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If my readers will turn their thoughts back on their old
friends, they will find it difficult to call a single man to remembrance who appeared to know that life was short [is short], till he was about to lose it.
Rambler, No. 71. 396. But beside this, we find the past tense used in accessory clauses where other languages would employ a future indicative, or some tense of the subjunctive mood. Take the following examples, with Dr. Webster's corrections :
It was declared by Pompey, that if the commonwealth
was (should be] violated, he could stamp with his foot
and raise an army out of the ground.—Rambler, No. 10. And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went [shall
(or) should go] to them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose [shall (or) should rise] from the
dead.—Luke xvi. 30, 31. Our verbs are very deficient in forms of the subjunctive mood; and were anyone to contend that went and rose are past tenses subjunctive, there is nothing in the form to contradict him. The verb was in the extract from Rambler, No. 10, is against that explanation; for was must be considered indicative. If I made any change at all, in that passage, I would read, 'It was declared by Pompey, that if the commonwealth were violated, &c.'
397. I have often thought, that the doctrine of the subjunctive might be used to defend a passage condemned as bad English, by some grammarians. It is this :
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living.–Psalm xxvii. 13. We are told, that this ought to be, 'I should have fainted.' But if had be taken as the past tense subjunctive (German hätte), the construction may be defended.
398. In the following sentence, there is an error in the use of mood :
If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest
that thy brother hath ought against thee.—Matt. v. 23. The construction of the two verbs bring and rememberest
ought to be the same; yet the one is in the subjunctive moud, and the other in the indicative. We should read,
If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember, &c.,
If thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there remem
berest, &c. The same mood should be employed in both clauses.
399. When two or more auxiliaries are used in reference to one principal verb, care should be taken that the form of the principal verb be applicable to each of the auxiliaries. Take this sentence:
This dedication may serve for almost any book, that has,
is, or shall be published. The auxiliary has makes no sense in connection with published. It requires the addition of been. We should read :
This dedication may serve for almost any book, that has
been or shall be published. The word is, adding nothing to the sense, may advantageously be omitted. So in this passage : I shall do all I can to persuade others to take the same
measures for their cure which I have. Here, we find have referred to the verb take. Yet it is not the word take which the sense demands, but taken. The participle, therefore, ought to have been added : which I have taken.'
See Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric, p. 186.
400. In Indicative sentences the verb generally follows the subject-nominative; but in Interrogative sentences the subjectnominative follows the principal verb or the auxiliary : as, • Was he there?' 'Did Alexander conquer ?'
In older English, and in poetry, the use of the principal verb, in the first place of an interrogative sentence, is not un
Says the king so?
Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Scott, Lay of the Last Minstrel, vi. 1-3. 401. When several interrogative clauses follow one another, care must be taken to use all the verbs consistently. Take this example:
Did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the
Lord repented him of the evil, which he had pronounced
against him ?-Jeremiah xxvi. 19. Here the interrogative and indicative forms are confounded. It ought to be:
Did he not fear the Lord, and beseech the Lord ? and did
not the Lord repent him of the evil ? So in this
passage : If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone
astray, doth. he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone
astray ?-Matt. xviii. 12. It ought to be go and seek; that is, doth he not go and seek that which is gone astray?'
402. In negative sentences the adverb not is placed after the auxiliary, or sometimes after the principal verb itself: as, 'it did not touch him,'' it touched him not.'
Older writers frequently place the negative before the principal verb: as,
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Much Ado about Nothing, v. i.
Othello, iii. 3.
But antiquated and deserted lie,
Ben Jonson, To the Memory of Shakespeare.
GENERAL REMARKS ON PARTICLES.
403. Under the term 'Particles,' we include the words commonly called Adverbs, Conjunctions, and Prepositions.
It is not always possible to draw the line between these, as the same word may be at one time a preposition, at another an adverb or a conjunction. Thus before, in the phrase "before sunset,' is a preposition ; but in the sentence before the sun sets,' it is commonly called a conjunction. Dr. Morell terms it a continuative conjunction. Mr. Mason thinks that it should rather be classed among the adverbs. Professor Bain calls it a relative adverb, or a subordinating conjunction.
Now, if grammarians would candidly confess that the socalled Parts of Speech cannot always be discriminated, they would save themselves and their followers a world of perplexity. Instead of this, they lay down dogmatic rules, which are not always applicable, and then they try to make their cause good by numerous exceptions and counter-exceptions. It is no wonder that young persons are utterly distracted, or that they consider the study of grammar dull and unprofitable.
But if the inductive method were followed, much of this perplexity would vanish. Pupils should be taught to observe the usage of words in their reading ; to compare one phrase with another; to suspend judgment; and gradually to arrive at general principles. In this way they would acquire the habits of observation and comparison ; they would learn to think and to reason; and Grammar would form an excellent introduction to Logic.
404. In order to concentrate the difficulties which pervade this part of the subject, we shall devote a separate chapter to
those doubtful words, which are variously termed Conjunctive Adverbs, Adverbial Conjunctions, Relative Adverbs, Subordinating Conjunctions, Continuative Conjunctions, &c., &c.
Thus, we shall be able to obtain a clearer view of Adverbs and Conjunctions properly so called ; and the student will perceive wherein the difficult part of the investigation specially consists.
Omnis pars orationis, quando desinit esse quod est, migrat
405. The passage quoted from Servius is thus humorously construed by Horne Tooke:- Omnis pars orationis, 'every word,' quando desinit esse quod est, when a grammarian knows not what to make of it,' migrat in Adverbium, 'he calls an Adverb.'
But, according to Sir John Stoddart, the expression of Servius is literally true: Omnis pars orationis migrat in Adverbium, 'Every part of speech is capable of being converted into an Adverb.'
Servius saw part of the truth; and his remark is capable of a wider application. The character of a word is determined by its function or usage in a sentence: hence every part of speech, when it ceases to be what it is,' undergoes a change of function, and partakes of a new character. There can be little doubt, as Horne Tooke has shown, that the particle if was originally gif, the imperative of the verb gifan, to give,' and was used in making a supposition, or asking for an admission, 'grant,' suppose.' In course of time its verbal power was forgotten ; its initial g was lost; and the word remained as an introductory particle. But Horne Tooke was wrong in supposing that because all particles were originally nouns or verbs, they remain so still, and that their function is not changed. For he keeps out of sight, as self-evident, the other premiss, which is absolutely false-namely, that the meaning and force of a word, now, and for ever, must be that