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to future time. In the following sentences, both these circumstances will be found to unite : “If thou injure another thou wilt hurt thyself;" "He has a hard heart; and if he continue impenitent, he must suffer ;" “ He will maintain his principles, though he lose his estate ;?” “Whether he succeed or not, bis intention is laudable ;" “ If he be not prosperous, he will not repine;" “ If a man smite his servant, and he die,” &c. Exodus xxi. 20. In all these examples, the things signified by the verbs are uncertain, and refer to future time. But in the instances which follow, future time is not referred to; and therefore a different construction takes place: “If thou livest virtuously, thou art happy;" “ Unless he means what he says, he is doubly faithless ;" * If he allows the excellence of virtue, he does not regard her precepts ;?! “ Though he seems to be simple and artless, he has deceived us;" “ Whether virtue is better than rank or wealth, admits not of any dispute;" “ If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayst," &c. Acts viïi. 37.—There are many sentences, introduced by conjunctions, in which neither contingency nor futurity is denoted : as, “ Though he excels her in knowledge, she far exceeds him in virtue." “ I have no doubt of his principles : but if he beliedes the truths of religion, he does not act according to them.”

That both the circumstances of contingency and futurity are necessary, as tests of the propriety of altering the terminations, will be evident, by inspecting the following examples; which show that there are instances in which neither of the circumstances alone implies the other. In the three examples following, contingency is denoted, but not futurity. 5 If he thinks as he speaks, he may safely be trusted." "If he is now disposed to it, I will perform the operation." “ He acts uprightly, unless he deceives me.” In the following sentences, futurity is signified, but not contingency. “As soon as the sun sets, it will be cooler." “ As the autumn advances, these birds will gradually emigrate."

It appears from the tenor of the examples adduced, that the rules abovementioned may be extended to assert, that in cases wherein contingency and futurity do not concur, it is not proper to turn the verb from its signification of present time, nor to vary its form or termination. The verb would then be in the indicative mood, whatever conjunctions might attend it. If these rules which seem to form the true distinction between the subjunctive and the indicative moods in this tense, were adopted and established in practice, we should have, on this point, a principle of decision simple and precise, and readily applicable to every case that might occur. It will, doubtless, sometimes happen, that, on this occasion, as well as on many other occasions, a strict adherence to grammatical rules, would render the language stiff and formal; but when


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cases of this sort occur, it is better to give the expression a different turn, than to violate grammar for the sake of ease, or even of elegance. See Rule 14. Note 2. p. 193.

. 5. On the form of the auxiliaries in the compound tenses of the subjunctive mood, it seems proper to make a few observations. Some writers express themselves in the perfect tense as follows: “If thou have determined, we must submit: “Unless he have consented, the writing will be void:"; but we believe that few authors of critical sagacity write in this manner. The proper form seems to be, "If thou hast determined; unless he has consented," &c. conformably to what we generally meet with in the Bible: “I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me." Isaiah xlv. 4, 5. 6 What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained,” &c. Job xxvii. 8. See also Acts xxviii. 4.


6. In the pluperfect and future tenses, we sometimes meet with such expressions as these : "If thou had applied thyself diligently, thou wouldst have reaped the advantage;" "Unless thou shall speak the whole truth, we cannot determine;"> “ If thou will undertake the business, there is little doubt of

This mode of expressing the auxiliaries does not appear to be warranted by the general practice of correct writers. They should be hadst, shalt, and wilt: and we find them used in this form in the sacred Scriptures.

“ If thou hadst known,” &c. Luke xix. 47. “If thou hadst been here," &c. John xi. 21. “ If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Matti yii. 2. See also, 2 Sam. ii. 27, Matl. xvii. 4.

