G Steel.

An English grammar and analysis : for students and young teachers online

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Inter. B.Sc.




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Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ltd., London and Aylesbury.

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NOTWITHSTANDING the numerous grammars already
published, no apology is needed for issuing another.
English Grammar, as a science, seems yet to lack the
chief feature of a science, namely, " organisation of know-
ledge." It consists of a great mass of facts imperfectly
classified and correlated, and consequently lacks unity and
cohesion, and gives to a young student the impression that
many of its distinctions and rules are purely arbitrary.
This is a serious defect which greatly diminishes the
educational value of the study of language, in itself the
most general and the most powerful educational instrument
the experience and ingenuity of man have devised.

It seemed, therefore, worth while to attempt some
improvement in the methods usually followed, and some
advance on the results attained. For this purpose the
language itself has been made to furnish its facts in such
a way as to assist in the classification of them, and in the
establishment of principles ; and no distinction has been
recognised in this work which the language itself does not

The end proposed has necessitated rather more independ-
ence and freedom in dealing with the subject than has
been usual ; but without some departure from custom no
advance would have been possible. Whether the freedom
claimed was necessary or justifiable the reader must judge.


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The Author desires to acknowledge his indebtedness
to the works of Prof. Earle, Prof. Skeats, Dr. Angus,
and Dr. Morris, which have furnished the materials for
construction as well as guidance throughout ; and to
acknowledge the kindness and courtesy of Dr. Angus and
the Religious Tract Society in granting permission to use
the table of prepositions and a number of quotations given
in the Syntax ; of Messrs. Macmillan & Co. in allowing the
insertion, from Prof. Nichols' Composition, of a table of
the chief rhetorical figures of speech and several quotations ;
and of the Delegates of the Clarendon Press in permitting
the reproduction of specimens of Anglo-Saxon inflections
from Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader.

It is also a pleasure and a duty gratefully to acknowledge
the assistance received from friends and colleagues.


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SPEECH is thought expressed in words. The words used by
a given people constitute the language of that people. A
language consists, however, of signs and significant sequences.
We are not here concerned with the origin of language, but we
may safely assert that one condition must have controlled it from
the earliest stage to the latest, namely, that the language should
be intelligible to the persons using it. This presupposes two
things: the use of generally recognised signs or words, and of
equally recognised usages, customs, and expedients for indicating
the way in which the things signified are connected in thought.
In other words, from the beginning a language must have had
a vocabulary, and a grammar or set of customs which regulate
the use of words as a medium of thought and speech.

In the following pages we propose to examine the English
language : to classify its words or signs, and to discover and
enunciate the rules which usage and custom have fixed as the
means for rendering words most efficient as the vehicle of thought.
The object of grammar is to render the structure of the language
obvious and its forms familiar; to discover the principles on
which it is built up, the full import of its signs, and the functions
discharged by them. Until some such insight into the language
has been obtained, no one can avail himself to the full of its
power and resources. Without such knowledge the finer dis-
tinctions and excellences are lost, and the acquirement of the
arts of speaking and writing with force and elegance are impos-
sible. Doubtless the language of the society in which we move.


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and of the writers we are most familiar with, exercises the most
potent influence in the formation of habits of thought and speech.
What we shall assimilate and make our own will depend, how-
ever, in great measure on our readiness and ability in recognising
excellences and defects when we meet with them. It is precisely
this power which a careful study of the forms of the language
gives us. Moreover, it renders the acquisition of other languages
easier and more successful, and affords a kind of mental dis-
cipline which is of the highest vahie.

A knowledge of the forms in use would be far from satisfactory
unless accompanied by the command of a copious vocabulary, the
acquirement of which is, therefore, an object we must set before
ourselves. Accordingly, special attention has been paid to the
vocabulary, and at the end of the book a very varied and ample
collection of quotations is given, in the belief that the student
will learn more from an intelligent and careful examination of
the choicest utterances of our best writers than from any amount
of merely formal grammar, and at the same time will enlarge his
vocabulary in the most interesting and most effective way. It
is, however, in the examination of the language itself that the
distinctions and forms treated of in grammar will be found of
the greatest assistance, and the need for those distinctions as well
as their justification will reveal themselves.


