J.W. Sewell.

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Of making many English grammars there is no end; nor should there be
till theoretical scholarship and actual practice are more happily
wedded. In this field much valuable work has already been
accomplished; but it has been done largely by workers accustomed to
take the scholar's point of view, and their writings are addressed
rather to trained minds than to immature learners. To find an advanced
grammar unencumbered with hard words, abstruse thoughts, and difficult
principles, is not altogether an easy matter. These things enhance the
difficulty which an ordinary youth experiences in grasping and
assimilating the facts of grammar, and create a distaste for the
study. It is therefore the leading object of this book to be both as
scholarly and as practical as possible. In it there is an attempt to
present grammatical facts as simply, and to lead the student to
assimilate them as thoroughly, as possible, and at the same time to do
away with confusing difficulties as far as may be.

To attain these ends it is necessary to keep ever in the foreground
the _real basis of grammar_; that is, good literature. Abundant
quotations from standard authors have been given to show the student
that he is dealing with the facts of the language, and not with the
theories of grammarians. It is also suggested that in preparing
written exercises the student use English classics instead of "making
up" sentences. But it is not intended that the use of literary
masterpieces for grammatical purposes should supplant or even
interfere with their proper use and real value as works of art. It
will, however, doubtless be found helpful to alternate the regular
reading and æsthetic study of literature with a grammatical study, so
that, while the mind is being enriched and the artistic sense
quickened, there may also be the useful acquisition of arousing a keen
observation of all grammatical forms and usages. Now and then it has
been deemed best to omit explanations, and to withhold personal
preferences, in order that the student may, by actual contact with the
sources of grammatical laws, discover for himself the better way in
regarding given data. It is not the grammarian's business to
"correct:" it is simply to record and to arrange the usages of
language, and to point the way to the arbiters of usage in all
disputed cases. Free expression within the lines of good usage should
have widest range.

It has been our aim to make a grammar of as wide a scope as is
consistent with the proper definition of the word. Therefore, in
addition to recording and classifying the facts of language, we have
endeavored to attain two other objects, - to cultivate mental skill and
power, and to induce the student to prosecute further studies in this
field. It is not supposable that in so delicate and difficult an
undertaking there should be an entire freedom from errors and
oversights. We shall gratefully accept any assistance in helping to
correct mistakes.

Though endeavoring to get our material as much as possible at first
hand, and to make an independent use of it, we desire to express our
obligation to the following books and articles: -

Meiklejohn's "English Language," Longmans' "School Grammar," West's
"English Grammar," Bain's "Higher English Grammar" and "Composition
Grammar," Sweet's "Primer of Spoken English" and "New English
Grammar," etc., Hodgson's "Errors in the Use of English," Morris's
"Elementary Lessons in Historical English Grammar," Lounsbury's
"English Language," Champney's "History of English," Emerson's
"History of the English Language," Kellner's "Historical Outlines of
English Syntax," Earle's "English Prose," and Matzner's "Englische
Grammatik." Allen's "Subjunctive Mood in English," Battler's articles
on "Prepositions" in the "Anglia," and many other valuable papers,
have also been helpful and suggestive.

We desire to express special thanks to Professor W.D. Mooney of Wall &
Mooney's Battle-Ground Academy, Franklin, Tenn., for a critical
examination of the first draft of the manuscript, and to Professor
Jno. M. Webb of Webb Bros. School, Bell Buckle, Tenn., and Professor
W.R. Garrett of the University of Nashville, for many valuable
suggestions and helpful criticism.



NASHVILLE, TENN., January, 1896.





How to Parse Verbs and Verbals



Simple Sentences
Contracted Sentences
Complex Sentences
Compound Sentences






So many slighting remarks have been made of late on the use of
teaching grammar as compared with teaching science, that it is plain
the fact has been lost sight of that grammar is itself a science. The
object we have, or should have, in teaching science, is not to fill a
child's mind with a vast number of facts that may or may not prove
useful to him hereafter, but to draw out and exercise his powers of
observation, and to show him how to make use of what he observes....
And here the teacher of grammar has a great advantage over the teacher
of other sciences, in that the facts he has to call attention to lie
ready at hand for every pupil to observe without the use of apparatus
of any kind while the use of them also lies within the personal
experience of every one. - DR RICHARD MORRIS.

