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of any other quality, though, when considered in abstract, it may. No adjective, therefore, can qualify any other adjective. A great good man, means a man who is both great and good. Both the adjectives qualify the substantive; they do not qualify one another.”
248. That this is the genius of our language, admits not of reasonable doubt; but there are several exceptions. We speak of a thing as being of a florid red colour, and of iron as being red hot. We say, a great many were present ;" “ the doors were wide open ;" “ the pale blue sky;"—in all which cases it is quite clear that the first adjective, in some degree, modifies the second. Whether this idiom is capable of being metaphysically defended against the reasoning of Smith, or whether such expressions are to be regarded as pressed so deep in the English language, that criticism can never wash them away,” is a question into the discussion of which we need not here enter at great length. It may perhaps be accounted for on the supposition that the adjective in immediate contact with the noun loses its nature; the two words becoming, in fact, a compound noun, which can then receive an adjective to qualify it. Poker represents a certain number of sensations, and we call it a noun. The words or word hot-poker may be also considered a noun, and then may be properly qualified by an adjective, red hot-poker. I readily acknowledge, however, that the connexion of ideas, as generally entertained, is more appropriately represented by red-hot poker. There appears to be some analogy between this idiom and another which was formerly pointed out as characteristic of the English language,—that is, one noun qualifying another, as sea-side, flower-garden. But, whatever be the theory of the matter, about the authority of the expressions themselves there can be no dispute.
249. It was already pointed out that certain adjectives, from their very nature, do not admit of comparison ; and it should now be observed, that, for the same reason, many of them, such as universal, omnipotent, and others whose signification cannot be increased, ought not to be qualified by any adverb, except to restrain their meaning.
250. Sometimes an adjective and an adverb are equally applicable to a verb, but with a difference of meaning : thus, “ I found the way easy,” means that I walked over it and found it to be an easy way;” but “ I found the way easily,” would mean that I had no difficulty in finding it out and seeing how it lay.
1. So rapid were the movements, so instantaneous the onset of the British, that it seemed as if the spirit of a mighty wizard had suddenly transfused itself into the whole host.-Alison.
2. Both armies passed a restless agitated night.—Idem.
3. He that outlives this day and comes safe home, &c.Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.-Shakspeare.
4. He found the way quite clear.- Arnold.
5. A long disquisition on optics and the nature of vision, chiefly geometrical, is entirely new.-Hallam. 6.
A little learning is a dangerous thing ;
Pope. 7. So build we up the being that we are ;
Thus deeply drinking-in the soul of things,
Wordsworth. 8. Great souls are always loyally submissive, reverent to what is over them; only small mean souls are otherwise.-Carlyle.
9. Suitable to this unfeeling and inflexible spirit was the behaviour of the convocation.-Robertson.
10. The officers broke open the doors of some of the principal mansions.-Alison.
11. No bricklayer builds a wall perfectly perpendicular.-Carlyle.
SENTENCES TO BE CORRECTED.-247-250. 1. They established the kingdom of Jerusalem, which subsisted near two hundred years.--Robertson.
2. The inattention to altered circumstances is a fault of most universal application in all political questions.- Arnold.
3. A woman has the glory of being full as conspicuous in the graces of style as any writer of this famous age.--Hallam.
4. Such a violation of neutral rights came with a peculiar bad grace from France.- Alison.
5. Antony led the way direct to Italy.-History of Rome, Lardner's Cyclopædia.
6. It is wonderful to remark how preposterous the affairs of this world are managed.- Franklin.
7. Royal proclamations continued as omnipotent as in the preceding reign. Wade.
8. It was observed to me, that in this country no man who is able to work need to go (?) supperless to bed. This far he stated the fact.-Combe's Notes on America.
9. Previous to finally withdrawing across the Elbe, Eugene took post at Mockern and there stood firm.- Alison.
10. The abuses and corruptions which had crept into the public worship of that church lay more open to observation, and by striking the senses, excited more universal disgust.—Robertson.
11. The Earl of Huntly, conformable to the crafty policy which distinguishes his character, amused the leaders of the Congregation.-Idem.
12. This haughty and imperious style sounded harshly to Scottish nobles, impatient of the slightest appearance of injury.Idem.
RULE XI. THE POSITION OF THE ADVERB.