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7. The second person singular of the imperfect tense in the subjunctive mood, is also very frequently varied in its termination: as, “ If thou loved him truly, thou wouldst obey him ;' Though thou did conform, thou hast gained nothing by it." This variation, however, appears to be improper. Our present version of the Scriptures, which we again refer to, as a good grammatical authority in points of this nature, decides against it. “If thou knewest the gift,” &c. John iv. 10. “ If thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory?" &c. 1 Cor. iv. 7. See also Dan. v. 22. But it is proper to remark, that the form of v

, the verb to be, when used subjunctively in the imperfect tense, is indeed very considerably and properly varied from that which it has in the imperfect of the indicative mood : as the learner will perceive by turning to the conjugation of that verb.

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* See olservations on the manner of conjugating the subjunctive mood. at pages 80. 91, 93-95 Tom. I.

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8. It may not be superfluous, also to observe, that the auxiliaries of the potential mood, when applied to the subjunctive, do not change the termination of the second person singular. We properly say, “ If thou mayst or canst go ;'* “ Though thou

" mightst live;" "Unless thou couldst read;" " If thou wouldst

> learn;" and not, “ If thou may or can go ;"? &c. It is sufficient on this point, to adduce the authorities of Johnson and Lowth: " If thou shouldst, go;" Johnson.' " If thou maysl, mightst, or couldst love;" Lowth. Some authors think, that when that expresses the motive or end, the termination of these auxiliaries should be varied: as, “I advise thee, that thou may beware;" “He checked thee, that thou should not presume: but there does not appear to be any ground for this exception. If the expression of “condition, doubt, contingency,” &c. does not warrant a change in the form of these auxiliaries, why should they have it, when a motive or end is expressed ? The translators of the Scriptures do not appear to have made the distinction contended for. “Thou buildest the wall, that thou mayst be their king.” Neh. vi. 6. “There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayst be feared." Psalms cxxx. 4.

From the preceding observations under this rule, it appears, that with respect to what is termed the present tense of any verb, when the circumstances of contingency and futurity concur, it is proper to vary the terminations of the second and third persons singular: that without the concurrence of those circumstances, the terminations should not be altered; and that the verb and the auxiliaries of the three past tenses, and the auxiliaries of the first future, undergo no alterations whatever: except the imperfect of the verb to be, which, in cases denoting contingency, is varied in all the persons of the singular number. See p. 80. The second Nole.

After perusing what has been advanced on this subject, it will be natural for the student to inquire, what is the extent of the subjunctive mood ? Some grammarians think it extends only to what is called the present tense of verbs generally, under the circumstances of contingency and futurity; and to the imperfect tense of the verb to be, when it denotes contingency, &c.: because in these tenses only, the form of the verb admits of variation; and they suppose that it is variation merely which constitutes the distinction of moods. It is the opinion of other grammarians, (in which opinion we concur,) that, besides the two cases just mentioned, all verbs in the three past, and the two future tenses, are in the subjunctive mood, when they denote contingency or uncertainty, though they have not any change of termination; and that, when contingency is not signified, the verb, through all these five tenses, belongs to the indicative mood, whatever conjunction may attend it. They think, that the definition and nature of the subjunctive mood, have po reference to change of termination, but that they refer merely to the manner of the being, action, or passion, signified by the verb; and that the subjunctive mood may as properly exist without a variation of the verb, as the infinitive mood, which has no terminations different from those of the indicative. The decision of this point may not, by some grammarians, be thought of much consequence. But the rules which ascertain the propriety of varying or not varying, the terminations of the verb, will certainly be deemed important. These rules may be well observed, without a uniformity of sentiment respecting the nature and limits of the subjunctive mood. For further remarks on the subject, see pages 66–68, 75–77, 94, 95, 99%


9. Some conjunctions have their corresponding conjunctions belonging to them, so that, in the subsequent member of the sentence, the latter answers to the former: as, 1. THOUGH, -YET, NEVERTHELESS: as, Though he was

rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.” 2. WHETHER-OR: as, " Whether he will go or not, I cannot

tell." 3. EITHER-OR: as,“ I will either send it, or bring it myself.” 4. NEITHER-NOR : as,

" Neither thou nor I am able to com

pass it."

