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117. You recollect that this Verb is irregular ; but it is far less so, than the Verb to be, which is the most irregular Verb in our language, and you will consequently see the necessity of paying great attention to its conjugation :
He, she, or it is. They are.
He, she, or it was. They were. 1st Person, I shall or will be, We shall or will be. Future 2d
Thou shalt or will be, You shall or will be. Time 3d
He, she, or it, shall or They shall or will be.
I If I be, or may, might, could, would, or should, be.
If we be, or may,
If I were,
If thou wast,
If he, she, or it were.
Let them be.
118. You see that the word if, is placed before both of the numbers, both of the times, and all of the persons, in the Subjunctive mode. But you must not, therefore consider that ihis little word is necessary to the making of the Subjunctive ; for a Verb can be in that mode without an if being used ; and can be in the indicative, though at the same time, an if is used. The sense of the sentence must determine in which mode the Verb should be. Whenever the action or state of being expresssd by the Verb, is expressed in a conditional manner, and not in a positive one, the Verb must be in the subjunctive. This matter, however, I will explain to you hereafter.
119. You see that the participles are called in this Verb, the present and the past, instead of the active and the passive. The reason of this, is, that if being should be called an active participle, persons might reasonably urge objections against the name. They might say that there was no action in being; and that of course, then being could not properly be called active. And that been could not be called passive; because as there was no action, whatever, im. plied in the Verb, there could be no passiveness: Pas, siveness, in grammar, meani the unresisting receiving of an action, or the quiet resting after an action. To prevent these objections from being raised, the names of this Verbs' participles have been changed. But recollect, this is the only Verb in which a change of this kind is made. The participles of aH other Verbs are called active and passive.
120. As to the signs, would, could, should, might, may, can, must, and the like, which most grammarians cali Verbs defective, I have very little to say: They are of such constant use that people never make mistakes in regard to them. Indeed, I think that any directions which I might give you, connected with their use, would only be a waste of the time of both of us; for people who have no knowledge of grammar, speak these words just as correctly as do those who have spent years in the study. These words probably had a different signification once, from what they have now. But this is of no consequence to us. All that we want, is, to know how to use them according to their present signification; and this knowledge we obtain even in our infancy. Should, may once have been the past time of shall ; so may would have been the past time of will ; could of can; and might of may. The word ought is not correc:ly used in the pasttime; as, “ he ought to have voted;" " he should have voted,” it must be.
121. I have now given you all that relates to the Ety. mology of Verbs. I will therefore conclude by remarking that you onght to read this Letter over and over, with the utmost attention; for what is herein contained, is of greater importance than any thing previously given.
ETYMOLOGY OF ADVERBS.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
122. As you have read a good many pages since you were told any thing concerning this part of speech, you had better turn back to paragraphs 22, and 23, and read attentively what you will there find. You perceive that Adverbs are used to express something in addition to all that is expressed by the verbs, adjectives, nouns, and pronouns; and that they are divided into Adverbs of time, place, extent, order, quality, and manner. These divisions, however, it is not necessary that you should adhere to, like you should those made in pronouns, noans, and verbs. You need not say, when you come to dissect a sentence, - this is an Adverb of time,” or, “this is an Adverb of place,” like you would say, “this is a relative pronoun;" or, “this is a personal prorioun.” No! you need not make these distinctions; for all words of this part of speech are called by the general name of Adverbs; and I make these distinctions, only for the purpose of aiding you to de. termine what are, and what are not Adverbs.
123. The Adverbs of manner are the most numerous. They end in ly, and are derived, immediately from adjeca tives. They are generally formed by merely adding ly to
the adjective; as, respectful becomes respectfully; swift becomes swiftly. If, however, the adjecive end in y, that y is changed into i in forming the Adverb; as, mighty, mightily; haughty, haughtily. When the adjective ends in le, the e, is dropped in forming the Adverb; as, simple, simply.
124. Some Adverbs have degrees of comparison; as, soon, sooner, soonest; late, later, latest. All Adverbs which are derived from irregular adjectives are irregular in forming their degrees of comparison; as, well, better, best.
125. Adverbs are sometimes simple and sometimes compound ; that is to say, are sometimes composed of one word, and sometimes of two or more. For example : honestly; to-day, by-and-by. The compound Adverb is frequently used with hyphens to connect the words of which it is composed; as you see in by-and-by. I have something more to say respecting Adverbs, but I will defer it tiil I have occasion to speak of the syntax of this part of speech.
ETYMOLOGY OF PREPOSITIONS.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
126. I need not tell you what Prepositions are; for a moment's reflection on the name, pre-position, will give you an idea of the office which words of this part of speech are destined to fill. However, for fear that you may have forgotten what is said in paragraph 24, you had better turn back to it, and read what you will there find. It can do you no harm to do so, though you may think it unnecessary.
127. Prepositions are used, principally to express the different relations in which nouns stand with regard to each other. For example: “ Washington spoke to Knox; Knox received instructions from Washington.” These words
never change their endings, and are liable to no variation whatever. It is of very little consequence what name they are known by. All that you need desire to know, is, how to employ them in connection with other words; and this you will fully know, when you have read the Letter on the syntax of verbs, and what little I will have to say in the Letter on the syntax of prepositions.
ETYMOLOGY OF CONJUNCTIONS.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
128. Conjunctions, you know, are used to conjoin, or join together, words, parts of sentences, and even whole sen. tences. They are, by all grammarians of the popular system, divided into Copulative and Disjunctive Conjunctions. These names are the quintessence of nonsense. What does copulative mean? why, it means connecting, conjoining; so, then, these copulative conjunctions, are conjoining conjunc. tions ! or more properly CONJOINING CONJOININGS !! And these disjunctive conjunctions, are disjoining conjunctions! or more properly DISJOINING CONJOININGS !!
129. For copulative, I will substitute what is much bet. ter. I will give you the simple word agreeing. And for disjunctive, I will give you disagreeing. These words are easily understood, significant, and not liable to such an exhibition of naked deformity, as are those objected to. Things may be joined together and yet disagree; indeed we daily see with sorrow, exemplifications of this truth. But things cannot be joined together and yet disjoined. It is correct enough to say that things are joined together and at the same time agree ; for this is a common occurrence. But what kind of Otaheitan is it to say that things are joined together, and not only JOINED TOGETHER, but absolutely CONJOINED!!
130. I will give you an instance of the agreeing, and then one of the disagreeing conjunction: and Samuel went.” “ George went, but Samuel staid." In