Page images

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 apothecary ;' 'This estate belongs in common to Henry, William, and Joseph.'

Little 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

placed improperly: as, ' This fact appears from Dr. Pearson of Birmingham's experiments.' It should be, "from the experiments of Dr. Pearson of Birmingham.'

When a sentence consists of terms signifying a name and an office, or of any expressions by which one part is descriptive or explanatory of the other, it may occasion some doubt to which of them the sign of the genitive case should be annexed : or whether it should be subjoined to them both. Thus, some would say, I left the parcel at Smith's the bookseller ;' others, at Smith the bookseller's ;' and perhaps others, ' at Smith's the bookseller's.' The first of these forms is most agreeable to the English idiom; and if the addition consists in two or more words, the case seems to be less dubious : as, I left the parcel at Smith's, the bookseller and stationer.' The point will be still clearer, if we supply the ellipsis in these sentences, and give the equivalent phrases, at large : thus, I left the parcel at the house of Smith the bookseller ;' I left it at Smith the house of the bookseller ;' I left it at the house of Smith the house of the bookseller. By this process, it is evident, that only the first mode of expression is correct and proper. But as this subject requires a little further explanation to make it intelligible to the learners, I shall add a few observations calculated to unfold its principles.

A phrase in which the words are so connected and dependent, as to admit of no pause before the conelusion, necessarily requires the genitive sign at or near the end of the phrase : as, 'Whose prerogative is it? It is the king of Great Britain's ; " That is the duke of Bridgwater's canal ;' The bishop of Landaff's excellent book The Lord mayor of London's authority' 'The captain of the guard's house.'

When words in apposition follow each other in quick succession, it seems also most agreeable to our idiom, to give the sign of the genitive a similar situation ; especially if the noun which governs the genitive be expressed : as, ' The emperor Leopold's;' Dionysius the iyrant's;' For David my servant's sake;' Give me John the Baptist's head ;' Paul the apostle's advice.' But when a pause is proper, and the governing noun

not expressed ; and when the latter part of the sentence is extended; it appears to be requisite that the sign should be applied to the first genitive, and understood to the other : as, I reside at Lord Stormont's, my old patron and benefactor ; ' Whose glory did he emulate ? He emulated Cæsar's, the greatest general of antiquity.” In the following sentences, it would be very awkward to place the sign, either at the end of each of the clauses, or at the end of the latter one alone : as, 'These psalms are David's, the king, priest, and prophet of the Jewish people :' "We staid a month at lord Lyttleton's, the ornament of his country, and the friend of every virtue.'. The sign of the genitive case may very properly be understood at the end of these members, an ellipsis at the latter part of the sentences being a common construction in our language ; as the learner will see by one or two examples : “They wished to submit, but he did not ;' that is, he did not wish to submit;

He said it was their concern, but not his ;' that is, not his concern.'

The English genitive has often an unpleasant sound; so that we daily make more use of the participle of to express the same relation. There is something awkward in the following sentences, in which this method has not been taken. The general in the army's name, published a declaration.' "The common's vote.' "The lord's house.' 'Unless he is very ignorant of the kingdom's condition. It were certainly better to say, 'In the name of the army ;' «The votes of the commons ;' • The house of lords ;' The condition of the kingdom.? It is also rather hard to use two English genitives with the same substantive : as, 'Whom he acquainted with the pope's and the king's pleasure.' "The pleasure of the pope and the king,' would have been better.

We sometimes meet with three substantives dependent on one another, and connected by the preposition of applied to each of them : as, “ The severity of the distress of the son of the king, touched the nation ;' but this mode of expression is not to be recommended. It would be better to say, 'The severe distress of the king's son, touched the nation. We have a striking instance of this laborious mode of expression, in the following

sentence : ' Of some of the books of each of these classes of literature, a catalogue will be given at the end of the work.'

In some cases, we use both the genitive termination and the preposition of : as, 'It is a discovery of Sir Isaac Newton's.". Sometimes indeed, unless we throw the sentence into another form, this method is absolutely necessary, in order to distinguish the sense, and to give the idea of property, strictly so called, which is the most important of the relations expressed by the genitive case : for the expressions, " This picture of my friend,' and “This picture of my friend's,' suggest very different ideas. The latter only is that of property in the strictest sense. The idea would, doubiless, be conveved in a better manner, by saying, 'This picture belongs to my friend.'

When this double genitive, as some grammarian: term it, is not necessary to distinguish the sense, and especially in a grave style, it is generally omitted. Mixcept to prevent ambiguity, it seems allowable only in cases which suppose the existence of a plurality of subjects of the same kind. In the expressions, "A subject of the emperor's;' " A sentiment of my brother's;' more than one subject and one sentiment, are supposed to belong to the possessor. But when this plurality is neither intimated, nor necessarily supposed, the double geritive, except as before mentioned, should not be usent: as, "This house of the governor is very commodious;'. The crown of the king was stolen;" That privilege of the scholar was never abused.' But after all that can be said for this double genitive, as it is termed, some orammarians think, that it would be better to avoid the use of it altogether, and to give the sentiment another form of expression.

When an entire clause of a sentence, beginning with à participle of the present tense, is used as one p .me, or to express one idea or circumstance, the nove on which it depends may be put in the genitive case; hus instead of saying, "What is the reason of this persor dismissing his servant so hastily?' that is, "What is the 'cason of this person, in dismissing his servant so hasi 'y?' we may say, and perhaps ought to say, 'What is the sa

son of this person's dismissing of his servant so hastily?! Just as we say, "What is the reason of this person's hasty dismission of his servant?' So also, we say, 'I remember it being reckoned a great exploit;' or more properly, 'I remember it's being reckoned, &c. The following sentence is correct and proper: 'Much will depend on the pupil's composing, but more on his reading frequently.'. It would not be accurate to say, 'Much will depend on the pupil composing,' &c. We also properly say; “This will be the effect of the pupil's composing frequently;' instead of, 'Of the pupil composing frequent ly.' The participle, in such constructions, does the office of a substantive; and it should therefore have a correspondent regimen.

Questions on the Revier. Are there no exceptions to Rule VI ?-What are they ? To what should we have special regard, in using the noun of multitude ?-When the noun of multitude is preceded and limited by a definitive word, &c. in what number must the verb be? ---What difference is mentioned between the relative pronoun and others ? What must every relative pronoun have ?-Does the relative always refer to a particular word ?-Is there any case in which which is used in respect to persons ? -When the relative is preceded by two nominatives of different persons, with which may it agree ?-What is the nature and office of the article ?-In what cases has the indefinite article the meaning of each or every ?What adjectives must agree in number with their nouns? - Is there danger of using adjectives as adverbs, and adverbs as adiectives ?-What consideration must guide us in this respect ? (See Note) -What adjectives do not admit of the comparative and superlative form - In what instances should the adjective be placed after its substantive?


« PreviousContinue »