« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
STŘICTURES ON MURRAY'S GRAMMAR,
(Continued from page 429.)
We cannot expect to resolve into their ancient forms all the words which ignorance, a detective system of etymology, or the natural inclination to clip and contract words in common use, may have rendered so unlike their original, that the relation can hardly be discovered; but it is really an object to reduce to their original class all such as may be reduced without doing violence to any etymological or grammatical principle.
We have already referred the article and the possessive case of nouns to the class of adjectives. To this class also we have referred nouns used as adjectives, whether united to the other noun by a hyphen or not.* To this class we must also bring all the pronouns and all the participles, when used as adjectives.
Murray says, "An adjective is a word added to a substantive to express its Quality.'--As he calls the numerals and ordinals adjectives, it is presumed that by restricting or limiting the meaning of nouns, he supposed they qualified them; we shall therefore use his definition in this more extensive signification. Again, 'an adjectire may be known by its making sense with the word Thing after it.' He likewise says, somewhere, “An adjective cannot muke sense by itself, but must have a noun, expressed or understood, to which it belongs.'
To guide us in our remarks we shall class adjectives under sereral heads.
1. Words allowed by all to be adjectives, expressing quality, and, of course, allowing degrees of comparison.
2. Words expressing number and order, which of course admit of no comparison. Of this class are one, (and its relations none, that is, no-one, alone, only, an, a, any, many) ten, hundred, &c. first, second, third, &c. both, several, some, all, which, what, whose, each, every, either, neither, other, another, &c.
Our contributor still objects to the use of the hyphen in words situated as mentioned p. 429 His objection is founded on the following principle, " That in our wrillen language the meaning of the words must be determined by the contert; in our spoken language it is determined by the accent :' that, in either case, therefore, a hyphen is superfluous. The principle, as such, is certainly entitled to a hearty But unfortunately it is usage and not principles which, in such cases
, language, whether oral or written, acknowledges as a standard of decision. The thing becomes a question of facts
, and of practice, and not os opinion or of theory, The use of the hyphen in the cases alluded to, is a standing custom of the pro and of the press : and though ingenious and able arguments may be advanced 10 prove it theoretically wrong, it will continue to be, like every other point in established usage,--practically and actually right. Ed:
3. Words that indicate persons or things, without expressing any quality, as the, this, that, these, those. These cannot be compared
4. Adjectives indicating the person who is the agent or object of what is affirmed; as, I, me, we, us, thou, thee, ye, you, he, him, she, her, it, they, them, who.
5. Adjectives formed from those of the fourth class, and used, not merely to point out the agents or objects, but also to show their relation to some other noun. Of this class are my, mine, thy, thine, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, your, yours, their, theirs.
6. Adjectives formed from nouns without alteration, or by adding an apostrophe, with or without an s, as, glass house, man's, John's, &c.
7. Verbs which are used as adjectives without any additional termination, as, tell-tale, keep-sake, go-cart, &c.—the past or imperfect tense of all regular verbs, and of such irregulars as have the past tense and perfect participle alike; as lored, feared, &c. bent, dug, &c.
8. Verbs with the termination en or ing, and such of Murray's perfect participles of irregular verbs as differ from the past tense; as, written, loving, begun.
In regard to all the words of these eight classes we would remark, that they qualify nouns, in Murray's sense of the word; that they cannot be used without a noun; that they may be known by making sense with the word thing after them. We shall make a few particular remarks upon some of the classes.
1. Of the first class we need say nothing, for both parties agree in respect to them.
2 and 3. Murray allows all the words of the second and third classes to be either adjectives or adjective pronouns, that is, pronouns used as adjectives, except an, a, and the, which were examined under the head of articles. 4. The words in the fourth class he calls pronouns,
says 'they stand instead of nouns.' We assert that they are no more used instead of nouns than other adjectives are, whose nouns are understood. That they are generally used without the noun's being expressed, we allow, but this was not so much the case formerly as it is now; and even now, when we wish to avoid mistakes, and be very definite, we always insert the nouns. Of this, perhaps the most striking examples occur in legal forms, where, lest the pronoun (adjective) should point to the wrong word, the right one is always repeated. ' A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to aroid the too frequent repetition of the same word. This implies that the word has been once expressed, and that previously to using the pronoun.
• The man is happy, he is benevolent, he is useful." He stands instead of man, it is said.
The man is happy, happy because benevolent, happy because useful, happy because contented, &c. Is happy a pronoun also? it seems to 'stand instead of man.
Let us analyse Mr. Murray's sentence. The we have proved to be the same word as this, these, that, &c. It is then, 'This or that man is happy,' &c. He is derived from the Latin adjective Is, which becomes 1, Italian, pronounced E, and E in English with the breathing, or as we call it, H. Is, in Latin, generally means that, and is joined to a noun. The and he, then, are the same word in fact, and it is the same thing to say, the man is happy, he is benevolent, he is useful-or, the man is happy, the (man) is benerolent, the (man) is useful.
He does not stand instead of the word man, then, but instead of the word the. Even on Murray's ground, he must stand instead of the man; for he does not mean simply man, but the man before mentioned.
Besides, if pronouns stand instead of nouns previously expressed, what is to be done when the pronoun comes first? "We the subscribers.' Who art thou? What do we and who stand instead of in these sentences? Does not the first mean the we subscribers, or we persons the subscribers?' and does not the second mean, • Who person art thou?' The latter sentence will not sound so awkward when it is recollected that our who is the Latin Quis or quo, which is an adjective, and generally has the noun expressed.
We cannot be so minute in regard to the other pronouns, although in some of them their adjective nature is more apparent than in he, which we selected because it is the example adduced by Mr. Murray. A few parallel sentences must suffice to illustrate our position. I Paul, the apostle
-The I-dentical Paul, the apostle.
-That Sarah agrees.
*He and she are acknowledged to be adjectives in such words as he-goat and she-goat, that is, male goat and female goat; and as he and she did not originally have distinct genders, this must be a somewhat modern application of the words. How unsettled the gender of he, she, and il, is, may be gathered from the tact that any neuter noun may be, and many are usually called he and she, without 'a figure of speech ;' for this custon is rather an adherence to ancient usage than a modern rhetorical use of the pronouns. My carpeuter always says of his saw, she cuts well; and the sailor who never heard of rhetoric, says of the anchor, he holds, and of the ship, she brings up. We all say, Il was I, you, he, she, they; It was a man, woman, or tree. it, the same as dit French, dillo Italian, dicto Latin, hit Anglo-Saxon, means said, and, like our expression the said, may be applied to any gender. We shall leave our remarks upon the number and person of pronouns until we cume to the verb. I, thou, we, ye, you, they, have no genders.
We do not assert that in these parallel expressions the words in italic have the same meaning, although we believe they come near it; but we do assert, that they are used in the same manner and for the same purpose, and, of course, must belong to the same class of words.
5. The words of our fifth class, with the exception of hers, ours, yours, and theirs, are called adjective pronouns by Mr. Murray. The four above named he calls the possessive case of the personal pronouns. We have shown that the possessive case of nouns is merely an adjective, and there is no reason why the deputy should not share the fate of its principal. Mine and thine are allowed, sometimes at least, to be adjectives. It would be very unaccountable if the possessives singular of I, and thou might be used as adjectives, while their plural possessives could not. This book is mine, this book is ours, this book is his, this book is theirs, this book is new. If it be said that mine, his, and new can be placed before the noun, but ours, yours, hers, theirs, cannot-I answer, that it is no condition of a word's becoming an adjective that it must be placed before a noun. Our pronouns are all borrowed from the Latin, where the adjective oftener follows than precedes the noun. Besides, there are other adjectives in English which always follow their nouns, as, A man worth a million- A prisoner quite alone, &c. If any more proof is wanted of these words being adjectives in their nature and use, let another adjective be substituted for them in the following sentences.
The injuries are mine---substitute, great.
small. The day is yours;
cold. Liberty is ours;
precious. The prize is theirs;
valuable. We need not in these cases seek for a noun understood for the pronouns any more than for the acknowledged adjectives.
Besides, mine, thine, his, its, take their place before adjectives expressed, and there are but four that cannot be so placed; so that the numbers are equal, as far as that argument goes. Again, it must be recollected that ours, yours, hers, and theirs, should be written our's, your's, her's, their's,-as they actually were written in former days,—then recollect that the apostrophe and s in this case, as in the case of nouns, mean add or join, and you may place the words before the noun at once.
6. We have little to add to what we have already said on the subject of the fifth class; but cannot forbear remarking that we have lately been amused at a grave discussion of the question, wbether it is more proper to say, the Miss Howards, or the Visses Hoice ard. There can bo no doubt that the words in the plural are nouns, and the others adjectives. If we wish to distinguish the unmarried from the married Howards, we call them the Miss Howards: if we wish to distinguish these misses from other misses, we call them the Misses Howard, in which case, the word in italics is an adjective.
7. Under this head we class the present and past tenses of all regular verbs, when used without alteration, as adjectives. Perhaps we shall be better understood if we say that the past tense of regular verbs when used as an adjective, is what Murray calls the perfect participle. This, he says, has the nature of an adjective;we believe it, and rank such words accordingly.
The 8th class includes what he calls the present participle of all verbs, and the perfect participle of all irregular verbs whose participles differ from the past tense. The participle is no more a part of the verb because formed from it, than an adjective is part of a noun from which it is formed; and there is as much propriety in calling such an adjective a participle, as in so calling an adjective formed from a verb. This, of course, will set aside the passive voice and all the compound tenses of verbs, but we prefer the English jackdaw in his plain suit of black, to the gaudy one bedecked with the borrowed finery of foreign peacocks.