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Perfect of Past Purt
slit, or slitted. smote,
sown. R. spoke,
spent. spilt, R.
spilt, R. spun,
split. spit, spat,
spit, spitten.* spread,
spread. sprung, sprang, sprung stood,
stunk. strode, or stride, stridden. struck,
struck, or stricken, strove,
strung. strowed, or strewed, strown, strowed, Or
sworn. swet, R,
swet, R. swelled,
swollen, R. swum, swam,
thought. throve, R.
Swear, Sweat, Swell, Swim, Swing, Take, Teach, Tear, Tell, Think, Thrive, Throw, Thrust, Tread, Wax, Wear,
* Spitton is nourly obsolete.
Perfect or Past Pach
woven. Weep, wept,
wept. Win, won,
won. Wind, wound,
wrought, R. wrought or worked. Wring, wrung,
wrung Write, wrote,
written. In the preceding list, some of the verbs will be found to be conjugated regularly as well as irregularly; and those which admit of the regular form are marked with an R. There is a preference to be given to some of these,which custom and judgment must determine. Those preterites and participles which are first mentioned in the list, seem to be the most eligible. Those verbs are not inserted which are irregular only in familiar writing or discourse, and which are improperly terminated by t, instead of ed; as, learnt, spelt, &c.
These should be avoided in every sort of composition. It is however proper to observe, that some contractions of ed into t, are unexceptionable; and others the only established forms of expression; as, crept, dwelt, &c.: and lost, felt, slept, &c. These allowable and necessary contractions must therefore be carefully distinguished by the learner from those that are exceptionable. The words which are obsolete have also been omitted that the learner might not be induced to mistake them for words in present use.-Such are wreathen, drunken, holpen, molten, gotten, holden, bounden, &c. and swang, rang, slank, strawed, gat, &c.
In most languages, there are some verbs which are defective with respect to persons. These are denominated by some grammarians impersonal verbs. They are used only in the third person, because they refer to a subject peculiarly appropriated to that person; as, It rains, it snows, it hails, it lightens, it thunders.—But as the word impersonal implies a total absence of persons, it is improperly applied to verbs which have a person; and hence it is manifest that there is no such thing in English, nor indeed, in any language, as a sort of verbs really impersonal.
The whole number of verbs in the English language, regular and irregular, simple and compounded, taken together, is about 4,300.
The number of irregular verbs, the defective included, is about 177.
The whole number of words in the English language is about 35,000.
Before we close the account of the verbs, it may afford instruction to the learner to be informed, that different nations have made use of different contrivances for marking the tenses and moods of their verbs. The Greeks and Latins distinguish them, as well as the cases of their nouns, adjectives, and participles, by varying the terminations or otherwise changing the form of the word; retaining, however, those radical letters which prove the inflection to be of the same kindred with its root.
This form, however, is not essential to the nature of the subject The moods may be as effectually designated by a plurality of words, as by a change in the appearance of a single word, because the same ideas are denoted, and the same ends accomplished, by either manner of expression. The modern tongues, particularly the English,abound in auxiliary words, which vary the meaning of the noun or the verb, without requiring any considerable varieties of inflection. Thus, I do love, I did love, I have loved, I had loved, I shall love, have the same import with Amo,amabam, amavi, amaveram, amabo, in latin. It is obvious that a language, like the Greek and Latin, which can thus comprehend, in one word, the meaning of two or three words, must have some advantages over those which are not so comprehensive. It may not be more perspicuous; but, in the arrangement of words, and consequently in harmony and energy, as well as in conciseness, it may be much more elegant.
OF ADVERBS. An adverb is a part of speech joined to a verb, an adjective, a preposition, an article, and to other adverbs, to qualify them; as, He reads well: He is remarkably healthy: They were elated at their success almost beyond measure. They were gone almost an hour: He spells very correctly. Sometimes the adverb qualifies a whole sentence without having reference to any particular word; as, Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, &c. In the first of these examples, the adverb qualifies the verb reads; in the second, the adjective healthy; in the third, the preposition beyond; in the fourth, the article an; in the fifth, the adverb correctly; in the sixth, the whole sentence in which it stands, by introducing it with greater ease. Thus, as a qualifying word, the adverb is used very extensively. It is called an adverb because it is more frequently joined to a verb to qualify it than to any other part of speech.
Some adverbs, as well as adjectives, are varied to
express the different degrees of comparison; as, Soon, sooner, soonest; often, oftener, oftenest.
Those ending in ly are compared by more and most; as, Wisely, more Wisely, most Wisely. Adverbs son,etimestake the form of the adjectives;
as, Agreeable to your request, I take the earliest opportunity to write to you. It should be, Agreeably to your request, &c. The contraction of the ly is admissible in poetry when necessary to preserve the measure; as, Secure he sat, &c. and when two adverbs expressing manner come together; as, He speaks remarkably correct. It is sometimes admissible also in familiar conversation; as, She dresses plain, but neat; instead of plainly and neatly.
Adverbs seem originally to have been contrived to express compendiously in one word what must otherwise have required two or more: as, He acted wisely,for, he acted with wisdom; prudently, for, with prudence; He did it here, for, he did it in this place; exceedingly, for, to a great degree; often, and seldom, for many, and for few times; very, for in an eminent degree, &c.
There are many words in the English language that are sometimes used as adjectives, and sometimes as adverbs; as, More men than women were there: or I am more diligent than he.
In the former sentence, more is evidently an adjective, and in the latter, an adverb. The word much is used sometimes for an adjective and sometimes for an adverb; as, Much money has been expended: It is much better to go than to stay. In the first of these sentences, much is an adjective; in the second, an adverb. In short, nothing but the sense can determine to what part of speech these words belong.
Adverbs, though very numerous, may be reduced to certain classes, the chief of which are those of number, order, place, time, quantity, manner, or quality, doubt, affirmation, negalion, interrogation, and comparison.