Page images

If I say,

acquire a complete knowledge of Syntax from this work, you must look over the whole.

You may now proceed and parse the following additional ex ercises in false Syntax; and, as you analyze, endeavour to correct all the errours without looking at the Key. If, in correcting these examples, you should be at a loss in assigning the reasons why the constructions are erroneous, you can refer to the manner adopted in the foregoing pages.

RULE I. The article a or an agrees with nouns in the singular number only, individually or collectively; as, “A star, an eagle, a score, a thou. sand.”

RULE II. The definite article the belongs to nouns in the singular or plural number; as, The star, the stars; the hat, the hats.”

Note 1. A nice distinction in the meaning is sometimes effected by the usc ur omission of the article a.

• He behaved with a little reverence," my meaning is positive. But if I say, “ He behaved with little reve. rence," my meaning is negative. By the former, I rather praise a person; by the latier, I dispraise him. When I say, “There were few men with him,” I speak diminutively, and mean to represent them as inconsiderable ; whereas, when I say, “There were a few men with him," I evidently intend to make the most of thein.

2. The indefinite article sometimes has the meaning of every or each ; as, * They cost five shillings a dozen ;" that is, ' every dozen.'

“A man he was to all the country dear,

“ And passing rich with forty pounds a year!" that is,' every year.'

3. When several adjectives are connected, and express the various qualilies of things individually different, though alike in name, the article should be repeated; but when the qualities all belong to the sume thing or things, the article should not be repeated. “A black and a white calf,” signiñes, A black calf, and a white calf; but “ I black and white calf,” describes the two colours of one calf.

RULE III. The nominative case governs the verb; as, “ 1 learn, thou learnest, he learns, they learn.

RULE IV. The verb must agree with its nominative in number and person; as, “ The bird' sings, the birds sing, thou singest.

Note 1. Every verb, when it is not in the infinitive mood, must have a nominative, expressed or implied; as, “ Awake, arise;" Inat is, Awake ye j

[ocr errors]

arise. ye.

2. When a verb comes between two nouns, either of which may be conandered as the subject of the afirmation, it must agree with that which is more naturally its subject; as, “ The wages of sin is death ; His meat was locusts and wild honey;"> 6. His pavilion were dark waters and thick clouds.

Frequent commission of sin harden men in it.
Great pains has been taken to reconcile the parties.
So much both of ability and merit, are seldom found.
The sincere is always esteemed.
Not one of them are happy.

What avails the best sentiments, if people do not live suitably to them?

Disappointments sinks the heart of man; but the renewal of hope give consolation.

The variety of the productions of genius, like that of the operations of nature, are without limit.

A variety of blessings have been conferred upon us.

Thou cannot heal him, it is true, but thou may do something to relieve him. In piety and virtue consist the happiness of man.

O thou, my voice inspire,

Who touched Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire. Note 1. Will martial flames for ever fire thy mind,

And never, never be to Heaven resigned ? He was a man whose inclinations led him to be corrupt, and had great abilities to manage the business. Note 2, The crown of virtue is peace and honour. His chief occupation and enjoyment were controversy.

RULE V. When an address is made, the noun or pronoun addressed, is put in the nominative case independent; as, “ Plato, thou reasonest well;" “Do, Triin, said my uncle Toby."

Note 1. A noun is independent, when it has no verb to agree with it. 2. Interjections require the objective case of a pronoun of the first person after them, but the nominative of a noun or pronoun of the second or third person; as, “Ah! me; Oh! thou ; 0 ! virtue, si

RULE VI. A noun or pronoun placed before a participle, and being independent of the rest of the sen tence, is in the nominative case absolute; as, Shame being lost, all virtue is lost;" "The sun Being risen, we travelled on.”

Note. Every nominative case, except the case absolute and independent, should belong to some verb expressed or understood; as, “To whom thus, Adam ;" that is, spoke.


Him Destroyed,
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
All this will follow soon.

Note.-Two substantives, when they come together, and do not signify the same thing, the former must be in the genitive


Virtue, however it may be neglected for a time, men are so constituted as ultimately to acknowledge and respect genuine merit.

RULE VII. Two or more nouns, or nouns and pronouns, signifying the same thing, are put, by apposition, in the same case; as, Paul the apostle ; " " Joram the king ;" Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, wrote many proverbs.”

Note. A noun is sometimes put in apposition with a sentence; as, “The sheriff has just seized and sold his valuable library-(which was) a misfortune that greatly depressed him.”

FALSE SYNTAX. We ought to love God, he who created and sustains all things. The pronoun he in this sentence, is improperly used in the nominative case It is the object of the action of the transitive verb “love,” and put by appo sition with God;" therefore it should be the objective case, him, according to Rule 7. (Repeat the Rule, and correct the following.)

