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we cannot say ;-"one is not so perfect as the “other”; and the reason why it cannot be said is, that the expression implies the existence of degrees of perfection; or, in other words, that a thing can be perfect and not perfect at the same time. “So perfect", "80 supreme",
80 supreme","so univer“sal”, are all wrong: a thing cannot be partly supreme or partly universal. A whole contains its parts; but a part cannot contain the whole, and therefore ought not to be spoken of by a term which is applicable only to the whole. It will be seen, then, that "80" and "as interchangeable.
Booth says, on page 80;—"In comparative “clauses of equality, 'as' is both the relative "and the antecedent; e.g.-John is as brave “as James. But when one of the parts differs “from the other in degree, the antecedent is ««so';—John is not so brave as James.' The general rule is that 'as' alludes to likeness and "similarity, while 'so' refers to the comparison “ of extent or degree, and it is in the misappre“hension of this English idiom that the natives “ of Scotland are so apt to err.
"I will answer “his letter so soon as I receive it', should be “written as soon as ', because the point of time
“ is the same. He is not as rich as he was', “should be so rich as', etc., because the states “are unequal. 'He ran as fast as I did', is
I equality. 'He ran so fast that I could not "overtake him', is superiority. “As great',' as “much', 'as high', is a bulk, quantity, and
height exactly equal to something to which the “as' relates; but 'so great', 'so much', '80 “high', is a certain degree of bulk, quantity, and height, which requires to be ascertained by a comparison of less or more." Mr. Marsh says ; “In a lexicon of a dead language the vocabulary of
“the recorded literature may be absolutely com“plete so far as the specification of the words
" which composed it is concerned.” From the foregoing remarks, the reader will at once perceive that Mr. Marsh ought to have “said ;-as far as the specification of the words “which composed it is concerned."
Nothing in connection with Mr. Marsh's ‘Notes' 80 much surprises me as his misuse of words. Here is another instance. He speaks of "A scientific vocabulary of not less than 300,000
“ words." Is it really necessary to remind Mr. Marsh that
“less” refers to quantity in bulk, and that "fewer" is the proper word to use when speaking of numbers ?
Mr. Marsh says; “Such persons are apt to fancy that they detect, or
“ rather (,) feel, an inherent significance in the "words of their native speech. In their view 'a house is called house because it is a house: a “horse is called horse because it is a horse. To “them the name is as truly and as obviously a quality or property of the animal as his color or the number of his legs, and they often manifest a virtuous indignation against the unhappy * foreigner who knows no better than to call a
“ horse a cheval." Concerning this passage I have one question to ask :-Is the virtuous indignation against the luckless foreigner, manifested by the horse's legs ?
One more question :-On what do Flemish painters live—what is their food ? Mr. Marsh is surely joking when he speaks of “The battered copper vessels, old brooms, cobwebs,
“ appleparings, and the like, which the Flemish
painters scatter so freely about their interiors." When a word that is capable of conveying a double meaning is used technically, it should be enclosed in inverted commas.
THE HON. GEORGE P. MARSH.
A KNOWLEDGE of grammar may be acquired by study; but by no amount of study can a man who is destitute of good taste acquire that delicate quality of mind; though it is as essential to gracefulness of expression in language, as are a musical ear and soul, to the true utterances of the musician and of the poet.
What are we to think of a linguistic critic who uses a noun in three totally different senses in one criticism; and who, as if that were not enough, then makes confusion more confounded, by prefixing to the noun, when next he uses it, such an adjective, that his description of a term in grammar is identical with a storekeeper's hackneyed description of his wares? I speak of facts. The Hon. George P. Marsh's champion, Mr. S., of Trinity College, (for I have not yet finished with him,) tells us not only of an “article” [a criticism) upon the "article” [a or
an]; but, after mentioning grocers and druggists and their “ articles" (of commerce), speaks of the little word "an" as “ a genuine article"!
“ Can such things be ... without our special wonder p”
The following is another specimen of Mr. S.'s tautology. He says;
“I come now to a sentence which is one of Mr. Moon's
“most characteristic sentences ; perhaps, also, it “is one of his most erroneous sentences : 'It is “la curious fact, mentioned in a recent number “6 of the 'Athenaeum', that we English alone of “all nations, ancient or modern, have a bonâ
' fide article which is distinct from one', though “contracted from 'one', and meaning one'.'”
The foregoing, which Mr. S. calls one of my most characteristic sentences, is really not mine; it is a literal quotation from the 'Athenæum', No. 1929, page 497, and ought to have been marked as such by inverted commas. However, as the commas have been omitted, and, consequently, the sentence stands as if it were mine, I will examine Mr. S.'s condemnation of it. He states, in the first place, that
“The whole assertion is untrue, because the Ameri.
can nation has the same article as the English