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tinuation of the action, passion, or state, denoted by the verb; and the other, to the completion of it." Thus, the present participle signifies imperfect action, or action begun and not ended : as, “I am writing a letter.” The past par. ticiple signifies action perfected, or finished: as, “ I have written a letter;" «« The letter is written *.”
The participle is distinguished from the adjective, by the former's expressing the idea of time, and the latter's deroting only a quality. The phrases, “ loving to give as well as to receive,” « moving in haste," "heated with liquor," contain participles giving the idea of time; but the epithets contained in the expressions, “a loving child," 4 a moving spectacle," " a heated imagination,” märk simply the qualities referred to, without any regard to time; and may properly be called participial adjectives.
Participles not only convey the notion of time; but they also signify actions, and govern the cases of nouns and pronouns, in the same manner as verbs do; and therefore should be comprehended in the general name of verbs. That they are mere modes of the verb, is manifest, if our definition of a yerb be admitted : for they signify being, doing, or suffering, with the designation of time superadded. But if the essence of the verb be made to consist in affirmation or assertion, not only the participle will be excluded from its place in the verb, but the infinitive itself also; which certain ancient grammarians of great authority held to be alone the genuine verb, simple and unconnected with persons and circumstances,
The following phrases, even when considered in themselves, show that participles include the idea of time: “The letter being written, or having been written;" “ Charles being writing, having written, or having been writing." But when arranged in an entire sentence, which they must he to make a complete sense, they show it still more evi
* When this participle is joined to the verb to have, it is called perfect ; when it is joined to the verb to bes or understood with if it is denomiyaled passique
dently: as, “Charles having written the letter, sealed and despatched it.”—The participle does indeed associate with different tenses of the verb: as, “I am writing,” “ I was writing,” “ I shall be writing:" but this forms no just objection to its denoting time. If the time of it is often relative time, this circumstance, far from disproving, supports our position *. See observations under Rule 13 of Syntax.
Participles sometimes perform the office of substantives, and are used as such; as in the following instances: “The beginning;" “ a good understanding;” “excellent writing;” “ The chancellor's being attached to the king secured his crown:” “ The general's having failed in this enterprise occasioned his disgrace;" “ John's having been writing a .. long time had wearied him.”
That the words in italics of the three latter examples, perform the office of substantives, and may be considered as such, will be evident, if we reflect, that the first of them has exactly the same meaning and construction as, “The chancellor's attachment to the king secured his crown;" and that the other examples will bear a similar construction. The words, being attached, govern the word chancellor's in the possessive case, in the one instance, as clearly as attachment governs it in that case, in the other : and it is only substantives, or words and phrases which operate as substantives, that govern the genitive or possessive case.
The following sentence is not precisely the same as the above, either in sense or construction, though, except the genitive case, the words are the same; “ The chancellor, being attached to the king, secured his crown.” In the former, the words, being attached, form the nominative case to the verb, and are stated as the cause of the effect; in the latter, they are not the nominative case, and make only a circumstance to chancellar, which is the proper no-.
. From the very nature of time, an action may be present now, it may have been present formerly, or it may be present at some future period yet who ever supposed, that the present of the indicative denotes no time?
minative. It may not be improper to add another form of this sentence, by which the learner may better understand the peculiar nature and form of each of these modes of expression: “ The chancellor being attached to the king, his crown was secured.” This constitutes what is properly called, the Case Absolute.
Section 4. Remarks on the Potential Mood, . That the Potential Mood should be separated from the subjunctive, is evident, from the intricacy and confusion which are produced by their being blended together, and from the distinct nature of the two moods; the former of which may be expressed without any condition, supposition, &c. as will appear from the following instances: “ They might have done better;" “We may always act uprightly;" “ He was generous, and would not take revenge;" “ We should resist the allurements of vice;" "I. could formerly indulge myself in things, of which I cannot now think but with pain.”
