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reason is obvious. Take, for example, the adverb
totally”. It is evident that if we attempt to qualify it by prefixing the word "80", we convey the idea that there are degrees of totality; in other words, that a thing may, for instance, be totally unknown, and yet not totally unknown. In short, our expression amounts to the absurdity of saying, that a whole may be either less or more than itself!
On page 250, Lindley Murray very justly objects to the expressions "80 extreme", "80 universal”, " etc.; because, adjectives that have in themselves a superlative signification, do not admit of either the superlative or the comparative form super-added. But, surely, what is, in this respect, true of superlative adjectives, is true equally of the corresponding adverbs ? Yet we should scarcely learn this from Lindley Murray's own language ; for, on page 501, he speaks of certain objects as being
“ So totally unknown”!
Respecting adverbs and adjectives, it has been remarked that it is often difficult to decide, in particular sentences, whether an adverb, or an adjective ought to be used. For example, on page 287, Lindley Murray says ;
“This construction sounds rather harshly".
Is this sentence correct? I think not. The verb “sounds", as there used, is a neuter verb; one not expressing an action, but a state of being; and neuter verbs should not be qualified by adverbs, but by adjectives.
This is in accordance with Lindley Murray's own teaching. He tells us, on page 163, of vol. 2,
2 that, in such cases, we ought to consider whether we wish to express quality, or manner. If quality, then we must employ an adjective; if manner, then, an adverb. In the foregoing quotation, as he did not wish to speak of the manner of sounding, but of the quality of sound, he ought to have said ;-"The construction sounds rather harsh"; not “harshly”.
The following examples, taken from 'Lindley Murray's Grammar', illustrate this matter very forcibly :
“She looks cold.”—“She looks coldly on him." "He feels warm.”—“He feels warmly the insult offered
The reader will observe that when the verb is intransitive, i.e., when the action does not pass on to some object, the adjective is used; e.g.: :-“She looks cold.” But when the same verb is transitive, the adverb is used; e.g. :-"She looks "coldly on him.”
An other mode of determining whether an adverb, or an adjective, should be employed, is thus given by Lindley Murray:-"The verb to be, “ in all its moods and tenses, generally requires “the word immediately connected with it to be an " adjective, not an adverb; and, consequently, "when this verb can be substituted for any other, " without varying the sense or the construction, “that other verb must also be connected with an "adjective. The following sentences elucidate “these observations : The rose smells (or is)
“sweet'. 'How delightful the country appears' “or is). The clouds look (or are] dark’. In · all these sentences, we can, with perfect pro"priety, substitute some tenses of the verb to be for the other verbs. But in the following “sentences, we cannot do this: “The dog smells
disagreeably'; 'George feels exquisitely'."
This is an excellent rule of Lindley Murray's; but nothing could be more unfortunate than one of
his illustrations of it. He very properly tells us that we ought to say ;—“The rose smells sweet [is sweet] ; but he adds, or, at least, implies, that we cannot say ;-“The dog smells disagree“able” [is disagreeable). In other words, we must say that, the scent of the rose is sweet ; but, the scent of the dog is disagreeably!
That such errors as these are to be found in * An English Grammar, Comprehending the Prin'ciples and Rules of the Language', is indeed astonishing
HAVING considered some of Lindley Murray's errors in the use of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives ; we will now consider some of his errors in the use of pronouns.
Concerning them, he says, on page 232;—“Pro“nouns must always agree with their antecedents, “and the nouns for which they stand, in gender “and number". He adds, “Of this rule there
are many violations to be met with; a few of “which may be sufficient to put the learner on " “his guard. 'Each of the sexes should keep " within its particular bounds, and content them"selves with the advantages of their particular * districts'."
Although Lindley Murray thus endeavours “to "put the learner on his guard”, the teacher so far forgets his own instructions, as to say, on page 416;