Page images
PDF
EPUB

much of the hissing sound, or increase the difficulty of pronunciation, the omission takes place even in prose: as, “ For righteousness' sake;" “ For conscience' sake.”

3. 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.”

4. 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 of two or more words, the case seems to be less dubious; as, “I left the parcel at Smith's, the bookseller and stationer.” But as this subject, requires a little further explanation to make it intelligible to the learners, we shall add a few observations tending to unfold its principles.

A phrase in which the words are so, connected and de pendent, as to admit of no pause before the conclusion, 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 Bridgewater'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 tyrant'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: “ These psalms are David's, the king, priest, and prophet of the Jewish people;" “ We staid a month at lord Lyttelton'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 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."

If we annex the sign of the genitive to the end of the last clause only, we shall perceive that a resting place is wanted, and that the connecting circumstance is placed tog remotely, to be either perspicuous or agreeable: as, “Whose glory did he emulate?” “ He emulated Cæsar, the greatest general of antiquity's ;” “ These psalms are David, the king, priest, and prophet of the Jewish people's.It is much better to say, “ This is Paul's advice, the christian hero, and great apostle of the gentiles,” than, “ This is Paul the christian hero, and great apostle of the gentiles' advice.” On the other hand, the application of the geni, tive sign to both or all of the nouns in apposition, would be generally harsh and displeasing, and perhaps in some cases incorrect: as, “ The emperor's Leopold's;" “ King's George's:" “ Charles's the second's;" "The parcel was

left at Smith's, the bookseller's and stationer's.” The rules which we have endeavoured to elucidate, will prevent the inconvenience of both these modes of expression ; and they appear to be simple, perspicuous, and consistent with the idiom of the language,

5. The English genitive has often an unpleasant sound; so that we daily make more use of the particle 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 commons' vote.” “ The Lords' 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 harsh 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.”

6. 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 necesa sary, 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 ex

pressions, “ 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, doubtless, be conveyed in a better manner, by saying, “ This picture belonging to my friend.”

When this double genitive, as some grammarians term it, is not necessary to distinguish the sense, and especially in a grave style, it is generally omitted. Except to prevent ambiguity, it seems to be allowable only in cases which sup pose 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 genitive, except as before mentioned, should not be used: as, “ This house of the go

vernor is very commodious;" “ The crown of the king · was stolen;" « That privilege of the scholar was never

abused.” (See page 56.) But after all that can be said for this double genitive, as it is termed, some grammarians think that it would be better to avoid the use of it altogether, and to give the sentiment another form of expression. .

7. When an entire clause of a sentence, beginning with a participle of the present tense, is used as one name, or to express one idea or circumstance, the noun on which it de pends may be put in the genitive case; thus, instead of saying, “ What is the reason of this person disinissing his servant sọ hastily?" that is, What is the reason of this person in dismissing his servant so hastily?" we may say, and perhaps ought to say, “What is the reason 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 · its being reckoned," &c, The following sentence'is correct and proper: “Much will depend on the pupil's composing, but inore on his reading frequently.” It would not be ac.

curate 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 frequently,"

RULE XI. . Active verbs govern the objective case: as, “ Truth ennobles her;" “ She comforts me;"> “ They support us;" «« Virtue rewards her fole lowers."

Exercises, p.91. Key, p. 54. In English, the nominative case, denoting the subject, usually goes before the verb; and the objective case, denoting the object, follows the verb active; and it is the order that determines the case in nouns; as, “ Alexander conquered the Persians.” But the pronoun having a proper form for each of those cases, is sometimes, when it is. in the objective case, placed before the verb; and, when it is in the nominative case, follows the object and verb; as, Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto. you."

This position of the pronoun sometimes occasions, its proper case and government to be neglected: as in the following instances: “ Who should I esteem more than the wise and good?” “By the character of those who you choose for your friends, your own is likely to be formed.” “ Those are the persons who he thought true to his interests.” “Who should I see the other day but my old friend?" ~ Whosoever the court avours.” In all these places it ought to be whom, the relative being governed in the objective case by the verbs "esteem, choose, thought,” &c. “ He, who under all proper circumstances, has the boldness to speak truth, choose for thy friend;" It should be « him who," &c.

Verbs neuter do not act upon, or govern, nouns and pronouns. “He sleeps; they muse," &c. are not transitive. They are, therefore, not followed by an objective case, spea cifying the object of an action. But when this case, or

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »