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other thing: as, “ The tutor instructs his pupils;"” “I esteem the man."
Verbs neuter may properly be clenominated intransi'tides, because the effect is confined within the subject, and does not pass over to any object: as, “ I sit, he lives, they sleep.”
Some of the verbs that are usually ranked among neuters, make a near approach to the nature of a verb active; but they may be distinguished from it by their being intransitive: as, to run, to walk, to fly, &c. The rest are more obviously neuter, and more clearly expressive of a middle state between action and passion: as, to stand, to lje, to sleep, &c.
In English, many verbs are used both in an active and a neuter signification, the construction only determining of which kind they are: as, to flatten, signifying to make even or level, is a verb active; but when it signifies to grow dull or insipid, it is a verb neuter.
A neuter verb, by the addition of a preposition, may become a compound active verb. To smile is a neuter verb: it cannot, therefore, be followed by an objective case, nor be construed as a passive verb. We cannot say, she smiled him, or, he reas smiled. But to smile on being a compound active verb, we properly say, she smiled on him; he was smiled on by fortune in every undertakinga
Auxiliary or helping Verbs, are those by the help of which the English verbs are principally. conjugated. They are, do, be, have, shall, will, may, can, with their variations; and let and must, which have no variation *.
In our definition of the verb, as a part of speech which signifies to be, to do, or to suffer, &c. we have included
• Let, as a principal verb, has lettest and letteth; but as a helping verb it admits of po variation.
every thing, either expressly of by necessary conséquence, that is essential to its nature, and nothing that is not essential to it. This definition is warranted by the authority of Dr. Lowth, and of many other respectable writers on grammar. There are, however, some grammarians, who consider assertion as the essence of the verb. But, as the participle and the infinitive, if included in it, would prove insuperable objections to their scheme, they have, without hesitation, denied the former a place in the verb, and declared the latter to be merely an abstract noun. This appears to be going rather too far in support of an hypothesis, It seems to be incumbent on these grammarians, to reject also the imperative mood. What part of speech would they make the verbs in the following sentence ?." Depart instantly: improve your time: forgive us our sins." Will it be said, that the verbs in these phrases are assertions? · In reply to these questions, it has been said, that “ Depart instantly,” is an expression equivalent to, “I desire you to depart instantly;" and that as the latter phrase implies affirmation or assertion, so does the former. But, supposing the phrases to be exactly alike in sense, the reasoning is not conclusive. Ist. In the latter phrase, the only part implying affirmation, is, “ I desire.” The words "s to depart,” are in the infinitive mood, and contain no assertion: they affirm nothing. 2d. The position is not tenable, that “ Equivalence in sense implies similarity in gramnyatical nature." It proves too much, and therefore nothing. This mode of reasoning would confound the acknowledged grammatical distinction of words. A pronoun, on this principle, may be proved to be a noun; a noun, a verb; an adverb, à noun and preposition; the superlative degree, the comparative; the imperative mood, the indicative; the future tense, the present; and so on : because they may respectively be resolved into similar meanings. Thus, in the sentence, “I desire you to de. part,” the words to depart, may be called a noun, because they are equivalent in sense to the noun departure, in the
following sentence, “ I desire your departure. The words « Depart instantly,” may be proved to be, not the imperative mood with an adverb, but the indicative and infinitive, with a noun and preposition; for they are equivalent to “ I desire you to depart in an instant." The superlative degree in this sentence, “ Of all acquirements virtue is the most valuable,” may pass for the comparative, because it conveys the same sentiment as, “ Virtue is more valuable than every other acquirement."
We shall not pursue this subject any further, as the reader must be satisfied, that only the word desire, in the equivalent sentence, implies affirmation; and that one phrase may, in sense, be equivalent to another, though its grammatical nature is essentially different. * To verbs belong NUMBER, PERSON, MOOD, and TENSE.
to Section 2. Of Number and Person.
Verbs have two numbers, the Singular and the Plural; as, “ I run, we run,” &c. In each number there are three persons; as,
Plural. ' . First Person. I love. We love. Second Person. Thou lovest. Yeor you love. Third Person. He loves. They love.
Thus the verb, in some parts of it, varies its endings, to express, or agree with different persons of the same number: as, - I love, thou lovest; he loveth, or loves:” and also to express different numbers of the same person: as, “ thou lovest, ye love ; he loveth, they love.” In the plural number of the verb, there is no variation of ending to express the different persons; and the verb, in the three persous plural, is the same as it is in the first person singular. Yet this scanty provision of terminations is sufficient for all the pure poses of discourse, and no ambiguity arises from it: the verb being always attended, either with the noun express. ing the subject acting or acted upon, or with the pronoun representing it. For this reason, the plural termination in en, they loven, they weren, formerly in use, was laid aside 'as unnecessary, and has long been obsolete.
Section 3. Of Moods and Participles. Mood or Mode is a particular form of the verb, showing the manner in which the being, action, or passion, is represented.
The nature of a mood may be more intelligibly explained to the scholar, by observing, that it consists in the change which the verb undergoes, to signify various intentions of the mind, and various modifications and circumstances of action: which explanation, if compared with the following account and uses of the different moods, will be found to agree with and illustrate them.
There are five moods of verbs, the INDICATIVE, the IMPERATIVE, the POTENTIAL, the SUBJUNCTIVE, and the INFINITIVE.
The Indicative Mood simply indicates or declares I thing: as, “ He loves, he is loved:” or it asks a question: as, “ Does he love?” “ Įs he loved?" i The Imperative Mood is used for commanding, exhorting, entreating, or permitting: as, “ Depart thou; mind ye; let us stay; go in peace.” · Though this mood derives its name from its intimation of command, it is used on occasions of a very opposite nature, even in the humblest supplications of an inferior being to one who is infinitely his superior: as, “ Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses.”
The Potential Mood implies possibility or liberty, power, will, or obligation: as, “ It may rain; he may go or stay; I can ride; he would walk; they should learn,”
-The Subjunctive Mood represents a thing under a condition, motive, wish, supposition, &c.; and is preceded by a conjunction, expressed or understood, and attended by another verb. as, “ I will respect him, though he chide me;" “ Were he good, he would be happy;" that is, “ if he were good.”-See pages 202, 203.
The Infinitive Mood expresses a thing in a general and unlimited manner, without any distinction of number or person; as, “ to act, to speak, to be feared."
The participle is a certain form of the verb, and derives its name from its participating, not only of the properties of a verb, but also of those of an adjective: as, “ I am desirous of knowing him;" « admired and applauded, he became vain;" “ Having finished his work, he submitted it,” &c.
There are three participles, the Present or Active, the Perfect or Passive, and the Compound Perfect: as,,“ loving, loved, having loved.”-See p. 102.
Agreeably to the general practice of grammarians, we have represented the present participle, as active; and the past, as passive: but they are not uniformly so: the present is sometimes passive; and the past is frequently active, Thus, “ The youth was consuming by a slow malady;"' “ The Indian was burning by the cruelty of his enemies;” appear to be instances of the present participle being used passively. "He has instructed me;" “ I have gratefully Tepaid his kindness;" are examples of the past participle being applied in an active sense. We may also observe, that the present participle is sometimes associated with the past and future tenses of the verb; and the past parti-, ciple connected with the present and future tenses. The most unexceptionable distinction which grammarians make between the participles, is, that the one points to the con