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WORD-BUILDING, DERIVATION, COMPOSITION,
fifth and Enlarged Edition.
BLACKBURN: 99, POPLAR STREET.
BRISTOL : 107, THOMAS STREET.
1. An effort has been made, in the following pages, to bring the rules of school-grammar into harmony with the practice of good writers and speakers. That the rules of school-grammar and the practice of the best writers and speakers are, unhappily, at variance, will be obvious to any one acquainted with them. Hence one frequently hears people speak, and sometimes very justly, after this manner,-“Ah, well! I know that the expression is not correct according to the usual school-grammars, but it is agreeable to the best usage.” (See pages 103, 107, 115, 116, 117, 121, 126, 127, 147.) Hence also it often happens that a young man, after having finished such a grammatical course, is perpetually finding fault with the grammar of the most accurate authors, wondering that they did not know better than to write certain expressions which he has learnt to class as bad grammar. And it is sometimes years before he discovers that it is himself and those who taught him that are wrong, and not the authors.
2. In this work the science and the art of English Grammar are kept distinct. The science will be found in the rules, and developed in the questions; while the art will be found in the exercises, and developed in the composition. This arrangement has been adopted because so many young people, after having studied the whole system of English Grammar, are still unable to speak and write correctly, not because they do not know the science of it, but because they have not practised it as they have advanced; while so many others, after having pursued a course of practical Grammar, can speak very correctly, but cannot tell why their speaking is correct. Of course the latter occupy the
more enviable position. Still that position would be very much improved by the science which would enable them to give the reason why. The following Grammar is intended to remedy these defects, at least in some measure.
3. The treatise on Derivation will probably be found more comprehensive and complete than that of any school-grammar which has hitherto appeared. The student will here find the treasures of our noble language so exhibited as to be within the grasp of the ordinary capacity. He will here find such information as will enable him to determine the origin of the vast majority of the words of the language, as coming from the Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek, and French.
4. The arrangement of the rules of Syntax will, it is hoped, be considered an improvement on the ordinary grammars. The placing of the general rules at the top of the page in a larger type, and the special rules immediately succeeding in a smaller type, ought to be very useful,—then the threefold exercise following: First, the pointing out of the words involved in the principle of the rule; second, the supplying of those words in elliptical sentences; and third, composition on those words. This arrangement has been adhered to through all the rules of Syntax, though sometimes with considerable difficulty. And all these have been compressed within the space usually occupied with the rule and exercises on bad grammar. “That pernicious practice" (of turning bad grammar into good) has been entirely omitted from this work.
5. The exercises have been principally selected from the works of the following writers and speakers :-Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope, Addison, Steele, Johnson, Goldsmith, Hume, Thomson, Scott (Sir Walter), Southey, Long
fellow, Tennyson, Macaulay, Carlyle, Gibbon, Hallam, Burke, Sheridan, Peel, Bright, Gladstone, Disraeli (Beaconsfield), etc. The plan of the work has not always allowed the name to be given with short quotations, but with the larger extracts the names are always attached.
6. While the practice of good writers and speakers has been regarded as the sovereign arbiter of grammar, where the practice was at all doubtful (and is it not often doubtful ?) the author of this Class Book has consulted the works of other grammarians, among whom may be mentioned Lindley Murray, Jacob Grimm, Drs. Johnson, Latham, Beard, Angus, Adams, Marsh, Morell, Bosworth, Bedford (F. W.), Abbott, Allen and Cornwell, Evan Daniel, Deans Alford and Trench, Lennie, Butter, Arnold (T. K.), Cobbett, Connon, Sullivan, Lewis, Mason, Dalgleish, Currie, Bromby, Smith (Dr. W.), Morris (Dr. R.), Davidson and Alcock, etc., to whom the Author of this Grammar is indebted for many of its details.
7. The Index at the end, and the entire plan of the work, will, it is hoped, be found well adapted for school purposes, and also for private tuition.