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that is treated more as a drudge than is the little word “ same”. It is laid under tribute for all kinds of work, and has to do duty upon all sorts of occasions. It is found in penal enactments; and, respecting the law, trespassers are told what they will incur if they violate the "same”. Young ladies, too, whose letters begin with Dearest", and end with some message of love, usually request their friends to accept the "same” themselves. If a costermonger loses his donkey, or if an old maid loses her fan, you are, in each case, equally sure to read in the advertisement that a reward will be paid for the recovery of the same".

” But, hard as it is to have to do the work of other persons, it is still harder to have to do work that is utterly useless; and the little word "same" is frequently dragged in to do even that. Of what use is the word in the following sentence of Mr. Marsh's ?

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The higher the culture of a people, the larger will

be the proportion of indefinable words in its “[? their] language, and the signification of this " class of its words can be mastered only by the same process by which the infant learns the meaning of the vocabulary of the nursery, ob"servation, namely, of actual living usage."

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Strike out from this passage the word "same”, and what is lost, either in fulness of meaning or in euphony of language? Nothing. Nevertheless, if a writer wishes to emphasize the statement that

a it is by the same process, let him say;"by the "same process as that by which the infant", etc. One more word respecting this sentence';—the last clause is dualistic; and, as the one part is explanatory of the other, nothing could be easier than to arrange the words in their simple and proper order; the pivot word being, the adverb " namely". But, in Mr. Marsh's sentence, that word is misplaced; and, as a natural consequence, his collocation of the words makes them grate on the ear. How much better it would have been to speak of mastering the difficulties “ by the same process as that by which “the infant learns the meaning of the vocabulary “of the nursery, namely, observation of actual “living usage."

I close this letter by adding a few words on the expression

Dearest",

of which I have just spoken. A gentleman once

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began a letter thus, to his bride :-"My dearest “Maria”. The lady replied :-"My dear John, I “beg that you will mend either your morals “or your grammar. You call me your dearest “Maria'; am I to understand that you have 6 other Marias?”

6

CRITICISM X.

THE HON. GEORGE P. MARSH.

a

66

or

6

I FINISHED the first criticism in this series by commenting on Mr. Marsh's expression, -"a his

torian". Much more might have been said on the proper use of the article

a

an", but I feared that, if I extended my remarks on that subject, I should weary the readers of 'The * Round Table', and incur the charge of prolixity. However, as, in the last number which I have received of that journal, a correspondent at Washington asks for information concerning those important little words, I gladly resume my remarks on them; for, as I said, my purpose in writing these criticisms is not to expose Mr. Marsh's errors, but to base upon those errors such teaching as may be useful to students of the English language.

Lindley Murray and many other grammarians tell us that " becomes or an” before a vowel and before a silent h; but, what is really the

a

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fact, is the converse of that. 6 An” becomes abefore a consonant sound; for, "an" is the original word, and was formerly used both before consonants and before vowels, and was not abbreviated to “a” until long after the Conquest. Dr. Webster says that in 'Saxon Chronicles', page 82, we read ;—" And thæs geares wærun ofslegne IX “eorlas and an cyning”; i.e.;—And this year were slain nine earls and one king. But though the primary signification of a” and of "an" is one", Dr. Webster, in whose praise Mr. Marsh is writing, is certainly in error when he says, ('Improved Grammar', page 13);—“The definitive «an' or 'a' is merely 'one', in its English or

' thography, and is precisely synonymous with “it". There is an obvious difference between the two words. We use "one" when we speak numerically, and wish to signify that there are not more than one; whereas we use either “ a" or "an" when we wish to emphasize, not the number, but, the description of the thing spoken of. For example, were we to ask ;—“Is chess a

game for one boy?” the very natural and proper answer would be ;-"No; it is to be played by

two." But were our question to be;"Is chess "a game for a boy? the answer would be;

6

66

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