Page images
PDF
EPUB

done so generally, but that good writers, even in prose, use it when speaking of things. The construction is not, however, always pleasing, as we may see in the following instances: “ Pleasure, whose nature," &c. “Call every production, whose parts and whose nature," &c.

In one case, however, custom authorizes us to use which with respect to persons ; and that is when we want to distinguish one person of two, or a particular person among a num. ber of others. We should then

say,

6. Which of the two," " Which of them, is he or she ?!!

[ocr errors]

or

9. As the pronoun relative has no distinction of number, we sometimes find an ambiguity in the use of it: as, when we say, “The disciples of Christ, whom we imitate;" we may mean the imitation either of Christ, or of his disciples. The accuracy and clearness of the sentence, depend very much

proper and determinate use of the relative, so that it may readily present its antecedent to the mind of the hearer or reader, without any obscurity or ambiguity.

upon the

10. It is and it was, are often, after the manner of the French, used in a plural construction, and by some of our best writers : as, It is either a few. great men who decide for the whole, or it is the rabble that follow a seditious ringleader;" It is they that are the real authors, though the soldiers are the actors of the revolutions ;” “It was the heretics that first began to rail," &c. "'Tis these that early taint the female mind." This license in the construction of it is, (if it be proper to admit it all,) has, however, been certainly abused in the following sentence, which is thereby made a very awkward one. "It is wonderful the very few accidents, which, in several years, happen from this practice.”

11. The interjections O! Oh! and Ah! require the objective case of a pronoun in the first person after them: as, “) me! oh me! Ah me!" But the nominative case in the second person: as, “O thou persecutor !” “Oh ye hypocrites !” “thou, who dwellest," &c.

The neuter pronoun, by an idiom peculiar to the English language, is frequently joined in explanatory sentences, with a noun or pronoun of the masculine or feminine gender: as, “ It was 1,19 “ It was the man or woman that did it."

The neuter pronoun it is sometimes omitted and understood; thus we say, “ As appears, as follows ;" for, “ As it apo pears, as it follows;" and "May be,” for “ It may be."

66

The neuter pronoun it is sometimes employed to express ;

1st, The subject of any discourse or inquiry : as, “It happened on a summer's day” “Who is it that calls on me ?"

2d, The state or condition of any person or thing: as, “ How is it with you ?”

3d, The thing, whatever it be, that is the cause of any effect or event, or any person considered merely as a cause : as, “We heard her say it was not be ;" * The truth is, it was I that helped her.”

RULE VI.

The relative is the nominative case to the verb, when no nominative comes between it and the verb: as, “The master who taught us ;” “The trees which are planted.”

When a nominative comes between the relative and the verb, the relative is governed by some word in its own member of the sentence: as, “He who preserves me, to whom I owe my being whose I am, and whom I serve, is eternal."

See vol. ii. part 3. Exercises, Chap. 1. Rule 6. In the several members of the last sentence, the relative performs a different office. In the first member, it marks the agent; in the second, it submits to the government of the preposition; in the third, it represents the possessor; and in the fourth, the object of an action : and, therefore, it must be in the three different cases, correspondent to those offices.

When both the antecedent and the relative become nominatives, each to different verbs, the relative is the nominative to the former, and the antecedent to the latter verb: as, True philosophy, which is the ornament of our nature, consists more in the love of our duty, and the practice of virtue, than in great talents and extensive knowledge."

A few instances of erroneous construction will illustrate both the branches of the sixth rule. The three following refer to the first part. “ How can we avoid being grateful to those whom, by repeated kind offices, have proved themselves our real friends ?" “These are the men whom you might suppose, were the authors of the work :' were here, you would find three or four whom you would say passed their time agreeably:" in all these places it should be who instead of whom. The two latter sentences contain a nominative between the relative and the verb; and, therefore,

- If you seem to contravene the rule : but the student will reflect, that it is not the nominative of the verb with which the relative is connected. The remaining examples refer to the second part of the rule. “ Men of fine talents are not always the persons who we should esteem.” “ The persons who

you

dispute with, are precisely of your opinion.” 66 Our tutors are our benefactors, who we owe obedience to, and who we ought to love." In these sentences whom should be used instead of who.

66 We

1. When the relative pronoun is of the interrogative kind, the noun or pronoun containing the answer, must be in the same case as that which contains the question: as,

Whose books are these? They are John's.Who gave them to him ? We.“Of whom did you buy them? Of a bookseller; him who lives at the Bible and Crown.” “ Whom did you see there ? Both him and the shopman.” The learner will readily comprehend this rule, by supplying the words which are understood in the answers. Thus, to express the answers at large, we should say, “ They are John's books.”

gave

them to him.” “We bought them of him who lives," &c.

,&“We saw both him and the shopman."'--As the relative pronoun, when used interrogatively, refers to the subsequent word or phrase, containing the answer to the question, that word or phrase may properly be termed the subsequent to the interrogative.

