SENTENCES AND THEIR ELEMENTS
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO
MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED
LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA
THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
SAMUEL C. EARLE, HOWARD J. SAVAGE
FRANK E. SEAVEY
TEACHERS OF ENGLISH IN THE ENGINEERING SCHOOL
REVISED AND ENLARGED
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
All rights reserved
BY SAMUEL C. EARLE.
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1911.
Berwick & Smith Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
IN the main this book aims to give, as briefly as possible, the
facts which the student in college needs as a foundation for his
study of language. Many enter without this elementary knowl-
edge and are, as a result, seriously crippled in their classes in
foreign languages as well as in their use of English. The text-
books used in preparatory schools give dogmatically "rules of
good use," but the student in college, who should think as well
as remember and obey, needs a somewhat different treatment.
The grammars and rhetorics used in college generally assume
more effective knowledge of the elementary facts of language
than the great majority in the classes actually possess. For
this reason the following chapters deal with things which should
have been learned in the grammar grades or in the first years in
the high school, but according to a method which seems better
adapted to the student who is more mature and who is studying
other languages as well as his native tongue.*
Some suggestions as to "good use " are also given, but since
that subject is well treated in many standard text-books, it will
be considered here only when it throws important light on the
fundamental facts of language.
The method of sentence study which has been adopted here
may be seen from the following outline :
A. Preliminary considerations: Language.
I. General uses of language.
II. The implements of written and spoken expression.
III. Limitations in the use of these implements which
should be recognized. (CHAPTER I.)
* References are made in this book chiefly to French and German; now and
then also to Anglo-Saxon, Greek, Latin, Spanish, and Italian.
B. Analysis of sentences.
I. Sentences as wholes.
1. General character of sentences.
2. The structure of simple and complicated sen-
tences. (CHAPTER II.)
II. Sentence elements.
1. Words in their relations to other words.
(a) The parts of speech as determined by their
use in sentences. (CHAPTER III.)
(6) Variations in form of words to express their
relations in sentences . (CHAPTER I V. )
(c) Determination of the forms of words to be
used in sentences. (CHAPTER V.)
(d) The order and grouping of words in sen-
tences (including the use of marks of
punctuation). (CHAPTER VI.)
2. Words considered individually.
(a) Choice of words.
(d) Use of capital letters. (CHAPTER VII.)
C. Synthesis of sentences.
III. Other problems. (CHAPTER VIII.)
The materials given here may be used in different ways to
answer different purposes. Any one who wishes to study the
subject systematically would do well to take the book up chapter
by chapter as presented. If all that is desired is to review the
subject, that may be done by using the "topical synopses/'
which indicate definitely section by section what is treated in
each chapter. In each section, where there is occasion, the gist
of the matter is suggested by bold-faced type; the essential
explanatory matter is printed in ordinary type; and, in some cases,
further materials are given in fine print. If it is desired to use
the book merely for reference, the alphabetical index at the back
will be found serviceable for that purpose.
To make the study of the book effective, it should be accom-
panied by much sentence analysis, and that should be based
largely on the written work of the students. In fact the book
should be used as far as possible as a means of removing difficul-
ties which have been actually found in the use of language, rather
than as a special and independent study. For this reason, only
enough illustrations have been given to make the explanations
clear; but if the student will make note of all the important cases
which offer him difficulty and write in examples taken from his
own reading and writing, he will gather the materials for the
most valuable language study. A real understanding of the
fundamental facts of language can be gained only through serious
study. It is the purpose here, not to open a short cut to knowl-
edge, but to assist the teacher and guide the student in making a
thorough study of sentences and their elements.
A treatment such as this must inevitably be at every step the
result of compromises between historical and linguistic accuracy
and breadth of view on the one hand, and brevity and simplicity
of statement on the other. Whether or not such compromises
have been wisely made must be determined by the practical use
of the book, and the authors will be glad to receive further
Note to the Second Edition. In revising, it has been possible
to adopt valuable suggestions made by various teachers of Eng-
lish and of modern languages who have used the first edition.
Experience has shown that the subject as here presented may be
taken up in many ways, and may be abbreviated or expanded
according to the needs of different classes and the resources of
individual teachers. Attention is again called to the advantage
of having each student note in the appropriate sections illustra-
tions from his writing or reading of all points which offer him
TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS vii
I. LANGUAGE 1
II. SENTENCE STRUCTURE 14
III. THE PARTS OF SPEECH 35
IV. VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 59
V. DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS 99
VI. ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS. PUNCTUATION 111
VII. INDIVIDUAL WORDS 136
Choice of Words
Use of Capital Letters
VIII. SYNTHESIS OF SENTENCES 151
ALPHABETICAL INDEX 157
TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS
(Numbers at right refer to sections.)
A. Definition of language.
I. First use of language.
II. The implements of spoken and written expression. 1.
III. Second use of language. 2.
B. Limitations in the use of language.
I. General limitations.
1. In thought.
2. In speech.
3. In writing. 3.
II. The possibilities of overcoming limitations of ex-
III. The ideal to be striven for. 5.
C. Freedom and restriction of the individual speaker or writer.
I. Language more living in some parts than in
II. Logical and idiomatic forms of expression. 7.
III. General restrictions: correct use. 8.
1. Correct use of secondary importance. 9.
2. Results of the use of incorrect forms. 10.
3. The ideal to be striven for. 11.
IV. Special restrictions.
1. The restrictions of " good use."
(a) Local: geographical, technical, collo-
(6) Temporal: archaic, slang.
(e) Limitations of fitness: indecent, unfit,
2. The value of the canons of good use. 13.
Yin SENTENCES (CHAP. II
3. The way in which these restrictions should be
(c) Limitations of fitness. 14.
4. Origin and cure of offenses against good
5. The ideal to be striven for. 16.
D. The subject of the following chapters. 17.
E. What we owe our native tongue. 18.
A. Definition of a sentence.
I. As a unit of expression. 19.
II. As a combination of subject and predicate. 20.
B. Ways of combining subject and predicate.
I. The primitive sentence. 21.
II. The logical proposition, formed by use of the
III. Grammatical sentences: subject and predicate. 2&
C. Analysis of sentences.
I. Fundamental elements.
1. Subject: a substantive.
(b) When subject may be omitted.
(c) When subject may be doubled. 24.
2. Predicate: verb or verb and complement. 25.
Expressing idea of connection only:
Expressing idea of connection and
idea of existence, 27; of state of
being or change of state, 28; of
CHAP. II) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS ix
Tabular classification of verbs. 30.
With copula and verbs expressing
change of state of being: pred-
icate nominative or predicate
With transitive verbs in active voice :
With verbs expressing existence, in-
transitive verbs, and transitive
verbs in passive voice : no comple-
3. Tabular view of forms of subject and predi-
4. Indirect object, resultant object, and result-
ant adjective. 34.
1. Primary and secondary modifiers.
2. Modifiers which qualify:
nouns, in possessive case and in
(6) verbs, adjectives, and adverbs:
III. Different kinds of sentences according to the idea
5. Optative. 36.
SENTENCES (CHAP. Ill
IV. Compound and complex sentences and elements.
1. Compound sentences. Conjunctions.
2. Compound elements. 37.
3. Phrases and clauses. 38.
V. Tabular view of simple and complex sentences. 39.
VI. Parts of sentences which have no structural rela-
2. Absolute constructions.
4. Words of affirmation or denial.
5. Certain parenthetical expressions. 40.
THE PARTS OF SPEECH
A. Names and classification of the parts of speech. 41.
B. The separate parts.
2. Uses in the sentence.
(a) Nouns expressing substance (concrete) :
(6) Nouns expressing quality:
(c) Nouns expressing action or occurrence:
Verbal nouns in -ing. 42.
1. Definition. (Antecedent.)
2. Uses in the sentence.
CHAP. Ill) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS
(h) Collective and partitive.
(i) Adjective. 43.
1. Definition and use.
Ordinal, Indefinite article,
Demonstrative, Definite article,
Collective and partitive,
(c) Verbal (participles):
IV. Adverbs. Past ' **
1. Definition and use.
2. Negatives. 4=5.
Xll SENTENCES (CHAP. IV
1. Definition and use.
(a) As explained in sections 26-30.
(6) Regular and irregular.
(c) Strong and weak.
(/) Auxiliary. 46.
1. Definition and use. (Object.) 47.
1. Definition and use.
(c) Correlative. 48.
1. Definition and use. 49.
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
A. Kinds of grammatical variation. Explained in each case
with reference to a common form. 50.
B. Variations which affect nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and
I. Number. Definition. Singular and plural.
1. Number of nouns.
(a) General rule for forming the plural.
(6) Special rules:
Variation in sound and spelling.
Variations in spelling.
Plural of letters, signs, etc.
Plural of surnames with titles.
CHAP. IV) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS Xlil
Plural of compound nouns.
Nouns without plural.
Nouns without singular.
2. Number of pronouns.
3. Number of adjectives.
4. Number of verbs.
5. Dual. 51.
II. Gender. Definition. Masculine, feminine, neuter,
1. Masculine and feminine terminations and
2. Grammatical gender.
4. Gender of pronouns.
5. Gender of adjectives. 52.
III. Case. Definition.
1. Nouns: common and possessive.
(a) Rule for forming the possessive.
Exceptions and special cases.
2. Cases of pronouns: subject, possessive, object.
3. Cases of adjectives.
4. Cases in other languages. 53.
IV. Person. Definition.
1. Person of nouns.
2. Person of personal pronouns: first, second,
3. Third-person pronouns of demonstrative origin.
4. Personal endings of verbs. 54.
V. Comparison. Definition.
1. Positive degree.
2. Comparative degree.
3. Superlative degree.
XIV SENTENCES (CHAP. IV
4. Formation of comparative and superlative:
(a) By endings.
(b) By use of more and most.
(c) By use of less and least.
(d) Irregular formations. 55.
(d) (Possessive adjectives.)
(h) Collective and partitive.
4. Adverbs. 56.
C. Variations (other than person and number) which affect
1. Difference between active and passive (see
2. Formation of passive.
II. Mode. Definition.
4. Subjunctive and optative.
5. Potential, or modal auxiliary.
6. Infinitives and participles. 59.
CHAP. IV) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS XV
III. Tense. Definition.
1. Distinctions in tense according to the time and
to the point of consideration.
2. Formation of present and past tenses.
(a) Simple present and past.
3. Use and meaning of present and past tenses.
(a) Simple present.
(6) Absolute present.
(c) Simple past.
(d) Progressive present and past.
(e) Historical presents.
(/) Emphatic tenses.
(6) Meaning of shall and will.
(c) Present use of the auxiliaries for the
(d) Distinction between first and second and
(e) Modal future auxiliaries.
(/) English future compared with French
(g) Indirect futures.
(h) (Formation of conditional.)
(i). (Special uses of should and would.)
(j) Difficulties in the use of shall and will.
5. Compound tenses.
(a) Formation and general meaning.
(6) Present compound.
(c) Past compound.
(d) Future compound.
(e) Dating past and future events. 60.
XVI SENTENCES (CHAP. V
(a) To be, to have, to do. 61.
(b) Shall, will, may, can, must, ought. 62L
(c) Meanings of may, might, can, could, and
2. A sample verb complete. 64.
V. Formation of verbs from the principal parts. 65.
DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS
A. Two factors in the determination of the form. 66.
B. Determination according to the structure of the sentence.
I. Subject of a finite verb.
1. General rule.
2. Three special cases. 67.
II. Subject of an infinitive.
1. General rule.
2. One special case. 68.
III. Agreement df the verb.
1. General rule.
2. Special cases of agreement in person.
3. Special cases of agreement in number.
(a) Subject you or we.
(b) Compound subject.
(c) Subject logically compound.
(d) Subject with intervening modifier.
(e) Subject and complement of different
(/) Verb introduced by there,
(g) Subject a collective or partitive.
(h) Subject a collective noun. 69.
CHAP. VI) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS XVU
IV. The predicate nominative.
1. General rule.
2. Disjunctive use in French and English. 70.
V. The object of a verb or preposition.
1. General rule.
2. Special case. 71.
VI. Agreement of pronoun.
1. General rule.
2. In German and Romance languages.
3. Agreement with a collective or partitive.
4. Necessity for a real antecedent.
5. Ambiguous antecedent.
6. The use of the pronoun one. 12.
VII. A substantive in apposition.
1. General rule.
2. Special case. 73.
VIII. Adjectives or adverbs.
1. General rule.
2. Special case.
3. Shaksperean use. 74.
IX. Coordinate sentence elements.
1. General rule.
2. Illustrations of special cases. 75.
1. General rule. 76.
XI. Indirect quotations.
1. Sequence of tenses.
2. Change in person of pronouns. 77.
ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS IN SENTENCES
A. Importance of order and grouping of words. 78.
B. Order of words.
I. The general requirement. 70.
SENTENCES (CHAP. VI
II. Method of treatment employed here. 80.
III. General rules.
1. In declarative sentences.
(a) Order of fundamental elements. 81.
(6) Position of modifiers.
With finite verbs.
With infinitives. 83.
(c) Order of words in the Romance languages
and in German. 83.
2. In exclamative, imperative, and optative sen-
3. In interrogative sentences. 85.
IV. Possibility of variation in order.
2. Clearness. 86.
C. Grouping of words: punctuation.
I. Necessity for grouping. 87.
II. Historical development of use of group signs.
III. Two theories of punctuation. 88.
IV. Three fundamental points.
1 . Punctuation marks may both separate and j oin.
2. Marks are used according to two general sys-
3. Marks may be divided into three groups:
(a) Marks of generally fixed usage.
(b) Marks of varying usage.
(c) Marks other than punctuation marks.
V. Marks of generally fixed usage.
1. The sentence marks. 90.
2. Other uses of the period. 91.
3. Other uses of the interrogation point. 92.
4. Other uses of the exclamation point. 93.
HAP. VII) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS xi.X
5. Uses of the apostrophe. 94.
6. Uses of the hyphen. 95.
7. Uses of quotation marks. 96.
8. Uses of the dash. 97.
VI. Marks of varying uses.
1. General character of this group of marks. 98.
2. Marks to indicate members of a series. 99.
(a) Series of unequals. 100.
(b) Series of equals. 101
3. Marks of parenthesis. 102.
4. Marks to indicate ellipsis. 103.
5. Other uses of commas. 104.
6. Another use of semicolons. 105.
7. Other uses of colons. 106.
VII. Marks other than punctuation marks.
1. Ditto marks.
2. The caret.
3. Accent marks.
4. Marks of quantity.
5. The diaeresis.
6. The cedilla.
7. The tilde. 107.
A. The problems of individual words:
I. Choice of words.
IV. Use of capital letters. 108.
B. Choice of words. The way in which the subject is
treated here. 109.
I. The fundamental problem of expression in words.
XX SENTENCES (CHAP. VII
II. The part which the choice of words plays in expres-
III. The interdependence of words for their meanings.
IV. Necessity of choosing words which are exact for the
V. Necessity of choosing words which are exact for the
readers addressed. 114.
VI. Necessity of choosing effective and economical words.
VII. Necessity of choosing words which are expressive of
living meaning. 116.
I. Need of considering pronunciation.
II. Permissible variation.
III. Objectionable pronunciation and enunciation. 117.
I. Chaotic condition of English spelling. 118.
II. A few practical suggestions only given here. 119.
III. Finale. 120.
IV. Double or single consonants. 121.
V. Final?/. 123.
VI. Obscure vowels. 123.
VII. Words ending in -al or -le. 124.
E. The use of capital letters.
I. First word of sentences, lines of poetry, and quota-
II. In titles of books, etc.
III. Proper nouns, adjectives and verbs derived from
proper nouns, and official titles.
IV. Words used for the Deity.
VII. Special cases in the salutations of letters.
VIII. For emphasis, in special cases. 125.
CHAP. VIII) TOPICAL SYNOPSES OF CHAPTERS XXI
SYNTHESIS OF SENTENCES
A. The problems of synthesis of sentences to be considered
I. Unity, in sentences, partly a question of length. 127.
II. The fundamental limitation as to length. 128.
III. Length in part determined by personality of writer
and by the subject of discourse. 129.
IV. Relation of length of sentence to the rhetorical form.
V. Need of variety in length of sentences. 130.
C. The possibilities of emphasis. 131.
I. Stress and organic emphasis. 132.
II. Emphasis of position.
1. The beginning and the end of a sentence.
2. The effect of placing words in other than the
grammatical order. 134.'
3. Possibilities of emphasis in a single sentence.
D. Other problems of synthesis of sentences. 136.
(For Topical Synopsis, see page vii)
1. Language is (a) the means of communicating ideas. In
the narrow sense of the word, as its origin (Latin lingua, the
tongue) suggests, it means the sounds uttered for the purpose
of communicating; but in common use it includes equally the
recorded signs used to represent spoken sounds, and sometimes
any other means of conveying ideas. As the term is used here
it will include both spoken sounds and recorded signs.
There are two broad classes of " ideas " which language expresses,
emotions and logical thought. Animals communicate emotional ideas
by signs; for example, a deer by raising his tail expresses to the rest of
the herd the idea " danger! " Similar ideas man expresses by gestures,
tones, and exclamations. The faculty of logical thought is possessed
by man alone. It differs from emotional ideas, in as far as the form of
expression is concerned, chiefly in that it is articulated, that is to say,
it is cut up into elements which are articulated, or jointed, together.
For example, a man might say, " We | are | in | danger! " Such logical
thought is expressed in two ways: first, by spoken sounds (which are
also articulate) combined with gestures, pauses, and tones; second, by
recorded signs. These recorded signs are of two sorts: " pictures " and
symbols for spoken sounds. Pictures are the means used by primitive
men for recording ideas, and they have been developed into instruments
of precision in such forms as the photograph and the mechanical drawing.
These there will be no reason for considering especially in this book.
The written symbols include groups of letters forming words,
figures, marks of punctuation, and other signs. These and the
sounds for which they stand are the implements of expression
the use of which we are to study.
2. Language is also (b) a means of exact thought. In order
to think logically, we must articulate our experience; and though
2 SENTENCES (SEC. 3
this may be done by means of visual images or symbols, it is
mainly through the use of words, which stand for the " elements "
and the " joints," that man has developed his power of exact
thinking. Anyone who does not attempt to express his ideas
escapes the necessity of making himself clear to others, but that
is all. To experience the deepest and the most powerful emo-
tions, we do not need words; but in order to master the processes
of logical thought fully, we generally have to resort to the instru-
mentality of language. When one who says he " knows but
cannot express himself/' studies over his problem till he can give
his ideas adequate expression in words, he generally finds that
through the act of choosing and combining these words he has
arrived at a more complete and more exact understanding of his
thought which previously he did not realize that he lacked.
Even more for one who realizes he has not yet mastered his ideas,
the attempt at careful expression is a means of exact thought.
3. As a means of expression, language is always more or less
imperfect, (a) Even in the processes of thought, the imper-
fection is serious. As we reflect, we seek definiteness and order;
but these qualities we can bring out only at the price of sacri-
ficing much of the richness of the material of thought, experience.
(6) In speech the imperfection is more marked. Thought, even
in the process of logical analysis, may play backward and for-
ward and all about an experience with extreme rapidity, but
spoken language must move slowly and from point to point
along a single line, (c) In writing there are, in addition to the
imperfections of thought and spoken language, serious difficul-
ties peculiar to the written form. Written or printed words may
at any time be misunderstood because of the absence of those
subtle suggestions as to the way they should be interpreted
which are continually given by the living personality of the
speaker. Even a simple business letter may convey to the one
who receives it a meaning seriously different from what the same
words would have meant had they been spoken by the writer.
There are exceptions in favor of the recorded forms: written
Sec. 6) LANGUAGE O
mathematical demonstrations, mechanical drawings, and musical
notation, for example, express the ideas they attempt to convey
more perfectly than is possible in arfy other way. But all the
imperfections are upon the head ^I/that form of recorded ex-
pression with which we are here coiperned.
4. Language, in the form of thought, speech, or writing, must,
then, fall short of perfect expression; it can hope to attain only
relative completeness and accuracy by more or less conventional
methods which the use of language has shown to be serviceable.
5. From the fact of this limitation we should not conclude, as
the inexperienced writer often does, that the first word or ex-
pression to come to mind will do well enough. To express, not
perfectly but with such effectiveness as is possible, any idea
which is worth communicating and which has been duly con-
sidered, calls for nice discrimination in both the choice and the
combination of words. Such discrimination is usually developed
only slowly and as the result of much practice. The lack of
skill in the use of words should not keep us from expressing our
thoughts, but no one can hope to become a master of expression
till he has learned to realize the value of the careful fitting of
word to idea.
6. Thought is the most living of all things ; therefore language,
in order to give adequate expression to real thought, must be
living. To live means to grow continually: new experience
necessitates new words, new ways of thinking demand new forms
of expression. When a language ceases to communicate new
thought, it can no longer grow it is dead. From such a
language, Latin for example, other living languages may have
grown; but it is itself different from all living languages in an
important way: from it final, complete vocabularies may be
compiled and dogmatic rules formulated, because every possible
case may in time be studied and tabulated. Of a living language
the vocabulary is never a completed volume, and there is no rule
to which time may not add new exceptions. Even in the most
living language, however, some parts grow very slowly, some
4 SENTENCES (SEC., 8
for long periods do not grow at all. As has been said, language
is like a tree, in that it has its heart-wood which has ceased to
grow, its slow-growing, and its rapid-growing parts.
7. The language of any people is, in part, logical, that is, its
forms are determined directly according to fundamental habits
of the human mind; in part, it is idiomatic, that is, its forms are
peculiar to itself as a separate language, or idiom. Some ex-
pressions which are peculiar to this language or that, and are
therefore idiomatic, are nevertheless logical; others are distinctly
illogical. Whether the expression is idiomatic or not is relatively
unimportant as long as one is confined to one's native tongue;
but the moment one begins to translate ideas into another
language one should realize that change of words without change
of idiom, when necessary, always means that the ideas have been
8. As long as we are considering the " heart- wood " of a
living language, we may lay down rules as dogmatic as those of a
dead language. Forms thus fixed by correct use may be logical,
illogical-idiomatic, or even contrary to the general idiom; in any
case we may say that they must be used. You were, when
addressed to one person, may be taken as an example. Origi-
nally the pronoun you was always plural, and was a form which
could not be used as subject of a verb; similarly the verb were
was always plural. But illogical and unidiomatic confusion of
construction led to the interpretation of you as subject, and
peculiar notions of formality and politeness brought about the
occasional use of this plural form when addressing one person.
In time you were became fixed in the language for the singular
as well as the plural form; and now if we use ye, thou, or was to
express this idea, we can in no way defend ourselves against
the charge of ignorance or carelessness. In some instances use
has fixed two forms to express the same idea, both of which are
considered correct, as in the case of words spelled or pronounced
in two different ways; but in general, many things in relation
to the exact meaning of words, the pronunciation, the spelling,
SEC. 10) LANGUAGE 5
the use of capital letters, the use of punctuation marks, the order,
form, and agreement of words, and the structure of sentences (the
things with which this book is mainly concerned), are definitely
determined for us by correct use.
9. The teacher of language generally considers the attainment
of correctness of diction as of the first importance; but the pupil
often grows impatient over the task, which he finds difficult and
uncongenial. "What difference does it make how a man
writes," he may ask, " if by signing his name he can give to a
worthless bit of paper the value of thousands of dollars? The
credit behind the name is the essential, not the style of hand-
writing." Or he may ask, "Why do I need to spend so much
time trying to learn to spell correctly, to use capitals in the right
place, to punctuate properly? If I could write a treatise like
'The Origin of Species/ a novel like ' Vanity Fair/ or a poem
like 'In Memoriam/ the printer would take care of the minor
details. That is his business. It is enough for me as writer to
get some ideas worth communicating." Many in our language
classes, though they may not formulate these questions, have a
strong practical feeling that the attainment of correctness is not
worth the effort it costs. And it is true that the placing of the
primary emphasis on correctness is one of the serious defects in
the instruction of many of our schools. The first and most
important thing for the young writer is to learn to understand
and to appreciate his own experience, that he may have some-
thing to write. This is a difficult task, for his immaturity and
his lack of broad experience give him little that he feels is really
worth communicating; from this main task, nothing should be
allowed to distract him or his teacher. " Printers* details " are
in comparison certainly of secondary importance.
10. Illegibility or inaccuracy of diction, however, may entail
so much extra trouble and expense upon a publisher that he will
reject a manuscript he would otherwise consider more seriously.
And if what we write does not go through the hands of a printer
who will correct for us, any errors we make, even though they
6 SENTENCES (SBC. 12
do not obscure our meaning, are almost sure to produce two
disastrous results. First, they will attract the reader's atten-
tion. Since almost every one finds the slips of others more
noticeable and less excusable than his own, we as writers must
expect that our errors will call attention sharply to the very things
we do not wish our reader to know anything about, our ignorance
and carelessness. Second, they will distract the reader's atten-
tion from what we have to communicate. If there were little
to read, anything, no matter how poorly written, would find
readers; but, in reality, whatever we write, we are sending goods
to a glutted market, and it is a difficult problem to attract and
to hold the reader's attention. The burden is, therefore, always
on the writer. In view of the difficulty of holding the reader's
attention, it is poor economy for the writer to squander the very
thing which it is so important for him to gain, through discred-
itable or humorous errors.
11. We may say, then, that the form is always secondary to the
substance and should never distract the attention of the writer
in the act of composition; but since it should likewise never
attract or distract the attention of the reader, the writer should
see to it that, in the final writing, the form is correct.
12. Besides the restrictions of correct use which apply to all
speakers and writers under all circumstances, there are certain
special restrictions which hold differently under different cir-
cumstances. Three classes of these restrictions are worth
First, Local Restrictions
(a) Within special geographical limits, words may be in common
use which are not used or even known elsewhere. This is es-
pecially true of the English language on account of the diffusion
of the English-speaking peoples and their geographical and
political separation. The contrivance which in America is called
an elevator in England is called a lift. In such cases as this
there is no term common to all English-speaking lands. The
SEC. 12) LANGUAGE 7
contrivance which in some parts of the United States is called
a stone-drag in other parts is called a stone-boat. Such words are
said to be in local, not in general or national, use.
(6) Special fields of thought permit and necessitate special
usage. Each art, science, profession, trade, sport, or special
interest of any sort has its peculiar vocabulary and forms of
expression, its technical terms, which are permissible and usually
the only correct forms within the technique, but which may not
be even known outside. Esquisse in fine arts, trepan in surgery,
and foul in baseball, are examples of words used in this special
way. Such words are said to be in technical, not in general,
(c) Common or familiar conversation permits the use of many
words and expressions not used in more serious speech or writing.
The Biblical "Be not afraid," or its modern equivalent, Do not
be afraid, in the language of familiar conversation becomes
Don't be scared. Words used in this limited way are said to be
in colloquial, not in general, use.
Second, Temporal Restrictions
(a) A word or expression which was regularly employed in the
past may not be used now, or, if used, may be retained only in
special cases. Thou art and ye are were the accepted forms in
the time of the writing of the King James version of the
Bible, but they are not used now except in the so-called exalted
style. Such words were in general use, but have now become
(b) New terms and expressions are daily coming into use. If
they are strictly necessary (if like monoplane, for example, they
name a new thing in which everyone is interested), they are
adopted at once into general use. If they are not necessary, they
may be rejected entirely later on, or in time they may be ac-
cepted. In the mean time they may all be classed together,
to avoid multiplication of terms, under the name given to the
most commonly recognized cases : slang.
8 SENTENCES (SEC. 13
Third, Restrictions of Fitness
Each word denotes a definite idea and at the same time connotes,
or suggests, the attitude of the user or the ideas which in his
mind associate themselves with the denotation. Faithful student
and grind may denote one and the same individual, but they
suggest different attitudes toward him and call up quite different
sets of associated ideas. Questions as to the connotation of
words are questions of fitness.
(a) There are some words which are under no circumstances
fit to use because they connote ideas no one should entertain.
Such are indecent.
(6) Others are necessary on certain occasions, but are in-
herently unfit under other circumstances. The language our
family physician uses in consultation is manifestly not suited to
conversation in the drawing-room. Such language, when used
under wrong circumstances, is unfit.
(c) Still other words (for example bloke or guy for fellow, or
gent for man) come into the language from disreputable sources,
or acquire disreputable connotation because of associations which
have grown up around them more or less accidentally. Such
chance associations have led to the rejection of phiz as disrep-
utable, though mob, which once seemed to have no better future,
has been adopted into- general use. When a word or expression
is accepted generally by writers of good taste it is said to be
standardized. Words and expressions of doubtful origin which
do not become standardized are called vulgarisms.
13. Language which escapes the above restrictions, that is to
say, which is in general (or at least national), present use by
writers of recognized good taste, is said to be in good use. In
regard to correct use, the only question that can be asked is the
one we have already considered (9-11): Is correctness worth
the effort necessary to attain it? In regard to good use, the
question arises: Should we always limit ourselves to language %
which we can prove is " in general, present use by writers of
SEC. 14) LANGUAGE 9
recognized good taste"? Teachers and text-books are often
very dogmatic in condemning language "not in good use," but
the thoughtful student knows that some of the very things
condemned by these authorities are used by authors whose
judgment he with good reason is more ready to respect. There
is great difference in the value of the interpretations of good use
by different persons who pose as authority, but in the ultimate
analysis even the best of these standards is largely personal.
Each writer has the privilege and the necessity of choosing for
himself within rather broad limits, provided he knows exactly
what he wishes to denote and to connote. Indeed good use
(not correct use be it observed), as a general criterion, is more
harmful than helpful, for the canons of good use apply very
differently under different circumstances, and to attempt to
force any writer to obey them undiscriminatingly is to discourage
14. To appreciate the special ways in which the "canons of
good use " should be applied, we need to give them further
Local restrictions. In order to convey ideas, a writer must
use language which is intelligible to his reader; therefore, if he
is addressing general readers, he needs to avoid as far as he can
words which are merely local. But life and interests are largely
local, and to express them adequately a writer must use special
terms. Some object to the liberal use of local terms which
Kipling in his "Plain Tales from the Hills" permits himself;
but without them the desired local color would not be given.
Whenever local terms are skillfully used, they add to the value.
As to the use of technical terms, we should recognize that not
only what we label "technical " writings, but anything which is
addressed to readers of some degree of special knowledge and
anything which deals with any special interest, must make use
of terms more or less special; and in reality, almost everything
written deals with a special interest or is addressed to a limited
body of readers. The important thing is to see that the special
10 SENTENCES (SEC. 14
terms used are such, or are so used or defined, that they convey
to the reader exactly the idea intended, and that no special words
are used but those called for by the peculiar interest of the readers
addressed. As for colloquial expressions, whether it is effective
to use them or not depends altogether on the subject-matter,
the personality of the writer, and the character of the reader.
If a colloquial expression conveys the exact meaning (including
the desired connotation) it is much less objectionable than a
bookish expression. In each of these cases there is a problem
for the writer to solve for himself in each special instance : how
to avoid, on the one hand, the distress and confusion of his
reader; on the other, the loss of naturalness, definiteness, origi-
nality, force, and life.
Temporal restrictions. Archaic expressions offer few diffi-
culties. They may be effectively used to add local color to
stories of the past and to give the right connotation to anything
written in the exalted style. If they are used elsewhere, it is
generally through ignorance or carelessness, so that it is enough
for the writer to have his attention called to his error. In con-
nection with the use of "slang" serious questions arise, some of
which will be discussed in section 116c. As we have used this
term here it includes the coinage of invention, the striking and
picturesque expressions of the frontiersman, the metaphors of
the great poet, as well as the degenerate language of the city
"tough" and his imitators. Whether or not "slang" in this
inclusive sense should be used will be treated for the present
simply as a matter of good taste, which will be considered
Restriction of fitness. In regard to questions of good taste,
the dogmatic style of text-book often ignores in a most fatal way
the special circumstances. Here again, the subject-matter, the
personality of the writer, and the character of the reader are the
important determining factors. One subject, if adequately ex-
pressed, demands a free-and-easy style, another demands con-
servative treatment; one writer's strong quality is his elegance,
SEC. 16) LANGUAGE 11
another's is his force; the congregation of a wealthy city church
would have to be addressed in different language from what
would be necessary to produce similar results in a Salvation
Army meeting. Who would condemn a short story because it
uses a different vocabulary from that of a serious historical study,
or Mark Twain because he chooses expressions which Ruskin
would avoid? Good taste is of the highest importance, but
emphasizing the importance of a single canon of "fitness " to
be applied rigorously and undiscriminatingly means sacri-
ficing thought to form, originality and effectiveness to con-
15. The questions of good taste are the most serious which
arise under these special restrictions. The writer himself may
not be refined: the problem then is one of character primarily,
not of expression. Offenses against good taste which are more
distinctly matters of expression may be due to the fact that the
writer has associated with people who are ignorant, unthinking, or
vulgar; they may arise because the writer himself is not thinking
carefully enough of exactly what he wishes to suggest and of
what impression his words will make on others. The cure is
not the building up of a list of "approved " or " disapproved "
expressions: that may serve only to make one hypocritical,
finical, or timid. Good taste should be developed by reading the
works of good writers; by striving to appreciate nice distinctions
in thought and word; by throwing the primary emphasis in
writing on the thought, striving to choose in every case a word
which gives exactly the denotation and the connotation the
thought demands; and by studying the effects produced by the
writing upon others.
16. The teacher finds it as easy to dwell upon correctness and
to be finical in regard to such cases of good use as seem to him
important, as he finds it difficult to inspire the ordinary boy or
girl to write anything of real value. Young students are apt to
be careless and anarchistic in expression, and training in " good
use " ought to be excellent mental setting-up drill for them.
12 SENTENCES (SBC. 17
But the result of pedantry often is that the student forms the
habit of using two languages: one for general purposes in which
he expresses his own ideas freely but in wretched form; and the
other for the English instructor which, though it may possibly be
commendably correct, communicates little except the thoughts
and words of others. Individuality and originality are to be
encouraged no less in the English class than elsewhere, for the
main task of the teacher is to help the writer to find in his per-
sonal experience something others will gladly share. Attention
should be centered upon the thought, and liberty granted for
expression without fear of rules; then correctness and good taste
should be developed as rapidly as it is possible to lead the student
to appreciate nice distinctions in thought and in the impressions
made upon others.
On the other hand, the writer has to consider not only himself
and his experience, but also his readers and their needs and de-
sires. From a study of the best minds of the present and of the
past he may learn much as to the true nature of the limitations
under which he should express himself. A conservative regard
for the usage of writers of established reputation is needed to
check growth without assimilation, the addition of unnecessary
words and expressions, the flaunting of bad taste, and even per-
nicious originality which, like the habit of punning, soon becomes
wearisome instead of refreshing.
17. Without correct use, individuality of expression would
tend to make general communication difficult or impossible. In
the time of King Alfred, West-Saxon literature set up a standard
in language for all England ; this passed away under the Normans,
whereupon English split into dialects which soon became so
different that a man from the North and one from the South
could not converse. At the very foundation of any attempt to
master the art of expression, therefore, must lie knowledge of
the essential spirit and structure of the language. It is with the
fundamental and generally fixed facts of language, especially
of English, that the following chapters deal.
SEC. 18) LANGUAGE 13
18. Language is not only the most serviceable implement we
have to use, it is one of the most valuable possessions we inherit
from the past. It binds a people together and preserves for them
the individuality and the worth of their ancestry. Our native
tongue is as worthy of our devotion as our native land. We can
well afford to make the effort needed to learn to use it effectively;
we should resist every change in it not for the better, and we
should do whatever is in our power to add to its wealth.
(For Topical Synopsis, see page viii)
DEFINITION OF A SENTENCE
19. A sentence is usually defined by grammarians in some
such way as follows: "A related group of words containing a
subject and a predicate and expressing a complete thought," or as
" a combination of words which is complete as expressing a
thought, and in writing is marked at the close by a period, or
A more complete understanding may be gained by a careful considera-
tion of a few fundamental facts. As our attention passes from object
to object, its pulsations form ideas in our consciousness which dissolve
one into another rapidly and continuously. Even the simplest pulsa-
tion gives, upon analysis, at least two conceptions bound together, and
it is such a primal group of elements which the senten.ee, in its origin,
attempts to reproduce. " The sentence is the symbol whereby the
speaker denotes that two or more conceptions have combined in his
mind ; and is, at the same time, the means of calling up the same com-
bination in the mind of the hearer." * Since the limitations of expression
(3) compel simplification, the sentence may fall far short of giving all the
wealth of the original experience upon which attention was momentarily
centered; on the other hand, the development of language, especially in
the written form, has brought about an elaboration of the sentence as a
unit of expression which may contain more and other elements than
were grouped together spontaneously in consciousness.
Nevertheless the sentence remains the unit of verbal expres-
sion and gets its true character from the pulsation in conscious-
ness. It should express a thought which is felt to be a whole,
yet which the attention can take in at a single pulsation rather
than by a series of pulsations such as the paragraph represents.
20. A pulsation in consciousness must contain at least two concep-
tions, a primary and a secondary. The primary represents that on
* " The History of Language," Strong, Logeman, and Wheeler (New York,
1891), page 92.
SEC. 22) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 15
which attention is directly centered ; the secondary represents that which,
combined with the first, attracts the attention. For example, I may
notice (1) a tree (2) waving. I center my attention upon the tree, but
it is the blowing of the tree which attracts my attention. Correspondingly
a sentence must contain (at least when its meaning is fully brought
out) two elements. The primary is called the subject (Latin
subjection, that which is brought under attention.).* The
secondary is called the predicate (Latin praedicatum, the thing
proclaimed) because it expresses what is stated, proclaimed, about
the subject. In communicating ideas, the subject aims to call
up a conception in the hearer's or reader's mind; the predi-
cate expresses the conception it is desired that he should add.
A complete thought may be expressed by a word or group of words which
in itself stands for only one conception. If, for example, a man at a
theater shouts, " Fire! " he expresses only a predicate; but he conveys a
complete thought (The theater is on fire!) because the subject is given
his hearers unmistakably by the general situation which all are in. The
answer to a question often gives a complete idea in a single word. If a
boy is asked, " What have you been doing? " his answer, " Running,"
conveys a complete idea though it states only the predicate, because the
subject is clearly indicated in the question. Such expressions are, then,
sentences, though not complete in structure.
WAYS OF COMBINING SUBJECT AND PREDICATE
21. The primitive way of forming a sentence is to express, one immedi-
ately after the other, a subject and a predicate. Such a sentence we hear
when a child learning to talk says, " Baby tired." The subject does not
need to be stated first; in such a baby sentence as Pretty flower, flower
may be the subject and pretty the predicate. In reality it is the stronger
accent which marks the predicate. For example, Window' open would
mean The-thing-which-is-open is the window; while Window open' , would
mean The window is open.
22. As a more highly developed sentence form we have, in place of
11 Baby tired," Baby is tired. Here we have the same subject and the
same predicate, but
the idea of connection between subject and predicate is
definitely indicated by is. The verb to be, which expresses this
* Terms first used by the Latin grammarians have in many instances become
what may be called universal terms of grammar. The most important of these
are explained in this book, but where they do not apply strictly to English grammar
they have been replaced by terms which aim to be more exact and more readily
intelligible to those who have not studied Latin. Where the same thing is called
by different names in different grammars, the intention has been to select that one
which best suggests the meaning which the student should keep in mind.
16 SENTENCES (SEC. 24
idea of connection, is therefore called the copula (Latin, copula,
Such a sentence is called in logic a proposition (Latin propositio(ri), a
setting forth), and into such a form all logical statements may be reduced.
All simple propositions contain three elements: (1) the first term, (2) the
copula, and (3) the second term. For example:
Ice | is | a solid.
23. Some sentences have the form of propositions, others may easily
be expressed in that form; but sentences are generally constructed
without regard to their relation to propositions, and even when- the
thought may easily be put into strict prepositional form, the actual
structure may disguise any one or all of the three elements of the
proposition. It will be advantageous, however, in analyzing sentence
structure, to begin with sentences having the prepositional form and
to proceed to others of more complicated form.
In the first place, it is to be noted that, grammatically, sentences
are divided into two parts, the subject and the predicate. The
subject generally corresponds to the first term of the proposition,
the predicate to the copula and the second term.
ANALYSIS OF SENTENCES
24. The subject is a substantive (Latin substantivus, that
which has substance, reality, self-existence) and may name or
stand for any person or thing, existent or conceivable. It may
be omitted in the following cases in which it is clearly implied in
(a) Sometimes in the second part of a compound sentence (37) when
the subject of the second verb is logically the same as that of the first.
Ice is a solid but will melt easily.
(6) Generally, in modern English, in the imperative (36, 59, 84).
Go (thou) and do likewise.
(c) In optative sentences (36, 84) .
Would that I had known!
(d) Generally in such languages as Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish
(which unlike English, indicate the person of the subject by the termina-
tion of the verb) , when in English we would have an unemphatic pronoun.
Spanish: Es joven.
English: He is" young.
SEC. 26) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 17
Sometimes a single subject is expressed by two substantives.
He is not to be trusted, that man.
But this is not common in English except in poetry or in prose where
it is desired to add some special emphasis. Expressions such as, Mrs.
Baker, she stayed at home, are used colloquially by some, but are not
correct. Similar expressions are, in standard French, required in certain
interrogative sentences, and are common in declarative sentences.
Mme. Boulanger etait-elle chez elle?
Elle approche, cette mort inexorable.
25. The predicate consists either (1) of a verb, or (2) of a verb
and a complement.
A verb (Latin verbum, a word) is so called because it is often
the main word expressing the conception added to the subject.
The complement (Latin complementum, that which completes)
is so called because it is the word used with the verb to complete
the added conception.
26. The verb. There is but one copula, the verb to be. There
are many other verbs, however, any one of which may be used
to form the whole or a part of the predicate; each expresses
the idea of connection, like the copula, but in addition each
expresses a further idea which makes up the whole or a part of
the logical predicate. For example, in the sentence Ice becomes
dirty, dirty is predicated of ice and the verb becomes connects
the two ideas; but the verb does more than this, for, if we sub-
stitute is, we find we have lost a part of the idea.
Just what the verb becomes adds, we may see by expanding the two
sentences into formal propositions:
Ice | is | a thing having the property of being dirty.
Ice | is j a thing having the property of becoming dirty.
18 SENTENCES (Sec. 28
There are three classes of verbs which express more of the idea
predicated of the subject than that of connection; they are:
(a) Verbs which express existence (mainly the verb to be in a second
I am. (" I think, therefore I am.") They no longer exist.
(6) Verbs which express state of being or change of state (28) .
You look tired.
Ice becomes dirty,
(c) Verbs which express action (29).
Ice chills the hand.
27. In sentences containing a verb expressing existence, the
verb by itself or aided by an adverb modifier (35) expresses the
whole logical predicate, that is, it is itself complete.
is in sight.
The logical relationship of these sentences to our type proposition
(22) may be indicated as follows:
1 2 3
I | am | (an existent being).
The house | is | (a thing within the field of vision).
Such adverb modifiers may also be interpreted as the equivalent of
a predicate adjective after the copula (32).
The house | is | in sight (visible).
28. Verbs expressing state of being or change of state are
grammatically no different from the copula.
The logical difference has already been considered (26).
Verbs expressing state of being include such as: appear, seem,
look, smell, taste, feel, sound. Verbs expressing change of state
include such as: become, grow, turn (into). Like the copula,
these verbs generally require a complement; but they may, like
verbs expressing existence, be complete (27).
That rose smells sweet.
No, it is the peony that smells.
The child grows tall.
How he grows!
SEC. 29) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 19
29. In sentences containing verbs expressing action, the verb
or the verb completed by a complement expresses the logical
Ice chills the hand.
The logical relationship of these two sentences to our type proposition
(22) may be expressed as follows:
Ice | is | (a thing having the property of floating').
Ice I is j (a thing having the property of chilling the hand).
It will be noticed that in each of these cases the verb expresses,
in addition to the idea of connection, the idea of action which
is the .whole or an important part of the predicate. Verbs like
chills are called transitive (Latin transitivus, passing over) be-
cause the action is conceived as passing over from the actor so
as to affect some other person or thing. Verbs like floats which
express action not conceived as passing over to anything are
called intransitive (Latin in- in this case = not). The distinction
is more a question of the way of conceiving the action than of
difference in the verb itself, consequently verbs may change
character in this regard.
The ice floated the wharf last winter.
The verb floated has, by being used causatively (that is, so as to
express the action which the subject causes to be performed),
here become transitive. The verb chills we may call here intran-
sitive, or, better, we may say it is a transitive verb used abso-
lutely, that is, absolved from limiting the action to any particular
person or thing.
Transitive verbs express two different sorts of ideas according
to the relation in which the subject stands to the verb.
Heat melts ice.
Ice is melted by heat.
A transitive verb may, as in Heat melts ice, express the action
which the subject performs, in which case it is said to be in the
active voice (58) ; or it may, as in Ice is melted by heat, express the
action which the subject passively receives, in which case it is
said to be in the passive voice (58). The object of the verb in
the active voice becomes the subject of the corresponding verb
in the passive voice. The subject of the active voice (the actor)
becomes the agent of the action in the passive voice, and is ex-
pressed as the object of the preposition (47) by, as in the sentence
30. The copula, verbs expressing existence, and verbs express-
ing state of being or change of state are often classed together
as intransitive verbs, but, since they are not " intransitive " in
the accurate sense of that term (29), it is better to call them
neuter verbs, that is, neither active nor passive. The classifi-
cation of verbs may be expressed as follows :
Heat melts ice.
Ice is melted by heat.
Transitive verb in pas-
in active voice.
Ice is a solid. Copula.
Ice is on the pond.
State or change of state :
You look tuved.
Ice becomes dirty.
The above are called
neuter (or intransitive)
31. Verb-expressions. Adverbs (45) and prepositions (47)
often become so intimately associated in idea with the verb that
they may be conceived as making up with the verb a verb-
expression which acts in important ways like a transitive verb.
I | go up the hill.
SEC. 31) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 21
Grammarians generally explain up the hill as a prepositional
phrase (38) modifying the verb go. But we may conceive the
I | go-up | the hill.
In other words, we interpret go up as a verb-expression which
governs hill as its object (33). In this case it corresponds to the
Latin and the English habit of prefixing an adverb or a preposi-
tion to the verb.
I | ascend | the hill. (Latin ascendere; ad + scandere) .
He | upheld | the principle.
In the following sentence:
He | ate | up the apple,
up is not a preposition governing the word apple; it is an adverb
modifying the verb, that is to say, it adds the idea completely.
So it is generally interpreted; but it may also be interpreted as
forming a part of a verb-expression:
ate-up | the apple,
finished | the apple.
Where the preposition or adverb is actually compounded with
the verb, as in upheld, it is similar to the German inseparable
prefixes; where it is not compounded, it is something like the
German separable prefixes, except that English recognizes greater
freedom of position for the separable adverb.
Heute Morgen begann ich friih zu studieren.
(beginnen, to begin, with inseparable prefix.)
Heute Morgen fing ich fru'h zu studieren an.
(anfangen, to begin, with separable prefix.)
Er ist ihm nachgelaufen (separable).
He ran after him.
Er ass den Apfel auf (separable).
He ate the apple up. He ate up the apple.
Another possibility in the use of verb-expressions the following
sentences will illustrate:
may refer | to this book,
may refer-to this book.
Compare: You may consult | this book.
and Sie durfen dieses Buch nachschlagen.
22 SENTENCES (SEC. 32
If we insist that to is a preposition governing book, we get into
difficulties when we attempt to explain it (that is, to find its
object), in the following:
This is a book which may be referred to.
If we call refer-to a verb-expression, we may say that it has its
passive form to be referred-to. Even verbal nouns (42c) and
verbal adjectives (44c) may be used with a preposition, making
Looking after all these things takes time.
Looking at me, he replied.
Some verbs govern one object directly and another by means of
a preposition which forms a part of a verb expression.
He accused the man of theft.
They provided themselves with pencils.
Whether we consider a preposition or an adverb as a part
of a verb-expression or as the whole or a part of an adverb
modifier of the verb is unimportant as long as we are concerned
with one language only; but when we undertake to translate or
to express our thoughts in a foreign tongue, we find that idioms
frequently differ at this point: a simple verb in one language may
correspond to a verb plus a preposition or plus an adverb in
lie obeys his captain. II obeit a son capitaine.
He is asking for a book. II demande un livre.
I am thinking of my brother. Je pense a mon frere.
I remember him. Ich erinnere mich seiner.
In learning a foreign tongue we need always be on the look-
out for the verb-expression and not simply for the verb.
32. The complement. The complement of the copula may
be a substantive, in which case it is called a predicate nominative
(Latin nominativus, serving to name) ; or it may be an adjective
(35, 44), in which case it is called a predicate adjective.
SEC. 32) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 23
The logical relationship of these two kinds of predication may be
expressed as follows:
(one of the class of things each of which is called) a solid,
(one of the class of things each of which has the property of
In the same way the complement of a verb expressing state of
being or change of state may be a predicate nominative or a
So shall the day j seem | night.
It | seems | true.
The complement of a transitive verb in the active voice or of
a veib- expression is a substantive representing the object affected
by the act of the subject, and therefore called the predicate
Heat | melts | ice.
The coroner's jury | sat on | the case.
The object of verbs such as say, reply, answer, may be a long
Replying to the tribute paid him by all the speakers, Cardinal Gibbons |
"I consider the Republic of the United States one of the most
precious heirlooms ever bestowed on mankind down the ages, and
that it is the duty and should be the delight of every citizen to
strengthen and perpetuate our government by the observance of its
laws and by the integrity of his private life." Etc.
No complement is required with a verb expressing existence,
with an intransitive verb, or with a transitive verb in the passive
1 1 am.
The idea of existence which may be expressed but indefinitely
by the verb may be made definite by an adverb modifier (27, 38).
He is upstairs.
FORMS OF SUBJECT AND PREDICATE
A. Idea of connection
copula, to be
Ice | is | a solid.
Ice | is | solid.
B. Idea of connection +
some other idea:
I. Idea of existence
I | am.
Ice | is on the pond.
II. Idea of state of be-
ing or change of
You | seem | tired.
Water becomes ice.
Water becomes dirty.
III. Idea of action
a) active voice
a 1 ) same used
Ice chills 1 the hand.
Ice | chills.
6) passive voice
(The agent, when ex-
pressed, is a sub-
stantive joined to
the verb by the prep-
Ice | is melted (by heat).
a) active voice
a 1 ) same used
Ice | floats.
The ice | floated | the
34. Indirect object, resultant object, and resultant adjective.
The three elements, (1) subject, (2) verb, and (3) complement,
form the framework of the sentence. Along with them may be
classed three other elements found in some sentences.
He gave the book to her.
or He gave her the book.
In this sentence we have the substantive book, which represents
the thing directly affected by the action, and therefore called the
direct object, and also the substantive her, which represents
the person indirectly affected by the action, and therefore called
the indirect object. It is to be noticed that the indirect object
SEC. 34) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 25
may be expressed with the preposition to after the direct object,
or without to if it is placed before the direct object. German has
the form without the preposition only.
Er gab es ihr. Er gab ihr das Buch.
The -Romance languages* have both forms when the indirect
object is a pronoun, but use the one with the preposition mainly
to emphasize the indirect object. In French, for example:
Je lui ai donne le livre.
J'ai donne le livre a elle.
In English, the form with to should be distinguished from other
phrases with to which are not indirect objects. For example:
He carried it to New York.
In this sentence to New York is a modifier of the verb telling
how far the object was carried; it is not an indirect object, for we
do not conceive of New York as affected by the action in the
same way that we conceive of her as affected by the gift of the
book. Adverb modifiers of this sort cannot be used without
It is also to be noticed that the indirect object as well as the
direct object may become the subject of the verb in the passive
voice (29), though the object of to when it forms an adverb
modifier never can.
She was given the book by him.
The book was given to her by him.
It was carried to New York by him.
In French and German the indirect object of the active is not
thus used as subject of the passive.
If we examine the sentence, He gave the book to her, we
find we have what we may consider as another verb-expression
(31), to-give-the-book-to, which on becoming passive with the
indirect object as subject (She was given the book) retains the
direct object book as object of the past participle (44 end, 42
end) given, just as the to was retained in This is a book which
may be referred to. Otherwise it would be difficult to explain
how the passive can govern an object (29).
* French, Spanish, Italian, etc., all derived from Latin.
26 SENTENCES (SEC. 34
One form of the indirect object needs a word further.
I built me an ice-boat.
Me here is an indirect object of personal interest.
In Latin grammar forms similar to this are called dative of reference,
ethical dative, or dative of advantage or disadvantage. Compare the form
of expression common in the time of Shakspere:
Whip me that man.
Compare also :
Es blitzt aus den Augen ihm kiihn.
Sieh mir ob sie kommen.
II m'a pris la main.
Regardez-moi cette dame-la.
They made him leader.
In this sentence there is a direct object him and another object
leader which represents the result of the action upon the direct
object, and may be called the resultant object. In the passive
this becomes, He was made leader.
It is possible for the active verb to have two objects because make is the
equivalent of two verbs: (1) cause; (2) to become. They caused him to
become leader. In this form him to become leader is an infinitive clause (38)
the object of caused, in which clause him is the subject (in the object
case, 68) and leader is the object of to become. In the same way verbs
of naming, choosing, appointing, esteeming, finding, showing, asking,
and teaching may govern both a direct and a resultant object.
They elected him leader.
(They caused him by process of election to become leader.)
They asked us our opinion.
(They asked us to give our opinion.)
I filled it full. Send the ball rolling.
The doctor calls him well. We shall keep you occupied.
A verb may also govern a direct object and a resultant predi-
cate adjective. In the passive the predicate adjective is retained
after the past participle.
He is called well.
SEC. 35) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 27
35. Any one of the fundamental elements may be modified,*
that is to say, its meaning may be limited or given an added
quality by the use of words called primary modifiers.
Pure ice may become dirty.
Ice is a transparent solid.
Ice chills the bare hand.
Ice is quickly melted by the sun.
This ice is very solid.
Furthermore, secondary modifiers may be used to limit or
qualify the meaning of the primary and even of other secondary
Ice is EVEN more quickly melted by greater heat.
Modifiers of substantives (as in the first three illustrative sen-
tences above) are called adjectives (Latin adjectivus, that which
is added); modifiers of verbs, adjectives, or adverbs are called
adverbs (Latin, ad + verbum, something added to the verb or
A substantive may also have as a modifier another substantive.
(a) The President's journey.
(6) Mr. Lincoln, the President of the United States.
President's in (a) is said to be in the possessive case (42, 53).
President in (6) is said to be in apposition (Latin ad + positio(ri),
a placing by or near) to Mr. Lincoln (42, 73).
A noun is sometimes apparently modified by an adverb, or an
adverb phrase (38).
The man higher up.
The man at the wheel.
* Grammarians usually consider the single word, without any modifiers, as the
subject, verb, object, etc. Logically, it is the word with its modifiers, if any,
that expresses the element of the sentence. For example, in the sentence, The
men who have finished may go, the logical subject, that is to say, those who may go,
is The-men-who-have- finished, not the men] but grammatically men is said to be the
subject, and who have finished is called a restrictive relative (430) clause (38)
modifying men. To avoid confusion, when the modified subject is meant it
will be called in this book the " logical subject;" when the unmodified subject, it
will be called " subject. " And so with the other terms.
28 SENTENCES (SEC. 36
In these cases the adverb or adverb phrase is strictly an elliptical
expression; the real modifier is a relative clause (38, 430).
The man (who is) higher up (27, 32).
A verb may also be modified by a noun used adverbially (42)
to express (1) the time at which or (2) during which the action
takes place, to express (3) measure, or (4) certain other idiomatic
(1) (4) (2)
Yesterday he went home. He had been away a week and the vacation
cost him twenty-five dollars.
In a similar way an adjective or an adverb may be modified by
a substantive used adverbially.
He is a foot taller.
He went three days sooner.
A whole sentence may be modified by an adverb, such as,
indeed, not, or probably, to indicate that the idea is expressed
positively, negatively, or doubtfully.
Indeed I mean it.
I do not think so.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF SENTENCES ACCORDING TO THE IDEA
36. A sentence may express (1) a statement, (2) a question,
(3) an exclamation, (4) a command, or (5) a wish.
(1) I am going home.
(2) Am I going home?
(3) How glad I am!
(4) Go home!
(5) Would that I might go home!
A sentence which makes a statement is called a declarative
A sentence which asks a question is called an interrogative
A sentence to be uttered as an exclamation is called an ex-
SEC. 38) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 29
A sentence expressing a command or exhortation is called an
A sentence which expresses a wish with the forms would that,
oh (that), or may is called an optative sentence.
The structure of these sentences is alike in all cases except that
imperative sentences and optative sentences have no subject
expressed, as has been mentioned (34), and that the order may be
different in the different forms (84, 85).
COMPOUND AND COMPLEX SENTENCES AND ELEMENTS
37. The sentences so far considered have all been simple, that
is to say, they contain only one of each of the fundamental ele-
ments; but many sentences have more complicated structure.
A sentence may consist of two or more groups of words, each
including a subject and a predicate, but joined together so as to
form a single unit.
It should be spring | but | the weather is still cold.
Such a sentence is said to be compound, and the separate parts
have all the possibilities of simple sentences. The word which
connects the two parts of a compound sentence, if the connection
is expressed, is called a conjunction (Latin conjunctio(ri), a
Any one of the fundamental elements, and any one of the
primary or secondary modifiers, may be compound, that is, may
be made up of two or more parts joined, usually by means of a
Iron and lead are both metals.
Water cools and moistens the throat.
The sun has tanned his face and hands.
Ice is dirty and unwholesome.
His hands are frequently and inexcusably dirty.
38. The subject, the complement, and any modifier may con-
sist of a group of words making up what is called a phrase, or of
a group of words making up what is called a clause.
30 SENTENCES (SEC. 38
A phrase is a group of words consisting of a substantive, called
the object, and its modifiers, if any, with its relationship to the
rest of the sentence expressed by (a) a preposition (47), (b) an
infinitive (42c), (c) a verbal noun ending in -ing (42c), or (d) a
participle, or verbal adjective, ending in -ing (42c, 44c).
(a) The President of the United States is in the West.
(6) To read such literature is worth while.
(c) Reading such literature is worth while.
(d) The bird flew into the air singing the familiar notes.
A prepositional phrase may be an adjective or an adverb
modifier. In the predicate a prepositional phrase may be used
(1) in the place of a predicate adjective, or (2) as an adverb to
give definiteness to a verb expressing existence (27, 33).
(1) They are of good service (serviceable).
(2) They are in the yard.
An infinitive phrase may be used (a) as a substantive, (b) as an
adverb modifier to express purpose:
(a) To do that is no easy task.
It is easy to do that.
(b) He went to college to study engineering.
It is to be noted that when the infinitive (without an object, or
with an object and therefore making up an infinitive phrase) is
used as grammatical or as logical subject, the to has no function
except as the " sign " of the infinitive. In the phrase expressing
purpose, the to (which here may be replaced by in order to) is
strictly a preposition governing the infinitive (a substantive) as
its object (42c). A verbal-noun phrase is used as a substantive.
A participle phrase is used as an adjective.
An adjective phrase may be the equivalent (a) of an adjective,
(6) of the first part of a compound substantive, or (c) of a sub-
stantive in the possessive case.
(a) An hour for study. A study hour.
The frame is of wood (wooden).
(b) A point of view. A view-point.
(c) The roof of the house. (The house's roof.)
SEC. 39) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 31
An adjective phrase is regularly used in English instead of the
possessive case when the substantive stands for a thing. English
uses substantives freely as adjectives (446); the Romance lan-
guages prefer adjective phrases; and German prefers compound
substantives generally written without hyphens.
Fire insurance company.
Compagnie d'assurance centre 1'incendie.
A clause is a group of words consisting of a subject and a
predicate with their modifiers, if any, joined to the rest of the
sentence by a relative pronoun (4Sg), by a conjunction (48), or
(in case the verb in the clause is an infinitive) without any con-
necting word. A clause may be used as a substantive, as an
adjective, or as an adverb; and its verb may be a finite part of
a verb or an infinitive (46).
Substantive: What he said is of little importance. (Subject.)
I do not admit the fact that I said it. (Appositive.)
I do not know what he said. (Object.)
That is different from what he said. (Object of a prepo-
You will permit him to do it. (Infinitive clause.)
Let him do it. (Infinitive clause.)
Adjective: The President, who has returned from the West, will speak.
Adverb: He was speaking when I entered.
An adjective clause may restrict the substantive it modifies
and so become logically a part of it (35 note), or it may explain
the substantive (103d).
Restrictive: Lincoln was the man that was chosen.
Explanatory: Lincoln, who was the candidate of the Republican party,
A sentence which contains one or more clauses is called a
39. What has been said about the grammatical elements of
sentences may be summed up in the tabular form which follows.
The scheme covers both simple and complex sentences; compound
sentences need not be treated specially here, for in structure they
SEC. 40) SENTENCE STRUCTURE 33
are merely simple or complex sentences joined together. Simi-
larly, compound elements are but simple elements joined. Often
sentences are shortened by the omission of parts which are
grammatically necessary; but, unless the sentence is faulty, the
ellipsis may easily be supplied.
(It is) No matter if it does rain.
You speak as (you would speak) if (you were) uncertain.
PARTS OF SENTENCES WHICH HAVE NO STRUCTURAL
40. Within a sentence there may be words, phrases, or clauses
which have no structural relationship to the rest of the sentence.
These are of five classes :
1. Interjections (Latin inter jectio(n), a throwing between),
expressions of feeling interjected into sentences and consisting
of single words representing sounds naturally expressive of
emotions, or single words or combinations of words into which
much emotion is crowded.
Oh! that hurt.
Alas! can that be true?
He said (only to think of it!) that I might go.
2. So-called absolute constructions (i.e., constructions absolved
from the restrictions of sentence structure), which consist (a)
of a substantive and an infinitive, or (6) of a substantive and
a participle (to be compared with the " ablative (53) absolute "
(a) I invited Henry and Charles, John, to come later.
(b) The House having adjourned, Speaker Cannon went home.
Such expressions may be replaced by subordinate clauses which
express more definitely the relationship of the ideas expressed.
Now that the House had adjourned,
As long as the House had adjourned,
When the House had adjourned, Speaker Cannon went home.