“ The negroes
251. Adverbs ought to be placed so as to leave no doubt what word is intended to be affected by them.
“ The negroes are to appear at church only in boots.” By this position of only, it appears that the negroes were not to come to church unless “ in boots,” or with nothing else but boots ; but the meaning intended was that they should appear at church, and no where else, in boots. The sentence should therefore have stood thus :are to appear only at church in boots.”
Pompey played a despicable part enough betwixt them.” Enough ought to be immediately after despicable. “ Cæsar so turned the fate of the day, that the barbarians were almost cut off to a man.” It ought to be, “ were cut off almost to a man.” The position of the adverb in a sentence often alters the meaning entirely. Thus, if we say “ Man is always capable of laughing," we mean that the risible faculty may at
time be excited; but if we arrange the same words differently, and say “ Man is capable of laughing always,” we should mean that the risible faculty was capable of unceasing exercise.
252. No definite rule can be laid down for the position of adverbs or adverbial phrases, and yet it is a matter of the greatest importance as far as precision is concerned. The adverb most liable to be wrongly placed is only, and the corresponding adjective alone is in much the same predicament. Rather than attempt any more precise rule than that given above, about the position of adverbs, I would point out examples to the student in which they are properly placed, and endeavour to familiarize his ear to the structure of a sentence in which they are involved. But as some prefer positive rule in all cases, and dislike leaving any thing to be regulated by taste-guided by the ear as well as by judgment, I shall transcribe the conclusion of DrCrombie's remarks on this subject. They are as concise and definite as any thing can well be conceived on a matter so difficult to reduce to rule. “ It would have contributed much to perspicuity if quthors had adopted one uniform practice, placing the adverb constantly either before or after its subject, whether a substantive or an attributive. But, where usage is so divided, and where the adoption of a new and general rule would be now liable to insuperable objections, all that can be successfully attempted is, in accommodation to existing circumstances, to reduce the evil within narrow limits, if we cannot, by any precise rule, entirely remove it. With this view we would recommend, that when the adverb refers not to a word, but to a sentence or clause, it be placed at the beginning of that sentence'or clause ; where it refers to a predicate, it precede the predicating term ; and when it has a reference to a subject, it follow its name or description. An observation, however, already made, may be here repeated, namely, that in the last case a different collocation may often be adopted without the risk of ambiguity, and even with advantage to the structure of the sentence.”-Etymology and Syntax of the English Language, p. 235
1. In the first place, by an almost universal law of our nature, money lightly gained is lightly spent ; a revenue raised at the expense of posterity is sure to be squandered wastefully.- Arnold.
2. I confess I have no' notion of a truly great man that could not be all sorts of men.-Carlyle.
3. The executions were continued for long after, and under circumstances that will admit of neither extenuation nor apology.Alison.
4. Adults utterly forget the physical sensations of early life, even if they were distinctly regarded at the time.--Isaac Taylor.
Then must you speak
Shakspeare. 6. The antiquities of Greece and Rome were not less frequently the subject of books than before.—Hallam.
7. Few births are so well attested as that of the unfortunate prince, whom almost all English protestants then believed to be spurious.Mackintosh. 8.
Wordsworth. 9. A tear at least is due to the unhappy.-Carlyle.
10. Mary's administration had hitherto been extremely popular.Robertson.
11. Hope pervaded every bosom; joy beat high in every heart.Alison.
SENTENCES TO BE CORRECTED.-251 and 252. 1. Thales was not only famous for his knowledge of nature, but for his moral wisdom.-Enfield's History of Philosophy.
2. The atrocious crime of being a young man, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny.—Pitt.
3. This tragedy is alike distinguished for the lofty imagination it displays and for the tumultuous vehemence of the action.-Hazlitt.
4. In England, affairs took still a worse turn during the absence of the sovereign.-Hume.
5. We know little individually of his hearers.—Hallam.
6. Wherever the giant came, all fell before him ; but the dwarf had like to have been killed more than once.—Goldsmith.
7. In some parts of Europe, perhaps, there is scarcely a family exempt.-Hall.
8. Greek, however, seems not much to have flourished even immediately after the Restoration.—Hallam.
9. The obstinate conflict gained for Napoleon what he alone required to wrest their hard-earned successes from the allies—time.Alison.
10. Xenophon's sword was first drawn for a Persian prince, and last for a Spartan king.–M'Cullagh.
11. In following the trail of his enemies through the forest, the American Indian exhibits a degree of sagacity which almost appears miraculous.-Alison.
12. But there is a general correctness of delineation which must strike the eye at once of any person slightly experienced in geography.-Hallam.