Pronouns are sometimes made to precede the things which they represent: as, “ If a man declares in autumn when he is eating them, or in spring when there are none, that he loves grapes,” &c. But this is a construction which is very seldom allowable.

Rule VII.

When the relative is preceded by two nominatives of different persons, the relative and verb may agree in person with either, according to the sense: as, “ ] am the man who command you:” or, “ I am the man who commands you."

See Vol. ii. Part 3. Exercises. Chap. 1. Rule 7. The form of the first of the two preceding sentences, expresses the meaning rather obscurely: It would be more per

I , am haps the difference of meaning, produced by referring the relative to different antecedents, will be more evident to the learner, in the following sentences. “I am the general who gives the orders to-day;" “I am the general, who give the orders to-day;" that is, “1, who give the orders to-day, am the general.”

When the relative and the verb have been determined to agree with either of the preceding nominatives, that agreement must be preserved throughout the sentence; as, in the following instance: “I am the Lord that maketh all things : and stretcheth forth the heavens alone." Isa. xliv. 24. Thus far is consistent: The Lord, in the third person, is the antecedent, and the verb agrees with the relative in the third person: “I am the Lord, which Lord, or, he that maketh all things.” If I were made the antecedent, the relative and the

" verb should agree with it in the first person: as, “ I am the Lord, that make all things, that stretch forth the heavens alone.” But should it follow : " That spreadeth abroad the earth by myself:” there would arise a confusion of persons, and a manifest solecism.

Rule VIII.

Every adjective, and every adjective pronoun, belongs to a substantive, expressed or understood : as, “ He is a good, as well as a wise man;" Few are happy ;" that is, “ persons ;" This is a pleasant walk;" that is, “ This walk is,&c. Adjective pronouns must agree, in number, with

, their substantives: as, “This book, these books; that sort, those sorts; another road, other roads."

[ocr errors]

See Vol. ii. Part 3. Exercises. Chap. 1. Rule 8. and Part 3, Key. Chap. 1. Rule S.

The note.

1. ADJECTIVE PRONOUNS.

A few instances of the breach of this rule are here exhibited. “I have not travelled this twenty years ;" these twenty.” “I am not recommending these kind of sufferings ;"> " this kind.” “ Those set of books was a valuable present ;'' " that set."

66

[ocr errors]

1. The word means in the singular number, and the phrases, is

By this means," By that means, are used by our best and most correct writers ; namely, Bacon, Tillotson, Atterbury, VOL. I.

Y

Addison, Steele, Pope, &c.* They are, indeed, in so general and approved use, that it would appear awkward, if not affected, to apply the old singular form, and say, “ By this mean; by that mean; it was by a mean;" although it is more agreeable to the general analogy of the language. “The word means, (says Priestley) belongs to the class of words, which do not change their termination on account of number; for it is used alike in both numbers."

The word amends is used in this manner in the following sentences; “Though he did not succeed, he gained the approbation of his country; and with this amends he was content." “ Peace of mind is an honourable amends for the sacrifices of interest." “In return, he received the thanks of his employers, and the present of a large estate : these were ample amends for all his labours." 66 We have described the rewards of vice : the good man's amends are of a different nature.”

It can scarcely be doubted, that this word amends (like the word means) had formerly its correspondent form in the singular number, as it is derived from the French amende, though

a

Pope.

By this means he had them the more at vantage, being tired and harrassed with a long march."

Bacon. By this means one great restraint from doing evil would be taken away." “And this is an admirable means to improve men in virtue.”—By that means they have rendered their duty more difficult.”

Tillotson. "It renders us careless of approving ourselves to God, and by that means securing the continuance of his goodness." “A good character, when established, should not be rested in as an end, but employed as a means of doing still further good.”

Atterbury. By this means they are happy in each other." " He by that means preserves his superiority

Addison. “ Your vanity by this means will want its food."

Steele. By this means alone, their greatest obstacles will vanish." “Which custom has proved the most effectual means to ruin the nobles.”

Dean Swift. 1* There no means of escaping the persecution.”_"Faith is not only a means of obeying, but a principal act of obedience.”

Dr. Young “ He looked on money as a necessary means of maintaining and increasing power.”

Lord Lyttleton's Henry II. • John was too much intimidated not to embrace every means affordi d for his safety.”

Goldsmith. “Lest this means should fail."—“ By means of ship-money, the late king," &c. “ The only means of securing a durable peace.”

Hume. By this means there was nothing left to the Parliament of Ireland," &c.

Blackstone. * By this means so many slaves escaped out of the hands of their masters."

Dr. Robertson. · By this means they bear witness to each other."

Bu By this means the wrath of man was made to turn against itself." Dr. Blair. “A magazine, which has, by this means, contained,” &c.--"Birds, in general procure their food by means of their beak."

Dr. Paley.

6

66

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »