« PreviousContinue »
AN ANALYSIS OF SENTENCES, COMPOSITION, ETC.
ROSCOE MONGAN, B.A.
AUTHOR OF THE 'PRACTICAL ENGLISH SPELLING BOOK."
LONGMAN, GREEN, LONGMAN, ROBERTS, & GREEN.
The system of Competitive Examinations has given a strong impetus to Teachers as well as Students.
A few years since, Schools were satisfied with such defective compilations as those of Lindley Murray, but the requirements of the present day demand a more accurate and scientific Grammar of the English language.
Happily the prejudice is fast dying away, that the study of the Classics forms the best medium for understanding the genius and structure of English.
“Let no one flatter himself," observes Mr. Harrison, that the mere knowledge of Latin and Greek will serve him as an unerring guide in the structure of the English language. Let the example of Bentley, great in his generation, and really great as a classical critic, serve as a warning against the admission of such a fallacy. Let him place Bentley and. Cobbett in juxta-position, and he must in every page be convinced, how far superior the latter is to the former, in clearness and precision of terms, in grammatical accuracy and the construction of his sentences. Let him take care, lest, while he is wandering in imagination on the banks of the Tiber, the llyssus, or the Meander, while he is gathering the sweets of Hybla, or drinking at the fountains of Helicon, he may be recklessly and profanely trampling under foot, the vigorous, the rich, and the varied productions of his
See the Preface to HARRISON'S English Language. p. 6.
Lord Stanley eloquently observes: “No word will fall from me in disparagement of classical literature; I know its value full well; but it seems strange in a country where so many students are familiar with
dialect of Greek, and every variety of classical style, that there should be so few who have really made themselves acquainted with the origin, the history, and the gradual development into its present form of that mother tongue which is already spoken over half the world, and which embodies many of the noblest thoughts that have ever issued from the brain of man. To use words with precision and with accuracy, we ought to know their history as well as their present meaning."
Archbishop Trench, Latham, Angus, Marsh, Key, and other distinguished writers have enriched our language with many valuable contributions, but its Grammar has still remained irregular, vague, and unsettled exhibited by grammarians sometimes in too meagre, sometimes in too diffuse a form.
The extreme labor and the patient toil absolutely indispensable to the construction of a good Modern English Grammar, have caused the failure of numerous writers on this important subject.
Humble as the pretensions of this volume may be, and however inadequate it may prove to the fulfilment of its purpose, the collection of materials has engaged my attention during a lengthened period, and two years have been occupied in bringing it through the Press.
Amongst its leading features the following may be enumerated :
The nature of the different Parts of Speech nas been explicitly set forth; the definitions have been given in a concise and accurate manner; the Subjunctive Mood and the uses of Shall' and Will' have been clearly explained ; and the language adopted throughout the work is of the simplest kind-easily understood and easily retained in the memory.
· The peculiar arrangement of the Syntax has been effected with great care and great labor.
The plan adopted with regard to embracing on the same page the Rule together with its subordinate parts, and the Exercises dependent on them, will materially contribute to assist the Teacher and to improve the Pupil.
The • Recapitulatory Exercises' will impress on the memory, the leading principles of Syntax, and the • Promiscuous Exercises' will develope the faculties of taste and judginent.
Punctuation has been exhibited in a double form; both according to the old familiar plan, and also in accordance with Canons based on the Analysis of Sentences.'
The important subject of Composition has been treated of at considerable length; and numerous examples have been selected from the Examination Papers proposed to Candidates for Woolwich, for Sandhurst, and for Direct Commissions, as well as from those given at the Oxford Local Examinations.
It has also been deemed advisable to introduce an Article on the subject of Précis, or the Abstract of Official Documents.
The First Appendix contains numerous instances of useful and interesting Derivations.
The Second Appendix supplies a List of some of the chief British Writers and of their principal Works.
At the present day, a Grammar must be, to a great extent, a compilation, and in such a subject, it is sometimes extremely difficult to avoid repeating the very words of others. Still I have endeavoured to be original as much as possible.
The difficulty, toil, and expenditure of time involved in the construction of this work have far exceeded what I at first expected. Although I have consulted almost