Absolute constructions offer means of varying the structure of
sentences, and express the ideas more concisely than subordinate
34 SENTENCES (SEC. 40
clauses, but in general the subordinate clause is more exact and
more idiomatic in English. Sometimes absolute phrases are used
when what is intended is a phrase modifying a word in the
writer's mind and perhaps suggested by some word actually
appearing in the sentence.
Having reached the age of seven, my father died.
Here we may say that the phrase which stands at the begin-
ning of the sentence attempts to modify the pronoun /
suggested by my. Such expressions should never be used;
the idea should be expressed by means of subordinate clauses
or in some way the sentence should be reconstructed.
When I was seven years of age, my father died.
Having reached the age of seven, I lost my father.
3. Vocatives (Latin vocativus, of or pertaining to calling), sub-
stantatives used in calling to or addressing persons or things.
They may or may not be closely connected in sense with some
other substantive in the sentence.
To you, fellow citizens, I make special appeal.
Ten years ago, Mr. President, I entered the House.
4. Words of affirmation or of denial, such as yes and no, which
express the idea of a whole sentence.
May I count on you? Yes.
5. Certain parenthetical expressions (102).
By the way, how did you know that?
THE PARTS OF SPEECH
(For Topical Synopsis, see page x)
41. Words are divided, according to their uses in the sen-
tences, into eight classes, called parts of speech:
Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Prepositions, Interjections,
Pronouns, Adverbs, Conjunctions.
Such a grouping is of great practical value, but no single system of
classification of words can be exact. Not only have words changed
their uses freely in the development of language, but they are still changing
to-day; words which would certainly be put in different classes are spelled
and pronounced alike and have one and the same origin; and finally, no
precise definition can be given to any one of the above terms which
would not excluqp words which should undoubtedly be classed under
that term. Logically, words may be divided according as they express
(a) substance, (6) quality, (c) action or occurrence, (d) connection (aside
from the fundamental connection of subject and predicate), or (e) emo-
tion. In general, words expressing substance (substantives) are nouns
and pronouns; those expressing quality are adjectives and adverbs; those
expressing action or occurrence are verbs; those expressing connection
are prepositions and conjunctions; and those expressing emotion are
43. Nouns (French nom, Latin nomen, a name) are words
used as names of persons or things, existent or conceivable.
A noun may be used as:
Subject, Our party was victorious.
Predicate nominative, That man is the secretary.
Predicate object, direct, We have built a fire.
indirect, We will send the man two copies.
resultant, They call him colonel.
Object of a preposition, The canals of Mars.
Modifier (adjective), possessive, Lee's army.
appositive, George V, King of England.
Modifier (adverbial), He walked two miles.
You are a foot taller.
They went a mile farther.
36 SENTENCES (SEC. 42
An independent element, vocative, You, sir, were there.
absolute with participle, The play being ended, we went home.
Nouns are of different kinds and may be grouped in various
ways. The largest number express substance (24); but some,
like adjectives and adverbs, express quality; and some, like
verbs, express action or occurrence.
(a) Nouns which express substance are called concrete.
They are of three sorts :
Common nouns, names which may be given to each member
of a class of persons or things.
boy, sailor, table
Proper (Latin proprius, one's own) nouns, names which are
given to a single member of a class of persons or things for the
purpose of distinguishing the individuals (125).
James, Columbus, the Round Table
Collective nouns, names given to a collection of individuals
to indicate the collection as a whole,
fleet, herd, people
Some collective nouns are quantitative, that is, they express a
number of units considered as forming a whole.
couple, score, dozen, hundred
It should be noted that we say, a couple of strollers, a score of
people, and yet we may say, three score years, a dozen eggs, a
hundred years, using the noun as an adjective modifier.
(b) Nouns which express quality are of two sorts:
Adjective nouns, which name qualities as if they were con-
That red is a pleasing shade.
The cold was intense yesterday.
These nouns are different from adjective pronouns (43i), in
that they name a quality as if it were concrete, while the
adjective pronouns stand for a noun which they logically
SEC. 42) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 37
Abstract nouns, which name qualities conceived as separate
(abstracted) from all concrete things.
redness, coldness, purity
(c) Nouns which express action or occurrence are derived
from verbs or formed in connection with verbs. They are
called verbal nouns, and in English are of two kinds:
Infinitives. As parts of the verb, infinitives (Latin infiniti-
vus, unlimited to person, number, etc.), are explained in sec-
tions 59, 60, 64. As nouns they simply name the action or
state expressed by the verb. They are used with to as the so-
called " sign" of the infinitive (38) as (1) subject, (2) predicate
nominative, (3) predicate object, (4) resultant predicate object,
(5) object of the prepositions about, but, except, save, and (6)
as an elliptical expression for a subordinate clause.
(1) To work is better than to starve.
(2) That remains to be seen.
(3) They prefer to go.
(4) He taught her to sing.
(5) I am about to go.
(6) (If I may be permitted) To speak frankly, I despise them.
They are also used as prepositional phrases (the to having full
prepositional force) as modifiers of (1) verbs, (2) adjectives, (3)
adverbs, and (4) nouns, and (5) as predicate adjectives (38).
(1) We went to (in order to) inquire.
(2) Ready to wear (for wearing, or to be worn).
(3) Old enough to die.
(4) Boilers to mend (for mending, or to be mended).
(5) That road is to be avoided.
The to is omitted when the infinitive is object of dare not, need
not, had as lief, had rather, or had better.
You need not explain.
I had rather be a dog.
Verbal nouns in -ing. These were originally nouns naming
the action or state expressed by the corresponding verb, and
formed by suffixing the syllable -ing to the stem of any verb;
38 SENTENCES (SEC. 43
but when the present participle (which in Anglo-Saxon ended in
-ende) came to end in -ing, the two became confused and it
was supposed that the participle (an adjective) could also be
used as a noun. The two are indistinguishable in form in
modern English, but it is well to call these verbal words:
(1) When used as nouns, " verbal nouns in -ing,"
(2) When used with auxiliaries (46) " present participles,"
(3) When used as modifiers of substantives, " verbal adjec-
tives " (44c).
(1) Under such a leader, singing is a delight.
Singing the old songs brings back college days.
(2) He was singing in the choir at that time.
(3) Taillefer rode forth singing songs of Roland.
A singing bird.
It is to be noted that infinitives, verbal nouns in -ing, and
verbal adjectives all retain enough of their verb character to
govern complements and to be modified by adverbs; but nouns
in ing may lose their verbal character and take adjective
Rapid flying is exhilarating.
43. Pronouns (French pronom, Latin pro +nomen, for+noun)
are words which stand for nouns.
In the earliest forms of language these words probably pointed out things
without naming them, as this does still. Later they were used to point
out or to refer to something which had just been named, to avoid the
repetition of the name. Where a child learning to talk might say,
" Charles has eaten Charles's," one more mature would say, " Charles
has eaten his. 11 In order that such a pronoun may have meaning, a noun
called the antecedent (Latin antecedents, going before), giving the name
for which the pronoun stands, must generally be previously expressed.
Pronouns of another class ask for, rather than refer to, the name of
some person or thing. For example, "Who is at the door?" "The
grocer." Other pronouns, connected in origin with those just men-
tioned, are used in dependent clauses, and not only refer to an antece-
dent in the independent part of the sentence, but mark the relation-
ship of the dependent clause to the rest of the sentence. "The man
SEC. 43) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 39
who is at the door is the grocer." Still another class of pronouns refer
collectively or partitively to a group of persons or things. They them-
selves have no antecedent, but they require that the group be made defi-
nite by some word or words or by some suggestion in the context. For
example: ''All of the people in the house." " Some of the people in the
house." In the last place, adjectives may, in addition to expressing a
quality, stand for nouns and thus become pronouns, when the noun which
the adjective logically modifies is clearly implied by the context and
therefore is omitted. For example, " The good die young." " The red
white and blue." Adjectives do not become pronouns so freely in Eng-
lish as they may in German and the Romance languages.
Pronouns may be used as:
Subject, Who is there?
Predicate nominative, It is 7.
Predicate object, direct, The report reached me.
indirect, They sent me the report.
resultant, He called me that.
Object of a preposition, Get it from any one.
Modifier (adjective), appositive. That is Mrs. Lincoln, she who was
Modifier (adverbial), a little taller.
Independent, vocative, Yes, you of the sad face, I am addressing you.
absolute with participle, That being solved, the rest was easy,
interjection, // Did you say I?
Pronouns may be classified as follows:
(a) Demonstrative pronouns. These pronouns serve mainly
to point out, demonstrate, which of two persons or things is
meant. In speaking, the distinction is reinforced by gesture
This (nearer the speaker) is older than that (farther from the speaker) .
With the demonstrative celui, French makes the distinction between
two persons or things pointed out by the use of the adverbs id (-ci) here,
and Za, there.
Je ne connais pas celui-ci, mais celui-la est mon ami.
In English, adverbs are used in a similar way, but only in the language
of the uneducated.
This here (this 'ere) and that there (that 'air).
(6) Personal pronouns. These pronouns, taking the place
of nouns, serve mainly to distinguish individuals in relation to
40 SENTENCES (SEC. 43
the speaker. The speaker is called the first person, the person
spoken to is called the second person, and any person or thing
spoken of is called the third person.
I (1) wrote to you (2) about him (3).
For the first and second persons no antecedent is required
(except in rare cases) because the pronoun has little more than
the force of a demonstrative (42a) . For the third-person pronoun
forms (he, she, it, and they), an antecedent is always required.
Where more than one person of the same sex is spoken of, it is
often difficult to keep the pronouns from becoming ambiguous.
In speaking, the reference to the right antecedent is kept clear
by gesture or inflection of the voice; in writing, ambiguity
should be avoided by careful construction of sentences (72).
In many cases it has no antecedent such as he and she require:
(1) it may stand in the place of the logical subject which then
comes after the verb, or (2) it may stand for an idea which was
lost in the early forms of language.
(1) It is difficult to do that. (To do that is difficult.)
It is I. It is said that he did it.
(2) It rains. (Perhaps, originally, The god rains.
Compare: Jupiter pluvius.)
In Romance languages, the personal pronouns generally used as sub-
ject, direct object, or indirect object are so intimately joined to the verb
that they are pronounced (and sometimes written) as a part of the verb.
Je les ai cherches.
Los he buscado.
These are called conjunctive personal pronouns. Pronouns separated
from the verb or used emphatically must in Romance languages be
expressed by different pronoun forms, which are called disjunctive
Qui vient? Lui.
i Quien viene? EL
In English there are some personal pronouns which in pronunciation
distinguish between emphatic and unemphatic forms, but they are used
to indicate, not difference in use in the sentence, but difference in mean-
ing. You, we, and they have, besides their definite emphatic use, an
unemphatic use as pronouns of very general and indefinite reference.
They say it is hard to find your way even when you are a native.
SEC. 43) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 41
French has a special pronoun, on, which is used (like German, man)
as a third person singular number in just this indefinite sense, and English
uses the numeral one in a similar way; but though one has been used in
this sense for centuries it has hardly got into the colloquial language vet
In a few cases a personal pronoun is used as a demonstrative:
He who runs may read.
(c) Possessive pronouns. These pronouns are derived from
the personal pronouns and have a doubly pronominal character:
they stand for the name of a person who possesses, and also for
the name of a thing possessed. For example, the answer to the
question, "Which is 'George Eliot's' novel?" might be, " This
is hers"; and in that case hers would stand for (1) 'George Eliot's,'
The forms mine, thine, etc., like German mein, dein, etc., were origi-
nally the genitive case (53) of the corresponding personal pronouns.
Later they came to be used as pronouns and adjectives expressing pos-
session, and in both Anglo-Saxon and early German they took on ad-
jective endings. In later forms of English the n in mine and thine was
dropped before words beginning with a consonant (as it was in a(ri), the
indefinite article (44)) ; but since the pronomial use never brought the
possessives into close enough connection with a following word to occasion
the dropping of the n, my and thy came to be considered as adjectives,
and mine and thine as pronouns. His was used as both adjective and
pronoun. Her, our, and your, the genitive forms of the corresponding
personal pronouns, and their, the genitive of the demonstrative which gave
modern English the and that, were used as adjectives, and from them hers,
ours, yours, and theirs were made up (evidently under the influence of
the s in his) and used as pronouns. Finally its was similarly formed
(about 1598) as adjective and pronoun from it, to distinguish the neuter
possessive (which had previously been expressed by his) from the mascu-
(d) Reflexive pronouns. These pronouns are used (1) as
predicate object or (2) as object of a preposition to indicate that
the action reflects directly or indirectly on the same individual as
expressed by the subject of the verb, (3) as object of a preposi-
tion in certain idiomatic expressions to indicate the individual
expressed by the substantive modified by the phrase of which the
42 SENTENCES (Sec. 43
reflexive is object, or (4) in apposition to any substantive to
express emphasis. The forms are made by adding the word self
(selves in the plural) to the first and second person possessive
adjectives and to the third person personal pronouns in the
objective case (53): myself, thyself, ourselves, yourselves; himself,
herself, itself, themselves.
(1) She cut herself.
(2) I cut the cane for myself.
(3) He left John by himself.
(4) You yourselves did it.
The fourth case is strictly an intensive, though it has the same
form in English as the reflexives. In German and the Romance
languages, personal pronoun forms are used as reflexive (except
in the case of the third person special reflexives, German sich,
French se,) and the intensives are formed by the addition of a
word (German selbst or selber, French -meme). In English the
reflexives are used, colloquially and carelessly in other cases
than the three explained above. For example, my friend and
myself. But the -self forms should be restricted to reflexive and
intensive uses; in all other cases the use of personal pronouns
is more accurate.
(e) Reciprocal pronouns. These pronouns are used, like the
reflexives, as the predicate object or as the object of a preposi-
tion, but indicate that the different individuals to which they
refer act reciprocally. When two persons are referred to, the
reciprocal pronoun is each other, when more than two, it is one
They (two) greeted each other.
They (more than two) wrote letters to one another.
In the Romance languages and in German, the single reflexive
forms may be used for both reflexives and reciprocals.
We have seen ourselves. We have seen each other.
Nous wows sommes vus (nous- Nous nous sommes vus (1'un
Wir haben uns (selbst) gesehen. Wir haben uns (or einander)
SEC. 43) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 43
(/) Interrogative pronouns. These pronouns are used in ask-
ing questions and therefore always seek definite meaning in the
who? whose? whom? which? what?
(g) Relative pronouns. These pronouns, by relating definitely
to some antecedent in the independent part of a sentence and
by entering into the structure of a "relative" clause, express
the relation of that clause to the independent part of the
who, whose, whom, which, what, that
These forms are not found in Anglo-Saxon, but were derived
(except that, which was originally a demonstrative) from the
interrogative pronouns, from which even now it is in certain
cases difficult to distinguish them.
Who was here? (Interrogative.)
He asked me who was here. (Interrogative, indirect.)
This is the man who was here. (Relative.)
He told me who was here. (Interrogative indirect or relative with the
Who was here? He told me.
He told me the one who was here.
Who (whose, whom) is used for persons, which for anything
except persons, and that for persons and things combined. That
is also used for persons, (1) after the interrogative, who, (2) after
same or all, (3) after a superlative, (4) often (always in the usage
of some) to introduce a restrictive relative clause (38, 102).
(1) Who is there that can tell ?
(2) The same man that came yesterday.
(3) The youngest man that had competed.
(4) They are the colonies that had revolted.
The relative is often omitted when it is predicate object.
He told a man I know.
What when used as a relative, is the equivalent of that which,
that is to say, it serves at the same time as demonstrative
(antecedent of the relative) and as relative.
He told what was said. (He told that which was said.)
44 SENTENCES (SEC. 43
For what the Romance languages use two words: French, ce qui, ce que,
or ce . . . quoi; Spanish, lo que,
Compound relatives are formed by adding -ever or -soever to who,
whose, whom, what, and which, and are equivalent to a partitive
pronoun ((h) below), which is the antecedent, and a relative.
He will do whatever (anything or everything which) you ask.
Whatever, with the rest of the relative clause omitted, often
follows a partitive pronoun or a noun modified by a partitive
adjective, to emphasize the general application of the partitive.
Any physical discovery whatever (it may be).
Adverbs alone or combined with prepositions may in certain
cases take the place of relatives.
The house where (in which) I was born.
Edward's seven sons, whereof (of whom) thyself art one.
(h) Collective and partitive pronouns (often called " indefi-
nites "). These pronouns refer, each in a special way, (1) to a
group of persons or things taken collectively, (2) to a group
taken distributively, or (3) to a part of such a group.
(1) All of the planets constitute a system.
(2) All of the planets revolve around the sun.
(3) Some of the planets are nearer the sun than the earth is.
These pronouns never require an antecedent, but the group must
be made definite by the following words or by implication of
the context. Some of these pronouns are simply collective and
partitive adjectives (446) used as pronouns; others are formed
from those adjectives by the addition of the word one, body, or
Each of them made the same report.
Everyone (everybody) knows everything about it now.
For the distinctions in meaning of these words see Collective and
Partitive Adjectives, section 446. For the reciprocal use of these
pronouns see 43e.
(i) Adjective pronouns. These pronouns are in origin adjec-
SEC. 44) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 45
lives but are used without any noun to modify, and therefore,
since they stand for a noun, should be classed as pronouns.
The few are here opposing the many.
The good die young.
German capitalizes adjectives thus used, that is to say, classi-
fies them as nouns, but the distinction between these pro-
nouns and adjective nouns has already been pointed out (426).
Adjectives, aside from the numeral adjectives, are not used
as pronouns so freely in English as in German and in the Ro-
mance languages. They have no antecedents and should be used
as pronouns only when the word which they logically modify is
definitely implied by the context.
The demonstrative, some of the possessive, and some of the collective
and partitive pronouns are exactly the same in form as the corresponding
adjectives, and so may be considered, when used without any noun to
modify, as adjective pronouns.
44. Adjectives (see also section 35) are words used (1) in the
predicate after the copula and after verbs expressing state of
being or change of state, and (2) as primary modifiers to qualify,
limit, or define a substantive.
There are three positions in which adjectives may stand:
(1) Attributive position, that is, before the noun they modify.
From here there is a magnificent view.
(2) Appositive position, that is, after the word they modify.
He is looking for a house larger than any of these.
A. ruler wise and strong.
In English prose, an adjective seldom stands in the appositive
position except when it has itself a modifier following it, as in
the first example above. The attributive is the regular posi-
tion for the adjective modifier of a substantive in English and
German; the appositive position is much more common in
Romance languages, especially for the longer and less common
46 SENTENCES (SEC. 44
(3) Predicate position, that is, after the copula or a verb
expressing change of state of being, and forming the main part
of the idea predicated of the subject.
The contests were close.
According to the nature of the idea they add, adjectives may
be classed as follows:
(a) Qualifying adjectives. These adjectives add to the
meaning of the substantive which they modify (1) a quality,
(2) the material of which the thing for which the substantive
stands is made, or (3) the class to which the person or thing
(1) A ripe blackberry is sweet.
(2) A copper coin.
(3) Is he the Republican or the Democratic candidate?
Adjectives which are derived from or closely associated
in meaning with proper nouns are called proper adjectives.
Correct use in English, unlike that of other languages, requires
that they should always be capitalized.
Christian, French, Indian, Bostonian, Chinese.
(6) Limiting adjectives. These adjectives set some limit to
the meaning of the substantive modified, and are of the follow-
Numeral adjectives. These adjectives express (1) the num-
ber of persons or things the noun modified stands for (in which
case they are called cardinal numerals), or (2) the position of
the person or thing in a numbered order or series (in which case
they are called ordinal numerals).
(1) Seven books.
(2) The seventh book.
The cardinals and ordinals below a million are all of Anglo-Saxon
origin except second, which came from the French and replaced the Anglo-
Saxon other. In a similar way, apparently, two is being replaced by
couple in all but strictly mathematical uses. This seems unfortunate,
because two means simply one and one, while couple means two joined,
and it would be a loss to obliterate the distinction.
SEC. 44) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 47
The numeral one, in a weakened form which has lost its
accent and all its meaning but that of single indefiniteness, is
called the indefinite article. In modern English the form is a
before a word beginning with a consonant sound, and an before
a word beginning with a vowel sound. For determining which
form of the indefinite article to use, present usage recognizes
initial h when pronounced, and initials (eu) when pronounced
like you, as consonants.
The indefinite article is used more frequently in English than
in the other languages.
Sans chapeau. Without a hat.
E repubblicano. He is a Republican.
Calderon, poeta dramatico. Calderon, a dramatic poet.
Des Abends. Of an evening.
Quantitative adjectives. These adjectives express in an in-
definite or comparative way the quantity of persons or things
for which the noun they modify stands. Most of them may
also be used as nouns.
I have enough paper. Enough of that !
There is less time now. The less the better.
Pronominal adjectives. These adjectives are in most cases
identical with pronouns in form and in origin and have in part
pronominal uses, but they are adjectives in that they modify
substantives instead of replacing them. They are of the fol-
lowing kinds :
Demonstrative adjectives. (See demonstrative pronouns, sec-
This (pronoun) is the book that (adjective) man wants.
One form of the Anglo-Saxon demonstrative adjectives has
become closely associated with nouns, losing its accent and all
its meaning except that of definiteness. It is the so-called
definite article, the. The is used (1) before a noun to specify
or particularize, (2) before a noun to indicate genius or species,
(3) before a title, (4) before a noun to indicate special promi-
48 SENTENCES (SEC. 44
nence, (5) before an adjective noun, (6) in the place of a pos-
sessive adjective in certain cases where the meaning is clear.
(1) The book he mentioned.
(2) The elephant.
(3) The Duke of Wellington.
(4) He is the man of the town. The (well-known) prodigal son.
(5) The good, the true, the beautiful.
(6) The ball struck him on the thumb.
For adverbial use of the see section 45.
German and the Romance languages use the definite article
(1) in cases which English does not recognize as definite, and
also, unlike English, (2) to indicate the general application of
the noun. For example:
(1) Le Massachusetts. Massachusetts.
Auf der Friedrichsstrasse. In Frederick Street.
(2) Das Leben ist kurz, die Kunst ist lang. Life is short, art is long.
Estudia el espanol. He was studying Spanish.
On ne travaille pas le dimanche. We don't work on Sunday.
Possessive adjectives. (For possessive pronouns see 43c).
These adjectives are in part different in form from the possessive
pronouns (which are used without any noun to modify).
mine, ours my, our
thine, yours thy, your
his, theirs (his) their
Interrogative adjectives. (For interrogative pronouns, see
43/.) Of the interrogative pronouns, three only, which, what,
and whose, are used as adjectives.
What book are you reading?
Relative adjectives. (For relative pronouns, see section 430).
Of the relative pronouns, one only, which, is used as an adjec-
I found out which book it was.
Collective and partitive adjectives. (For collective and par-
titive pronouns, see section 43/&). The commonest of these
SBC. 44) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 49
adjectives are given below, with a suggestion of their separate
meanings. They are the same in origin and in meaning as the
collective and partitive pronouns, and each of the following,
except every and no, may also be used as a pronoun.
All = the whole, taken as a whole (collectively). Used as
He read all (the whole) of the assignment.
= the total number, more than two, taken as individuals
(distributively) with the emphasis on the totality.
All men are mortal.
Every = the whole, more than two, taken as individuals
(distributively) with the emphasis on the absence of
England expects every man to do his duty.
Each = the whole, two or more, taken as individuals (dis-
tributively) with the emphasis on the separate indi-
Each child was in his seat.
Either = one of two, taken indifferently. Either is used even
by careful writers in the sense of each or both, but
the accurate distinction between the words is worth
The steam may enter on either side (it makes no difference
which, but only one at a time) of the piston.
Houses had been built on each side (the one and the other)
of the street.
Both = two taken together.
When the car stopped, both got off.
Some = an indefinite part.
Will you have some more paper?
= an indefinite number.
Some men are born fortunate.
50 SENTENCES (SEC. 44
Any = one, taken indifferently from more than two.
As any man can see.
= an indefinite part, in a negative sentence (where
some would be used in an affirmative sentence) and
in an affirmative sentence where it equals the least
I haven't any paper.
Have you had any paper?
Compare : Will you have some paper?
No = not one.
Where he went, no man knows.
= not any.
I have no information.
Such = a correlative (48), the meaning of which is defined
by a clause beginning with as, expressed or implied.
Such people as they (are).
I know such people (as they are).
The partitive some or any is occasionally omitted, the idea
being expressed by a phrase consisting of of and the substantive
representing the whole of which the phrase expresses a part.
Make no more coil, but buy of this oil.
He always gives of his best.
French regularly expresses the partitive adjective in this
way, by the use of the preposition de, generally combined with
the definite article; and the partitive pronoun by en, which is
the equivalent of of it or of them.
Je lui en ai donne.
II n'en a pas.
II en a deux.
French is particular to mark the partitive in nearly all cases,
but English frequently expresses the partitive idea by the use of
the substantive without a modifier.
Us ont du courage. They have courage.
Men have died and worms have eaten them.
SEC. 44) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 51
Nominal adjectives. Many nouns may be used as adjectives
to limit a common noun to a single individual, or to a less
The Washington correspondent.
A telegraph pole.
Often such an adjective and the noun it modifies together
make up a compound proper noun (125).
The Charles River. Washington Street.
Instead of a nominal adjective a qualifying adjective derived
from a noun is frequently used.
A gold (or golden) apple.
Adjectives are made up from proper nouns more freely in the
other languages than in English.
Die Cotta'sche Bibliothek. The Cotta Library.
Havrais. Native of Havre.
(c) Verbal adjectives. These are the adjective forms of
verbs, called participles. (Latin, participium, partaking that
is, sharing the nature of two things.) There are two kinds
of participles, the so-called present and past participles (64).
Present participles need to be distinguished from verbal nouns
in -ing (42c).
The bird, singing (participle) the familiar notes, flew up into the air.
Its singing (verbal noun) was delightful.
The present participle has three uses: (1) the qualifying adjec-
tive use, where verbal characteristics are largely lost, (2) the
strictly verbal adjective use, where characteristics of both adjec-
tive and verb are clearly shown, and (3) the verbal use, in
the formation of progressive tenses, (60e), where the adjective
characteristics are largely lost.
(1) Whistling girls and crowing hens.
(2) Speaking for the first time without notes, he was visibly em-
(3) I am standing.
52 SENTENCES (SEC. 44
In the first example, there is still the idea of action present
in the adjective, and in the third example, the present participle
is not very different from a predicate adjective. Compare:
I am erect.
Je suis debout. (In this case French uses an adverb as if it were a
predicate adjective, in the same sense as standing).
The present participle is used more frequently in English than
in the Romance languages.
It is a child crying.
C'est un enfant qui pleure.
' The past participle (1) may become a descriptive adjective,
or it may be used in forming the passive voice (58) or the
compound tenses (60?;), in which case (2) its adjective force may
still be felt, or (3) it may be entirely lost.
(1) The spoken word.
(2) The house was built of wood. (Hardly different from a predicate
The house was built two years ago. (Passive tense.)
(3) Have you been there? (Present tense, compound.)
Das Haus war aus Holz gebaut. (Predicate adjective.)
Das Haus wurde vor zwei Jahren gebaut. (Passive voice.)
Where the adjective character is felt:
Ds sont venus*' \ ( A S reement of Participle with subject.)
Quels livres m'a-t-il donnesl ) (Agreement of participle with object
Us se sont coupes. ) which precedes participle.)
Where the adjective character is not felt:
Nous avons dormi.
II vous a donne deux livres. ) (Participle invariable when the object
II s'est coupe la main. [ follows.)
Las siilas fueron quebradas. (Participle in passive agrees with
Los libros que me ha dado. (Participle in compound tenses with
For the use of participles in absolute constructions see sec-
SEC. 45) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 53
45. Adverbs (35) are words used as primary modifiers of
verbs and predicate adjectives, and as secondary modifiers of
other adjectives and adverbs. As modifiers of verbs they tell (1)
when, (2) where, (3) why, or (4) how the action took place, or
the state or change of state of being came about.
Then (1) and there (2) the cause was lost.
Therefore (3), let it be done quickly (4).
As modifiers of adjectives and adverbs, adverbs (1) set a
farther limit or (2) add a new quality to the limitation or
quality already added by the word they modify.
Scarcely (1) any roses are deeper (2) red.
One class of adverbs demands special consideration, those
which change an affirmation into a denial, and are called neg-
atives (35). A negative statement is an expression of the fact
that an idea has been predicated of a subject in thought, has
been found untrue, and is denied. Negation may be expressed
(1) by an adverb modifying the verb or (2) modifying an adjec-
tive or adverb in the predicate; (3) by a negative adjective, or
(4) an adjective made negative by a prefix, modifying the sub-
ject or the complement; or (5) by a negative pronoun used as
subject or complement.
(1) Mind is not a material substance.
(2) One that loved not wisely but too well.
(3) No mind is a material substance.
(4) Mind is an immaterial substance.
(5) Nobody is here. That is nothing.
An idea may be expressed with the negative in different places
without changing the logical idea, and it should be remembered
in translating that often different idioms place the negative
None came. II ri'en arriva pas.
In Anglo-Saxon the negative might be applied to many
words in a sentence, and the result was simply a strengthening
of the negation.
54 SENTENCES (SBC. 46
. . . ond nan heort ne onscunede naenne leon, nenan hara naenne hund,
ne nan neat nyste naenne andan ne naenne ege to othrum. (From the
Alfredian version of the De Consolations Philosophic.) Literally trans-
lated, " and no hart shunned not no lion, nor no hare no hound, nor no
cattle knew not no ill will nor no fear to another."
It is natural in early forms of language to strengthen the
negative in this way, but as the users of a language grow more
logical they come to feel that doubling a negative in a sentence
is negating a negation and therefore that it is not correct
except in the rare cases where it is desired to express such a
No one who is not familiar with it can faintly realize what a strain
is put upon Mr. Washington and Dr. Frissell by the perpetual begging
which they must do.
It should be noted that a negative adverb is not required
in connection with the adverbs hardly and scarcely.
I can hardly see him now.
The is used as an adverb to modify adjectives and adverbs in
the comparative degree (a) with the meaning, in any degree, and
(6) with correlative meaning, in which the first the means by how
much, and the second, by so much.
(a) Thou shalt not be the worse for me.
(6) And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep.
46. Verbs are words which may be used as the second of
the fundamental elements of a sentence in the various ways
already explained (25-30). By "verbs," as the term is used
here, is meant the finite parts of the verb; that is, those forms
which express limitations of number and person (51, 54) . Besides
these, there are the infinitives (42c), which are verbal nouns, and
the participles (44c), which are adjectives. Neither infinitive
nor participle is used as the second element of a sentence,
but an infinitive may form the second element of a clause (38)
and the present (42c) or past (34) participle may govern a
SEC. 46) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 55
complement. For the use of infinitives and participles in form-
ing compound tenses, see section 60^.
Verbs may be classed in various ways. According to the
office which they perform in expressing the predicate, they may
be grouped as explained in sections 26-30. According to the
way in which the parts are formed they may be called (1) reg-
ular, if they are formed as all new verbs which come into the
language now are, and as irregular, if otherwise formed; or
(2) as strong, if the past tense is formed without added termi-
nation, and as weak, if the past tense is formed by the addition
of -ed, -dj OT-t. If we divide verbs into strong and weak, we must
recognize many different groups of strong verbs and many
irregularities in the formation of weak verbs. (For the Forma-
tion of Verbs see sections 64, 65.) If a verb has not all the
mode and tense forms commonly occurring, it is called defective.
