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“The facts, premises, and conclusions, of a subject,
“sometimes naturally point out the separations “into paragraphs: and each of these, when of “great length, will again require subdivision at “ their most distinctive parts.”!
This is one of the most frequent of vulgar
An other, almost equally common, is the “and “which” error. This consists in the employment of the words " and which” in a sentence not containing, in the preceding part of it, the word "which", either expressed or understood. The error is one that young writers frequently fall into; and, strange to say, it is found in some of even Lindley Murray's sentences. The following example is from page 8 of his Grammar :
“ The more important rules, definitions, and observa
“tions, and which are therefore the most proper “to be committed to memory, are printed with a “ larger type”.
So faulty is the construction of this sentence, that, besides the “and which” error in it, the relative adverb "therefore", that follows those words, has really not any antecedent that is grammatically connected with it. Lindley Murray ought to have said ;—“The rules, definitions, and “ observations which are the more important, and
which are therefore the most proper to be committed to memory, are printed in larger type”.
The “and which" error occurs on page 379 also. We there read :
“From the preceding view of English versification,
we may see what a copious stock of materials
For we are not only allowed the use of all the ancient poetic feet, in our heroic measure, but we have, as before observed, duplicates of each, agreeing in movement, though
differing in measure, and which make different "impressions on the car; an opulence peculiar to
our language, and which may be the source of a boundless variety.”
Even were the foregoing sentence grammatically correct, the repetition of “and which” would stamp it as being inelegant. But the sentence is constructed in direct violation of the writer's eighteenth rule of syntax, which says ;
Conjunctions connect the same moods and “tenses of verbs, and cases of nouns and pro
The latter part of the sentence ought therefore to have been written thus :“But we have, as before observed, duplicates of “ each, agreeing in movement, though differing “in measure, and making (not and which make') “ different impressions on the ear; an opulence “which is peculiar to our language, and which “may be the source of a boundless variety.”
The excessive employment of the pronoun “which” is an error so common with the illiterate, that good writers, in their endeavours to avoid it, often run into the opposite extreme. They omit the pronoun, in sentences where its presence is really necessary to the grammatical arrangement of the words. This has been done by Lindley Murray, on page 305. He there says ;
“Almost all the irregularities, in the construction of
any language, have arisen from the ellipsis of
some words, which were originally inserted in “the sentence, and [which] made it regular".
The word "which" is necessary here, because when there is a change in the verbs, the nominative should be repeated; and, in Lindley Murray's sentence, there is a change from a passive to an active verb. He says;—“words, which “were originally inserted, there the verb is
passive] and [which] made it regular”; [there the verb is active]. Without the repetition of the nominative “which”, the sentence would
really read thus :-“ words which were originally “inserted, and [which were] made it regular"!
Lindley Murray himself says, on page 302 ;“When, in the progress of a sentence, we pass “from the affirmative to the negative form, or from “the negative to the affirmative, the subject or “ nominative is mostly, if not invariably, resumed.
... There appears to be, in general, equal reason "for repeating the nominative, and resuming the
subject, when the course of the sentence is “diverted by a change in the mood or tense.”
It is remarkable that Lindley Murray's error, of omitting the pronoun "which", is in a sentence concerning irregularities of language arising from ellipses.
Many writers consider the repetition of a word in a sentence, to be an inelegance. But though variety gives vivacity to our expressions, it is not always a beauty; for, sometimes it obscures the meaning; and, at other times, it is positively ungrammatical.
With regard to the repetition of relative pronouns, it is a rule that,
“ Whatever relative is used, in one series of clauses,
relating to the same antecedent, the same rela“tive ought generally to be used in them all.”
Thus wrote Lindley Murray, on page 233, and illustrated his remarks by the following example:
“ It is remarkable, that Holland, against which “the war was undertaken, and that, in the “very beginning, was reduced to the brink of “ destruction, lost nothing." He adds ;—"The
clause ought to have been, and which in the "very beginning'."
Notwithstanding his having thus laid down the law; (which, by the way, he has done in ungrammatical language; for, the words, “the “same relative", are redundant:) we find him writing, on page 517;
“ A sentiment which is expressed in accurate lan
guage, and in a period, clearly, neatly, and well arranged, always makes a stronger impression
on the mind, than one that is expressed in" accurately".
On page 51, also, we find him writing thus :
“ Those are called 'labials', which are formed by the
lips; those 'dentals', that are formed with the “ teeth”.
He changes not only the pronoun, but also the preposition in the latter part of this sentence. He should have said ;—“Those are called