W. T. (William Tenney) Brewster.

English composition and style; a handbook for college students online

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3. Names of the Deky, but not necessarily personal pronouns
referring to the Deity.

4. Proper names of persons, places, bodies of water, geo-
graphical divisions, and the like.

5. The first word of an exact quotation.

6. The pronoun " I " and the interjection " O."

7. Adjectives derived from proper names.

8. Terms of great historical importance; as, the Civil War,
the Renaissance.

9. The names of political parties, religious sects, organiza-
tions, and the like.

10. The principal words in titles of books, addresses, and the

11. The principal words in official titles. Titles are usually
capitalized only when used with a proper name.

12. The words. North, East, South, and West, when they re-
fer to sections of the country.

13. Names of days, months, and festivals, but not of seasons.

14. Words of special importance, which the writer desires to
make conspicuous. This use of capitals for emphasis will be
determined by circumstances. In your school paper the name
of your school should be capitalized; as, "the High School,"
"in our Academy." Generally, however, these words would not
receive capitals. Perhaps the present tendency of good use is
to employ capitals rarely for emphasis in ordinary compositicm.


Italics are used for foreign words, quoted or specified words,
titles of books (quotation marks may be used for all these pur-
poses), and for the sake of emphasis. The use of italics for em-
phasis seems to be decreasing. Its effectiveness in ordinary com-
position depends largely on its infrequency. In manuscript, words
to be printed in italics are underlined.


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486 Appendix


This list contains only those constructions in the use of whidi
mistakes are frequently made. All examples given are of correct
usage, unless they are preceded by the word not in black-face type.
Not indicates that the expression following is an example of mis-


The use of a or an in the expressions "sort of a'* and "kind
of a " is a common error. " I do not like that kind of dog."

The is sometimes incorrectly used for a or when no article is
necessary. " He threw a stone (or stones) at the dog" — particu-
larizes the dog but not the stone.

The omission of an article may cause confusion. ''A black
and white dog" refers to one dog; "a black and a white d<^"
to two dogs.


The Possessive Case is formed by adding 's to the nominative;
but the s is sometimes omitted when the sound is unpleasant; as,
" for conscience' sake," " Socrates' wife." If the nominative
plural end in s, the possessive plural is formed by adding the
apostrophe (') ; if the nominative plural does not end in s, 's
is added. " Girls' and women's shoes."

The possessive case should as far as possible be used only in
cases of actual possession. "The leg of the table" not, "the
table's leg." "The course of history" — not, "history's course."

The plurals of the following nouns cause trouble: alumna,
alumnse; alumnus, alumni; analysis, analyses; axis, axes; cherub,
cherubim or cherubs ; curriculum, curricula ; genius, geniuses (men)
or genii (spirits); ignoramus, ignoramuses; maximum, maxima;
memorandum, memoranda; phenomenon, phenomena; seraph,
seraphim or seraphs; spoonful, spoonfuls; stimulus, stimuli;
tableau, tableaux.


The Personal Pronouns in the nominative and objective cases
are often confused. The following are examples of correct use.


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Appendix 487

" It is he." " I do not think it to be him/' " It seems to be he."
" Between you and me there is no disagreement."

Pronotms ending in -self are properly used only for emphasis
or in a reflective sense. "I will see to it myself." "It is he,
himself." Not—" You and myself will go; " " it is himself."

Before a verbal noun, a pronoun should be put in the posses-
sive case. "Your singing was delightful." "I remember his
telling that story." But the possessive is not used with a par-
ticiple. " I heard you singing and him telling a story."

When more than two persons or things are referred to, any
one is preferable to either; no one to neither. " Any one of the
three is taller than I."

Any one, each, either, every, neither, nobody, or not one, as an
antecedent, requires a pronoun in the singular number. " If any
one has the example correct, let him hold up his hand." " Every
one of them gave up his arms." " Each must judge for himself."

Each other and one another may be used indiscriminately.

Who and whom must be carefully distinguished. " Whom arc
you following?" "Who do you think will win?" "Whom will
you give it to?"

Who, which, and that. Who and which are used in explan-
atory, descriptive, non-restrictive relative clauses; that in relative
clauses restricting the meaning or application of the antecedent;
as, "the cotmtries that bordered on the ocean" — meaning "only
the countries that bordered on the ocean." This distinction has
been much insisted on in rhetorics but is open to many exceptions
and has never been generally adopted in good use. Although that
is the customary word for restrictive relative clauses, who or
which may frequently be preferable.

A change of person should not be made without good reason.
If you begin a composition in the third person, you should not
change to the first; and vice versa.


