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the other, a change from the plural to the singular; and, in any such sentence, either of those changes will make it imperative that the second verb be expressed. The latter passage should have been written thus :-“Many sen"tences are miserably mangled, and the force of “the emphasis is totally lost”.
Again, on page 497, I read as follows: “ Where a riddle is not intended, it is always a fault
“ in allegory to be too dark. [A mere truism ! “ Of course it is a fault to be too dark.] The meaning should be easily seen, through the figure employed to shadow it. However, the proper mixture of light and shade, in such compositions: the exact adjustment of all the figurative circumstances with the literal sense, so as neither to lay the meaning too bare and open, nor to cover and wrap it up too much; “ have [has] ever been considered as points [a
"point] of great nicety". If the reader will carefully examine this passage, he will see that the nominative to the verb, “considered", is in the singular number; and therefore the verb should have been in the singular; for, as Lindley Murray himself tells us, on page 218;--"A verb must agree with its “nominative case, in number and person". The “ nominative is, “the proper mixture of light and
“shade ; what follows is merely a repetition, or an enlargement, of that idea ; as may be shown in a very few words. Thus, “the exact adjust"ment", mentioned in the latter part of the sentence, is but an other name for “ the proper "mixture", spoken of in the early part: “to lay “the meaning too bare and open” is an illustration of the term “light”; and, “ to cover and
up too much” is an amplification of the thought conveyed by the term “shade". Lindley Murray ought therefore to have said ;—“The
proper mixture of light and shade...... has ever “ been considered a point of great nicety”. He has here violated the first rule of syntax!
The misuse of the adverb “too", at which I glanced in a previous paragraph, is very common. It occurs several times, even in Murray's *Grammar.' We find it on pages 465, 474, 476, and 497. The last of these passages, I have already quoted; the others run thus :
"They should not be too frequently repeated". • We should not do well to introduce such hard and
strong sounds too frequently”. “The members of a sentence.....should not be too
“long”. Comment upon this point is needless.
An other very common error,—the using of a wrong tense of the verb “to be”,-occurs on page 867 ; there he says;
“As the communication of these internal feelings,
of much more consequence in our social “ intercourse, than the mere conveyance of ideas, " the Author of our being did not, as in that
conveyance, leave the invention of the language of emotion, to man; but impressed it Himself upon our nature".
Had Lindley Murray been speaking, not of a universal truth, but of a circumstance that was peculiar to the past, his sentence would have been correct; but he himself says, on page 283; -"In referring to declarations of this nature, “the present tense must be used, if the position " is immutably the same at all times, or supposed “to be so: as, 'The bishop declared, that virtue " is always advantageous': not, was always " advantageous?”. According to Lindley Murray's own showing, then, he ought to have said ;“As the communication of these internal feelings " is of much more consequence in our social "intercourse", etc.
Some persons, intending to be strictly accurate in their expressions, always say;" if it be”, “though it were"; never, “if it is ”, “ though it
” " was”. They imagine that "if”, “though”, and certain other conjunctions which imply contingency, ought always to be followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood. But it is only when there is a concurrence of contingency and futurity, that the verb should be in the subjunctive mood. When there is either contingency without futurity, or futurity without contingency, the verb must be in the indicative mood. The only exception to this rule occurs in the use of the imperfect tense of the verb “to be," when our language is intended to denote contingency merely. The verb must then be in the subjunctive mood. See Lindley Murray's observations on Rule XIX of his “Grammar. But, notice how widely his practice diverges from his precepts :Page 51.—“ A consonant is not of itself a distinct
' articulate voice; and its influence in varying the “tones of language is not clearly perceived, unless
it be [is] accompanied by an opening of the
mouth, that is, by a vowel.” Page 64.—“If this be [is] admitted, it follows, that
“the noun and the verb are the only parts of
speech, which are essentially necessary.” Page 193.—“ When a discourse is not well connected,
'the sentiments, however just, are easily for
gotten; or, if a few be [are] reme
membered, yet “their general scope and tendency, having never “ been clearly apprehended, is (are] not remem“ bered at all.”
The reader will perceive, by the italicised words in the foregoing quotations, that in each instance the time of the action is present, not future. Therefore, the verb which follows the conjunction ought to be in the indicative mood.
The last of the passages quoted contains two errors; for, Lindley Murray errs not only in employing the subjunctive mood, but also in putting in the singular number, a verb, to which the nominative is in the plural. Thus he violates his second rule of syntax, which says;-"Two “or more nouns, etc. in the singular number, "joined together by a copulative conjunction, ' expressed or understood, must have verbs, “nouns, and pronouns, agreeing with them in “the plural number",-Page 225.
Again, “It is evidently contrary to the first principles of grammar, to consider two distinct “ideas as one, however nice may be their shades " of difference: and if there be no difference, “one of them must be superfluous, and ought to “ be rejected.”—Page 226.