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pointed out to him loftily exclaimed, “Ego sum Rex Romanus, et super grammaticam! (I am King of the Romans, and above grammar!)”
Milton's opinion of the true grammarian was somewhat different from that held by those Sigismunds who loftily set themselves "above grammar.” “Whoever in a state," says he, “knows how to form wisely the manners of men and to rule them at home and in war by excellent institutes, him in the first place, above others, I should esteem worthy of all honor; but next to him the man who strives to establish in maxims and rules the method and habit of speaking and writing derived from a good age of the nation, and, as it were, to fortify the same round with a kind of wall, the daring to overleap which a law only short of that of Romulus should be used to prevent.”
Every one owes it to the language which contains our noble literature to do what he can to keep that language pure. Changes must of course take place in every living language. New ideas require new words to express them. But words and forms which have been established by the usage of the great writers should be regarded as among the elements of the language. Every friend of literature should set himself against changes which ignorance and self-conceit strive to thrust into the language. " In language and in literature,” says Mr. Marsh, “nothing can save us from ceaseless revolution but a frequent recourse to the primitive authorities and the recognized canons of highest perfection.”
In this work, it is believed, the science of grammar is much sim-, plified. Pronouns are treated as being what they are, simply nouns; and they are introduced before the subject of case is mentioned. If it were not for pronouns, the distinction of cases, so far as the nominative and objective are concerned, would be a useless encumbrance to English grammar.
It seems strange that thinking men should ever have been satisfied with the common doctrine concerning “the compound relative what” and the words compounded of the simple relatives and ever and soever. The subject in itself is simple enough, as, it is thought, will be seen by those who consult this work.
The articles, in stead of being made to form a separate part of speech, are placed - where they belong, among adjectives.
Attention is invited to the simplicity and thoroughness with which every point connected with the verb is treated. The syntax of the infinitive is presented in a manner which is believed to be as simple as it is new.
One who has not had his attention particularly directed to the subject would scarcely suspect how common is the occurrence of the first and third persons of the imperative, particularly of the third person. These forms occur so frequently that they have been given in
the paradigms of the verb. The principles governing the use of shall and will, should and would are presented so clearly and illustrated with so great a variety of exercises that the subject will be mastered with the greatest ease.
Attention is invited to the manner of treating prepositions, adverbs, and conjunctions.
In the treatment of the Analysis of Sentences all the principles are fully presented, with abundant exercises in analysis and synthesis. The subject consists of
1. Definition of sentence, proposition, subject, predicate.
6. Sentences as composed of one or of more than one proposition. This is all. The subject is beautifully simple when freed from impertinent technicalities. Simplicity is greatly promoted by representing the grammatical predicate as always a verb alone, the verb be taking its place with other verbs. (See Note N, p. 310.) The analysis by diagrams shows at once to the eye the relation of the different parts of the sentence to each other, including the relative rank of the different propositions.*
Under the heads of “Elliptical Propositions” and “Substitutes and Transformations” many difficulties are explained, and in these and other places are mentioned constructions which seem not to have been mentioned in any other grammar.
An attempt has been made to bring order into the chaos of punctuation and to establish a system on sound general principles.
* Mr. W. A. Boles suggests the following method of presenting syntax and etymology together. The abbreviations will be readily understood:
ETYMOLOGY. n. c. p. 3. n. IV.
L. s. SG. S, angels
White-winged adj. q. ...
v. i. t. a. ind. pres. s. 3. V.
n. c. S. c. 3. o. IX.
n. c. S. n. 3. o. X.
n. c. S. n. 3. 0. X. Numerals refer to rules of Butler's Practical Grammar. Write modifying words under the words they modify. Write words understood as parentheses.
The subject of prosody is presented free from unnecessary technicalities, so that its principles may, it is believed, be mastered in a few hours.
This work is intended to be eminently practical. Every principle is abundantly illustrated with exercises. The subjects are so presented in the exercises that the pupil can not fail to have the principles fixed in his mind. See, for instance, the exercises on shall and will. The work contains critical discussions of various grammatical points. These discussions are intended for the teacher, whose use of them with his pupils must be governed by his opinion of their capacity. The “Questions for Review” present all the points to which it is thought necessary to call the attention of pupils in general. It is recommended that those who are just entering upon the study begin with Etymology.
WORDS AND SYLLABLES.............
Remarks on there, that, for......161, 162