Page images
[ocr errors]


the day and the hour." In this case, the ellipsis of the last article would be improper. When a different form of the article is requisite, the article is also properly repeated : as, house, and an orchard ;" instead of, - a house and orchard."

2. The noun is frequently omitted in the following manner. “The laws of God and man;" that is, “the laws of God and the laws of man.” In some very emphatical expressions, the ellipsis should not be used : as, Christ the power of God,

“ and the wisdom of God;" which is more emphatical than, “Christ the power and wisdom of God."

3. The ellipsis of the adjective is used in the following manner. “A delightful garden and orchard;" that is, “ a delightful garden and a delightful orchard.” "A little man and woman ;' that is, “ A little man and a little woman." In such elliptical expressions as these, the adjective ought to have exactly the same signification, and to be quite as proper, when joined to the latter substantive as the former; otherwise the ellipsis should not be admitted.

Sometimes the ellipsis is improperly applied to nouns of different numbers : as, “A magnificent house and gardens." In this case it is better to use another adjective: as, “ A magnificent house and fine gardens."

4. The following is the ellipsis of the pronoun. “I love and fear him :" that is, - I love him, and I fear him.” “My house and lands;" that is, “my house and my lands.” In these in

. stances the ellipsis may take place with propriety; but if we would be more express and emphatical, it must not be used: as, “ His friends and bis foes." "My sons and my daughters."

• In some of the common forms of speech, the relative pronoun is usually omitted : as, “This is the man they love;" instead of, “ This is the man whom they love.” “ These are the goods they bought;" for, “ These are the goods which they bought.”

In complex sentences, it is much better to have the relative pronoun expressed: as it is more proper to say, “The posture in which I lay," than, “In the posture l lay:" “ The horse on which I rode, fell down;" than, “ The horse I rode, fell down."

The antecedent and the relative connect the parts of a sentence together; and, to prevent obscurity and confusion, they should answer to each other with great exactress. “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.” Here the ellipsis is manifestly improper, and ought to be supplied: as, “We speak that which we do know, and testify that which we have seen.


5. The ellipsis of the verb is used in the following instances. “ The man was old and crafty;" that is, “the man was old, and the man was crafty." "She was young, and beautiful, and good;" that is, “She was young, she was beautiful, and she was good.” “ Thou art poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked.” If we would fill up the ellipsis in the last sentence, thou art ought to be repeated before each of the adjectives.

If, in such enumeration, we choose to point out one property above the rest, that property must be placed last, and the ellipsis supplied : as, “She is young and beautiful, and she

“ is good.”

“ I went to see and hear him ;”? that is, “I went to see him, and I went to hear him.” In this instance, there is not only an ellipsis of the governing verb, I went, but likewise of the sign of the infinitive mood, which is governed by it.

Do, did, have, had, shall, will, may, might, and the rest of the auxiliaries of the compound tenses, are frequently used alone, to spare the repetition of the verb: as, “ He regards his word, but thou dost not:" i. e. " dost not regard it.” “We

: succeeded, but they did not;" “ did not succeed.” “I have learned my task, but you have not;" “ have not learned." “ They must, and they shall be punished;" that is, “they must be punished.”

The auxiliary verbs are often very properly omitted before the principal verb: as, “I have seen and heard him frequently;"? not, I have heard.” “ He will lose his estate, and incur reproach :not, “ he will incur.” But when any thing is emphatically expressed, or when opposition is denoted, this ellipsis should be avoided : as, “ I have seen, and I have heard him too;"" "He was admired, but he was not beloved.”


6. The ellipsis of the adverb is used in the following manner. “He spoke and acted wisely;" that is, “He spoke wisely, and he acted wisely.” “ Thrice I went and offered my service;" that is, “ Thrice I went, and thrice I offered my service."

7. The ellipsis of the preposition, as well as of the verb, is seen in the following instances : “ He went into the abbeys, balls, and public buildings;" that is, "He went into the abbeys, he went into the halls, and he went into the public buildings." “ He also went through all the streets, and lanes of the city;" that is, “Through all the streets, and through all the lanes," &c.

“ He spoke to every man and woman there," that is,

every man and to every woman. 19 This day, next month, last year;" that is, “on this day, in the next month, in the last year.” “ The Lord do that which seemeth him good;" that is, * which seemeth to him."



8. The ellipsis of the conjunction is as follows: “ They confess the power, wisdom, goodness, and love, of their Creator;'' i. e. " the power, and wisdom, and goodness, and love of," &c. Though I love him, I do not tatter him," that is, “ Though I love him, yet I do not flatter him.”

There is a very common ellipsis of the conjunction that : as, “ He told me he would proceed immediately ;” “ I desired

, he would not be too hasty;" “ I fear it comes too much from the heart;" instead of. “He told me that he would proceed immediately.” “I desired that he would not be too hasty :"> “ I fear that it comes too much from the heart."--This ellipsis is tolerable in conversation, and in epistolary writing : but it should be sparingly indulged, in every other species of composition. The French do not use this mode of expression: they avoid the ellipsis on such occasions.

9. The ellipsis of the interjection is not very common : it, however, is sometimes used : as, “Oh! pity and shame !" that is, “Oh pity! Oh shame !"

As the ellipsis occurs in almost every sentence in the English language, numerous examples of it might be given : but only a few more can be admitted here.

