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If I say ;
If I say,
English language in this respect;- which, by means of its two articles, does most precisely determine the extent of signification of common names.
1. A nice distinction of the sense is sometimes made by the use or omission of the article a.
" He behaved with a little reverence;" my meaning is positive.
“ He behaved with little reverence;' my meaning is negative. And these two are by no means the same, or to be used in the same cases. By the former, I rather praise a per on; by the latter, I dispraise him. For the sake of thi' distinction, which is a very useful one, we may better bes the seeming impropriety of the article a before nouns of number. When I say, “ There were few men with him;" I speak diminutively, and mean to represent them as inconsiderable : whereas, when I say ; 6 There were a few men with bim ;" I evidently intend to make the most of them.
2. In general, may be sufficient to prefix the article to the former of two words in the same construction; though the French never fail to repeat it in this case.
6. There were many hours, both of the night and day, which he could spend, without suspicion, in solitary thought.” It might have been " of the night and of the day.” And, for the sake of emphasis, we often repeat the article in a series of epithets. He hoped that this title would secure him an ample and an independent authority."
3. In common conversation, and in familiar style, we frequently omit the articles, which might be inserted with propriety in writing, especially in a grave style. worst, time might be gained by this expedient." " At the worst,” would have been better in this place. bere John Baptist's head.” There would have been more dignity in saying, “ John the Baptist's head :” or, “ The head of John the Baptist."
16 Give me
The article the has sometimes a good effect in distinguisk
ing a person by an epithet. “In the history of Henry the fourth, by Father Daniel, we are surprised at not finding him the great inan.” “I own I am often surprised that he should have treated so coldly, a man so much the gentleman.”
This article is often elegantly put, after the manner of the French, for the propoun possessive: as, " He looks him full in the face;" that is, “ in his face.”
" In his presence they were to strike the forehead on the ground;" that is, “ their foreheatis."
We sometimes, according to the French manner, repeat the same article, when the adjective, on account of any clause depending upon it, is put after the substantive. “ Of all the considerable governments among the Alps, a commonwealth is a constitution the most adapted of any to the poverty of those countries." “With such a specious title as that of blood, which with the multitude is always a claim, the strongest, and the most easily comprehended.” “ They are not the men in the nation the most difficult to be replaced."
RULE X. One substantive governs another, signifying a different thing, in the possessive or genitive case; as, "My father's house ,” “Man's happiness;" “ Virtue’s reward."
When the annexed substantive signifies the same thing as the first, there is no variation of case: as, “ George, king of Great Britain, elector of Hanover," &c.; " Pompey contended with Cæsar, the greatest general of his time;"
Religion, the support of adversity, adorns prosperity." Nouns thus circumstanced are said to be in apposition to each other. The interposition of a relative and verb will sometimes break the construction: as, “ Pompey contended with Cæsar, who was the greatest general of his time." Here the word general is in the nominative case, governed by pote 4, under RULE XI.
The preposition of joined to a substantive, is not always equivalent to the possessive case. It is only so, when the expression can be converted into the regular form of the possessive case. We can say, “The reward of virtue," and “ Virtue's reward :" but though it is proper to say, “A crown of gold,” we cannot convert the expression into the possessive case,
55 Gold's crown.” Substantives govern pronouns as well as nouns, in the possessive case : as, “ Every tree is known by its fruit;" “ Goodness brings its reward ;" “ That desk is mine."
The genitive its is often improperly used for 'lis or it is: as,
my book :" instead of “ It is my book.” The pronoun his, when detached from the noun to which it relates, is to be considered, not as a possessive pronoun, but as the genitive case of the personal pronoun: as, “ This composition is his." “ Whose book is that?” “ His.” If we used the noun itself, we should say, " This composition is John's." “ Whose book is that ?” “ Eliza's.” The position will be still more evident, when we consider that both the pronouns in the following sentences must have a similar construction : “Is it her or his honour that is tarnished ?” “ It is not hers, but his."
