Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER IN.

OF SUBSTANTIVES.

SECTION 1.--Of Substantives in general.

A SUBSTANTIVE or Noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion: as, London, man, virtue. Substantives

are either

proper or common. Proper names or substantives, are the names appropriated to individuals : as, George, London, Thames.

Common names or substantives, stand for kinds containing many sorts, or for sorts containing many individuals under them as, animal, man, tree, &c.

When proper names have an article annexed to them, they become common names: as,

6. He is the Cicero of his age ; he is reading the lives of the Twelve Cæsars."

Common names may also be used to signify individuals, by the addition of articles or pronouns: as, " The boy is studious ; that girl is discreet.”*

To substantives belong gender, number and case ; and they are all of the third person, when spoken of, and of 'e second when spoken to : as, Blessings attend us on every side ; be grateful children of men!"

children of men.

SECTION 2.Of Gender. Gender is the distinction of sex. There are three genders, the MASCULINE, the FEMININE, and the NEUTER.

ER. / * Nouns may also be divided into the following classes : Collective nouns, or nouns of multitude; as, the people, the parliament, the army: Abstract nouns, or the names of qualities ah. stracted from their substances; as knowledge, goodness, whitenese: Verbal or participial nouns; as, beginning, reading, writing

that is, ye

[ocr errors]

The Masculine Gender denotes animals of the male kind: as, a man, a horse, a batt.

The Feminine Gender signifies animals of the fe male kind : as, a woman, a duck, a hen.

The Neuter Gender denotes objects which are neither males nor females : as, a field, a house, a garden.

Some substantives, naturally neuter, are, by a figure of speech, converted into the masculine or feminine gender: as, when we say of the sun, he is, setting; and of a ship, she sails well.

Figuratively, in the English tongue, we commonly give the masculine gender to nouns which are conspicuous for the attributes of imparting or communicating, and which are by nature strong and efficacious. Those, again, are made feminine, which are conspicuous for the attributes of ...containing or bringing forth, or which are peculiarly beautiful or amiable. Upon these principles, the sun is said to be masculine ; and the moon, being tìie receptacle of the sun's light, to be feminine. The earth is generally feminine. A ship, a coừntry, a city, &c. are likewise made feminine; being receivers or tontainers. Time is always masculine, on account of its mighty efficacy. Virtue is feminine from its beauty and its being the object of love. Fortune and the chureh are generally put in the feminine gender.

The English language has three methods of di-inguishing the sex, viz.

1. By different words : as, Male.

Female. Male. Female.
Bachelor Maid.

Drake. Duck:
Boar,
Sow.
Earl.

Countess.
Boy.
Girl.

Father, Mother.
Brother, Sister.

Friar,

Nun.
Buck.
Doe.

Gander. Goose.
Bull.
Cow.
Hart.

Roe,
Bullock or 2

Horse. Mare.
Heifer.
Steer.

Husband. Wife.
Cock.
Hen.

King Queen
Dog.
Bitch.
Lad.

Lass:

}

Male.
Female.

Male.

Female. Lord. Lady.

s Songstress or

Singer.
Man.
Woman.

2 Singer. Master. Mistress. Sloven. Slut. Milter. Spawner. Son

Daughter.
Nephew.
Niece.

Stag. Hind.
Ram.
Ewe.
Uncle.

Aunt.

Wizard. Witch.
2. By a difference of termination.
Male.
Female.
Male.

Female. Abbot. Abbess. Landgrave. Landgravine. Actor. Actress. Lion.

Lioness. Administrator. Administratrix. Marquis. Marchioness.. Adulterer. Adultress. Master. Mistress. Ambassador. Ambassadress.Mayor. Mayoress. Arbiter. Arbitress. Patron. Patroness. Baron. Baronness. Peer.

Peeress. Bridegroom. Bride. Poet. 1

Poetess. Benefactor. Benefactress. Priest. Priestessa Caterer. Cateresss. Prince. Princess. Chanter. Chantress. Prior.

Prioress. Conductor. Conductress. Prophet. Prophetess. Count. Countess. Protector. Protectress, Deacon. Deaconess. Shepherd. Shepherdess. Duke. Duchess. Songster. Songstress, Elector, Electress. Sorcerer. Sorceress. Emperor. Empress.

