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Discriminate in the use of SELDOM. Don't
say, “He comes seldom or ever"; say, “sel dom if ever,” or “seldom or never."
Discriminate between SET and Sit. To set
means to put, to place, to plant, to fix. To sit means to rest on the haunches, to remain in a state of repose, to perch, as a bird, etc. We set apart, set aside, set about, and set down (some article), or (in writing). We sit on a chair, or a horse. We sit up and sit down. We set a hen, and a hen sits on eggs. We should say, therefore, “ As cross as a sitting (not setting) hen.”
Discriminate between SHALL and WILL. The
Imperial Dictionary” says: (a.) “ Shall is used as an auxiliary to express mere futurity, forming the first persons singular and plural
of the future tense (including the future perfect), and simply foretelling or declaring what is to take place = am to, are to; as, ‘I or we shall ride to town on Monday. This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. Of course, there may be an intention or determination in the mind of the speaker, but shall does not express this in the first person, though will does; I will go, being equivalent to I am determined to go, I have made up my mind to go. Hence, I will be obliged, or we will be forced, to go, is quite wrong. The rest of the simple future is formed by the auxiliary will; that is to say, the future in full is, I shall, thou wilt, he will, we shall, you will, they will. In indirect narrative, however, shall may express mere futurity in the second
and third persons in such sentences as, he says or thinks he shall go. (6.) In the second and third persons shall implies (1) control or authority on the part of the speaker, and is used to express a promise, command, or determination; as, you shall receive your wages; he shall receive his wages; these phrases having the force of a promise in the person uttering them; thou shalt not kill; he may refuse to go, but for all that he shall go. (2) Or it implies necessity or inevitability, futurity thought certain and answered for by the speaker.
•Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend.'--Shakespeare.
.He that escapes me without some broken limb shall acquit him well.'—Shakespeare.
" In the first person, I (we) will, the word de
notes willingness, consent, intention, or promise; and, when emphasized, it indicates determination or fixed purpose; as, I will go, if you please; I will go at all hazards; I will have it in spite of him. In the second and third persons will expresses only a simple future or certainty, the idea of volition, purpose, or wish being lost; thus, you will go,' or 'he will go,' indicates a future event only. The second person may also be used as a polite command; as, you will be sure to do as I have told you.-As regards will in questions, Mr. R. Grant White lays down the following rules: 'Will is never to be used as a question with the first person; as, will I go? A man can not ask if he wills to do anything that he must know and only he knows. . . . As a question, will in the second
person asks the intention of the person addressed; as, will you go to-morrow ?—that is, do you mean to go to-morrow? ... As a question, will in the third person asks what is to be the future action of the person spoken of, with a necessary reference to intention; as, will he go?—that is, Is he going? Does he mean to go, and is his going sure?' Simple futurity with the first person is appropriately expressed by shall.”
SHOULD and WOULD follow the general rules
of shall and will. Would is often used for should; should rarely for would. Mr. R. Grant White says: “I do not know in English literature another passage in which the distinction between shall and will and would and should is at once so elegantly, so various