Page images

sion, cannot properly be used of the chair. Hence i deduce the
general rule, that nouns which denote or imply a real possessor may
be used in the possessive case, and those onl.: ; consequently other
nouns or nouns, which do not properly signify a possessor, must be
constructed with the aid of the preposition of ; as in the following.
instances : -
The Possessive Case.

The Preposition of."
Byron's Childe Harold

the side of the house
The Queen's diamond

the edge of the precipice The Mayor's liberality

the ridge of the wall The forms of the possessive case may be exchanged with the forms made by means of the preposition of ; thus we may say,

The Childe Harold of Byron
The Diamonds of the Queen

The liberality of the Mayor But the rule cannot be reversed, that is, you cannot turn the false into the true genitive, and say,

The house's side
The precipice's edge

The wall's ridge Poetry indeed, in personifying objects, may and does employ of things withont life, that is things to which possession cannot strictly be ascribed, the real genitive, as Victory's crown. The imitation of this in prose gives an affected air to the composition, and is to be avoided. In a few instances, however, custom sanctions the use of the Saxon genitive in its application to objects where no real possession is intended or implied, e.g. :

The sun's distance from the earth is greater than the moon's.
We saw a whale at a boat's length from the ship's prow.
His house is not five minutes' walk from this spot.

The apostrophe in man's has already been explained; it represents the German and Saxon e. This e is found only in the possessive singular. To the possessive singular, therefore, the apostrophe specially belongs, and according to its origin, the apostrophe should stand immediately before the s, as the king's son. Sometimes, however, it is actually found after an s as in childrens' toys. The reason is that the apostrophe borrowed from the Saxon singular has been extended to English plurals, thus :Singular.

The child's toys

the childrens' toys
The man's houses

the mens' houses The wife's gown

the wives' gowns But observe, the apostrophe, which in the singular is placed before the s, is in the plural placed after the s. The apostrophe, however, is not to be employed unless with a possessive case.

In propunciation it is not unusual to drop the s of the possessive when the noun itself ends in s, thus instead of Johnses (Johns's) book, we say Johns (Johns') book. Accordingly, when a noun ends in 8, some do not add the s'of the possessive case, but simply place

the apostrophe after the 8 of the nouns, as Richardsons' hat. The omission, however, is only partial.

An abbreviation also takes place when several nouns in the possessive case come in succession, e. g. :

I saw the Duchess Dowager's carriage.
The Lord Chancellor's footman has come.
The keeper of the Privy Seal's house has been sold,
They went to Thompson and Brothers', the linen drapers.
I bouglit the article at Husband and Son's, the new tea-dealers.

Here, the Duchess Douager is a compound title, and being takin together bas but one 's, though consisting of two nouns. In Thompson and Brothers' the term shop or warehouse is understood; e. g., Call at Henry's, that is Henry's house, or Henry's place of business. Usage does not allow the s to be applied to explanatory pouns, as in the above the linen drapers, or the new tea-dealers ; nevertheless, these nouns are in apposition, and consequently in the same case with the titles or names they explain.

In our last lesson, we treated very fully of the important case in English nouns, viz., the Saxon genitive, and we showed that this is recognised by the use of the apostrophe and the letter s. We now proceed to a conclusion on this subject.

If the several nouns which enter into a series represent each a distinct idea or fact, then the 's must be appended to each, e. g., My father's, grandfather's and uncle's property was destroyed This is a different statement from the fol owing, My father, grandfather and uncle's property was destroyed. In the former sentence it is declared that three properties were destroyed ; in the latter sentence it is declared that one property shared between three persons was destroyed.

There are cases where successive nouns depend on each other, the relation expressed by the genitive or possessive case subsisting between them severally, e. g.,

My son's wife's sister's husband has arrived ; that is, the husband of my son's wifi's sister, or the husband of the sister of my son's wife.

Here, if the Saxon genitive is used, the s with the apostrophe must be used with all the nouns except the last.

Analyse this sentence, I have bought a book of Richards, and you will find that, as it here stands, it is not correct. “What is it you have bought?" "A book.” “What book?" " A book of Richard's.” “Do you mean a book belonging to Richard ?" “Yes.” “Then what you say is that you bought the book from Richard?" "No, I don't mean that; I bought it at the auction, Richard did not sell it me.” “ Auction ! what, has Richard's library been sold ?”?“ Yes.” “O then you bought one of Richard's bcoks'; that is what you mean?” “ Certainly.” “Well, then, you must show by the apostrophe that Richard is in the possessive case, thus, • I have bought a book of Richard's;' what you bought is a book of Richard's, that is, one of Richard's books."

I have been the more particular with this idiomatic phrase, because imperfect grammarians, fancying something wrong, sometimes attempt improvements by writing such instances without the sign of the possessive case.

You must be careful not to confound with the Saxon genitive an abbreviation of the verb is; e. g.

"A man's a man for a' that,” where's is an abbreviated or shortened form of is, the abbreviation being made for the sake of the rhythm or the length of the


Rules IN SYNTAX (by anticipation). 1. One noun governs another in the possessive or genitive case.

Explanation.-By governing the relation of dependence is meant, e. g., the man's wife took the house from my father. Here there are three instances of government or dependence : 1. man's wife; where man's is dependent on wife, the word man being changed into man's by the force of wife ; 2. took the house; where house the object is dependent on the verb took ; 3. from my father ; where father is dependent on or is governed by the preposition from.

