Page images

plural by the change of those terminations into ves, as, loaf, loaves; wife, wives. Those which end in ff, have the regular plural; as, ruff, ruffs.

Such as 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.

The following words which have been adopted from the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages, are thus distinguished, with respect to number: Singular. Plural. Singular. Plural. Cherub. Cherubim. Datum.

Data. Seraph. Seraphim. Effluvium. Effluvia. Antithesis. Antitheses.

Encomia or

Automaton. Automata.


Erratum. Errata.

Genius. Genii.t
Criterion. Criteria. Genus.

Genera. Diær'esis. Diærleses.

Indices or

Index Ellipsis. Ellipses.

Indexes. I Emphasis. Emphases. Lamina. Laminæ. Hypothesis. Hypotheses.

Medium. Media. Metamorphosis.Metamorphoses.Magus. Magi. Phænomenon. Phænomena. Memoran- S Memoranda or

dum. S Appendices. Appendix.

Memorandums. Appendixes. Radius.

Arcanum. Arcana. Stamen.


Stratum. Strata.

Vortices. * “ The change of y into ies, to form the plural number, may seem, to a foreigner, an odd irregularity; but the cause is very obvious. Formerly the singular number of this class of words, ended with ie; as, glorie; vanitie, energie; and the addition of s made the plural, glories. But from caprice, negligence, or a desire to simplify the orthography, the termination i was laid aside for y in the singular number, while the old plural ies was retained ; a strange inconsistency, but by no means the only one which the progress of our language exhibits.”

+ Genii, when denoting ærial spirits: Geniuses, when signifying persons of genius.

[Indexes, when it signifies pointers, or Tables of contents : Indices, when referring to Algebraick quantities.


In English, substantives have three cases, the Nominative, the Possessive, and the Objective.*

The nominative case simply expresses the name of a thing, or the subject of the verb; as, “ The boy plays;" “ The girls learn."

The possessive case expresses the relation of property or possession; and has an apostrophe, with the letter s coming after it; as, To The scholar's duty;" “My father's house."

When the plural ends in s, the other s is omitted, but the apostrophe is retained; as, "On eagles' wings;" “ The drapers' company.

Sometimes also, when the singular terminates in 83, the apostrophick s is not added; as, “ For goodness' sake;" "For righteousness' sake.”

The objective case expressess the object of an action, or of a relation; and generally follows a verb active, or a preposition; as,

16 John assists Charles;" “ They live in London." English substantives are declined in the following manner:

Singular. Plural. Nominative Case. A mother. Mothers. Possessive Case. A mother's. Mothers. Objective Case. A mother. Mothers. Nominative Case. The man.

The men. Possessive Case. The man's. The men's, Objective Case.

The man.

The men. ADJECTIVES. An Adjective is a word added to a substantive, to express its quality; as, “ An industrious man;" i A virtuous woman;"

; 66 A benevolent mind." In English the adjective is not varied on account of gender, number, or case. Thus we say, less boy; careless girls.”

* On the propriety of this objective case, see the larger grammar, twelfth, or any subsequent edition.


a care

The only variation which it admits, is that of the degrees of comparison.

There are commonly reckoned three degrees of comparison; the positive, comparative, and superlative.

The positive state expresses the quality of an object, without any increase or diminution; as, good, wise, great.

The comparative degree increases or lessens the positive in signification; as, wiser, greater, less wise.

The superlative degree increases or lessens the positive to the highest or lowest degree; as, wisest, greatest, least wise.

The simple word, or positive, becomes the comparative, by adding ror er; and the superlative, by adding st or est, to the end of it; as, wise, wiser, wisest; great, greater, greatest. And the adverbs more and most, placed before the adjective, have the same effect; as, wise, more wise, most wise.

The termination ish may be accounted in some sort a degree of comparison, by which the signification is diminished below the positive; as, black, blackish, or tending to blacl ness; salt, saltish, or having a little taste of salt.

The word rather is very properly used to express a small degree or excess of a quality; as, “ she is rather profuse in her expenses."

Monosyllables, for the most part, are compared by er and est; and dissyllables by more and most; as, mild, milder, mildest; frugal, more frugal, most frugal.

Some words of very common use are irregularly formed; as, good, better, best; bad, ill, or evil, worse, worst; little, less, least; much or many, more, most; near, nearer, nearest or next; late, later, latest or last; old, older or elder, oldest or eldest;" and a few others.

An adjective without a substantive, with the definite article before it, becomes a substantive, in sense and meaning, and is written as a substantive; as, “ Providence rewards the good, and punishes the bad."

PRONOUNS. A Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word; as,

“ The man is happy;" he is benevolent;" “ he is useful."*

There are three kinds of pronouns, viz. the Personal, the Relative, and the Adjective Pronouns.

PERSONAL PRONOUNS. There are five Personal Pronouns; viz. I, thou, he, she, it; with their plurals, we, ye, or you, they.

Personal pronouns admit of person, number, gender, and case.


pronouns are three in each of the numbers, viz.

The persons

I, is the first person.
Thou, is the second person. Singular.
He, she, or it, is the third

We, is the first person.
Ye or you, is the second person. Plural.
They, is the third person.

The numbers of pronouns, like those of substantives, are two, the singular and the plural; as, I, thou, he; we, ye, they.

Gender has respect only to the third person singular of the pronouns, he, she, it. He is masculine; she is feminine; it is neuter.

* The pronoun is also used to represent an adjective, a sentence, a part of a sentence, and sometimes even a series of propositions; as, “ They supposed him to be innocent, which he certainly was not. “ His friend bore the abuse very patiently; which served to increase his rudeness: it produced, at length, contempt and insolence.” See Syntax, Rule V. App. 3. page 52.

Pronouns have three cases; the nominative, the possessive, and the objective.

The objective case of a pronoun has, in general, a form different from that of the nominative or the possessive case.

The personal pronouns are thus declined: Person.


Singular. Plural.


Possess. Mine. Ours.

Obj. Me. Us.

Nom. Thou.

Thine. Yours.

Thee. You.
Nom. He.


Possess. His. Theirs.

Him. Them.


She. They. Fem.

Possess. Hers. Theirs.

Obj. Her. Them. Third.




Possess. Its. Theirs.



Ye or you.


The Personal and Possessive Adjective Pronouns, when compounded with self, either form reciprocal pronouns; as, “ We hurt ourselves by vain rage;" or denote emphasis, contrast, distinctive personality, or the implied absence of other persons or things; as,

“ I did this myself,” that is “ not anoth;"" He went himself to the minister,” that is, no other

person went;" “ This is the book itself;"í &c.*

** In negative sentences, these pronouns have a different effect. • He did not write the letter himself,' implies strongly that he wrote it by an agent, or that he had an agency in procuring it to be written."


« PreviousContinue »