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RULE XXX. Two negatives destroy one another, and are generally equivalent to an affirmative; as, “Such things are not uncommon;" i. e. they are common.
NOTE. When one of the two negatives employed is joined to another word, it forms a pleasing and delicate variety of expression; as, “His lan guage, though inelegant, is not ungrammatical ;" that is, it is grammatical.'
But, as two negatives, by destroying each other, are equivalent to an affirmative, they should not be used when we wish to convey a negative meaning. The following sentence is therefore inaccurate: “I cannot by no means allow him what his argument must prove.” It should be, "I cannot by any means," Lc., or, “I can by no means."
Note 1. The prepositions to and for are often understood, chiefly before the pronouns ; as, "Give (to) me a book; Get (for) him some paper."
2. To or auto, is, by some, supposed to be understood alter like and
unlike; as, "He is like (unto] his brother; She is unlike (to] him.” Others consider this mode of expression an idiom of the language, and maintain that like governs the objective following it.
3. Nouns signifying extension, duration, quantity, quality, or value, are used without a governing word; as, “ The Ohio is one thousand miles long; She is ten years old ; My hat is worth ten dollars.” These are sometimes considered anomalies. See page 163.
RULE XXXIII. Conjunctions connect nouns and pronouns in the same case; as, “ The master taught her and me to write;" “ He and she are associates."
FALSE SYNTAX. My brother and him are grammarians. You and me enjoy great privileges.
Him and I went to the city in company; but John and him eturned without me. Between you and I there is a great disparity of years.
RULE XXXIV. Conjunctions generally connect verbs of like moods and tenses; as, “ If thou sincerely desire, and earnestly pursue virtue, she will assuredly be found by thee, and prove a rich reward.”
Note 1. When different moods and tenses are connected by conjunctions, the nominative must be repeated; as, “He may return, but he will not larry."
2. Conjunctions implying contingency or doubt, require the subjunctive mood after them; as, “If he study, he will improve.” See pages 135, 145, and 155.
3. The conjunctions if, though, unless, except, whether, and lest, generally require the subjunctive mood after them.
4. Conjunctions of a positive and absolute nature, implying no doubt, require the indicative mood; as, “ As virtue advances, so vice recedes."
Note 1. He has gone home, but may return.
RULE XXXV. A noun or pronoun following the conjunction than, as, or but, is nominative to a verb, or gov erned by a verb or preposition, expressed or un derstood; as, “ Thou art wiser than I (am.”] “I saw nobody but [I saw] him”
Note 1. The conjunction as, when it is connected with such, many, or same, is sometimes, though erroneously, called a relative pronoun ; as, “Let such as presume to advise others," &c.; that is, Let them who, &c. See page 116.
2. An ellipsis, or omission of some words, is frequently admitted, wnich must be supplied in the mind in order to parse granınatically; as, “Wo is me;" that is, to me, “ To sleep all night ;" i. e. through all the night; “He has gone a journey;" i. e. on a journey; “ They walked a lcague;" i. e. over a space called a league.
3. When the omission of words would obscure the sense, or weaken its force, they must be expressed.
4. In the use of prepositions, and words that relate to each other, we should pay particular regard to the meaning of the words or sentences which they connect: all the parts of a sentence should correspond to each other. and a regular and clear construction throughout should be carefully preserved,
FALSE SYNTAX. They are much greater gainers than me.
They know how to write as well as him ; but he is a better grammarian than them.
They were all well but him.
REMARKS ON THE TENSES. 1. In the use of verbs, and other words and phrases which, in point of time, relate to each other, a due regard to that relation should be observed.
Instead of saying, “The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away;"! we should say, "" The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.". Instead of, “I re:nember the family more than twenty years;" it should be, "I have remembered the family more than twenty years.”
2. The best rule that can be given for the management of the tenses, and of words and phrases which, in point of ume, relate to each other, is this very general one; Obsei've whal the sense necessarily requires.
I have visited Washington last summer ; I have seen the work more than a month ago,” is not good sense. The constructions should be, “ I visited Washington, &c.; I saw the work, &c.” “ This inode of expresgon has been fornierly much admired :"_" was formerly much admired." “Jf I had have been there ;” “If I hail have seen him;"“ Hail you have known hiin,” are solecisms too gross to need correction. We can say, I have been, I had been ; but what sort of a tense is, had, have been ? To place had before the defective verb ought, is an errour equally gross and illiterate :- had ought, hadn't ought." This is as low a vulgarism as the use of theim, hern, and hizzen, tother, furder, baynt, this ere, I seed it, I tell’d him.
