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grammatical propriety, for the sake of avoiding too frequent a repetition of the little word "do". He makes matters worse. Why did he not reconstruct his sentence ?
There is, on page 28, another example of this kind of error; but it is an error in exactly the opposite direction :the present tense is there used instead of the past, not the past instead of the present. It is in some otherwise sensible remarks concerning the use of the words “beside" and “besides". Mr. Gould says;
“Our lexicographers have contented themselves with
“ leaving these two words as they find them in
The expression “our lexicographers " must, unquestionably, include Johnson, Walker, Richardson, Webster, and others, who are dead; how, then, can they be said to "find” those two words in the pages of good and bad writers ? Surely there is not, in the next world, any reading of the works of bad writers, whatever there may be of those of good ones! Mr. Gould should have said ;—" Our lexicographers contented “themselves with leaving these two words as “they found them in the pages of good and of “bad writers.” The preposition “of” is needed ' here, because the writers mentioned are, evidently, not those uncertain writers who sometimes write well and sometimes ill; but two distinct classes of writers; the one, good; the other, bad.
In commenting on the vulgarism of using the word “figure" for “number", Mr. Gould brings forward a passage from Dean Alford's 'Queen's English', where the vulgarism is found, and he
“Mem. Put that against some of the Dean's sneers!”
If the Dean should happen to read Mr. Gould's work, he will find that the passage begins thus :
“Newspaper usage and oral usage has [they has !]
“made this word synonymous with amount";
and I fancy that the Dean will say with a smile ;—“Mem. Put that against some of Mr. “ Goulds sneers !”
Should the Dean continue his perusal of the book, he will, doubtless, wince under Mr. Gould's sarcasm, on page 133:-"Neither of which are
“taken into account", says the Dean. “ment here is needless”, remarks Mr. Gould. But, on page 197, the Dean has his revenge; for Mr. Gould says; He may
have studied his way by the chart, and may “think that he has mastered its sinuosities; but “the misleading power of the verse divisions“which seem to be guides and are not-constantly " betray (it betray!] him into difficulty.”
Mr. Gould has forgotten that the nominative to his verb is in the singular.
These singular mistakes are really astonishing! How are they to be avoided ? Only by the cultivation of a habit of careful patient examination of the diversity of meaning produced by the different placing of the same words. means to that end, I strongly urge all students of the language to acquire a practical knowledge of the game of chess. It tends to produce precision of mind; and, by accustoming the
. player to weigh well the relative position and influence of every piece on the board, makes more familiar and easy to him the task of judging accurately concerning the position and influence of
every word in a sentence.
EDWARD S. GOULD.
THERE is a puzzling inconsistency in Mr. Gould's use of certain phrases. On page 213, he says ;
“The majority remain";
again, on page 166, he says;
“The majority speak in favour of the great changes
“ that have been made”;
but, on page 42, he says;
“The majority has the best of the argument."
If "majority” is used as a noun in the plural in one place, why is it used as a noun in the singular in an other ? Moreover, in the very paragraph in which “majority” is used as a noun in the singular, (page 42,) " minority” is used as a noun in the plural:
“The opposing minority become mere schismatics.”
Then, on the opposite page, we are taken back to the singular :
“ The number makes but a very small minority”;
and, on page 73, we return to the plural :
“An abundance of followers were found”.
An abundance were !
I do not know whether the use of “shall” and "will" is different in the United States from what it is in England; but the same peculiarity respecting its use is observable in the writings of the Hon. George P. Marsh, Dr. M. Schele De Vere, and Mr. Gould. Each of these writers occasionally uses either "will" or "would” where an Englishman would use either “shall” or “should”. Mr. Gould says, on page 212, and, again, on page 222;—“I would like" to do so-and-so. On this side of the Atlantic we call such an expression a Scotticism. Cerainly it is not pure English.
It seems strange that Mr. Gould should have forgotten the rule that not only do conjunctions couple like moods and cases, but that, “in