Sometimes a substantive in the genitive or possessive case stands alone, the latter one by which it is governed being understood: as, “I called at the bookseller's," that is," at the bookseller's shop."
1. If several nouns come together in the genitive case, the apostrophe with s is annexed to the last, and understood to the rest: as, “ John and Eliza's books :" “This was my father, mother, and uncle's advice." But when any words intervene, perhaps on account of the increased pause, the sign of the possessive should be annexed to each : as, " They are John's as well as Eliza's books;" s I had the physician's, the surgeon's, and the apothecary's assistance."
2. In poetry, the additional s is frequently omitted, but
the apostrophe retained, in the same manner as in substantives of the plural number ending in si as, wrath of Peleus' son." This seems not so allowable in prose ; which the following erroneous examples will demonstrate: “Moses' minister;" “ Phinehas' wife :” “Festus came into Felix' room.” “These answers were made to the witness' questions.". But in cases which would give 'too much of the hissing sound, or increase the difficulty of pronunciation, the omission takes place even in prose: as, " For righteousness' sake ;" “ For conscience' sake.” .
3. Little explanatory circumstances are particularly awkward between a genitive case, and the word which usually follows it; as, “ She began to extol the farmer's, as she called him, excellent understanding." It ought
the excellent understanding of the farmer, as she called him."
4. When a sentence consists of terms signifying a name and an office, or of any expressions by which one part is descriptive or explanatory of the other, it may occasion some doubt to which of them the sign of the genitive case should he annexed; or whether it should be subjoined to them both. Thus, some would say ; " I left the parcel at Smith's the bookseller;" others," at Smith the bookseller's;" and perhaps others, " at Smith's the bookseller's." The first of these forms is most agreeable to the English idiom; and if the addition consists of two or more words, the case seems to be less dubious; as, “I left the parcel at Smith's, the bookseller and stationer." But as this subject requires a little further explanation to make it intelligible to the learners, we shall add a few observations tending to unfold its principles.
A phrase in which the words are so connected and dependent, as to admit of no pause before the conclusion, necessarily requires the genitive sign at or near the end of the phrase: as, “Whose prerogative is it? It is the king of Great Britain's;" “That is the duke of Bridgewater's cana!;" “The bishop of Landaff's excellent book ;" “ The Lord mayor of London's authority;" “ The captain of the guard's house."
When words in apposition follow each other in quick succession, it seems also most agreeable to our idiom, to give the sign of the genitive a similar situation; especially if the noun which governs the genitive be expressed : as, “ The einperor Leopold's ;” “ Dionysius the tyrant's ;" For David my servant's sake ;"
;" “ Give me John the Baptist's head;" “ Paul the apostle's advice.” But when a pause is proper, and the governing noun not expressed; and when the latter part of the sentence is extended; it appears to be requisite that the sign should be applied to the first genitive, and understood to the other : as, “ I reside at lord Stormont's, my old patron and benefactor ;" “ Whose glory did he emulate ? He emulated Cæsar's, the greatest general of antiquity." In the following sentences, it would be very awkward to place the sign, either at the end of each of the clauses, or at the end of the latter one alone : "These psalms are David's, the king, priest, and prophet of the Jewish people ;” “We staid a month at lord Lyttelton's, the ornament of his country, and the friend of every virtue.” The sign of the genitive case may very properly be understood at the end of these members, an ellipsis at the latter part of sentences being a common construction in our language ; as the learner will see by one or two examples : “ They wished to submit, but he did not;" that is, “he did not wish to submit ;" "He said it was their concern, but not his;" that is, “not his concern."
If we annex the sign of the genitive to the end of the last clause only, we shall perceive that a resting place is wanted, and that the connecting circumstance is placed too remotely, to be either perspicuous or agreeable : as, “Whose glory did he emulate ?" "He emulated Cæsar, the greatest general of antiquity's ;" “ These psalms are David, the king, priest, and prophet of the Jewish people's." It is much better to say, " This is Paul's advice, the christian hero, and great apostle of the gentiles," than, “ This is Paul the christian hero, and great apostle of the gentiles?