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A General View of the Parts of Speech. THE second part of grammar is ETYMOLOGY, which treats of the different sorts of words, their various modifications, and their derivation.
There are, in English, nine sorts of words, or, as they are commonly called, PARTS OF SPEECH ; namely, the ARTICLE, the SUBSTANTIVE or NOUN, the ADJECTIVE, the PRONOUN, «the VERB, the ADVERB, the PREPOSITION, the CONJUNCTION, and the INTERJECTION.
1. An Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to point them out, and to show how far their signification extends: as, a garden, an eagle, the woman.
2. A Substantive or noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion: as, London, man, virtue.
A substantive may, in general, be distinguished by its taking an article before it, or by its making sense of itself: as, a book, the sun, an apple; temperance, industry, chastity.
3. An Adjective is a word added to a substantive, to express its quality : as, “ An industrious man; a virtuous woman."
An Adjective may be known by its making sense with the addition of the word thing: as, a good thing; a bad thing: or of any particular substantive; as a sweet apple, a pleasant prospect, a lively boy. 4. A Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word: as, “ The man is bappy; he is benevolent; he is useful."
5. A Verb is a word which signifies to be, to Do, or to SUFFER: as, “ I am; I rule ; I am ruled."
A Verb may generally be distinguished, by its making sense with any of the personal pronouns, or the word to before it: as, I walk, he plays, they write; or, to walk, to play, to write.
6. An Adverb is a part of speech joined to a verb, an adjective, and sometimes to another adverb, to express some quality or circumstance respecting it: as, “ He reads well; a truly good man; he writes very correctly."
An Adverb may be generally known, by its answering to the question, How? how much? when? or where? as, in the phrase “He reads correctly,” the answer to the question, How does he read? is, correctly.
7. Prepositions serve to connect words with one another, and to show the relation between them: as, “ He went from London to York;”. “ she is above disguise;" “ they are supported by industry."
A Preposition may be known by its admitting after it a personal pronoun, in the objective case; as, with, for, to, &c. will allow the objective case after them; with him, for her, to them, &c.
8. A Conjunction is a part of speech that ischiefly used to connect sentences; so as, out of two or more sentences, to make but one: it sometimes connects only words: as, “ Thou and he are happy, because you are good."
"Two and three are five." 9. Interjections are words thrown in between the parts of a sentence, to express the passions or emotions of the speaker: as “ virtue! how amiable thou art!"
The observations which have been made, to aid learners in distinguishing the parts of speech from one another, may afford them some small assistance; but it will certainly be niúch more instructive, to distinguish them by the definitions, and an accurate knowledge of their nature.
In the following passage, all the parts of speech are exemplified: The power of speech is a faculty peculiar to man;
4 and was bestowed on him by his beneficent Creator, for
the greatest and most excellent uses; but alas ! how often
do we pervert it to the worst of purposes !
In the foregoing sentence, the words the, a, are articles ; power, speech, faculty, man, Creator, uses, purposes, are substantives; peculiar, beneficent, greutest, ercellent, worst, are adjectives; him, his, we, it, are pronouns; is, was, bestowed, do, pervert, are verbs; most, how, often, are adverbs ; of, to, on, by, for, are prepositions; and, but, are conjunctions; and alas is an iuterjection.
The number of the different sorts of words, or of the parts of speech, has been variously reckoned by different grammarians. Some have enumerated ten, making the participle a distinct part; some eight, excluding the participle, and ranking the adjective under the noun; some four, and others only two, (the noun and the verb,) supposing the rest to be contained in the parts of their division. We have followed those authors, who appear to have given them the most natural and intelligible distribution. Some remarks on the division made by the learned Horne Tooke, are contained in the first section of the eleventh chapter of etymology.
The interjection, indeed, seems scarcely worthy of being considered as a part of artificial language or speech, being rather a branch of that natural language, which we possess in common with the brute creation, and by which we express the sudden emotions and passions that actuate our frame. But, as it is used in written as well as oral language, it may, in some measure, be deemed a part of speech. It is with us, a virtual sentence, in which the noun and verb are concealed under an imperfect or indigested word.See this Chapter, in the Octavo Grammar.
Of the ARTICLES. An Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to point them out, and to show how far their signification extends; as, a garden, an eagle, the woman.
In English, there are but two articles, a and the: a becomes an before a vowel *, and before a silent h; as, an acorn, an hour. But if the h be sounded, the u only is to be used; as, a hand, a heart, a highway.
The inattention of writers and printers to this necessary distinction, has occasioned the frequent use of an before h, when it is to be pronounced; and this circumstance, more than any other, has probably contributed to that indistinct utterance, or total omission, of the sound signified by this letter, which very often occurs amongst readers and speakers. An horse, an husband, an herald, an heathen, and many similar associations, are frequently to be found in works of taste and merit. To remedy this evil, readers should be taught to omit, in all similar cases, the sound of the ne and to give the h its full pronunciation.
A or an is styled the indefinite article: it is used in a vague sense to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indeterminate: as, “ Give me a book ;” “ Bring me an apple.”
The is called the definite article; because it as çertains what particular thing or things are meant: as, “ Give me the book;” “Bring me the apples;" meaning some book, or apples, referred to,
A instead of an is now used before words beginning with u long. See page 29, letter V. It is also used before one ; as, many a one.
A substantive without any article to limit it, is generally taken in its widest sense; as, “ A candid temper is proper for man;" that is, for all mankind.
The peculiar use and importance of the articles will be seen in the following examples; “The son of a king-the son of the king--a son of the king." Each of these three phrases has an entirely different meaning, through the different application of the articles a and the.
“Thou art a man," is a very general and harmless position; but, “Thou art the man,” (as Nathan said to David,) is an assertion capable of striking terror and remorse into the heart,
The article is omitted before nouns that imply the different virtues, vices, passions, qualities, sciences, arts, metals, herbs, &c.; as, "prudence is commendable; falsehood is odious; anger ought to be avoided;" &c. It is not prefixed to a proper name; as, “ Alexander,” (because that of itself denotes a determinate individual or particular thing,) except for the sake of distinguishing a particular family: as, “ He is a Howard, or of the family of the Howards;" or by way of eminence: as, “ Every man is not a Newton;" » He has the courage of an Achilles:" or .when some noun is understood; “ He sailed down the (river) Thames, in the (ship) Britannia,"
When an adjective is used with the noun to which the article relates, it is placed between the article and the noun; as, “a good man,” “ an agreeable woman,” - the best friend.” On some occasions, however, the adjective precedes a or an; as, “such a shame," ,"5 as great a man as Alexander,” « too cureless an author.”
The indefinite article can be joined to substantives in the singular number only; the definite article may be joined also to plurals.
But there appears to be a remarkable exception to this Tule, in the use of the adjectives few and many, (the latter chiefly with the word great before it,) which, though