Page images

in their grammatical construction, cannot be parsed with propriety by any rules in the common systems of English Grammar. Of this description are the following: "The book is worth perusing—or worth a perusal: He was offered a large sum for his estate: The bridge is twenty rods long: He died seven years ago: The article cost me a dollar.The words marked with italics, are those which demand particular attention. The awkward and forced manner in which sentences like these are attempted to be parsed by the application of the rules in our common grammars, clearly proves that their syntax is greatly deficient. But these sentences, and those of a similar nature, which have been a source of so much vexation and discouragement to young grammarians, may be parsed with the greatest ease, by means of a good syntax, comprising suitable rules.

It may not be improper to remark, that, in preparing this work, the Author has used the common privilege of elementary writers : 80 far as it was convenient for his purpose, he has availed himself of the labors of his predecessors. For the omission of authors' names, it is perhaps unnecessary to apologise. “From the altera. tions," says Murray in his introduction to English Grammar, “ which have been frequently made in the sentiments and the language, to suit the connexion, and to adapt them to the particular purposes for which they are introduced ; and, in many instances, from the uncertainty to whom the passages originally belonged, the insertion of names could seldom be made with propriety. But this could have been generally done, a work of this nature would derive no advantage from it, equal to the inconvenience of crowding the pages which a repetition of names and references.”

[ocr errors]



1. ENGLISH GRAMMAR is the art or science of speaking and writing the English language with propriety.

2. It is divided into four parts, viz. Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody.

3. Orthography teaches the nature and powers of letters, and the just method of spelling words.

4. Etymology treats of the different sorts of words, their various modifications, and their derivations.

5. Syntax treats of the agreement and construction of words into a sentence.

6. Prosody consists of two parts; the former teaches the true pronunciation of words, comprising accent, quantity, emphasis, pause, and tone; and the latter, the laws of versification.*

ETYMOLOGY. ny. Words are divided into nine sorts, comme

monly called parts of speech; viz. substantive or noun, article, adjective, pronoun, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection..

OF SUBSTANTIVES. 8. A substantive or noun is the name of a thing. *Orthography and Prosody are not particularly treated. The former more properly belongs to the exercises of the spelling book; and the latter, to the study

of rhetoric.

The name of any thing which we can see, taste, smell, hear, feel, or conceive of, is a noun.

9. Substantives are either proper or common. Proper substantives are names appropriated to individuals, without any reference to kind. Common substantives are appropriated to kinds, or whole species, containing many individuals under them.

10. To substantives belong gender, number and case.

11. Gender is the distinction of nouns with regard to sex. There are three genders, viz. masculine, feminine, and neuter.

12. The masculine gender denotes animals of the male kind; the feminine gender denotes animals of the female kind; the neuter gender denotes objects which are neither male nor female.

13. Number is a term which has reference to quantity, as consisting of one or more particulars or objects.

14. Substantives are of two numbers, viz. singular and plural. The singular number expresses but one object; the plural number expresses more objects than one.

15. Case is the state or relation which the noun sustains to the other words in the sentence.

16. Substantives have three cases, viz. nominative, possessive, and objective.

17. The nominative case expresses the name of a thing existing or acting as the subject of dis


18. The possessive case expresses the relation of property or possession, and in general has an apostrophe with the letter s coming after it.

« PreviousContinue »