The proper study of a language is an intellectual discipline of the
highest order. If I except discussions on the comparative merits of
Popery and Protestantism, English grammar was the most important
discipline of my boyhood. - JOHN TYNDALL.


What various opinions writers on English grammar have given in answer
to the question, _What is grammar?_ may be shown by the following -

[Sidenote: _Definitions of grammar._]

English grammar is a description of the usages of the English
language by good speakers and writers of the present
day. - WHITNEY

A description of account of the nature, build, constitution, or
make of a language is called its grammar - MEIKLEJOHN

Grammar teaches the laws of language, and the right method of
using it in speaking and writing. - PATTERSON

Grammar is the science of _letter_; hence the science of using
words correctly. - ABBOTT

The English word _grammar_ relates only to the laws which govern
the significant forms of words, and the construction of the

These are sufficient to suggest several distinct notions about English
grammar -

[Sidenote: _Synopsis of the above._]

(1) It makes rules to tell us how to use words.

(2) It is a record of usage which we ought to follow.

(3) It is concerned with the _forms_ of the language.

(4) English _has_ no grammar in the sense of forms, or inflections,
but takes account merely of the nature and the uses of words in

[Sidenote: _The older idea and its origin._]

Fierce discussions have raged over these opinions, and numerous works
have been written to uphold the theories. The first of them remained
popular for a very long time. It originated from the etymology of the
word _grammar_ (Greek _gramma_, writing, a letter), and from an effort
to build up a treatise on English grammar by using classical grammar
as a model.

Perhaps a combination of (1) and (3) has been still more popular,
though there has been vastly more classification than there are forms.

[Sidenote: _The opposite view_.]

During recent years, (2) and (4) have been gaining ground, but they
have had hard work to displace the older and more popular theories. It
is insisted by many that the student's time should be used in studying
general literature, and thus learning the fluent and correct use of
his mother tongue. It is also insisted that the study and discussion
of forms and inflections is an inexcusable imitation of classical

[Sidenote: _The difficulty_.]

Which view shall the student of English accept? Before this is
answered, we should decide whether some one of the above theories must
be taken as the right one, and the rest disregarded.

The real reason for the diversity of views is a confusion of two
distinct things, - what the _definition_ of grammar should be, and what
the _purpose_ of grammar should be.

[Sidenote: _The material of grammar_.]

The province of English grammar is, rightly considered, wider than is
indicated by any one of the above definitions; and the student ought
to have a clear idea of the ground to be covered.

[Sidenote: _Few inflections_.]

It must be admitted that the language has very few inflections at
present, as compared with Latin or Greek; so that a small grammar will
hold them all.

[Sidenote: _Making rules is risky_.]

It is also evident, to those who have studied the language
historically, that it is very hazardous to make rules in grammar: what
is at present regarded as correct may not be so twenty years from now,
even if our rules are founded on the keenest scrutiny of the
"standard" writers of our time. Usage is varied as our way of thinking
changes. In Chaucer's time two or three negatives were used to
strengthen a negation; as, "Ther _nas no_ man _nowher_ so vertuous"
(There never was no man nowhere so virtuous). And Shakespeare used
good English when he said _more elder_ ("Merchant of Venice") and
_most unkindest_ ("Julius Cæsar"); but this is bad English now.

If, however, we have tabulated the inflections of the language, and
stated what syntax is the most used in certain troublesome places,
there is still much for the grammarian to do.

[Sidenote: _A broader view_.]

Surely our noble language, with its enormous vocabulary, its peculiar
and abundant idioms, its numerous periphrastic forms to express every
possible shade of meaning, is worthy of serious study, apart from the
mere memorizing of inflections and formulation of rules.

