Page images
PDF
EPUB

The repetition of the article is necessary in such a sentence as this also; I quote from page 408 :

“It is difficult, in some cases, to distinguish between

an interrogative and exclamatory sentence”.

66

an

66

Say, rather ;-" between an interrogative and

exclamatory sentence"; otherwise, the words will read as if they formed a part of an unfinished observation respecting an interrogative and exclamatory sentence, and a sentence of some other kind. But it would have been better still, to say;—" between an interrogatory and an exclamatory sentence". Where practicable, the adjectives thus brought into contrast should be alike in form. There is a third error in this simple sentence: Lindley Murray says; “It is difficult, in some cases, to distinguish between". He should have said ;discriminate between". We distinguish one thing from another ; but we discriminate between two or more things. On page 498, he speaks of "explaining the distinction, between the powers of

sense and imagination”.

[ocr errors]

We make a distinction ; but it is a difference, which we explain.

He says,

[ocr errors]

We have thus found that Lindley Murray repeatedly errs in the use of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, pronouns, and articles. Let us now see whether he is not equally faulty in his use of nouns, conjunctions, and prepositions.

First, then, with respect to nouns. on page 145;“ Will, in the first person singular and plural, inti

“ mates resolution and promising; in the second

“and third person only foretells”. He should have said, either ;-" in the second "and third persons";—or, “in the second and " the third person". This was necessary in order to show that he was speaking of two persons ; the one, second; the other, third; and not of one person, both second and third ; supposing that to be possible.

“ The reader's knowledge”, as Dr. Campbell (quoted by Lindley Murray, on page 258) observes, "may prevent his mistaking the language; but, “if such modes of expression be admitted where "the sense is clear, they may inadvertently be “ imitated in cases where the meaning would be

obscure, if not entirely misunderstood.” Besides, in the very next paragraph, Lindley Murray

, uses the correct noun: he says;—Shall, on the contrary, in the first person, simply foretells; “in the second and third persons, promises, commands, or threatens.”

An error, the exact reverse of that just referred to, occurs on page 412. Lindley Murray there says;

This character is chiefly used in the Old, and in the

“ New Testaments."

66

This is a very common error. Clergymen are frequently heard saying ;—"Let us sing the “hundredth psalm, omitting the second and the “third verses.” Other clergymen, equally faulty in grammar, say ;-"Let us sing the hundredth “psalm, omitting the second and third verse." Both forms are wrong. When the noun is in the plural, the article must not be repeated before the second adjective: we should say ;—“the second "and third verses.But when the noun is in the singular, the article must be repeated before the second adjective: we should say ;-"the

second, and the third, verse.” Lindley Murray should have said;—"This character is chiefly used “in the Old, and in the New, Testament."

We will now consider his errors in the use of conjunctions. On page 465, we find him saying, concerning connective particles ;

[ocr errors]

“They should not be either too frequently repeated,

“awkwardly exposed to view, or made up of "polysyllables, when shorter words would as well convey the meaning."

Now, “ either” means one of two; but Lindley Murray has, in the sentence just quoted, used it in speaking of one of three, and therefore has misused it. His sentence ought to have been ;“They should not be very frequently repeated,

nor should they be awkwardly exposed to view, " or be made up of polysyllables when shorter “words would as well convey the meaning.”

Whether", also, refers to two only, and is, in strictness, "which of two; yet Lindley Murray uses it in speaking of four, and says, on page 479 ;

66

“It is requisite, that we fix in our mind a just idea of

“the general tone of sound which suits our “subject; that is......whether round and smooth,

or stately and solemn, or brisk and quick, or "interrupted and abrupt."

Some authors defend this use of the word; but they do so, more on the ground of expediency, than on that of grammatical accuracy. I should write Lindley Murray's sentence thus ;“It is requisite that we fix in our minds a just

“idea of the general tone of sound which suits our subject; that is, whether round and smooth,

or interrupted and abrupt; whether brisk and “quick, or stately and solemn.”

On page 384, I read :

* We have before shown that the cæsura improves the

melody of verse; and we shall now speak of its “other [and] more important office, that of being " the chief source of harmony in numbers.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In this sentence, the necessity for the conjunction “and”, after the word other”, will be apparent to the most superficial reader.

On page 390, I read :

66

Few precise rules can be given, which will hold,

“without exception, in all cases; but much must
“ be left to the judgment and taste of the writer."

Lindley Murray should have said, either ;—"A "few precise rules can be given, but much must "be left to the judgment", etc.; or else;" Few

precise rules can be given; much must be “left”, etc. The former expression has the article a” inserted before few"; the latter expression has the conjunction "but" struck out.

A few”, having an affirmative meaning, may be followed by but. Whereas, “ few", having a negative

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »