Page images

with the subject nominative, and is called the nominative of the predicate.'

So far we have two distinct terms: the subject-nominative, corresponding to the nominative' of the old grammars; and the predicate-nominative, of which the old grammars took no special notice. Hence, in "The sun is shining,' sun is the

subject-nominative,' and shining is the predicate-nominative;' while in the sentence, 'The early sun is brightly shining,' sun is still the subject-nominative,' and shining is still the 'predicate-nominative;' while the words, the early,' and "brightly,' are qualifications of the subject-nominative and the predicative-nominative respectively.

By this method, we have the great advantage of obtaining distinct terms for the grammatical subject, and for certain forms of the grammatical predicate. But the difficulty of the copula is untouched. In all verbs, except the verb be, the copula and predicate are blended together; and the artifice of resolving a verb into some part of the verb be and a participle is open to many objections. Besides, as Mr. Mason observes (English Grammar, Preface, p. x.), 'If in the sentence, “ He is rich,” rich is the predicate and is the copula, why, in the sentence, “He becomes rich," should we not call becomes the copula ? The notion of becoming has quite as good a right to be considered copulative as the notion of being.'

This is the most knotty point of the whole question; and various solutions have been proposed. Dr. Morell, as we have seen, thinks it more convenient to regard the copula as beloning to the predicate. Mr. Kerchever Arnold proposes to make different kinds of copulas; for example, he calls “become,' seem,' &c. strengthened copulas. Mr. Mason says, 'the difficulty is removed, and the anomaly obviated, when we regard neither be nor become as a copula, but treat them as verbs of incomplete predication.'

The truth is, that the Logical and the Grammatical systems have been drawn up at various times, and with different views; 80 that when we bring them together we find a discrepancy.

The Logical arrangement is threefold :


Subject. Copula. Predicate. ." .


mortal. The Grammatical arrangement is twofold : Nominative.


flies. · In Grammar, we must take the grammatical arrangement as the basis, but with a modification of the terms: we call the nominative of the subject the subject-nominative, and the verbo of the predicate the predicate-verb. We discard the copula, and make no distinction whatever between the verb be, and any other intransitive verb. We analyse these sentences in the following manner, taking the second as the model: I. Time

Subject-nominative flies.



II. Man


Predicate-vérb mortal.

Predicate-nominative. By the term Predicate-verb we understand the verb of the predicate,' or the verb in the predicate. According to this method we are able to point out the chief word in the logical subject, namely the subject-nominative ; and the chief word or words in the logical predicate, whether it be a predicate-verb, or a predicate-nominative accompanying a predicate-verb.

It follows that we make no distinction between such sen. tences as these :

1. Thomas is wise.

2. Thomas seems wise. . We analyse: · I. Thomas


Predicate-verb wise.


II. Thomas

seems wise.



It may be objected, that after all this circumlocution, we have come back very nearly to the old-fashioned doctrine of

the nominative and the verb. So we have; but with this difference, that we have explained what is meant by the nominative,' and 'the verb.'

Under the old system, it is common to say that a verb must agree with its nominative case; whereas, more strictly, the verb agrees with a substantive in the nominative case;' and further, the nominative is often used as synonymous with the subject of the sentence.

But although, no doubt, there is inaccuracy under the old system, there may be some danger of confusion under the new systems which are propounded. If, on the one hand, the term

nominative' is loosely employed to denote the subject,' it is no less true, on the other hand, that many pupils of the new school bandy about the terms 'subject' and 'predicate 'without any definite notion of the meaning implied in those terms. Sometimes, in examination, when a boy has written down

enlargement of the subject,' or extension of the predicate,' he fancies that he has said a good thing, no matter whether the phrase be appropriate or not. We must try to avoid error on both sides. Where the old school talked of the nominative,' we speak of the subject-nominative;' and where the new school employs an ambiguous term 'subject,' we use the more precise subject-nominative.'


CHAPTER I. SIMPLE SENTENCES, INDICATIVE. 1. A Sentence is a collection of words expressing a complete thought : as ' The bird sings ; 'Summer is charming.'

A collection of words, not expressing a complete thought, is sometimes termed a Phrase : as The poems of Homer; ' • Quietly waiting; ''Now and then.'

Sentences have been divided into Simple and Compound, Simple sentences, again, have been subdivided into Indicative, Interrogative, Imperative, and Optative. We shall, in the first instance, confine our attention to Simple Indicative (i.e. declaratory) Sentences, which may be either Affirmative or Negative: as,

Mirth is good . . . . . (affirmative).
Folly is not good .... (negative).

SIMPLE INDICATIVE SENTENCES. - 2. A Simple Sentence contains one subject-nominative, and one predicate-verb: as Time flies.' Or it may contain one subject-nominative, one predicate-verb, and one predicatenominative: as 'Mirth is good.'

We shall, first of all, consider the subject-nominative and the predicate-nominative, and then proceed to the use of verbs. A remark, however, is necessary in reference to terms which will repeatedly occur, namely, qualification and substantive.

By a qualification we understand any word or phrase which explains, modifies, or limits any other word or phrase. Thus, as an adjective qualifies a noun, so an adverb qualifies a verb.

A substantive is a word which, by itself and single-handed,

« PreviousContinue »