Vulgarisms must be shunned. "He did" — not, "he done it."
'He isn't"— not, "he ain't." "It does n't "— not, "it don't."
' He ought not "— not, " he had n't ought." " You were "— not,
' you was."


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The Princ^ Putt of certain verbs must be thoroughly learned
if you are to avoid many common solecisms and improprieties.








bid (ask, or command)bade


bid (as, to bid at

an bid










ate (eat (&)














got (preferable to

hang (clothes,





hang (men)














proved (preferable to




















A change from the present to the past tense in passages deal-
ing with past events should occur very rarely. In general keep
to the past tense; the historical present (the present tense used
in relating past events) sometimes promotes emphasis and vivid-
ness, but only if employed infrequently.

Sequence of Tenses. The tense of the verb in a dependent


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Appendix 489

clause depends on the tense of the verb in the principal clause.
General truths, however, are always put in the present tense.

I think he will. I thought he would.

When you have finished, I When you had finished,

will speak. I spoke.

Every one hopes that you Every one hoped that you

will speak. would speak.

I had always believed that men are a little lower than the

The Perfect Infinitive denotes action completed at the time of
the principal verb; the present infinitive, action incomplete at the
time of the principal verb. Past tenses are followed by the pres-
ent infinitive.

I am glad to have seen you so often the past week.
They expected to win. (Not, to have won).
He will be glad to see us. (When he sees us.)
He will be glad to have seen us. (After he has seen us.)
They would have been glad to go home. (Not, to have gone.)
We should have been pleased to catch a few fish. (Not, to
have caught.)


The Subjunctive Mood of the verb " to be," rather than the in-
dicative, should be used in expressing wishes and conditions con-
trary to fact " I wish I were there." " If I were there, what a
good time we could have." Do not use the indicative in one of
two parallel clauses and the subjunctive in the other. ** If I were
ten years older and were (not, was) as strong as you."


Each, either, every, neither, many a, and similar words take a
singular verb.

A subject consisting of two words connected by "or," "either
— or," "neither — nor," takes a singular verb.

Words joined to the subject by " with," " in addition to," " as
well as," or a similar phrase, are parenthetical and do not affect
the number of the verb.

A collective noun, when it refers to the collection as a whole.


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490 Appendix

takes a singular verb; when it refers to the individual members
of the collection, it takes a plural verb.

The audience was attentive to the lecture.

The audience were of a dozen opinions.

Shall and WilL Should and Would

The distinctions in the uses of " shall " and " will " are unfor-
tunately complicated, but they are much insisted upon by careful
speakers and writers.
The auxiliaries used to indicate the future tense are:

Sing. Plu.

I shall we shall

you will you will

he will they will

The auxiliaries used to indicate volition (intention, promise,
or command) on the part of the speaker are:

Sing. Plu. >

I will we will

you shall you shall

he shall they shall

The distinctions between should and would are the same as be-
tween shall and will.

The main difficulty lies in the first person, where there is a
wide-spread tendency to use will incorrectly instead of shaU to
express simple futurity.

Examples of Correct Usage: I shall be glad to see you and I
hope that you will come early. I will return the book to-mor-
row; you shall not go to the trouble to call for it He will be
there, without doubt; so shall I. I promise you that I will come
next week. I promised that I would go, but I should be late,
even if I started now. He would be a model candidate; we
should all vote for him.

In Questions, shall is always used in the first person. With
the second and third persons, shall or will is used accordingly
as the one or the other may be expected in reply. If one asks,
"Shall you go?" — one inquires not as to intention or voliticm
but simply as to the fact, and expects an answer, " I shall " or


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Appendix 491

" I shall not." But if one asks, "Will you go to drive with us?"
— one expects an act of volition expressed in the answer, "I
will" or "I will not" So, "Will they come?" implies an an-
swer, " They will " or " They will not."

In Indirect Di8coiir8e» when the subject is the same as that of
the principal clause, the auxiliary is used which would be used
in direct discourse.

John says that he shall be there. (Direct: I shall be there.)

I do not think that I will try. (Direct: I will try.)

He writes that he shall come next week. (Direct: I shall

They promise that they will not interfere. (Direct: We will

In all other cases of indirect discourse, the auxiliary in a de-
pendent clause follows the regular conjugations.

In Conditional Clauses shall or should is used in all persons to
express simple futurity; will or would in all persons to express
volition. The auxiliaries in the conclusions to the conditions fol-
low, of course, the regular conjugations.

Examples, the conditional clauses expressing simple futurity.
If I should go, they would be pleased to see me.
If you should go, I should (future) be pleased to see you.
If you should go, I would (promise) meet you.
If he should go, we would meet him. *

If it should rain, we should get wet.