There are no real defective verbs in English except the modal
auxiliaries (see 62, 63) may, can, must, ought, and the auxiliary
verbs (see below). Verbs which have no forms but those of
the third person singular number are called impersonal.
French: II faut, il fallait, etc.
In English and German there are no special impersonal verbs,
but many verbs are used impersonally.
Methinks. It seems. May it please you.
In general, verbs are used impersonally in English (1) when
the grammatical subject is it, standing for the logical subject,
which is a substantive, an infinitive, an infinitive phrase, or a
clause in the grammatical predicate; (2) when the grammatical
subject is it, and the verb expresses some climatic happening
(see section 43b); (3) when the subject follows the verb, which
is introduced by the adverb there.
(1) It is hard to die.
It is easy to learn that.
It is unfortunate that he is away.
(2) It thunders.
(3) There were thirteen colonies then. There came a time.
56 SENTENCES (SEC. 48
II y a, in French, and es giebt, in German, are used strictly
impersonally; but the English equivalent, there is, has singular
and plural forms to agree with the subject. Verbs such as
shall, will, should, would, which are used with others to help
form the various tenses (60), modes (59), and the passive voice
(58), are called auxiliary verbs (61-63).
47. A Preposition (Latin prcepositio(n), a placing before) is a
word placed before a substantive, which is called the object of
the preposition, to indicate the relation of the object to the
word the prepositional phrase (38) modifies. Prepositions may
be simple, that is, one word; or compound, that is, more than
On the street.
Out of the house and into the street.
His failure was owing to speculations.
The object of a preposition may be (1) substantive, (2) an
adverb used as a noun, (3) a phrase, or (4) a clause.
(1) I went from New York.
(2) He came from there.
(3) They fired from behind the wall.
(4) I know that from what he said.
Prepositions are closely connected with adverbs (45), and
readily become adverbs in many cases by the omission of the
object; they are also closely connected with conjunctions (48).
One of (preposition) the two came out (adverb) .
It was after (preposition) noon and after (conjunction) I had gone.
48. Conjunctions (37) are words or groups of words used to
(1) Two or more coordinate words or groups of words.
You and I.
No one knows at what time or by what means he escaped.
Women as well as men are admitted to that class.
SEC. 48) THE PARTS OF SPEECH 57
(2) A clause to the main part of the sentence.
Clauses which may be so joined by conjunctions are of two
(a) noun clauses (38), which require the conjunction that.
(Often omitted when the clause is predicate object).
It makes no difference that I did not like it.
He knows (that) I said so.
(b) adverb clauses.
He left the hall when he saw me enter.
Conjunctions are of three kinds:
(1) Coordinating conjunctions. These conjunctions connect
words or groups of words which are coordinate, that is to say, of
the same grammatical nature and structure. (See illustrations
in 48 (1) ).
(2) Subordinating conjunctions. These conjunctions intro-
duce clauses, which form subordinate parts of sentences. (See
illustrations in 48 (2)). Many conjunctions which introduce
adverb clauses are closely connected in origin and in meaning
with adverbs, and are also called conjunctive or relative adverbs.
Relative pronouns (430) might also be classed as subordinating
conjunctions, for they introduce adjective and noun clauses
just as the conjunctive adverbs introduce adverb clauses.
(3) Correlative conjunctions. These conjunctions are either
(a) coordinating or (b) subordinating: when coordinating, they
connect a pair of words or of groups of words and stand in cor-
relation with an adjective or an adverb which modifies the first
of the pair and emphasizes the connection; when subordinating,
they introduce a clause which defines the adjective, adverb, or
pronoun which is the first member of the pair of correlatives.
(a) Both this AND that. Either this OR that.
Not only this BUT ALSO that
(6) Such a man AS he (is).
He will give you such AS you wish.
This is as sweet AS that (is).
It is not so sweet AS the first.
58 SENTENCES (SEC. 49
(N.B. In an affirmative sentence the correlatives are as ...
as, in a negative it is generally considered more exact to say
so . . . as).
49. Interjections have been sufficiently defined and illustrated
in section 40.
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
(For Topical Synopsis, see page xii)
50. THE different parts of speech, except prepositions, con-
junctions, and interjections, vary in form according to one or
more of the grammatical changes known as number, gender,
case, person, comparison, voice, mode, and tense. In this
chapter each of these changes will be explained, and paradigms
will be given of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and
verbs. In each case the variations will be referred to a common
form, which is generally the simplest and the most commonly
used, and is always the form given primarily in dictionaries.
51. The common form of the substantive is always used
when a single one of the persons or things named is intended.
This is called the singular number. If more than one is meant,
another form of the word, called the plural number (Latin
pluralis, from plus, more) is used.
The General Rule for Forming the Plural
The plural of nouns in English is formed, generally, by
adding s to the singular, or, if the singular ends in s, x, z, sh, or ch
pronounced as in church, by adding es, which is pronounced as
a separate syllable.
tea, teas boat, boats
lens, lenses topaz, topazes
box, boxes fish, fishes
church, churches judge, judges
Nouns ending in ce and ge form the plural regularly, but the
final es is pronounced as a separate syllable.
60 SENTENCES (SEC. 51
Exceptions to the General Rule
Nouns of English origin ending in / or fe, preceded by I or a
long vowel (except oo) } form the plural by changing the / or fe
wolf, wolves loaf, loaves
wife, wives wharf, wharves, wharfs
Nouns ending in o, preceded by a consonant, generally form
the plural by adding es. The variations from this rule are
chiefly words of foreign origin which were introduced as tech-
nical terms, like octavos, dominos, pianos.
Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, form the plural
by changing the y to i and adding es.
lily, lilies (but valley, valleys)
The plural of letters, figures, signs (and, in the usage of
some writers of all words which are used to refer simply to the
word) is generally formed by adding 's.
Cross your t's. Four 8's. The +'s.
Ands and ifs, or and's and if's.
Compare French: Deux a, etc.
The plural of some signs and abbreviations is formed by
writing the whole or a part double.
pp. = pages.
MSS. = manuscripts.
The plural of surnames preceded by titles is formed in two
Preferably, The Misses Brown, but also, The Miss Browns.
Compare: French, Les deux Balzac,
German, Die Briider Grimm.
Compound words pluralize (1) the part which is modified
by the rest of the word; (2) the whole compound ; when the
SEC. 51) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 61
distinction between main word and modifier is obscured; or (3) in
a few cases, both parts.
(1) war-horse, war-horses
father-in law, fathers-in-law (N. B. father-in-law's)
(2) cupful, cupfuls (one cup filled more than once)
(3) man-servant, men-servants
Abstract nouns and nouns expressing material have, in ordi-
nary use, no plural forms, or, to express it more exactly, the com-
mon form is neuter number, that is, neither singular nor plural.
goodness, purity; gold, paper.
Nouns used as adjectives of measure have no plural form.
A five-cent piece. A ten-foot pole. A six-foot man.
Drei Zoll breit. Das kostet fiinf Mark.
Une piece de vingt/rcmcs.
Names of things which are made up of two parts which are
almost or quite duplicates, and a few other nouns, have no sin-
trousers, shears; bowels, ashes (when the word refers to a heap)
Some nouns are plural in form but singular in meaning,
news, politics, ethics.
Anglo-Saxon formed plurals in several ways besides those
which give the modern English s form. Some of these are
retained in modern English as irregular plurals. For example:
man, men fish, fish (fishes)
child, children brother, brethren (brothers)
ox, oxen mouse, mice.
Other languages, notably Latin and Italian, form the plural
of substantives in other ways than by adding s, and some of
these foreign plurals are used in English. For example:
62 SENTENCES (SEC. 51
focus, foci dilettante, dilettanti
index, (indexes) indices bandit, (bandits) banditti
animalculum, animalcula Hebrew,
formula, (formulas) formulae cherub, (cherubs) cherubim
alumnus, alumni, alumnae Greek,
datum, data phenomenon, phenomena
In some cases where there are two plural forms, the two have
come to have separate meanings, as in the case of the plurals of
brother and of index. Where there is no such differentiation, as
in the plurals of formula, there would seem to be no reason for
retaining the foreign form.
Awkward sounding plurals should be avoided.
Two copies of The News. Not, Two Newses.
Number of pronouns. The personal pronouns, including the
reflexives and the possessives (adjectives and pronouns), have
plurals, but they are strictly different words.
I, we; thyself, yourselves; her, their; hers, theirs
For demonstratives, see next paragraph.
Number of adjectives. Adjectives (including participles) in
Greek, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, the Romance languages, and Ger-
man, regularly have plural forms to agree with the nouns they
modify; but in modern English, adjectives have become invaria-
ble. The demonstrative adjectives (and pronouns) are an excep-
tion, for the difference between this and these, and between that
and those is really difference in number. See also gender of ad-
jectives (52) and case of adjectives (53).
Number of verbs. Verbs may have different forms when
used with plural subjects from those which are used with singular
subjects, but these are not plural in the sense in which sub-
stantives are plural: they do not indicate more than one action,
they are used simply to agree with the subject (69). Modern
English has but one form to indicate number; German, the
Romance languages , Latin, and Greek have more.
Dual. In Greek, Anglo-Saxon, and other of the earlier forms of lan-
guage, there were dual forms, which expressed two as distinct from both
SEC. 52) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 63
the singular and the plural, in which case the plural expressed strictly
more than two. But even in those languages the plural was frequently
used in place of the dual, and in modern languages the dual has dis-
appeared. We express duality by the addition of a word.
We two were there. We were both there.
52. If the common form of a substantive stands for a male
person or a male animal whose sex is recognized, it is said to
be of the masculine gender. If it stands for a female per-
son or a female animal whose sex is recognized, it is said to
be of the feminine gender. If it stands for an inanimate object
or for an animal whose sex is not recognized, it is said to be
of the neuter (neither) gender. If it may be used for either
male or female, it is said to be of the common gender.
Masculine, Feminine, Neuter, Common,
boy girl stone cousin
horse mare fish parent
Even in the case of names of males and females of the same
species, the substantives in English are in nearly all cases dis-
tinct words rather than variations of the same word. (Boy, girl;
horse, mare) . In Anglo-Saxon there were masculine and feminine
suffixes which were added to single stems, but these are lost in
modern English, except in a few cases, and in even these the
allied words have been separated in meaning.
Baker and Baxter (proper name) =bak-ster, a woman baker.
Spinner and spinster (an unmarried woman) = spin-ster, a woman
From Norman-French -esse (Latin -issa) English has taken
one feminine suffix -ess, sometimes associated with the native
agent suffix -er or the Latin agent suffix -or, which then becomes
a masculine ending; and from other sources it has adopted
sporadic cases of feminine endings. Many of the forms in -ess
Prefixes. Some neuter nouns, names of animals, and a few
nouns of common gender may be made masculine or feminine by
prefixing a distinguishing word.
In Romance language all nouns, and in Greek,^ Latin, and
German many nouns which in English are neuter. because they
name inanimate objects, are either masculine or feminine. This
is what is called grammatical gender, as distinct from natural
gender which we have in English.
Primitive men personified nature freely, and observing the boisterous
character of the winds, for example, thought of them as masculine;
while in the productive character of the earth, to take a single other illus-
tration, they saw feminine nature. Such was, probably, the origin of
grammatical gender, but in the development of language it has been
disguised in many ways. We see traces of grammatical gender in Eng-
lish in the more or less poetic tendency to speak of the sun as " he," and
of the moon as " she "; and more distinctly in such cases as the sailor's
habit of calling a ship " she."
Any neuter noun which we personify may be given masculine
or feminine gender.
Time swiftly wings his way.
In Greek and Latin some names of animals were always
either masculine or feminine without regard to the sex of the
individual animal. These are called epicene nouns. For
lepus, hare, is always masculine,
vulpes, fox, is always feminine.
We see traces of this habit in English in the tendency to
speak of a dog always as " he," and of a cat always as " she/'
SEC. 53) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 65
in the use of the word horse even when speaking of a mare, and
in a few similar cases.
Gender of pronouns. The personal pronouns, the possessives
(pronouns and adjectives), and the reflexives, in the third per-
son, singular number, have masculine, feminine, and neuter
forms; and the relative and interrogative who has the corre-
sponding neuter form what. No other pronouns have variations
he she it
his her its
his hers its
himself herself itself
Gender of adjectives. In languages which have variable
adjectives (51, 53), the adjective agrees in gender with the noun
it modifies. This is true of Anglo-Saxon, but the distinctive
endings were lost in middle English.
53. The common form (50) of the noun is used in all lan-
guages as subject of the verb; in addition there are in the
different languages six other forms, called cases, which serve
to express different constructions in the sentence. In English,
the common form of a noun may be used as subject, complement,
indirect object, resultant predicate object, object of a preposition,
adjective or adverbial modifier, or as an independent element.
In addition to the common case, there is but one other case that
is marked with a special form, that which names the person
(rarely the thing) who possesses the object named by the noun
immediately following or implied in the context. This is called
the possessive case.
Mount Vernon was Washington's home, and Monticello was
The possessive case is seldom used in speaking of things, ex-
cept (1) when the thing is personified, that is to say, treated
as if it had personal life, and (2) in a few idiomatic expressions.
66 SENTENCES (SEC. 53
The equivalent form for neuter nouns is a prepositional phrase
with of, placed after the noun (3).
(1) That is not Nature's (personified) way.
(2) A stone's throw.
(3) The roof of the house is red.
The possessive case is also used idiomatically to express other
ideas than that of possession, most of which may likewise be
expressed by a prepositional phrase with of or for.
A four years' course. (Cf. A four-year course.)
A dollar's worth.
There is no need of the guide's going. (Not: the guide going.)
The object of an action named by a noun is generally more
accurately expressed by a phrase introduced by of than by the
The murder of the prince.
Rule for forming possessive. Nouns have possessive forms
in both the singular and the plural. The possessive singular
is regularly marked by the addition of an apostrophe (') and s,
the possessive plural is generally marked by the addition of an
apostrophe. The exact rule is best stated as follows: To plural
nouns ending in s add an apostrophe after the s; to all other
nouns add 's.
Some make an exception to this rule in the case of nouns which
end in the singular in s, to which they add only the apostrophe;
but in speaking the more common practice is to add an extra
syllable in forming the possessive singular, so that it would seem
more logical not to make this exception.
Davy Jones's locker.
Charlie Tufts's Hill.
Exceptions to the rule are made, however, in the cases of a few
special phrases, to avoid piling up the s-sounds.
For conscience* sake.
SEC. 53) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 67
The possessive of compound nouns is formed by adding the ' or
's to the whole noun.
Smith and Brown's.
Colloquially this rule is applied to long and loosely-made com-
The man who keeps the store's daughter.
In Middle English, both the possessive singular and the common plural
forms were regularly spelled es, and when the e was dropped in pro-
nunciation and from the written word, the habit grew up of writing an
apostrophe in place of the lost e in the possessive singular to distinguish
it from the plural. Later the apostrophe, which had come to be looked
upon as the sign of the possessive, was carried over into the plural, but
was written after the s to differentiate that form from the possessive
singular. By a process of popular interpretation, the 's was supposed to
be a contraction for his, and in some cases the his was actually " restored."
The king his crown.
Cases of pronouns. The pronoun is, in English, the only part
of speech besides the noun which has case variation. Many
pronouns have, instead of a common case, a form for the object
case and a form for the subject case. The pronoun who has also
a form for the possessive case, whose, and the personal pronouns
have forms for the possessive case, but these have been so far
differentiated as to be generally classed as possessive adjectives
and possessive pronouns (43c and 446). These possessive adjec-
tives and pronouns, it should be noted, are never correctly
written with an apostrophe. The apostrophe is most frequently
incorrectly inserted in its, which may easily be confused with
it's, the contraction of it is.
It's its wing that is hurt.
Cases of adjectives. In Greek, Latin, and German, adjec-
tives have case forms as well as forms for number (51) and
gender (52); in the Romance languages they have forms for
gender and number only, and in English they have only the
common form, except as they express comparison (55). In
German, it should be noted, a single adjective may express its
structure in three ways: (1) by a set of endings called " weak,"
68 SENTENCES (SEC. 54
used when the adjective is preceded by a pronominal limiting
word; (2) by a set of endings called " strong," used when the
adjective in the attributive position is not so preceded; and
(3) by the word with no endings at all, when it is used predi-
catively, appositively, or when it is used as an adverb.
Cases in other languages. In modern German and in Anglo-Saxon
there are four cases, which are named according to the terminology
developed in Latin grammar. The nominative is the subject case; the
genitive is the equivalent of the modern English possessive or of an object
with of; the dative expresses the indirect object, and is often the equiv-
alent of an object with to or for; the accusative is used as the object of the
verb and of some prepositions. In addition to these cases, Latin has the
vocative, the case of direct address; the ablative, which is the equivalent
of an object with from, by, with, in, or at; the locative, which expresses
the place at which; and the instrumental, which, in the case of a few
adverbs formed from nouns, is used to express the instrument by which
the action is performed. Traces of this last named case are also found
in the early forms of Anglo-Saxon and German. Greek has nominative,
genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative. The Romance languages origi-
nally had two cases for substantives, a subject case from the Latin nom-
inative, and an object case from the other cases in Latin ; but they finally
lost the subject case forms, so that the object case became the common
and only case form.
54. The common form of the noun may name any person or
thing spoken about, any person spoken to, or in special cases
the person speaking. Certain pronouns, however, have special
forms to distinguish these three different persons. A pronoun
representing the speaker is said to be in the first person; one rep-
resenting the person spoken to is said to be in the second per-
son; and one representing a person or thing spoken of is said to
be in the third person. These variations appear only in the
personal pronouns and in the possessives.
The second-person forms. The second person singular is replaced by
the second person plural in modern English except in the " exalted
style" (for example, in prayer). The second person singular is often
replaced in the Romance languages and in German: in French by vous
(second, plural), in Spanish by Usted ("your grace," third, singular), in
German by Sie (third, plural). In these languages the second person
singular is generally used in familiar address, where in English the
Christian name would be used.
SEC. 55) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 69
Third-person forms. There are no personal pronouns of the third
person in Latin, and only a few forms in Greek; indeed, these forms are
of comparatively late development in language, and are in origin not
personal pronouns at all, but demonstratives. He, his, him, her, are
forms of an old demonstrative, and show case endings which exactly
correspond to those of modern German. (H)it was the neuter of the
same demonstrative, having the neuter ending t, which also appears in
what and that. Its is a late form modeled on his (53c) . She, they, their,
and them were similarly formed from the demonstrative which has given
us the. The Anglo-Saxon form for them was (h)em, and that form is
still used colloquially.
Personal endings of verbs. In early forms of language the
personal pronouns were appended to the verb, and in time these
came to be looked on as verb terminations marking three per-
sons in the singular and three in the plural. In Greek and
Latin there are many distinct personal terminations and some
of these show very clearly their origin.
English Latin Indo-European (theoretic forms)
am sum (me) es-mi
art es (te) es-si
is est es-ti
are sumus (nos) s-masi
are estis s-tasi
are sunt s-anti
In Anglo-Saxon and in the older forms of German a number
of these terminations still appear, but in the modern languages
they have been largely worn away. This has been carried so
far in English that now the regular verb has only one form
which marks person, the form ending in s, which is third person
singular, and is found only in the present tense of the indicative.
There are also the archaic forms still used in the exalted style:
ending in st for the second person singular (thou likest), and in
th for the third person singular (he liketh) (64). In the irregular
verbs there are some half dozen other personal forms (61, 62) .
55. The common form of adjectives and adverbs expresses
the limitation or quality positively, that is to say, without regard
to whether any other object possess more or less of that limita-
tion or quality. This is called the positive degree.
70 SENTENCES (SEC. 55
The club has few members, but they are all rich men.
There is a special form to indicate that the person or thing
represented by the noun modified has the quality or limitation
to a greater degree compared with another person or thing. This
form is called the comparative degree.
If there were fewer heirs, each would be richer.
There is also a special form to indicate that the person or thing
has the quality or limitation to the greatest degree of all con-
sidered. This form is called the superlative degree.
The vice-president is the richest man in the club.
The superlative is sometimes used in an absolute sense.
My dearest wife.
The comparative and superlative degrees are regularly made
from the common form (positive degree) by adding the syllables
-er and -est, as in the illustrations above; but they may also be
made by placing before the common form the word more for
the comparative and the word most for the superlative. The -r,
-est method of formation, Anglo-Saxon had in common with
German; the more, most method was developed in English under
the influence of French.
schon, schoner, schonst
beau, plus beau, le plus beau
More and most are generally used with adjectives of more
than one syllable except those ending in y, and with adverbs
formed from adjectives by adding -ly.
This is the most beautiful rose in the bouquet.
He ran more quickly this time.
In a similar way comparative and superlative degrees of in-
feriority may be formed by the use of the words less and least.
He finds it less easy to walk now.
The most successful man was the least satisfied.
Some adjectives and adverbs form their comparatives and super-
latives in irregular ways. In reality the " irregular " forms (1)
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
have varied under some phonetic influence or (2) were formed
from positives which have been since lost.
(1) old elder, older eldest, oldest
(2) good better best
much more most
When a positive ends in y preceded by a consonant, the y is
changed to i before -er or -est
56. As a result of the variation in number, gender, case,
person, and comparison, we have the following forms of nouns,
pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs:
N.B. Except in a few cases, each noun has a single gender
form: masculine, feminine, or neuter.
he, she, it
him, her, it
this (near speaker)
that (farther from speaker)
the (definite article)
who (used of
which (used of things
to distinguish be-
tween two or more)
what (used of things
of which, or
The relatives who, which, and what have the same forms as
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
Collective and Partitive
Collective and partitive pronouns have only the common
form (50), except that those which end in -one or -body make a
possessive case by adding 's.
Variations which affect Verbs only
57. In addition to number (51) and person (54) verbs have
special forms to express voice, mode, and tense. The common
form, to which all other forms will be referred, is the infinitive
without the to.
58. The difference in the meaning and use of the active and
the passive voices has already been explained (29). In Greek
and Latin the verbs have special forms for the passive as dis-
tinct from the active forms (Latin: amare, active infinitive;
amari, passive infinitive); but in modern Romance languages,
in German, and in English, the passive forms have disappeared
74 SENTENCES (SEC. 59
with the single exception of that one which is regularly called
the past participle. In English the passive is formed by com-
bining the past participle of the verb to be made passive with
the auxiliary verb to be (64). In the Romance languages the
passive is formed in the equivalent way; and in German also,
except that German uses instead of the verb sein, to be, the
verb werden, to become.
I see, I am seen,
he saw, he was seen,
you have seen, you have been seen.
In addition to the active and the passive voices, Greek and Sanskrit
have a middle voice (midway between active and passive) which repre-
sents the same individual as actor and receiver of the action. In some
cases the meaning of this voice is about the same as that of the active.
It is expressed in modern languages by the reflexive verbs (43d, e).
French: se couper, s'en alter. German: sich bewegen.
Active Passive Reflexive Reciprocal
We ask, we are asked, we ask ourselves, we ask each other.
59. Verbs have special forms to express different manners, or
modes as they are called, of conceiving the idea for which the
Indicative mode. The commonest of the finite forms of the
verb indicate (without further modal implications) that the
speaker or writer means to express the idea as a fact in either
a declarative, an interrogative, or an exclamative form. These
forms make up what is called the indicative mode. It is to be
noted that the mode is determined by the user's desire to indi-
cate the idea as a fact, not at all by the truth of the assertion.
The verb in Two and two are five is in the indicative in spite
of the statement's being absurd. It is also to be noted that a
negative statement (Two and two are not five, for example) is no
less indicated as a fact than an affirmative statement (45).
Imperative mode. Other forms of the verb serve to show
SEC. 59) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 75
that the idea is expressed not as a fact but as a command.
These forms make up the imperative mode (Latin imperativus,
from imperare, to command). Forcefulness of command is
expressed by emphasis or by the addition of reenforcing words;
exhortation or entreaty, in which the command is softened, is
expressed by tone of voice, often by putting before the verb the
word do or the word please.
Go! Go, I tell you! Do go! Please go.
In modern English the subject of the imperative is generally
omitted, though it may be expressed for emphasis.
You do as I tell you!
There is but one strictly imperative form in English, for we
can command only the person or persons addressed, and the
second persons singular and plural of the verb in English have
the same form. The so-called first person singular and the third
persons singular and plural imperatives are strictly indirect,
that is to say, they are commands addressed to some individual
or individuals (second person) to permit the first or the third
person to do something. These forms are expressed by the im-
perative of the verb let followed by a clause (38) consisting of
(1) the substantive standing for the individual or individuals to
be indirectly commanded, (2) the infinitive (without to) of the
verb which expresses what is to be done by the individual or
individuals, and (3) the complement of the verb, if any. A sim-
ilarly formed first-person plural is strictly an exhortation to the
individual or individuals addressed to join the speaker in doing
the act expressed by the infinitive.
Direct imperative: Do it! (you, thou or ye).
Indirect imperative: Let me do it!
Let him do it!
Let them do it!
Hortative: Let us do it!
In German and the Romance languages the imperative is similarly
expressed, except that each of these languages has separate forms for
singular and plural, and that the present subjunctive is used for the in-
76 SENTENCES (Sec. 59
direct forms. French has a first person plural direct imperative, and
introduces the indirect forms by que, really omitting the equivalent of
the English let.
(Permettez) Qu'il le fasse!
Conditional mode. Other verb forms serve to show that the
idea is expressed not as a fact but as dependent upon the fulfill-
ment of some condition. This mode of expression is called
conditional. The part of the sentence in which a condition is
expressed is called the condition; the part which expresses the
idea dependent upon the condition is called the conclusion. It
is the conclusion, if any part, which has the verb in the con-
I should like to go (conclusion) if I could (condition).
The condition is often unexpressed.
I should say so.
Here the condition implied is something like this:
// 1 must express an opinion, I should say so.
The conditional can be expressed in English only by the use
of an auxiliary verb. Both should and would are used, the
distinction being explained in section 60. German uses sub-
junctive forms of werden as auxiliary to form the conditional
mode. The Romance languages have a special tense form (60g) .
I should say.
Ich wiirde sagen.
Subjunctive (optative). The three modes, indicative, impera-
tive, and conditional, are all that are in common use in English;
but in earlier forms of languages there were two other important
ways of expressing ideas not as facts. First, an idea may be
conceived not as a fact but as a wish, and the mode which
expresses this is called the optative mode (Latin optativus,
from optare, to wish). Second, an idea may be conceived not
as a fact but as a subordinate idea expressing condition, hy-
SEC. 59) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 77
pothesis, or contingency. This mode is called subjunctive (Latin
subjunctivus, from subjungere, to subjoin, to make subordinate).
The optative is found in Greek, but has disappeared as a
recognized mode from the other languages, many of its uses hav-
ing been assumed by the subjunctive. The subjunctive is found
in Greek, Latin, the Romance languages, and German. In
English, on account of the wearing away of the distinguishing
endings, the subjunctive has almost entirely disappeared. There
are subjunctive forms in the verb to be (61), and the third person
singular present of any verb may be made subjunctive by drop-
ping the distinguishing s of the corresponding indicative form;
but these are the only distinct subjunctive forms in use in modern
If this be I, as I think it be.
If he but blench, I know my course.
The only general use of the subjunctive in modern English is
to express a subordinate idea which is doubtful or contrary to
I wish it were so.
Were it so. (If it were so.)
If (or though) he were here, I would not speak to him.
In addition there are a few special uses.
I suggest that he go.
No, I had rather go myself.
I move that the secretary cast one vote.
In older forms of English, verbs were in the subjunctive in
clauses introduced by if, whether, provided, though, so that, lest,
until, till, ere, unless, except; and this usage is retained by many.
It is more logical, however, even in these cases, to restrict the
use of the subjunctive to the expression of ideas which are
doubtful or contrary to fact.
In Romance languages the commonest use of the subjunctive
is in subordinate clauses expressing subjectivity, that is to say,
ideas which are recognized not as facts but rather as personal
interpretations or feelings.
78 SENTENCES (SEC. 60
In German the subjunctive has most of the common uses of
the original subjunctive and optative, and a somewhat special
use, that of expressing indirect statements.
Er antwortete, er achte Friedrich und wunsche den Frieden.
Wir wissen kaum, was zu thun sei.
Potential mode. Modal auxiliaries. An idea may be con-
ceived not as a fact but as something possible, permissible) or
obligatory, and the verbal forms used in English to express such
ideas are commonly grouped together as the potential mode.
No such mode is recognized in any other language than English,
the ideas being in part expressed by the subjunctive, in part
by auxiliaries which add the idea of possibility, permissibility,
or obligation. In English all these ideas are expressed by
auxiliaries used with the infinitive (without to), so that it is
more logical to speak of the modal auxiliaries than of a separ-
ate mode. The forms and the meanings of these auxiliaries
are given in sections 62 and 63.
Infinitives and participles. In addition to the above-men-
tioned modes there are the infinitives and participles, which are
sometimes called separate modes. The uses of the infinitives
in clauses (38) and as nouns (42c) have been explained; for
their uses in verb formation see sections 59, 60, and 64. The
uses of the participles as adjectives have been explained (44c);
for their uses in verb formation see sections 58, 60, and 64.
60. Verbs liave different forms to express the time of the .
action or of the state of being. These are called differences
in tense (Old French tens, from Latin tempus, time, tense).
Time we divide into present, past, and future, and there are
present, past, and future tenses.
Present : Here am I.
Past: He wrote to them
Future: You will try.
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 79
(a) Tense represents relative and not absolute distinctions,
consequently we have different tenses according to the point from
which we view the time of the action. We may look at an act
from some point in the present, from some point in the past,
or from some point in the future; and, since the act itself may
be from the point at which we consider it, present, past, or future,
we have the following theoretical combinations:
Point from which Time relative to
the act is viewed: that point:
Present: present, To-day, it is finished.
past, Before now, it was finished.
future, Now, it will be finished.
Past: present, Yesterday, it was finished.
past, Last week, it had been finished two days.
future, By Thursday, we knew it would be
Future: present, To-morrow, I shall know that it is finished.
past, Friday, it will have been finished.
future, A week from now, it will still be going to
(b) Some languages have several distinct forms (each with
variation to express person and number) for different tenses;
Greek, for example, has seven. English and German can express
or imply all the distinctions in time indicated above and others
of more subtle nature, but for that purpose these languages have
only two special tense forms; all the other tenses are made up
in English by combining two or more verb forms to express a
single tense idea, making what may be called bi-verbal tenses,
or by combining two or more verb forms to express a compound
tense idea, making what are called compound tenses.
Formation of Present and Past Tenses
(c) Simple present and past tenses. The formation of these
tenses will be explained in section 65. At present they may be
indicated as follows:
Weak, regular, I stay I stayed
irregular, I have I had
Strong, I run I ran
irregular, 1 am I was
80 SENTENCES (Sec 60.
(d) The bi-verbal present and past tenses are the progressive
and the emphatic tenses.
(e) The progressive tenses are formed by combining the pres-
ent participle of the verb expressing the action or state with
the appropriate parts of the verb to be. The present participle
is in origin a predicate adjective.
Present, I speak I am speaking
Past, I spoke I was speaking
(/) The emphatic tenses are formed by combining the in-
finitive (without to) of the verb which is to be made emphatic
with the appropriate parts of to do used as the auxiliary. The
infinitive is in origin the predicate object of the verb to do.
Present, I say I do say
Past, I said I did say
The Use and Meaning of the Present and Past Tenses
(g) Simple present. The simple present is used to express
customary action of a universal or of a definite nature.
I speak English. (It is my native tongue, or I have mastered it.)
I speak French in the class on Thursdays. (Customary action
(h) Absolute present. If the verb to be is used with an ad-
verb of time expressed or implied, it is strictly present in
meaning; if not, it is used in a tenseless or absolute sense.
This steel is red-hot. (At the present moment.)
Steel is the most useful metal. (A universal or absolute statement.)
The simple tenses of to be are often ambiguous, when used with-
out an adverb to make the time definite. For example, He is
cross may express a momentary state or a fixed characteristic.
Spanish avoids this ambiguity by using estar (to stand) as
the auxiliary to express a momentary state and ser (to be) to ex-
press a fixed characteristic.
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 81
(i) Simple past. The simple past tense is generally used in
expressing past events which are not considered in relation to
other contemporaneous past events.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
(j) Progressive tenses. The progressive tenses indicate that
the action is progressing at the moment from which the action
or the state is considered. These forms do not occur in Ger-
man or French, and though they are used in Spanish and Italian
they are not so common as in English.
In verbs expressing action (29), state of being, or change of
state (28), the progressive is the common present tense in Eng-
I am speaking English. (At the present moment.)
Compare the use of the simple present tense above. The verb
to be is not used in the progressive form except when it is used
as the auxiliary forming the passive.
I am ill.
I am being betrayed.
If two past events which happened at the same time are to
be expressed, the one which is looked upon as the more mo-
mentary is put in the simple past, the one which is looked upon
as of longer duration, as progressing at the moment when the
other took place, may be expressed by the progressive past. The
difference may be one of attitude toward the events rather than
of important difference in the events themselves.
While I was speaking, he entered.
He was entering as I spoke.
Too frequent use of the progressive past is felt to be objec-
tionable, but often when the simple past is used, the progressive
would express the idea more accurately.
(k) Though French, like German, has no progressive tenses,
it has, like the other Romance languages, two simple past tenses
which in a way correspond to the English simple and progres-
sive past tenses. One tense is more strictly limited to past
82 SENTENCES (SEC. 60
narration (therefore sometimes called the " narrative past ")
than the English simple past; the other is more strictly limited
to past description (therefore sometimes called the " descriptive
Je parlais (descriptive) lorsqu'il entra (narrative).
II me montra (narrative) la croix qu'il portait (descriptive).
J'y allais (descriptive) tous les jours.
(/) Historical presents. Both the simple and the progressive
presents are sometimes used to express action or state of being
which really took place in the past. Strictly these so-called
historical presents do not express past time; rather the narrator
would indicate that the action is so real to him that it is in his
imagination as if taking place at the present moment, and it is
this vivid, imaginary present action that he reports. Some lan-
guages use the historical present very freely, but in English it is
not considered good use to employ it except to give unusual
vividness. In a similar way the present may be used to give
vivid expression to a future tense idea.
We leave tomorrow.
(m) The emphatic tenses. In an affirmative statement, the
emphatic tenses are seldom used except in reply to a negative
assertion, expressed or inferred; in negative statements and in
interrogations, the do is regularly used, without being necessarily
emphatic, except with the verb to be and the modal auxiliaries
59, 63, 63.
You do not try.
I do try every time.
Do you think so?
Are you sure?
I ought to be.
The Future Tenses
(ri) Origin of the future tenses in English. Anglo-Saxon had
no future tense, but used the present to express also future
action, just as modern English does in certain cases, especially
I am going to New York next week.
I will give it to him when he comes.
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 83
Certain verbs, however, by virtue of expressing one act in
the present, entail another act which is future.
I wish to go in half an hour.
The act of wishing takes place in the present, but the act of
going, the act which is wished, is to take place in the future.
The verbs most commonly used in Anglo-Saxon thus to express
the entailing of future acts were sculan (shall) and willan (will).
Even in the early forms of the language, where they were inde-
pendent verbs, they were frequently used with other verbs to
express little but the idea of futurity, and in the development
of the language their special meanings came to be, in certain
cases, almost entirely ignored, so that they were used as simple
auxiliaries with an infinitive (without to) as predicate object to
make up a bi-verbal future tense. In other cases, something
of their original special meanings was retained. Consequently
there are in modern English two bi-verbal tenses using shall
and will as auxiliaries with the infinitive, one expressing simply
the future tense idea, the other expressing a modal (59) future
idea. There are, however, various uses of shall and will, and
the distinctions are very confusing unless the original meanings
are kept in mind.
Shall, in its original use as an independent verb, expressed the
idea of duty or of some form of necessity coming on one from
some other source than one's personal desire.
The duty I shall Priam (Chaucer). Compare German sollen.
Will, in its original use as an independent verb, expressed a
wish or a will-act of some sort. Compare the noun will and
I wol him noght thogh thou were deed tomorwe.
In the time of Shakspere, these verbs had become true aux-
iliaries but still had their original meaning: will was used as a
future auxiliary, but always with the sense of desire on the
part of the person represented by the subject of the verb; shall
84 SENTENCES (Sac. GO
was used as a future auxiliary, but always with the sense of
inevitable futurity without regard to the will of the subject.
(o) Present use of the future auxiliaries. Present usage is the
same as that of Shakspere's time for the first person.
I shall go to the city, and will try to get the book.
For the other persons, the auxiliaries have come to be used diff-
erently. The reason for this change is found in the fact that
while the speaker knows well what his own desires are, and
naturally looks upon anything which is to take place, not as a
result of his will-act, as something inevitable, he does not know
the desires and the necessities of others as well, and naturaDy
hesitates to interpret the act of another as compulsory when he
has no ground for such interpretation. Consequently will, which
assumes that the subject is going to act because he wishes to,
has come to be the regular auxiliary for the second and third
You and he will certainly come.
We have then a future tense made up as follows:
I shall go we shall go
you will go you will go
he will go they will go
(p) The modal future auxiliaries. Will in the first person,
as we have seen, has always expressed desire on the part of the
subject. When shall was given up as the future auxiliary in
the second and third persons, it was retained as a modal future
in those cases in which the speaker could assert that the sub-
ject was to act upon compulsion, that is to say, when the
speaker himself was to compel the subject to act.
He shall pay for this! (I am going to compel him.)
In this way a modal future tense was made up which retained
the older meanings of the auxiliaries in full force. Further-
more, the auxiliary used with each person in this way may have
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 85
different meanings according as it is used emphatically or
unemphatically, so that in a sense we have, in addition to the
future tense, two modal futures.
Emphatic modal future
I will go (I am determined to go)
you shall go (I am determined on your going)
he shall go (I am determined on his going)
we will go (We are determined to go)
you shall go (I am determined on your going)
they shall go (I am determined on their going)
Unemphatic modal future
I will go (I am willing to go)
you shall go (I give you permission to go)
he shall go (I give him permission to go)
we will go (We are willing to go)
you shall go (I give you permission to go)
they shall go (I give them permission to go)
In order to give emphatic expression to the idea of compul-
sion from without in the first person, or to the idea of desire in
the second or third person, it is necessary to use some other
word than the future auxiliaries, for as we have seen, they have
in these cases lost all but the idea of futurity.
I must, should, ought, or am obliged to go.
You are willing or are determined to go.
(q) German, as well as Anglo-Saxon, originally had no future tense, and
has made up one by using werden, to become, as an auxiliary. Latin
had a simple future tense of the same stem as the present, but that tense
was dropped out of use in the form of the language from which the
Romance languages developed. In its place an expression consisting of
the infinitive of the verb and the appropriate parts of habere, to have,
was used for the future, something like the English expression to have
to go. At first habere was used as an auxiliary, but later the forms
were suffixed to the infinitive and were looked upon as tense endings.
For examples, in French, je donnerai was originally the infinitive donner
plus ai, the first person singular of avoir, to have.
It should be noted that the future tense in the Romance languages,
and the future forms with werden in German translate only the future of
English. Such modal auxiliary forms as / will go and you shall go call
for a word to express the idea of the modal auxiliary and another word
to express the idea of the infinitive go.
86 SENTENCES (SEC. 60
(r) Progressive futures. Corresponding to the future tenses
just explained there are progressive future tenses made up in the
same way as the progressive present and past.
I shall be going (progressive future).
He shall be going (progressive modal future).
(s) Indirect futures. In an indirect quotation (77) which is de-
pendent upon a verb in a past tense, all tenses which would be ,
present in the direct form of quotation are changed to past
tenses; and in the same way the auxiliaries shall and will are
changed to forms which were originally simple past tenses of
these verbs : should and would (62) . This makes up a tense which
is often called conditional because it is in form the same
as the conditional mode, but it is better to call it the indirect
future. In the indirect quotation should is used when shall
would be required in the direct quotation, and would is simi-
larly used for will.
I said, " I will go." I said I would go.
I said, " You shall go." I said you should go.
He said, " I will go." He said he would go.
We said, " You shall go." We said you should go.
You said, " I am afraid I shall die." You said you were afraid you
In a similar way might and could are used as indirect forms
for may and can (63).
(t) It is to be noted that in the true conditional mode should
is used by those who are careful in their use of these words
with the first person singular and plural, and would with the
other persons, just as shall and will are used in the future.
~ If he had come I should have seen him and you would have seen
Special uses of should and would. There are two other uses
of should and one use of would that should be noted here.
Should is used in all persons in the sense of ought.
You should do better than you do.
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 87
Should is used in a future condition (not in the conclusion,
which is in the conditional mode) to express doubt as to the
fulfillment of the condition.
If it should rain, I would not come.
If it rains, I will not come.
Would is used to express customary or regularly repeated
action in the past.
Every day while I was ill, some one would call.
(u) The difficulties in the use of shall and will, should and
would arise chiefly in the first person. There is a strong popular
tendency to use will and would in the first person as well as in
the other persons for the future (not modal), but such usage is not
correct. It is a good rule to keep in mind to avoid the use of
will and would with the first person except when it is the inten-
tion to express a distinct idea of willing on the part of the " first
person." Note particularly the following cases:
I shall be unable to keep the appointment. (Will, which is frequently
used in such expressions as this, would contradict the idea expressed
I shall be pleased to call. (Will, which is frequently used here, is not
required because the desire is sufficiently expressed by pleased.)
I should like to accept. (The conditional equivalent of shall in the
Generally the auxiliaries are correctly used with the second and
third persons. The following case, however, needs attention.
Shall you go to New York ? I shall.
Shall is used here with the second person, apparently contrary
to the general usage, but in an interrogation the auxiliary is re-
quired by careful usage that is expected in the answer. Will
here would mean, Are you wil
The Compound Tenses
(v) In addition to the three present and three past tenses
(simple, progressive, and emphatic), and the eight futures (future,
indirect future, modal future, indirect modal future, and the
88 SENTENCES (SEC. 60
four progressive forms), there are compound tenses, correspond-
ing to each of the above except the emphatics, made up of the
participle of the verb (present participle for the progressive
tenses and past participle for all others) and the appropriate
tense of the verb to have used as an auxiliary.
I have said
I am saying
I have been saying
I do say
I had said
I was saying
I had been saying
I did say
I shall say
I shall have said
I shall be saying
I shall have been say-
I should say
I should have said
Progressive indirect future,
I should be saying
I should have been say-
I will say
I will have said
Progressive modal future,
I will be saying
I will have been saying
Indirect modal future,
I would say
I would have said
Progressive indirect modal
I would be saying
I would have been say-
The chief distinction in meaning between the compound and
the simple tenses is that while the simple tenses represent the
action as present, past, or future at the time when the verb is
spoken or written, the compound tenses represent the action
as past (completed or perfected) at the time (present, past, or
future) expressed by the auxiliary. / have said indicates that
the saying is past at the moment (present), expressed by have.
I had said indicates that the saying was past at the moment
(past) expressed by had. I shall have said indicates that the
saying will be past at the moment (future) expressed by shall hhve.
(w) The compound of the present is used to express two some-
what different ideas:
(1) To express an action begun in the past and recently
I have finished reading the book I began when you were here.
SEC. 60) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 89
This idea of recentness is often strengthened by the addition of
the word just.
I have just finished it. French: Je viens de le finir.
(2) To express a past act, not in relation to things in the
past, but as it affects the present.
I have been in Europe. (I am now conscious of and affected by
that past experience.)
(x) The compound of the past is used only when some other
past time has already been expressed or implied. It indicates
that the action which it expresses was completed before the
other past time expressed by the other verb.
When you entered the room I had finished reading.
The idea that the act took place in the immediate past is
often strengthened by some such adverb as just or already.
When you entered I had just finished reading.
(y) The compound of the future indicates that some act not yet
in the past will be in the past at some future time expressed or
implied in the sentence.
I shall have finished that piece of work before you get back.
The compound of the future is not frequently used, because
the simple future expresses practically the same idea, when the
moment in the future is sufficiently indicated by the rest of
I shall finish that piece of work before you get back.
(z) Dating action. It is to be noted that none of these tenses
"date" the action; they simply place it on the line we call
present, or push it indefinitely into the past or the future from
the point from which we are viewing the act, whether that
point is present, past, or future. To date more definitely, we
must use an adverb.
I had read the book yesterday morning.
The Declaration was signed July 4, 1776.
61. Verb Paradigms: to be, to have, and to do. Only the
simple tenses are given here. For the formation of the other
tenses see section 64.
Infinitive: to be
Present participle: being
Past participle: been
you are (thou art)
you (ye) are
you have (thou hast)
he has (he hath)
you (ye) have
you do (thou dost,
he does (he doth doeth)
you (ye) do
you were (thou wast)
you (ye) were
you had (thou hadst)
you (ye) had
you did (thou didst,
you (ye) did
be ! (you, thou, ye)
KSr 1 be!
have ! (you, thou, ye)
do! (you, thou, ye)
let him d ,
(if) I ,
(if) you (thou)
(if) he be
(if) you (ye)
(if) he have
(if) he do
(if) I were
(if) you were (thou wert)
(if) you (ye) were
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
62. Verb paradigms: shall, will, may, can, must, ought. The
forms given here are all that exist of these verbs.
you shall (thou shalt)
you (ye) shall
you will (thou wilt)
you (ye) will
you may (thou mayest,
you (ye) may
you should (thou
you (ye) should
you would (thou wouldst)
you (ye) would
you might (thou might-
you (ye) might
you can (thou canst)
you (ye) can
Present and future:
you ought (thou ought-
you (ye) ought
you could (thou couldst)
you (ye) could
Dare and need have forms in the third singular without the s.
63. Meanings of the modal auxiliaries. Each of the modal
auxiliaries, may, might, can, could, must, and ought, has slightly
different shades of meanings, and as the meanings of different
auxiliaries in part overlap it is difficult to explain their use accu-
rately and fully. The main distinctions only will be given here.
92 SENTENCES (SEC. 63
May, in general expresses:
You may take one. (You have permission to.) (cf. can.)
2. Contingency, present or future.
He may be here now.
You may die sooner than you think.
3. Modesty, in asking a question one perhaps has no right to.
How old may you be? (If I may be permitted to ask.)
(This use is considered by many as archaic.)
Might is the past tense of may, but in many of its uses it
does not have the force of a past tense. In general it is
1. As the indirect tense (60s) for may.
He said I might go. (He said, " You may go.")
2. As conditional mode to express a future contingency.
I might accept. (If disposed, if urged, etc.)
3. To express contingency, past, present, or future, of less
probable character than is expressed by may.
He might have been here.
It might be true.
You might be killed if you went there.
4. To express modesty even more strongly marked than
that expressed by may.
Ho-w old might you be?
(Hardly in standard use now.)
Can in general expresses: -
1. Possibility, especially physical, present or future.
I can see the house from here. To be carefully distinguished from
may in such cases as May I go? where can is frequently incor-
rectly used. (Can should be used whenever a part of the verb
to be able may be substituted. Thus: / am able to see the house.)
2. With negative, refusal of permission.
No, you cannot go. (May is the more logical form here, but can
is commonly accepted as correct because may, suggesting con-
tingency, seems weak, and the refusal may suggest even physical
SEC. 63) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 93
Could in general expresses:
1. Possibility, in the past.
I could not do it yesterday.
2. The indirect tense (60s) for can.
He said he could not. (He said, "I cannot.")
3. Present or future conditional of the verb of possibility.
I could do it (if I wished.)
Could I find you to-morrow?
Must in general expresses:
1. Physical necessity.
We must eat to live.
2. Moral necessity.
We must obey the laws.
3. Authority of the speaker.
You must obey my orders.
You must not leave the room.
Ought expresses duty:
He ought not to find fault. (Ought was originally the past tense
of to owe, and it has not yet become an auxiliary sufficiently to
be used with infinitives without to, but it has come to be used
as a present tense with a special sense, just as could and might
have. Its place in the formation of the verb to owe has been
taken by the regular past, owed.)
64. Paradigm of a Regular Verb, Complete.
to be liking
to have liked
to be liked
to have been
having been liked
you like (thou likest)
he likes (he liketh)
you (ye) like
I have liked
I am liked
I have been liked
I am liking
present participle and
present of to be
I have been liking
I am being liked
I do like
infinitive without to
and present of to do
you liked (thou liked)
you (ye) liked
I had liked
I was liked
I had been liked
I was liking
present participle and
past of to be
I had been liking
I was being liked
I did like
infinitive without to
and past of to do
VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS
I shall like
you will like, etc.
infinitive without to
and shall in first and
will in second and third
I shall have liked
you will have liked
I shall be liked
you will be liked
I shall have been
you will have
I will like
you shall like
infinitive without to and
will in first and shall
in second and third
I will be liked
you shall be liked
I should like
you would like
infinitive without to and
should for shall and
would for will of the
I should have liked
you would have
I should be liked
you would be
I should have
you would have
I would like
you should like
infinitive without to and
should for shall and
would for will of direct
I will be liked
you shall be
I shall be liking
you will be liking
present participle and
future of to be
I shall have been
you will have been
I will be liking
you shall be liking
present participle and
modal future of to be
I will have been
you shall have
I should be saying
you would be saying
present participle and
indirect future of to be
I should have been
you would have
I would be saying
you should be saying
.present participle and
indirect future of to be
I should like
you would like
infinitive without to and
should in first and
would in second and
I should have liked
you would have
I should be liked
you would be
I should have
you would have
like! (you, thou, ye)
let us like!
let me be
let him be liked!
let us be
let them be
Same as indicative ex-
(if) he like
for third, singular
(if) he have liked
(if) I be liked
(if) he have
(if) I be liking
present participle and
present subjunctive of to
Same as indicative
I may, can, must like
I might, could, should
(in sense of ought) like
infinitive without to and
proper auxiliary form
I may have liked
I may be liked
I may have been
SEC. 65) VARIATIONS IN FORM OF WORDS 97
65. Formation of all the parts of any verb from the infinitive.
An examination of the paradigm given in section 64 will show
that most of the tenses and modes of the English verb are made
by the 'use of auxiliaries, and in the two simple tenses there
are many duplicate forms; in fact there are but three forms
different from the infinitive :
liking, the present participle,
liked, the past participle and the past tense,
likes, the third .person singular number of the present indica-
Formation of regular weak verbs. The present participle is
always the same as the infinitive with -ing added, dropping the
final e of the infinitive if there is any (120) and doubling the final
consonant when necessary (121) . The past participle and past
tense form is always the same as the infinitive with -ed added
(or -d or -t, according to the character of the preceding letters) .
The third person singular present indicative is always the same
as the infinitive with the addition of s (or es if the infinitive
ends in s, z, x, sh, or ch, as in reach (51)).
Formation of regular strong verbs. Regular strong verbs
form the present participle and the third singular present indic-
ative in the same way as regular weak verbs ; on the other hand,
they have separate forms for the past participle and the past
tense. The past tense has no ending, but usually has a differ-
ent vowel from that of the infinitive.
Infinitive Past tense
to write wrote
The past participle sometimes has no ending and sometimes
ends in -en. The vowel is sometimes the same as that of the
infinitive, sometimes the same as that of the past tense, and
sometimes different from both.
Infinitive Past tense Past participle
lead led led
speak spoke spoken
run ran run
sing sang sung
98 SENTENCES (SEC. 65
Some strong verbs have two forms for the past tense or for
the past participle or for both.
Formation of irregular verbs. The irregularities in both
weak and strong verbs, aside from the auxiliaries which have
been given in sections 61 and 62, all appear in the past tense
and the past participle, consequently the infinitive, the past
tense, and the past participle are called the principal parts,
because from them all others may be formed. The correct
principal parts of all verbs are given in any standard dictionary.
Special attention should be paid to:
lay laid laid
lie lay lain
lose lost lost
loose loosed loosed
set set set
sit sat sat
DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS
(For Topical Synopsis see page xvi.)
66. THE form which a word has in a given sentence is deter-
mined in part by the idea which the framer of the sentence
desires to express, in part by the relation of the word to the
other words in the sentence.
She has been told.
In this sentence the subject, she, is third person, singular
number, feminine gender, because the idea to be expressed calls
for that form of the personal pronoun; but it is subject case
instead of object case, because it is subject of the verb. In
the same way the verb, has been told, is passive voice, indicative
mode, present compound tense, because that form expresses
the fact to be predicated of the subject; but it is third person,
singular number, because it is predicate of a subject which is
third person, singular number. In this chapter the different
ways in which the forms of words are determined by their rela-
tionships to other words will be considered.
67. The subject of a finite verb is in the subject case if it is
a personal, relative, or interrogative pronoun; in the common
case if it is any other substantive.
The report says he was killed.
No difficulty arises in choosing the correct form for the sub-
ject except in a few somewhat obscure cases.
1. Who did they find was guilty?
2. You may leave it to whoever goes.
3. He is taller than /.
100 SENTENCES (SEC. 69
In sentences like 1, the subject of one verb (here who, subject
of was) may be misinterpreted as the object of another verb (here
did find). In sentences like 2, who or whoever takes the place
of an antecedent (demonstrative, collective, or partitive) and a
relative (in this case whoever = that one who or any one who).
The antecedent would be in the common case (50) and the rela-
tive in the subject case, but when one word serves both purposes
it is considered as subject of the following verb. Confusion as
to the habit of the language sometimes treats the who or whoever
as if it were considered the object of the preposition. In
sentences such as 3, the substantive following than (or as in
expressions like as tall as) is subject of a verb that is omitted
not object of than (or as) used as a preposition.
68. The subject of an infinitive (38) is in the object case if it
is a personal, interrogative, or relative pronoun; in the common
case if it is any other substantive.
They permitted him to go.
The only occasion when there is difficulty in choosing the
correct form for the subject of an infinitive is when a pronoun
subject of the infinitive is modified by a relative clause intro-
duced by who, as in the familiar line in which Byron incorrectly
uses the form he as subject of the infinitive (without to), answer,
in the infinitive clause (38) after let.
" Let he who made thee answer this."
69. The verb agrees with its subject in person and number.
Failures to make the verb agree with its subject in person are
mostly the result of gross ignorance or of carelessness. Con-
fusion would possibly arise when the verb has two subjects of
different person, were it not for the fact that such a compound
subject generally calls for a plural verb, and in the plural there
is no difference in form to express person.
He and I are old friends.
SEC. 69) DETERMINATION OF THE FO^S OF -WOWS 101
When there are two singular subjects of different persons
connected by or, and therefore calling for a singular verb, the
verb is sometimes made to agree with the nearer subject, but it
is better to express two verbs.
Either he or I am going.
Either he is going or I am (going).
There is a possibility of confusion as to person when the sub-
ject of the verb is a pronoun which does not express person by
its form, but stands for an antecedent of the first or second per-
son. In such cases the verb agrees witfi the person of its subject,
as shown by its antecedent.
I who am speaking witnessed the deed.
The auxiliaries for the various future forms should be chosen
according to the person of the subject (60).
The agreement of the verb with its subject in number intro-
duces various difficulties for those who have not been carefully
(a) In conversation many, even of those who know better,
say you w.as, perhaps because the you is so frequently singular.
This you was often carries with it we was, but seldom if ever
(b) Compound subjects, made up with and, expressed or
implied, except when modified by a collective or partitive adjec-
tive (446) , call for the verb in the plural, whatever the number
of the separate parts of the subject; but a subject compounded
of singular substantives connected by or or nor call for a verb in
Oxygen and hydrogen form water.
Each man and woman was given a ticket.
Neither oxygen nor hydrogen is present.
Sometimes a compound subject connected by and, but
meaning strictly one thing, is given a singular verb; but if
102 SENTENCES (Sec. 69
strictly one thing is meant it is often better to choose the most
effective single word for the subject and use no other.
The secretary and treasurer is under bonds.
My end and aim is to justify my course.
My aim is to justify my course.
(c) A substantive which represents persons or things which
may logically be considered as a part of the subject may be
used as a part of a compound subject or as a modifier of the
subject; but the verb must agree with the grammatical subject.
The fireman with two men from the next house is making the rescue.
The fireman and two men from the next house are making the rescue.
The fireman as well as two men from the next house is making the
(d) When a subject of one number is followed by a modifier
of the other number, the verb should not be " attracted " into
agreement with the modifier, but should agree with its gram-
The reason for these conclusions is clear.
So many kinds of dessert .are unnecessary.
(e) When the subject is of one number and there is a conv
plement of the other number, the verb should agree in number
with its subject.
Concrete and steel are ALL that is used.
The special feature of this engine is the CYLINDERS.
(/) A verb introduced by the adverb there agrees with its
subject, which follows.
There are an adjective and an adverb from the same stem.
In the equivalent expressions in German and the Romance
languages, the verb is invariably in the singular.
Es giebt viele, die sagen.
II y a beaucoup de personnes qui disent.
Hay muchos que dicen.
(g) When the subject is a collective or partitive pronoun, the
SEC. 70) DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS 103
verb is singular or plural according to the meaning of the
Each of the children was in his seat.
All of the children were in their seats.
(h) When the subject is a collective noun, the verb is singular
or plural according as the idea is predicated of the collection as
a whole or of the individuals in the collection.
Is your family still in town?
How are your family ?
70. The predicate nominative is subject case after a finite
verb and object case after an infinitive, if it is a pronoun; it is
common case after both finite verb and infinitive, if it is a noun.
It is /.
Let it be him then (him predicate nominative after (to) be (59)).
Let him be the leader.
In certain cases to be following a verb expressing a state of
being is not a part of an infinitive phrase or clause (in which
case it would govern a predicate nominative in the object case),
but is a part of a verb-expression (31), and consequently governs
a predicate nominative in the subject case.
It seems to be she.
It | seems-to-be | she.
The Romance languages use the emphatic, or disjunctive, per-
sonal pronouns as predicate nominative and as subject when no
verb is expressed.
Qui vient? Moi.
These forms come from the Latin object (accusative) case.
Colloquial English finds it natural to use the object forms in
the same way.
Who is there? Me.
But this use is not sanctioned in standard English.
104 SENTENCES (SEC. 72
71. The object (direct, indirect, or resultant) of a verb and
the object of a preposition are in the object case, if a personal,
interrogative, or relative pronoun, or in the common case if a
They stationed him by the door.
I gave her the letter.
They lent it to me.
Lincoln at once sent Grant the report.
His neighbors call him captain.
The interrogative pronoun, which must stand at the begin-
ning of the sentence and therefore removed from the word
which governs it when it is the object of a verb or of a prepo-
sition, is commonly treated as if it had only a common case.
The object form should be used when it is the object of a verb or
of a preposition.
Whom did you invite?
Whom did you write to?
AGREEMENT OF A PRONOUN
72. A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in person, gender,
and number, and expresses that agreement in as far as it has
the appropriate forms.
Mrs. Clark has not read hers yet.
When there are two antecedents of different genders a pronoun
should be used to agree with each, or the sentence should be
Every boy and girl may keep his or her books.
Every child may keep his books.
A pronoun which stands for an antecedent which is of common
gender should be masculine.
Has anyone lost his gloves?
There is very little difficulty in choosing the correct form for the
pronoun in English, but in the Romance languages and in German,
the agreement of the possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives is
complicated by the fact that they agree not only in person, gender, and
SEC. 72) DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS 105
number with the antecedent (which stands for the possessor), but also
in gender and number with the noun (expressed or implied) which
stands for the thing possessed.
J'ai perdu mon livre, mais Charlotte m'a promis le sien.
Sien is third person (feminine gender, not indicated by the form),
singular number, to agree with its antecedent Charlotte, and it is also
masculine gender, singular number, to agree with livre (understood),
the name of the object possessed. The double agreement is the same
Ich habe mein Buch verloren, aber Charlotte hat mir ihres ver-
The only case in English where the pronoun or adjective
varies to agree with the noun it modifies is that of the demon-
stratives. Sometimes the demonstrative is incorrectly made to
agree with a modifier of the noun it modifies.
I do not like this (not these) sort of books.
When the antecedent of a pronoun (or of a possessive adjec-
tive) is a collective or partitive pronoun, care should be taken
to make the agreement in number exact.
All of the children took their books home.
Every one of the children took his books home.
If any one will volunteer, he may try it.
A pronoun "requiring an antecedent should not be used unless
an antecedent is expressed. The difficulty arises commonly with
it and with the relative which.
In the Bible it says, " Judge not."
He admitted prices had risen, which he said was due to other causes
than the tariff.
Such sentences should be recast:
The Bible says, " Judge not."
He admitted that there had been a rise in prices, which he said
was due to other causes than the tariff.
Care should be taken in the use of pronouns when two or
more nouns of the same person, number, and gender are in
the immediate context.
He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him:
let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
106 SENTENCES (SEC. 72
If the pronoun one (which is formal and somewhat bookish)
is used in one part of a sentence, it should not be referred to
by the more colloquial pronouns he, they, you, or we, but by a
repetition of one.
It is different when one is talking to one's children.
The change from the formal to the colloquial pronoun, even in
a single sentence is justified by some as a means of avoiding
One should always put himself in the reader's place.
But one is so distinctly formal that where it cannot well be
used throughout the sentence, it had better not be used at all.
Generally there are many other ways of expressing the idea so
that the piling up of the word one may be avoided. If the
framer of the above sentence is including himself with those
he is addressing, he may say:
It is different when we are talking to our children.
If he is addressing others only, he may say:
It is different when you are talking to your children.
If he wishes to give the sentence a more impersonal turn, he
may say with a little simplification:
It is different in talking to one's children.
When the agent is omitted in the passive (29) , as in Ice is melted,
attention is directed to the action; the actor is ignored. If it is
made the subject, as in It is said, attention is centered entirely
on the action. This is the nearest idiomatic equivalent in English
of the expressions in French with on and in German with man.
On dit. Man sagt.
Excessive use of one in translating French on or German man,
which gives rise to awkward and unidiomatic English, should be
carefully avoided. Indeed in any but formal discourse or com-
position, the passive voice (29) or a carefully chosen construc-
tion with a personal pronoun is preferable to the use of one.
SEC. 74) DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS 107
A SUBSTANTIVE IN Apposition
73. A substantive in apposition should be in the same case
as the noun it modifies. No difficulties arise in choosing the
right form for the appositive, except in a few cases where the
word in apposition is a pronoun.
I met Mrs. Elliott, her who was Miss Lane.
Such expressions generally may and should be avoided.
