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4th. Words which are placed before other words, and show the relation between them and those which precede. These are called prepositions.
5th. Words which join together the parts of a sentence or of a discourse, in a regular construction.
These are called connectives or conjunctions.
These five species of subordinate or dependent words are denominated secondary.
There are therefore two classes of words containing seven species or parts of speech. The first class contains two species.
1. Names or Nouns which are the signs of our ideas of whatever we conceive to exist, material and immaterial.
II. Verbs which express affirmation, motion, action of being.
The second class contains five species.
III. Pronouns or Substitutes, words which are used in the place of other words or of sentences.
IV. Adjectives or Attributes, which express the qualities of things, and qualify the action of verbs, or the sense of other attributes and modifiers.
V. Adverbs or Modifiers, which qualify the action of verbs, and the sense of attributes.
VI. Prepositions, which show the relation between words, and also the condition of things.
VII. Connectives or conjunctions, which unite sentences in construction.
Note. Participles are, by some grammarians, considered as a distinct part of speech; and they certainly have some claims to be so considered, but I have chose to follow the common arrangement which is attended with no inconvenience.
Names or Nouns.
A name or noun is that by which a thing is called ; and it expresses the idea of that which exists, material or immaterial. Of material substances, as man, horse, tree, table-of immaterial things, as faith, hope, love. These and similar words are, by customary use, made the names of things which exist, or the symbols of ideas, which they express without the help of any other word.
Division of Names.
Names are of two kinds ; common, or those which represent the idea of a whole kind or species; and proper or appropriate, which denote individuals. Thus animal is a name common to all beings, having organized bodies and endowed with life, digestion, and spontaneous motion. Plant and vegetable are names of all beings which have organized bodies and life, without the power of spontaneous motion. Fowl is the common name of all feathered animals which fly-fish, of animals which live wholly in water.
On the other hand, Thomas, John, William, are proper or appropriate names, each denoting an individual of which there is no species or kind. London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rhine, Po, Danube, Massachusetts, Hudson, Potomac, are also proper names, being appropriate to individual things.
Proper names however become common when they comprehend two or more individuals ; as, the Capets, the Smiths, the Fletchers Two Roberts there the pagan force defyd.”. Hoole's Tasso, b. 20.
Limitation of Names.
PROPER names are sufficiently definite without the aid of another word to limit their meaning, as Boston, Baltimore, Savannah. Yet when certain individuals have a common character, or predominant qualities which create a similitude between them, this common character becomes in the mind a species, and the proper name of an individual possessing this character, admits of the definitives and of plural number, like a common name.
Thus a conspirator is called a Cataline ; and numbers of them Catalines or the Catalines of their country. A distinguished general is called a Cesar-an eminent orator the Cicero of his age.
But names, which are common to a whole kind or spe. cies, require often to be limited to an individual or a certain number of individuals of the kind or species. For
purpose the English language is furnished with a number of words, as an, or a, the, this, that, these, those, and a few others, which define the extent of the signification of common names, or point to the particular things mentioned. These are all adjectives or attributes, have ing a dependence on some noun expressed or implied ; but some of them are used also as substitutes. Of these, an or a and the are never employed as substitutes, but are constantly attached to some name, or an equivalent word ; and from their peculiar use, have obtained the distinctive appellation of articles. But definitive is a more significant and appropriate term ; as they are definitive attributes, and have, grammatically considered, the like use, as, this, that, some, none, any. An is simply the Saxon ane, or an, one.
It was formerly written an before an articulation ;* but for the ease and rapidity of utterance, it is written and pronounced a before an articulation, and before a vowel which includes the sound of an articulation ; as, a pen, a union. It retains its primitive orthography an, before a vowel, and a silent articulation ; as, an eagle, an hour.
Th is used before vowels and articulations; but in poetry, e, for the sake of measure, may be omitted, and th made to coalesce with a succeeding vowel, as “th' embroidered vest."
A noun or name, without a preceding definitive, is used either in an unlimited sense, extending to the whole species, or, in an indefinite sense, denoting a number or quantity, but not the whole.
*" And thæs geares wærun ofslegene IX corlas and an cyning." And this year wereslain nine early and oneking.--Saxon Chron. p. 82. “The proper study of mankind is man.”
Pope. Here man comprehends the whole species.
“ In the first place, woman has, in general, much stronger propensity than man to the perfect discharge of parental duties." Life of Cowper
Here woman and man comprehend each the whole species of its sex.
“From whom also I received letters to the brethren.". Acts 22.
“ The men were overwhelmed by the waves, and ab, sorbed by the eddies. Horses, baggage, and dead bodies, were seen floating together."
In these passages, letters, horses, and dead bodies, without a definitive, denote some, an indefinite number, but not all. So in the following sentence :
A house is consumed by fire-jire is extinguished by water.
NOTE.—The rule laid down by Lowth, and transcribed implicitly by his followers is general. "A substantive without any article to limit it, is taken in its widest sense; thus man means all mankind." The examples already given prove the inaccuracy of the rule. But let it be tried by other examples.
" There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy regions."'-LOCKE, b. 3. ch. 6. 12. If the rule is just, that fishes is to be 6. taken in its widest sense,” then all fishes have wings!
" When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies?' – What! all armies ? 66 There shall be signs in the sun"'_ What! all signs? " Nation shall rise against nation."-What! every nation? How the rule vanishes before the test !
The definite an or a, being merely one, in its English orthography, and precisely synonymous with it, limits a common name to an individual of the species-Its sole use is to express unity, and with respect to number, is the most delinite word imaginable--as an ounce, a church, a ship, that is, one ship, one church. It is used before a name which is indefinite, or applicable to any one of a species; as
.“ He bore him in the thickest troop, As doth a lion in a herd of neat.” Shakspeare. Here a limits the sense of the word lion, and that of herd to one--but does not specify the particular one-“ As any lion does or would do in any herd.”
This definitive is used also before names which are definite and as specific as possible: as, “ Solomon built a temple.” " The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden." London is a great commercial city. A decisive battle was fought ot Marengo. The English obtained a singular naval victory at the mouth of the Nile.*
NOTE. . ** A respects the primary perception and denotes individuals as unknown—the respects our secondary perceptions and denotes individ als as known. A leaves the individuals unascertaived, whereas tule article the ascertains the individual alao."
Harris' Herm's, 215, 217. “ A has an indefinite signification and means one, with some reference to inore."
Johnson s Dict Grammar. “ A is used in a vague sense to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indeterminate.”—“a determines it to be one, single thing of the kind, leaving it still uncelain which.”
Lowth's Introduction. " A is styled the indefinite article; it is used in a vague sense to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indttermin
Murray's, Gram. p. 29. So great scholars write, and so their disciples copy! But let us try this rule. Harris wrote, or rather compiled from Greek Grammarians,“ 4 Philo-ophical Inquiry concerning Universal Grammar”
-Johus n compiled "A Dictionary of the English Language". Lowth wrote “A short Introduction to the English Grammar”, Now I request some of the gentlemen, who teach the rules of these Grammars, to inform the world whether a, in the titles recited, denotes one thing of the kind, in other respects indelerminate. This request I presume to be a reasonable oue, as it certainly is a determinate oue.