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For the Use of Schools.
THOMAS MORRISON, M.A.,
RECTOR OF THE FREE CHURCH NORMAL SCHOOL, GLASGOW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
Two main objects have been kept in view in constructing this English Grammar. The first has been the attempt to familiarize the child in every case, as far as possible, with the thing signified, and thereafter to give the scientific term. The child, in fact, is taught to form the Definition from examples given, instead of being obliged to commit to memory technical terms, clothed in scientific language, which can convey no definite idea to his mind. To enable the scholar to comprehend and form the Definition, Exercises of a very simple kind are prescribed, all bearing on one point, and so constructed that they lead up to the technical Definition. The Definition thus acquires a living power and a distinctness which it could not otherwise have ; and, being lodged in the memory, after having first passed through the understanding, it is in no danger of being forgotten. Every practical teacher adopts this method in teaching Grammar, and the following pages are an endeavour to supply a Text-Book which will enable him to do this thoroughly and efficiently, with a due regard to the limited time which, in most elementary schools, can be devoted to this branch.
The second object kept in view was to limit the attention of the pupil to one thing at a time—to lead him on step by step. It appears to the author that Grammar is rendered needlessly cumbersome to children, by their attention being directed to too many things at once. To commit to memory the definition of a Noun, of a Proper, a Common, and an Abstract Noun, of Number, Gender, and Case, and then the rules for the formation of Number, Gender, and Case, in one continuous stretch, can serve merely to distract the learner, and to lead him, as is often the case, to turn in disgust from the whole subject. To obviate this difficulty, the following division of the subject has been observed. The Book has been divided into Six Parts, each dealing with one specific thing :
Part First treats of the Classification of Words, and of that alone. Each Part of Speech is treated separately, and numerous illustrations given. Any child who can name easily and intelligently the various Parts of Speech in our language, has undergone a mental training of no mean order, and a training which lays the best possible foundation for the further study of Grammar. The Definition of each Part of Speech is not given until the pupil has learned by examples to appreciate the force of the Definition,-has been, as it were, compelled to feel the want of it. When all the Parts of Speech have been illustrated, a Summary of the Definitions is given, and a series of Exercises is based on this Summary. In technical language, the Analytic and Synthetic methods are combined.
PART SECOND treats of the Subdivision of the Parts of Speech, and the same methods are observed as in the First Part.
PART THIRD deals with the Inflection of the Parts of Speech. On no portion of the Work has greater care been bestowed than upon this. The reader must judge whether the result produced is commensurate with the labour expended. The method pursued in this part is the same as in the other two. Each Inflection of each Part of Speech is treated separately, and care has been taken, in the examples given, to limit the scholar's attention to the one point in hand. The Inflections thus stand out prominently—the learner sees the reason of them, and comes clearly to perceive that every change of form must involve a corresponding change of meaning. The change of form is presented to him, and he is set to find out the change of meaning involved. Every step thus becomes a discovery, and his attention and interest are excited and maintained. His reason is satisfied ; and he comes to see that the Rules of Grammar have not been framed with the view of puzzling his young brains, but spring naturally from the study and examination of the language which he uses every day. And not only is this
the case : the observation of a similarity of Inflection in a great number of individual cases leads him to the general law which dominates the particular Inflection treated of ; and thus the habit of generalization, than which none can be more important, is called into exercise and cultivated.
Part Fourth is devoted to Syntax, under the three divisions of Concord, Government, and Usage. Under the first two divisions are given the ordinary Rules of Syntax with numerous illustrations, while the third division deals with those idioms and forms which are the result, rather of the particular genius of the English Language, than of principles common to all languages. It has not been deemed necessary to burden the memory with a multiplicity of petty details; but no rule of any practical consequence has been omitted. As orthography can be best acquired by accustoming the eye to words correctly spelled, so correct English can be best acquired by the study of good models. Accordingly, no examples of false Syntax have been given in immediate connection with the Rules. A few have, however, been given at the close of this Part, simply to show the mistakes which are most commonly made.
PART FIFTH deals with the Analysis of Sentences. For some years this important branch of Grammar was allowed to run to seed. Pupils, who could with difficulty parse an ordinary sentence, were drilled into all the minutiæ of Subject, Predicate, Completion, Extension, &c., -as if the mere naming of terms constituted education. A reaction, as was to be expected, has set in, and there is danger that Analysis may be thrust too much into the background. So much of it is here given as may enable the pupil to distinguish the essential parts of every sentence, and their relations to each other; and this is all that can be attempted with safety in the common school.
PART Sixth is intended to illustrate the principles of Punctuation.
On the suggestion of many teachers of great experience, this Grammar has been arranged in the form of Lessons. It was represented that, in large schools especially, where a considerable portion of the work must of necessity be left in the hands of subordinates, it would be of importance to have a