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6st, righiest, most universal, most supreme,' &c. The following. expressions are therefore improper. 'He sometimes claims admission to the cliiefest offices;' 'The quarrel became so universal and national;' 'A method of attaining the righiest and greatest happiness.' The phrases, so perfect, so right, so extreme, so universal, &c. are incorrect; because they imply that one thing is less perfect, less extreme, &c. than another, which is not possible.
Inaccuracies are often found in the way in which the degrees of comparison are applied and construed. The following are examples of wrong construction in this respect: 'This noble nation hath, of all others, admitted fewer corruptions.' The word/eioer'is here construed precisely as if it were the superlative. It should be, 'This noble nation hath admitted fewer corruptions than any other.' We commonly say, 'This is the weaker of the two;' or, 'The weakest of the two;' but the former is the regular mode of expression, because there are only two things compared 'The vice of covetousness is what enters deepest into the soul of any other.' 'He celebrates the church of England as the most perfectof all others.' Both these modes of expression are faulty: we should not say, 'The best of any man,' or,
other, without varying the sense or the construction, that other verb must also be connected with an adjective. The following sentences elucidate these observations: 'This is agreeable to our interest; That behaviour was not suitable to his station; Rules should be conforma
ble to sense;' 'The rose smells sweet; How sweet the hay smells!
How delightful the country appears! How pleasant the fields look!
are was is
The clouds look dark; How black the sky looked! The apple tastes
sour! How bitter the plums tasted! He feels happy.' In all these sentences, we can, with perfect propriety, substitute some tenses of the verb to be, for the other verbs. But in the following sentences we cannot do this: 'The dog smells disagreeably; George feels exquisitely; How pleasantly she looks at us'.'
The directions contained in this note are offered as useful, not as complete and unexceptionable. Anomalies in language everywhere encounter us; but we must not reject rules, because they are attend »1 with exceptions.
'The best of any other man,' for 'the best of men.' The sentences may be corrected by substituting the comparative in the room of the superlative. 'The vice, Slc. is what enters deeper into the soul than any other.' < 'He celebrates, &c. as more perfect, or less imperfect, than any other.' It is also possible to retain the superlative, and render the expression grammatical, 'Covetousness, of all vices, enters the deepest into the soul.' 'He celebrates, &c. as the most perfect of all churches.' These sentences contain other errors, against which it ia proper to caution the learner. The words deeper, and deepest, being intended for adverbs, should have been more deeply, most deeply. The phrases more perfect, and most perfect, are improper ; because perfection admits of no degrees of comparison. We may say nearer or nearest to perfection, or more or less imperfect.
In some cases, adjectives. should not be separated from their substantives, even by words which modify their meaning, and make but one sense with them; as; 'A large enough number surely.' It should be,' a number large enough.' 'The lower sort of people are good enough judges of one not very distant from them.'
The adjective is usually placed before its substantive: as, ' A generous man;' 'How amiable a woman!' The instances in which it comes after the substantive, are the following:
1st, When something depends upon the adjective ; and when it gives a better sound, especially in poetry: as, 'A man generous to his enemies:' 'Feed me with food convenient for me;' 'A tree three feet thick;' 'A body of troops fifty thousand strong;' ' The torrent tumbling through rocks abrupt.'
2d, When the adjective is emphatical: as,' Alexander the Great;' 'Lewis the Bold;' 'Goodness infinite;' 'Wisdom unsearchable.'
3d, When several adjectives belong to one substantive : as, 'A man just, wise, and charitable;' 'A woman modest, sensible, and virtuous.'
4th, When the adjective is preceded by an adverb: as, 'A boy regularly studious;' ' A girl unaffectedly modest.'
5th, When the verb to be, in any of its variations, comes between a substantive and an adjective, th« adjective may frequently either precede or follow it: as, 'The man is happy? or, 'happy is the man who makes virtue his choice :' ' The interview was delightful;' or, ' delightful was the interview.'
6th, When the adjective expresses some circumstance of a substantive placed after an active verb : as, ' Vanity often renders its possessor despicable.' In an exclamatory sentence, the adjective generally precedes the substantive ; as, ' How despicable does vanity often render its possessor!'
There is sometimes great beauty, as well as force, in placing the adjective before the verb, and the substantive immediately after it : as, 'Great is the Lord! just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!'
Sometimes the word all is emphatically put after a number of particulars comprehended under it. 'Ambition, interest, honour, all concurred.' Sometimes a substantive, which likewise comprehends the preceding particulars, i3 used in conjunction with this adjective pronoun: as, 'Royalists, republicans, churchmen, sectaries, courtiers, patriots, all parties, concur in the illusion.'