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I The Sentence 1

II. The Parts of Speech 9

III. Classification of the Pabts of Speech (Division) . 22

IV. Accidence and Inflection 46

V. The Sentence. Its Members 89

VI. Syntax AND Composition. Figubative Language. . 116

VII. Debivation and Wobd-Building 162

Vin. The English Vocabulaey 178

IX. A Shobt Histoby of the English Language . . .221

Quotations 262

Index 297


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Speech and Grammar. Grammar is the science which
seeks to discover and to formulate the laws of speech. Like all
true sciences, it depends on careful ohservation of things, on the
detection of resemblances and differences among them, and on a
proper grouping of them into classes, according to these resem-
blances and differences.

Words, inasmuch as they constitute the elements of speech,
are the things to which observation must be directed, and from
which the laws of speech must be discovered and established.

Speech is the instrument by means of which mind communi-
cates with mind; and words, or the elements of speech, are
primarily articulate sounds^ which we employ to denote the
things 2 which engage our thoughts.

The first thing that strikes us in considering speech is that
it is not a mere succession of words, but that the words are
arranged in well-marked groups, each of which is complete in
itself. This is well seen in such simple speech as children are
masters of, and of which the following may be taken as samples : —

Birds Jly. Fishes swim. Dogs hark. Children play.

Here we have four groups of words, each of which is complete
in itself. Further, we shall find that aU speech, whether of old

* Long before writing was thought of speech had attained considerable
perfection ; and children learn to speak long before they learn to write.

* The word " thing," as here used, is not limited to material objects, but
includes whatever can engage the attention of the mind : whatever we can
think about*

i'- 1


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or young, consists of (one or more) groups of words, each group
being complete in itself. Such a group of words is called a

A sentence is thus a group of words used as speech, and
forming a complete utterance; and speech is made up of sen-
tences. We have called words the dements of speech ; we may
now call the sentence the unit of speech : it is the smallest
complete portion of speech.

The Sentence. Let us examine the short sentences before
given, and compare them with each other so as to discover points
of resemblance.

If we write them thus —






we observe that in each sentence the word in the first column
{birds fjishes, or dogs) denotes what the speech or utterance is about;
while that in the second column {Jly, swim, bark) makes an asser-
tion or statement about those things. As we proceed we shall
find that this is not a mere accident, but that every sentence,
whether long or short, consists essentially of the same two
elements, namely —

1. A word to denote the thing or things spoken about ; and,

2. A word, or a group of words,^ which makes an assertion

about the thing or things.

The first is called the Subject of the sentence, and the second
is called the Predicate.

We have thus learnt that speech consists of words arranged in
sentences; and that every sentence consists of (at least) two
parts — a subject and a predicate.

The Subject is the word which denotes the person or thing about which
an assertion is made.

The Predicate is a word (or group of words ^ which makes an asser-
tion about the person or thing denoted by the subject.

Exercise 1. Separate the sentences in Section 1, (p. 250), into subjects
and predicates. (Arranged in two columns.)

' The student should note carefully the meaning attached to the words
used. He will thus shorten his labour and render it more successfuL

* The student will see in the following paragraph on the Predicate why
these words are added.


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The Predicate. If we further examine the speech of chil-
dren we find such sentences as the following : —

(a) Cats catch mice, Charlie hit me. You teased Charlie. Cowa
eat grass ^ I see you.

Let us write them as before^ and compare these sentences with
the previous ones y first noting resembkmces.
Cats catch mice.

Charlie hit me.
I see you.

We observe that these sentences, like the first group, may be
separated into two natumlly distinct parts, the subject and the
predicate (separated as before by the upright line).

But we may also note a point in which they differ. The pre-
dicate in the new sentences consists of two parts ; in the previous
sentences it consisted of one word. Looking at the above sen-
tences, we feel that "(7ate catch" is not a complete group of
words ; it is not a sentence. Similarly " Charlie hit " is not a
complete group, and requires some other word to complete it, or
to make it a sentence. Each of the other groups w incomplete
without the final word. Note next that the sense of incomplete-
ness is not referred at all to the subject {cats, Charlie, etc.) : it is
the predicate which is incomplete without some additional word.

