Page images

participle, ought to have a nominative case, either expressed or implied; as, Awake; arise; that is, Awake ye; arise ye.

The following are some examples of inaccuracy in the use of the verb without its nominative case:

As it hath pleased him of his goodness to give you safe deliverance, and hath preserved you in the greatest danger, &c. The verb hath preserved has here no nominative case, for it cannot be properly supplied by the preceding word him, which is in the objective case. It ought to be, And as he hath preserved you; or rather, and to preserve you. A man whose inclinations led him to be corrupt, and had great abilities to manage the business; and who had, &c. A cloud gathering in the north, which we have helped to raise, and may quickly break in a storm over our heads; and which may quickly.

The nominative is commonly placed before the verb; but sometimes it is put after the verb, if it is a simple tense; and between the auxiliary and the verb or participle, if a compound tense; as,

When a question is asked, or a command given; as, Confidest thou in me? Go ye: When a supposition is made without the conjunction if; as, Were it not for him:-When the verb is

prece: by the adverbs here, there, then, thence, hence, ti. &c. as, Here am I; Then cometh the end:—When a sentence depends on neither or nor, so as to be coupled with another sentence; as, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it:—When a verb neuter is used; as, On a sudden appeared the king:-Or, when an emphatical adjective introduces a sentence; as, happy is the man whose conscience does not reproach him.


RULE III. The infinitive mood or part of a sentence is sometimes used substantively, and performs the office of a nominative case to a verb; as,

To see the sun is pleasant: To be good is to be happy: A desire to excel others in learning and virtue is commendable: That

climates should accelerate the growth of the human body, and shorten its duration, is very reasonable to believe: To be temperate in eating and drinking, to use exercise in the open air, and to preserve the mind free from tumultuous emotions, are the best preservatives of health. It

may be observed, that when the whole sentence forms but one nominative, conveying unity of idea, the verb must be singular. " But when several phrases, connected by a copulative conjunction, expressed or implied, constitute the nominative to a verb, the verb must be plural; according to the above examples.

The infinitive sometimes stands independent of the rest of the sentence; as, to proceed; to conclude, &c. This may be called the infinitive absolute.

RULE IV. When a direct address is made, the noun or pronoun is in the nominative case independent; as,

O house of Israel: O king, live forever: Plato, thou reasonest well. In these examples, the person speaking makes a direct address to house, king, and Plato, and they are therefore in the nominative case independent. It will be readily perceived that the nominative independent, must always be of the second person, because a direct address is made to no other. What is meant by a noun's being independent, when in this situation is, that it is independent of any verb. There is no verb, either expressed or understood, with which it agrees.

RULE V. A noun or pronoun connected with a participle, and standing independently of the rest of the sentence, is in the nominative case absolute; as,

Shame being lost, all virtue is lost: That having been discussed long ago, there is no occasion to resume it. Here shame, in the first example, is in the nominative case absolute; i. e. it has no personal tense of a verb, but is placed with the participle independently of the rest of the sentence. Although a noun thus situated has no connexion, either by government or agreement, with any other part of the sentence, yet the participle with which it is joined, has an agreement with the noun with which it is placed, and sometimes governs

another word in the objective case; as, The sun having dispersed the clouds, it began to grow warm. In this example sun is in the nominative case absolute with having dispersed; having dispersed agrees with sun, and governs clouds in the objective.

Ás in the use of the case absolute, the case is, in English, always the nominative, the following example is erroneous, in making it the objective Solomon was of this mind; and I have no doubt he made as wise and true proverbs, as any body has done since; him only excepted, who was a much greater and wiser man than Solomon. It should be, he only excepted.

of the Possessive Case.

RULE VI. When two nouns come together signifying different things, the former, implying possession, is in the possessive case, and governed by the latter: as,

[ocr errors]

My father's house: Man's happiness: Virtue's reward: The preposition of joined to a substantive, is frequently equivalent to the possessive case; as, A chistian's hope; the hope of a christian. But 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, and say, Gold's crown.

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.

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; I had the physician's,the surgeon's and the apothecary's assistance.

In poetry, the additionals is frequently omitted, but the apostrophe retained, in the same manner as in substantives of the plural number ending ins; as, The wrath of Pelus' son. This seems not go 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.

my friends

In some cases we use both the genitive termination and the preposition of; as, It is a discovery of Sir Isaac Newton's. Sometimes, indeed, unless we throw the sentence into another form, this method is absolutely necessary, in order to distinguish the sense, and to give the idea of property, strictly so called, which is the most important of the relations expressed by the genitive case; for the expressions, This picture of my friend, and this picture of my friend's,suggest very different ideas: the latter, only, is that of property in the strictest sense. The idea would, doubtless, be conveyed in a better manner, by saying, This picture belonging to

When this double genitive, as, some grammarians term it, is not necessary to distinguish the sense, and especially in a grave style, it is generally omitted. Except to prevent ambiguity, it seems to be allowable only in cases which suppose the existence of a pleurality of subjects of the same kind. In the expressions, A subject of the emperor's; A sentiment of my brother's; more than one subject,and one sentiment are supposed to belong to the possessor. But when this plurality is neither intimated nor necessarily supposed, the double genitive, except as before mentioned, should not be used.

of the Objective Case.

RULE VII. Transitive verbs govern the objective case; as,

Truth ennobles her: She comforts me: They support us: Virtue rewards her followers.

In English the nominative case denoting the subject, usually goes before the verb; and the objective case denoting the object, follows the verb transitive; and it is the relation that the noun has to

« PreviousContinue »