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and a verb,—the noun to express the thing spoken about, and the verb to indicate what is affirmed concerning it.
24. Nouns are divided into two great classes, Proper and Common.
A proper name is one that is capable of being truly affirmed, in the same sense only, of one person or thing; but a common name may be truly affirmed in the same sense of each of an indefinite number of things. Thus, to use the words of Mr J. S. Mill, “ Man is capable of being truly affirmed of John, Peter, George, and other persons, without assignable limits; and it is affirmed of all of them in the same sense ; for the word man expresses certain qualities, and when we predicate it of those persons, we assert that they all possess those qualities. But John is only capable of being truly affirmed of one single person, at least in the
For though there are many persons who bear that name, it is not conferred on them to indicate any qualities or any thing which belongs to them in common; and cannot be said to be affirmed of them in any sense at all, consequently, not in the same sense.”—Logic, vol. i. p. 33.
25. Proper Nouns, then, are such as are applied to individual persons or things only, and they may be said to be in themselves utterly unmeaning. They were contrived simply for the purpose of showing what thing we talk about, and not of telling any thing about it. A proper name may either be a single word, as, Victoria, Britain, Edinburgh ; or a collocation of words, as, the present Queen of Great Britain, the Emperor of all the Russias.
26. Common Nouns are by some divided into three subclasses, called Abstract, Collective, and Verbal; by which arrangement the class of Common Nouns, in the limited acceptation of the term, includes only the names of things obvious to some of the five senses.
An Abstract Noun is the name of a quality or property thought of apart from all consideration of the substance in which the quality resides. The term bears reference to an act of the mind called abstraction, by which we fix our attention on one property of an object, leaving the others out of view. Snow, chalk, the foam of the sea, and writingpaper, are white, and, from this quality, are oppressive to
the eyes. Abstracting the quality from the substance, we say, “ Whiteness is oppressive to the eyes.”
Whiteness thus becomes an abstract noun. Most abstract nouns come from adjectives, and they cannot be fully understood till that part of speech has been explained. As examples may be given, truth, wisdom, length, goodness, probity. Abstract nouns should be carefully distinguished from common names generalized. These are such as man, river, horse, mountain. That there is a distinction between the two sets of words will be obvious on attentive examination, but logicians have not succeeded in showing wherein it lies.
27. Collective Nouns are those which, though singular in form, may suggest the idea of plurality. They are such as army, clergy, crowd, regiment. These distinctions, as we already said, are not like mathematical distinctions, and will not bear to be too closely pressed. The same word may be both collective and common. “ The 76th regiment is a collective name [and also a proper name], but not a general one : a regiment is both a collective and a general name. General with respect to all individual regiments, of each of which separately it can be affirmed; collective with respect to the individual soldiers of whom any regiment is composed." -Logic, vol. i. p. 34.
28. The imperfect participle of a verb (which will be treated of afterwards), when used as the name of an action, is called a Verbal Noun. In the sentence “ The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing,” the words seeing and hearing are called verbal nouns. Verbal nouns have much the same relation to verbs that abstract nouns have to adjectives.
1. What is the wide and what the restricted sense of the term Etymology ? In what respects do the two sorts agree, and wherein do they differ ? On what principle are words classified by grammarians ? By lexicographers ? By etymologists ? What is the use of classification? Is it used in other sciences? How many sorts of words ought there to be in a language? How many do we find in the English language? Where has arisen the difference among grammarians as to the number of classes ? What is meant
by a definition? Can grammatical definitions be made as precise as mathematical ones ?
2. Define the noun. Into what classes are nouns divided ? Give six examples of each sort. What two parts of speech are essential to' a sentence ? Distinguish a proper from a common noun. Has every proper noun a common noun corresponding to it? Is the converse true ? Has a proper name any meaning as such? What is an abstract noun ? Are the words man, king, ruler, government, abstract nouns ? What is a collective noun ? May the same word belong to more than one of these classes ? What is meant by a verbal noun ?
3. State the class to which the following words belong : House, Peter, leaf, hand, humanity, painting, labour, Vesuvius, committee, flock, congregation, education, sun, economy, whiteness, light, darkness, coming, soldier, army, mercy, John Brown's cottage, the King of Saxony, Victoria, queen, sovereign, woman, human being, thing.
THE ADJECTIVE. 29. An ADJECTIVE is a word that qualifies a noun, that is, marks it out from other things that bear the same name.
