Abbildungen der Seite

or words which are considered of the same signification.

Q. Are there any words perfectly synonymous ?

Å. On this point there is great difference of opinion, put many are reputed synonymous which are not so n reality. Q. Can you give an example of this ?

4. Courage and fortitude are generally deemed of the same import; but the difference between them is considerable. Courage braves danger, fortitude supports pain.

Q. Is precision alike necessary in all sorts of composition ?

A. In all it is important; it is the very essence of poetry; but in novels and romances it is much less necessary, than in works which inculcate truth, or teach some art or science.

Q. Can you correct the following sentences in which precision has been disregarded ? James desisted from, and renounced his designs. He abhorred and detested being in debt. This lady was a pattern of piety, virtue, and religion.

A. James desisted from his designs. He detested being in debt. This lady was a pattern of piety and virtue.

EXERCISES. I. Omit the superfluous expressions in the follow ing sentences :

1. The human body may be divided into the head, trunk, limbs, and vitals.

2. His end soon approached, and he died with great courage and fortitude.

3. There can be no regularity or order in the lise and conduct of that man, who does not give and allot a due share of his time to retirement and reflection.

4. His cheerful, happy temper, remote from discontent, keeps up a kind of daylight in his mind, excludes every gloomy prospect, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

II. Correct the tautology in the following sentences : 1. The birds were clad in their brightest plumage, and the trees were clad in their richest verdure.

2. The occurrence which the sentinel told the sergeant, he told the captain, who told it to the general.

3. Notwithstanding the rapidity with which time passes, men pass their lives in trifles and follies; although reason and religion declare, that not a noment should pass without bringing something to pass.

4. He used to use many expressions not usually used, and which are not generally in use.

5. The writing which mankind first wrote, was first written on tables of stone.

6. Our expectations are frequently disappointed, because we expect greater happiness from the future than experience authorizes us to expect.

7. No learning that we have learned is generally so dearly bought, or so valuable when it is bought, as that which we have learned in the school of experience.

III. Correct the following errors in the use of words rommonly employed as synonymous :

The secretary left the place of trust he held under government, gavo ap his party, quitted his parents in affliction, and deserted the kingdom forever.

2. A patriot acknowledges his opposition to a corrupt ministry, and 18 applauded; a gentleman confesses his mistake, and is forgiven; a prisoner avows the crime of which he stands accused, and is punished.

3. A hermit is severe in his life ; a casuist rigorous in his application c religion or law; a judge austere in his sentences.

4. The earl, being a man of extensive abilities, stored his mind with a Tariety of ideas; which circumstance contributed to the successful exertion of his vigorous capacity.

5. By the habit of walking often in the streets, one acquires a custom of idleness,

6. Philip found an obstacle to managing the Athenians, on account of their natural dispositions; but the eloquence of Demosthenes was the great difficulty in his designs.

7. He is master of a complete house, which has not one entire apartment.

8. An honest man will refrain from employing an ambiguous expression; e confused man may often utter equivocal terms without design.

9. This man, on all occasions, treated his inferiors with great haughtiness and disdain.

10. Galileo discovered the telescope ; Harvey invented the circulation of the blood.

11. He is a child alone, having neither brother nor sister. 12. A man may be too vain to be proud.

13. The traveler observed the most striking objects he saw; the general cemarked all the motions of the enemy.

14. I am amazed at what is new or unexpected ; confounded at what is vast or great ; surprised at what is incomprehensible ; astonished by what is shocking or terrible.

15. He died with violence ; for he was killed by a sword.


OF PERSPICUITY IN THE STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES. Q. What is the first requisite in the structure of sentences ?

1. To be careful to make them neither too long nor too short; and not to have too many that are either very long or very short following in succession.

Q? What is generally the effect of making sentences too long?

A. It tends to confuse and fatigue the reader or hearer, and consequently prevents him from distinct


ly understanding, and feeling an interest in, what he hears or reads.

Q. What is the consequence of making them too short ?

A. It gives an appearance of abruptness and want of connection to the composition, and represents a subject too much in loose and detached portions. Q. How are both extremes best avoided ?

A. By a due intermixture of long and short sentences, whether in speaking or writing. Q. What will be the effect of this?

Å. It will be productive of that variety which seldom fails to please ; and to be pleased is one of the first steps toward being instructed.

Q. Under what heads do the more particula“ rules of this subject come?

A. Under Clearness, Unity, Strength, Harmony, and a judicious use of the Figures of Speech.

Q. Do not some of these more properly rank under beauty or ornament?

A. They all do so to a certain degree, but ornament depends more particularly upon harmony and a proper use of the figures of speech.