[Sidenote: _Mental training. An æsthetic benefit._]

Grammar is eminently a means of mental training; and while it will
train the student in subtle and acute reasoning, it will at the same
time, if rightly presented, lay the foundation of a keen observation
and a correct literary taste. The continued contact with the highest
thoughts of the best minds will create a thirst for the "well of
English undefiled."

[Sidenote: _What grammar is_.]

Coming back, then, from the question, _What ground should grammar
cover?_ we come to answer the question, _What should grammar teach?_
and we give as an answer the definition, -

_English grammar is the science which treats of the nature of words,
their forms, and their uses and relations in the sentence_.

[Sidenote: _The work it will cover._]

This will take in the usual divisions, "The Parts of Speech" (with
their inflections), "Analysis," and "Syntax." It will also require a
discussion of any points that will clear up difficulties, assist the
classification of kindred expressions, or draw the attention of the
student to everyday idioms and phrases, and thus incite his

[Sidenote: _Authority as a basis_.]

A few words here as to the _authority_ upon which grammar rests.

[Sidenote: _Literary English_.]

The statements given will be substantiated by quotations from the
leading or "standard" literature of modern times; that is, from the
eighteenth century on. This _literary English_ is considered the
foundation on which grammar must rest.

[Sidenote: _Spoken English_.]

Here and there also will be quoted words and phrases from _spoken_ or
_colloquial English_, by which is meant the free, unstudied
expressions of ordinary conversation and communication among
intelligent people.

These quotations will often throw light on obscure constructions,
since they preserve turns of expressions that have long since perished
from the literary or standard English.

[Sidenote: _Vulgar English_.]

Occasionally, too, reference will be made to _vulgar English,_ - the
speech of the uneducated and ignorant, - which will serve to illustrate
points of syntax once correct, or standard, but now undoubtedly bad

The following pages will cover, then, three divisions: -

Part I. The Parts of Speech, and Inflections.

Part II. Analysis of Sentences.

Part III. The Uses of Words, or Syntax.




1. In the more simple _state_ of the _Arabs_, the _nation_ is free,
because each of her _sons_ disdains a base _submission_ to the _will_
of a _master_. - GIBBON.

[Sidenote: _Name words_]

By examining this sentence we notice several words used as names. The
plainest name is _Arabs_, which belongs to a people; but, besides this
one, the words _sons_ and _master_ name objects, and may belong to any
of those objects. The words _state, submission,_ and _will_ are
evidently names of a different kind, as they stand for ideas, not
objects; and the word _nation_ stands for a whole group.

When the meaning of each of these words has once been understood, the
word naming it will always call up the thing or idea itself. Such
words are called nouns.

[Sidenote: _Definition_.]

2. A noun is a name word, representing directly to the mind an
object, substance, or idea.

[Sidenote: _Classes of nouns_.]

3. Nouns are classified as follows: -

(1) Proper.

(2) Common. (a) CLASS NAMES: i. Individual.
ii. Collective.

(3) Abstract. (a) ATTRIBUTE.

[Sidenote: _Names for special objects._]

4. A proper noun is a name applied to a particular object, whether
person, place, or thing.

It specializes or limits the thing to which it is applied, reducing it
to a narrow application. Thus, _city_ is a word applied to any one of
its kind; but _Chicago_ names one city, and fixes the attention upon
that particular city. _King_ may be applied to any ruler of a kingdom,
but _Alfred the Great_ is the name of one king only.

The word _proper_ is from a Latin word meaning _limited, belonging to
one_. This does not imply, however, that a proper name can be applied
to only one object, but that each time such a name is applied it is
fixed or proper to that object. Even if there are several Bostons or
Manchesters, the name of each is an individual or proper name.

[Sidenote: _Name for any individual of a class._]

5. A common noun is a name possessed by _any_ one of a class of
persons, animals, or things.

_Common_, as here used, is from a Latin word which means _general,
possessed by all_.

For instance, _road_ is a word that names _any_ highway outside of
cities; _wagon_ is a term that names _any_ vehicle of a certain kind
used for hauling: the words are of the widest application. We may say,
_the man here_, or _the man in front of you_, but the word _man_ is
here hedged in by other words or word groups: the name itself is of
general application.

[Sidenote: _Name for a group or collection of objects._]

Besides considering persons, animals, and things separately, we may
think of them in groups, and appropriate names to the groups.

Thus, men in groups may be called a _crowd_, or a _mob_, a
_committee_, or a _council_, or a _congress_, etc.

These are called COLLECTIVE NOUNS. They properly belong under common
nouns, because each group is considered as a unit, and the name
applied to it belongs to any group of its class.

[Sidenote: _Names for things thought of in mass._]

6. The definition given for common nouns applies more strictly to
class nouns. It may, however, be correctly used for another group of
nouns detailed below; for they are common nouns in the sense that the
names apply to _every particle of similar substance_, instead of to
each individual or separate object.

They are called MATERIAL NOUNS. Such are _glass_, _iron_, _clay_,
_frost_, _rain_, _snow_, _wheat_, _wine_, _tea_, _sugar_, etc.

They may be placed in groups as follows: -

(1) The metals: _iron_, _gold_, _platinum_, etc.

(2) Products spoken of in bulk: _tea_, _sugar_, _rice_, _wheat_, etc.

(3) Geological bodies: _mud_, _sand_, _granite_, _rock_, _stone_, etc.

(4) Natural phenomena: _rain_, _dew_, _cloud_, _frost_, _mist_, etc.

(5) Various manufactures: _cloth_ (and the different kinds of cloth),
_potash_, _soap_, _rubber_, _paint_, _celluloid_, etc.

7. NOTE. - There are some nouns, such as _sun_, _moon_, _earth_,
which seem to be the names of particular individual objects, but which
are not called proper names.

[Sidenote: _Words naturally of limited application not proper._]

The reason is, that in proper names the intention is _to exclude_ all
other individuals of the same class, and fasten a special name to the
object considered, as in calling a city _Cincinnati_; but in the words
_sun_, _earth_, etc., there is no such intention. If several bodies
like the center of our solar system are known, they also are called
_suns_ by a natural extension of the term: so with the words _earth_,
_world_, etc. They remain common class names.

[Sidenote: _Names of ideas, not things._]

8. Abstract nouns are names of qualities, conditions, or actions,
considered abstractly, or apart from their natural connection.

When we speak of a _wise man_, we recognize in him an attribute or
quality. If we wish to think simply of that quality without describing
the person, we speak of the _wisdom_ of the man. The quality is still
there as much as before, but it is taken merely as a name. So
_poverty_ would express the condition of a poor person; _proof_ means
the act of proving, or that which shows a thing has been proved; and
so on.

Again, we may say, "_Painting_ is a fine art," "_Learning_ is hard to
acquire," "a man of _understanding_."

9. There are two chief divisions of abstract nouns: -

(1) ATTRIBUTE NOUNS, expressing attributes or qualities.

(2) VERBAL NOUNS, expressing state, condition, or action.

[Sidenote: _Attribute abstract nouns._]

10. The ATTRIBUTE ABSTRACT NOUNS are derived from adjectives and
from common nouns. Thus, (1) _prudence_ from _prudent_, _height_ from
_high_, _redness_ from _red_, _stupidity_ from _stupid_, etc.; (2)
_peerage_ from _peer_, _childhood_ from _child_, _mastery_ from
_master_, _kingship_ from _king_, etc.

[Sidenote: _Verbal abstract nouns._]

II. The VERBAL ABSTRACT NOUNS Originate in verbs, as their name
implies. They may be -

(1) Of the same form as the simple verb. The verb, by altering its
function, is used as a noun; as in the expressions, "a long _run_" "a
bold _move_," "a brisk _walk_."

(2) Derived from verbs by changing the ending or adding a suffix:
_motion_ from _move_, _speech_ from _speak_, _theft_ from _thieve_,
_action_ from _act_, _service_ from _serve_.

[Sidenote: _Caution._]

(3) Derived from verbs by adding _-ing_ to the simple verb. It must be
remembered that these words are _free from any verbal function_. They
cannot govern a word, and they cannot _express_ action, but are merely
_names_ of actions. They are only the husks of verbs, and are to be
rigidly distinguished from _gerunds_ (Secs. 272, 273).