Sultaness.
Enchantress.

Sultan.
Enchanter.

Sultana. Executor. Executrix. Tiger. Tigress. Governor. Governess.

Traitor. Traitress Heir.

Heiress. Tutor. Tutoress. Hero. Heroine. Viscount. Viscountess. Hunter. Huntress. Votary. Votaress. Host.

Hostess. Widower. Widow. Jew.

Jewess, 3. By a noun. pronoun, or adjective, being prefined to the substantive, as, A cock sparrow.

A hen-sparrow.
A man-servant.

A maid-servant.
A he-goat.

A she-goat.
A he-bear.

A she-bear.
A male-child.

A female-child.
Male descendants. Female descendants.

It sometimes happens, that the same noun is either mas.culine or feminine. The words parent, child, cousin, friend, neighbour, servant, and several others, are used indifferently for males or females.

Nouns with variable terminationşcontribute to conciseress and perspicuity of expression. We have only a suffi. cient number of them to make us feel our want ; for when we say of a woman, she is a philosopher, an astronomer, a builder, a weaver, we perceive an impropriety in the termination, which we cannot avoid : but we can say, that she is a botanist, a student, a witness, a scholar, an orphan, a companion, because these terminations have not annexed to them the notion of sex.

SECTION 3.-Of Number. Number is the consideration of an object, as one

or more.

. Substantives are of two numbers, the singular and the plural.

The singular number expresses but one object; asy a chair, a table.

The plural number signifies more objects than one s as, chairs, tables.

Some nouns, from the nature of the things which they express, are used only in the singular form ; as, wheat, pitch, gold, sloth, pride, &c. ; others, only in the plural form ; as, bellows, scissors, lungs, riches, &c.

Some words are the same in both numbers ; as, deer, sheep, swine, &c.

The plural number of nouns is generally formed by adding s to the singular: as, dove, doves; face, faces, thought, thoughts. But when the substantive singular ends in x, ch soft, sh, ss, or s, we add es in the plural: as box, boxes ; church, churches ; lash, lashes; kiss, kisses; rebus, rebusses. If the singulas ends in ch hard, the plural is formed by adding s; as, monarch, monarchs ; distich, distichs.

Nouns which end in o, have sometimes es, added to the plural; as, cargo, echo, hero, negro, manifesto, potato, volcano, wo: and sometimes only s; as, folio, grotto, junto, nuncio, portico, punctilio, tyro.

Nouns ending in f, or fe, are rendered plural by the change of those terminations into ves : as, loaf, loaves; half, halves; wife, wives; except grief, relief, reproof, and several others, which form the plural by the addition of Those which end in f, have the regular plural: as, ruff, ruffs; except staff, staves.

Nouns which have y in the singular, with no other vowel in the same syllable, change it into ies in the plural: as, · beauty, beauties; fly, flies. But the y is not changed, when there is another vowel in the syllable : as, key, keys, delay, delays; attorney, attorneys.

Scme nouns become plural by changing the a of the singular into e: as, man, men ; woman, women ; alderman, aldermen. The words ox and child, form oxen and children ; brother, makes either brothers, or brethren, Sometimes the diphthong oo is changed into ee in the plural: as, foot, feet ; goose, geese ; tootli, teeth. Louse and mouse make lice and mice. Penny makes pence, or pennies, when the coin is meant ; die, dice (for play); die, dies (for coining.)

It is agreeable to analogy, and the practice of the generality of correct writers, to construe the following words as plural nouns ; pains, riches, alms : and also, mathematics, metaphysics, politics, ethics, optics, pneumatics, with other similar names of sciences.

Dr. Johnson says that the adjective much is sometimes a term of number, as well as of quantity. This may account for the instances we meet with of its associating with paiņs as a plural noun; as, "much pains. The connexion, however, is not to be recommended.

The word news is now almost universally considered as belonging to the singular number.

The noun means is used both in the singular and the plural number.

The following words, which have been adopted from the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages, are thus distinguished, with respect to number.

« PreviousContinue »