Page images
PDF
EPUB

was blamed, it could not have been me;"4 " I saw one whom I took to be she ;"' « She is the person who I understood it to have been;" “ Who do you think me to be ? Whom do men say that I am ?” “ And whom think ye that I am ?"_See the Octavo Grammar.

Passive verbs which signify naming, &c. have the same case before and after them: as,“ He was called Cæsar; She was named Penelope; Homer is styled the prince of poets ; James was created a duke ; The general was saluted emperor; The professor was appointed tutor to the prince.t"

5. The auxiliary let governs the objective case : as, “ Let him beware ;" “ Let us judge candidly;" “ Let them not presume ;" “ Let George study his lesson.”'

RULE XII. One verb governs another that follows it, or depends upon it, in the infinitive mood : as, “ Cease to do evil; learn to do well;": “ We should be prepared to render an account of our actions.”'

The preposition to, though generally used before the latter verb, is sometimes properly omitted : as, “I heard him say it;" instead of “ it.”

to say

The verbs which have commonly other verbs following them in the infinitive mood, without the sign to, are Bid, dare, need, make, see, hear, feel; and also, let, not used as an auxiliary ; and perhaps a few others : as, I bade him do it;" “ Ye dare not do it;"* “ I saw him do it;" “I heard him say it ;" “ Thou lettest him go."

1. In the following passages, the word to, the sign of the infinitive mood, where it is distinguished by Italic characters, is superfluous and improper. "I have observed some satirists to use, &c. “ To see so many to make so little conscience of so great a sin.” " It cannot but be a delightful spectacle to God and angels, to see a young person, besieged by powerful temptations on every side, to ac

| See English Exercises, 16th edit. The Note

quit himself gloriously, and resolutely to hold out against the most violent assaults ; to behold one in the prime and flower of his age, that is courted by pleasures and honours, by the devil, and all the bewitching vanities of the world, to reject all these, and to cleave steadfastly unto God.”

This mood has also been improperly used in the following places: “I am not like other men, to envy the talents I cannot reach." “ Grammarians have denied, or at least doubted, them to be genuine." "That all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always what is righteous in thy sight.”

The infinitive is frequently governed by adjectives, substantives, and participles: as, “He is eager to learn;" "She is worthy to be loved ;" " They have a desire to improve ;35" “ Endeavouring to persuade.”

The infinitive mood has much of the nature of a substantive, expressing the action itself which the verb signifies, as the participle has the nature of an adjective. Thus the infinitive mood does the office of a substantive in different cases : in the nominative; as, “ To play is pleasant:" in the objective: as, “Boys love to play ;" “ For to will is present with me; but to perform that which is good, I find not.”

The infinitive mood is often made absolute, or used independently on the rest of the sentence, supplying the place of the conjunction that with the potential mood : as, “ To confess the truth, I was in fault;" "To begin with the first;' “ To proceed;" “ To conclude;" that is, “That I may confess," &c.

RULE XIII. In the use of words and phrases which, in point of time, relate to each other, a due regard to that relation should be observed. Instead of saying, “The Lord kath given, and the Lord hath taken away;" we should say, “The Lord gave," and the Lord hath taken away." Instead of, “ I remember the family more than twenty

years ;" it should be, “I have remembered the family more than twenty years."

It is not easy to give particular rules for the management of the moods and tenses of verbs with respect to one another, so that they may be proper and consistent. The best rule that can be given, is this very general one : To observe what the sense necessarily requires." It may, however, be of use to give a few examples of irregular construction. “ The last week I intended to have written,is a very common phrase; the infinitive being in the past tiine, as well as the verb which it follows. But it is certainly wrong.; for how long soever it now is since I thought of writing, " to write” was then present to me, and must still be considered as present, when I bring back that time, and the thoughts of it. It ought, therefore, to be," The last week I intended to write.The following sentences are also erroneous: "I cannot excuse the remissness of those whose business it should have been, as it certainly was their interest, to have interposed their good offices." “ There were two circumstances which made it necessary for them to have lost no time.” History painters would have found it difficult to have invented such a species of beings.” They ought to be, to interpose, toʻlose, to invent:” “On the morrow, because he should have known the certainty, wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him.” It ought to be," because he would know," or rather," being willing to know." “ The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight."

