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former, and the acute on the latter, in this manner : “ Minor, mineral, lìvely, líved, rival, ríver.”

The proper mark to distinguish a long syllable, is this: as, “Rosy:" and a short one thus ° : as, “Folly.” This last mark is called a breve.

A Diæresis, thus marked ", consists of two points placed over one of the two vowels that would otherwise make a diphthong, and parts them into two syllables: as, “ Creätor, coädjutor, aërial.”

A Section, marked thus §, is the division of a discourse, or chapter, into less parts or portions.

A Paragraph 1 denotes the beginning of a new subject, or a sentence not connected with the foregoing. This character is chiefly used in the Old, and in the New Testaments. · A Quotation “”. Two inverted commas are generally placed at the beginning of a phrase or a passage, which is quoted or transcribed from the speaker or author in his own words; and two commas in their direct position, are placed at the conclusion : as,

“The proper study of mankind is man.” Crotchets or Brackets [] serve to enclose a word or sentonce, which is to be explained in a note, or the explanation itself, or a word or a sentence which is intended to supply some deficiency, or to rectify some mistake.

An Index or Hand points out a remarkable passage, or something that requires particular attention.

A Brace is used in poetry at the end of a triplet or three lines, which have the same rhyme.

Braces are also used to connect a number of words with one common term, and are introduced to prevent a repetition in writing or printing.

An Asterisk, or little star * , directs the reader to some note in the margin, or at the bottom of the page. Two or three asterisks generally denote the omission of some letters in a word, or of some bold or indelicate expression, or some defect in the manuscript.

An Ellipsis is also used, when some letters in a word, or some words in a verse, are omitted : as, “The k-g,” for “the king.”

An Obelisk, which is marked thus t, and Parallels thus ), together with the letters of the Alphabet, and figures, are used as references to the margin, or bottom of the page.

PARAGRAPHS. It may not be improper to insert, in this place, a few general directions respecting the division of a composition into paragraphs.

Different subjects, unless they are very short, or very numerous in small compass, should be separated into paragraphs.

When one subject is continued to a considerable length, the larger divisions of it should be put into paragraphs. And it will have a good effect to form the breaks, when it can properly be done, at sentiments of the most weight, or that call for peculiar attention.

The facts, premises, and conclusions, of a subject, sometimes naturally point out the separations into paragraphs : and each of these, when of great length, will again require subdivisions at their most distinctive parts.

In cases which require a connected subject to be formed into several paragraphs, a suitable turn of expression, exhibiting the connexion of the broken parts, will give beauty and force to the division. See the Octavo Grammar.



Exercises, p. 154. Key, p. 125. It was formerly the custom to begin every noun with a capital: but as this practice was troublesome, and gave the writing or printing a crowded and confused appearance, it has been discontinued. It is, however, very proper to begin with a capital,

, 1. The first word of every book, chapter, letter, note, or.. any other piece of writing.

2. The first word after a period; and, if the two sentences

are totally independent, after a note of interrogation or exclamation.

But if a number of interrogative or exclamatory sentences, are thrown into one general group; or if the construction of the latter sentences depends on the former, all of them, except the first, may begin with a small letter: as, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning? and fools hate knowledge?” « Alas! how different! yet how like the same !"

3. The appellations of the Deity: 'as, “ God, Jehovah, the Almighty, the Supreme Being, the Lord, Providence, the Messiah, the Holy Spirit.”

4. Proper names of persons, places, streets, mountains, rivers, ships: as, “ George, York, the Strand, the Alps; the Thames, the Seahorse.”

5. Adjectives derived from the proper names of places; as, “Grecian, Roman, English, French, and Italian.”

6. The first word of a quotation, introduced after a colon; or when it is in a direct form: as, “ Always remember this ancient maxim: «Know thyself.' ” “Our great Lawgiver says, “Take up thy cross daily, and follow me.'” But when a quotation is brought in obliquely after a comma, a capital is unnecessary: as, “Solomon observes, “that pride goes before destruction.”

The first word of an example may also very properly begin with a capital : as, “ Temptation proves our virtue.”

7. Every substantive and principal word in the titles of books: as, “ Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language;" “ Thomson's Seasons ;" * Rollin's Ancient History."

8. The first word of every line in poetry.

9. The pronoun I, and the intérjection 0, are written in capitals: as, “ I write:” “Hear; O earth!”

Other words, besides the preceding, may begin with capitals, when they are remarkably emphatical, or the principal subject of the composition.




See the THIRD edition of the Octavo GRAMMAR.

PERSPICUITY IS the fundamental quality of style: a quality so essential in every kind of writing, that for the want of it nothing can atóne. It is not to be considered as merely a sort of negative virtue, or freedom from defect. It has higher merit: it is a degree of positive beauty. We are pleased with an author, and consider him as deserving praise, who frees us from all fatigue of searching for his meaning; who carries us through his subject without any embarrassment or confusion; whose style flows always like a limpid stream, through which we see to the very bottom.

The study of perspicuity and accuracy of expression consists of two parts: and requires attention, first, to Single Words and Phrases; and then, to the Construction of Sentences.


spect to single Words and Phrases. These qualities of style, considered with regard to words and phrases, require the following properties: PURITY, PROPRIETY, and PRECISION.


Of Purity.

Exercises, p. 169. Key, p. 141. Purity of style consists in the use of such words, and such constructions, as belong to the idiom of the language

which we speak; in opposition to words and phrases that are taken from other languages, or that are ungrammatical, obsolete, new-coined, or used without proper authority. All such words and phrases as the following, should be avoided : Quoth he; I wist not; erewhile; behest; selfsame; delicatesse, for delicacy; politesse, for politeness; hauteur, for haughtiness; incumberment, connexity, martyrised, for encumbrance, connexion, martyred.

Foreign and learned words, unless where necessity re quires them, should never be admitted into our composition. Barren languages may need such assistance, but ours is not one of these. A multitude of Latin words, in particular, have, of late, been poured in upon our language. On some occasions, they give an appearance of elevation and dignity to style; but they often render it stiff and apparently forced. In general, a plain, native style, is more intelligible to all readers; and, by a proper management of words, it can be made as strong and expressive as this Latinised English, or any foreign idioms.



Exercises, p. 171. Key, p. 143. PROPRIETY of language is the selection of such words as the best usage has appropriated to those ideas, which we intend to express by them; in opposition to low expressions, and to words and phrases which would be less significant of the ideas that we mean to convey. Style may be pure, that is, it may be strictly English, without Scotticisms or Gallicisms, or ungrammatical, irregular expressions of any kind, and may, nevertheless, be deficient in propriety: fot the words may be ill chosen, not adapted to the subject, nor fully expressive of the author's sense.

To preserve propriety, therefore, in our words and phrases, we must avoid low expressions ; supply words that are wante ing; be careful not to use the same word in different senses; avoid the injudicious use of technical phrases, equivocal or

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