I met Mrs. Elliott, formerly Miss Lane.
I met Mrs. Elliott, the one who was Miss Lane.
ADJECTIVES OR ADVERBS
74. The modifier of a substantive is an adjective; the modi-
fier of a verb, adjective, or adverb is an adverb. In Anglo-
Saxon, adverbs were freely made from adjectives by adding a
final e, and these adverb forms were distinguished in the time
Wei coude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde.
When the final e ceased to be pronounced, certain adjectives
without change of form might also be used as adverbs, just as
the adjective without inflectional ending is used in German as
an adverb. By false analogy many adjectives in English which
had never formed adverbs by adding e came to be used as ad-
verbs. Shakspere does not hesitate to say:
Equal ravenous as he is subtle.
Which the false man does easy.
In modern English there are some adverbs which have the
same form as the adjectives.
That is a fast car.
The car was moving fast.
Other adjectives are used colloquially as adverbs.
Go slow !
When there are two forms, adjective and adverb, the correct
one should be used.
108 SENTENCES (SEC. 75
Adjectives are freely compounded with other adjectives in
-ed, where an adverb might be expected.
These adjectives in -ed are derived from nouns, the -ed signi-
fying provided with, so that the adjective may be conceived as
compounding with the noun before the -ed is added; that is to
say, keen-witted is equal to provided with a keen wit. In a
similar way compounds, of a somewhat colloquial nature, are
formed of adjectives and present participles.
That is a slow-going horse.
Well-looking is used in England, good-looking in America.
Certain verbs may be followed, with somewhat different
sense, by either adjective or adverb. In such cases care should be
used to select the word strictly intended.
He looks sad (like a sad man).
He looks sadly at the ruins (in a sad manner).
He feels bad (wicked).
~^* He feels badly (in poor health).
Well and ill are correctly usecLas adjectives after to be; nicely
and poorly should riot be.
I was ill yesterday, but I am well again now.
COORDINATE SENTENCE ELEMENTS
75. Coordinate sentence elements of any sort, whether
joined by a conjunction or not, should be of the same or equiv-
alent grammatical construction and form and of similar logical
He told me of some whom I had known but did not remember their
They had traveled in many countries, some for a short time, while
in others they had lived more than a year.
He will either send for me or will inquire of you.
The number of foreigners is greater than the negroes.
When the choice is announced you will find it will be-you and me.
I say this between you and I.
It seems to me it would be better to take time than trying to crib
SEC. 77) DETERMINATION OF THE FORMS OF WORDS 109
Such expressions should be properly coordinated:
He told me of some whom I had known but whose names I did not
They had traveled in many countries: in some they had stayed for a
short time, in others they had lived for more than a year.
He will either send for me or inquire of you.
The number of foreigners is greater than that of the negroes.
When the choice is announced you will find it will be you and I.
I say this between you and me.
It seems to me it would be better to take time than to crib a story.
76. In comparison, the two terms actually to be compared
should be stated accurately.
Jumbo was bigger than any other elephant (not, than any
He is as tall as any man in the class (or, as any other man).
He is the tallest of all the men (not, of any man).
Bolivar was the greatest of all South American leaders (not, of all
other South American leaders}.
77. In indirect quotations (that is, quotations which give the
words of another than the speaker but in a dependent clause
introduced by that expressed or understood), certain forms have
to be in agreement with forms in the main part of the sentence
in which the indirect quotation appears; this necessitates the use
of some forms which differ from those which would be used if
the quotation were direct. If the verb in the main part of the
sentence is in a past tense, all verbs which in the direct form of
quotation would be present are changed to the corresponding
past tense, all verbs which would be future in the direct quota-
tion are changed to the indirect future (60s), and all modal
auxiliaries are changed to the indirect forms (63).
He said, " I promise to go and will address the audience.'*
He said (that) he promised to go and would address the audience.
1 10 SENTENCES (SEC. 77
(For may changed to might, see below.)
French makes a similar change for indirect tenses.
German retains the tense of the direct quotation where there
is a special subjunctive form.
Er sagte, dass sein Freund in Europa sei.
Pronouns are changed in person, when necessary, to express,
from the point of view of the framer of the indirect quotation,
the same individuals as the speaker quoted from referred to.
A says to B, " You may come."
B says to C, " A said / might come."
C says to D, " A told B that he might come.
ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS IN
(For Topical Synopsis, see page xvii)
78. SINCE some of the most serious difficulties of expression
in language are due to the fact that the ideas, about which our
attention plays with such freedom as we think of them, must
be presented in words which can follow one another only in
a single line (3), it is evident that the order and grouping of
words are matters of great importance.
79. Some words, as we have already seen, must be placed in
certain positions in relation to other words in the sentence, in
order to indicate unmistakably the sentence structure. Other
words show their structural relationship by their form.
General Grant was victorious.
Generally Grant was victorious.
The word General must stand immediately before the word
Grant, in order to convey the meaning intended in the first
sentence; but generally, in the second sentence, may be in any
possible position in that sentence without affecting the funda-
mental meaning or the clearness of the sentence. Highly
inflected languages, that is to say, languages in which words
show their relationships.largely by their forms, Latin, for example,
have greater freedom in the matter of order of words than those
which have few inflections, like English. Each language has its
special habits, which largely determine the order of words, but
in those which have few inflections, like English, such order must
be chosen as will, first of all, bring out clearly the fundamental
structure of the sentence.
112 . SENTENCES (SEC. 82
80. Most of the problems of order of words arise in declara-
tive sentences. These will be considered first, then the special
problems of exclamative, optative, and interrogative sentences.
* DECLARATIVE SENTENCES
81. In declarative sentences, the fundamental elements
should be expressed in the following order: (1) subject, (2) verb,
(3) complement, if any. The resultant object, if any, follows
the direct object, and the indirect object, if any, when used
without to, precedes the direct; when used with to, follows the
Dickens was an Englishman.
Calculus is difficult.
The class elected him marshal.
They wrote him a letter.
They wrote a letter to him.
For inverted order, see 82.
82. Modifiers should stand as near as possible to the word
they modify. An adjective regularly stands before its substan-
tive in English, except when the adjective itself is modified by
a phrase (44).
A large class. An unusually large class.
A class larger than usual.
An adjective phrase or an adjective clause regularly stands
immediately after its substantive.
A man of reputation.
A man who has won a reputation.
An adverb regularly stands before the word it modifies if
that word is an adjective or an adverb, or after the word it
modifies if that word is a verb.
An exceptionally fine opportunity.
I went immediately after.
If the verb is in a compound tense, the adverb stands between
the auxiliary and the past participle.
He has never written.
SEC. 82) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 113
An adverb phrase or clause follows the full verb form.
They have sailed from Boston and will send a letter as soon as they
reach the Azores.
Modifiers of verbs may stand in other positions than those
Three cases should be specially noted.
(1) An adverb may be placed at the beginning of the sentence.
Some adverbs, such as hardly, no sooner, in this position require
and other adverbs (and in certain cases predicate adjectives, past
participles, and a few other expressions) permit the subject to be
placed after the verb (or auxiliary) forming what is called the
Hardly had I entered.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
" That", said he, "is the Dean".
(2) If the adverb modifies a transitive verb, it should not be
placed between the verb and the object.
He raised his hand at once. Not: He raised at once his hand.
Other languages prefer to place the adverb between the verb
and the object.
Er hob sofort die Hand.
For this reason care should be used to avoid this order, as
one of the crudities of " translation English. "
If the object of the verb is modified by a phrase or clause,
the adverb regularly stands before the verb in English.
He at once erased the word which had caused the laughter*
(3) An adverb which modifies an infinitive should not stand
between the to and the rest of the infinitive.
I will promise never to do that. Not: I will promise to never do that.
Split infinitives are not in good use except in poetry, but the
habit of using them in prose is common and seems to be growing.
There is this much that can be said in support of the tendency :
114 SENTENCES (SBC. 83
an adverb which becomes compounded with a verb inevitably
stands between the to and the verb form, and since many ad-
verbs, both simple and compound, become compounded with
verbs in nieaning without that fact's being clearly recognized in
writing (31), it is difficult, in some cases, to decide exactly
what may be considered as a part of the verb and what must
be treated as a separate adverb. In other words, English has
not differentiated separable and inseparable prefixes so exactly
as German has.
To do, to undo, to overdo.
Compare: to overdraw to do over,
to half (?) do, to do fully.
The difficulty arises only in cases such as to half do, which are
not recognized as compounds, yet which cannot be expressed
otherwise than by splitting the infinitive, without at least a
slight loss of meaning. To do by halves, for example, would
certainly seem to lose a shade of the exact meaning of to half
do. When the adverb is logically compounded with the verb,
the reasonable course is to treat it as an inseparable compound,
however it may happen to be spelled. In other cases it is
better to split the infinitive than to put the words together in
an order which is distinctly awkward; but a careful considera-
tion of the possibilities will almost always reveal a better place
for the adverb than that between the to and the rest of the
83. In general the Romance languages and German follow the same
habits as English in the order of words, but in certain important ways
each language has habits peculiar to itself. In French, for example,
the main difference arises from the fact that there are more words
which must be " joined " to the verb and are therefore called " conjunc-
tive " words. These cannot be separated from the verb except by
other conjunctive words, and when there are two or more of them
connected with a single verb, they must stand in a fixed order. Ger-
man differs from English in the order of words in a declarative sentence
chiefly in three ways: (a) It makes fewer exceptions than English to
the general rule that the personal part of the verb should be the second
element in the sentence; (6) It regularly places the non-personal parts
of the compound verb forms at the end of the sentence; (c) In depend-
ent clauses it places the personal part of the verb at the end.
SEC. 85) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 115
EXCLAMATIVE, IMPERATIVE, OPTATIVE, AND INTERROGATIVE
84. In exclamative, imperative, and optative sentences the
order in English is practically the same as in declarative sen-
tences, except that there is no subject expressed. In archaic
forms the subject is expressed and follows the verb.
Send me word at once.
Go thou and do likewise.
85. In interrogative sentences in English, the position of the
subject and the verb is slightly different from that in declara-
(a) If the subject is an interrogative pronoun or a noun
modified by an interrogative adjective, the order is the same as
in a declarative sentence.
Who goes there?
Which men were chosen?
(b) If there is an interrogative word other than a pronoun
subject or an adjective modifier of the subject, the interrogative
word comes first, then the personal part of the verb, then the
Why have you waited for him?
(c) If there is no interrogative word in the sentence, the
interrogation may be indicated by placing the subject directly
after the personal part of the verb (inverted order (82)), or (in
case the verb may be used with the auxiliary do (60/)) by placing
do before the subject and the infinitive after the subject.
Have you ever been abroad?
Do you care to travel?
The use of do in indicating an interrogation is something like
the use in French of est-ce que.
I speak. Do I speak?
Je parle. Est-ce que je parle?
116 SENTENCES (SEC. 86
86. Possibilities of variation of order. These general rules,
if invariably followed, would make it impossible to avoid
monotony of style and would cripple the opportunities of ex-
pressing many shades of meaning. Variation, within certain
broad limits, is possible, however, especially in the position of
the modifiers of the predicate, and should be taken advantage
of for the purpose of avoiding monotony, of giving emphasis to
the desired part of the sentence, and of avoiding unpleasant
combinations of words and sounds. These matters will be con-
sidered in Chapter VIII. Here it should be noted, however,
that clearness is the primary requisite. If other qualities are
desired, they should be attained in some way that will leave the
meaning of the sentence clear. Placing a modifier out of its
normal position may make the meaning ambiguous, or it may
present the idea inexactly. A few cases need attention by the
way of examples.
In an essay, D'Israeli uses this sentence:
Hence he considered marriage with a modern political economist
as very dangerous.
The meaning would have been clear had he said:
Hence, with a modern economist, he considered marriage very
The following sentence from Dr. Johnson is certainly obscure:
This work in its full extent, being now afflicted with the asthma, and
finding the power of life gradually declining, he had no longer
courage to undertake.
To emphasize This work in its full extent, as Johnson wishes,
this sentence would need to be recast, but clearness at least is
gained by a very slight change of order:
Being now afflicted with the asthma, and finding the power of life
gradually declining, he had no longer courage to undertake this
work to its full extent.
Such words as only, merely, just, almost, even, hardly, scarcely,
nearly, should be placed immediately before or after the word
SEC. 88) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 117
they modify, or the meaning is not exactly expressed. In
speaking, the inflection of voice or the pause makes the mean-
ing clear, even if one of these words is not placed exactly where
it belongs; but in writing, where the eye alone is addressed
wrong order may give an inexact idea. A variety of meanings
may be given a single sentence simply by changing the position
of such a word as only.
Only I asked him that. (I alone asked him that.)
I, only, asked him that. (I alone asked him that.)
I only asked him that. (I did no more than ask him that.)
I asked only him that. (I asked none but him that.)
I asked him, only, that. (I asked none but him that.)
I asked him only that. (I asked him nothing but that.)
I asked him that only. (I asked him nothing but that.)
GROUPING OF WORDS
87. If sentences were made up entirely of separate and
coordinate words, there would be no question, in placing these
words together, but that of order; but since words often
enter the sentence in groups (phrases, clauses, and series
of equal and of unequal parts), there is need of some means
of indicating the grouping of words. In speaking, this is done
by pauses and inflections. In writing, these means are not
available, and their place is in a way supplied by marks of
88. In the oldest inscriptions and manuscripts, the letters
were written continuously, without punctuation, and even
without spacing to indicate the division into paragraphs or
words. Gradually the use of spaces, marks, and capital letters
was adopted, till about the beginning of the sixteenth century
Manutius of Venice introduced the system of printing still
generally employed in the different European countries.
In modern times two theories as to the purpose of punctua-
tion marks have been advanced. According to one, marks
should serve to indicate rhetorical pauses of different lengths;
according to the other, they should indicate grammatical con-
118 SENTENCES (SEC. 89
struction. To a certain extent each theory may be supported
by facts, but generally the pauses made in reading where there
are punctuation marks are really for the purpose of making
clear the construction, and in many cases no pause is made
where there should be a mark and pauses should be made where
there are no marks. Marks should be used in certain cases
simply because usage so demands; but most marks are addressed
to the eye of the reader and should serve as a help to him
in getting the construction, and therefore the meaning, more
readily than he would without them. Any one who has at-
tempted to read aloud a letter in which punctuation marks are
but crudely used knows how much trouble is thereby entailed
upon the reader.
89. Before taking up the uses of the different marks, three
fundamental points should be carefully considered.
(a) Punctuation marks may, and generally do, at one and the
same time connect and separate. The words between two
successive marks are in an inclosure, so to speak, by themselves,
while the words on each side of a mark are more or less sepa-
rated by that mark.
No doubt a pronoun, like any other word, may often be repeated
In this sentence pronoun and like are separated by a comma,
as also are word and may; at the same time the phrase like any
other word is made a more compact group of words by itself
through the use of the marks. It is important to remember
this twofold action of punctuation marks, for ineffective use
of marks is often due to ignoring either the separating or the
(b) There are two general systems of punctuation: one,
known as the "close " system, uses many marks; the other,
known as the "open " system, uses fewer. In any complicated
sentence, occasion may be found for the use of many marks;
a large number, however, is not only confusing, but it lessens
the effect of the individual mark.
SEC. 90) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 1 19
I beg you to give close attention to these authorities, which, though
not recent, are important, pertinent to the case in hand, and,
therefore, not to be slurred, neglected, or sneered at.
I beg you to give close attention to these authorities, which though
not recent are important, pertinent to the case in hand, and there-
fore not to be slurred, neglected, or sneered at.
Rules given in treatises on punctuation, especially the older
treatises, favor close punctuation, but the tendency of the past
quarter of a century has been toward the use of fewer marks.
(c) An examination of the different marks will show that
they fall rather definitely into three groups. Those in the first
group are used in ways generally fixed by custom, so that we may
say dogmatically in most cases that one of these marks must
or must not be used under the given circumstances. This
group includes the period (.), the interrogation point (?), the
exclamation point (!), the apostrophe ('), the hyphen (-), the
quotation marks (" " or ' '), and the single dash ( ). Those of
the second group are used differently by different writers.
Each writer has a certain amount of liberty to decide for him-
self whether he will use one of these marks, or not, in a given
case, provided he does not introduce inconsistencies which con-
fuse the reader. This group includes the comma (,), the semi-
colon (;), the colon (:), the curved marks of parenthesis ( ),
the pair of dashes ( ), and the pair of brackets [ ]. Those
of the third group are not punctuation marks, but are often
classed with such; they are used to indicate pronunciation, or
to give the reader some special direction. There are many
marks which might be included in this group, but the follow-
ing only will be considered here: the ditto marks ("), the caret
(~), the accent marks (' * *), marks of quantity (- w ), the
dieresis (), the cedilla (*), and the tilde (~).
MARKS OF GENERALLY FIXED USAGE
90. The sentence marks. Every sentence, and every group
of words set apart as if it formed a grammatical sentence,
should have at the end a period, an interrogation point, or an
120 SENTENCES (SEC. 92
exclamation point. Titles are such sentence-like groups, and
formerly always had a period at the end; but at present no
mark, except a period to indicate an abbreviation, is used after
titles printed on a title-page, after the " running titles " printed
at the top of each page, or as full stops on signs, posters, or
tickets. By many the same rule is applied to the addresses of
The period is used at the end of a declarative sentence, pro-
vided the sentence is to be interpreted as a simple statement.
The interrogation point is used to mark a direct question. The
exclamation point is used after an exclamative, imperative, or
optative sentence, and after a declarative sentence which is
to be interpreted as an expression of strong feeling. These dis-
tinctions may be (a) a matter of sentence structure, or (6) a
matter of meaning of the sentence, indicated in speaking by
the tone of the voice, in writing by the punctuation mark.
(a) The vacation is fourteen weeks long.
What mean'st thou by that?
O God! that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to steal
away their brains!
Would that I had finished!
(b) The President declined the invitation.
The President declined the invitation?
The President declined the invitation !
91. The period is used also (a) to mark an abbreviated word
(except where an apostrophe is used); (b) to separate a whole
number from a decimal (and consequently, dollars from cents);
(c) after Roman numerals except in chapter headings, etc., and
after Arabic numerals when they are used to number paragraphs
(a) N. B. Sup't
(b) 3.14159+ $73.25
(c) Ps. XIX. 3.
92. Other uses of interrogation points. Many writers never
use interrogation points except at the end of sentences. Even
a closely knit series of questions they would write as separate
SEC. 93) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 121
sentences. The more common usage is to make a single sentence
of such a series, in which case an interrogation point is placed
sometimes at the end only, sometimes after each question.
What is civilization? Where is it? What does it consist in? By
what is it included? etc. John Wilson: A Treatise on English
What is civilization? where is it? what does it consist in? by what is
it included? etc. M. T. Bigelow: Punctuation.
Ah! whither now are fled those dreams of greatness? those busy,
bustling days; those gay-spent, festive nights; those veering
thoughts, lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your
flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?
93. The exclamation point is often used after an interjec-
tion. When there is an interjection in an exclamative sen-
tence, it is generally better usage to put an exclamation after
the interjection or at the end of the sentence, in the one place
where it is more effective, rather than in both places.
Oh! my offense is rank, it smells to heaven.
All hail, ye patriots brave!
Oh! you are wounded, my lord!
The exclamation point should not be repeated with a series
of words used to indicate a repeated sound.
Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, in the name of Beelzebub?
Exclamation points should be used when it is the intention
to express real emotion, but too frequent use of these marks is
an indication of " unnatural reveries, rant, and bombast."
It is to be noted that the interjection is correctly spelled oh,
and may have an exclamation mark after it; 0, which is written
as a capital, is the expression which accompanies a vocative, or
opens an optative sentence, and should never have an excla-
mation point after it.
Oh! you are wounded.
O George! come here.
O that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself
into a dew!
122 SENTENCES (SEC. 95
In Spanish, in addition to the ordinary mark at the end of the sentence,
an inverted interrogation point is placed at the beginning of a direct
question, and an inverted exclamation point at the beginning of an
exclamation or interjection.
94. The apostrophe is used (a) to mark the elision of letters,
(6) to mark the elision of the century figures from dates, (c) to
indicate the plural of figures, letters, signs, and sometimes of
words used simply to refer to the word (51), and (d) to
indicate the possessive case (53).
(a) I've, 'midst, it's (for it is),
(b) The class of '14.
(c) Three 9's. Cross your t's. +'s,
You are using too many but's (or buts).
(d) The Jameses' books.
Note that the apostrophe is never used with the possessive
pronouns, with the possessive adjectives, or to form the pos-
sessive of who.
95. The hyphen is used (a) between the two or more parts of
a compound word which usage has not yet made a single word,
(6) between syllables whenever it is desired to indicate syllabic
division (as in a dictionary) , (c) between a prefix and the rest
of a derived word when the prefix ends and the primary word
begins with a vowel (107e) , or when the hyphen will mark the dis-
tinction between the word intended and another similar word,
or will serve to avoid a strange-looking combination of letters.
(c) re-echo, re-creation (recreation), re-write
Combinations of words which originally express somewhat
separate ideas frequently come to stand for a single conception
and thus form what are called compound words. For example,
when we speak of a black berry, we think of (1) a berry (2) which
is black; but when we speak of a blackberry, we are not neces-
sarily conscious of these separate ideas, as we see from the fact
that we do not ordinarily feel any contradiction in the expres-
sion a red blackberry. The hyphen is used to indicate a group
SEC. 95) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 123
of words on the way to becoming a compound word. Often
there is a difference in meaning between a hyphenated word
and the component words written without a hyphen. For
example a green-house is a hot-house, while a green house is a
house painted green. The different stages in the union of words
are indicated in pronunciation by the difference in accent.
rail' fence' rail'-post" railway
Unfortunately, the differences are not always so clearly indi-
cated in writing. Few words can be found which are hy-
phenated by all good authorities, and few books are entirely
consistent in the use of the hyphen for this purpose.*
The general tendency in English seems to be to avoid the
use of the hyphen in making up a compound noun (by writing
the words separately), while German avoids the use of the
hyphen by writing the component parts as a single word; but
English uses the hyphen more frequently in making compound
A would-be or self-styled reformer.
A well-laid-out park.
An I-turn-the-crank-of-the-universe air.
The hyphen should be used in numerals expressing tens and
units, in fractions where the parts are not to be taken sepa-
rately, and to distinguish between a compound adjective and
a compound noun.
two-hour periods, two hour-periods <-'
The hyphen is also used when it is necessary to divide a
word at the end of a line, to indicate that the part at the end
of the first line is not the whole word. In print, where it is
necessary, according to the usual custom, to keep the right-
hand margin straight, such division is frequently necessary.
* For attempts to explain in detail this use of the hyphen, the reader is referred
to the seven pages of fine print in M. T. Bigelow's Punctuation, to the ten pages of
finer print in John Wilson's Treatise on English Punctuation, or to the fifteen pages
in T. L. DeVinne's Correct Composition.
124 SENTENCES (SEC. 96
In writing it seldom is. Such division of a word always puts
an added burden upon the reader, particularly if the hand-
writing is at all obscure, it seldom accomplishes its supposed
object of keeping the right-hand margin straight, and to make
such division correctly necessitates acquaintance with the com-
plicated system of English syllabification.* .
The most satisfactory rule to follow in writing is to divide a
word at the end of the line only when the parts on each line
are whole words.
battle- ship, rail- road, right- hand
Another use of the hyphen has been adopted, with increasing
frequency of late years, from German, and is serviceable in
time- and space-perceptions
Such compounds, in which the common part of a pair of
words is expressed with one only, are frequent in the spoken
language, and by this use of the hyphen are made clear in
writing without recourse to clumsy repetition.
96. Marks of quotation should always be used in writing to
indicate a direct quotation, and in print when the quotation is
not indicated by the use o different type. Indirect quotations
(77) are not inclosed in marks of quotation, except in a few
cases where it is desirable to indicate that the ideas are
another's, though the exact words are not given; and even in
such cases it is clearer to express the indebtedness in words
rather than by the use of marks. In English, when any word
or words not a part of the quotation are made to interrupt the
quotation, that fact is clearly indicated by punctuating each
part of the broken quotation as if it were a complete quotation,
thus cutting out the interrupting words.
" The so-called maxim of identity," he wrote, " is supposed to be
accepted by the consciousness of every one."
* See Bigelow, Wilson, and DeVinne, quoted above, and W, S. Booth, A Practi-
cal Guide for Authors.
SEC. 96) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 125
Romance languages generally do not cut out interrupting
words. Often they mark a quotation simply by putting a
dash at the beginning.
In quoted dialogue, each speech, no matter how short, should
be inclosed in marks of quotation.
" There isn't any, really," said Lady Anstruthers. " The houses
are so far away from each other. The nearest is six miles from
here, and it is one that doesn't count."
11 There is no family, and the man who owns it is so poor. It is
a big place, but it is falling to pieces, as this is."
"What is it called?"
" Mount Dunstan."
When a quotation from a single source is long enough to be
divided into paragraphs, the initial marks of quotation are re-
peated at the beginning of each paragraph, to keep it clear to
the reader that the quotation is continued, but the terminal
quotation marks are not used till the quotation is finished, that
is to say, at the end of the last paragraph.
A direct quotation within a quotation is generally marked
with single marks (' ')
"On the day preceding the lecture Mr. Roosevelt was present, by
the Emperor's invitation, at military maneuvers and a review of twelve
thousand picked German troops, and at the end of the review the Em-
peror, in the presence of his officers, cried out: ' My friend Roosevelt,
I am glad to welcome you, the most distinguished American citizen.
You are the first civilian who has ever reviewed German troops.' "
Marks of quotation were formerly used to indicate the titles
of books, periodicals, articles- in periodicals, and poems, and
the names of vessels; now the usage of publishers differs, but
the name or title, particularly if well known, is frequently un-
marked except by the capitals. Titles of foreign books are
regularly printed in italics (underscored in writing), and quo-
tation marks may be used at all times to emphasize the fact
that the exact title is given, or to avoid ambiguity.
Daudet's Trente ans de Paris.
" A Treatise on English Punctuation." (The exact title.)
" David Copperfield." (The title of the book, not the name of the
126 SENTENCES (SEC. 98
97. The dash is a mark condemned by many because it has
been used in such various and unreasonable ways; but it has
certain important uses :
(a) To indicate a sudden change or breaking off of sentence
Was there ever a bolder captain of a more valiant band ? Was
there ever But I scorn to boast.
(b) To mark an abrupt breaking off of a quotation.
In the words of the Declaration, " When in the course of human
(c) To indicate hesitation of speech.
He was extremely concerned it should happen so; but er it
was necessary er Here Lord Eades stopped him short.
(d) To indicate a name or an oath which it is not desirable to
give in full. This use of the dash is much less common than it
was at one time.
Mr. C was born in the town of J .
(e) To indicate division between speeches in dialogue, in
those special cases where the necessity of economizing space
leads to the including of a number of speeches in a single para-
(/) Between numbers to indicate a series.
The school year 1910-11.
(g) After a colon which is used to introduce a list (106)
which itself calls for complicated punctuation. For example, see
the beginning of this section (97).
MARKS OF VARYING USAGE
98. The second group of marks include the comma, the semi-
colon, the colon, the curved marks of parenthesis, the pair of
dashes, and the brackets. In general they serve to separate
the words which are on each side of a single mark, and at the
SEC. 100) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 127
same time to join together more evidently those words which
stand between one mark and the next; that is to say, their
function is distinctly that of grouping words.
Different writers have different notions both as to the group-
ing of ideas and as to when it is necessary to use marks to indicate
to the reader the grouping of words. For this reason there is a
somewhat wide range of possibilities in the use of these marks.
Rules do not suffice, each writer must use his own judgment;
but a definite basis for this exercise of judgment should be
clearly understood. The object in using these marks is to help
the reader to discover the structure of the sentences and thereby
to catch the ideas expressed with as little hindrance as possi-
ble on the first reading. The writer should know what effects
are produced upon the reader by the presence and by the
absence of a mark in a given place, and then should insert or
omit the mark in that place according to the effect he wishes to
In explaining the use of these marks, the method adopted
here is to suggest places where marks are used in a close system
of punctuation; then, if there is occasion, to suggest where
some of those may be omitted to advantage.
There are three general uses of these marks: first, to indi-
cate the members of a series; second, to indicate parenthetical
expressions; and third, to indicate ellipses.
Marks to Indicate Members of a Series
99. Series are of two sorts: series of unequals, and series of
equals. Members of series of unequals must be indicated by
marks of different values, just as the feet, inches, and frac-
tions of an inch are indicated on a yardstick by marks of differ-
ent length. Members of series of equals are indicated by marks
of the same value, like the milestones along a railroad.
100. In series of unequals, the smallest divisions should be
indicated by commas; the next larger (any of which may include
divisions set off by commas) should be indicated by semi-
128 SENTENCES (SBC. 101
colons; the next larger, if any, should be indicated by the colon.
The largest division of all is, of course, the sentence; which is
marked off by a period, interrogation point, or exclamation
point. Commas generally set off single words, short groups of
words, and phrases; semicolons set off clauses and groups
of words which are subdivided by commas; colons set off
clauses which either introduce or sum up the whole sentence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Death is there associated, not, as in Westminster Abbey and Saint
Paul's, with genius and virtue, with public veneration and with imperish-
able renown; not, as in our humblest churches and churchyards, with
everything that is most endearing in social and domestic charities;
but with whatever is darkest in human nature and in human destiny.
This improvement in quality is effected in two ways: first, by settling
or sedimentation, which removes the suspended matter; and second, by
aeration or contact with the air, whereby oxygen is supplied to decom-
pose and destroy both the suspended and the dissolved organic matter.
The following is a partial list: Chaucer, three volumes, one slightly
damaged; Bacon, one volume; Shakspere, seven volumes.
101. In series of equals, commas or semicolons only are
used. As in the series of unequals, the commas are used to
mark off members of less importance in the structure of the
sentence. They are used more frequently and for a greater
variety of purposes than semicolons.
Semicolons are used chiefly for the following purposes:
(a) To separate short sentences which, because of the close
connection of the ideas, are expressed as one compound sentence.
Stones grow; vegetables grow and live; animals grow, live, and feel.
(6) To separate groups of words which are themselves divided
into smaller parts by commas.
He was courteous, not cringing, to superiors; affable, not familiar,
to equals; and kind, but not condescending or supercilious, to
(c) To separate members of a series, all of which depend in the
same way upon the main part of the sentence, expressed at the
SEC. 101) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 129
beginning or end. For illustrations, see the first, third, and
fourth given in section 100.
Commas are used to separate clauses in a series when semi-
colons are not required, and particularly to separate single
words or phrases which form a series. Many complicated
rules for the use of commas in series may be formulated, but
only the most important cases will be explained here.
(a) Two words (or short groups of words) forming a series
and connected by a conjunction should not be separated by a
comma, except when one of the members has a modifier or a
complement which does not belong to the other also.
One thing or another.
He is entitled to take the annual crops, and wood for fuel.
We had been sitting listening, and watching the whole affair.
A short compound sentence consisting of two coordinate
parts which are connected by a conjunction should not be
separated by a comma, except when the comma is needed to
indicate that the conjunction does not connect the word preced-
ing to the word following. Even in cases where the structure
of the sentence is clear, it may not become clear on first reading
at the point of division, if the comma is not used.
He will be here to-day, and to-morrow he will have to go.