The characteristic of the adjective is, that it limits the application of the noun : thus, the term island is applicable to every portion of land surrounded by water; but if the adjective fertile be affixed to it, all islands not distinguished by the property of fertility are excluded from our consideration.
30. From this it follows, that the noun and adjective together signify less than the noun alone ; that is, if considered objectively; but if subjectively, they signify more. Rose embraces the whole class ; white rose, only a sub-class or species; but the two words suggest two distinct ideas, while the noun alone does not necessarily do so.
31. Were it possible to retain in the memory a name for every individual existence, language would then consist of proper names, and there would be no occasion for any class of words to distinguish one thing from another; but this being impossible, adjectives have been invented. Mr James Mill states their use very clearly :- As nouns substantive are the marks of ideas or sensations, nouns adjective are marks put upon nouns substantive, or marks upon marks, in order to limit the signification of the noun substantive;
and instead of its marking a large class, to make it mark a subdivision of that class. Thus the word rose the mark of a large class : apply to it the adjective yellow, that is, put the mark yellow upon the mark rose,
have the name yellow rose, which is a subdivision or species of the class Rose.”—Analysis, vol. i. p. 102.
32. Adjectives are, for the most part, derived from nouns, and in English the use of the noun as an adjective is exceedingly common. In order to qualify an object, the name of some other object in which the quality was remarkable would be added to it. This is particularly obvious in the case of colours; thus, we speak of an orange colour, a clay colour, a lead colour, &c. Warrior queen, poet philosopher, well source, are expressions of the same sort, and to be explained on the same principle. Sometimes the two words coalesce and become clearly one, as school, master, schoolmaster ; sometimes they are united by a hyphen, as book, learning, book-learning; but very often they are written separately, and the first noun is said to be used as an adjective.
33. The name adjective was given to the class of words which denotes the qualities of nouns, either because it was supposed to add something to the idea of the noun, or because, in the Latin language, among the grammarians of which the term originated, it was usual to place the word modifying the noun after it thus, tabula longa, while we refix it, and say, a long table.
34. Adjectives are generally divided into two great classes, Attributive and Numeral, or those which denote quality and those which refer to number.
35. Numerals are subdivided into three classes :
1. Cardinal Numeral Adjectives. They answer to the question, How many ? and are one, two, three, four, &c.
2. Ordinal Numeral Adjectives. They answer to the question, Which of the number? and are first, second, third, fourth, &c.
3. Indefinite Numeral Adjectives. They refer to number, but do not specify precisely what or which number. They are such as, some, several, many, few, any,
&c. - 36. The words a or an (two different forms of the same word) and the, are reckoned by some grammarians a separate
part of speech, and receive the common name of Articlea or an being called the indefinite, and the, the definite article ; but, as they in all respects come under the definition of the adjective, it is unnecessary, as well as improper, to rank them as a class by themselves.
In signification, a or an is equivalent to the numeral adjective one, and the to the demonstrative adjective that ; and the only difference between them is, that a, an, and the, convey the idea less emphatically than one and that. The articles are somewhat peculiar, and it is convenient to have a distinct name for them, but the peculiarity is not so striking as to justify us in reckoning them a distinct part of speech.
37. Various other words, generally arranged under the head of Pronoun, seem more properly to belong to the adjective. For instance, the eight words, my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, their, correspond exactly in office with the definition of the adjective; but as they are derived from and answer to the personal pronouns, they may be called pronominal adjectives with more propriety than possessive pronouns. If they ever stand alone, they do not exactly supply the place of a noun, but merely have it understood
; and so, as will presently appear, do not come under the definition of pronoun. In like manner, the words this and that, with their plurals these and those, by many called demonstrative pronouns, as also the four words, each, every, either, and neither, named distributive pronouns, must in strict propriety be considered as adjectives, inasmuch as they both precede and designate nouns, but never supply
EXERCISE III. 1. What is an adjective? What is its characteristic ? Does the adjective extend or contract the signification of the noun ? Why might not language consist of proper nouns ? State Mill's theory of the adjective. Give instances of the different ways in which nouns are used as adjectives. How did the term adjective probably originate ? Distinguish abstract nouns from adjectives. Into what two classes are adjectives divided ? To which class does the definition more strictly apply? Into what classes are numeral adjectives subdivided ? Prove that the articles are truly adjectives—Ist, As