Q. What do you understand by Clearness?

A. Such an arrangement of the several words and members of a sentence as distinctly indicates an author's meaning.

Q. When is this most apt to be overlooked ? í Ă. In the placing or arranging of such words or clauses as are of a qualifying or restrictive nature. Q. What class of words come chiefly under this head ?

Ă. Those denominated adverbs, which may, by an improper position, be made to qualify a wrong word, and thus bring out a meaning totally different from that intended. Q. Can you exemplify what you have mentioned ?

A. “ William has set out upon his travels, and he not only means to visit Paris, but also Rome"

Q Where does the error lie here?

A. In the position of not only, which, as they stand, are made to qualify means ; whereas the word they should qualify is Paris ; as, “ He means to visit, not only Paris, but Rome also.”

Q. When several restrictive or qualifying clauses occur in the same sentence, how should they be disposed ?

A. The best way is, not to place them too near each other, but so to disperse and arrange them, as to leave the principal words of the sentence prominent and distinct.

Q. What is faulty in the following sentence: “A great stone that I happened to find, after a long search, by the sea-shore, served me for an anchor?"

A. The qualifying clause, “after a long search,” is improperly placed.

Q. What may the meaning of the sentence be according to the present arrangement?

A. Why, that the search was confined to the seashore, whereas it is intended to be stated that the stone was found on the sea-shore.

Q. Can you give the sentence in a corrected form?

A. A great stone that I happened, after a long search, to find by the sea-shore, served me for an anchor."

Q. What is the most general rule upon the subject of arrange

A. Place words so as best to preserve and exhibit the proper connection of the thoughts for which they stand, and which they are intended to convey.

2. Is there any more specific rule ?

A. Let all relative and connective words be so placed as best to indicate at once what they connect, and to what they refer.

Q. What will be the consequence of an improper position of words in a sentence ?

A. It will obscure the sense, and produce confusion in the mind of the reader or hearer.

Q. Will you endeavor to correct the following sentences ? It is folly to pretend to arm ourselves against the accidents of life, by heaping up treasures, from which nothing can protect us but the good providence of God. We shall now endeavor, with clearness and precision, to describe the provinces once united under their sway. The minister who grows less by his elevation, like a little statue on a mighty pedestal, will always have his jealousy strong about him.

ment ?

A. It is folly to pretend, by heaping up treasures, to arm ourselves against the accidents of life, from which nothing can protect us but the good providence of God. We shall endeavor to describe, with clearness and precision, the provinces once united under their sway. The minister who, like a little statue on a mighty pedestal, grows less by his elevation, will always have his jealousy strong about him,

EXERCISES. I. Correct the errors in the position of adverbs, in the following sentences :

1. By doing the same thing it often becomes habitual. 2. Not to exasperate him, I only spoke a few words.

3. Sixtus the Fourth was, if I mistake not, a great collector of books at least.

4. We do those things frequently, which we repent of afterward.

5. I was engaged formerly in that business, but I never shall be again concerned in it.

6. If Louis XIV. was not the greatest king, he was the best actor of majesty, at least, that ever filled a throne.

II. Correct the errors in the position of clauses and circumstances, in the following sentences :

1. I have settled the meaning of those pleasures of the imagination, which are the subject of my present undertaking, by way of introduction, in this paper; and endeavored to recommend the pursuit of those please ures to my readers, by several considerations ; I shall examine the several sources whence these pleasures are derived, in the next paper.

2. Fields of corn form a pleasant prospect; and if the walks were a little taken care of that lie between them, they would display neatness, reg ularity, and elegance.

3. I have confined myself to those methods for the advancement of piety, which are in the power of a prince, limited like ours, by a strict execution of the laws.

4. This morning, when one of the gay females was looking over some noods and ribands, brought by her tirewoman, with great care and diligence, I employed no less in examining the box which contained them.

5. Since is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, where fraud is permitted or connived at, or has no law to punish it, the honest dealer is often undone, and the knave gets the advantage.

6. As the guilt of an officer will be greater than that of a common ser. vant, if he prove negligent, so the reward of his fidelity will be proportion ably greater.

7. Let the virtue of a definition be what it will, in the order of things, . it seems rather to follow than to precede our inquiry, of which it ought to be considered as the result.

8. This work, in its full extent. being now afflicted with an asthma, and finding the power of life gradually declining, he had no longer courage to undertake.

9. The witness had been ordered to withdraw from the bar, in consequence of being intoxicated, by the motion of an honorable member.

« ZurückWeiter »