The cause of this incompleteness is to be found in the nature
of the words. The words " catch" " hit" and " ea^" and many
similar words, denote activities or active states which can have
no existence apart from something acted upon. The thing or
person acted upon, or involved in the activity, is spoken of as the
object of the activity, and the word that denotes it is called the
Object of the sentence.

The Object is a word which denotes a person or thing necessarily involved
in the activity denoted by the predicate.

(6) We will next examine another type of sentence met with
at the very outset of an examination of ordinary speech. Such
sentences as the following are amongst our earliest acquisitions : —
Dogs are animals. Bread is food. James is clever,
Emw/a is diligent.
Compare these sentences with the previous ones. First we
note that they resemble them in consisting of two well-marked
parts — subject and predicate.

Subject. ' Predicate.

Dogs { are animals.
Bread | is food.
Emma is diligent.


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Next note how they differ from previous sentences. We fi»nd
that the predicate in these sentences consists of two words, and
that are or w, without the word which follows it, makea no
assertion, conveys no meaning, and, is not a predicate.

Next, compare them with our last examples of sentences,
" Gats catch mice,^' etc. We noted that catch, hit, etc., are
predicates, but require completing by some other word, called the
object. In the sentence ** Dogs are animals," on the other hand,
we observe that are is not a predicate, nor is the word is in the
other sentences. Hence the words anim^als, food, clever, and
diligent are essential parts of the predicate, and not its completion.
They are, therefore, not objects guch as we met with in our
previous sentences.^ The student should note once for all that
is, are, and the parts of the verb " be '' cannot form a predicate
by themselves.

(c) Yet another type of sentence remains to be examined, of
which the following may be taken as examples : —

The letter is ready /or the post, Henry was guilty of negligence.
Children are anocious to please.

Arranging them in vertical columns, as before, we see that the
full upright line separates subjects from predicates.


The letter



Predicate. (Complement).

is ready
was guilty-
are anxious

for the post,
of negligence,
to please.

The fresh features are : (1) That the predicate is incomplete
without some other word; and (2) That the completion of the
predicate is not a word denoting a thing acted upon, such as we
met with in the sentences in group (a). It is not an object,^ and
we require a separate name for such a completion of the predicate.
It is called the Complement.

The Complement is a word, or group of words, whicli completes the sense
of the predicate, bat does not denote the object of an activity.^

» What is the definition of an object ?

^ For farther information concerning the complement, see the Analys
of Sentences, p. 93.


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Jjet us now gather up what we have learnt about the predicate.
We have seen that it may consist of : —

1. A single word denoting an activity or state, as Birds \Jli/,

She I sleeps.

2. A word which, while it makes an assertion, denotes an

activity that requires the thing acted upon to be
named in order to complete the assertion. The thing
so named and the word denoting it are called the
object; as in the sentence Cats | catch mice.

3. Such words as are and is, and another word, as in the

sentence Dogs | are animals* Here we must carefully
note that such words as are and is cannot form a
predicate by themselves, and that the word which
follows them is an essential part of the predicate, not
its completion. There would be no predicate without
these words.

4. Such a word as was, is, or are, and some word such as

ready, guilty, or anocioics, which requires some additional
word or words to complete the sense — which words do
not name an object of an activity, but complete the
predicate in some other way. Such a completion of
the predicate is called the complement; as, He | was
anxious | to please.

Exercise 2. Separate each sentence in Section 2, (p. 250), into subject,
predicate, and object; or into subject, predicate, and complement (if it
contains these parts). Thus : —



Object or Complement.



are mammals.


is anxious

mice (Object).

to learn (Complement).

Enlargement of the Subject (and Object). Referring
back to our first group of sentences, we see that we can, with
such slight changes as we frequently make, modify them by
introducing additional words. Thus:^

Soms birds


Living fishes


These children



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Here we have added a modif3dng word to the subject, and
looking merely to the number of words in the subject, we say the
word added is an Enlargement of the Subject We may, indeed,
add a large number of modifying words to the same subject.
Thus we may say: —

Most healthy, energetic, little children | play.