:” “ If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead;" 6 may," in both places, would have been better. “ From his biblical knowledge, he appears to study the Scriptures with great attention;" “ to have studied,” &c. " I feared that I should have lost it, before I arrived at the city ;" “ should lose it.“I had rather walk;" It should be, “ I would rather walk."

." “ It would have afforded me no satisfaction, if I could perform it:" it should be," if I could

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

have performed it;" or, “ It would afford ne no satisfaction, if I could perform it."

To preserve consistency in the time of verbs, we must recollect that, in the subjunctive mood, the present and imperfect tenses often carry with them a future sense ; and that the auxiliaries should and would, in the imperfect times, are used to express the present and future as well as the past: for which see page 83.

1. It is proper further to observe, that verbs of the infinitive mood in the following form;' to write,' to be writing,' and to be written,' always denote something contemporary with the time of the governing verb, or subsequent to it: but when verbs of that mood are expressed as follows ; " To have been writing,” “ to have written,” and “ to have been written,” they always denote something antecedent to the time of the governing verb. This remark is thought to be of importance ; for if duly attended to, it will, in most cases, be sufficient to direct us in the relative application of these tenses.

The following sentence is properly and analogically expressed: I found him better than I expected to find him."

Expected to have found him," is irreconcilable alike to grammar and to sense. Indeed, all verbs expressive of hope, desire, intention, or command, must invariably be followed by the present, and not the perfect of the infinitive. Every person would perceive an error in this expression ; “ It is long since I commanded him to have done it :" -Yet“ expected to have found," is no better. It is as clear that the finding must be posterior to the expectation, as that the obedience must be posterior to the command.

In the sentence which follows, the verb is with propriety put in the perfect tense of the infinitive mood; “ It would have afforded me great pleasure, as often as I reflected upon it, to have been the messenger of such intelligence." As the message, in this instance, was antecedent to the pleasure, and not contemporary with it, the verb expressive of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the message must denote that antecedence, by being in the perfect of the infinitive. If the message and the pleasure had been referred to as contemporary, the subsequent verb would, with equal propriety, have been put in the present of the infinitive : as, “ It would have afforded me great pleasure, to be the messenger of such intelligence.” In the former instance, the phrase in question is equivalent to these words ; " If I had been the messenger;" in the latter instance, to this expression;“ Being the messenger.”—For a further discussion of this subject, see the Eleventh edition of the Key to the Exercises, p. 60, and the Octavo Grammar,

[ocr errors]

RULE XIII.

“ He ought

It is proper to inform the learner, that, in order to express the past time with the defective verb ought, the perfect of the infinitive must always be used : as, to have done it.” When we use this verb, this is the only possible way to distinguish the past from the present.

In support of the positions advanced under this rule, we can produce the sentiments of eminent grammarians; amongst whom are Ļowth and Campbell.

But there are some writers on grammar, who strenuously maintain, that the governed verb in the infipitive ought to be in the past tense, when the verb which gaverņs it, is in the past time. Though this cannot be admitted, in the instances which are controverted under this rule, or in any instances of a similar nature, yet there can be no doubt that, in many cases, in which the thing referred to preceded the governing verb, it would be proper and aļlowable. We may say ;

" From a conversation I once had with him, he appeared to have studied Homer with great carc and judgment.” It would be proper also to say, “ From his conversation, he appears to have studied Homer with great care and judgment;" 5 That unhappy man is supposed to have died by violence." These examples are not only consistent with our rule, but they confirm and illustrate it. It is the tense of the govering verb oply, that marks what is called the absolute time:

a

« PreviousContinue »