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2. Monosyllables are generally compared by adding er and est; dissyllables, trisyllables, &c. by more and most; as, mild, milder, mildest; frugal, more frugal, most frugal; virtuous, more virtuous, most virtuous. Dissyllables ending in y; as, happy, lovely; and in le after a mute; as, able, ample; and dissyllables accented on the last syllable; as, discreet, polite; easily admit of er and est; as, happier, happiest; politer, politest. Words of more than two syllables very seldom admit of these terminations.
3. When the positive ends in d, or t, preceded by a single vowel, the consonant is doubled in forming the comparative and superlative degrees; as, red, redder, reddest; hot, hotter, hottest.
4. In some words the superlative is formed by adding most to the end of them; as, nethermost, uttermost or utmost, undermost, uppermost, fore
5. In English, as in most languages, there are some words of very common use, (in which the caprice of custom is apt to get the better of analogy,) that are irregular in forming the degrees of comparison; as, "Good, better, best; bad, worse, worst; little, less, least; much or many, more, most; rear, nearer, nearest or next; late, later, latest or last; old, older or elder, oldest or eldest ;" and a few others.
6. The following adjectives, and many others, are always in the superlative degree, because, by expressing a quality in the highest degree, they carry in themselves a superlative signification: chief, extreme, perfect, right wrong, honest, just, true, correct, sincere, vast, immense, ceaseless, infinite, endless, unparalleled, universal, supreme, unlimited, omnipotent, all-wise, eternal.
Compound adjectives, and adjectives denoting qualities arising from the figure of bodies, do not admit of comparison; such as, well-formed, frostbitten, round, square, oblong, circular, quadrangular, conical, &c.
8. The termination ish added to adjectives, expresses a slight degree of quality below the comparative; as, black, blackish; salt, saltish. Very, prefixed to the comparative, expresses a degree of quality, but not always a su perlative degree.
Read this Lecture carefully, particularly the NOTES; after which you may parse the following adjectives and neuter verb, and, likewise, the examples that follow. If you cannot repeat all the definitions and rules, spread the Compendium when you parse. But before you proceed, please to commit the
SYSTEMATICK ORDER OF PARSING.
The order of parsing an ADJECTIVE, is—an adjective, and why?-compare it-degree of comparison, and why?-to what noun does it belong?-RULE.
forefathers, appear not to have sufficiently attended to the changes which this principle of association actually produces. As language is transmitted from generation to generation, many words become the representatives of ideas with which they were not originally associated; and thus they undergo a change, not only in the mode of their application, but also in their meaning Words being the signs of things, their meaning must necessarily change as much, at least, as things themselves change; but this variation in their import more frequently depends on accidental circumstances. Among the ideas connected with a word, that which was once of primary, becomes only
"That great nation was once powerful; but now it is feeble." Great is an adjective, a word added to a noun to express its quality-pos. great, comp. greater, sup. greatest-it is in the positive degree, it expresses the quality of an object without any increase or diminution, and belongs to the noun nation," according to
RULE 18. Adjectives belong to, and qualify, nouns expressed or understood.
Was is a verb, a word that signifies to be-neuter, it expresses neither action nor passion, but being or a state of beingthird person singular, because its nominative "nation" is a noun of multitude conveying unity of idea-it agrees with "nation" agreeably to
RULE 10. A noun of multitude conveying unity of idea, may have a verb or pronoun agreeing with it in the singular.
Powerful is an adjective belonging to "nation," according to Rule 18. Feeble belongs to "it," according to Note 1, under Rule 18. Is is a neuter verb agreeing with "it," agreeably to Rule 4.
"Bonaparte entered Russia with 400,000 men." Four-hundred-thousand is a numeral adjective of the cardinal kind, it is a word used in counting, and belongs to the noun men," according to Note 2, under Rule 18. Numeral adjec tives belong to nouns, which nouns must agree in number with their adjectives.