However many words are added to the subject to modify it,
they are called the enlargement of the subject. Each modifying
word introduces some element of distinction, of quality, or of
quantity we wieh to note. Similarly the object may be enlarged.
Thus:— •



Predicate. Enlargement of Object.

catch ! many troublesome, little


An Enlargement of the Subject is any word or words added to par-
ticularise tbe person or thing denoted by the Subject, but qualifying the
Subject only.

An Enlargement of the Object is any word or words added to par-
ticularise the person or thing denoted by the Object, but qualifying the
Object only.

Exercise 8. Separate each sentence in Section 8, (p. 260), into En-
largement of Subject I Subject | Predicate | Object | Enlargement of

Extension of the Predicate. We may also make changes
in our original sentences by adding words which affect only the
Predicate. Thus we may say : —


fly occasionally.


1 play everywhere.


swim grace/uMy,


succeeded completely.

A large number of modifying words may be thus added to a
given predicate ; as, for example : —

Birds I fly | occasionally, for long distances, with great stoiftness.

These additional words are called JExtensions of the Predicate.
The "extension," while increasing the number of words, introduces,


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for the most part, a limitation as to time, place, manner, or
degree; it shows the extent of our assertion by marking its

An Extension of the Fredieate is any word or words added to a eompltie
Predicate to modify the assertion in respect to time, plaee, manner, pnrpose,
or degree ; or to strengthen, weaken, or deny the assertion ; or to modify
the assertion in any way. It modifies the Fredieate only,

£xercise 4. Separate each sentence in Section 4, (p. 251), into En*
largement of Subject | Subject | Predicate | Object ] Enlargement of
Object I Extension, as in the examples below.

Siunmary of Chapter L

Our observation and examination of ordinary speech have
disclosed the following facts : —

1. That words are the elements of speech, and that they are

arranged in natural and complete groups called

2. That every sentence consists of at least two parts: a

Subject and a Predicate.

3. That some predicates require completing by an Object,

and others by a Complement.

4. That the subject may have other words added to it, which

\^ords are called the Enlargement of the Subject.
Similarly, words may be added to the Object forming
an Enlargement of tiie Object.

5. That the Predicate may be modified by additional words,

forming what is called the Extension of the

The different parts or members of the sentence may be more readily
exbibited to the eye in a tabular form, such as is use^ in "Analysis of
Sentences." Some such form the student should adopt. A complete
mastery of the principal parts of the sentence is a necessary preliminary
to a successful study of the laws of speech ; and the necessary familiarity
with these parts can be acquired only by repeated exercise in analysing, or
separating, the sentence thus into its parts.


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The Principal Farts of the Sentence.
Model for the Analysis op the Simple Sentence.

Enlargement of Subj. ' Subj. jl Predicate.

Most I bJrda
This , cat

I Dogs

I fly.

; caught


Enlargement of Obj. Extension of Pred.

mice those, two, little

I I I i

Children' are anxious
I ! I to please

I I , (complL).

These two healthy children 1 1 smiled.

I I I ' i

(Dist.) (Quant.) (Qual.) [\



often, away, suddenlj.

Ill I

( Time) (Space) (Manwr)

QnefltionB on Chapter I.

1. State carefully the end aimed at in Grammar.

2. How are words and sentences related to speech ?

3. Which are the two most important elements of the sentence ?

4. Define the Subject, the Predicate, and the Object.

5. Wliat is an Enlargement of the Subject, and an Extension of the
Predicate ?


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The Subject and Object. HOUHS.

We have seen that every sentence consists of at least two parts,
a Subject and a Predicate. Let us observe first what sort of
words are employed as Subjects. Placing before us mast of the
words we have already had as subjects, we find they include
the following : —

Birds, JlsheSy cats, dogs, cows, children, bread, James.

We remember that each word denoted some person or thing
(about which some assertion was made). And whenever we wLsh
to speak about persons or things, we must denote them by some
word which, in the first instance, must be what we in common
language call a name ; that is, a word used to denote a person or
thing, and having no other function <w v^se. Such a word is called

Online LibraryG SteelAn English grammar and analysis : for students and young teachers → online text (page 1 of 26)