84. THE PERSON. You recollect what was said about person, in paragraphs 55 and 56. But still you had better read these paragraphs again; for this circumstance of person is of great consequence; and unless it be attended to in writing and speaking, your sentences will be horrible English,

To say,

85. You know what the nominative of a sentence is ; you know that it is the person or thing that does something, or is, something. Well, then, the Verb must agree in person with the nominative which it is used to express the action, or state of being of; as, I love ; he loves." To

say, “ I loves ;" would be wrony, because I is the FIRST person, and loves is the THIRD person; and therefore there is no agreement between the Verb and its nominative.

“ he love," would also be wrong; because he is the THIRD person, and love is the FIRST.

85. In the Letter on the Etymology of Pronouns, I told you that there were three persons. Verbs have also three persons ; but they do not vary in their spelling except to express the third person singular. Thus we say, “ I love, you love, they love, we love;" and only "he, she or it loves.” When I say that Vei bs do not vary in their spelling except to express the third person singular, I must mention as an exception to this, the Verb to be. This Verb, as you will hereafter see, changes its form very often to suit itself to its nominative case.

87. It is unnecessary for me to tell you what the NUMBERS are; for you know, or ought to know, as well as I can tell you, that there can be but two; singular and plural. Verbs vary their endings but once to express number; and this variation is in the singular. come to the Syntax of Verbs, this will be fully explained.

88. Next come THE TIMES; of which ihere are, the present, the past and the future. These three distinctions are made, as their naines imply, to particularise the time of the action or state of being expressed by the Verb. For example : “ The President speaks to the people; the Presi. dent spoke to the people; the President will speak to the people."

89. We now come to the MODES, The word mode means manner. Thus we say, “ let us do it after that mode ;'' that is to say, after that manner. And again we say, " that is a strange mode of proceeding;" meaning, that " that is a strange manner of proceeding.” Modes of Verbs, then, are the different manners of expressing an action, or a state of being; which modes or manners, are

When you

sense.

sometimes positive, sometimes conditional, and sometimes indeterminate; and there are changes or variations in the Verb or in the words called signs which are used along with the Verb, to express this difference in manner and

Let me give you an example: “He speaks well to-day.” “ If he speak as well to-morrow, he will chain the attention of the house." You see that the Verb is in one sentence, speaks, and in the other speak. The reason of this, is, that in the first what is spoken of, is stated in a positive inanner; and in the second, what is spoken of, is stated in a conditional nianner In the French language, the Verb changes its form very often to suit the different modes in which it may be. In our language, it changes but once on account of mode; and this unfrequency of change, is caused by our using little words called signs along with the Verb; and which fully answer the purposes that changes of the Verb do in the French language. As an illustration of what you have just been told, I will give you an example of the difference between the formation of modes in the French language, and the formation of modes in the English. I will give you the French Verb Aller, (to go.)

[blocks in formation]

Here is but one change in English on account of inode ; namely, “ goes.” In the other three instances you see the Verb is the same; but in French va is one change on account of mode, aille is another, ivoit is another, and allât is another.

90. Let me now give you the names of the modes : They are the Infinitive, the Indicative, the Subjunctive and the Imperative.

1. The Infinitive mode is the Verb in its primitive state; as, to sing. This mode is called the Infinitive, because it is without bound or limit; it is infinite in its application to persons and things. In using it, we merely express the

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