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ation, may be made to express two meanings exactly oppo site to each other; an ambiguous passage may frequently be rendered clear by a comma ; and the sense of an unintelligible sentence be made manifest by the simple remedy of a couple of colons, judiciously applied. Were many letters to be read aloud, precisely as they are written, they would sound like the mere sfarrago of nonsense.”
To acquire the leading principles of punctuation, no better plan can be adopted, than to copy page after page of good editions of modern authors—copying the points as well as words. It is also advisable to copy occasionally a page or two without capitals or points; and after it has been laid aside a few days, to endeavor to write it again with the proper points. By a subsequent comparison with the original, the writer may discover the errors made, and guard against similar blunders in future exercises.
To show the necessity of not merely using points, but of punctuating properly, examine the following passage :
“ The persons inside the coach were Mr Miller a clergyman his son a lawyer Mr Angelo a foreigner his lady and a little child"
This passage, thus written without points, is unintelligible: by different modes of punctuating it, several alterations may be made in its sense ; not only as to the number of persons in the coach, but, also, as to their country, professions, and relationship to each other. By a change of points, the lady may be described as the wife of either one of two persons : Mr. Miller's son may be made a clergyman, or a lawyer, at will; or his son may be taken from him and giyen to a clergyman, whose name is not mentioned.
The following variations, by use of points, will equally amuse and instruct:
(1.) “ The persons inside the coach were Mr. Miller, a clergyman, his son, a lawyer, Mr. Angelo, a foreigner, his lady, and a little child."
By this mode of pointing, it would appear that there were eight individuals in the coach, namely, a clergyman, a lawyer, a foreigner and his lady, a little child, Mr. Miller, Mr. Angelo, and .. clergyman's son.
(2.) “ The persons inside the coach were Mr. Miller, a clergyman ; his son, a lawyer ; Mr. Angelo, a foreigner; his lady; and a little child.”
This change in the punctuation would reduce the parties in the coach, exclusive of the lady and child, to three per.
sons; and make Mr. Miller himself a clergyman, Mr. Mil. ler's son a lawyer, and Mr. Angelo a foreigner.
(3.) “The persons inside the coach were Mr. Miller ; a clergyman, his són; a lawyer, Mr. Angelo; a foreigner, his lady, and a little child.”
Here Mr. Miller's son becomes a clergyman, Mr. Angelo a lawyer, and the lady and child those of a foreigner who is nameless.
(4.) “The persons inside the coach were Mr. Miller; a clergyman, his son; a lawyer; Mr. Angelo; a foreigner, his lady; and a little child."
Mr. Telo here ceases to be a lawyer; there is no longer a fogner who is the husband of the lady and the fa. ther of the child; but the lady is described as being a foreigner, and Mr. Angelo's wife; and the child is not understood as being akin to any person in the coach.
Other alterations might be made in the sense of this passage by altering the punctuation ; but sufficient has been done to show the necessity of pointing a passage so as to accord with the fact it is intended to relate.
III._USE OF WORDS. Words are divided, according to their use in expressing ideas, into nine classes, namely: I. Articles, or words which limit the significa
tion of other words.
tives, or other adverbs.
tion of one thing to another. VIII. Conjunctions, or words which connect words
and sentences. IX. Interjections, or words which express sudden
ELLIPTICAL SENTENCES. Supply the words omitted in the following exam ples : I. flower. apple. house. honour.
garden. fields. rainbow. clouds. variety. Rhine.
ab bess. Pope. pens.
An obedient diligent A happy
Shady A fragrant dant A peaceful An affable
The king's The duty. discovers a little
is the of and III. A sea. The
tempest. A streams. A winter.
firmament. breezes. An countenance. A agreement.
war An subject. A resolution
A mind is an
treasure. IV. am sincere
art industrious. is disinterested. hon our them. encourage
assisted completed journey, fears will detect
improve was choice?
best friends Eure
of faults, and teach how to correct V. Vice misery.
your lessons. The book hisit mine. Her work
her credit. Your conduct their approba. tion. All talents to
not of the favours you a great blessing to pious and virtuous parents. Whatever also the heart. They who nothing to
often relief to others by
we to the chambers of sickness and distress, we frequently them
with the victims of intemperance. VI. The task is performed. We resolve, but
per form. He has been diligent, and deserves to succeed. We are and
formed. will they arrive ? shall we stop ? the lark sings! is
no greater felicity, than to be able to look
on a life
and ployed. VII. They traveled
France Italy. virtue vice the progress is gradual. We are often our wishes, and
Our desert. this imprudence he was plunged new difficulties. The best preparation
all the uncertainties futurity, consists a good conscience, and a cheerful submission the will Heaven. VIII. My father
mother are in town, my brother is in the coun try. We must be temperate, we would be healthy.
he is often advised, he does not reform.
prosperity adversity has im proved him. Her talents are more brilliant useful. There is nothing on earth stable to assure us of undisturbed rest, powerful to afford us constant protection.
