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EASY ENGLISH GRAMMAR
A PLAIN DOCTRINE OF WORDS AND SENTENCES.
BOOK THE THIRD.
OF THE VERB, SYNTAX, AND PARSING.
J. M. D. MEIKLEJOHN, M.A.
This third j art contains nearly twice as much matter as either of the two former parts; but, if the others have been faithfully got up, it can be worked through in the same time. It connects itself im. mediately with the first part, and forms along with it a tolerably complete course of English Grammar-as it is taught in schools, apart from or independently of what is commonly called analysis. But, in fact, the one cannot prosper without the other; and it is no exaggeration to say that the only kind of accurate mental training which can be had by those who have no opportunity of receiving thorough instruction in the classics is to be obtained through careful and copious work in analysis. Shakspere and Milton, Tennyson and Browning, offer many hard intellectual language-nuts to crack, which are not unworthy of the notice of a good classical scholar.
It is to be hoped that no one will find the few new terms employed in this third part stumbling-blocks in his way. I have frequently been asked why I introduced the Dative case into this Grammar. To this the only possible reply is : That neither I nor any person introduced, or could introduce, that case into the language; it has always been there. The same reply may be made to the same question regarding the Gerund. We used to be informed, by the older and less enlightened grammarians, that the Infinitive was construed with Nouns, Adjectives, &c.; but no one could ever understand how this was possible, and the feeling induced in the mind of the pupil was that the Infinitive could be construed with anything. The complete solution of the Syntax of such phrases as “He was shown over the house," "He was promised a bishopric"*-which many grammarwriters have with their usual rashness pronounced to be “bad grammar"-is only one of the successes that may be expected when the English language is conscientiously examined.
* Page 29.
It is recommended that the Rules of Syntax should be learned by heart-hut only after they have been thoroughly understood, and to some extent practically used in exercises. It is of the highest importance to teach a pupil early to distinguish between good English and good grammar. Good English may be bad grammar, and contrariwise. One thing the English people have the strongest repugnance to; and that is, to show that they are thinking about the grammatical correctness of a sentence. Hence they always have said, and always will say, “Where is my hat and stick ?” “Here is a knife and fork;" and hence they will soon come always to say, “Who did you give the note to?" and so on. This repugnance is in accordance with good taste, and with a right sense of the fitting. Grammatical rules are the skeleton of a language; and, just as beauty is destroyed when the bones of an aniinal are too prominent, so the grace and ease of a language are destroyed, when a too careful attention to stiff and unbending grammatical rules is visible.
The exercises for this part, as well as those of the former parts, have been prepared by James D. Meiklejobn, B.A., of Eccles.
I have received most valuable assistance from the works of Mätzner, Fiedler, and Sachs.*
J. M. D. MEIKLEJOHN.
Bordon, October 3, 1864.
* Wissenschaftliche Grammatik d. Englischen Sprache, Erster Band von Eduard Fiedler, Zweiter Band von Dr. Carl Sachs.
Englische Grammatik, von Eduard Mätzner, Erster u. Zweiter Theil. It ie a pity that there are no books half so good in the English language,
AN EASY ENGLISH GRAMMAR
OF THE CHANGES OR INFLECTIONS OF WORDS.
We must now acquaint ourselves more fully than we did in Part II., with the changes or inflections which words undergo.
OF THE INFLECTIONS OF Nouns.*
NUMBER. In Old English, or, as it is usually termed, AngloSaxon, the ending of the plural of Nouns was as. In later English it became es ; in modern English it became s.
* In this section mere questions of spelling have been avoided.