3. When we refer to a past action or event, and no part of that time in which it took place; remains, the imperfect tense should be used; but if there is still remaining some portion of the time in which we declare that the thing has been done, the perfect teuse should be employed
Thus, we say, “Philosophers made great discoveries in the last century;" “ He roas much aslicted last year;" but when we refer to the present century, year, weck, day, &c. we ought to use the perfect tense; as,
“ Philos ophers have male great discoveries in the present century;" “ He has been much afflicted this year;" “ I have read the president's message this weck;" “ We have heard important news this morning ;** because thcse events occurred in this century, this year, this week, and to-day, and still there reinains a part of this century, year, week, and day, of which I speak.
In general, the perfect tense may be applied wherever the action is con. nected with the present time, by the actual existence either of the author or of the work, though it may have been performed many cent
ago; but if neither the author nor the work now remains, the perfect tense ought not to be employed. Speaking of priests in general, we may say, “ They have, in all ages,claimed great powers ;” because the general order of the priesthood still exists; but we cannot properly say, “ The Druid priests have claimed great powers ;” because that order is now extinct. We ought, therefore, to say,
To The Druid priests claimed great powers." The following examples may serve still farther to illustrate the proper use and application of the tenses. My brother has recently been to Philadelphia.” It should be,“ was recently at Philadelphia ;” because the adverb recently refers to a time completely past, without any allusion to the present tiine. “ Charles is grown considešably since I have seen him the last time.” Corrected, “ Charles has grown, since I saw him," &c. "Payment was at length made, but no reason assigned for its being so long postponed.” Corrected, " for its having been so long postponed.” were arrived an hour before we reached the city :"_" They had arrived."
“The workmen will complete the building at the time I take possession of it.” It should be,“ will have completed the building,” &c. “This curious piece of workmanship was preserved, and shown to strangers for more than fifty years past :"_" has been preserved, and been shown to strangers," &c. “I had rather write than beg:"-"I would rather write than beg."
“On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty whereof Paul was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands.". It ought to be, “because he would know; or, being willing to know," &c. “The blind man said, 'Lord, that I might receive iny sight;!" "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection
of the dead." In both these examples, may would be preferable to might. “I feared that I should have lost the parcel, before I arrived :"_"that I should lose.” “It would have afforded me no satisface tion, if I could perform it.” It ought to be, “if I could have performed it ;" or, “ It would afford me no satisfaction, if I could perform it.” “This dedication may serve for almost any book that has, is, or shall be published :".
:"_" that has been, or will be published.”
4. In order to employ the two tenses of the infinitive mood with propriety, particular attention should be paid to the mean. ing of what we express,
Verbs expressive of hope, desire, intention, or command, ought to be followed by the PRESENT tense of the Infinitive mood.
“Last week I intended to have written,” is improper. The intention of writing was then present with me; and, therefore, the construction should be, "I intended to write.” The following examples are also inaccurate; “J found him better than I expected to have found him;" "My purpose was after spending ten months more in commerce, to have withdrawn my wealth to another country.” Thev should be, “expected to find him;" “ to withdrar my wealth.”
“This is a book which proves itself to be written by the person whose name it bears." Itought to be “which proves itself to have been written," kurie
"To sce him would have afforded me pleasure all my life." Corrected, " To have seen him ;': or, “To see himn would afford me pleasure," &c. “The arguments were sufficient to have satisfiea al who heard them :"_" were suffi. cient to satisfy." "History painters would have found it dillicult to have invented such a species of being3:"_" to invent such a species.”
5. General and immutable truths ought to be expressed in the present tense.
Instead of saying, “He did not know that eight and twenty were equal to twenty and eight;" “'The preacher said very audibly, that whatever was useful, was good;" « My opponent would not believe, that virtue was always arvantageous ;" The constructions should be, “ are equal to twenty;"
whatever is useful, is good;" "virtue is always advantageous." EXAMPLES IN FALSE SYNTAX PROMISCUOUSLY
ARRANGED. We adore the Divine Being, he who is froin eternity 1 eternity.
On these causes depend all the happiness or misery which exist
among men. The enemies who we have most to fear, are those of our own hearts.
Is it me or him who you requested to go?
Though great has been his disobedience and his folly, yet ir he sincerely acknowledges his misconduct, he shall be forgiven.
There were, in the metropolis, much to amuse them.
The property of my friend, I mean his books and furniture were wholly consumed.
Affluence might give us respect in the eyes of the vulgar, but will not reconimend us to the wise and good.
The cares of this world, they often choke the growth of virtue.
They that horour me, I will honour; and them that despiso me, shall be lightly esteemed.
I intended to have called last week, but could not.
I have recently been in Washington, where I have seen Gon Andrew Jackson, he who is now president.
Take the two first, and, if you please, the three last.
I have saw him who you wrote to ; and he would have came back with me, if he could.
No one in fifty of those who call themselves deists, understand the nature of the religion which they reject.
If thou studiest diligently, thou will become learned.