페이지 이미지

decay imperceptibly working. Deliberate slowly execute promptly. An idle trifling society is near akin to such as is corrupting. This unhappy person had been seriously affectionately admonished but in vain.

RULE 7. Comparative sentences whose members are short, and sentences connected with relative pronouns the meaning of whose antecedents is restricted or limited to a particular sense, should not be separated by a comma; as, "Wisdom is better than riches;" "No preacher is so successful as time;" "He accepted what I had rejected;" "Self-deniai is the sacrifice which virtue must make ;" "Substract from many modern poets all that may be found in Shakspeare, and trash will remain ;" "Give it to the man whom you most esteem." In this last example, the assertion is not of "man in general," but of "the man whom you most esteem."

But when the antecedent is used in a general sense, a comma is properly inserted before the relative; as, "Man, who is born of a woman, is of few days and full of trouble ;""There is no charm in the female sex, which can supply the place of virtue."

This rule is equally applicable to constructions in which the relative is understood; as; "Value duly the privileges you enjoy ;" that is, " privileges which you enjoy."

Exercises.-How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! The friendships of the world can exist no longer than interest cements them. Eat what is set before you. They who excite envy will easily incur censure. A man who is of a detracting spirit will misconstrue the most innocent words that ear be put together. Many of the evils which occasion our complaints of the world are wholly imaginary.

The gentle mind is like the smooth stream which reflects every object in its just proportion and in its fairest colours. In that unaffected civility which springs from a gentle mind there is an incomparable charm. The Lord whom I serve is eternal. This is the man we saw yesterday.

RULE 8. When two words of the same sort, are connected by a conjunction expressed, they must not be separated; as, "Libertines call religion, bigotry or superstition;" "True worth is modest and retired;" "The study of natural history, expands and elevates the mind," "Some men sin deliberately and presumptuously." When words are connected in pairs, the pairs only should be separated; as, "There is a natural difference between merit and demerit, virtue and vice, wisdom and folly ;" ;" "Whether we eat or drink, labour or sleep, we should be temperate."

But if the parts connected by a conjunction are not short, they may be separated by a comma; as, "Romances may be said to be miserable rhapsodies, or dangerous incentives to evil.”

Exercises.-Idleness brings forward and nourishes many bad passions. True friendship will at all times avoid a rough or careless behaviour. Health and peace a moderate fortune and a few friends sum up all the undoubted

articles of temporal felicity. Truth is fair and artless simple and sincere uniform and consistent. Intemperance destroys the strength of our bodie and the vigour of our minds.

RULE 9. Where the verb of a simple member is understood, a comma may, in some instances, be inserted; as, "From law arises security; from security, curiosity; from curiosity, knowledge." But in others, it is better to omit the comma; "No station is so high, no power so great, no character so unblemished, as to exempt men from the attacks of rashness, malice, and envy."

Exercises.—As a companion he was severe and satirical ; as a friend captious and dangerous. If the spring put forth no blossoms in summer there will be no beauty and in autumn no fruit. So if youth be trifled away without improvement manhood will be contemptible and old age miserable.

RULE 10. When a simple member stands as the object of a preceding verb, and its verb may be changed into the infinitive mood, the comma is generally omitted; as, "I suppose he is at rest;" changed, "I suppose him to be at rest.”

But when the verb to be is followed by a verb in the infinitive mood, which, by transposition, may be made the nominative case to it, the verb to be is generally separated from the infinitive by a comma; as, "The most obvious remedy is, to withdraw from all associations with bad men;" "The first and most obvious remedy against the infection, is, to withdraw from all associations with bad men.'


Exercises.-They believed he was dead. He did not know that I was the man. I knew she was still alive. The greatest misery is to be condemned by our own hearts. The greatest misery that we can endure is to be condemned by our own hearts.


1. When a conjunction is separated by a phrase or member from the member to which it belongs, such intervening phrase appears to require a comma at each extremity; as, "They set out early, and, before the close of the day, arrived at the destined place." This rule, however, is not generally fol lowed by our best writers; as, "If thou seek the Lord, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever;" "But if the parts connected are not short, a comma may be inserted."

2. Several verbs succeeding each other in the infinitive mood, and having a common dependance, may be divided by commas; as, "To relieve the indigent, to comfort the afflicted, to protect the innocent, to reward the deserving, are humane and noble employments.

3. A remarkable expression, or a short observation, somewhat in the form of a quotation, may be properly marked with a comma as, "It hurts a man's pride to say, I do not know," "Plutarch calls lying, the vice of slaves." 4. When words are placed in opposition to each other, or with some marked variety, they must be distinguished by a comma; as

"Tho' deep, yet clear; tho' gentle, yet not dull;


Strong, without rage; without o'erflowing, full,”

"Good men, in this frail, imperfect state, are often found, not only in union with, but in opposition to, the views and conduct of each other."

Sometimes when the word with which the last preposition agrees, is single, the comma may be omitted; as, "Many states were in alliance with, and under the protection of Rome."

The same rule and restrictions apply, when two or more nouns refer to the same preposition; as, "He was composed both under the threatening, and at the approach, of a cruel and lingering death;" "He was not only the king, but the father of his people."

5. The words," as, thus, nay, so, hence, again, first, secondly, formerly, now, lastly, once more, above all, on the contrary, in the next place, in short," and all other words and phrases of a similar kind, must generally be separated from the context by a comma; as, "Remember thy best friend; formerly, the supporter of thy infancy; now, the guardian of thy youth;" "He feared want; hence, he overvalued riches;" "So, if youth be trifled away," &c. "Again, we must, have food and clothing;" "Finally, let us conclude."

