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"Sacred Interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!"

COWPER, on Language,






Kerl's First Lessons in English Grammar.- Designed as an introduction to the Common-School Grammar.

The plan, definitions, observations, and exercises, are in the simplest style, and suited to the capacity of children.

Kerl's Common-School Grammar. A simple, thorough, and practical grammar of the English language. Great care has been taken to make it, if possible, the best treatise of its kind now before the public. The parts relating to Idioms, Analysis, and False Syntax, will be found particularly valuable.

Kerl's Comprehensive Grammar. · An original work, that breaks up the old stereotyped method of English grammars, and re-arranges matter more nearly in accordance with the genius of the language. The articles on Versification, Punctuation, and Capital Letters, throw new light on these subjects ; and in False Syntax, and the Analysis of Sentences, the exercises are fresh, pithy, and exhaustive. The work is especially useful to every speaker, writer, or teacher, as a book of reference.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by

SIMON KERL, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York,

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"LANGUAGE,” said Sheridan, “is the great instrument by which all the faculties of the mind are brought forward, moulded, and polished." He who travels over our extensive country can easily observe that wherever the people have a limited and obscure knowledge of language, there all the other elements of civilization and refinement are in a correspondingly undeveloped state ; but that wherever a home is surrounded by the beauties of nature and art, there is also generally heard such language as reveals the presence of literature and the cultivation of thought and sensibility.

Language is at once the most useful, powerful, delicate, and durable instrument wielded by man. It materializes thought, so as to make it tangible, permanent, and transmissible ; and it thus carries civilization into every nook and corner of the world. It receives the intellect, heart, and achievements of every generation; and bears forward the responsible burden to be judged by every future generation. While the marble crumbles, and the canvas fades, an embodiment of great thoughts in glorious language lives through all time; renewing its youth, like the phoenix, with every edi. tion from the printing-press, and, like the sun, spreading its light and be neficence round the whole globe.

But how many literary productions are more or less disfigured with inaccuracies of grammar; and what an injurious influence is often exerted on the language of the people, by the hasty and crude literature of the daily press! How often do men express their thoughts, even or important occasions, inaccurately, obscurely, ambiguously, or ridiculously ; and what a multitude of bickerings, lawsuits, and contentions arise from language misapplied or misunderstood! It was the opinion of a late AttorneyGeneral of the United States, that the people of this country pay at least twenty millions of dollars a year for the abuse of the English language in matters of contract and legislation alone.

Till the excellent treatise of Murray made its appearance, the study of English grammar had hardly become a branch of common-school education; but since that time the importance of the science has been so far established in the convictions of the public, that grammar is now everywhere one of the leading studies in common schools. Corresponding textbooks have constantly increased, until we have a superabundance ; yet there is doubtless always room for an improved system in every science.

Most readers prefer to ascertain the plan and contents of a book by simply turning over its leaves; but the following features of this treatise are some of those which the author has endeavored to make worthy of special notice:

1. The simple and scientific nature of the general plan, and the methodical arrangement of matter throughout the book.

2. The clearness, brevity, and uniformity of the definitions. 3. The abundance and appropriateness of the illustrations and exercises.

4. The careful development of every part in proportion to its importance; so that the book is unusually symmetrical and comprehensive.

5. The introduction of the historical element of our language; and the careful regard for those laws which underlie the fabric of language, and make it what it is.

6. The treatment of infinitives and participles.
7. The Rules of Syntax, in regard to both meaning and brevity.
8. The collection of idioms and other difficult constructions.

9. The system of Analysis, and the progressive development of sentences according to its principles.

10. The classification of False Syntax; and the lessening of so great a number of little rules, which are seldom learned and always soon forgotten.

11. The critical remarks on syntax, punctuation, and capital letters. 12. The superior mechanical execution of the work.

The relative importance of the matter has been carefully distinguished by different sizes of type; and what is designed only for reading or reference, has been placed at the end of each Part, or so distinguished from the portions to be committed to memory as not to embarrass the learner or distract his attention. The pages to be studied make thus but a comparatively small book. Yet for those pupils who may need a smaller or an introductory treatise, a book called “First Lessons in English Grammar," and made on the same plan as this work, has been expressly prepared.

