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Ble. In every sentonce there is some leading or governing word, which, if possible, ought to be continued so from the beginning to the end of it. The fuilowing sentence is not constructed according to this rule : “ After we came to anchor, they put me on shore, where I was saluted by all my friends, who received me with the greatest kindness.”. In this sentence, though the objects are sufficiently connected, yet, by shifting so frequently the place and the person, the vessel, the shore, we, they, I, and who, they appear in so disunited a view, that the mind is led to wander for the sense. The sentence is restored to its proper unity by constructing it thus: “Having come to anchor, I was put on shore, where I was saluted by all my friends, who received me with the greatest kindness."
2. Never crowd into one sentence things which have so little connerior., that they would beur to be divided into two or more sentences. The violation of this rule produces so unfavourable an effect, that it is safer to err rather by too inany short sentences, than hy one that is overloaded and confused. 3. Avoid all unnecessary parenthess.
CLEARNESS. Ambiguity, which is opposed to clearness, may arise from a bad choice, or a bad arrangement of words.
A leading rule in the arrangement of sentences, is, that those worils or members most nearly related, should be placed in the sentence as near to each other as possible, so as thereby to make their mutual relation clearly appear. This rule ought to be observed,
1. In the position of advertis. By greatness,” says Mr. Addison, " I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view.” The improper situation of the adverb only, in this sentence, renders it a liinitation of the verb mean, whereas the author intended to have it quality the phrase, a single object; thus, “By greatness, I do not mean the bulk of any single object only, but the largeness of a whole view."
2. In the position of phrases and members. “ Are these designs which any man who is born a Biitun, in any circumstances, in any situation, ought to be ashamed or afraid to avow ?"*° Corrected: "Are these designs which any man who is born a Briton, ought to be ashamed or afraid, in any circumstan. ces, in any situation, to avow ?"
3. In the position of pronouns. The reference of a pronoun to its noun, should always be so clear that we cannot possibly mistake it : otherwise the noun onght to be repeated. “It is folly to pretend to arm ourselves against the accidents of life, by heaping up treasures, which nothing can protect us against but the good providence of our Heavenly Father.” Which, in this sentence, grammatically refers to treasures; and this would convert the whole period into nonsense. The sentence should have been thus constructed, "It is fully to pretend, by heaping up treasures, to arm ourselves against the accidents of life, against which nothing can protect us but the good providence of our Heavenly Father.”
STRENGTH. By the strength of a sentence is meant such an arrangement of its several words and members, as exhibits the sense to the best advantage, and gives every word and member its due weight and force.
1. The first rule for promoting the strength of a sentence, is, to take from it all redundant words and members. Whatever can be easily supplied in the mind, should generally be omitted ; thus,“ Content with deserving a triumph, he refused the honour of it,” is better than to say, “ Being content with deserving a triumph," &c. They returned back again to the same city from whence they came forth.” If we cxpunge from this short sentence five words whicn are mere expletives, it will be much more neat and forcible
e; thus, “ They returned to the city whence they ca:10." But wc should be cautious of pruning so closely as to give a hardness and dryness to the style Some leaves must be left to shelter and adorn the fruit.
2. Particular attention to the use of copulatives, relatives, and all the particles employed for transition and connocion, is required. In compositions of an elevated cha.acter, the relative should generally be inserted. An injudicious repetition of and enfeebles style; but when enumerating objects which we wish to have appear as distinct from each other as possible, it may be repeat ed with peculiar advantage ; thus,“ Such a man may fall a victim to pow. er; but truth, and reason, anil liberty, would fall with him."
3. Dispose of the capital word or words in that part of the sentence in which they will make the most striking impression.
4. Cmise the members of a sentence to go on rising in their importance one above another. In a sentence of two members, the longer should generally be the concluding ov!e.
5. Avoill conclısding a sentence with an adverb, a preposition, or any inconsiih crable word, unless it be emphaticril.
6. Where two things are compared or contrasted with each other, a resemblance in the language and construction should be obserdedo
FIGURES OF SPEECII. Figures of Speech may be described as that language which is prompted either by the imagination, or by the passions. They generally imply some departure from simplicity of expression; Aniol exhibit ideas in a manner more vivid and impressive, than could be done by plain language. Figures have been commonly divided into iwo great classes; Figures of Iords, and Fig. ures of Thought.