(b) Two words which are coordinate and are not connected
by a conjunction should be separated by a comma.
The world which is outward, material, is the shadow of that which
(c) More than two words (or short groups of words) in a
series with a conjunction repeated are not separated by commas,
except in the rare cases where the writer wishes to emphasize
both the importance of the connectedness of the whole series
and also the importance of the separate members.
For his sake, empires had risen, and flourished, and decayed.
The omission of the commas after risen and flourished would
more emphatically group the ideas now individually emphasized,
130 SENTENCES (SEC. 101
(d) More than two words (or short groups of words) in a
series with a conjunction expressed only once (between the
next to the last and the last of the series) are sometimes sepa-
rated by commas and sometimes not. Usage varies on this point;
but it is well to bear in mind that if the commas are inserted,
the reader's attention is inevitably attracted a little more to the
individual members of the series than as if the commas were not
The largest, most costly, and most beautiful house in town.
The red white and blue.
The habit has grown up within the past few years, largely
under the guidance of newspapers and of preparatory school-
teachers, of omitting the comma, in cases such as those just cited,
before the conjunction, even when it is inserted in the earlier
part of the series.
Husband, wife and children.
Careful publishers have not adopted this idea, and certainly
logic demands the insertion of the comma before the conjunc-
tion if it is used anywhere in the series, because the conjunction
does not connect the last two words but indicates the connected-
ness of the whole series, and because commas, if used at all,
should indicate the number of members in the series. It can-
not be said that the comma here is used to mark ellipsis (and
therefore not needed where the conjunction is used), for that
would be contrary to the custom illustrated in the sentences
given in (c) above, and to many other cases. Furthermore, if
the comma were omitted in this way before the conjunction, it
would be impossible to distinguish by punctuation between the
two cases illustrated by the first two sentences following, or to
make easily readable the third sentence.
A tall, rough, and ugly sort of man.
A tall, rough and ready sort of man.
I invited Mary, Charles and John to come later.
(e) More than two words (or short groups of words) forming
SEC. 102) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 131
a series with no conjunction used are generally separated by
The colleges, the clergy, the lawyers were against me.
(/) It is to be noted (1) that two or more adjectives may
modify a noun and yet not be felt as separable members of a
series, and (2) that of more than two adjectives modifying a
noun, some may form a series and others may express insepa-
(1) The grand old man.
(2) He is an ambitious, successful young man.
He then proceeded to draw on a pair of old, shabby, and very
dirty white kid gloves.
The inseparable character of an adjective may be discovered
generally from the fact that the adjective cannot be joined to
the other words by a conjunction and make sense.
Marks to Indicate Parenthetical Expressions
102. Parenthetical Expressions are single words or groups of
words which interrupt the natural order of words in a sentence.
They should generally be indicated by a mark at the beginning
of the parenthesis and by another of the same kind at the end.
It should be noted that if a mark is placed at one end of a
parenthetical expression, the corresponding one at the other end
should never be omitted. Parenthetical expressions are of two
sorts: those which are commonly called parentheses and which
definitely interrupt the development of the idea of the sentence;
and ordinary modifiers, which break the natural order without
seriously interrupting the development of the idea. Ordinary
modifiers of this sort are cut off by commas; so-called parentheses
may be cut off by commas if it is not necessary to distinguish
between these marks and commas inside or outside the paren-
thesis, but they are more usually indicated by the curved marks
of parenthesis, or by a pair of dashes.
The modifiers which should be cut off by commas include the
132 SENTENCES (SEC. 102
(a) Nouns in apposition, except general appellations and
pronouns added for emphasis.
Washington, the youthful Virginian Colonel, had not been thought
The poet Milton was blind. They themselves.
(b) Adverb modifiers out of grammatical position (82) .
The book, greatly to my disappointment, was not to be found.
Finally, let us not forget our past.
Such modifiers do not need to be cut off by commas unless
they distinctly interrupt the sentence structure, as in the first
sentence above, or call for some emphasis or special consider-
ation, as in the second sentence.
We are here, fellow citizens, to consider the needs of the present.
(d) Relative clauses which are (1) explanatory, not those
which are (2) restrictive. (38)
(1) His stories, which made every one laugh, were often conceived on
the spur of the moment.
They were, indeed, obviously repudiated in all the colonies,
where human slavery existed.
(2) For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which
are not seen are eternal.
German does not mark this distinction.
Interruptions of a more serious nature, "parentheses," are
illustrated in the following:
I have seen charity (if charity it may be called) insult with an air of
He was received with great respect by the minister of the Grand
Duke of Tuscany (who afterwards mounted the Imperial throne),
and by the ambassador of the Empress Queen.
Its smile always ready when there is no distress, and soon
recurring when that distress has passed away is like an open-
ing in the sky, showing heaven beyond.
The curved marks and the pair of dashes are generally used
interchangeably. Some writers in the past used parentheses very
frequently, but such involved sentences are in less favor now.
SEC. 104) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 133
Many condemn the use of marks of the parenthesis entirely;
but it should be observed that the use of parenthetical expres-
sions is a question of sentence building, not of punctuation.
If a sentence contains an expression which is distinctly paren-
thetical, it should be cut off from the rest, and often commas
are not sufficient, on account of the many other uses to which
they are put.
Brackets [ ] are used to inclose anything inserted by an
editor, by a reporter, or by any one other than the framer of the
Marks to Indicate Ellipsis
103. The ellipsis, or omission, of a noun or verb, and in
certain cases of a preposition, is often marked by a comma:
(a) When otherwise it would be more difficult to gel the
meaning of the sentence on the first reading.
With a united government well administered, he saw that we had
nothing to fear; and without it, nothing to hope.
(6) In certain cases where the usage is fixed by custom.
Admission, twenty-five cents.
Boston, Mass., January 25, 1910. (In dating, as in a letter.)
Washington was born, Feb. 22, 1732.
The ellipsis of a part of a quotation is marked by three
dots ... or by three stars * * *
Special Uses of Commas, Semi-colons, and Colons
104. Commas are also used in other cases, some of which are:
(a) After a noun clause which ends with a verb and is immedi-
ately followed by another verb.
Whatever is, is right.
(6) At the end of a subject consisting of many words, to
compact all the words into a single expression.
To allow the slave-ships of a confederation formed for the extension
of slavery to come and go free and unexamined between America
and the African coast, would be to renounce even the pretense of
attempting to protect Africa against the man-stealer.
134 SENTENCES (SEC. 107
(c) Immediately before the first word of a direct quotation
of not more than one sentence. (See also 106.)
The toast proposed was, " The memory of George Washington."
(d) In an informal note or letter, after the salutation; a'nd
always after the formal phrase at the end of a note or letter.
Dear Maria, Yours truly,
(e) In numbers of five or more figures, to point off into groups
of three, in order to assist in reading.
105. The semicolon is also used before the abbreviations,
e.g., i.e., viz., or the full words for which they stand, and be-
fore as used in the same way, when examples follow.
The rough breathing shows that the vowel is aspirated; i.e., that it is
preceded by the sound of h.
106. The colon has two further uses of importance:
(a) After words formally introducing a quotation of more than
one sentence or a list of words or expressions. Formality is
marked by namely, viz., or as follows, or by such construction
that one of these expressions might easily be supplied. (See
The president was then introduced and spoke as follows:
The colon has two further uses of importance:
(b) After the salutation in a business or formal letter.
Dear sir: Gentlemen:
MARKS OTHER THAN PUNCTUATION MARKS
107. Of the many marks other than punctuation marks used
in printing and in writing, the following perhaps deserve
(a) Double commas, such as mark quotations, may be used
in the sense of ditto in different forms of tabulation.
3 carloads Wheat,
6 " Corn.
SEC. 107) ORDER AND GROUPING OF WORDS 135
(6) The caret ( ~ ) is used to indicate the omission of a word
(c) The accents, acute (' ) grave (-), and circumflex (-), are
used in English when it is desired to indicate accent or the
quality of the pronunciation of a vowel. They are used in
Romance languages to distinguish different pronunciations of
the same vowels and to distinguish words which are otherwise
(d) The marks of quantity, long (-) and short (~), are used
when it is desired to indicate the length of a vowel.
(e) The dieresis () is placed over the second of two
vowels not separated by a consonant to indicate that each is
pronounced, except in those cases where the vowels are sepa-
rated by a hyphen (95) .
Bootes, cooperation, re-echo
This mark is also used in German and in Anglo-Saxon to indi-
cate the variation in the pronunciation of the vowel called
umlaut, and in Romance languages to indicate that a vowel is
pronounced that would otherwise be silent.
(/) The cedilla (0 is placed under c in French and Portuguese
words, some of which are used in English, to indicate that the
c has the sound of s, though it comes before a or o.
(h) The tilde (~) is a mark placed over n in Spanish words,
some of which are used in English, to indicate that the con-
sonant has the sound of ny. Some of these words are spelled
in English also with ny.
(For Topical Synopsis, see page xix)
108. INDIVIDUAL words, aside from their relations to other
words, set four groups of problems, those which are concerned
with (1) the choice of words, (2) pronunciation, (3) spelling,
and (4) the use of capital letters.
CHOICE OF WORDS
109. Under the title "Choice of Words," many of the most
important questions of diction might well be considered; but the
subject will be treated here only in a general way, the purpose
being to bring out some of the difficulties most frequently en-
countered and to suggest the ideals to be striven for.
110. The fundamental problem of word expression. Much
has been written about the choice of short or long words,
Anglo-Saxon or Latin words, prose or so-called poetic words;
and not a few of the ideas expressed have been beside the point.
If we choose words because they are long and sonorous, because
they are foreign, or because they are "poetic," we show that
we totally misconceive the purpose of writing; but if we avoid
such words because they may be so classified, we are certainly
as far astray. Different subjects call for words of different
sorts, and the occasion, not the length or origin of the words,
should determine the choice. "After all, the secret of the art
of writing is to have something to say, and to say just that and
no other. We think in words, and when we lack for words, we
lack for thoughts. When we strive to write finely for the sake
of doing so, we become bombastic and inane."
SEC. Ill) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 137
If we have had experience, or have conceived ideas, which
others would profit by or would gladly share, we have the highest
and the only justification for writing. Having such wealth
to share, we have nothing to do but to present it in such words
that our readers get exactly what we intend to give, no more
and no less, without being put to unnecessary effort because of
our imperfect expression.
111. The choice of words is not the whole problem of expres-
sion, but it is a larger part than is sometimes thought. With
the immature or untrained writer, diction that might be called
faulty is often simply the expression of ignorance of the sub-
ject or of inability to think straight. Descriptions of nature,
for example, when written by the untrained, are often wretched
pieces of expression because, first of all, the writer is not yet
able to make true observations or exact record in his memory.
The greatest care in the choice of words can never make the
presentation of such ideas as he possesses effective; but if care-
ful choice is insisted upon, it may send the writer back to study
once more his actual experience. We often hear the struggling
writer say, "I know what I mean all right, but I can't express
it." And this may be true, for it is possible to remember and
to think in other terms than words. A student who has been
interested in a chemical experiment which he has performed
may remember it distinctly as memory pictures of the appara-
tus, the chemicals, and the changes which were visible; he may
be able to prove that he has the knowledge, by acting upon
it; yet he may not be able to report it satisfactorily to the
uninitiated or to the teacher. Even if he has thought his
experience into words, he may not be able to express the experi-
ence well in spoken or written language, for in his thought he
is not restricted to well-constructed sentences. Those who
work much by themselves and have little occasion to talk or
write about their work generally labor under such difficulties of
verbal expression. If they have abundant opportunity to ex-
press themselves through some other instrumentality than
138 SENTENCES (SEC. 113
words, there would seem to be little occasion for them to seek
exact words to represent their thoughts; yet it is probable that
no one ever strove honestly to find the best words to express
his ideas without gaining new light and increasing his power of
exact thinking. Furthermore, so intimate has become the
association between thought of all sorts and words, so nearly
useless are thoughts, in civilized society, unless they are shared,
that we can seldom say we have mastered any of our experi-
ence if we cannot reduce it to a form that may be shared, that
is to say, if we cannot express it in words.
112. It often happens that one word is so closely connected
with another, or with others, that the words must be chosen as
a group, not with regard merely for the separate word. The
faults which arise when the attempt is made to choose one
word at a time appear in every sentence of " translation English/'
and not infrequently in the productions of all but the masters
of expression. This subject, however, must be passed here
with this mere mention, for it would lead at once beyond the
limits of the subject of the book.
WORDS WHICH ARE EXACT FOR THE OCCASION
113. Words should be exact for the occasion. Exactness in
choice of words is not enough, if we are content to limit the
meaning of exactness as many do. In a report of an experi-
ment in the physical laboratory, a student may record the
height of the column of " H 2 " which the atmospheric pressure
was found to support. " H 2 " is undoubtedly accurate in
a sense; in another and more important sense it is not. "H 2 0"
is that combination of elements in which the chemist is inter-
ested; the same thing in the physical laboratory is " water/'
The question is not whether the thing we wish to refer to is
ever known by the word we are using, but whether it is known
under the circumstances with which we are dealing, and
whether exactly the ideas we wish the reader to associate with
the core-idea will be called up in his mind by the word we use.
SEC. 114) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 139
In other words, we must consider exactness of connotation as
much as exactness of denotation (12). The relative propor-
tion of denotation and of connotation varies widely in different
words. Technical terms may be very exact in their denota-
tion and many convey a complicated core-idea to one who has
full knowledge of their meanings; but they usually connote
little beyond the fact that they belong to a specific technique.
On the other hand, poetical words and the terms of intimate
experience may denote little, and that only of a vague general
nature; but they are rich in connotation. To see the differ-
ence we have but to compare such words as calorimeter and
home, to take but a single example. In writing of a technical
nature, exactness of denotation determines the choice of words;
in other kinds of writing, exactness of connotation must be
striven for in addition to exactness of denotation. When a
boy, in an examination on " Macbeth," wrote, " Macbeth's
wife tries to brace him up," he used words which denoted what
he meant, but which by their connotation show either a lamen-
tably limited vocabulary or an almost total lack of appreciation
of the play.
WORDS WHICH ARE EXACT FOR THE READERS ADDRESSED
114. Words should be exact for the readers addressed.
Exactness of meaning must mean exactness for the reader, not
for the writer alone. This fact is overlooked in three some-
what different ways :
(a) Technical terms which the reader, or hearer, does not
understand are used without adequate definition. The expert
who is in the habit of addressing specialists only, often finds it
difficult or impossible to make himself understood by others,
because he can neither use general terms nor explain those of
his special vocabulary. Even when the attempt is made to
define technical terms, insufficient consideration is paid to the
reader's limitations in the special field. It is important to
remember that a technical term is generally exact in its deno-
140 SENTENCES (SEC. 115
tation when once defined, but that until it is adequately denned
it may convey no idea or even a wrong idea.
(6) In more general writing, words are often used which have
one meaning for the writer, but may happen to have an entirely
different meaning for the reader. The result is sometimes
real obscurity, so that the reader is actually at a loss to get
any meaning; more frequently the result is ambiguity which is
distracting or humorous. I may speak of a subject as a
" closed book," meaning one on which nothing more can be
written; my reader may think of a " closed book/ 7 as one from
which he can get nothing.
(c) Often there is a fatal misunderstanding of the deeper
meaning because the language used does not connote to the
one addressed what the reader intends. Much of the bitter
conflict of ideas between people of different religious denomina-
tions is between those who are equally religious, equally sin-
cere, and actually in agreement as to the essentials, but who
cannot talk the same language. So an artist, a moralist, or a
philosopher may advocate an idea, only to arouse the antago-
nism of those who would gladly agree with him were he able
to use words which would mean to them what he was trying to
WORDS WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE AND ECONOMICAL
115. Words should be effective and economical. Words
should be chosen which are not only exact and clear, but which
produce the full effect intended, perhaps in spite of the reader,
and which economize the reader's time and effort. In much of
the writing of the untrained it would seem as if the words
were chosen with the idea of having the separate word mean
as little as possible. The true idea is to pack each word with
meaning. Strength should be given first of all to the funda-
mental elements, the nouns and the verbs, then to the primary
modifiers. Secondary modifiers should be used as seldom as
possible for purposes of intensification, and when used, those
SEC. 116) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 141
with specific meaning should be chosen. The word very, used
frequently, weakens rather than strengthens, and the word
quite, which in writing is always ambiguous except when the
sense of entirely is clearly intended, is still less effective. Many
times a noun and more frequently a verb, of specific meaning,
may be used in place of a noun or verb of general meaning with
a qualifying modifier.
The wind came tearing round the corner especially the east wind
as if it had sallied forth from the confines of the earth, to have a
blow at Toby. And oftentimes it seemed to come upon him sooner
than it had expected, for bouncing round the corner, and passing Toby,
it would suddenly wheel round again, as if it cried, " Why, here he is! "
Incontinently his little white apron would be caught up over his head
like a naughty boy's garments, and his feeble little cane would be
seen to wrestle and struggle unavailingly in his hand, and his legs
would undergo tremendous agitation, and Toby himself all aslant, and
facing now in this direction and now in that, would be so banged and
buffeted, and tousled, and worried, and hustled, and lifted off his feet,
is to render it a state of things but one degree removed from a positive
miracle that he wasn't carried up bodily into the air as a colony of
frogs or snails or other very portable creatures sometimes are, and
rained down again, to the great astonishment of the natives, on some
strange corner of the world where ticket-porters are unknown.
Words which are needed for clearness or for force should not
be omitted, even for the sake of brevity; if they are, the gain
made by reducing the number of words the reader has to go
over may be much more than offset by the increased effort he
has to make to get the meaning. With clearness and force
assured, however, the addition of further words only weakens
the effectiveness, just as water added to lemonade after the
desired strength is reached increases the amount but rapidly
lessens the value of the whole.
116. Words should be chosen which grow out of real, living
thought. The vocabulary which most people have at hand for
actual use is narrowly limited, consequently a few words and
expressions have to serve on a multitude of occasions. They
fit in one place as well as in another, because, like hired even-
ing suits, they never fit. Language should take shape as the
living product of living thought; it never should become, as
142 SENTENCES (SEC. 116
it does when single words or expressions are used continuously,
a means of escaping the necessity of thought. There are three
classes of thesQ thought-destroying words and expressions:
(a) Each individual has a number of words which are special
to the small group of persons with whom he associates most
intimately, or which in some cases are peculiar to himself.
The continually recurring "sort of a" (a sort of a fellow, I
" sotta " felt) the overused intensifier " absolutely," the universal
adjective of commendation "good," or "sweet" in the vocab-
ulary of the schoolgirl, are samples of these pet words. Every
one but the user realizes the tiresome meaninglessness of such
(6) From books, some pick up stereotyped expressions which
seem to the user to have a pleasant sound or to add an orna-
mental flourish. Maiden, urchin, to wend one's way, I take my
pen in hand, and many other such bookish words and expressions
still get written. The vocabulary which is used in writing is
inevitably, and should be, different from that used in speaking,
for the circumstances of both writing and reading are different
from those of speaking and hearing, but the vocabulary used in
writing should be no less living or rich in actual thought.
(c) The most serious difficulties in the way of developing a
living vocabulary arise from the use of popular slang. Slang is
a form of expression not peculiar to America but especially
characteristic of the language of many Americans. Those
whose ideas are formed mainly from contact with things and
with active experience rather than from books and conversa-
tion with the trained, and those whose mental powers carry them
beyond the ordinary range of thought and feeling, inevitably
find that they must stretch their vocabularies to express their
ideas; and if their minds are keen, the result is a forceful, frank,
picturesque language. Much slang comes from the frontiers of
civilization and of thought, and many words and expressions
from such sources become a permanent and worthy addition to
the language. To others, language which is living, original,
SEC. 117) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 143
free from restraint, is peculiarly fascinating and therefore to be
sought, for itself. So, too, the " latest thing out " in words ap-
peals to many, just as does the latest fashion in dress or in amuse-
ments. Book-study may tend to make language dead, and it
is well to develop out of immediate experience language which
is new growth. But we must recognize that, though in the new
words and expressions there may be present life and hope of
future growth, slang is often far from being a real gain. Much
of it is the expression of the moment only, and has no perma-
nent worth; much is created, not by those whose ideas exceed
their vocabulary, but by those who attempt to deck out
absence of thought in flippant, startling, and crude language.
From disreputable sources much language comes which, in-
stead of being new growth, is decadent. As it is used by the
majority, slang represents only a fad. It is neither expressive
nor original, for a few months ' existence may make it weary-
ingly stale. Even when it is bright and sparkling, it becomes,
when overused, tedious to the hearer, for a continual stream of
originality and brilliancy is as objectionable as stereotyped
language. To use the figure of the lemonade again, few care
to drink it when it is almost pure lemon and sugar. Unstand-
ardized words which are not vulgar, which express the idea
unambiguously, effectively, and with the exact connotation, are
desirable; but the use of slang which is merely a cover for the
absence of real thought and appreciation is the most serious de-
fect in the language of many Americans whose education should
have given them a more effective instrument of expression.
117. In the pronunciation of any language there is oppor-
tunity for much individuality. The pronunciation we use is
largely a comment upon the people we associate with, just as
the vocabulary we use in writing is in part a reflection of the
books we have read. Even from careful speakers we hear now
and then a word which is unquestionably mispronounced, and
144 SENTENCES (SEC. 118
ignorance or extreme idiosyncrasy is quite different from indi-
viduality. All need to consider the spoken word. Unless we
are so situated that we hear little from carefully educated
people, it is enough to observe whenever any one whom we
know to be generally correct gives a word a pronunciation
which is new to us, and then, by consulting other authorities,
to decide which is right. ^
The adopting of a pronunciation which is unnatural to us,
when our own is not incorrect, is not desirable. Naturalness,
other things being equal, is better than affectation in pronun-
ciation, just as certainly as it is in manners or dress; and
affected language is sure to ring insincere.
Whenever one's natural pronunciation is slovenly or dis-
agreeable, however, it is important to reform it altogether, not
by aping others, but by taking care. Americans have a strong
tendency to a slovenly pronunciation, which arises from lazi-
ness in the use of the vocal organs: the total obscuring of all
syllables but those bearing the accent; the unnecessary cutting
off of final consonants; and the disagreeableness of the so-called
Yankee dialect, due to the flabbiness of the soft palate, which
allows of harsh nasalizing. Such pronunciation, and enuncia-
tion especially, should be corrected.
118. Spelling in English is more chaotic than that of any
other language that is commonly studied. It carries out no
consistent attempt to give practical representation of the pro-
nunciation of the words, and it is equally inconsistent in its
attempt to record the past history of the words. At various
times efforts have been made to systematize the spelling,
sometimes in an intelligent way, sometimes in unintelligent
ways; and many of these attempts have left distinct and con-
tradictory records. In addition to native influences, there have
been many from without. On a Germanic language foundation,
English has built up a third of its vocabulary from French, a
SEC. 120) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 145
large proposition from Latin and Greek, and some words from
almost every known language. These words have been in part
Anglicized in spelling, in part they have retained traces of
their various foreign origins. The past half-century has seen
much done in the way of standardizing and rationalizing spell-
ing, and many reasonable suggestions have been made by the
Philological Society of England, the American Philological
Association, and the Simplified Spelling Board. But in such
matters English-speaking peoples are generally conservative, and
changes, though they are sure to come, will come only slowly.
119. For the standard spelling, no general rule can be laid
down which has not exceptions, and often there are as many
exceptions in the actual use as there are cases where the rule
holds. But certain suggestions are worth consideration, for a
knowledge of them will help one to avoid some of the common-
est misspellings. For spelling of plurals see 51, and of posses-
sive case forms see 53.
120. Final e is retained before an added syllable beginning
with a consonant.
judgment (and others in dge in American spelling only)
truly, argument, woful (and many words in which the final e is
preceded by a vowel)
Final e is dropped before an added syllable beginning with a
hoeing, shoeing, toeing
agreeing (and other words in ee, except before -ed, agreed)
dyeing, singeing, etc. (to preserve identity of word. Compare
dying, singing, etc.)
noticeable, changeable (and other words in ce and ge, to preserve
the soft sound of c or g before a syllable beginning with a or o)
146 SENTENCES (SEC. 122
121. Consonants in English are sometimes written single
and sometimes written double.
At the beginning of words, all consonants are single, except in
the case of a few foreign words.
Lloyd, Llewellyn, llama
At the end of a word, consonants are usually single,
him, compel, constitution, until
Monosyllables ending in /, I, s.
staff, till, pass (Aside from some of the commonest: clef, if,
of, sal, sol, as, gas, has, was, yet, his, is, this, pus, thus, us)
ebb, add, odd, egg, inn, err, burr, purr, butt, fizz, fuzz, buzz
In the middle of words, consonants are sometimes single and
After a short, accented vowel, the consonant is generally
copper, hammer, letter
Especially in words formed by adding a syllable to a simpler
dinner, robbed, robber, committed, referred, metallic, written
After a long vowel, or a short vowel unaccented, the con-
sonant is generally single.
opal, omen, reference
diner, robed, writing
In words from Latin the consonant is single or double gener-
ally according to the Latin spelling.
refer = Latin re + ferre
differ = Latin dif (dis) + ferre
disappear = Latin dis -j- ap (ad) parere
dissolve = Latin dis -\- solvere
122. Words ending in y sometimes change the y to i before
an added syllable, and sometimes do not. See also 51 and 55.
SEC. 124) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 147
Generally the y is changed to i before any added syllable if it is
preceded by a consonant.
contrarily, iciest, merrier, pitiable, spies
Before terminations beginning with i.
drying. (Note also die, dying)
In some derivatives from monosyllabic adjectives.
slyer, dryly, dryness (not drier, driest)
123. Obscure vowels. The vowel preceding or following one
upon which a primary accent falls is pronounced obscurely in
English, so that it is often difficult to tell which vowel should
be written in that syllable. Often the correct vowel may be
determined by reference to some other word coming originally
from the same root, but having the accent on the syllable which
is obscure in the word in question.
124. Misspelling of words ending in -al or -le, which is
common, may be avoided by observing that -al is a common
adjective ending, and that -le does not terminate adjectives
except in the cases of double and triple; and that, on the other
hand, -le is a common ending for nouns.
principal (chief) principle (a fundamental truth or settled rule of
The nouns which end in -al (principal, highest teacher, or
main sum of money, chemical, etc.) are adjectives used as
148 SENTENCES (SEC. 125
THE USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS
125. The first letter of the following words should be a
1. The first word of
(a) Every sentence, and every word or group of words punctu-
ated as a sentence.
Enough! You may be seated.
(6) Every line of poetry.
And what delights can equal those
That stir the spirit's inner deeps,
When one that loves, but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows?
(c) Every direct quotation, if a capital should be used by the
author at that point.
On another occasion he writes, " We are again preparing for a
Again, in a letter to Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer of two or three
weeks' later date, he describes himself as having been "so
closely occupied with my little Carol (the idea of which had just
occurred to me) that I never left home before the owls went out,
and led quite a solitary life."
2. In titles of books, periodicals, essays, poems, etc., the
first word, every noun, and other important words.
The Cricket on the Hearth.
The Spirit of Modern Philosophy.
As You Like It.
3. Proper nouns (42), including the names of the months, of
the days of the week, of holidays (but not usually of the sea-
sons); Bible and other terms for the Bible; the points of the
compass when used as geographical terms; names of races of
men (except generally negro and gypsy) ; names of religious sects
and of political parties.
Abraham Lincoln, New York, February, Thursday, the Fourth of
July, (summer), Bible, Holy Scriptures, the West, the Orient, the
French, (negro, gypsy), Orthodox, Republican.
SEC. 125) INDIVIDUAL WORDS 149
In proper nouns consisting of more than one word, each
noun begins with a capital provided it is a part of the name
and not merely a classifying word.
The Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean,
the New York Herald, Washington Street,
the Charles River, the river Charles,
New York City, the city of New York.
Newspapers begin the classifying nouns with small letters
even when they are a part of the exact name (Charles river,
Washington street), but more exact usage follows the examples
Adjectives derived from proper nouns, or formed in con-
nection with proper nouns. (44a).
Indian, Christian, English (but unchristian, transatlantic, etc.)
At least two verbs derived from proper nouns.
In proper names, of foreign origin, de, d', van, von, da, della,
di, etc., when not preceded by a title or a Christian name.
Von Humbolt, Della Crusca (Jacques Auguste de Thou).
Official titles, titles of honor, respect, or affection, whenever
they precede a name or occur in formal address, and when they
stand alone and refer to a person previously mentioned by title
and name. In compound titles, both words begin with a capital.
Emperor William, your Majesty, Brother Jonathan
Colonel Wilson and his son have gone to California, where the
Colonel will spend the winter.
Lieutenant-General Grant, ex-President.
4. Names of the Deity, of the members of the Trinity, of
the Virgin Mary, and of the Devil (when a personal being is
God, the Son of Man, the Comforter, Heaven ( = God)
Personal pronouns referring to God, except in extracts from
In His name.
150 SENTENCES (SEC. 125
5. The name of any object which is personified
When Freedom from her mountain height
6. The pronoun / and the vocative (93).
7. The words Sir, Madam, Gentlemen, etc., in the saluta-
tion of letters, and the first word in the formal phrase at the
end of the letter, Yours truly, etc.
8. Words to which attention is to be attracted. Nowadays,
this use of capitals for the purpose of emphasis is limited to
special cases, such as a college catalogue, or the lists, memoranda,
and correspondence of a business concern.
Sophomore, Mathematics, Civil Engineering (in a college catalogue)
Tea, Sugar, Flour, etc. (in the correspondence of a grocery concern)
SYNTHESIS OF SENTENCES
(For Topical Synopsis, see page xxi.)
. 126. IN the synthesis, or building up, of sentences many
problems arise other than those of choice of words, the deter-
mination of the forms and the order of words, and the other
matters which have already been considered. In this last
chapter a few suggestions will be given as to the length of
sentences, and as to the possibilities of emphasis.
LENGTH OF SENTENCES
127. It is a well-established principle of rhetoric that the pri-
mary requisite of a sentence is unity. However complicated the
thoughts which a sentence presents may be, they must give
a resultant idea of unity. Unity, however, is a relative term;
it is the primary requisite of every finished piece of compo-
sition and of every distinct subdivision. A book must have
unity, even if it is fifteen volumes long; so must a chapter, so
must a paragraph, and so, no less certainly, must a sentence.
If, then, such varying amounts can be given unity, the ques-
tion arises : How many thoughts, or how many words, is it well to
combine to form that unit of expression which is called a sen-
tence f In other words, how is the length of sentences to be
128. Various rules have been given to guide the framer of
sentences. It has been said that a sentence should not con-
tain more words than can be uttered without the necessity of
breaking it up to take breath. If that were so, many sentences
would seem to presuppose extraordinary control of breath !
Sentences are frequently much shorter than that rule would
152 SENTENCES (SEC. 129
suggest, and frequently longer than it would permit; and
neither extreme necessarily destroys effectiveness. It is some-
times said that a sentence should not contain over so many
words, one hundred, fifty, twenty-five, or whatever number
may be considered ideal. As a matter of fact, sentences in
Milton's time were not uncommonly between one hundred
and three hundred words long; now with many writers they do
not average much over twenty-five words. Tastes differ and
styles change. No mechanical rule is very helpful. One
general hint, however, would seem to be of some value: the
writer should keep in mind the pulsation of attention (19),
and remember that he is asking his reader to grasp all the ideas
of the sentence as a whole by a single act of the attention,
rather than by a series of acts such as is necessary to grasp a
paragraph. As we read a sentence, we may be conscious of
receiving one idea and then another, but when we reach the end
it should all be present in consciousness without necessitating
progressive acts of the attention to recall it. The matter of
the sentence should also have unity, but we are here concerned
only with the length of the sentence, that is, with the amount to
which it is well to attempt to give sentence unity.
