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“ His word was spurious originally, and he cannot
remove its taint, nor can any subsequent en“ dorsement purify it."
Mr. Gould had been speaking of a word under the similitude of a counterfeit coin; (vide seq.), his appellation of “spurious" is, therefore, correct; but, to speak of its being tainted, is, I think, rather a perversion of terms; and when he further speaks of its being purified by an endorsement, I am lost in wonder how any person, writing on the subject of 'Good English', could so forget the proprieties of language as to use words which are but little calculated to convey his meaning.
Mr. Gould tells us, on page 4, that
of our best writers are thickly sprinkled “ with violations of the plainest grammatical “ rules.”
Assuredly his use of figurative language is in frequent violation of the plain and simple rule that all " figure” should be appropriate.
He condemns the use of the word “ couple”, except when it refers to two things coupled together. I do not object to that; but I do object to his use of the word “entire” when speaking of number. He says, on page 22;
“ The entire number";
this should be,—“The total number”. Entire has reference to that which is unbroken; whole, to that of which no part is wanting. Total is the proper word to use in speaking of the aggregate of numbers.
Again, on page 41, the word "less", which is an adjective of quantity in bulk, is employed as a synonym for "fewer”, which is an adjective of quantity in number. He says ;
“No less than five”.
The same error occurs on page 44:
“No less than three”.
Mr. Gould should have said ;—"no fewer than “five";—"no fewer than three".
In condemning the phrase,-"looked beauti"fully”, Mr. Gould says ;“A deal of argument has been expended on the
He might, perhaps, think that I were jesting if I asked him whether he meant a little deal, or a great deal. The former expression, very strangely, is never used; but the commonness of the latter expression might have taught Mr. Gould that “ deal” means merely “a portion or part”. * It is the German “theil”, and is indefinite as to quantity. “A deal of argument" is "a portion “of argument"; it may be little, or it may be much.
“ Traced” is a word that is misapplied by Mr. Gould. He says;
Quaintness must not take the place of accuracy "in language: besides, though the phrase in
question may be traced to the Bible, it cannot “ be found in the Bible.”
I imagine Mr. Gould to mean that, though the phrase may be imputed to the Bible, it cannot be found there; for if it can be traced-its track be followed—to the Bible, it unquestionably can be found there.
Mr. Gould's use of " relieve" and "knowingly" next comes under consideration. On page 116, I read ;
“ The author deems it proper to say ;- ... that,
" although from the Dean's statement, passim,
“in the Queen's English, it seems that his book “has been very frequently criticised in England, “not a word of such criticism, [better, that criti“cism ; 'such' means similar, but not identical] "except such as [better, except that which] the “Dean himself quotes, has ever been seen by the
present writer ;-a statement [tautology-Mr. “Gould had just spoken of “the Dean's statement'] “which must relieve [exonerate] him from the "charge of having knowingly ['wittingly' would “have been a better word to use here; knowingly
may mean cunningly]gone over the same ground as the English critics."
Further on, I read ;
“ A proper estimate of the value of these conflicting
“statements will presently be undertaken.”
We undertake "to estimate", "to form an esti“mate”, “to give an estimate", or “to make
, 'an estimate"; but we do not undertake “an 5 estimate”.
The use of “some”, for “ about”, is a very common error. It is found on page 186 of Mr. Gould's work; he there says;
“The individual parts sustained by the actor do not
"contain more than some six hundred lines reach.”
On page 199, I read ;
“One thing more remains to be said on this subject,
“namely, a suggestion on the injury to the “voice.”
A“ suggestion” is a thing to be made, not " said".
Lower down on the same page I find the following passage :
“The next point to which I would call your atten
“tion is audibleness; a matter, in one respect,
more important than any other principle of “ elocution.”
Audibleness is an essential of elocution, but it is not a principle.
Concerning a sentence of Archbishop Trench's, Mr. Gould remarks, on page 110, that;—"he “has, in the preceding sentence, so placed the “words 'I think', as to leave the reader in doubt “whether they relate to what immediately pre“cedes [tautology-see preceding' just above] or " to what follows them.” But, on page 46, Mr. Gould himself has written what is equally ambiguous, and that, too, from the very same cause. He says;