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Mine and thine were formerly used before a noun or adjective, beginning with a vowel, or a silent h, instead of my and thy; as " Blot out all mine iniquities."
The reason why gender has respect only to the third person of the pronouns is probably this; the persons speaking, and spoken to, are supposed to be present, so that their sex is known; but the person or thing spoken of being often absent, and in many respects unknown, it is necessary that it should be marked by a distinction of gender.
In the compound personal pronouns, the nominative and objective cases are in form and spelling alike; as "He himself did it. He did it for himself. They went themselves. They went for themselves."
The propriety of admitting his, hers, ours, yours, &o. as possessive cases of the personal pronouns, has been disputed, though the nature and meaning of these words, and the concurrent practice of our first grammarians, have assigned them this rank and denomination It has been alleged, that these supposed possessives are actually used in the nominative and objective cases; and that therefore our classification must be erroneous. The. instances offered in support of this allegation, are such as the following: "My pleasures are past; hers and yours are to come:" "They applauded his conduct, but condemned hers and yours." A little reflection will, however, show that these pronouns, in the examples produced, are not in the nominative and objective cases, but in the possessive case. The following appears to be the true construction of these sentences: "My pleasures are past; the pleasures of her and of you are to come;" "They applauded his conduct, but condemned the conduct of her and of you*." That this is the right construction will more clearly appear, if we substitute nouns for the pronouns: " My pleasures, are past; Mary's and Ann's are to come:" "They applauded his conduct, but condemned Mary's and Ann's:" that is, "Mary's and Ann's pleasures; Mary's and Ann's conduct."
The objection too, that the phrase, "An acquaintance of yours," supposes the same word to admit of two deferent signs of the case, seems to be of no validity. Instances of a double possessive are not uncommon in our language, and they are far from implying any absurdity. We properly say, " An acquaintance of Pe/er's;" "A soldier of the A^ng-'s."
The possessives under consideration, like other parts of grammar, may indeed have some properties peculiar to themselves; and may not, in their present form, be readily accommodated to every circumstance belonging to the possessive cases of nouns: but they should not, on this slight pretence, be dispossessed of the right and; privilege, which, from time immemorial, they have enjoyed.
Questions on the Review. Does the pronoun ever refer to anything besides a noun ?—What is person in grammar ?—Why has gender respect only to the third person of the pronouns ?— Are himself and themselves ever in the nominative case? —Give an instance of a double possessive.
Relative Pronouns are such as relate, in general, to some word or phrase going before, which is thence called the antecedent. They are who, which, and that.— What is called a compound relative, including both the antecedent and relative, and is equivalent to that ivhich. Who is applied to persons, and which to animals and things. Who is of both numbers, and is thus declined:
Who, which, and what, when used in asking questions, are called interrogatives.
Adjective Pronouns are of a mixed nature, partaking the properties both of pronouns and adjectives. They may be subdivided into four sorts, viz. the possessive, the distributive, the demonstrative, and indefinite.
The possessive are those which relate. to possession or property. There are seven of them, viz. my, thy, his, her, our, your, their. —The distributive are those which denote the persons or things that make up a number, as taken separately or singly. They are each, every, and either.—The demonstrative are those which precisely point out the subject to which they relate. Of this class are this, that, these, and those.—The indefinite are those which express their subjects in an indefinite or general manner. The following are of this kind; some, other, any, one, all, such, &c.
Which and what are not unfrequently used as adjective pronouns, particularly in asking questions; as, " What book is this?" "Which thing I also did."
What are relative pronouns ?—Which are they ?—What is said of the pronoun what ?— How is who declined ?—What are called interrogatives ?—What are adjective pronouns? —How may they be subdivided ?—What are the possessive adjective pronouns ?—Which are they ?—Define the distributive adjective pronouns.—Which are they ?—What is said of the demonstrative adjective pronouns ?— Which are they ?—What are the indefinite adjective pronouns ?—Which are they ?—What other words are sometimes used as adjective pronouns?
"I am the man loho went. This is the horse . which carried us. Here is the boy that drove us.".—Which are the relative pronouns in these sentences ?—To what preceding noun does each of them refer ?—In what case is each?
"This is what I wanted. - Who brought it?" —What kind of pronoun is what ?—What is ivho?
"My pen, and your pen, will write well. Either lesson is easy. You finish that part, and I will finish thesp. Then all the work will be done."—How many adjective pronouns are there in these sentences ?—Which are they; and to which class does each of them belong ?—With what nouns are they severaK ly connected ?—Please to tell me how each of the following adjective pronouns should be classed; such, some, this, each, her, any, their.
That is chiefly used, as a relative, to prevent the too frequent repetition of who and whidh. It is applied to both persons and things.
Relative pronouns must agree with the nouns to which they refer in gender, number, and person; the personal pronouns agree only in gender and number; as, " Lazarus, who art dead, come forth. And he came forth."
Wlio and which have sometimes the words ever and soever annexed to them; as, whoever, whichever; whosoever, whichsoever.
The relative pronoun, when Used interrogatively relates to a word or phrase which is not antecedent but subsequent to the relative; as " who is this? John." Here John is the noun to which the relative or interrogative who refers.
Whether was formerly made use of to signify interrogation: as, " Whether of these shall I choose?" but it is now seldom used, the interrogative which being substituted for it. Some grammarians think that the use of it should be revived, as, like either and neither it points to the dual number, and would contribute to render our expressions concise and definite.
Some writers have classed the interrogatives as a separate kind of pronouns: but they are too nearly related to the relative pronouns, both in nature and form, to render such a division proper. They do not, in fact, lose the character of relatives, when they become interrogatives. The only difference is, that without an interrogation, the relatives have reference to a subject which is antecedent, definite, and known; with an interrogation, to a subject which is subsequent, indefinite and unknown, and which it is expected that the answer should express and ascertain.
His may be either a possessive adjective pronoun, or a personal pronoun in the possessive case. If the former, it is usually placed before the noun to which it bu longs; as "his hat, his book;" but if the latter, it follow * the noun by which it is governed; as "this hat is his.
The words own and self are used in conjunction witt possessive adjective pronouns. Own is joined to pos sessives in both the singular and plural number, and renders the expression emphatical; as, " I live in my owti house. She has her own friends."—Self, joined to possessive adjective pronouns, converts them into compound personal pronouns; as, " I went after him myself. You yourselves know I did."
Possessive adjective pronouns admit of no variation, whatever may be the number or case of the nouns to which they belong.