5. AS-AS: expressing a comparison of equality : as, “ She

is as amiable as her sister.' * We have stated for the student's information, the different opinions of grammarians respecting the English Subjunctive Mood: First, that which supposes there is no such mood in our language ; Secondly, that which extends it no farther than the variations of the verb extend : Thirdly, that which we have adopted, and explained at large; and which, in general, corresponds with the views of the most approved writers on English Grammar. We may add a Fourth opinion ; which appears to possess, at least, much plausibility. This opinion admits the arrangement we have given, with one variation, namely, that of assigning to the first tense of the subjunctive, two forms: 1st, that which simply denotes contingency: as, “ If he desires it, I will perform the operation;" that is, " If he now desires it;" 2dly, that which denotes both contingency and futurity: as, “If he desire it, I will perform the operation;" that is, “ If he should hereafter desire it.” This last theory of the subjunctive mood, claims the merit of rendering the whole system of the moods consistent and regular; of being more conformable than any other, to the definition of the subjunctive; and of not referring to the indicative mood, forms of expression, which ill accord with its simplicity and nature. Perhaps this theory will bear a strict examination.

Some critics assert, that as the phrase, “ If he desire it," has a future signification, it should be considered and arranged as a future tense. But as all our grammarians concur in classing this form of expression under the present tense; as it nearly resembles the form of this tense, and appears to be closely connected with it; and as no possible inconvenience can arise from adhering to general usage, when the subject is well explained; we think that the present arrangement is perfectly justifiable. There is certainly no more impropriety in arranging phrases of this nature under the present tense, than there is in classing the following modes of expression with that tense.

" When he arrives, he will hear the news :" * Before he decides he should examine with care:" “ The more she improves the more amiable she will be.” These forms of expression clearly refer to future time, and yet, even by our critics themselves, they are acknowledged to be properly placed in the present tense.


6. Asso: expressing a comparison of equality: “ As the

stars, so shall thy seed be." 7. As-s0: expressing a comparison of quality: as, “ As

the one dieth, so dieth the other." 8. so—AS: with a verb expressing a comparison of quality :

“ To see thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the

sanctuary." 9. so—as: with a negative and an adjective expressing a

comparison of quantity: as, “ Pompey was not so great

a man as Cæsar." 10. so—That: expressing a consequence : as, “ He was so

fatigued, that he could scarcely move."


The conjunctions or and nor may often be used, with nearly equal propriety. “ The king, whose character was not sufficiently vigorous, nor decisive, assented to the measure." In this sentence, or would perhaps have been better : but, in general, nor seems to repeat the negation in the former part of the sentence, and therefore gives more emphasis to the expression.

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10. Conjunctions are often improperly used, - both singly and in pairs. The following are examples of this impropriety. “ The relations are so uncertain, as that they require a great deal of examination :" it should be " that they require," &c. “ There was no man so sanguine, who did not apprehend some ill consequences :" it ought to be, “ So sanguine as not to apprehend," &c.: or, “no man, how sanguine soever, who did not,” &c. 6. To trust in him is no more but to acknowledge his power.” “ This is no other but the gate of paradise.” In both these instances, but should be than. “We should sufficiently weigh the objects of our hope ; whether they are such as we may reasonably expect from them what they propose,” &c. It ought to be," that we may reasonably," &c. " Î'he duke had not behaved with that loyalty as he ought to have done;" “ with which he ought.” “In the order as they lie in his preface :" it should be," in order as they lic;" or,“ in the order in which they lie.” “ Such sharp replies that cost him his life ;' “ as cost him,” &c. “If he were truly that scarecrow, as he is now commonly painted;" such a scarecrow,” &c. “I wish I could do that justice to his memory, to oblige the painters,” &c. “ do such justice as to oblige,” &c.

There is a peculiar, neatness in a sentence beginning with the conjunctive form of a verb. “ Were there no difference, there would be no choice."

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