Should and Would, as has been seen, follow the rules for shall
and will, but they have some additional peculiarities. Should is
sometimes used in the sense of ought; as, " She should remain
at home." It is also sometimes used in politeness or to soften
the force of a statement; as, " I should not think so " (=1 hardly
think so, or I do not think so). Would is used to denote a wish;
as, " Would that he were here I " — or to express habitual action ;
as, " He would sleep by the fire after dinner."

Th^ solecisms of using will or would for shall or should to
express simple futurity have been so frequently condemned that
persons now often make the opposite error and use shall in the
first person to express volition. In general, however, the follow-
ing rule is still a safe one:

When in doubt between shall and will in the first person. Use


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492 Appendix


Adjectives go with nouns or pronouns; adverbs with verbs, ad-
jectiveSy and adverbs. After certain verbs — look, sound, feel,
smell — there is some difficulty in deciding whether to use a word
referring to the subject or the verb. " I feel cold," means that I
am cold; "I feel coldly toward you," means that my feeling is
cold. So we say, " the rose smells sweet " ; " the boy looks bright "
— but, "he smelt carefully of the mixture"; "he looked brightly
at us." Sometimes either adjective or adverb can be used without
any perceptible difference in the meaning; as, "The piano sounds
barsh (or harshly)."

Misplaced Adverbs. Only and even should come next to the
words or expressions that they qualify. " I shall read only a
few pages." " Even our teacher thinks that our class is a bright

In general, an adverb should, if possible, come next to the word
it modifies.

The Cleft Infinitive. A careful writer will avoid placing an
adverb between " to " and the infinitive. " He was prepared to
follow cheerfully." Not, " to cheerfully follow."

The Comparative Degree should be used when you are refer-
ring to two objects or persons; the superlative, when to more
than two. ^'He was the taller of the two brothers." "He was
the tallest in a large family of tall men."

Some adjectives and adverbs from their meaning can logically
have no comparative or superlative degrees ; as, " absolutely, en-
tirely, extreme, faultless, supreme, unparalleled, unprecedented."
By a kind of hyperbole, however, words of this sort are some-
times used with the adverbs of comparison, "more, most, very";
so, "most certain" "more complete," "very fundamental," and
even "more perfect"


In choosing proper prepositions you must rely on your sense
of good idiom and your sense of the precise meaning you wish to
express. Commonly misused prepositions are : between for among;
different to or than for different from; in for into; onto for on.
At, by, in, of, to, on, with, are used almost indiscriminately by


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Appendix 493

careless speakers. Usually, however, only one of these preposi-
tions will exactly fit in the sentence; the others are misfits.


A few cases of misuse of conjunctions may be noticed here.

'As is misused for that. " I do not know that it is true '' — not,
"as it is true."

Bui is misused where there is no antithesis.

But what is used for but that. "1 do not know but that it
would be better" — not, "but what it would." Perhaps either
"but" or "that" would be preferable to "but that"

// is sometimes used where though would be preferable. Note
the difference in the meaning of the following sentence, if " if "
is substituted for "though": "Though he is a republican, he is
honest" // should not be used in place of whether: " I do not
know whether he will come." As though, equivalent to as if, is
good idiom.

Nor (not^ or) must follow neither.


Double negatives are condemned by good use to-day.

She looked but once. Not, She didn't look but once.

I hardly believe that Not, I don't hardly believe that

It won't rain, I think. Not^ It won't rain, I don't think.

Can but and cannot but differ in meaning. " I can but hope "
means that I can only hope, that is the only possibility. " I can-
not but hope" means that I must hope, diough the alternative
of despair is suggested. " I can but laugh, because there is noth-
ing else to do." " I cannot but laugh, because it is so funny,"

The omission of words often makes a construction ungram-
matical. The words within parentheses in the following sentences
are necessary.

(I) have received your letter and will reply at length Friday.

Old English usage differs in many respects from (the usage
of) the present

I am as glad to see you as John (is). Or, " as (to see) John."

He spoke enthusiastically as (he) always (did) of his pros-


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Non: — In the following index, the names of persons are printed in nnall capi-
tals: words and titles in italics; subjecU and topics in ordinary type. References
to titles of books after an author's name are preceded by the word ctUd; references
to quotations, by quottd.


