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Dr. Blair, also, whom Lindley Murray quotes, observes that, “two or more substantives, joined “by a copulative, must always require the verb "or [the] pronoun to which they refer, to be "placed in the plural number.” Lindley Murray adds, on page 227 ;—"and this is the general sen“timent of English grammarians.” Yet, he himself says, in the quotation which I have given ;-"their scope and tendency is (they is !]
— “not remembered at all."
These errors occur in the best edition of 'Lindley Murray's Grammar'; an edition published under the supervision of the author; and after his work had been one-and-twenty years before the public !
FROM the consideration of Lindley Murray's errors in the use of verbs, let us now turn to his errors in the use of adverbs. He says, on page 290;—"Adverbs, though they have no government “of case, tense, etc. require an appropriate situa“tion in the sentence". Undoubtedly they do; and that situation, as we learn from page 445, is, as near as possible to the words which are most closely related to them. But has Lindley Murray uniformly placed his adverbs in appropriate situations ? Certainly not. I read as follows:
Page 236.—"A term which only implies the idea of
This should have been ;-"A term which implies the idea of persons only”.
Page 365.—“When the voice is only suspended for a
This should have been ;-“When the voice is “suspended for only a moment".
Sometimes the adverb is required to be placed after the auxiliary, and sometimes before it; and which of these constructions we should employ in a particular instance, will depend upon the meaning which we wish to express. For example ; if we wish to say that it is proper that certain rules should be written; our words may be arranged thus :-“The rules should properly be “written”. But if we wish to say, not that it is proper that they should be written; but, that they should be written in a proper manner; then we must change the position of the adverb and say ;-" The rules should be properly written”. This is very simple; but it is a matter which has been quite overlooked by Lindley Murray, as the following passages will show :Page 102.—"Perhaps the words 'former' and 'latter'
may be properly ranked amongst the demonstra
“ tive pronouns”. Say, rather;"may properly be ranked". Page 300.—“ The preposition among
“ cannot be properly used in conjunction with the
“ word 'every?”. Say, rather;—"cannot properly be used”.
Page 403.—“ The colon may be properly applied in the
“ three following cases.” Say, rather ;—"may properly be applied”. In the foregoing sentences, Lindley Murray speaks of the things as being properly done ; whereas, he intended to speak of them as being proper to do. See some remarks on this subject in “The Dean's English', page 101.
The adverb "also” is misplaced by Lindley Murray; e.g.: Page 415.—“The first word of an example may also
very properly begin with a capital”. Better thus :-" The first word of an example also, may very properly begin”, etc.
The adverbs, “rather” and “even”, likewise, are misplaced by him. Indeed, the former is misplaced in a sentence occurring in the very part of his Grammar, which treats of the proper position of adverbs! Page 293.—“ This mode of expression rather suits
“ familiar than grave style.” Our grammarian should have said ;—“suits a 56 familiar rather than a grave style.” Page 454.—“ It is a frequent and capital error, in the
“writings even of some distinguished authors”.
This should have been ;-"in the writings of even some distinguished authors”. Concerning such sentences as those which I have quoted, and the position of adverbs generally, Dr. Blair says ;—“The fact is, with respect "to such adverbs as, only, wholly, at least, and 'the rest of that tribe, that in common discourse, “the tone and emphasis we use in pronouncing “them, generally serves [they serves'] to show “their reference, and to make the meaning clear; “and hence, we acquire a habit of throwing them “in loosely in the course of a period. But, in “ writing, where a man speaks to the eye and “not to the ear, he ought to be more accurate; “and so to connect those adverbs with the words “which they qualify, as to put his meaning out “of doubt upon the first inspection.”—Lectures ‘on Rhetoric', page 116.
There is one other matter of which I must speak before concluding my remarks on adverbs; and that is, the misuse of what may be called superlative adverbs; such as “ totally”, “supremely", "absolutely ”, and “universally”. The nature of these words forbids their being qualified by "80", or "more", or "most"; or indeed, by any word implying comparison. The