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Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Prologue, 295. Here Mr. Morris reads, “Twenty bookes.'
This construction deserves further inquiry. At present we leave it to the judgment of others.
DEFINITE ARTICLE. 306. Etymologically, the is derived from a form of the demonstrative pronoun. In modern English it has no distinction of gender, number, or case; but in Early English the following inflections occur :
Neut. Nom. the
theo (tho) thet (that). Gen. this
thare (there) this Dat. thon (than, then) thare there) thon (than, then). Acc. then (thane) thun thet (that).
See Adams, Elements, § 237. 307. The pronunciation of the is very important, especially in singing. It is thě before a word beginning with a consonant, and the before a word beginning with a vowel; as,
thě time,' the race,' the course.'
thē inn,' the apple,' thē orange.' 308. The original use of the definite article is to demonstrate,' or 'point out,' a particular object, or class of objects;
The man that hath no music in himself,
Merchant of Venice, v. 1. Hence it is very commonly used in reference to some object previously known or mentioned ; as, ' The exhibition which you saw yesterday.'
309. In some languages, the definite article is used with proper names of persons, who are distinguished, and well known to all; as 6 [IXátwv 'the Plato,' which Cicero renders Ille Plato. So the Italians speak of Il Tasso, and the French of L'Arioste.
In English we may employ this construction in the singular, when a qualifying phrase is added; as, 'Handel was the Homer of music;' and so,
Shakespeare was the Homer or father of our dramatic
poets; Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing; I admire him, but I love Shakespeare.
Dryden, Essay on Dramatic Poesy. It will be remarked, however, that in such instances, the proper name seems to lose its distinctive individuality, and partakes of the construction of a common noun.
In the plural, this construction is very usual : "the Smiths,' the Jenkinsons,' the Macgregors,' the Macdonalds.' The chief of a Celtic clan is termed “The Macarthy, The O'Donoghue,' "The Douglas,' The Mackenzie ;' and the reason is this, that all the members of a clan, however humble they might be, bore the general name of the clan; but the chief was the representative clansman.
310. With some geographical terms, as before the names of rivere, mountains, and seas, we find the definite article; as, the Thames,' the Rhine, the Alps,' the Baltic.' But observe, that we never employ this construction with names of cities; we never say “the London,' or 'the Paris. Compare the difference of construction in the river Thames,' and the city of London,' $ 143.
311. The definite article is used before names which denote a whole class, as, for example, the names of entire nations ; often in the plural, as 'the French,' the English ; ' and sometimes also in the singular, especially in rhetorical composition, as,' the Briton, and the Gael.' The same construction with a singular noun is often found in terms used in the Natural Sciences, denoting a whole class of objects; as, the lion,' the eagle,' the violet,' the rose.'
Similarly, the article is used with a noun denoting a profession, or the members of a profession viewed collectively; as, the bar,' the church,''the army,''the navy.' Obs.—Man' and 'woman' are already class nouns, and do not
admit the article, unless we speak of particular indivi
duals ; 80,
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason !
how infinite in faculties ! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel ! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust ? Man delights not me, nor woman neither ; though, by your smiling, you seem to
say so.--Hamlet, ii. 2. 312. It is not the custom, in English, to employ the definite article before nouns denoting an abstract notion; we say truth,' virtue,' pride'-not the virtue,' the pride.' This enables us to make a distinction, which is not observed in some other languages; for, with us, truth' means • truth absolutely considered,'truth in the abstract;' but the truth' means the truth mentioned before,' or some particular aspect of truth, 'mathematical, philosophical, or religious truth.'
The French, on the contrary, use the definite article before abstract nouns; and I suspect that some phrases in older English, which are condemned as ungrammatical, have come down to us from the Norman-French. For example,
And I persecuted this way unto the death.— Acts xxii. 4. where Dr. Lowth remarks, “the Apostle does not mean any particular sort of death, but death in general; the definite article therefore is improperly used. It ought to be unto death, without any article; agreeably to the original, âxou θανάτου.' Compare 2 Chron. xxxii. 24, 'In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death ;' and Rev. xii. 11, “And they loved not their lives unto the death. The French would be à la mort. See also Prov. xxix. 21, 'He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him beconie his son at the length.'
313. The is often used where we might expect a possessive pronoun; and this too, among others, may be a construction derived from the French : as,
Her corpse was the object of unmanly and dastardly ven
geance: the head was severed from the body and set
upon a pole.-W. Irving. I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have
not bowed the knee to Baal.—Romans, xi. 4. 314. When two or more objects are distinctly specified, the definite article, or some word equally distinctive, should be used before each : as,
I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,
With hounds of Sparta ; never did I hear
Midsummer Night's Dream, iv. 1. Hence in the following sentence we observe an ambiguity : · The Chancellor informed the Queen of it, and she immediately sent for the secretary and treasurer.' Here, it is not certain whether the secretary and treasurer be not one and the same person ; at all events, it is possible to put that meaning upon the words. If we wish to imply that two distinct persons were summoned, we should repeat the article : ' for the secretary and the treasurer.'
315. When two or more nouns are used in opposition, qualifying some other noun, the article is placed before the first alone, of the nouns in opposition :
He sends a letter to Mr. Larkins, the bribe-agent and
broker on this occasion.-Burke. Similarly, when several adjectives qualify a noun, the definite article is usually employed before the first alone: as,
If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined,
Pope, Essay on Man, iv. But if we wish to lay emphasis upon the adjectives, we may repeat the article before each : as,
A name at the sound of which all India turns pale; the
most wicked, the most atrocious, the boldest and most dexterous villain that that country ever produced.
Burke. 316. When the adjectives cannot be regarded as describing one and the same thing, the article must be repeated if the noun is in the singular, or it must stand before the first adjective only, if the noun is in the plural : as,
The third and fifth chapters of John. or,
The third and the fifth chapter of John.
POSITION 317. When the definite article and an adjective qualify a noun, the usual order is—article, adjective, noun; sometimes,
however, the noun stands first, followed by the article and the adjective; as, Alonzo the brave, and the fair Imogene.
Lewis. When the words all and both are used to qualify a noun, the article occupies the middle place; as,
All the contrivances which we are acquainted with are directed to beneficent purposes.--Paley.
He had disobliged both the parties whom he wished to
318. Grammarians have not been very successful in their attempts to define the verb.'
Plato recognised only two parts of speech, the Name (Broua), and the Saying (Equa). And in fact, when we say Light shines, light is the Name of the thing whereof we speak, while shines is our Saying about that thing.
When we are speaking the truth, or what we believe to be true, our Saying is the same as our Thinking. Hence we may conclude, that the Name and the Thought are the two main pillars that support the sentence,
The Name and the Saying are grammatically termed the Noun and the Verb.
But if the term • Verb' (verbum, 'word') is meant as a translation of the term pñua, it is a questionable translation. We might rather expect Dictum (“Saying,' or 'thing said '), than Verbum (' word ').
There appears to be no truth in the common assertion that the Verb is the chief Word in a sentence. There are two principal words in every sentence, and the Name is as important as the Saying; for if there be no Name, there is nothing to speak about.
Neither is it true that there can be no sentence without a Verb; for in Hebrew and in Latin hundreds of sentences can be produced wherein no verb is found. But then, the grammarians maintain that in such instances a Verb is understood ; that is, they lay down a definition dogmatically, and then they explain away every passage which does not conform to their definition.
319. Some grammarians have founded their definitions upon the meaning of the Verb as a word. As in the old definition,