In the following instance, there is a very considerable one: “He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another;" that is, “He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation, and if another part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from another nation.”

Sometimes a considerable part of a sentence is properly omitted, when we presume that the nominative case and its whole regimen may be readily understood : as, “ Nature has given to animals one time to act, and another to rest :”) instead of saying : “ Nature has given to animals one time to act, and nature has given to animals another time to rest."

The following instances, though short, contain much of the ellipsis; “Wo is me;" i. e. wo is to me.” “ To let blood;"! i. e. “ to let out blood.” “ To let down ;' i. e. “to let it fall or slide down." "To walk a mile;" i. e. "to walk through the space of a mile.” “ To sleep all night;" i. e. “ To sleep through all the night.” “To go a fishing;" “ To go a hunt.

> ing;' i. e. “to go on a fishing voyage or business;" “ to go on a hunting party.” “I dine at two o'clock;" i. e. “at two of the clock." “ By sea, by land, on shore;”? i. e. “By the sea, by the land, on the shore."

It is very frequent, when the word notwithstanding agrees with a number of words, or with an entire clause, to omit the whole except this word : and in this use of notwithstanding,






we have a striking proof of the value of abbreviations in language. For example: “Moses said, let no man leave of it till the morning : notwithstanding, they hearkened not unto him.” Here noiwilhstanding appears without the clause to which it belongs : and to complete the sense in words, it would be necessary to repeat the whole preceding clause, or the substance of it.—“Moses said, let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding this command of Moses, or, notwithstanding Moses said that which has been reciled, they hearkened not unto Moses.”—“ Folly meets with success in this world : but it is true notwithstanding, that it labours under disadvantages.” This passage, at length, would read thus : “ Folly meets with success in the world : but it is true, notwithstanding folly meets with success in the world, that it labours under disadvantages."

It is not unusual to apply a pronoun, this, that, which, or what, to represent nearly the whole of a sentence: as, “ Bodies which have no taste, and no power of affecting the skin, may, notwithstanding this, act upon organs which are more delicate.” Here this stands for, " they have no taste, and no power to affect the skin."

In the following example, the pronoun and participle are omitted : “Conscious of his own weight and importance, the aid of others was not solicited." Here the words he being are understood; that is, “ He being conscious of his own weight and importance." This clause constitutes the case absolute, or, the nominative absolute; which is not so obvious before, as after, the ellipsis is supplied.

10. The examples that follow are produced to show the impropriety of ellipsis in some particular cases. “ The land was always possessed, during pleasure, by those intrusted with the command ;” it should be, “ those persons intrusted ;' or, “ those who were intrusted." “If he had read further, he would have found several of his objections might have been spared;" that is, “ he would have found that several of his objections," &c. “ There is nothing men are more deficient in, than knowing their own characters.” It ought to be, "nothing, in which men;" and, “ than in knowing." “I scarcely know any part of natural philosophy would yield more variety and use;", it should be, which would yield,” &c. “ In the temper of mind he was then;" i. e. " in which he then was.” “The little satisfaction and consistency, to be found in most of the systems of divinity I have met with, made me betake myself to the sole reading of the Scriptures :" it ought to be," which are to be found," and," which I have met with.” “He desired they might go to the altar together,

. and jointly return their thanks to whom only they were due;"> i. e. “ to him to whom,” &c.


Rule XXII.

[ocr errors]

All the parts of a sentence should correspond to each other: a regular and dependent construction, throughout, should be carefully preserved. The following sentence is therefore inaccurate : " He was more beloved, but not so much admired, as Cinthio.” It should be, “ He was more beloved than Cinthio, but not so much admired.”

See Vol. ii. Part 3, Exercises. Chap. 1. Rule 22. The first example under this rule, presents a most irregular construction, namely, "He was more beloved as Cinthio." The words more and so much, are very improperly stated as having the same regimen. In correcting such sentences, it is not necessary to supply the latter ellipsis of the corrected sentence, by saying, “but not so much admired as Cinthio

6 was;" because the ellipsis cannot lead to any discordant or improper construction, and the supply would often be harsh or inelegant.-See Rule xx. and the Notes under it.

As the 22d Rule comprehends all the preceding rules, it may, at the first view, appear to be too general to be useful. But by ranging under it a number of sentences peculiarly constructed, we shall perceive, that it is calculated to ascertain the true grammatical construction of many modes of expression, which none of the particular rules can sufficiently explain.

- This dedication may serve for almost any book, that has, is, or shall be published.” It ought to be," that has been, or shall be published.” “He was guided by interests always different, sometimes contrary to, those of the community;" “ different from ;" or, “always different from those of the community, and sometimes contrary to them.” “ Will it be urged that these books are as old, or even older than tradition ?" The words, “as old,” and “older," cannot have a common regimen; it should be, “as old as tradition, or even older." “ It requires few talents to which most men are not born, or at least may not acquire ;" “or which, at least, they may not acquire." “ The court of chancery frequently mitigates and breaks the teeth of the common law." In this construction, the first verb is said "to mitigate the teeth of the common law,” which is an evident solecism. Mitigates the common law, and breaks the teeth of it," would have been grammatical.

“ They presently grow into good humour, and good language towards the crown;" " grow into good language,” is

« PreviousContinue »