Abbreviations, 48^ 189
Acceleration of the motion of the

aqueous Huid, 194
Accent in verse, ^
Accuracy in wording, 190-19S
Act, 195^
Actor, 189
Actual writing, 4-5
Add, 19s
Addison, J., 115, 186, 187, 250;

quoted, 119; cited, 10
Address of a letter, 48
Adjectives, 492
Adverbs, 492
Aggravate, 190, 206
Ain't, 189, 487
Albright, E. M., cited, 347
AusN, R. L., cited, 425
Alexandrine verse, -437
Alien, 186, 270
Alliteration, in prose, 238^240; in

verse, 433-434
All sorts and conditions of men,

Altar of ablutions, 193
Among 492
An, 485
Anacrusis, 431
Analogy, 375-376, 385
Analysis, in argument, 390-395;

in exposition, 353-357; of nar-
rative, 321-322; of s^le, 183-
185; topical, 80

Anapest, 427

And, 207, 232

And which, 227

Animal, 192

Antecedent probability, 386-387

Any one, 487

Apostrophe, 484

Approach the moment of disso-
lution, 193

Arguing beside the point, 385-386

Ar^^ument (see also Argumenta-
tion), from antecedent probabil-
ity, 386-387; classification of,
386; from example, 386-387,
388-389; from sign, 386-387,
389; in detective stories, 389

Argtunentation (sec also Argu-
ment), 364-^1: — aim of, 364-
36s; analysis in, 390-395; ar-
rangement in, 396-401 ; body of,
398-399; briefs m, 401-407;
classes of, 366-368; compared
to description, exposition, and
narration, 306-310; conclusions
in^ 39CH400; discourse dealing
with the uncertain and the un-
believed, 364-365 ; elements of,
369-390; exercises in, 413-421;
forms of, 365; im^rtance of,
364; introductions m, 397-398;



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logic in, 381-389; method of,
3S-369; object of, 365-366;
practical suggestions, 411-412;

?irocess of. 390-401; reading
or, 39S-39&; style in, 407-4"
Ariosto, L., cited, 439

Aenold, M., 105, iiSf 184, 186,
231, 250, 271, 382, ^7\Q^<^^^^'
SI, 68, 117, 121, 182-183. 2g.
296, 449; cited, 19, 30, 62, 67, 86,
^ i^ 196, 271, 358, 418, 452,
471 _

Arrangement (see also Composi-
tion, Order, Argumentation,
Description, Exposition, Narra-
tion, etc.); of arguments, 396-
401 ; in description, 341-346 ; m
exposition, 3S7-36i; of ideas,
11-12; in narration, 320-323*
326-328; in paragraphs, 105-
112; of paragraphs, 94-102; of
sentences, 105-112, 232-234; o*
words, 232-^34

Arrived on the scene, 193

Article, 486

Artificial forms of verse, 459-466

Artist, 189

As, 209, 232, 493

As if, 493

Asserted, 210

Assertion, 373-376

Assonance, 434-435

Assume, 192

Assume one's ttttire, 193

As though, 493

^/, 492

Atlantic Monthly^ 28

Atmosphere, 199

Attire ones elf ^ I93

Awfully charttably, 239

Awfully funny, 194

Awfully wobbly, too

Austen, Jane, cited, 322, 327, 328,

Authority in argument, 379-38o
Autobiography, kinds of, 313


Bacon, F., 115, 186, 187
Bagehot, W., 70, 224, 468; quoted,


Baker, G. P.. cited, 19, 87, 390,
401, 402, 410

Balanced sentence, 229-230; exer-
cises in, 252-253

Baldwin, C. S., cited, 341, 347

Ball, Margaret, cited, 79

Ballade, 464-465

Balzac, H. de, 317, 330, 455;
cited, 85, 308, 3I9» 325* 348

Barbarism, 189

Bartlett, J., cited, 4j5g

Base-ballist, 189

Base-hit^ 194

Beauty m sentences, 23^244

Beecher, H. W., cited, 418

Beg^ng the question, 383-384

Begtn, 488

Belloc, H., 36, 68, 361

Benign, 190

Bennett, A., cited, 86

Bent^am, T., cited, 412

Beowulf, 181

Berkeley, G., cited, 66» 358

Besant, W., cited, 333

Between, 492

Bibliograpny, 32-33

Btd, 488

Bike, 189


Blackmore, R. D., 269. 328;

quoted, 90-91. I33-I39, 241;

cited, 28, 66i 318, 320, 325
Blank verse, 437, 459
Body, of a composition, 76, 398-

399; of a letter, 45-46
Bone and marrow, 201
Born, 193
BoswELL, J., cited, 58, 59> 60, 6(^

Bouton, a. L., Cited, 19
Brackets, 483
Bravery, 192
Break in, 208


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Bbewster, W. T., cited, 19, 87,

176. 336, 334,. 345. 3^2
Briefs, 81-84; in argument, 401-

Bronte, C, 60, 328
Brooke, S., cited, 86
Brookings and Ringwalt, cited,

Browne, Sir T., 184; quoted, 246
Brownell, W. C, quoted, 129
Browning, E. B., ctted, 471
Browning, R., 24; quoted, 22,

219^20, 427, 430, 438, 439, 449;

ctted, 10, 47
Bruce, W. S., quoted, 257

Bruneti^re, R, quoted, 17s
Bryce, ;., 57, 71 94, 97, 357;

0ioted, 70; ctted, 55, 59, 66,

102, loi, 362
Buck, Gertrude^ cited, 4
Buckle, H., 314
Bunch, 190
Burden of proof, 395
Burglarise, 189
Burke, E., $7, 59, 62, 76, 77, 84.