The foregoing rules and examples are sufficient, it is presumed, to suggest to the learner, in all ordinary instances, the proper place for inserting the comma; but in applying these rules, great regard must be paid to the length and meaning of the clauses, and the proportion which they bear to one another.


The semicolon is used for dividing a compound sentence into two or more parts, not so closely connected as those which are separated by a comma, nor yet so little dependent on each other, as those which are distinguished by a colon.

RULE 1. When the preceding member of the sentence does not of itself give complete sense, but depends on the following clause, and sometimes when the sense of that member would be complete without the concluding one, the semicolon is used; as in the following examples: "As the desire of approbation, when it works according to reason, improves the amiable part of our species; so, nothing is more destructive to them, when it is governed by vanity and folly ;""The wise man is happy, when he gains his own approbation; the fool, when he gains the applause of those around him;" "Straws swim upon the surface; but pearls lie at the bottom."

Exercises. The path of truth is a plain and safe path that of falsehood a perplexing maze. Heaven is the region of gentleness and friendship hell of fierceness and animosity. As there is a worldly happiness which God per ceives to be no other than disguised misery as there are worldly honours which in his estimation are reproach so there is a worldly wisdom whieh in his sight is foolishness.

But all subsists by elemental strife
And passions are the elements of life.

RULE 2. When an example is introduced to illustrate a rule or proposition, the semicolon may be used before the conjunction as; as in the following instance: Prepositions govern the objective case; as, "She gave the book to him."

NOTE. In instances like the foregoing, many respectable punctuists employ the colon, instead of the semicolon.


The Colon is used to divide a sentence into two or more parts, less connected than those which are separated by a semicolon; but not so independent as separate, distinct sentences.

RULE 1. When a member of a sentence is complete in itself, but followed by some supplemental remark, or further illustration of the subject, the colon may be properly employed; as, "Nature felt her inability to extricate herself from the consequences of guilt: the gospel revealed the plan of divine interposition and aid." "Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance: yonder palace was raised by single stones; yet you see its height and spaciousness."

Exercises. The three great enemies to tranquillity are vice superstition and idleness vice which poisons and disturbs the mind with bad passiona superstition which fills it with imaginary terrours idleness which loads it with tediousness and disgust.

When we look forward into the year which is beginning what do we behold there? All my brethren is a blank to our view a dark unknown presents itself.

RULE 2. When a semicolon has preceded, or more than one, and a still greater pause is necessary, in order to mark the connecting or concluding sentiment, the colon should be applied; as, "A divine legislator, uttering his voice from heaven; an almighty governour, stretching forth his arm to punish or reward; informing us of perpetual rest prepared for the righteous hereafter, and of indignation and wrath awaiting the wicked: these are the considerations which overawe the world, which support integrity, and check guilt."


When a sentence is complete, and so independent as not to be connected with the one which follows it, a period should be inserted at its close; as, "Fear God." "Honor the patriot." Respect virtue."


In the use of many of the pauses, there is a diversity of practice among our best writers and grammarians. Compound sentences connected by conjunctions, are sometimes divided by the period; as, "Recreations, though they may be of an innocent kind, require steady government to keep them within a due and limited province. But such as are of an irregular and vicious nature, are not to be governed, but to be banished from every well-regulated mind."

The period should follow every abbreviated word; as, “A D. N. B. U. S. Va. Md. Viz. Col. Mr."


The Dash, though often used improperly by hasty and incoherent writers, may be introduced with propriety, where the sentence breaks off abruptly; where a significant pause is required; or where there is an unexpected turn in the sentiment; as, "If thou art he, so much respected once-but, oh! how fallen! how degraded!" "If acting conformably to the will of our Creator ;-if promoting the welfare of mankind around us; -if securing our own happiness ;-are objects of the highest moment: then we are loudly called upon to cultivate and extend the great interests of religion and virtue."

A dash following a stop, denotes that the pause is to be greater than if the stop were alone; and when used by itself, requires a pause of such length as the sense only can determine.

"Here lies the great-False marble, where?
"Nothing but sordid dust lies here."


The note of interrogation is used at the end of an interrogative sentence; as, "Who adorned the heavens with such exquisite beauty?"

NOTE. The interrogative point should not be employed in cases where it is only said, that a question has been asked; as, "The Cyprians asked me, why I wept."


The note of exclamation is applied to expressions of sudden emotion, surprise, joy, grief, &c. and sometimes to invocations and addresses; as, "How much vanity in the pursuits of men!" "What is more amiable than virtue !" "6 My friend! this conduct amazes me !" "Hear me, O Lord! for thy loving kindness is great !"


A parenthesis is a clause containing some useful remark, which may be omitted without injuring the grammatical construction; as, "To gain a posthumous reputation, is to save a few letters (for what is a name besides ?) from oblivion."

"Know then this truth, (enough for man to know,)
"Virtue alone is happiness below."

[ocr errors]

NOTE. The parenthesis generally denotes a moderate depression of the voice; and, as the parenthetical marks do not supply the place of a point, the clause should be accompanied with every stop which the sense would require, if the parenthetical characters were not used. It ought to terminate with the same kind of point which the member has that precedes it; as, "He loves nobly, (I speak of friendship,) who is not jealous when he has partners of love."

« 이전계속 »