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Of the connectives employed in combining the parts of a sentence.
parts in the sentence; the proper subject of the next is the connectives of the several sentences in the dis
SECT. I....Of conjunctions.
It was observed already concerning the connectives, that of all the parts of speech, they are the most unfriendly to vivacity. In their nature they are the least considerable parts, as their value is merely secondary. Yet, in respect of the difficulty there is in culling and disposing them, they often prove to an author the most considerable. In themselves they are but the taches which serve to unite the constituent parts in a sentence or a paragraph. Consequently, the less conspicuons they are, the more perfect will the union of the parts be, and the more easily will the hearer glide, as it were, from one word, clause, or member of a period into another. The more observable they are, the less perfect will the union be, and the more difficultly will the hearer pass on from member to member, from clause, and from word to word. The cohesion of the parts in a cabinet or other piece of furniture seems always the more complete, the less the pegs and tacks so necessary to effect it, are exposed to view.
IT is a secret sense of the truth of this doctrine with regard to language, which, imperceptibly, as taste im
proves in a nation, influences their writers to prefer short to long conjunctions. With us, in particular, it is the more necessary to attend to this circumstance, as the nouns and the verbs, which are the most significant words, are mostly monosyllables. For as every thing is judged by comparison, polysyllabic conjunctions must appear the more cumbersome on that very account. Happily enough at present our conjunctions and relatives in most frequent use (for the last also are merely a species of connectives) are monosyllables *. A few which do not occur so often are dissyllables †. Almost all the pollysyllabic conjunctions are now either disused altogether, or occur but rarely t.
In the ancient style which obtained in this island, the conjunctions were sometimes lengthened and rendered remarkable by combining them together. Thus the particle that, which is both a conjunction
* Such are the following, in several of which the constituent syllable is also short, and, or, nor, nay, yea, but, yet, if, though, lest, than, as, ere, till, since, so, for, that, whilst, when, who, whose, whom, which, what.
+ These are, also, likewise, before, after, because, besides, further, again, unless, whereas, although.
These are, however, moreover, nevertheless, notwithstanding that, insomuch that, albeit, furthermore, forasmuch as. The three last may be counted obsolete, except with scriveners. The rest cannot entirely be dispensed with.
Of the connectives employed in combining the parts of a sentence.
and a relative, was annexed to most of them. Two centuries ago we should not have said, "After I have spoken," but " After that I have spoken." In like manner, we should then have said, because that, before that, although that, whilst that, until that, unless that, and seeing that. Sometimes they even used, if that, for that, and when that. This particle seems to have been added, in order to distinguish the conjunction from the preposition or the adverb, as the word to which it was annexed, was often susceptible of both uses, and sometimes of all the three *. But the event hath shown that this expedient is quite superfluous. The situation marks sufficiently the character of the particle, so that you will rarely find an ambiguity arising from this variety in the application. The dis
* The same manner of forming the conjunctions is retained to this day, both in French and in Italian. They are in French, après bien que, que, parce que, avant que, de peur que, tandis que, jusqu'à ce que, à moins que, depuis que; in Italian, subito che, percio che, prima che, ancora che, per tema che, mentre che, sin tanto che, altro che, da che. A similar effect of the improvement of taste, though not in the same degree, may be observed in both these languages, to that which hath been remarked in English. Some drawling conjunctions formerly used, are now become obsolete, as in French, encore bien que, bien entendu que, comme ainsi soit que; in Italian, concio fosse cosa che, per laqual cosa che. The necessary aid of the particle que in French for expressing the most different and even contrary relations, hath induced their celebrated critic and grammarian, Abbé Girard, to style it the conductive conjunction. The same appellation may be assigned with equal propriety to the che in Italian.
use therefore of such an unnecessary appendage is a real improvement.
THE relatives, as was hinted before, partake of the nature of conjunction, both as they are the instruments of linking the members of sentences together, and as they have no independent signification of their own. These, when in coupling the clauses of a paragraph they are joined with a preposition, form what may properly be termed a sort of complex conjunctions. Such are, according to the original form of the words, upon which, unto which, with that, by which, or, according to a method of combining entirely analogical in our language, whereupon, whereunto, therewith, whereby. In the use of such drawling conjunctions, whether in the loose or in the compound form, there is a considerable risk, as is evident from the principles above explained, of rendering the sentence tiresome, and the expression languid.
SOME writers, sensible of the effect, seem totally to have mistaken the cause. They have imputed the flatness to the combination, imagining that the uncompounded form of the preposition and the pronoun would nowise affect the vivacity of the style. Lord Shaftesbury was of this opinion, and his authority hath misled other writers. His words are: "They "have of late, it's true, reformed in some measure the "gouty joints and darning work of whereunto's where“by's, thereof's, therewith's, and the rest of this kind ?
Of the connectives employed in combining the parts of a sentence,
by which complicated periods are so curiously strung, or hooked on, one to another, after the long-spun "manner of the bar or pulpit *." Accordingly several authors have been so far swayed by this judgment, as to condemn, in every instance, this kind of composition of the adverbs where, here, and there, with prepositions. But if we would be satisfied that the fault, where there is a fault, doth not lie in the composition, let us make the experiment on one of the long-spun complicated periods of which the author speaks, by resolving the whereupon into upon which, by saying unto which, for whereunto, and so of the rest, and I am greatly deceived, if we find the darning work less coarse, or the joints less gouty, than they were before this correction. And if in any case the combined shall displease more than the primitive form, I suspect that the disuse will be found the cause and not the consequence of its displeasing.
COMPOSITIONS of this sort with dissyllabic propositions are now mostly obsolete, and it would be silly to attempt to revive them. But with several of the monosyllabic prepositions they are still used. I shall therefore here offer a few arguments against dispos
*Misc. v. chap. 1. For the same reason we should condemn the quapropter, quamobrem, quandoquidem, quemadmodum, of the Latin, whose composition and use are pretty similar. To these a good writer will not frequently recur; but their best authors have not thought fit to reject them altogether.