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weakens the strength of expression. The more simple and brief the form which is used, the better.

In instances then where good use is not uniform in her decisions, perspicuity and variety, as leading us to assign one uniform signification to words, together with the analogy of the language, harmony of sound, and simplicity of expression, are the principles to.which we should refer.

These principles are stated in the following rules which may be applied to the examination of the examples referred to at the close of the chapter.

Rule 1. When two forms of a word have been used with the same signification, and one of these forms is sometimes found used in a different sense, its use should be restricted to this latter meaning; and the other form should be used only in that sense which has hitherto been common to both.

Rule 2. Of two forms of a word which are each supported by good use, we should prefer that which is agreeable to the analogy of the language.

Rule 3. If two forms of a word are supported by equal authority, and are in other respects equally appropriate, the sound may determine us in our choice.

Rule 4. In doubtful cases, when the preceding rules will not apply, simplicity should be the ground of preference.

Cautions against the most frequent violations of the principles of Verbal Criticism:

From the statements that have now been made, we learn that to use words with propriety, is to use them in that manner which is authorized by writers of reputation. The most important of those rules, by which we are to be governed in cases where authorities are divided, have also been stated. Some of the most frequent violations of the principles of Verbal Criticism will now be

enumerated, and those cautions given which are most needed on this subject.

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"The lamb is tame in its disposition.' Here the word tame is incorrectly used for gentle;-tameness is superinduced by discipline-gentleness belongs to the natural disposition.

"Herschel discovered the telescope."-In this sentence the word discover is incorrectly used for invent. We discover what was before hidden; we invent what is new.

"Caius Mucius displayed courage, when he stood unmoved with his hand in the fire."

Here courage is incorrectly used for fortitude. It is courage that enables us to meet danger; but fortitude gives us strength to endure pain.

In these instances, the words which are substituted, resemble in meaning those which are displaced. Such words are said to be synonymous. They agree in expressing the same principal idea, but some accessory circumstance produces a shade of difference in their meaning. As the English language is characterized by copiousness, there is great danger of confounding terms which are synonymous. Hence in the use of words, we should be careful not to confound those which are synonymous.

"We must attend our Creator in all those ordinances which he has prescribed to the observation of his church.” Here the word observation is evidently used instead of observance, which it resembles in sound.

"The endurance of his speech was for an hour."Here the word endurance, which signifies suffering, is used for duration, which implies length of time. If a speech be dull and continue for an hour, we may speak of the endurance of those who listen to it; but in the example here given, the word is wrongly used for duration.

In these instances, a similarity of sound has led to mistake. Hence, in the use of words, we should avoid confounding those which are similar in sound.

"Meanwhile the Britons, left to shift for themselves, were forced to call in the Saxons to their aid."

"He passed his time at the court of St. James's, currying favour with the minister."

The expressions "left to shift for themselves," and "currying favour," found in these sentences, are most frequently heard in the conversation of men destitute of refinement and information. They are beneath the dignity of the historical style. Like clowns when admitted to the society of polite, well-informed men, they appear out of place. Other expressions equally significant, and better suited to the subject, might be substituted. Hence then we learn that low words and phrases, or such as are usually termed vulgarisms, are to be avoided.

We are liable to err in violation of this rule, from the circumstance, that many words are used in common conversation, which are not suited to the dignity of a written discourse. I might infer from this, the importance of keeping good company, and being choice in the selection of our words. Evil communications not only corrupt good manners, but good language.

"I have considered the subject in its integrity."

The writer here means, that he has considered the whole of the subject; but in expressing this idea, he uses a word in its Latin signification. Integrity, in the sense of wholeness, is not in common use by those who write and speak the English language correctly. Other instances might be cited, in which words have ascribed to them a meaning derived from the Greek, French, or other languages. Such instances are called Latinisms, Grecisms, etc. They cause much obscurity to those who are ignorant of the meaning of the word in its native language, and there is an air of pedantry about expres

sions of this kind, which renders them disgusting. Hence then the caution may be given, Avoid using words in foreign significations.

We often find in reputable English writers, words and phrases which belong to a foreign language; and among those most frequently introduced are the following: coup d'œil-corps de reserve-stans pede in uno-miscere utile dulci. Sometimes this practice is carried to an extent, which savours of pedantry, and to any person unacquainted with the language of the quotations, it obscures the meaning. Foreign words and phrases, when thus introduced, are designed either to convey some striking thought in a more bold, sententious manner, than could otherwise be done, or to give a happy turn of expression. A proper limit should therefore be observed in their introduction. Whenever we have in our own language, a word or phrase equally expressive and striking, a writer cannot be justified in supplanting it by the use of one that is foreign.

The most frequent instances of the violation of the principles of Verbal Criticism, are in the introduction of new words. So much however has been said on this point, that it is unnecessary to give either examples or rules.

The inquiry may here arise, whether Johnson's Dictionary, or any other, is to be regarded as a standard, to which we may in all cases refer for the decisions of Verbal Criticism? To this inquiry I answer, that since the words of a language are ever changing, some becoming obsolete, and others coming into use, it is impossible that any Dictionary can continue, for a long time, to be a standard of good usage. In regard to Johnson, there are many words now in good use, which are not found in his Dictionary, and many, there found, have become obsolete in the sense he has ascribed to them. Where then is the standard? The principles

stated in this chapter give the answer.

There is none,

except that which the finished scholar forms for himself from his familiarity with good models of writing. And if he possesses this familiarity, he may conclude, that if a word strikes him as new or strange, it should be considered a word used without good authority, and which should be avoided, unless some necessity for its use exists.



The design of this section is to treat of the composition of sentences, so far as the clear conveyance of the author's meaning depends on skill in the use of language.

Sentences are either simple or complex. A simple sentence consists of a single member. A complex sentence consists of several members, and these members are sometimes subdivided into clauses. "The sun shines." This is a simple sentence. "The sun, that rises in the morning and sets at night, gives light to all those who dwell on the face of the earth." This is a complex sentence, and consists of two members, each of which is made up of two clauses.

The principle by which the writer is guided, in dividing a discourse into sentences, is, that where he makes this division, he considers the exhibition of his thought as complete. Sometimes in making this exhibition several members are necessary; and where these members are so closely connected, that the reader cannot stop before the conclusion of the sentence with any distinct thought in his mind, the sentence is called a period. If there is one or more places, where he may stop, a distinct thought having been stated, the sentence is called a loose sentence. This distinction will be clearly seen in the following examples :-" To eye God in all our comforts, and observe the smiling aspects of his face,

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