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words; and two commas in their direct position, are placed at the conclusion : as,
“ The proper study of mankind is man.”
Crotchets or Brackets [ ] serve to enclose a word orsentence, which is to be explained in a note, or the explanation itself, or a word or sentence which is intended to supply some deficiency, or to rectify some mistake.
An Index or hand points out a remarkable passage, or something that requires particular attention.
A Brace } is used in poetry at the end of a triplet or three
lines, which have the same rhyme.
Braces are also used to connect a number of words with one common term, and are introduced to prevent a repetition in writing or printing.
An Asterisk, or little star, * directs the reader
to some note in the margin, or at the bottom of the page. Two or three asterisks generally denote the omission of some letters in a word, or of some bold or indelicate expression, or some defectin the manuscript.
An Ellipsis is also used, when some letters in a word, or some words in a verse, are omitted : as, “The k-g," for “the king."
An Obelisk, which is marked thus, † and Parallels thus, || together with the letters of the Alphabet, and figares, are used as references to the margin, or bottom of the page.
DIRECTIONS RESPECTING THE USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS.
As the commencement of every sentence is distinguished by a capital letter, and as capitals frequently occur in other parts of a sentence; it is necessary to give the learner some directions respecting their proper application.
It was formerly the custom to begin every noun with a capital: but as this practice was troublesome, and gave the writing or printing a crowded and confused appearance, it has been discontinued. It is, however, very proper to begin with a capital,
1. The first word of every book, chapter, letter, note, or any other piece of writing.
2. The first word after a period; and if the two sentences are totally independent, after a note of interrogation or exclamation.
But if a number of interrogative or exclamatory sentences, are thrown into one general group; or if the construction of the latter sentences depends on the former, all of them, except the first, may begin with a small letter : as, “How long, ye
, simple ones, will ye love simplicity ? and the scorners delight in their scorning ? and fools hate knowledge ?” “ Alas! how different ! yet how like the same !"
3. The appellations of the Deity : as, “God, Jehovah, the Almighty, the Supreme Being, the Lord, Providence, the Messiah, the Holy Spirit."
4. Proper names of persons, places, streets, mountains, rivers, ships : as, “George, York, the Strand, the Alps, the Thames, the Seahorse."
5. Adjectives derived from the proper names of places : as, “Grecian, Roman, English, French, and Italian."
6. The first word of a quotation, introduced after a colon, or when it is in a direct form : as, “ Always remember this ancient maxim : 'Know thyself."” “Our great lawgiver says, “Take up thy cross daily, and follow me."" But when a quotation is brought in obliquely after a comma, a capital is unnecessary : as, Solomon observes, that pride goes before destruction."
The first word of an example may also very properly begin with a capital : as, “ Temptation proves our virtue.”
7. Every substantive and principal word in the titles of books : as, “ Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language;"> “ Thomson's Seasons ;” “Rollin's Ancient History."
" 8. The first word of every line in poetry.
9. The pronoun I, and the interjection o, are written in capitals : as, “I write;" “Hear, 0 earth !"
Other words, besides the preceding, may begin with capitals, when they are remarkably emphatical, or the principal subject of the composition.
As every species of composition admits of being divided into paragraphs, it appears to be proper to explain the nature and use of these divisions, more particularly than they have been explained in Chapter VI. page 281. The following rules on this subject will afford the student some instruction.
1. Different subjects, unless they are very short, or very numerous in small compass, should be separated into paragraphs.
2. When one subject is continued to a considerable length, the larger divisions of it should be put into paragraphs. And it will have a good effect to form the breaks, when it can properly be done, at sentiments of the most weight, or that call for particular attention.
3. The facts, premises, and conclusions, of a subject, sometimes naturally point out the separations into paragraphs : and each of these, when of great length, will again require subdivisions at their most distinctive parts. By showing the learner how some of these divisions may be introduced, he will more easily comprehend their nature. They may be expressed in the following manner, or in any other similar forms of expression.—“From this enumeration of particulars, it appears to follow, that,” &c. “The natural consequence of this deduction of facts, is,” &c. “ The legitimate inference from these premises, seems to be," &c. “From the preceding statement, we are warranted in concluding," &c.
4. In cases which require a connected subject to be formed into several paragraphs, a suitable turn of expression, exhibiting the connexion of the broken parts, will give beauty and force to the division. This rule will be more intelligible to the student, by the following phrases, which point out, in a few instances, how separated paragraphs may be connected in sentiment. “ This idea was indeed, no more than conjecture; but it was confirmed by," &c. “ What has been related is not, in itself, very important; but connected with subsequent facts, it has great weight,” &c. “Happy as he appears to have been, in this situation, his felicity was augmented by another event: this was,” &c. “ These are the miseries of vice ; let us now describe the happiness of virtue,” &c.
In the following letter, some of the preceding rules respecting paragraphs, are distinctly exemplified: and we present it to the student, as an illustration and confirmation of those rules. To elucidate them all would require a greater number of pages, than can be properly assigned for that purpose in the
“ According to my promise, I now send you the fine sentiments of Addison, upon Gratitude. But before I exhibit this virtue, I shall present you with a few maxims and observations, which, to young persons in particular, are of great importance; and which I am persuaded will meet your most cordial approbation.
Time once past, never returns: the moment which is lost, is lost for ever.
He that waits for an opportunity to do much at once, may breathe out his life in idle wishes; and regret, in the last hour, his useless intentions, and barren zeal.
The best preparation for all the uncertainties of futurity, consists in a well ordered mind, a good conscience, and a cheerful submission to the will of Heaven.
The appearances of our security are frequently deceitful. When our sky seems most settled and serene, in some unobserved quarter gathers the little black cloud, in which the tempest ferments, and prepares to discharge itself on our head.
To sensual persons, hardly any thing is what it appears to be: and what flatters most is always farthest from reality.There are voices which sing around them; but whose strains allure to ruin. There is a banquet spread, where poison is in every dish. There is a couch which invites them to repose : but to slumber upon it is death.
We should cherish sentiments of charity towards all men. The Author of all good nourishes much piety and virtue in hearts that are unknown to us; and beholds repentance ready to spring up among many, whom we consider as reprobates.
Let him that desires to see others happy, make haste to give
while his gifts can be enjoyed; and remember, that every moment of delay, takes away something from the value of his benefaction. And let him who proposes his own happiness reflect, that while he forms his purpose, the day rolls on, and the night cometh, when no man can work.'
There is certainly no greater felicity, than to be able to look back on a life usefully and virtuously employed; to trace our own progress in existence, by such tokens as excite neither shame nor sorrow. It ought therefore to be the care of those who wish to pass the last hours with comfort, to lay up such a treasure of pleasing ideas, as shall support the expenses of that time, which is to depend wholly upon the fund already acquired.
The beautiful piece of Addison, on the duty and pleasure of being grateful to our benefactors, is as follows.
• There is not (says he) a more pleasing exercise of the mind, than gratitude. It is accompanied with so great inward satisfaction, that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not, like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful; but attended with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recompense laid up for it hereafter, a generous mind would indulge in it, for the natural gratification it affords.
If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker?—The Supreme Being does not only confer upon us those bounties, which proceed more immediately from his hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be derived upon us, is the gift of him, who is the great author of good, and the Father of mercies.
If gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man, it exalts the soul into rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude: on this beneficent Being, who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.'
I hope that the maxins and observations, and the sentiments on gratitude, which are contained in this letter, will be considered by you of so much importance, as to be worthy of being impressed on your memory.
Yours most affectionately."