To the rule, then, above given may now be added these :

2. The object of a verb is that person or thing on which the action of the verb falls.

3. Nouns and pronouns may be dependent on prepositions as well as on verbs.

These syntactical remarks are designed to prepare the way for the systematic study of syntax, or the laws of construction, on which we shall enter in due time,

EXERCISES. - COMPLETE. You must keep him at arm's length. It is not larger than a pin's head. The Queen's carriage is the finest in London. The patriotism of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, was stained by many vices. The girl's mother gave money to the boy's aunt. The warmth of the sun and the mild light of the moon are very beneficial. The top of the mountain and the bottom of the valley are pleasant in different ways. The prince's son married the baron's daughter. For conscience'sake he refused to pay the tax. The children of the duchess come to-morrow. The duchess's car. riage stops the way. I saw the Queen at Saint James's Palace. At Saint James's Palace gates sat three beggars. Have you seen Saint Peter's ? No, but I have surveyed Saint Paul's. In a month's time I shall be in London. After two years' travelling we reached home. Are you going to your aunt's ball ? No, I am going to a ball at my aunt's, given by my brother. Milton's Paradise Lost is a fine poem, but some prefer Dante's Divina Comedia. I have married the old man's daughter.

“ Yet time ennobles and degrades each line ;
It brighten'd Craggs's and may darken thine.”—Pope.
“Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair." — Pope.
“Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
When first from Shiraz' walls I bent my way.”_Collins.

“A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God."'--Pope.
" I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe,
With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear."-Burns.

EXERCISES.-INCOMPLETE. Johns wife has been here. Henrys wifes sister is ill. Go to Hyams and get measured for a suit of clothes. The boys top is lost. The boys hats have been burat. Edward Bulwer Lyttons new work called “My Novel" is very interesting. The Queen of Englands palace is in Saint James Park. One mans meat is another mans poison. Do you take your English lessons at your masters ? No, he comes to my aunts and I go there. Captain Ross voyage to the North Pole was very dangerous. That book is my sisters.. That is my sisters book. You must keep him at arms length. This is one of Marys poems. Peters wifes mother lay sick of a fever. I admire Beaumont and Fletchers plays. The fox has carried off a hen of Williams. Sir Walter Scotts works are instructive as well as amusing. The writings of Hannah More are not comparable with Scotts. Potters Greek and Kennets Roman antiquities are somewhat out of date. Mere happiness or misery is for the most part of their own making. The House of Lords differs greatly from the Lords house.

PARSING. Ex.-A mother's tenderness and a father's care bestowed on me the best gifts of this world.

A, the indefinite article qualifying mother. Mother's, a common noun, feminine gender, singular number, the

possessive case, governed by tenderness, according to the rule “one noun governs another in the possessive or geni.

tive case." And, a conjunction.

A, the indefinite article. Father's, a common noun, masculine gender, singular number, pos.

sessive case, governed by care, according to the rule, &c. Care, a common roun, of the neuter gender, forming with ten

derness the compound subject to the verb bestow. Bestow, a verb, in the present time or tense, having for its subject

or nominative case the two nouos, tenderness and care. On, a preposition, governing me, according to the rule “nouns

and pronouns may be dependent on prepositions." Me, a pronoun depending on the preposition on, according to

the rule, &c. the, the definite article, qualifying gifts. Best, an adjective, qualifying gifts. Gifts, a common noun, in the neuter gender and the plural num

ber, being the object to the verb bestow, according to the rule “the object of a verb is that person or thing on which the

action of the verb falls." Of, a preposition, forming with world, the Norman -French

genitive, that is, the preposition of governs world, according to the rule, &c.

This, a demonstrative pronoun, qualifying world. World, a common noun of the neuter gender and in the singular

number, governed by the preposition of, according to the

rule, &c. Words with their proper prepositions, for the formation of sentonces.

F. R. Disqualify for,

dis, not, qualis, like, fit Dissatisfied with,

dis, not, satis, enough Dissent from,

dis, differently, sentio, I think Distinct from, between dis, differently, tinguo, I dye Distrustful of,

dis, not, trywsian, to confide Divest of,

dis, not, vestis, a garment Divide between, (two) dis, differently, vido (obsolete), I among (many)

separate Dote on,

s Dutten, to be foolish, deliricus,

comp., doze Doubt of,

Dubium, doubt Dwell in,

Dvaeler, to tarry, to stay

ADJECTIVES. If we look at the etymology of the word adjective (Latin ad, to, and jacio, I throw or put), we find that an adjective is a word which is put to another. This is not a specific definition, for equally well may it be said that a pronoun or a preposition is a word put to another. Failing in the etymology, we must look to the sense for information. Take the following phrases :

White linen pleases the eye.
Long days come in summer.

Tall men are often weak. Here we find the words white, long, and tall related in the same way to the several nouns linen, days and men. And the former words are related to the latter so as to ascribe to them a certain quality, that is to tell us of what kind or sort they are; thus the linen spoken of is clean not dirty, the days are long not short, the men are tall and not of low stature. These three words then assign the quality of the three nouns before which they are placed. And these three words are commonly called adjectives. Hence we learn that it is the function (office) of adjectives to assign the qualities of nouns. An adjective may accordingly be termed a qualifier; that is, a word which states the quality of a noun. As the adjective qualifies (from the Latin qualis, of what kind, and facio, I make), so does it answer to the question of what kind ? Thus, in the instances. given above, linen of what kind? Answer, white. What kind of days? Answer, long What kind of men ? Answer, tall. But a qualifying word depends for its meaning on the word qualified. What is the signification of clean, long, tall, without the nouns before which they stand? A lofty-are words having no sense until you add tower, or a similar term. There is then, you now see, some reason for the name adjective, i. e. the added word, inasmuch as the adjective has no independent meaning, and acquires meaning only in union with a noun,

« PreviousContinue »