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affirm something : thus, the words “ name brother's John my is,” though individually significant, are not put together in such a way as to convey a meaning, but when they are arranged in this way, my brother's name is John," we have a sentence. In like manner, the words “ The city of Edinburgh,” do not form a sentence, because they declare nothing ; but if we say, “ The city of Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland,” a distinct assertion is made, and therefore the words form a sentence. 199. We must here remind the reader, that
every sentence must contain at least a subject and a predicate, the subject being the thing spoken of, and the predicate the action or state of being affirmed of it.
200. When the verb forming the predicate is transitive, the word which it affects is called the object : thus, in the sentence, “ John learns his lesson,” John, being the subject of discourse, is in the nominative, and lesson, being the thing affected by the predicate learns, is in the objective case.
201. Sentences are either simple or compound, and consist of various parts, which should be well understood before the rules of Syntax are commenced. “ Alexander wept,” is a simple sentence, consisting of a simple subject, “ Alexander," and a simple predicate,“ wept.” If we say, “ Alexander the Great wept bitterly," the sentence is still considered simple, though both the subject and predicate are modified by other words. But “ Alexander the Great wept bitterly, when he had conquered the world,” is a compound sentence, because it has in it two predicates, “wept”
conquered.” 202. “ Alexander the Great, when he had conquered the world, is said to have wept, because there were not other worlds to conquer.” This compound sentence may be divided into three parts. The main clause is, “ Alexander the Great is said to have wept,” the other two being connected with it; the one, “ when he had conquered the world,” to show the time when, and the other, “ because there were not other worlds to conquer,” to assign the reason why “ he wept.” The former may be called a parenthetical clause, and the latter a connective or conjunctive one. Generally, the clause gets its name from the word which intro
duces it, but grammarians are not well agreed in the use of terms to describe the different members of sentences.
203. It is of little consequence by what names we call the different clauses, provided we see their relative bearing. Let us consider one passage by way of example :-“ If Hannibal had not wintered at Capua, by which circumstance his troops were enervated, but had, on the contrary, after the battle of Canne proceeded to Rome, it is not improbable that the great city would have fallen.” The principal clause in this complex sentence is the last,—“ it is not improbable that the great city would have fallen :" this, however, rests on the conditional clause introducing the sentence, “if Hannibal had not wintered at Capua.” To this conditional clause is subjoined an explanatory one, to show in what way the principal clause is affected by the conditional, “ by which circumstance his troops were enervated.” Opposed to the clause, “ if Hannibal had not wintered at Capua,” we have the adversative clause, “ but had proceeded to Rome,” indicating by the conjunction but (194) an opposition between the two things; and, within this clause, we have an explanatory phrase, “ after the battle of Cannæ," as well as the adverbial expression, “on the contrary," which, however, may be considered pleonastic, being sufficiently expressed by the adversative conjunction “but.” Each clause, it should be observed, is grammatically, complete within itself, yet each modifies the other in such a way that the sense is often suspended to the last.
EXERCISE XX. 1. Alfred, thus opposed to an enemy whom no stationary force could resist, and no treaty could bind, found himself unable to repel the efforts of those ravagers who from all quarters invaded him. New swarms of the enemy arrived every year upon the coast, and fresh invasions were still projected. Some of his subjects, therefore, left their country and retired into Wales, or fled to the Continent.-Goldsmith.
What is the main assertion in the first sentence, stript of all subsidiary clauses ? What is the subject of the clause ? The predicate? The object? What clause modifies the subject? Analyze the clause “ thus opposed to an enemy whom no stationary force could resist.” What is the object of the verb repel? To what does
the relative clause“ who from all quarters invaded him” refer ?
