« PreviousContinue »
"the noun or pronoun*." For my part, notwithstanding what is here very fpeciously urged, I am not satisfied that there is any fault in the phrafes cenfured. They appear to me to be perfectly in the idiom of our tongue, and fuch as on fome occafions could not eafily be avoided, unless by recurring to circumlocution, an expedient which invariably tends to enervate the expreffion. But let us examine the matter more nearly.
THIS author admits that the active participle may be employed as a noun, and has given fome excellent directions regarding the manner in which it ought to be conftrued, that the proper diftinction may be preferved between the noun and the gerund. Phrafes like these therefore he would have admitted as unexceptionable, "Much depends upon their obferving of the rule, and "error will be the confequence of their neglecting "of it." Now, though I allow both the modes of expreffion to be good, I think the firft fimpler and better than the fecond. Let us confider whether the former be liable to any objections, which do not equally affect the latter.
Introduction, &c. Sentences, Note on the 6th Phrafe.
ONE principal objection to the firft is, "You "cannot fupply the place of the poffeffive case by the prepofition of before the noun or pro "noun." Right; but before you draw any conclufion from this circumftance, try whether it will not equally affect both expreffions; for if it does, both are on this account to be rejected, or neither. In the firft, the fentence will be made to run thus, "Much depends upon the being obferved of the rule, and error will be the confe quence of the being neglected of it." Very bad without queftion. In the fecond, thus, "Much depends upon the obferving of them of the rule, "and error will be the confequence of the neglecting of them of it." Still worfe. But it may be thought that as, in the laft example, the participial noun gets a double regimen, this occafions all the impropriety and confufion. I shall therefore make the experiment on a more fimple fentence. "Much will depend on your pupil's
compofing, but more on his reading frequently." Would it be English to fay, "Much will depend "on the compofing of your pupil, but more on the reading of him frequently?"-No certainly. If this argument then prove any thing, it proves too much, and confequently can be no criterion. THE
THE only other objection mentioned is, that "being obferved and being neglected, are not nouns." It is acknowledged that in the common acceptation of the word, they are not nouns, but paffive participles; neither is the active participle commonly a noun, neither is the infinitive of the verb active or paffive, a noun. Yet the genius of the tongue permits that all these may be conftrued as nouns in certain occurrences. The infinitive in particular is employed fubftantively when it is made either the nominative or the regimen of a verb. Now in this way not the infinitive only, but along with it all the words in conftruction are underflood as one compound noun, as in the examples following: "To love God and our neighbour is a duty incumbent on us all," and " The gospel ftrongly inculcates on us this important lef"fon, to love God and our neighbour." But in no other fituation can fuch claufes fupply the place of nouns. They are never ufed in conftruction with other nouns followed by a prepofition. The quotation brought from Spenfer is, I suspect, a mere Grecism, which was not in his time more than it is at prefent conformable to the English idiom. For is the only prepofition that feems
ever to have been conftrued with fuch clauses, after another verb. And even this ufage is now totally laid afide.
I AM of opinion, therefore, upon the whole, that as the idiom in queftion is analogical, fupported by good use, and sometimes very expedient, it ought not to be entirely repudiated.
Page 16, line 15, after is, read as. 19, Note, for 1, read c.
34, 1. 7, for part, only, read part only,
1. 12, for friendships, read friendship.
-112, Note, 1. 11, for of belief, read or belief.
-18%, Note, l. 19, for using, read ytas.
-231, Note, 1. 29, for oration, read orations.
-252, l. 16 and 17, for teach patience, read teach, patient.
·335, 1. 2 and 3, for fictious, read fictions.
-343, 22, for be entrue, read been true.
-367, 1. 18, from the beginning of the Chap. for preceded, read proceeded. -411, Note, for Book I. Chap. XI. read Book II. Chap. I. Sect. HI. -414, 1. 22, for clarifies, read clarifier.
-419, 1. 5 from the foot, for partie, read portic.
-422, 1. 17, for derivations, read derivatives.
for participle, read participial,