If, in parsing the following examples, you find any words about which you are at a loss, you will please to turn back, and parse all the foregoing examples again. This course will enable you to proceed without any difficulty.
More is an adverb. Of and to are prepositions, governing the nouns that follow them in the objective case.
EXERCISES IN PARSING.
A benevolent man helps indigent beggars. Studious scholars learn many long lessons. Wealthy merchants own large ships. The heavy ships bear large burdens; the lighter ships carry less burdens. Just poets use figurative language. Un
of secondary importance; and sometimes, by degrees, it loses altogether its connexion with the word, giving place to others with which, from some accidental causes, it has been associated.
Two or three instances will illustrate the truth of these remarks. In an ancient English version of the New-Testament, we find the following language: "I, Paul, a rascal of Jesus Christ, unto you Gentiles," &c. But who, in the present acceptation of the word, would dare to call "the great apostle of the Gentiles" a rascal? Rascal formerly meant a servant: one devoted to the intercst of another; but now it is nearly synonymous with
grammatical expressions offend a true critick's ear. Weak criticks magnify trifling errours. No composition is perfect. The rabble was tumultuous. The late-washed grass looks green. Stately trees form a delightful arbour. The setting sun makes a beautiful appearance; the variegated rainbow appears more beautiful. Epaminondas was the greatest of the Theban generals; Pelopidas was next to Epaminondas.
The first fleet contained three hundred men; the second contained four thousand. The earth contains one thousand million inhabitants. Many a cheering ray brightens the good man's pathway.
NOTE. Like, Worth. The adjective like is a contraction of the participle likened, and generally has the preposition unto understood after it. like [unto] her brother;" "They are unlike [to] him." "The kingdom of heaven is like [likened or made like] unto a householder."
The noun worth has altogether dropped its associated words. "The cloth is worth ten dollars a yard ;" that is, The cloth is of the worth of ten dollars by the yard, or for a, one, or every yard.
Some eminent philologists do not admit the propriety of supplying an cllipsis after like, worth, ere, but, except, and than, but consider them prepositions. See Anomalies, in the latter part of this work.
REMARKS ON ADJECTIVES AND NOUNS.
A critical analysis requires that the adjective when used without its should be parsed as an adjective belonging to its noun understood; as, "The virtuous [persons] and the sincere [persons] are always respected;" "Providence rewards the good [people,] and punishes the bed [people.]"
"The evil [deed or deeds] that men do, lives after them;
"The good [deed or deeds] is oft interred with their bones."
But sometimes the adjective, by its manner of meaning, becomes a noun, and has another adjective joined to it; as, "the chief good;" "The vast immense [immensity] of space."
Various nouns placed before other nouns, assume the character of adjectives, according to their manner of meaning; as," Sea fish, iron mortar, wine vessel, gold watch, corn field, meadow ground, mountain height."
The principle which recognises custom as the standard of grammatical accuracy, might rest for its support on the usage of only six words, and defy all the subtleties of innovating skepticks to gainsay it. If the genius and analogy of our language were the standard, it would be correct to observe this analogy, and say, "Good, gooder, goodest; bad, badder, baddest; little, littler, littlest; much, mucher, muchest." "By this mean;" "What are the news?" But such a criterion betrays only the weakness of those who attempt to establish it. Regardless of the dogmas and edicts of the philosophical umpire, the good sense of the people will cause them, in this instance, as well as in a thousand others, to yield to custom, and say, "Good, villain. Villain once had none of the odium which is now associated with the term; but it signified one who, under the feudal system, rented or held lands of another. Thus, Henry the VIII. says to a vassal or tenant, "As you are an accomplished villain, I order that you receive £700 out of the publick treasury." The word villain, then, has given up its original idea, and become the representative of a new one, the word tenant having supplanted To prove that the meaning of words changes, a thousand examples could be adduced; but with the intelligent reader, proof is unnecessary.
better, best; bad, worse, worst; little, less, least; much, more, most;" "By this means," "What is the news."