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Sing heavenly muse, that on the secret top
In the beginning, how the heavens and earth
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
Instruct for thou know'st. Thou from the first
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss,
That to the height of this great argument
Milton. What part of speech is of? What is the object to the verb sing of? Analyze the object. Show that it consists of seven enumerated particulars. What relative clause refers to “ heavenly muse ?” What to “ that shepherd ?” What part of speech is first, line 8? To what word does the adverbial clause, “ how the heavens and earth rose out of chaos," belong? What is the object of “ taught.” What is the subject in line 9? What does fast, line 12, qualify ? Is there any parenthetical clause in line 14 ? The object in line 18 ? What two words qualify it? What is the sense of “ for" in line 19? The parenthetical clause in line 20? In line 22 there is a word involving both the idea of subject and of object. How is this? What is the sense of that, line 24 ? The subject, predicate, and object in line 25? What word qualifies the object? How are lines 25 and 26 united ?
RULES OF SYNTAX.
Rule I.-NOMINATIVE AND VERB. 204. A verb agrees with its nominative in number and person ; as, I read, he learns.
This rule is of very extensive application, and if understood in its full import, it will render useless many others that are commonly set down by grammarians. It may
be expressed in more general terms thus :—The number and person of the subject of a sentence determine the number and person of the verb. For example, in the sentence, 6 John
runs, John, the subject, is singular, and, like all nouns, of the third person ; we therefore use the third person singular of the verb runs. Again, in the sentence “ John and James read,” the subject, John and James, expresses an idea of more than one, and so the verb must be plural, read, not reads, as it would have been, had only one name been mentioned. In this sentence, “ John or James intends to accompany me,” it is obvious, from the very nature of the conjunction or, that intention is predicated or asserted only of one of the persons, and therefore the verb is in the singular, intends.
205. The infinitive of a verb, the clause of a sentence, a phrase, or any sort of word, may be used as the nominative to a verb.
1. History forbids despair without authorizing vanity.-Arnold.
2. The Spaniards were the newly conquered subjects of Carthage.-Idem.
3. The momentary junction of several tribes produces an army; their more lasting union constitutes a nation.-Gibbon.
4. The supply and distribution of water in a large city are well worth observing.- Arnott.
5. The origin of the city, and state of Rome is involved in great uncertainty.-Tytler.
6. A man is never lost till he abandons himself.—M'Cullagh.
7. Their subtlety in logic, and great ingenuity in devising arguments, were employed in sophisms that undermined the foundations of moral integrity in the heart.-Hallam.
8. In the mean time, the almost unobserved advancement and diffusion of knowledge were paving the way for discoveries, of which the high results will be contemplated only by unborn ages.Mackintosh.
9. Numbers destroy responsibility without conferring wisdom, while ambition weakens the sense of justice without adding to the capacity for judgment.-Alison. 10. The mountains look on Marathon, And Marathon looks on the sea.
Byron. 11. The sports of children satisfy the child.-Goldsmith. 12. To bear is to conquer our fate.-Campbell.
13. Forever is not a category that can establish itself in this world of time.-Carlyle. 14. To reign is worth ambition, though in hell;
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Milton. 15. In the sands of Africa and Arabia the camel is a sacred and precious gift.-Gibbon.
206. As collective nouns, though singular in form, may yet suggest the idea of plurality, they are joined either to a singular or a plural verb, according as the idea suggested is that of unity or plurality. Thus, when we say, army is on its march,” we seem to lose sight of the individuals composing the idea represented by the word army, and speak of it as one mass; but if we say,
“ The peasantry go barefooted,” this mode of expression seems to give us an idea of a number of people existing separately, and we therefore put the verb in the plural. The truth seems to be, that the idea of unity and the idea of multiplicity may be both involved in a collective noun, and it depends upon which idea predominates whether we shall make the verb singular or plural. Sometimes the two ideas are about equally prominent, being, as it were, in equilibrium, and then either number may be adopted. But in that case it should be parcicularly observed, that if in one part of a sentence it is made to stand as singular, it ought not in another to be used as plural.
1. The people of the rude tribes of America are remarkable for their artifice and duplicity.-Robertson.
2. The robust youth of the seacoast were chained to the oar.Gibbon.
3. There is a certain class of men who never look, &c.—Macaulay.