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joined with plural substantives, yet admit of the singular article a: as, a few men; a great many men.
The reason of it is manifest, froni the effect which the article has in these phrases; it means a small or great number collectively taken, and therefore gives the idea of a whole, that is, of unity. Thus likewise, a dozen, a score, a hundred, or a thousand, is one whole number, an aggregate of many collectively taken; and therefore still retains the article a, though joined as an adjective to a plural substantive; as, a hundred years, &c.
The indefinite article is sometimes placed between the adjectives many, and a singular noun: as,
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
“ And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” In these lines, the phrases, many a gem and many a flow'r, refer to many gems and many flowers, separately, not collectively considered.
The definite article the is frequently applied to adverbs in the comparative and superlative degree; and its effect is, to mark the degree the more strongly, and to define it the more precisely: as, “The more I examine it, the better I like it. I like this the least of any."---- See this Chapter, in the Octavo Grammar. .
Of SUBSTANTIVES. Section 1. Of Substantives in general. A SUBSTANTIVE or Noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion: as, London, man, virtue.
Substantives are either proper or common.
Proper names or substantives, are the names. appropriated to individuals; as, George, Londong, Thames.
Common names or substantives, stand for kinds containing many sorts, or for sorts containing many individuals under them; as, animal, man, tree, &c.
When proper names have an article annexed to them, they are used as common names : as, “ He is the Cicero of his age; he is reading the lives of the Twelve Cesars.”
Common names may also be used to signify in. dividuals, by the addition of articles or pronouns : as, "The boy is studious; that girl is discreet*.”
To: substantives belong gender, number, and case; and they are all of the third person, when spoken of, and of the second when spoken to: as, “ Blessings attend us on every side; be grateful, children of men!” that is, ye children of men,
SECTION 2. Of Gender. Gender is the distinction of nouns, with re. gard to sex. There are three genders, the MASCULINE, the FEMININE, and the neuter.
The Masculine Gender denotes animals of the male kind: as, a man, a horse, a bull.
The Feminine Gender signifies animals of the female kind: as, a woman, a duck, a hen.
The Neuter Gender denotes objects which are nei. ther males nor females: as, a field, a house, a garden.
Some substantives, naturally neuter, are, by a figure of speech, converted into the masculine or feminine gender : as, when we say of the sun, he is setting; and of a ship, she sails well.
* Nouns may also be divided into the following classes: Collective nouns, or nouns of multitude; as, the people, the parliament, the army: Abstract nouns, or the names of qualities abstracted from their substances; as, knowledge, good. ness, whiteness : Verbal or participial nouns ; as, beginning, reading, writing.
i Figuratively, in the English tongue, we commonly give the masculine gender to nouns which are conspicuous for the attributes of imparting or communicating, and which are by nature strong and efficacious, Those, again, are made feminine, which are conspicuous for the attributes of containing or bringing forth, or which are peculiarly beautiful or amiable. Upon these principles, the sun is said to be masculine; and the moon, being the receptacle of the sun's light, to be feminine. The earth is generally feminine. A ship, a country, a city, &c. are likewise made feminine, being receivers or containers. Time is always masculine, on account of its mighty efficacy. Virtue is feminine from its beauty, and its being the object of love, Fortune and the church are generally put in the feminine gender,
The English language has three methods of distinguishing the sex, viz.
Steer. Cock. Dog. Drake. Earl. Father. Friar. Gander. Hart, Horse,
1. By different words: as
2. By a difference of termination : as, Male. - Female.
Male. Female. Abbot. Abbess. Landgrave. Landgravine. Actor, Actress.
Lioness. Administrator. Administratrix. Marquis. Marchioness, Adulterer. Adultress, Master.. Mistress. Ambassador. Ambassadress. Mayor. Mayoress, Arbiter. Arbitress,
Patron. Patronesse Baron. Baroness, Peer. Peeress. Bridegroom. Bride.
Poet. Poetess. Benefactor. - Benefactress. Priest.
Priestess, Caterer. Cateress, Prince.
Princess. Chanter. Chantress. Prior. Prioress. Conductor. Conductress. Prophet. Prophetesse Count. Countess, Protector. Protectress, Deacon. Deaconess. Shepherd. Shepherdess, Duke. Duchess. Songster. Songstress. Elector. Electress. Sorcerer. Sorceress, Emperor. Empress,
Sultan. Enchanter. Enchantress.
Sultana, Executor. Executrix. Tiger.. Tigress. Governor. Governess Traitor. Traitress. Heir. Heiress.
Heroine. Viscount. Viscountess, . Hunter. Huntress. Votary. Votaress. Host.
Hostess. Widower. Widow. Jew.
Jewess. . 3. By a noạn, pronoun, or adjective, being prefixed to the substantive: as,
A cock-sparrow. A hen-sparrow.
A female child.
neighbour, servant, and several others, are used indifferently for males or females.
Nouns with variable terminations contribute to conciseness and perspicuity of expression. . We have only a sufficient number of them to make us feel our want; for when we say of a woman, she is a philosopher, an astronomer, a builder, a weaver, we perceive an impropriety in the termination, which we cannot avoid ; but we can say, that she is a botanist, a student, a witness, a scholar, an orphan, a companion, because these terminations have not annexed to them the notion of sex.
· Section 3. Of Number. Number is the consideration of an object, as one or more.
Substantives are of two numbers, the singular and the plural.
The singular number expresses but one object; as, a chair, a table.
The plural number signifies. more objects than one; as, chairs, tables.
Some nouns, from the nature of the things which they express, are used only in the singular. form; as, wheat, pitch, gold, sloth, pride, &c.; others, only in the plural form ; as, bellows, scissors, ashes, riches, &c.
Some words are the same in both numbers; as, deer, sheep, swine, &c.
The plural number of nouns is generally formed by adding s to the singular: as, dove, doves; face, faces; thought, thoughts. But when the substantive singular ends in x, ch soft, sh, ss, or s, we add es in the plural: as box; boxes; church, churches; lash, lashes; kiss, kisses ; rebus, rebuses. If the singular ends in ch hard, the plural is formed by adding s; as, monarch, monarchs ; distich, disLichs.