129. Each writer has a certain amount of freedom in deter-
mining the length of his sentences, so that individual character-
istics are sure to express themselves in this as in other ways.
Differences in the mental powers of writers make it possible
for them to grasp and organize sentences of different degrees of
complexity. A child can never conceive of more than a few
simple ideas as wholes; while a mature person of highly trained
mind generally feels that he has not enough to call his powers
into activity unless the units given him are complex. On the *
other hand, subjects of different natures will inevitably be pre-
sented in sentences of different lengths. Simple narration
often is best expressed in short sentences; philosophical or
scientific ideas so presented would hardly build up any system-
atic structure .
SEC. 131) SYNTHESIS OF SENTENCES 153
130. Again, the effective length of a sentence depends in
part upon its rhetorical form. As a child begins to develop
sentences, he inevitably does it by joining what would other-
wise be separate sentences by the continued use of the con-
junction and. It is evident that such sentences may be endless.
It is also evident that such sentences, no matter how long, may
be constructed so as to be clear, because they present bits at a
time simply as coordinate ideas. Further examination, how-
ever, shows that we have really, so far, no effective sentence
structure at all. The very fact that sentences come one after
another in a paragraph joins them together and, unless some
other connective word is used, the joining is practically the same
as that effected by the use of and. More than that, ideas,
except in the immature thought of the child, are not all coor-
dinate. Of a given group of ideas which are closely compacted
together, some may simply add qualities to the subject or to
the complement, some may tell how, when, or where the action
took place. When we have, instead of a series of coordinate
elements, one main idea expressed with other ideas duly sub-
ordinated, we have a much more compact and highly organized
sentence. In a developed form of this type of sentence, the sense
is suspended so that the reader does not get the main idea till
he has reached the full stop at the end. Such a " periodic "
sentence is manifestly artificial, and would be used only by
minds carefully trained in massing thoughts and in expressing
them in sentences, but it is effective in expressing elaborated
thought. The effective length of such a sentence depends
(a) upon the skill of the framer in managing the form, (6) upon
the degree of elaboration which the subject he is treating war-
rants, and (c) upon the ability which he is safe in assuming his
readers have in grasping ideas in one pulsation of attention.
131. In a single piece of composition, even within a single
paragraph, sentences should not all be of the same length.
Such similarity of structure would mean inevitable monotony,
and the natural result of monotony is to lull the attention to
154 SENTENCES (Ssc. 132
sleep. Just as our attention soon wanders if we attempt to
listen continuously to the unvarying ticking of the clock, so it
will if we try to listen to, or read, sentences of monotonous
structure. Long and short sentences should be irregularly
interspersed for variety's sake; but this does not call for any
unnatural combining of our ideas, for if we express our ideas
adequately they will be sure to take on naturally varied groupings.
THE POSSIBILITIES OF EMPHASIS
132. We have already seen (86) that the order of words
within sentences also should be varied. If the grammatical
order were always strictly observed, we should have within the
sentences themselves fatal monotony. Variety of order would
be a necessity for its own sake, were it not that the order is
changed by the different demands for emphasis. In speaking,
emphasis may be given by stress of voice, and correspondingly, in
writing, by underscoring. But such emphasis is external. It
is possible to throw the emphasis where the ideas demand it
by the order of the words, or by the construction of the sentence,
thus making the emphasis organic. Certain words in sentences
have no accent at all, that is to say, they are proclitic, throw-
ing the accent upon the word following as if they were an un-
accented syllable of that word; or enclitic, throwing the accent
back upon the word which precedes. Most articles and prep-
ositions, for example, are proclitic; adverbs may become enclitic.
The fate of the nation was riding that night (proclitic).
Now what are you up to? (enclitic) .
Upon these proclitic and enclitic words, emphasis cannot be
thrown by the order of the words. Only in the most unusual
cases is there any occasion for emphasizing them; and when
there is, it must be done by voice stress or by underscoring.
All other words in a sentence may be emphasized by position,
or by some added word or circumlocution, by observing one
of two principles to be explained in the next sections.
SEC. 134) SYNTHESIS OF SENTENCES 155
133. The beginning and the end of a sentence are naturally
emphatic positions. After a rest, of no matter how short
duration, the attention is always fresher, and it is always
brightened by a change of subject. The beginning of the
sentence benefits in both these ways. The words at the end of
a sentence gain special consideration for a different reason.
As ideas are presented, each attracts a certain amount of atten-
tion, but the length of time that the mind can dwell upon one
idea is narrowly limited by the fact that, in the steady flow,
attention must at once turn to the following idea. If, however,
a pause follows, attention has opportunity to dwell longer on
the last given idea. If a speaker suddenly pauses, even those
who were not listening as he spoke will attend, and they will
find his last words " ringing in their ears." In a similar way
the last words before the full stop of a sentence may receive
added attention. Experience has led speakers and writers
to take advantage of these two opportunities for increased
attention, so that sentences have been consciously constructed
with that in mind; and the habit of expecting the most impor-
tant words first and last has strengthened the natural emphasis.
The final emphasis is especially strong in periodic sentences. It
is not always possible to end a sentence with an emphatic word;
the natural order in English often throws to the end a word
which is distinctly not emphatic. For example, What does that
amount to? But, in as far as it can be done without violating
the natural order, sentences should be so constructed as to end
with a word which expresses an important idea.
134. Any word out of place, like anything else in an unex-
pected situation, attracts special attention. If a preacher in
a dignified sermon lets drop a piece of current slang, or a Re-
publican orator permits himself to advocate a Democratic
doctrine or to praise a Democratic candidate, these words or
ideas out of their expected places attract so much attention
that perhaps nothing else said gets reported. So in sentences,
words out of their grammatical places attract special attention.
156 SENTENCES (SEC. 136
The fundamental elements of the sentence can seldom be mis-
placed except by change of construction; but adverbial modi-
fiers may easily be placed at the beginning of the sentence,
between the subject and the verb, or at an unusual distance
after the verb. Emphasis may be thrown upon a verb, when
no other means is available, by the addition of an adverbial
intensifier, and upon a noun or adjective by a circumlocution
which will make the desired word the complement of the copula
with it for its subject.
135. To take a single sentence to illustrate the possibilities
of emphasis of the organic sort:
The Mississippi is the greatest of these.
The greatest of these is the Mississippi.
Of these, the Mississippi is the greatest.
Of these, the greatest is the Mississippi.
The Mississippi is indeed the greatest of these.
It is the Mississippi which is the greatest of these.
In some such ways as these, any word, except the proclitics
and the enclitics, may easily be given emphasis by the struc-
ture of the sentence. The ideas of a sentence are not ade-
quately expressed till the emphasis is properly distributed, and
as the voice stress is entirely lost in writing, it is important to
organize sentences so that emphasis will naturally fall at the
136. In the building up of sentences there are many other
problems of importance, but as we pass from grammatical
structure to rhetorical form we come to .deal with matters
which concern larger wholes than the sentence. Rhetorically
a sentence is but a member of the whole composition, whatever
that may be, and it should grow out of the general conception
of the larger whole. Such considerations would take us entirely
beyond the scope of this volume, which is limited to the study
of sentences and their elements.
Numbers refer to sections
Abbreviations, marked by a period, 91.
e.g. etc., preceded by a semicolon,
Ablative case, in Latin, 53.
Ablative absolute, in Latin, 40.
Absolute construction, 40.
case of nouns in, 53.
Absolute present tense, 6Qh.
Absolute use of transitive verb, 29, 30,
of superlative, 55.
Abstract nouns, 42.
with no plural, 51.
Accent, in compound words, 95.
Accent marks, 107.
Accusative case, in Latin, etc., 53.
Action, verbs expressing, 26, 29, 30.
Active voice, or active verb, 29, 30, 33.
formation of, 58, 64.
Actor, the, subject of active verb or
agent of passive, 29, 33.
Adjective, definition of, 35, 41, 44.
predicate, 32, 33, 38, 39, 44, 74.
resultant predicate, 34, 39.
as primary modifier, 35, 74.
position of, 44, 82.
kinds of, 44.
paradigm of, 56.
number of, 51.
gender of, 52.
case of, 53.
comparison of, 55.
proper, capitalized, 125.
expressing separable and inseparable
qualities, punctuation of, 101.
or adverb with verbs, 74.
Adjective, noun, 42.
phrase, 38, 39.
clause, 38, 39.
Adverb, definition of, 35, 39, 41, 45.
as apparent modifier of noun, 35.
as modifier of sentence, 35.
as relative, 430.
negative, 40(4), 45.
comparison of, 55.
paradigm of, 56.
position of, 82, 86.
Adverb, conjunctive, 48.
there, introducing verb, 69.
substantive used as, 35, 42, 43.
adjective or, with verb, 74.
out of grammatical position, punctu-
ation of, 102.
alone or combined with preposition
to serve as relative, 43g.
use of, in Anglo-Saxon, in Chaucer,
and in Shakspere, 74.
Adverb, phrase, 38, 39.
clause, 38, 39.
Affirmation, words of, 40 (4).
Agent of the action, in passive, 29, 33.
Agreement, of verb, 69.
of pronouns, 72.
of nouns in apposition, 73.
of coordinate words and expressions,
of terms compared, 76.
For general treatment of the subject
of agreement, see Chapter V.
Ambiguous words, 114, 6.
Ambiguous use of pronouns, 72.
American use, 12.
Analysis of sentences, Chapter II.
necessity for real, 72.
Apostrophe, use of, 94.
as sign of the possessive case, 53.
Apposition, substantive in, 35.
clauses in, 39.
case of, 53.
agreement of, 73.
cut off by commas, 102.
noun in, 42.
pronoun in, 43.
Appositive position, 44.
Archaic second-person forms of pro-
personal forms of verbs, 54.
Archaic language, 12, 14.
Articles, definite, 44.
Articulate, ideas and sounds, 2.
Attributive position, 44.
modal, 59, 62, 63.
used in forming: passive, 58; imper-
ative, 59; conditional, 59, 60s;
potential, 59; and the progressive,
emphatic, future and compound
paradigms of, 61, 62.
Bi-verbal tenses, 60 6, d.
Bookish words, 14, 116.
Brackets, use of, 1 02.
British use, (use in England) 12.
Can, paradigm, 60r, 62.
meaning and use, 63.
Capital letters, use of, 125.
to mark proper nouns, 42, 125.
to mark proper adjectives, 44, 125.
Cardinal numerals, 446.
Caret, use 9f, 107.
Case, definition of, 53.
of nouns: common, 53.
possessive, 35, 53, 94.
rules for forming, 53.
of pronouns: subject, possessive, ob-
of adjectives, 53.
in other languages, 53.
of subject of finite verb, 67.
of subject of infinitive, 68.
of predicate nominative, 70. ^
of object of verb or preposition, 71.
of substantive in apposition, 73.
Causative use of verb, 29.
Change of state, verbs expressing, 26,
Cedilla, use of, 107.
Choice of words, 109.
fundamental problems in, 110.
importance of, 111.
general grounds for, 113 116.
Christianize, the verb capitalized, 125.
relative, 38, 102.
Clearness, 86. See also exactness.
Collective and partitive, pronouns, 43/i,
agreement of verb with, 69.
agreement of pronoun with, 72.
Collective nouns, 42.
Colloquial language, 12, 14.
Colon, use of, 97, 100, 106.
Color, local, 14.
Comma, uses of , 100, 101, 102, 103, 104.
Common case, 53.
Common form, defined, 50.
for num^r, 51.
for gender, 52.
for case, 53.
for person, 54.
for comparison, 55.
of verbs, 57.
Common gender, 52.
Common nouns, 42.
Common use, 12.
Comparative degree, of adjectives and
formation of, 55.
Comparison, definition of, 55.
comparative and superlative degrees
agreement in terms compared, 76.
Complement, definition of , 25, 32, 33, 39.
Complete verb, 27.
Complex sentences, 37.
Compound noun, plural of, 51.
possessive of, 53.
Compound relative pronouns, 43/.
Compound sentences, 37.
Compound tenses, 6 Of.
Compound words, 95.
use of hyphen in, 95.
Concrete nouns, 42.
Conditional mode, 59.
use of should and would, 60s.
Conjunction, definition of, 37, 41, 48.
kinds of, 48.
Conjunctive adverbs, 48.
Conjunctive pronouns, 436.
Conjunctive words, 83.
Connection, idea of, expressed by
copula, 22, 23, 26.
and idea of existence, expressed by
verb, 27, 30, 33.
and idea of state of being or change of
state expressed by verb, 28, 30, 33.
and idea of action, expressed by verb,
29, 30, 33.
expressed by conjunction, 48.
Connotation, 12, 113.
Consonants, single or double, 121, 65.
Constructions, absolute, 40.
Coordinating conjunctions, 48.
Coordinate sentence elements, 37.
agreement of, 75.
Copula, 22, 26, 30, 33.
complement of, 32.
Correct use, 8-11.
secondary importance of, 9.
need of observing, 11, 17.
Correlating conjunctions, 48.
Could, 60r, paradigm of, 62.
meaning and use of, 63.
Dash, uses of, 97.
use of pair of, 102.
Dating of letters, punctuation of, 103.
Dating of past and future events, 60.
Dative case, in Latin, etc., 53.
of reference, 34.
of advantage and disadvantage, 34.
Declarative sentence, definition of, 36.
order of words in, 81.
Defective verbs, 46.
See modal auxiliaries, 62, 63.
Definite article, 44.
Denial, words of, 40 (4).
Degrees of comparison, 55.
Deity, names of, capitalized, 125.
Demonstrative pronouns, 43 a;
Demonstrative adjectives, 44.
paradigm of, 56.
agreement of, with noun modified, 72.
Denotation, 12, 113.
Descriptive tense, 60&.
Determination of the forms of words,
Devil, the word capitalized, 125.
Dieresis, use of, 107.
Disjunctive use of pronouns, 43 6, 70.
Disreputable language, 12, 116c.
Ditto marks, use of, 107.
Division of words, into syllables, 95.
at end of line of writing, 95.
Do, the auxiliary, in the emphatic
paradigm of, 61.
in interrogations, 85.
Double consonants, 121.
Economical words, 115.
Effective words, 115.
Elements of sentences, fundamental,
order of, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86.
grammatical and logical, 35, note.
compound, 37, 39.
agreement of coordinate, 75.
Elision, of letters, marked by apos-
of century numbers, 94.
marks of, 103.
Emotion, language of, 1.
Emphasis, external and organic, 132, 86.
of position, 133.
at beginning and end of sentence, 133.
on words out of grammatical order,
possibilities of, in a single sentence,
use of capital letters to express, 125.
Emphatic tenses, 60/, m.
paradigm of, 64.
Enclitic words, 132.
Epicene gender, 52.
Exclamation point, 90, 93.
Exclamative Oh, distinguished from voc-
ative O, 93.
Exclamative sentence, definition of, 36.
Exclamative sentence, order of words
Exactness of words, 113, 114.
Existence, verbs expressing, 26, 30.
Explanatory relative clauses, 38, 102.
Expression, implements of, 1.
limitations of, 3.
possibilities of overcoming limita-
tions of, 4, 5.
restrictions of, 6-16.
(See also, word, choice, and use.)
Feminine gender, 52.
Feminine endings, 52.
Feminine prefixes, 52.
Figures, plural of, 94.
Final e, spelling of words with, 120, 65.
Final y, plural of words ending in, 51.
spelling of words ending in, 122, 51, 55.
Finite verb forms, 46.
Fitness, restrictions of, 12, 14.
Form, secondary to substance, 11.
of words, variations in, Chapter IV.
determination of, Chapter V.
two factors in determining, 66.
Fundamental elements, of sentences,
order of, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86.
Gender, of nouns, definition of, 52.
masculine, feminine, neuter, com-
mon, grammatical, epicene, 52.
terminations and prefixes, 52.
of pronouns, 52.
of adjectives, 52.
paradigms of, 56.
General use, 12, 13.
Genitive case, in Latin, etc., 53.
Geographical restrictions in the use of
language, 12, 14.
Good use, 13, 14.
value of canons of, 13.
true application of canons of, 14.
Grammar, terms of, 20, note.
Grammatical and logical elements and
modifiers, 35, note.
Grammatical elements, 39.
Grammatical terms, 20, note.
Grouping of words, 78, 87-106.
necessity for, 78, 87.
Historical present tenses, 60Z.
Hyphen, use of, 95.
7, pronoun, capitalized, 125.
Ideas, emotional and logical, 1.
means of expressing, 1.
Idioms and idiomatic language, 7, 31,
434, 53, 72.
Illegibility, effects of, 10.
Imperative mode, 59.
direct and indirect, 59.
subject of, omitted, 24, 59.
Imperative sentence, 36.
order of words in, 84.
Impersonal verb, 46.
Implements of expression, 1.
Inaccuracy, effects of, 10.
Indecent language, 12.
Indefinite article, 446.
Indefinites, see collective and partitive.
Independent elements, 40.
Indicative mode, 59.
paradigm of, 64.
Indirect object, 34, 39.
of personal interest, 34.
Indirect future, 60s.
Indirect quotation, definition of, 77.
sequence of tenses in, 77, 60s.
indirect future in, 60?.
person of pronouns in, 77.
punctuation of, 96.
Infinitive, definition of, 42.
as noun, 42, 46, 59.
as verb form, 59.
with auxiliary to form: imperative, 59;
conditional, 59; potential, 59; em-
phatic, 60/ and future tenses, QQn.
with to as " sign," with to used as a
preposition, and without to, 38, 42.
in phrases, 38.
in clauses, 38.
paradigm of, 64.
subject of, 68.
Inseparable prefixes, 31, 82.
Inseparable qualities expressed by ad-
Instrumental case, in Latin, etc., 53.
Intensive pronouns, 43d.
Interdependence of words for their
Interjections, 40, 41, 42, 43, 49.
Interrogation point, uses of, 90, 92.
Interrogative pronouns, 43/;
paradigm of, 56.
Interrogative adjectives, 446.
paradigm of, 56.
Interrogative sentence, definition of, 36.
order of words in, 85.
punctuation of, 90, 92.
Irregular verbs, 46.
formation of, 65.
Intransitive verbs, 29, 30, 33.
Inverted order, 82.
It, pronoun, as subject of verb, 29, 436,
improper use of, without an anteced-
Judaize, the verb capitalized, 125.
Language, means of communicating
implements of spoken and written, 1.
means of exact thought, 2.
imperfect means of expression, 3, 4.
Language, kinds of , 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 116.
importance of, 18.
(See also, words, expression, use.)
Latin grammar, terms of, 20, note.
Length of sentences, 127-131.
Letters, plural of, 51, 94.
use of capital, 125, 42, 44.
elision of, 94.
Letters (correspondence), special cases
of punctuation in, 103, 104,106.
special cases of capitalization in, 125.
Limitations of expression, 34.
possibilities of overcoming, 4.
(See also restrictions.)
Limiting adjectives 446.
Local color, 14.
Local use, 12, 14.
Locative case, Latin, 53.
Logical language, 7.
Logical subject, predicate, etc., 22, 35,
Logical thought, 1.
Marks, of punctuation, 87-107.
of generally fixed usage, 89-97.
of varying usage, 89, 98-106. -
other than punctuation marks, 89,
of parenthesis, 102.
to indicate ellipsis, 103.
(See also under the names of the sepa-
Masculine gender, 52.
terminations and prefixes of, 52.
Material nouns, without plural, 51.
May, auxiliary, paradigm of, 60r, 62.
meaning and use of, 63.
Meaning and use of may, might, can,
could, must, ought, 63.
Middle voice, 58.
Might, auxiliary, paradigm, 60r, 62.
meaning and use of, 63.
Modal auxiliaries, 59, 63.
Modal future tenses, 6 Op.
Mode, definition of, 59.
indicative, imperative, conditional,
subjunctive, optative, potential,
and modal auxiliary, infinitives
and participles, 59.
formation of conditional, 60s, 60.
paradigm of, 64.
primary and secondary, 35, 39.
in a phrase, 38.
noun, 35, 42.
adjective, 35, 44, 74.
adverb, 35, 45, 74.
adjective or adverb, 74.
position of, 82.
Modifiers, adverb, out of grammatical
order cut off by commas, 102.
Mood, see mode.
Must, auxiliary, paradigm of, 62.
meaning and use of, 63.
Narrative tense, 60&.
National use, 12, 13, 14.
Negatives, 40(4), 45.
Neuter verbs, 30.
Neuter gender, 52.
Neuter number, 51.
Nominal adjective, 446.
Nominative, predicate, 32, 33, 39.
noun as, 42.
pronoun as, 43.
case of, 53, 70.
Nominative case, of Latin, etc., 53.
Noun, definition of, 41, 42.
kinds of, 42.
verbal, 42, 44.
number of, 51.
gender of, 52.
case of, 53.
person of, 54.
paradigm of, 56.
as modifier of a substantive, 35.
as modifier of a verb, 35.
in apposition, agreement of, 73.
cut off by commas, 102.
proper, capitalized, 125.
Noun phrase, 38, 39.
Noun clause, 38, 39.
Number, definition of, 51.
of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs,
Numeral adjectives, 446.
Numeral pronouns, 43i.
O, vocative, distinguished from oh,
Object, of verb (predicate object), 32,
indirect, 34, 39.
indirect, of personal interest, 34.
resultant, 34, 39.
of preposition, etc., in phrases, 38,
noun as, 42.
pronoun as, 42.
case of, 53, 71.
One, pronoun, use of, 436, 72.
Optative mode, 59.
Optative sentences, definition of, 36.
order of words in, 84.
Order of words, 78-86.
in declarative sentences, 80-83.
in exclamative, imperative, and op-
tative sentences, 84.
in interrogative sentences, 85.
Order of words, in Romance languages
and in German, 83.
Ordinal numerals, 446.
Ought, auxiliary, paradigm of, 62,.
meaning and use of, 63.
Parenthesis, marks of, 102.
Parenthetical expressions, 40(5), 102.
Participles, 44, 59.
present, 44, 42.
used in forming progressive tenses,
past, 44 (with object, 34).
used in forming the passive, 58;
and the compound tenses, QOv.
with substantive in absolute con-
struction, 40, 42, 43.
paradigm of, 64.
Parts of Speech, Chapter III.
Partitive adjective, 446.
Partitive pronoun, 43.
Passive voice, 28, 30, 32, 33.
object of, 31, 34.
forms of, 58.
subject of, 33.
Period, uses of, 90, 91.
Periodic sentences, 130, 137.
Person, definition of, 54.
of nouns and pronouns, 54.
first, second, third, 54.
archaic second, 54.
demonstrative origin of pronouns in
endings of verbs marking, 54.
change of, in indirect quotations, 77.
Personal endings of verbs, 54.
Personal pronouns, 436.
paradigms of, 56.
Personality of writer, 14, 129.
Personification, 52, 53.
possessive case of words of, 53.
words of, capitalized, 125.
Pet words, 116a.
Phrases, definition of, 38.
prepositional, infinitive, verbal-noun,
noun, 38, 39.
adjective, 38, 39.
adverb, 38, 39.
in relation to verb-expressions, 31.
taking the place of the possessive
Plural, general and special rules for
of letters, figures, signs, etc,. 51, 94.
Poetry, first word in each line of,
Position of words as indicating relation-
of adjectives, 44.
of modifiers, 82.
(.See also order of words.)
Positive degree of comparison, 55.
Possessive adjectives and pronouns,
origin of, 43c.
paradigms of, 56.
Possessive case, definition of, 53.
rule for forming, 53.
use of the apostrophe to indicate, 53,
as modifier of substantive, 35.
of noun, 42, 53.
of pronoun, 43, 53.
of persons and things, 53.
idiomatic uses of, 53.
Potential mode, 59.
Predicate, 20, 23, 25, 33, 39.
ways of combining with subject, 21,
Predicate adjective, 32, 33, 38, 39, 44, 74.
Predicate nominative, 32, 33, 39.
noun as, 42.
pronoun as, 43.
case of, 53, 70.
Predicate object, 32, 33, 39.
case of, 53, 71.
Predicate position, 44.
Prefixes, inseparable and separable.
Prepositions, 41, 47.
in phrases, 38.
object of, 38, 47.
in verb-expressions, 31.
Prepositional phrases, 38.
Present use, 13.
Printers' details, 9.
Proclitic words, 132.
Progressive tenses, 60e.
Pronominal adjectives, 446.
Pronouns, definition of , 41, 43.
early forms and development of, 43.
kinds of, 43.
number of, 51.
gender of, 52.
case of, 53.
person of, 54.
antecedent of. 43, 72.
use of one, 436, 72.
paradigms of, 56.
in apposition, case of, 73.
/, capitalized, 125.
referring to God, capitalized, 125.
Proper nouns, 42.
Proper adjectives, 44.
Propositions, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29.
Pulsations in consciousness, 19, 20, 128.
Punctuation. See Marks of punctuation.
Qualifying adjective, 44.
Quantitative adjectives, 446.
Quantitative nouns, 42.
Quantity marks, use of, 107.
Quotation, indirect, 77.
sequence of tenses in, 77, 60.
Quotations, change of pronouns in, 77.
punctuation of, 96.
marks of, 96.
punctuation before, 104, 106.
within a quotation, punctuation of, 96.
capitalization of first word of, 125.
Reader, attention of, attracted to and
distracted by anything incorrect,
words to fit, 14, 15, 16, 114.
Receiver of the action, 29, 33.
Reciprocal use of verbs, 58.
Reciprocal pronouns, 43e.
Reflexive pronouns, 43d.
paradigm of, 56.
use of verbs with, 58.
Regular verbs, 46.
paradigm of, 64.
formation of, 65.
Relative pronouns, 430.
paradigm of, 56.
Relative adjectives, 446,
Relative clauses, explanatory and re-
explanatory, cut off by commas, 102.
Relative adverbs, 48, 43/.
Restrictions, of correct use, 8-11.
of good use, 12-16.
geographical, local, technical, col-
loquial, temporal, archaic, slang,
of fitness, indecent, unfit, vulgar,
Restrictive relative clauses, 38, 102.
Resultant predicate adjective, 34, 39.
Resultant object, 34, 39.
Semicolon, uses of, 100, 101, 105.
Sentence, analysis of (structure of),
synthesis of, Chapter VIII.
definition of, 19.
as unit of expression, 19.
as combination of subject and predi-
cate, 19, 20, 21, 23.
as a proposition, 22.
of one member, 20.
kinds according to idea expressed, 36.
simple, compound, and complex, 37,
fundamental elements of, 24, 39.
modified by adverbs, 35.
parts of, with no structural relations,
first word of, capitalized, 125.
length of, 127-131.
Separable prefixes, 31, 82.
Separable qualities expressed by adjec-
Series, marks to indicate, 99.
of unequals, marks to indicate, 100.
of equals, 101.
Shaksperean use of indirect object of
personal interest, 34.
of shall and will, QOn.
of adjectives and adverbs, 74.
Shall, auxiliary, 60ra.
paradigm of, 62.
Should, auxiliary, 60f.
paradigm of, 62.
in conditional mode, 59.
Sign of infinitive, 38, 42.
Signs, plural of, 51, 94.
Simple tenses, 606, c.
Single consonants, 121.
Singular number, 51.
Slang, meaning of the term as used
use and abuse of, 12, 14, 116.
Speech, parts of, Chapter III.
chaotic condition of English, 118.
practical suggestions as to, 119-124.
final e, 120.
double or single consonants, 121.
final y, 122.
obscure vowels, 123.
words ending in -al or -le, 124.
Split infinitives, 82.
Standardization of words, 12.
State of being, verbs expressing, 26,
Stress. See emphasis and accent.
Strong verbs, 46.
formation of, 65.
Subject, definition of, 20, 19, 23, 24, 33,
possible omission of, 24.
expressed by two substantives, 24.
ways of combining, with predicate, 21,
grammatical, 23, 35, note.
logical, 35, note.
noun as, 42.
pronoun as, 43.
of active and of passive, 33, 34.
case of, 53, 67, 68.
Subject matter, determining choice of
words, 14, 113.
determining the length of sentences,
Subjunctive mode, 59.
Subordinating conjunctions, 48.
Substance more important than form,
Substantive, 24, 39, 41.
(See also noun and pronoun),
in apposition, agreement of, 73.
Superlative degree of comparison, for-
mation of, 55.
Surnames, with titles, plural of, 51.
Synthesis of sentences, Chapter VIII.
131, 135, 136.
Taste, good, 12-16.
how developed, 15.
Technical language, 12, 14, 114a.
Tense, definition of, 60.
formation of, 60.
use and meaning of, 60.
explanation of the different forms, 60.
Terms, grammatical, 20 note.
The used as an adverb. 45.
See also definite article.
There, adverb, introducing verb, 46, 69.
Things, possessive case of noun stand-
ing for, 53.
Thought, logical, 1.
requiring living form of expression,
Tilde, use of, 107.
Time, distinctions in, expressed by
present, past, and future, 60.
a relative matter depending upon
point from which act is viewed, 60.
Titles, of books, etc., capitalized, 125.
official, with surnames,capitalized, 125.
To be, 22, 26, 27, 33.
paradigm of, 61.
Trinity, names of members of, capital-
Transitive verbs, 29, 30, 33.
Translation, 7, 31, 45. 82.
Umlaut, marked by dieresis, 107.
Unfit language, 12, 14.
Use, correct, 8-11.
Variation in form of words, Chapter IV.
in order of words, 86.
in length of sentences, 131.
Verb, definition of, 25, 26-33, 41, 46.
kinds of, 26-29, 33, 46.
paradigms of, 30, 33, 39, 61-64.
formation of, 65.
requiring complement, 32.
agreement of, with subject, 69.
followed by adjective or adverb, 74.
Verbal nouns, 38, 42, 44.
with prepositions, forming verb-ex-
Verbal adjectives, 38, 42, 44.
Verbal phrase, 38.
Verb-expressions, 31, 34.
Virgin Mary, names of capitalized, 125.
of nouns, 42.
of pronouns, 43.
case of, 53.
cut off by commas, 102.
O, capitalized, 125.
distinguished from exclamative,
oh, 93. <
Vocative case, in Latin, etc., 53.
Voice, active, 29, 30, 33.
Voice, passive, 29, 30, 33. Words, as parts of speech, Chapter III.
subject of, 33. variations of form of, Chapter IV.
agent, 29, 33. determination of forms of, Chapter V.
formation of, 58. of affirmation or denial, 40(4).
middle, reflexive, reciprocal, 58. order and grouping of, Chapter VI.
Vowels, obscure, spelling of, 123. division of, 95.
Vulgarisms, 12. choice of, 109-116.
pronunciation of, 117.
Weak verbs, 46. spelling of, 118-124.
paradigm of, 64. capitalization of, 125.
formation of, 65. kinds of, 12, 14, 110-116.
Will, auxiliary, 60n. compound, 95.
paradigm, 62. Would, auxiliary, 60.
Words, as implements of expression, 1. paradigm, 62.
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