I saw Juliet and her brother, they that you visited.
They slew Varus, he that was mentioned before.
It was John, him who preached repentance.

Adams and Jefferson, them who died on the fourth of July. 1826, were both signers and the firm supporters of the Declara tion of Independence.

Augustus the Roman emperour, him who succeeded Julius Cesar, is variously described by historians.

RULE VIII. Two or more nouns, or nouns and pronouns in the singular number, connected by copulative conjunctions, must have verbs, nouns, and pronouns, agreeing with them in the plural; as, “ Socrates and Plato were wise; they were emi. nent philosophers.”

Note 1, When each or every relates to two or more nominatives in the sin. gular, although connected by a copulative, the verb must agree with each of them in the singular; as, “Every leaf, and every twig, ani every drop of wa. ter, teems with life.”

2. When the singular nominative of a complex sentence, has another noun joined to it with a preposition, it is customary to put the verb and pronoun agreeing with it, in the singular; as, “Prosperity with humility, renders its possessor truly amiable ;" « The General, also, in conjunction with the officers, has applied for redress.”

FALSE SYNTAX. Coffee and sugar grows in the West Indies : it is exported in large quantities.

Two singular nouns coupled together, form a plural idea. The verb grows is improper, because it expresses the action of both its nominatives, “ coffee and sugar,” which two nominatives are connected by the copulative coniunction, and; therefore the verb should be plural, grow; and then it would agree with coffee and sugar, according to Rule 8. (Repeat the Rule.) The pronoun it, as it represents both the nouns, “coffee and sugar,” ought also to be plural, they, agreeably to Rule 8. The sentence should be written thus, Coffee and sugar grow in the West Indies: they are exported in large quantities.” Time and tide

its for no man. Patience and diligence, like faith, removes mountains. Life and health is both uncertain. Wisdom, virtue, happiness, dwells with the golden mediocrity.

The planetary system, boundless space, and the immense ocean, assects the mind with sensations of astonishment.

What signifies the counsel and care of preceptors, when you think you

have no need of assistance ? Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished. Why is whiteness and coldness in snow?

Obey the commandment of thy father, and the law of thy mother : bind it continually upon thy heart.

Pride and vanity always render its possessor despicable in the eyes of the judicious.

There is errour and discrepance in the schemes of the orthoepists, which shows the impossibility of carrying them into effect.

EXAMPLES FOR THE NOTE. Every man, woman, and child, were numbered. Not proper; for, although and couples things together so as to present the whole at one view, yet every has a contrary effect: it distributes thern, and brings each separately and singly under consideration. Were numbered is therefore improper. "It should be," was numbered,” in the singular, acsording to the Note. (Repeat it.)

When benignity and gentleness reign in our breasts, every person and every occurrence are beheld in the most favourablo light

RULE IX. Two or more nouns, or nouns and pronouns, in the singular number, connected by disjunctive conjunctions, must have verbs, nouns, and pronouns, agreeing with them in the singular ; as, “ Neither John nor James has learned his lesson.”

Note 1. When singular pronouns, or a noun and pronoun, of different persons, are disjunctively connected, the verb must agree, in person, with that which is placed nearest to it; as, “ Thou or I am in fault; I or thou art to blame; I, or thou, or he, is the author of it.” But it would be better to say, " Either I am to blame or thou art,” &c.

2. When a disjunctive occurs between a singular noun or pronoun and a plural one, the verb must agree with the plural noun or pronoun, which should generally be placed next to the verb; as, “ Neither poverty nor riches were injurious to him ;" “ I or they were offended by it." Constructions like these ought generally to be avoided.

FALSE SYNTAX. Ignorance or negligence have caused this mistake. The verb, have caused, in this sentence, is improperly used in the plural, because it expresses the action, not of both, but of either the one or the other of its nominatives; therefore it should be in the singular, has caused; and then it would agree with “ignorance or negligence," agreeably to Rule % (Repeat the Rule.)

A circle or a square are the same in idea.
Neither whiteness nor redness are in the porphyry.
Neither of them are remarkable for precision.

Man is not such a machine as a clock or a watch, which move merely as they are moved.

When sickness, infirmity, or reverse of fortune, assect us, the sincerity of friendship is proved.

MIan's happiness or misery are, in a great measure, put into nis own hands.

Despise no infirmity of mind or body, nor any condition of life, for they may be thy own lot. The prince, as well as the people, were blameworthy.

RULE X. A collective noun or noun of multitude, con. veying unity of idea, generally has a verb or pronoun agreeing with it in the singular; as, “The meeting was large, and it held three hours.” Note. Rules 10, and 11, are limited in their application. See page 59

The nation are powersul.
The feet were seen sailing up the channel.
The church have no power to inflict corporal punishmcut

« PreviousContinue »