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* They who are learning to compose and arrange their sentences with accuracy
BY LINDLEY MURRAY.
FROM THE SIXTEENTH ENGLISH EDITION, IMPROVED
BY THE AUTHOR.
PRINTED FOR BENJAMIN JOHNSON, No. 249, & JOHNSON & WARNER
No. 147, MARKET STREET.
J. Bouvier, Printer.
The method which he has adopted, of exhibiting the performance in characters of different sizes, will, he irusts, be conducive to that gradual and regular procedure, which is so favourable to the business of instruction. The more important rules, definitions, and observations, and which are therefore the most proper to be committed to memory, are printed with a large type; whilst rules and remarks that are of less consequence, that extend or diversify the general idea, or that serve as explanations, are contained in the smaller letter: these, or the chief of them, will be perused by the student to the greatest advantage, if postponed till the general system be completed. The use of notes and observations, in the common ard detached manner, at the bottom of the page, would not, it is imagined, be so likely to attract the perusal of youth, or admit of so ample and regular an illustration, as a continued and uniform order of the several subjects. In adopting this mode, care has been taken to adjust it so that the whole may be perused in a connected progress, or the part contained in the larger character read in order by itself. Many of the notes and observations are intended, not only to explain the subjects, and to illustrate them, by comparative views of the grammar of other languages, and of the various senui. ments of English grammarians; but also to invite the ingenious student to inquiry and reflection, and to prompt to a more enlarged, critical, and philosophical research.
With respect to the definitions and rules, it may not be improper more particularly to observe, that in selecting and forming them, it has been the author's aim to render them as exact and comprehensive, and, at the same time, as intelligible to young minds, as the nature of the subject, and the difficulties attending it, would ad. mit. He presumes that they are also calculated to be readily committed to memory, and easily l'etained. For this purpose, he has been solicitous to select terms that are smooth and voluble ; to proportion the members of the sentences to one another; to avoid protracted
periods; and to give the whole definition or rule, as much harmony of expression as he could devise.
From the sentiment generally admitted, that a proper selection of faulty composition is more instructive to the young grammarian, than any rules and examples of propriety that can be given, the Compiler has been induced to pay peculiar attention to this part of the subject; and though the instances of false grammar, under the rules of Syntax, are numerous, it is hoped they will not be found too many, when their variety and usefulness are considered.
In a work which professes itself to be a compilation, and which, from the nature and design of it, must consist chiefly of materials selected from the writings of others, it is scarcely necessary to apologize for the use which the Compiler has made of his predecessors' labours; or for omitting to insert their names. From the alterations which have been frequently made in the sentiments and the language, to suit the connexion, and to adapt them to the particular purposes for which they are introduced ; and, in many instances, from the uncertainty to whom the passages originally belonged, the insertion of names could seldom be inade with propriety. But if this could have been generally done, a work of this nature would derive no advantage from it, equal to the inconvenience of crowding the pages with a repetition of names and references. It is, however, proper to acknowledge, in general terms, that the authors to whom the grammatical part of this compilation is principally indebted for its materials, are Harris, Johnson, Lowth, Priestley, Beattic, Sheridan, Walker', and Coote.
The Rules and Observations respecting Perspicuity, &c. contained in the Appendix, and which are, chiefly, extracted from the writings of Blair and Campbell, will, it is presumed, form a proper addition to the Grammar. The subjects are very nearly related; and the study of perspicuity and accuracy in writing, appears naturally to follow that of Grammar. A competent acquaintance with the principles of both, will prepare and qualify the students, for prosecuting those additional improvements in language, to which they may be properly directed.
On the utility and importance of the study of Grammar, and the principles of Composition, much might be advanced, for the encouragement of persons in early life to apply themselves to this branch of learning; but as the limits of this Introduction will not allow of many observations on the subject, a few leading sentiments are all that can be admitted here with propriety. As words are the signs of our ideas, and the medium by which we perceive the sentiments of others, and communicate our own; and as signs exhibit the things which they are intended to represent, more or less accurately, according as their real or established conformity to those things is more or less exact; it is evident, that in proportion to our knowledge of the nature and properties of words, of their relation to each other, and of their established connexion with the ideas to which they are appliec, will be the certainty and ease, with which we transfuse our sentiments into the minds of one another; and that, without a competent knowledge of this kind, we shall frequently be in hazard of inisunderstanding others, and of being misunderstood ourselves. It may indeed be justly asserted, that many of the differences in opinion amongst men, with the disputes, contentions, and alienations of heart, which have too often proceeded from such differences, have been occasioned by a want of proper skill in the connexion and meaning of words, and by a tenacious misapplication of language.
One of the best supports, which the recommendation of this study can receive, in small compass, may be derived from the following sentiments of an eminent and candid writer* on language and composition. “All that "regards the study of composition, merits the higher