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MURRAY'S ENGLISH GRAMMAR,
EXERCISES IN PARSING;-INSTANCES OF FALSE ORTHO.
DEFECTS IN PUNCTUATION;
VIOLATIONS OF THE RULES RESPECTING PERSPICUOUS
AND ACCURATE WRITING.
DESIGNED FOR TRE
BENEFIT OF PRIVATE LEARNERS,
AS WELL AS
FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS.
BY LINDLEY MURRAT.
The principle of knowledge become most intelligible to young persons, when they are explained and inculcated by practical illustration and direction. This mode of teaching is attended with so many advantages, that it can scarcely be too much recommended, or pursued. Instruction which is enlivened by pertinent example, and in which the pupil is exercised in reducing the rules prescribed to practice, has a more striking effect on the mind, and is better adapted to fix the attention, and sharpen the understanding, than that which is divested of these aids, and confined to bare positions and precepts; in which it too frequently happens that the learner has, no further concern, than to read and repeat them. The time and care employed in practical application, give occasion to survey the subject minutely, and in different points of view; by which it becomes more known and familiar, and produces stronger and more durable impressions.
THESE observations are peculiarly applicable to the study of grammar, and the method of teaching it. The rules require frequent explanation; and, besides direct elucidation they admit of examples erroneously constructed, for exercising the student's sagacity and judgment. To rectify these, attention and reflection are requisite; and the knowledge of the rule necessarily results from the study and correction of the sentence. But these are not all the advantages which arise from Grammatical Exercises. By discoyering their own abilities to detect and amend errors, and their consequent improvement, the scholars become pleased with their studies, and are animated to proceed, and surmount the obstacles which occurs in their progress. The instructer too is relieved and encouraged in his labours. By discerning exactly the powers and improvement of his pupils, he perceives the proper season for advancing them; and by observing the points in which they are deficient, he knows precisely where to apply his directions and explanations.
THESE considerations have induced the Compiler to collect and arrange a variety of erroneous examples, adapted
to the different rules and instructions of English Grammar, and to the principles of perspicuous and accurate writing. It has not indeed been usual, to make Grammatical Exercises, in our language, very numerous and extensive; but if the importance and usefulness of them be as great as they are conceived to be, no apology will be necessary for the large field of employment, which the following work presents to the student of English Grammar. If he be detained longer than is common in this part of his studies, the probable result of it, an accurate and intimate knowledge of the subject, will constitute an ample recompence.
The reader will perceive that some of the rules and observations, under the part of Syntax, contain a much greater number of examples than others. This has arisen from the superior importance of those rules, and from the variety requisite to illustrate them properly. When a few instances afford sufficient practice on the rule, the student is not fatigued with a repetition of examples, which would cast no new light on the subject.
In selecting the instances of false construction, the Compiler has studied to avoid those that are glaringly erroneous, and to fix upon such only as frequently occur in writing or speaking. If there be any of a different complexion, it is presumed that they are but few, and that they will be found under those rules only, which, from the nature of them could not have been otherwise clearly exemplified to young persons. The examples applicable to the principal notes and observations, are carefully arranged under the respective rules of Syntax; and regularly numbered to make them correspond to the subordinate rules in the Grammar."
As many of the examples contain several errors in the same sentence, and some of them admit of various constructions in amending them, it has been thought proper to publish a Key for ascertaining all the corrections; and this has been the more expedient from the work's being designed for the benefit of private learners, as well as for the use of schools. The Key to the part on Orthography might have been omitted, had not some of the sentences contained 50 many words erroneously spelled, as to render it probable that several of them would, in that case, have been inadvertently passed over: especially by persons who may not have the advantage of a tutor. In forming the Key, it ap
peared to be more eligible, to repeat the sentences at large, with their correctious, than simply to exhibit the amendments by themselves. In the mode adopted the work has a more regular and uniform appearance; the correspondent parts may be more readily compared; and the propriety of the corrections will be more apparent and striking.
In a work which consists entirely of examples, and with which the learners will, consequently, be much occupied and impressed, the compiler would have deemed himself culpable, had he exhibited such sentences as contained ideas inapplicable to young minds, or which were, of a trivial or injurious nature. He has, therefore, been solicitous to avoid all exceptionable matter; and to improve his work, by blending moral and useful observations with Grammatical studies. Even sentiments of a pious and religious nature, have not been thought improper to be occasionally inserted in these Exercises. The understanding and sensibility of young persons, are much underrated by those who think them incapable of comprehending and relishing that kind of instruction. The sense and love of goodness are early and deeply implanted in the human mind; and often, by their infant energies, surprise the intelligent observer :why, then, should not these emotious find their proper sup. port and incentives, among the elements of learning ? Congenial sentiments, thus disposed, besides making permanent impressions, may serve to cherish and expand those generous principles; or, at least, to prepare them for regular operation, at a future period. The importance of exhibiting to the youthful mind, the deformities of vice; and of giving it just and animating views of piety and virtue, makes it not only warrantable, but our duty also, to embrace every proper occasion to promote, in any degree, these valuable ends.
In presenting the learner with so great a number of examples, it was difficult to preserve them from too much uniformity. The Compiler has, however, been studious to give them an arrangement and diversity, as agreeable as the nature of the subject would admit; and to render them interesting, as well as intelligible and instructive, to young persons. Holdgate, near York, 1797..