« AnteriorContinuar »
EXAMPLES FOR PARSING, QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION, FALSE
OBSERVATIONS FOR THE ADVANCED STUDENT,
A KEY TO THE ORAL EXERCISES
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS, ACADEMIES, AND. PRIVÁVE
PRINCIPAL OF AN ENGLISH AND CLASSICAL ACADEMY, NEW YORK.
Ne quis igitur tanquam parva fastidiat Grammaticos elementa.-QUINTILIAN.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 11,
BY GOOLD BROWN, La the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massach usisha
"Neque enim aut aliena vituperare, aut nostra jactantius prædicare, animus it!
1. LANGUAGE is the principal vehicle of thought; and so numerous and importact are the ends to which it is subservient, that it is difficult to conceive in what manner the affairs of human society could be conducted without it. Its utility, therefore, will ever entitle it to a considerable share of attention in civilized communities, and to an Important place in all systems of education. For, whatever we may think in relation to its origin--whether we consider it a special gift from Heaven, or an acquisition of industry-a natural endowment, or an artificial invention,-certain it is, that, in the present state of things, our knowledge of it depends, in a great measure, if not entireiy, on the voluntary exercise of our faculties, and on the helps and opportunities atforded us. One may indeed acquire, by mere imitation, such a knowledge of words, as to enjoy the ordinary advantages of speech ; and he who is satisfied with the dialect lie has so obtained, will find no occasion for treatises on grammar; but he wBo is desirous either of relishing the beauties of literary composition, or of expressing his sentiments with propriety and ease, must inake the principles of language Nis study.
2. It is not the business of the grammarian to give law to language, but to leochat, agreeably to the best usage. The ultimate principle by which he muiystolie governed, and with which his instructions must always accord, is that species of custom which critics denominate good USE; that is, present, reputable, general use. This principle; which is equally opposed to fantastic innovation, and to a pertinacious adherence to the quaint peculiarities of ancient usage, is the only proper standard of galaniatical purity. Those rules and modes of speech, which are established by this autherity, may be called the Institutes of Graminar.
3. To embody, in a convenient form, the true principles of the English Language ; to express them in a simple and perspicuous style, adapted to the capacity of youth; to illustrate thein by appropriate examples and exercises; and to give to the whole all possible advantage from method in the arrangement; are the objects of the following work. The author has not deviated much from the principles adopted in the most approved grainmars already in use ; nor has he acted ihe part of a servile copyist. It was not his design to introduce novelties, but to form a practical digest of established rules. He has not laboured to subvert the general system of grammar, received from tiine immemorial ; but to improve upon it, in its present application to our tongue.
4. That which is excellent, may not be perfect : and amendment may be desirable, where subversion would be ruinous. Believing that no theory can better explain the principles of our language, and no contrivance afford greater facilities to the student, the writer has in general adopted those doctrines which are already best known; and has contented himself with attempting little more than an iinproved method of incul. cating unem. The scope of his labours has been, to define, dispose, and exemplify those doctrines anew; and, with a scrupulous regard to the best usage, to offer, on that authority, some further contributions to the stock of gramınatical knowledge. The errors of former gramınarians he has been more studious to avoid than to expose ; and of their deficiencies the reader may judge, when he sees in what manner they aja here supplied.
5. This treatise being intended for general use, and adapted to all classes of learners, was designed to embrace in a sinall compass a complete course of English Grammar, disencunhered of every thing not calculated to convey direct information on the subject. Little regard has therefore been paid to gainsayers. Grammarians have ever dispated, and often with more acrimony than discretion. Those who have dealt most in philological controversy, have well illustrated the couplet of Denham:
“The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes,