Page images
PDF
EPUB

: as,

[ocr errors]

RULE V. Pronouns must always agree with their antecedents, and the nouns for which they stand, in gender and number: “ This is the friend whom I love;"> . That is the vice which I hate;" “The king and the queen had put on their robes ;"' “ The moon appears, and she shines, but the liglit is not her own.

The relative is of the same person as the antecedent, and the verb agrees with it accordingly: as, “ Thou who lovest wisdom;" " I who speat from experience.

Of this rule there are many violations to be met with ; a few of which may be sufficient to put the learner on his guard. Each of the sexes should keep within its particular bounds, and content themselves with the advantages of their particular districts :" better thus: “ The sexes should keep within their particular bounds," &c. "Can any one, on their entrance into the world, be fully secure that they shall not be deceived ?” “ on his entrance," and " that he shall.” “One should not think too favourably of ourselves ;"

" of one's self." "He had one acquaintance which poisoned his principles ;" " who poisoned."

Every relative must have an antecedent to which it refers, either expressed or implied: as, “Who is fatal to others is so to himself;" that is, «: the man who is fatal to others.”

Who, which, what, and the relative that, though in the objective case, are always placed before the verb ; as are also their compounds, whoever, whosoever, &c.; as, " He whom ye seek ;"? " This is what, or the thing which, or that you want;" “Whomsoever you please to appoint."

What is sometimes applied, in a manner which appear's to be exceptionable : as, “ All fevers, except what are called nervous," &c. It would at least be better to say,

except those which are called nervous." - 1. Personal pronouns being used to supply the place of the noun, are not employed in the same part of a sentence as the noun which they represent; for it would be im proper

to

say, The king he is just ;* “ I saw her the queen;" “ The men they were there ;” “ Many words

63

[ocr errors]

dent ;

they darken speech ;" “My banks they are furnished with bees.” These personals are superfluous, as there is not the least occasion for a substitute in the same part where the principal word is present. The nominative case they, in the following sentence, is also superfluous ; “ Who, instead of going about doing good, they are perpetually intent upon doing mischief."

2. The pronoun that is frequently applied to persons as well as to things; but after an adjective in the superlative degree, and after the pronominal adjective same, it is

generally used in preference to who or which: as, “Charles XII. king of Sweden, was one of the greatest madmen that the world ever saw ;"? “Catiline's followers were the most profligate that could be found in any city.' · He is "he same man that we saw before.” There are cases wherein we cannot conveniently dispense with this relative as applied to persons : as first, after who the interrogative ; " Who that has any sense of religion, would have argued thus ?" Secondly, when persons make but a part of the anteceThe woman, and the estate, that became his

portion were too much for his moderation." In neither of these examples could any other relative have been used.

3. The pronouns whichsoever, whosoever, and the like, are elegantly divided by the interposition of the corresponding substantives: thus,“On whichsoever side the king cast his eyes;" would have sounded better, is written, “On which side soever," &c.

4. Many persons are apt, in conversation, to put the objective case of the personal pronouns, in the place of these and 0.2: as, “ Give me them bocks ;' instead of " those books." We may sometimes find this fault even in wri.. ting : as, “ Observe them three there.” We also frequentty meet with those instead of they, at the beginning of a sentence, and where there is no particular reference to an antecedent; as, Those that sow in tears, sometimes reap in joy.” They that, or they who sow in tears.

It is not, however, always easy to say, whether a per. sonal pronoun or a demonstrative is preferable, in certain constructions. “We are not unacquainted with the calumny of them (or those] who openly make use of the warmest professions."

5. In some dialects, the word what is improperly used for that, and sometimes we find it in this sense in writing :

They will never believe but what I have been entirely to blame.” “I am not satisfied but what,” &c. instead of

'but that.The word somewhat, in the following sentence, seems to be used improperly. “These punishments se em to have been exercised in somewhat an arbitrary manner.*** Sometimes we read, “In somewhat of.?? The meaning is, “in a manner which is in some respects arbitrary.”

6. The pronoun relative who is so much appropriated to persons, that there is generally harshness in the application of it, except to the proper names of persons, or the general terms man, woman, &c. A term which only im. plies the idea of persors, and expresses them by some circumstance or epithet, will hardly authorize the use of it: as, “ That faction in England who most powerfully op: posed his arbitrary pretensions." “ That faction which," would have been better; and the same remark will serve for the following examples: “ France, who was in alliance with Sweden.” “The court, who," &c. 6 The cavalry who," &c. “ The cities who aspired at liberty.” “ That party among us who," &c. “ The family whoin they consider as usurpers.”

In some cases it may be doubtful, whether this pronoun is properly applied or not: as, “ The number of substantial inhabitants with whom some cities abound.” For when a term directly and necessarily implies persons, it may in many cases claim the personal relative.

" None of the company whom he most affected, could cure him of the melancholy under which he laboured." The word acquaintance may have the same construction.

7. We hardly consider little children as persons, because that term gives us the idea of reason and reflection : and therefore the application of the personal relative who, in this case, seems to be harsh: " A child who.It is still more improperly applied to animals : “ A lake frequented by that fowl whom. nature has taught to dip the wing in water.”

8. When the name of a person is used merely as a name, and it does not refer to the person, the pronoun who ought not to be applied. “It is no wonder if such a man.

.

1

" Which

did not shine at the court of queen Elizabeth, who was but another name for prudence and economy.” Better thus ; “ whose name was but another word for prudence, &c.” The word whose begins likewise to be restricted to persons; yet it is not done so generally, but that good writers, even in prose, use it when speaking of things. The construction is not, however, generally pleasing, es we may see in the following instances :

is Pleasure, whose nature, &c.” “ Call every production, whose parts and whose nature,” &c.

In one case, however, custom authorizes us to use which, with respect to persons ; and that is when we want to distinguish one person of two, or a particular person among a number of others. We should then say, of the two,” or “ Which of them, is he or she ?"

9. As the pronoun relative has no distinction of number, we sometimes find an ambiguity in the use of it: as when we say, “ The disciples of Christ, whom we imitate ;" we may mean the imitation either of Christ, or of his disciples. The accuracy and clearness of the sentence, depend very much upon the proper and determinate use of the relative, so that it may readily present its antecedent to the mind of the hearer or reader, without any obscurity or ambiguity.

10. It is and it was, are often, after the manner of the French, used in a plural construction, and by some of our best writers : as, “ It is either a few great men who decide for the whole, or it is the rabble that follow a seditious ringleader:" "It is they that are the real authors, though the soldiers are the actors of the revolution;" “ It was the heretics that first began to rail,” &c.; " 'Tis these that early taint the female mind.” This 'icense in the construction of it is, (if it be proper tr admit it at all,) has, however, been certainly abused iz the following sentence, which is thereby made a very awkward one. It is wonderful the very few accidents, which, in several years, happen from this practice."

11. The interjections O! Oh! and Ah! require the objective case of a pronoun in the first person after them • as, “O me! Oh me! Ah me !" But the nominative case in the second person: as,

“O thou persecutor !” “ Oh ye bypocrites !"" “ o'thou, who dwellest,” &c.

It may

The neuter pronoun, by an idiom peculiar to tho Eng. lish language, is frequently joined in explanatory sentences, with a noun or pronoun of the masculine or feminine gender : as, " It was I;" “ It was the man or woman that did it."

The neuter pronoun it is sometimes omitted and understood; thus we say, “ As appears, as follows;" for " As it

appears, as it follows ;” and “ May be,” for “ be.'

The neuter pronoun it is sometimes employed to ex. press;

1st, The subject of any discourse or inquiry: as, "1. happened on a summer's day;" '" Who is it that calls on

2d, The state or condition of any person or thing : as, ! How is it with you ?”

3d, The thing, whatever it be, that is the cause of any effect or event, or any person considered merely as a cause : as, “ We heard her say it was not he;" “The truth is, it was I that helped her.”

me ?

RULE VI.. The relative is the nominative case to the verb, when no nominative comes between it and the verb : as, “ The master who taught us ;"? “ The trees which are planted."

When a nominative comes between the relative and the verb, the relative is governed by some word in its own member of the sentence: as, « He who

preserves me, to whom I owe my being, whose I am, and whom I serve, is eternal:

In the several members of the last sentence, the relative performs a different office. In the first member, it marks the agent; in the second, it submits to the government of the preposition; in the third, it represents the possessor; and in the fourth, the object of an action : and therefore it must be in the three different cases, correspondent to those offices.

When both the antecedent and relative become nominatives, each to different verbs, the relative is the nomina

« PreviousContinue »