Figures of Words are called Tropes, and consist in a word's being employed to signify something that is different from its original meaning; so that by altering the word, we destroy the figure.
When we say of a person, that he has a fine taste in wincs, the word taste is used in its common, literal sense; but when we say, he has a fine laste for painting, poetry, or musick, we use the word figuratively. “A good man enjoys comfort in the midst of adversity,” is sinple language; but when it 19 said, “To the upright there ariseth light in clarkness," the same sentiment 24 expressed in a figurative style, light is put in the place of comfort, and darkness is used to suggest the idea of adversity.
The following are the most important figures :
1. A METAPHOR is founded on the resemblance which one ohject bears to another ; or, it is a comparison in an abridged forni.
When I say of some great ininister, “That he upholds the state like a pillar which supports the weight of a whole
edifice,” I fairly make a compar isoll; but when I say of such a minister, “That he is the pillar of state," the word pillar becomes a melaphor. In the latter construction, the compart Bop between the sunister and a pillar, is made in the mind; but it io at preased without any of the words that denote comparison
Metaphors abound in all writings. In the scriptures they may be found in vast variety. Thus, our blessed Lord is called a vine, a lamb, a lion, &c.; and men, according to their different dispositions, are styled wolves, sheep. dogs, serpents, vipers, &c.
Washington Irving, in speaking of the degraded state of the American Aborigines who linger on the borders of the “white settlements,” employs the following beautiful metaphor: "The proud pillar of their independence has been shaken down, and the whole moral fabrick lies in ruins."
2. An Allegory may be regarded as a metaphor continued ; or, it is several metaphors so connected together in sense, as frequently to form a kind of parable or fable. It differs from a single netaphor, in the same manner that a cluster on the vine differs from a single grape.
The following is a fine example of an allegory, taken from the 60th psalm; wherein the pcople of Israel are reprezented under the image of a vine? “ Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it; and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it ; and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs into the sea, and her branches into the river.”
3. A SIMILE or COMPARISON is when the resemblance he. tween two objects, whether real or imaginary, is expressed in form.
Thus, we use a simile, when we say, “The actions of princes are like those great rivers, the course of which every one beholds, but their springs have been seen by fow.” “ As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, s) the Lord is round about his people.” “ The inusick of Caryl was like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.” Indians are like those wild plants which thrive best in the shade, but which wither when exposed to the influence of the sun."
“ The Assyrian came down, like the wolf on the fold,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.” 4. A METONYMy is where the cause is put for the effect, or the effect for the cause ; the container for the thing contained; or the sign for the thing signified. When we say,
“They read Milton,” the cause is put for the effect, mean ing “Milton's works.” “ Gray hairs should be respected;" here the effect is put for the cause; meaning by "gray hairs," old age, which produces gray hairs. In the phrase, “ The kettle boils,” the container is substituted for the thing contained. " He addressed the chair ;" that is, the person in the chair,
5. A SYNECDOCHE OR COMPREHENSION. When the whole is put for a part, or a part for the whole ; a genus for a species, or a species for a genus ; in general, when any thing less, or any thing more, is put for the precise object meant, the figure is called a Synecdoche. Thus, “ A fleet of twenty sail
, instead of, ships.” “The korse is a noble animal;" “ The dog is a faithful creature:" here an individual is put for the species. We sometimes use the "head" for the person, and the waves" for the sea. In like manner, an attribute may be put for a subject; allo
Youth" for the young, the “deep" for the sea.
6. PERSONIFICATION Or PROSO POPera is that figure by which we attribute life and action to inanimate pbjects. When we say, “ the ground thirsts for rain,” or, “the earth smiles with plenty;" when we speak of“ ambition's being restless," or, a disease's being deceitful;" such expressions show the facility, with which the mind can accommodate the properties of living creatures to things that are inanimate.
The following arc fine examples of this figure :
“ The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
7. An Apostrophe is an address to some person, either absent or dead, as if he were present and listening to us. The address is frequently made to a personified object; as, “ Death is swallowed up in victory. O death! where is thy sting? 0 grare ! whicre is thy victory?"