IX. Virtue ! how amiable thou art ! me! what shall I do! Thou who reignest above ! ! I have been too often occupied with trifles. ! the delusions of hope. Simplicity! source of genuino joy. ! how the tempest rages ! ! how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 1. An
youth lamented, terms of sincere the death of most parent. His conipanion
to consule by
reflection, he had behaved the deceased
duty, tenderness, respect. I thought,” replied the
* while parent was I
instances disobedience and for which, ! it is late to atonement.”
2. On a morning summer, two bees forward in of honey ; the wise temperate, the careless and
They soon at a garden
herbs, the most flowers, the most fruits. They regaled
with the various that
spread before : the one his thighs, at intervals, provisions for the
winter ; other reveled in without to any thing
his present At they
a wide-mouthed vial, hung beneath bough a peach-tree, with honey ready tempered, and exposed to their in most alluring
thoughtless epicure, in of his iniend's
plunged into the vessel, resolving to himself in the
of sensuality His philosophic he other sipped little caution ; being
of danger, off to and flowers; where, by the
of neals, improved his relish the
the evening he upon his friend, to inquire
he would the hive ; but he found him
he was as to leave to enjoy. • Clogged in his enfeebled in his and his frame
enervated, was just able to his adieu ; and to with his
& tasto pleasure quicken relish life, an
WORDS TO FORM SENTENCES.
Take the following words, and connect and arrange them so as to make sense:
3. For, preparing, another, in, world, this, must, life, we, duties, the, neglect, of, not.
6. Amiable, there, and, is, more, nothing, respectable, life, in, than, huJan, humble, benevolent, character, man, the, of, a, truly, and.
7. In, multitudes, obscure, the, stations, most, broils, are, petty, in, not, less, their, eager, by, nor, passions, tormented, their, less, contend, than, if, they, princely, for, which, prize, were, the, honours.
8. Parent, anxious, with, does, what, the, care, hen, together, call, her, and, offspring, them, wings, her, with, cover! Suggest, mother, does, to your, this, you, of, not, the, sight, and, tenderness, affection? Helpless, watchful, infancy, protected, her, care, you, in, period, the, of, nourished vhen, nuilk, she, with, you, her, and, move, to, your, taught, limbs, and -cents, its, tongue, unformed, to, your, lisp. Childhood, in, p.:*• griefs
abe, your, little, over, mourned, delights, in, your, rejo ced, innocent, heal. ing, to, sickness, administered, the, balm, in, you, and, mind, of, instilled,': the, wisdom, into, love, your, truth, and, of, virtue.
SECTION III. WORDS TO FORM SENTENCES (continued). Supply such words as are necessary to make sense of the following exercises :
EXAMPLE. Old, age, joyless, dreary, season, arrive, unimproved, corrupted, mind.
Old age will prove a joyless and dreary season, if we arrive at it with an unimproved or a corrupted mind.
EXERCISES. 1. No, errors, trivial, deserye, mended.
2. Work, dull, performance, capable, pleasing, neither, understanding, imagination. 3. When, Socrates, fell, victim, madness, truth, virtue, fell. 4. Gay, pleasing, sometimes, insidious, dangerous, companions.
5. Taste, useful, knowledge, provide, great, noble, entertainment, other, leave.
6. Anxious, votary, riches, negligent, pleasure. 7. Perseverance, laudable, pursuits, reward, toils, effects, calculations.
8. Changes, continually, place, men, manners, opinions, customs, private, public.
9. Religious, unjustly, romantic, visionary, unacquainted, world, unfit, live.
DERIVATIVE WORDS. Make out a list of derivatives from the following primitive words, and then write a sentence, either quoted or original, containing each of them :
EXAMPLE Act, actor, actress, action, active, activity, actively, actual, actually, actuary, actuate, counteract, enact, exact, exactly, exactor, exactness, exaction, inaction, inactive, inactivity, overact, react, reaction, transact, transaction.
I scarcely know how to act in the matter. Like a dull actor now, I have forgot my part. Who is the most celebrated actress of the present day? Both the body and the mind should be kept in action. The steward is an active man of business. Do not remit your activity. We are actively employed. Every man is daily guilty of actual transgression. How often is old age actually arrived before we suspect it. The actuary of the court died very lately. Our passions too frequently actuate our conduct. Counteract the mischief by doing all the good you can. It is enacted in the laws of Venice. I now exact the penalty. John was here exactly at the hour. Eractions and exactors overspread the land. You have performed the task with grea: exactness. I lie in a refreshing kind of inaction. Inactive youth will be followed by profitless old age. Virtue concealed is inactivity at best. Yuu overact when you should underdo. The son reacts the father's crimes