If any teacher wishes his pupils to "analyze and parse” as soon as possible, he can require them to commit the Rules of Syntax to memory, and he can then drill them, as they advance from the commencement of the book, on the sentences which begin page 241.

Brevity has been constantly studied ; and great care has been taken to make this grammar as simple, progressive, and interesting as such a book can be made without injuring its scientific value.

In closing this Preface, the author desires to express his grateful acknowledgment for valuable suggestions received from the Masters of the Boston Public Schools ; of whom he would especially mention Daniel C. Brown, Joshua Bates, and James A. Page, as the gentlemen to whom he is mostly indebted.



18, 239

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PAGE Abbreviations,

337 Observations, 68, 209, 811, 846 Accent, 39, 59, 325, 336 Orthography,

84 Adjectives, 6, 108; Definitive, 108, 115 Paragraph,

228 Adjectives, Irregular, List of, 176 Parsing,

198, 261 Adjuncts, 178, 309 Participles,

154, 221, 307 Adverbs, 7, 172; List of, 176 Parts of Speech,

1, 70, 209 Analysis of Sentences,

227 Pauses,

330, 335, 336 Analysis and Parsing, Exer


337 cises, 241 - 275 Persons, ·

11, 85, 142, 309 Apposition,

100, 211 Phrases, Arrangement of Words, 260, 308 Pleonasm,

95, 222, 320 Articles, 4, 106, 279, 282, 300 | Poetry,

346 Articulation, 334 Poetic Licenses,

332 Brackets,

343 | Predicates, Cases, 12, 95, 292 Prefixes,

54, 345 Clauses,

18, 229, 239 Prepositions, 8, 178, 286; List of, 181 Colon,

337 Pronouns,

3, 73, 293, 303 Comma, .

339 Pronunciation, Comparison, Degrees of, 16, 109, 279 Properties, Grammatical,

2 Compound Words, 56, 260, 344 Properties of Nouns and Pronouns, 81 Conjugation, 160 Properties of Verbs,

129 Conjunctions, 9, 182; List of, 185 Prosody,

318 Connectives, 288 Punctuation,

336 Correlatives, 186 Quantity,

327 Dash,

342 Questions, 57, 116, 188, 275, 350 Declension, 102 Quotation-Marks,

336 Derivation of Words, 54, 66 Roots of Words,

54, 66 Discourse,

227 Rules,

. 50, 190, 222, 292 Elipsis, 214, 319 Scanning,

332 Emphasis, 335 Semicolon,

388 Equivalent Expressions, 257 Sentences, 18, 229; Elements of, 231 Etymology, 35, 66 Sentences, Classes of,

240 Exclamation-Point,

341 Sentences, how contracted or False Syntax, :

276, 311

256 Figures of Orthography, 318 Spelling, 50, 65; Rules of, 50 Figures of Syntax,

319 Subjects, Figures of Rhetoric, 321 | Suffixes,

54 Formulas,

198, 262 Syllables, Genders,

10, 81, 216, 314 Syntax, 35, 276; Rules of, 190, 292 Grammar, 34, 58 Tenses,

15, 136, 306 Idioms, 209 Tenses, Forms of,

140 Independent Element, 238 Tones,

335 Infinitives, 151, 217, 307 Utterance,

334 Interjections,

9, 187, 217 Verbs, 4, 119; Classes of, 120 Interrogation-Point, 341 Verbs, Auxiliary,

128, 148 Inversion, 217, 820 Verbs, Impersonal,

148, 217 Italics, 345 Verbs, Irregular, List of,

121 Letters, 35, 60; Capital, 41, 61 Verbs, Number of,

142, 295 Modifiers, 233 Verbs, Person of,

142, 296 Moods, 14, 131, 219 Versification,

825 Nouns, 2, 71, 220 Voices,

13, 129, 316 Numbers, 12, 86, 142, 220, 295, 815 | Words,

1, 53, 66 For nice points, see Observations, pp. 58, 209, 311, 346.

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