« PreviousContinue »
He blenches not, he blenches not.
Scott, Ivanhoe. I will not sing.
18t Hen. IV. iii. 1. The use of the double negative, with a negative force, was common, down to a late period of our literature : so, I never was, nor never will be, false.
Rich. III. iv. 1.
Merchant of Venice, v. i.
King John, v. 7. 425. Nay (nae), and no.
A.-S. ná and no.
"I am not the Christ.'-John i. 20.
older English we have natheless' and nathless.' In the Scottish dialect, nae and no are constantly used for
• This is no my ain lassie,' and 'This is nae my ain lassie.' I suspect that in the phrase whether or no,' we have a remnant of the old language; “It is all the same, whether he comes, or no,' that is, ' whether he comes, or comes not.' 426. In ordinary English, nay and no are chiefly used in
As a general rule, nay is more common in provincial English, than in the language of the metropolis or the universities.
Sir Thomas More asserts a distinction between nay and no, corresponding to a distinction between yea and yes ; and he censures Tyndal for not observing the difference in his translation of John i. 21 : . And thei asked him, what then, art thou Helias ? And he sayd I am not. Arte thou a prophet? And he aunswered, No. According to Sir Thomas More, No should have been rendered Nay. But the reason assigned by Sir Thomas does not support his argument. He says: 'No aunswereth the question framed by the affirmative. As, for ensample, if a man should ask Tindall himself: ys an heretike mete to translate holy scripture into englishe? Lo to thys question if he will aunswere trew englishe, he must aunswere naye and not no. But and if the question be asked hym thus, lo; Is not an heretyque mete to translate
holy scripture into Englishe? To thys question lo if he wil aunswere
Art thou a prophet ? Nay.
Art thou not a prophet ? No.
See Marsh, Lectures on the English Language, xxvi. 682. 427. No appears in composition with many words. We say no-where and no-whither, but not no-whence or no-when. No-how is sometimes employed, but it is not considered elegant.
For neither, nor, see § 449.
428. Never is compounded of ne, 'not,' and ever. Never and ever are often confounded. Never is an adverb of time: as, Seldom or never has an English word two full accents.' Ever is an adverb both of time and of degree: as, 'Ever so rich,' 'Ever so good.' Hence charm he ever so wisely' is, now preferred to the older form, 'charm he never so wisely.'
We may remark that seldom or never' has the same force as seldom if ever; ' but seldom or ever' is doubtful. Atterbury says:
We seldom or ever see those forsaken who trust in God. Here it is better to say or never.' See Angus, Handbook,
COMPARISON OF ADVERBS.
429. Some adverbs, expressing degree or quality, admit degrees of comparison : as, Well, better,
oftenest, The use of the terminations -er and -est in forming the comparative and superlative of adverbs, was formerly much more common than at present : as,
Touching things which generally are received
are hardliest able to bring such proof of their certainty
Polity, v. 2.
Shaftesbury, Letter to Molesworth.
not, but who loved and served himself the rightest, and
after the truest manner.--Id., Wit and Humour. 430. These forms are often found in the poets. So Shakespeare:
O Melancholy !
Cymbeline, ir. 2. where the folios have easilest.
Thrice blessed they that master so their blood,
Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1. On this passage Dr. Johnson remarks :- - Thus all the copies; yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy, for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy.' Steevens observes, that Pope did propose earlier. But the whole force of the passage consists in the contrast between earthly happiness' in the one 'state, and 'heavenly bliss' in the other. In this, as in many cases, Shakespeare was wiser than his editors. And so Milton:
Scepter and power, thy giving, I assume,
Paradise Lost, vi. 730–733.'
grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Paradise Lost, viii. 40–47.
Ibid. xi. 691-697.
Paradise Regained, ii. 121-124.
Each act is rightliest done,
Ibid. iv. 475-476. Adverbs ending in -ly are now usually compared by more and most : as, briefly, more briefly, most briefly. 431.-rather. The A.-S. adverb is ræde, rað, rade, 'soon,'
quickly;' comparative, raðor, raður; superlative,
radost. Hence . I would rather do so,' means 'I would more quickly
do so,' 'I would sooner do so.' He regned fiftene gere, and died all to rathe.—Robert de
O dere cosin min, Dan John, she saide,
Chaucer, Shipmannes Tale.
Lycidas, 142. In a note on this passage, Todd says that, in the West of
England there is an early species of apple called the rathe-ripe, early-ripe.' 432.—liefer. This is a comparative from the A.-S. adjective
leof, loved,' beloved, dear.' God saith, As verely as I lyve, I wilnot the death of a
sinner but had liefer hem to be converted and lyve.
Joye, Exposicion of Daniel.
But for my single self,
Julius Cæsar, i. 2. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.-Hamlet, iii. 2..
POSITION. 433. Adverbs are placed before the adjectives or participles which they qualify: as, 'It was very good;' 'a man greatly beloved.
So when one adverb qualifies another, the modifying adverb stands first: as, 'not wisely, but too well.'
The qualifying adverb usually follows an intransitive verb: as, “He behaved nobly,' 'She walks gracefully. When a transitive verb is used with a following objective, the adverb generally comes after the objective : as, 'He received them kindly,' He treated his friends generously. The reason is, that the verb and the objective should be kept as closely together as possible. And if
, for rhetorical purposes, it is desirable to vary the order of the sentence, still the connection of the verb and the objective should not be broken. We may say, for example, "He kindly received them;' Generously he treated his friends.'
When an auxiliary verb and a participle are used, the adverb may come between them : as, 'I have lately written to him, They were kindly received.'
Or the adverb may follow the participle, or the phrase : as, “They were received kindly;''I have written to him lately.'
When two auxiliaries are employed, their connection should not be interrupted; the adverb should come between the