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that our adjectives vary their termination, to intimate the degree in which a quality is possessed. Thus from the adjective "wise," which is said to be in the positive state, we have the comparative "wiser," as
6. He is wiser than his companions," and the superlative “ wisest, as “ He was the wisest of all the senators."
Pronouns are usually defined to be words employed instead of nouns, to avoid unpleasant repetitions : but the former part of this definition is not strictly applicable to many words, which are by universal consent, placed in this class. It cannot surely be said of the pronouns every,
," " this,” used as in the phrases “ Every man, “ This house," that they are employed " instead of nouns," if indeed this word is considered to be equivalent to substantives. A more consistent definition appears to be, that pronouns are words used to prevent disagreeable repetitions, or circumlocutions, some of them having the character of substantives, and others that of adjectives. Thus the term “I," enables us to avoid the unpleasant circumlocution, “ the person speaking," and it is evidently used like a substantive, as “I understand," " I feel."
who," also, in the phrase, “ The man who did this,” enables us concisely to express an idea, which could not be otherwise intimated without considerable periphrasis; and it is evidently construed like a substantive, and forms in this instance, the nominative to the verb did." In the phrase “ This house is mine," we have the two pronouns,
this," and “mine ; and by their use we avoid the lengthened expression, “The house which you see belongs to the person speaking :" but the former pronoun is obviously employed like an adjective, with the substantive "house" immediately following it.
The correctness of this view of pronouns, that they are words used to avoid circumlocutions, but having the character either of substantives or of adjectives, can scarcely be questioned. Nor is there any difficulty in tracing its accordance with the usual distribution of pronouns into the Personal, the Relative, and the Adjective, pronouns.
The first of these divisions includes "1," thou," "he," "she," "it," together with
the compound terms, “myself," " thyself," " himself,” “ herself," " itself: all which are evidently construed in the same manner as substantives. These pronouns are termed personal, because they clearly distinguish between a person speaking, a person spoken to, and a person or thing spoken of : "1," and "myself," are therefore said to be of the first person, “thou,” “thyself," of the second, and “he,
it,” &c., of the third person.
Under the second division, are comprised “who," " which,” and “ that” used as in the phrase, “ He that acts prudently." The term " which" was doubtless primarily used in the manner of an adjective: thus we read, “ For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” This circumstance throws light on the origin of its occasional application to persons in the Sacred Writings; as “Our Father, which art in heaven.” Now however, this pronoun is seldom employed as an adjective; but by an obvious and familiar ellipsis, it occurs substantively, and frequently becomes the nominative to a verb, as “ The day, which shall lay open the hearts of all men,” for “ which day shall lay open." The pronoun “ who” is always used like a substantive, being equivalent to the phrase, “which person.” In modern style, either this pronoun, or the term" that," is invariably employed in relation to a person previously spoken of; and the use of “ which ” is restricted to the case of brute animals, and inanimate objects. “That,” considered as a relative, is applicable to things as well as to persons; and “ what” constitutes a compound relative, being a compendious term for “the thing which," or that which." In regard to the third division of
very name assigned to it intimates, that the words which it includes are properly and originally employed as adjectives. By an easy ellipsis, however, many of them are sometimes used without a substantive following, and in such constructions, they may be called adjective pronouns employed substantively. The word “ this is used like an adjective, in the phrase, “ This house; but by an ellipsis of the term, “ thing," it occurs sub
stantively in “He did this." The term “ each" is found in its proper character as an adjective pronoun, in the sentence,
Each individual declared his assent; but it is employed substantively in "Each declared his assent.” The expression,
“ Other ministers have pursued this course," presents an adjective use of the term “other;" but this word is frequently employed in the manner of a substantive, and when thus introduced, it admits of declension, as “ The other's decision,” “Others may believe this." These instances will suffice to illustrate the character and use of the third branch of pronouns; and it is only necessary to add a brief explanation of its various subdivisions, formed for the purpose of marking more distinctly, the peculiar reference and bearing of the words which it comprises. Some are termed possessive, as frequently expressing possession or property; they are “my," "thy," "his," "her;"> our, your,
“their.” Four others, viz : each," " " either," " neither," are styled distributive, because they serve to distribute as it were, a number of persons or objects, by leading us to regard them separately. Two others, “ this and “that," having as their plural forms, these and “those," are called demonstrative, since they distinctly show, or point out, the person or thing intended. Others are named indefinite, as some,' other," any,” such,”—terms which do not define, or mark out, particular persons or objects. It appears necessary, also, to introduce a fifth subdivision, the interrogative adjective pronouns, including
" which" and “ what," when employed in asking questions, as “What works are you reading ? ' " Which of the brothers would you choose?” In the former of these sentences, “ what” is evidently not a compound relative ; it cannot be exchanged for “ that which,” and it is construed in the very same manner as adjective pronouns in general. In the latter sentence, likewise, “which” may be most appropriately designated an interrogative adjective pronoun, employed by a familiar ellipsis of the term “ brother," or “person." When “
who is employed interrogatively, as “ Who gave this ?” it is equivalent to person
“ which person ?” and is therefore always construed substantively. It is scarcely necessary to add, that like many other adjective pronouns, “what” is sometimes used for “what thing,” as in the phrases,
“ What have you promised ?” “What are you doing?"
The consideration of the remaining parts of speech, must be reserved for the following chapter.
A GENERAL VIEW OF THE GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH
In pursuing our inquiries into the Etymology of the English language, we must now investigate VERBS, which form a very numerous and important class of words.
Without minutely examining the controversy, respecting the most appropriate definition of a verb, and the particulars that are really essential to it, we may observe, that it expresses action, suffering, or a state of being, of some person or thing mentioned, and this with a reference to time. Thus in the phrase " He rejects," the latter term is a verb expressing action; and it is sufficiently distinguished by the foregoing statement, from the substantive rejection :'
“ î live,” also, presents an instance of a verb intimating a state of being, and the difference between it and the substantive “ life," is clearly exhibited in the preceding remark. The only case in which the above explanation of a verb is found inapplicable, is that in which the infinitive mood is employed without involving the idea of time, and assumes, in fact, the character of a substantive, as deceive is shameful,” used for “ Deceit is shameful.”
The different kinds of verbs have been already alluded to in the remark, that “ a verb expresses action, suffering, or a state of being." Most grammarians adopt the distribution into Active, Passive, and Neuter ; and the
difference of these may be clearly seen in the examples, “ I strike," “ I am struck," I live,” “I walk." The first, “ I strike,” implies an action exerted on some object, and is therefore called Active or Transitive: the second, " I am struck,” is the reverse of the former; it intimates an action received, and is termed a Passive verb: while “I live” and “ I walk are two examples of Neuter or Intransitive verbs, the former simply expressing a state of being, and the latter an action which does not pass over to an external object, but is confined to the agent himself. Some have proposed to subdivide the last class, by arranging those verbs which merely intimate being or a state of being, as “ I am,” “ I live," “I sleep,” under the designation Neuter, and placing under the head of Active Intransitive, those which imply a degree of action, but are yet employed without an object acted upon, as " I walk," “ I think.” Such an arrangement, however, though it appears neat and pleasing, would involve some inconvenience.
The Moods of verbs form the next subject of inquiry. These have been usually styled the Indicative, the Imperative, the Potential
, the Subjunctive, and the Infinitive; and there is no reason to depart, in reference to them, from the usual course. The simplest explanation of them appears to be, that the Indicative refers to that which actually is, or has been, or will be, as “I rule," " I have ruled," " Wilt thou rule?” the Imperative to that which we command, or wish, to be,
Rule thou ;” the Potential to that which may, can, would, or should, be, since it is formed by the addition of these terms to the principal verb, as “ I may rule," “ I would rule,” &c.; the Subjunctive to that which is supposed to be, as “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him ;" while the Infinitive expresses an action, or state, in a general and indefinite manner, as “I wish to rule," " I will endeavour to please him.”
In regard to the Subjunctive mood, there is one particular which requires to be carefully remembered in composition,—that it has a peculiar form, used to suppose a thing in relation to the future, which is very different from that employed to suppose a thing in rela