94, 102, IIS, 186, 270, 282, 357,

361, 392; quoted, 56-57, 116-

"7, 13^131, 297, 342; ctted, 80,

81, 82-84, 97, 343, 378, 418, 419,

Burke's works, 200, 239
Burn, 191

Burns, R., quoted, 440; cited, 471
Burroughs, J., 249; quoted, 117-

Business letters, 48
But, 232, 493
But also, 227
But that, 493
But what, 493
By, 492
Byron, Lord, 60; quoted, 436,

446; cited, 19, 20, 436, 439, 440,

452, 471


Cacophony, 200
Cadence, 241-247

Cssar, cited, 313

Called down, 211

Calverley, C S., c»/^rf, 471

Came, 193

Camoens, L. de, cited, 4^

Campbell, T., ^iiof^if, 438^ 4^7

Campion, T., ^iio/^<f, 443

Can, 22y

Can hut, 493

Canby, H. R, ctV^if, 334

Cannot hut, 493

C"a^;, 189

Capital punishment, 391-394

Capitalization, as a convention,
41; rules for, 485

Carlyui, T 61, IIS, 186, 314;
cf/^rf, 20, 86,347,.348

Carpenter, G. R,, cited, 19

Carpenter and Brewster, cited,

^ i^ 87, 334, 347, 362, 418

Carryall, 189

Casket, 191

Catalexis, 431

Century Dictionary, 204

Certitude, 379

Cesura, 429

Character, in fiction, 31^320; as
a test of evidence, 380; typify-
ing of, 319-320

Charles IL 61

Chaucer, G., 181, 439; cited, 435

Chesterton, G. K., 68, 361 ; ctted,

gJiWr^n ^ poverty and want, 199

Claim, 210

Classification, of arguments, 386-
387; m exposition, 351-357; of
games, 35.4-356; imperfect, 352-
353; logical, 352; of poetry,
451-453; practical use of, 353-
356; of processes, 353-354; of
sentences, 227-230, 271-272; of
words, 189-203; of writing, 303-

Ciassy, 190

Ocarness (see also Arrangement,
Coherence, Order, Paragraphs,


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Sentences, Words, Argumenta-
tion, etc.), 265
Cleft infinitive, 49^
Clemens. S. L., 75; quoted, 51, 73,

317; cited, 8s, 264, 337
aimax, in narration, 329-330; in

style, 243
Clique, 191

Close of a letter, 46-47 ^

Clough, a. H., quoted, 427, 430
CoMn, 191

Coherence (see also Argumenta-
tion, Arrangement, Order, etc.),
as anticipaUon, 327; in compo-
sitions, 66-68; in description,
343-346; in exposition, 357-359;
m narration, 326-328; in para-
graphs, 114; as point of view,
327-328; in sentences, 232-233,
255-258; as tone, 327
Coleridge, H., cited, 47/ ^
Coleridge, S. T., quoted, 198, 473 ;

cited, 452, 458 . ,
Collection of material, 30-33
Collective noims, 489-490
Collins, W., quoted, 445
Colon, 482-483
Combine, 189, 207 .

Combining of words into sen-
tences, 185-186, 262-299
Comma, 480-482
Comparative degree, 492
Comparison, in argumentation,
3W-369; in exposition, 360-301;
in paragraphs, 98, iio-iii
Competence, as a test of evidence,

Complex sentence, 228; exercises

in, 24(^250
Composition, 53-^7 (see also
- Argumentation, Arrangement.
Plan, etc.) ; as arrangement of
ideas, 11-12, 84-85; conventions
of, i8-52; in description, 343-
346 ; exercises in, 85-87 ; funda-
mental questions of, 54; impor-
tance of, 53-54; kinds of, 55-
64; method of study, 54; order

of, 69-78; in paragraphs, 114-
115; principles of, 64-69; proc-

Online LibraryW. T. (William Tenney) BrewsterEnglish composition and style; a handbook for college students → online text (page 41 of 43)