A substantive with its adjective is reckoned as one compound word; whence they often take another adjective, and sometimes a third, and so on: as, 'An old man; a good old man; a very learned, judicious, good old man.'
Though the adjective always relates to a substantive, it is, in many instances, put us if it were absolute ; especially where the noun has been mentioned before, or is easily understood, though not expressed : 'I often survey the green fields, as I am very fond of green;' 'The wise, the virtuous, the honored, famed, and great,' that is, 'persons ;' ' The twelve,' that is, ' apostles ;' ' Have compassion on the poor ; be feet to the lame, and eyes to the blind.'
Substantives are often used as adjectives. In this case, the word so used is sometimes unconnected with the substantive to which it relates ; sometimes connected with it by a hyphen ; and sometimes joined to it, so as to make the two words coalesce. The total separation is proper, when either of the two words is long, or when they cannot be fluently pronounced as one word : as,' an adjective pronoun, a silver watch, a stone cistern :' the hyphen is used, when both the words are short, and are readily pronounced as a single word : as, ' coal-mine, corn-mill, fruit-tree ;' the words coalesce, when they are readily pronounced together ; have a long established association ; and are in frequent use ; as, ' honeycomb, gingerbread, inkhorn, Yorkshire.'
Sometimes the adjective becomes a substantive, and has another adjective joined to it : as,' The chief good;' 'T«he vast immense of space.'
Some adjectives of number are more easily converted into substantives, than others. Thus we more readily say, ' A million of men,' than ' a thousand of men.' On the other hand, it will hardly be allowable to say, ' A million men,' whereas, ' a thousand men,' is quite fami liar. Yet in the plural number, a different construction seems to be required. We say, 'some hundreds,' or 'thousands,' as well as ' millions of men.' Perhaps, on this account, the words millions, hundreds, and thousands, will be said to be substantives.
When an adjective has a preposition before it, ami the substantive is understood, the words assume the na ture of an adverb, and may be considered as an adverbial phrase ; as, 'In general, in particular, in common,' &c. ; that is, ' Generally, particularly, commonly.'
Enoio was formerly used as the plural of enough : but it is now obsolete.
Of Rule XIV.—The preposition of joined to a substantive, is frequently equivalent to the possessive case: as,.'A Christian's hope,' 'The hope of a Christian.' But it is only so, when the expression can be converted into the regular form of the possessive case. We can say, 'The reward of virtue,' and 'Virtue's reward;' but though it is proper to say, 'A crown of gold,' we cannot convert the expression into the possessive case, and say, ' Gold's crown.'
Substantives govern pronouns as well as nouns, in the possessive case : as, 'Every tree is known by Us fruit;' 'Goodness brings Us reward ;' ' That desk is minc.,
The genitive Us is often improperly used for 'tis or it is : as, ' Its my book ;' instead of, ' it is my book.'
The pronoun his, when detached from the noun to which it relates, is to be considered, not as a possessive adjective pronoun, but as the genitive case of the personal pronoun : as, ' This composition is his.' 'Whose book is that?' 'His.' If we use the noun itself, we should say, 'This composition is John's.' 'Whose book is that?' 'Eliza's.' The position will be still more evident, when we consider that,both the pronouns, in the following sentence, must have a similar construction : ' Is it her or his honor that is tarnished?' 'It is not hers, but his.'
Sometimes a substantive in the genitive or possessive case stands alone, the latter one by which it is governed being understood : as, ' I called at the bookseller's,' that is, ' at the bookseller's shop.'
If several nouns come together in the possessive case, the apostrophe with s is annexed to the last, and understood in the rest : as, 'John and Eliza's books :' ' This was my father, mother, and uncle's advice.' But when any words intervene, perhaps on account of the increased pause, the sign of the possessive should be annexed to each : as, 'They are John's as well as Eliza's books;' I had the physician's, the surgeon's, and the apothecary's assistance.' The following distinction, on this point, appears to be worthy of attention. When any subject or subjects are considered as the common property of two or more persons, the sign of the possessive case is fixed only to the name of the last person : as, 'This is Henry, William, and Joseph's estate.' But when several subjects are considered, as belonging separately to distinct individuals, the names of the individuals have the sign of the possessive case annexed to each of them : as, ' These are Henry's, William's, and Joseph's estates.'—It is, however, better to say, 'It was the advice of my father, mother, and uncle ;' ' I had the assistance of the physician, the surgeon, and the apothe-r cary;' 'This estate belongs in common to Henry, William, and Joseph.'
Jattle explanatory circumstances are particularly awkward between a genitive case, and the word which usually follows it : as, ' She began to extol the farmer's, as she called him, excellent understanding.' It ought to be, ' the excellent understanding of the farmer, as she called him.'—The word in the genitive case is frequently