Weep on the rocks of roaring winds, O maid of Inistore; bend thy fair head over the waves, thou fairer than the ghost of the hills, when it moves in a sun-beain at noon over the silence of Morven.”
8. Antithesis. Comparison is founded on the resemblance, antithesis, on the contrast or opposition, of two objects.
Example “ If you wish to enrich a person, study not to increase his stores, but to diminish his desires."
9. HYPERBOLE or ExageRATION consists in magnifying an object beyond its natural bounds. " As swift as the wind ; as white as the snow; as slow as a snail ;" and the like, are ex. travagant hyperboles.
“I saw their chief, tall as a rock of ice; his spear, the blasted fir; his shield, the rising moon; he sat on the shore, like a cloud of mist on the hills."
10. Vision is produced, when, in relating something that is past, we use the present tense, and describe it as actually passing before our eyes.
11. INTERROGATION. The literal use of an interrogation, is to ask a question ; but when men are strongly moved, whatever they would affirm or deny with great earnestness, they naturally put in the form of a question.
Thus Balaam expressed himself to Balak: “ The Lord is not man, that he should lie, nor the son of man, that he should repent. Hath he said it ? and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken it? and shall he not make it good?” “ Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice Like him ?"
*12. EXCLAMATIONS are the effect of strong emotions, such as surprise, admiration, joy, grief, and the like.
“O that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of way-saring men!". "O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest !"
13. IRONY is expressing ourselves in a manner contrary to our thoughts ; not with a view to deceive, but to add force to our remarks. We can reprove one for his negligence, by saying, “You have taken great care, indeed."
The prophet Elijah adopted this figure, when he challenged the priests of Bual to prove the truth of their deity. “ He mocked them, and said, Cry aloud for he is a god: either be is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or, peradventure, he sleepeth, and must be waked."
14. AMPLIFICATION or Climax consists in heightening all the circumstances of an object or action, which we desire to place in a strong light.
Cicero gives a lively instance of this figure, when he says, “ It is a crime to put a Roman citizen in bonds : it is the height of guilt to scourge him ; little less than parricide to put him to death : what name, then, shall I give to the act of crucifying him?"
KEY. Corrections of the False Syntax arranged under the Rules and
Notes. RULE 4. Frequent commission of sin hardens men in it. Great pains have been taken, &c.--is seldom found. The sincere are, &c. is happy. What avail, &c. -Disappointments sink-the renewal of hope gives, &c.--without limit. has been conferred upon us.—Thou canst not healmbut tiou mayst do, &c.--consists the happiness, &c.—Who touchedst, or didst touch Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire.
Note 1. And wilt thou never be to Heaven resigned ?-And who had great abilities, &c. Note 2. Are peace and honour.
was controversy. RULE 7. Them that you visited.-him that was mentioned.-he who preached repentance, &c.—they who died.-he who succeeded.
RULE 8. Time and tide wait, &c.-remove mountains.--are both uncertain.-dwell with, &c.-affect the mind, &c.—What signify the counsel and care, &c.—are now perished.—Why are whiteness and coldness, &c.—bind them continually, &c.-render their possessor, &c.—There are errour and discrepance-which show, &c.
Rule 9. Is the same in idea.—is in the porphyry.—is remarkable, &c.which moves merely as is moved.-affects us, &c.—Man’e happiness or misery is, in a great measure &c.--for it may be, &c.—was blameworthy.
Rule 10. The nation is powerful.—The feet was seen, &c.—The church has, &c.-is, or ought to be, the object, &c.—it is feeble.
RULE 11. My people do &c.— The multitude eagerly persue pleasure as their, &c.--were divided in their sentiments, and they have referred, &c.—Tho people rejoice-give them sorrow.
Rule 12. Homer's works are &c.-Asa's heart. James Hart's book.
Note'l. It was the men, women, and children's lot, &c. or, It was the lot of the men, women, and children.—Peter, John, and Andrew's, &c.
Note 2. This is Campbell the poet's production ; or, The production of Campbell, &c.The silk was purchased at Brown's' the mercer and haber. dasher.
Note 4. The pupil's composing, &c.-rule's being observed.-of the president's neglecting to lay it before the council.