To avoid difficulty, study carefully these examples:

The best thoughts and _sayings_ of the Greeks; the moon caused fearful
_forebodings_; in the _beginning_ of his life; he spread his
_blessings_ over the land; the great Puritan _awakening_; our birth is
but a sleep and a _forgetting_; a _wedding_ or a festival; the rude
_drawings_ of the book; masterpieces of the Socratic _reasoning_; the
_teachings_ of the High Spirit; those opinions and _feelings_; there
is time for such _reasonings_; the _well-being_ of her subjects; her
_longing_ for their favor; _feelings_ which their original _meaning_
will by no means justify; the main _bearings_ of this matter.

[Sidenote: _Underived abstract nouns._]

12. Some abstract nouns were not derived from any other part of
speech, but were framed directly for the expression of certain ideas
or phenomena. Such are _beauty_, _joy_, _hope_, _ease_, _energy_;
_day_, _night_, _summer_, _winter_; _shadow_, _lightning_, _thunder_,

The adjectives or verbs corresponding to these are either themselves
derived from the nouns or are totally different words; as
_glad_ - _joy_, _hopeful_ - _hope_, etc.


1. From your reading bring up sentences containing ten common nouns,
five proper, five abstract.

- NOTE. - Remember that all sentences are to be _selected_ from
standard literature.

2. Under what class of nouns would you place (_a_) the names of
diseases, as _pneumonia_, _pleurisy_, _catarrh_, _typhus_,
_diphtheria_; (_b_) branches of knowledge, as _physics_, _algebra_,
_geology_, _mathematics_?

3. Mention collective nouns that will embrace groups of each of the
following individual nouns: -


4. Using a dictionary, tell from what word each of these abstract
nouns is derived: -



[Sidenote: _Nouns change by use._]

13. By being used so as to vary their usual meaning, nouns of one
class may be made to approach another class, or to go over to it
entirely. Since words alter their meaning so rapidly by a widening or
narrowing of their application, we shall find numerous examples of
this shifting from class to class; but most of them are in the
following groups. For further discussion see the remarks on articles
(p. 119).

[Sidenote: _Proper names transferred to common use._]

14. Proper nouns are used as common in either of two ways: -

(1) _The origin of a thing is used for the thing itself_: that is, the
name of the inventor may be applied to the thing invented, as a
_davy_, meaning the miner's lamp invented by Sir Humphry Davy; the
_guillotine_, from the name of Dr. Guillotin, who was its inventor. Or
the name of the country or city from which an article is derived is
used for the article: as _china_, from China; _arras_, from a town in
France; _port_ (wine), from Oporto, in Portugal; _levant_ and
_morocco_ (leather).

Some of this class have become worn by use so that at present we can
scarcely discover the derivation from the form of the word; for
example, the word _port_, above. Others of similar character are
_calico_, from Calicut; _damask_, from Damascus; _currants_, from
Corinth; etc.

(2) _The name of a person or place noted for certain qualities is
transferred to any person or place possessing those qualities_;
thus, -

Hercules and Samson were noted for their strength, and we call a
very strong man _a Hercules_ or _a Samson_. Sodom was famous for
wickedness, and a similar place is called _a Sodom_ of sin.

_A Daniel_ come to judgment! - SHAKESPEARE.

If it prove a mind of uncommon activity and power, _a Locke_, _a
Lavoisier_, _a Hutton_, _a Bentham_, _a Fourier_, it imposes its
classification on other men, and lo! a new system. - EMERSON.

[Sidenote: _Names for things in bulk altered for separate portions._]

15. Material nouns may be used as class names. Instead of
considering the whole body of material of which certain uses are made,
one can speak of particular uses or phases of the substance; as -

(1) _Of individual objects_ made from metals or other substances
capable of being wrought into various shapes. We know a number of
objects made of iron. The material _iron_ embraces the metal contained
in them all; but we may say, "The cook made the _irons_ hot,"

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