Some grammarians have supposed that the Potential Mood, as distinguished above from the Subjunctive, coincides with the Indicative. But as the latter “ simply indicates or declares a thing," it is manifest that the former, which modifies the declaration, and introduces an idea materially distinct from it, must be considerably different. “I can walk,” “ I should walk," appear to be so essentially distinct from the simplicity of, “ I walk," " I walked,” as to warrant a correspondent distinction of moods. The Imperative and Infinitive Moods, which are allowed to retain their rank, do not appear to contain such strong marks of discrimination from the Indicative, as are found in the Potential Mood.
There are other writers on this subject, who exclude the Potential Mood from their division, because it is formed, not by varying the principal verb, but by means of the auxiliary verbs may, can, might, could, would, &c.; but if we recollect, that moods are used " to signify various
intentions of the mind, and various modifications and circumstances of action,” we shall perceive that those auxiliaries, far from interfering with this design, do, in the clearest manner, support and exemplify it. On the reason alleged by these writers, the greater part of the Indicative Mood must also be excluded; as but a small part of it is conjugated without auxiliaries. The Subjunctive too will fare no better ; since it so nearly resembles the Indicative, and is formed by means of conjunctions, expressed or understood, which do not more effectually show the varied intentions of the mind, than the auxiliaries do which are used to form the Potential Mood.
Some writers have given our moods a much greater extent than we have assigned to them. They assert that the English language may be said, without any great impropriety, to have as many moods as it has auxiliary verbs; and they allege, in support of their opinion, that the compound expressions which they help to form, point out those various dispositions and actions, which, in other languages, are expressed by moods. This would be to multiply the moods without advantage. It is, however, certain, that the conjugation or variation of verbs, in the English language, is effected, almost'entirely, by the means of auxiliaries. We must, therefore, accommodate ourselves to this circumstance; and do that by their assistance, which has been done in the learned languages, (a few instances to the contrary excepted,) in another manner, namely, by varying the form of the verb itself. At the same time, it is neces. sary to set proper bounds to this business, so as not to occasion obscurity and perplexity, when we mean to be simple and perspicuous. Instead, therefore, of making a separate. mood for every auxiliary verb, and introducing moods Interrogative, Optative, Promissive, Hortative,Precative,&c. we have exhibited such only as are obviously distinct; and which, whilst they are calculated to unfold and display the subject intelligibly to the learner, seem to be sufficient, and not more than sufficient, to answer all the purposes for which moods were introduced.
From Grammarians who form their ideas, and make their decisions, respecting this part of English Grammar, on the principles and construction of languages, which, in these points, do not suit the peculiar nature of our own, but differ considerably from it, we may naturally 'expect grammatical schemes that are not very perspicuous nor perfectly consistent, and which will tend more to perplex than inform the learner. See pages 84-86. 102-104, 108-111. 201–203.
Section 5. Of the Tenses. I! Tense, being the distinction of time, might seem to admit only of the present, past, and future; but to mark it more accurately, it is made to consist of six variations, viz. the PRESENT, the IMPERFECT, the PERFECT, the PLUPERFECT, and the First and SECOND FUTURE TENSES.
The Present Tense represents an action or event, as passing at the time in which it is mentioned: as, " I rule; I am ruled; I think; I fear.”
The present tense likewise expresses a character, quality, &c. at present existing: as, “ He is an able man;" “ She is an amiable woman.” It is also used in speaking of actions continued, with occasional intermissions, to the present time: as, “ He frequently rides ;" He walks out every morning;" “ He goes into the country every suinmer.” We sometimes apply this tense even to persons long since dead: as, “ Seneca reasons and moralizes well;" 5 Job speaks feelingly of his afflictions."
The present tense, preceded by the words, when, before, after, as soon as, &c. is sometimes used to point out the relative time of a future acțion: as, “When he arrives he will hear the news ;" “ hie will hear the news before he arrives, or as soon as he arrives, or, at farthest, soon after he arrives;" “ The more she improves, the more amiable she will be."
In animated historical narrations, this tense is sometimes substituted for the imperfect tense: as, “ He enters the ter