Page images
PDF
EPUB

London : R. Needham, Printer, 1, Belle-Sauvage-Yard, Ludgate-Hill. TO MR. PHILIP ROBERTS,

OF THE SALTASH ACADEMY, CORNWALL.

DEAR SIR,

FRIENDSHIP and gratitude induce me to inscribe to you, the following observations on English Grammar and Composition.

I cannot forget the interest, which, in my early youth, and when we were resident in the neighbourhood of Bristol, you took in my intellectual culture ; and I regard your valued instructions, as having laid the foundation of whatever knowledge I have, of English or Classical literature. Your ability and kindness concurred to facilitate the pursuit of learning; while your example afforded a stimulus to unremitted inquiry and research. To you may I apply the words of an eminent writer of antiquity; "Quoad longissime potest mens mea respicere spatium præteriti temporis, et pueritiæ memoriam recordari ultimam, inde usque repetens, te video mihi principem et ad suscipiendam et ad ingrediendam rationem horum studiorum exstitisse.” (Cic.)

The present work is designed to afford a comprehensive view of the structure of the English language, and of the principles to be adhered to in composition. Though brief in comparison of some other treatises, it includes, I apprehend, all the topics which such a work

should embrace ; and I have ventured to hope, that it is calculated to meet the wants of advanced pupils in schools, and of young persons engaged in the cultivation of their own minds. In the treatment of some subjects, I have departed from the method usually chosen ; but it has been my constant endeavour to secure clearness and simplicity of thought.

In dedicating to you this little volume, I may be allowed to express the high opinion which I entertain, of the accuracy and extent of your learning, and of your correct taste for the beauties of the English language. It will afford me the greatest satisfaction, should this treatise meet your approbation, as an auxiliary to the attainment of a correct and elegant style.

HENRY W. WILLIAMS.

December 15, 1835.

Page.

CHAP. I.--A GENERAL VIEW OF THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE

7

The subjects which Grammar includes, and its four
leading divisions. The intimate connexion of Etymology
and Syntax with English Composition.—The classes into
which the words of our language may be most appropri-
ately distributed.—The Articles explained.- English Sub-
stantives, with their gender, number, and case, consi-
dered.—The propriety of assigning to English substan-
tives, an objective case.- —The Adjectives of our language
explained.—The proper definition of Pronouns investi-
gated. The use of all Pronouns, in the manner either of
substantives or of adjectives, illustrated.—The three divi-
sions of pronouns, the Personal, the Relative, and the

Adjective, considered.

CHAP. II.-A GENERAL VIEW OF THE GRAMMAR OF THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE—continued.

An accurate definition of a Verb attempted.—The va-

rious kinds of Verbs.—The Moods of verbs briefly stated ;

and a peculiarity of the Subjunctive mood noticed.— The

Tenses of English verbs elucidated.—Remarks on the

correct application of the tenses.- The Numbers and Per-

sons of verbs mentioned.- Participles considered; and

the manner in which they intimate time, exhibited. -

Adverbs explained.-Prepositions, Conjunctions, and In-

terjections, briefly noticed.

CHAP. III.-A GENERAL VIEW OF THE GRAMMAR OF THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE-continued.

22

Syntax defined.—A review of the rules of Syntax, in
the order of the several parts of speech; with various

observations not admitting of being styled rules.

CHAP. IV.-PUNCTUATION

27

The chief use of points, or stops.—Brief explanation

of the Period, the Colon, the Semicolon, and the Comma.
- The cases in which the colon and semicolon are to be
respectively employed.—The use of the comma illustrated
at large, and the reasons of its insertion in various cases,
stated.—Some other points explained.

Page. CHAP V.-THE CHOICE OF WORDS

31 Four general rules given, under one of which the subjects of Precision and Clearness, as applying to the use of single words, are investigated.

37

CHAP. VI.-THE FORMATION OF SENTENCES

A sentence defined.—The principle which must regulate the distribution of ideas between different sentences. Two rules given on this subject, and serving to secure the Unity of sentences.—The occasional use of a parenthesis vindicated.--The transition from one sentence to another, to be natural and easy.-Variety to be observed, in the arrangement of a series of sentences.

44

CHAP. VII.-THE FORMATION OF SENTENCES-continued.

The leading requisites of a sentence considered by itself, illustrated at large, viz., Precision, Clearness, Strength, and a Natural Arrangement of Ideas.—The harmony of sentences noticed.

54

CHAP. VIII.-FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

The term Figures explained.-Figures of words, or Tropes, considered.—Figurative language distributed into the Figures of the Imagination, and the Figures of the Passions.-Illustrations of the subjoined figures,-Metaphor, Allegory, Comparison, Personification, Antithesis, Vision, Climax.–Four rules applicable to the use of these figures.-Remarks on their different nature, and the cases in which they are appropriate.

63

CHAP. IX.-FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE—continued.

Explanations of the subjoined figures of the Passions,
-Hyperbole, Apostrophe, Exclamation, Interrogation.-
Remarks on their appropriate use.—Two tropes, Meto-

nymy and Synecdoche, briefly noticed.
CHAP. X.-THE LEADING CHARACTERS OF STYLE

Introductory Remarks.—The several distinctions of style enumerated by Dr. Blair.—The Diffuse and the Concise styles illustrated ; and their respective advantages stated. — Explanations of the Plain, the Neat, and the Ornamented, kinds of writing.—The Vehement style noticed.

68

« PreviousContinue »