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that they are, with very few exceptions, presented as they stand in the original. As I have in no case manufactured a sentence for the purpose of obtaining an error to refute, so I have never falsified a quotation by leaving out supplementary clauses. When this is done, and words between which a discrepancy exists are brought into close contact, the error becomes so obvious that it requires no exercise of thought or ingenuity on the part of the pupil to correct it. Error of any kind, stript of all adventitious circumstances, and presented in its naked shape, disgusts every body and deceives none. It is only when mixed up with truths that it runs any risk of escaping detection. I would further observe, that while I have not hesitated to take an illustration from any of our standard authors, I have seldom gone farther back for instances of violation than the time of Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon. It would have been very easy to find, in great numbers, what would at present be accounted errors, in Addison, Swift, and their contemporaries; but Dr Lowth and his immediate followers have sufficiently exposed them, and they may now be said to lie innocuous, and even dead. To revive old errors for no purpose but to refute them, seems to me as objectionable and unwise in grammar as in any thing else. The mistakes I have pointed out are all from modern or recent, many of them from living authors. Some may object to this that it is not sufficiently respectful; but I am satisfied that Hallam and Alison—I would certainly have added Arnold if he had been alive-will not be displeased to see their verbal mistakes registered and held out as beacons to the young generation, which their works are so manifestly destined to enlighten, elevate, and refine.
It may not be improper to add, that in some portions of the work I have drawn upon a short treatise formerly furnished by me to a popular miscellany. To it I have not considered it necessary specially to refer ; but wherever I was conscious of being indebted to any former writer, I have stated so in the proper place, not thinking it honest to conceal special favours under a general acknowledgment of obligation.
1. GRAMMAR, from the Greek word yearence (gramma), a letter, may be briefly defined as the SCIENCE OF LANGUAGE.
2. In this definition, the term science is used in its recognised sense, knowledge reduced to a system ; and the word language, in that which both derivation and general use assign to it, articulate speech.
3. The term language is indeed sometimes used in a wider sense, and defined as any means by which ideas can be communicated from one being to another ; but it is not the special business of grammar to treat of it as thus defined.
4. Language is of two kinds, spoken and written. Spoken language has for its principal object to communicate our thoughts to others; written, to record them for ourselves. The rules of grammar apply equally to both kinds.
5. Every science has what may be called a subject-matter to deal with, and an object for which it is studied. Thus, for instance, Astronomy refers to the heavenly bodies, and is studied because a knowledge of their phenomena is found to be subservient not merely to the pleasure but also to the use of man. The science of Optics has for its subjectmatter the phenomena of light and vision, and one of its practical uses is the construction of telescopes, spectacles, &c. Now, the subject-matter of Grammar is speech or words, and the object for which it is studied is to learn the nature and power of words, taken singly and in combination, viewed as a vehicle of thought and a medium of communication.
6. It has been computed that there are between three and four thousand languages spoken by different tribes and nations, differing from each other as widely as English does from French, or French from German ; but, on comparing them, many of the individual words are found to resemble each other very closely, and similar modes of arrangement and grammatical structure are found to prevail.
7. The comparison of different languages, with a view to trace their resemblances and differences, constitutes the science of PhilOLOGY, or UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR, as it is sometimes called, in contradistinction to the grammar of individual tongues.
8. In the speech of every nation, however, there are many peculiarities, both in the choice of words and in the changes made on them to express varieties of sense, not less than the way in which they are arranged. These varieties may be traced partly to the intellectual peculiarities by which nations are distinguished from each other ; but, in the present state of our knowledge, many of them must be assigned to accident.
9. The grammar of any particular tongue gets its name from that tongue. Thus, we speak of Greek Grammar, Latin Grammar, &c. Our present business is with English Grammar, or to set forth the structure and usage of the English tongue, taking no further notice of other languages than as some striking similarity or dissimilarity between it and any of them may render such notice interesting or necessary.
10. With a view to facilitate the study of grammar, it has been divided into various parts; observations of a similar kind being classed together. When knowledge relating to any subject is to be communicated, it is found advantageous to begin with simple observations, and gradually to proceed to those that are not so obvious. Facts thus arranged are more conveniently taught, more easily remembered, and more readily applied.
11. Four such divisions are generally adopted by grammarians, viz. ORTHOGRAPHY, ETYMOLOGY, Syntax, and PROSODY.