With regard to the using of adjectives and other qualifying words, care must be taken, or your language will frequently amount to absurdity, or nonsense. Let the following general remark, which is better than a dozen rules, put you on your guard. Whenever you utter a sentence, or put your pen on paper to write, weigh well in your mind the meaning of the words which you are about to employ. See that they convey precisely the ideas which you wish to express by them, and thus you will avoid innumerable errours. speaking of a man, we may say, with propriety, he is very wicked, or ex ceedingly lavish, because the terms wicked and lavish are adjectives that ad mit of comparison; but, if we take the words in their literal acceptation, there is a solecism in calling a man very honest, or exceedingly just, for the words honest nd just, literally admit of no comparison. In point of fact, a man is honest or dishonest, just or unjust: there can be no medium or excess in this respect. Very correct, very incorrect, very right, very wrong, are common expressions; but they are not literally proper. What is not correct, must be incorrect; and that which is not incorrect, must be correct; what is not right, must be wrong; and that which is not wrong, must be right. To avoid that circumlocution which must otherwise take place, our best speakers and writers, however, frequently compare adjectives which do not literally admit of comparison: "The most established practice;" "The most uncertain method;" "Irving, as a writer, is far more accurate than Addi son;""The metaphysical investigations of our philosophical grammars, are still more incomprehensible to the learner." Comparisons like these, should generally be avoided; but sometimes they are so convenient in practice, as to render them admissible. Such expressions can be reconciled with the principies of grammar, only by considering them as figurative.
Comparative members of sentences, should be set in direct opposition to each other; as "Pope was rich, but Goldsmith was poor." The following sentences are inaccurate: "Solomon was wiser than Cicero was eloquent." "The principles of the reformation were deeper in the prince's mind than to be easily eradicated." This latter sentence contains no comparison at all; neither does it literally convey any meaning. Again, if the Psalmist had said, "I am the wisest of my teachers," he would have spoken absurdly, because the phrase would imply, that he was one of his teachers. But in saying, "I am wiser than my teachers," he does not consider himself one of them, but places himself in contradistinction to them.
Before you proceed any farther, you may answer the follow ing
QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED IN PARSING. What is the distinction between a noun and an adjective ?— By what sign may an adjective be known?-Are participles ever used as adjectives?-Does gender, person, number, or case, belong to adjectives?-How are they varied?-Name the three degrees of comparison.-What effect have less and least in comparing adjectives?-Repeat the order of parsing an adjective. What rule applies in parsing an adjective?-What rule in parsing a verb agreeing with a noun of multitude conveying unity of idea?-What Note should be applied in parsing an adJective which belongs to a pronoun ?-What Note in parsing numeral adjectives?
TOTE 9, under RULE 18. Double Comparatives -es should be avoided; such as, worser, lesser, mo wickeder &c.: chiefest, supremest, perfectest, ri e perfect, most perfect, most supreme, &c.
irtue confers the most supreme dignity on man, an is chiefest desire.
He made the greater light to rule the day, and the le the night.
ne phrases "most supreme," and "chiefest," in the first s rrect, because supreme and chief are in the superlative deg ng the superlative form superadded, which addition 'makes rlatives. They should be written, confers supreme di = chief desire."
e can say, one thing is less than another, or smaller than the adjectives less and smaller are in the comparative phrase "lesser light," in the second sentence, is inaccurate uble comparative, which, according to the preceding Note ded. Lesser is as incorrect as badder, gooder, worser. t," would be less exceptionable. You can correct the follow assistance. Correct them four times over.
The pleasures of the understanding are more prefe se of imagination or sense.
The tongue is like a race-horse, which runs the ser weight it carries.
The nightingale's voice is the most sweetest in the The Most Highest hath created us for his glory. He was admitted to the chiefest offices.
The first witness gave a strong proof of the fact; ore stronger still; but the last witness, the most all.
He gave the fullest and the most sincere proof of