Page images

Q. How would you correct this?
A. By leaving out the word himself.
Q. Are all writers alike restricted in the use of words?

A. All writers are restricted to a certain degree; but poets take, and are allowed much greater liberties in this respect than prose writers.

Q. Can you give an example ?

A. "The sunset of life gives me mystical lore:" here the word lore is an antiquated word, denoting learning, and would hardly be tolerated in any thing but poetry.

Q. Will you endeavor to correct the following violations of purity? He stroamed idly about the fields. He was certainly an extra genius. They showed too much hauteur.

A. He roamed idly, &c. He was certainly an uncommon genius. They showed too much haughtiness.

EXERCISES. I. Correct the grammatical errors in the following sentences :

1. A variety of pleasing objects charm the eye.

2. If the privileges to which he has an undoubted right, and has so long enjoyed, should now be wrested from him, would be flagrant injustice.

3. The religion of these people, as well as their customs and manners, were strangely misrepresented.

4. Whether one person or more was concerned in the business, does not yet appear.

5. The mind of man can not be long without some food to nourish the activity of his thoughts.

6. They ought to have contributed the same proportion as us, yet we gave a third more than them.

7. Who should I ineet the other evening but my old friend. 8. Those sort of favors do real injury under the appearance of kindness 9. I saw one or more persons enter the garden.

10. Every person, whatever be their station, is bound by the duties of morality and religion.

11. The conspiracy was the easier discovered from its being known to many.

12. The pleasures of the understanding are more preferable than those of the senses.

13. Eve was the fairest of all her daughters.

14. I can not tell who has befriended me, unless it is him from whom I nave received so many favors.

15. The confession is ingenuous, and I hope more from thee now than I could if you had promised.

16. Each of these words imply some pursuit or object relinquished.

17. No nation gives greater encouragement to learning than we do; yet, at the same time, none are so injudicious in the application.

18. I should be obliged to him if he will gratify me in that particular. 19. We have done no more than it was our duty to have done. 20. His vices have weakened his mind, aud broke his health. 21 They could not persuado him, though they were never so eloquent.

22. We need not, nor do not, limit the divine purposes.
23. He is resolved of going abroad.
24. He was accused with having acted unfairly.

25. The wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency, to rely upon counsel.*

II. Correct the errors in the use of foreign, obsolete, or new-coined words and phrases, in the following sentences :

1. The popular lords did not fail to enlarge themselves on the subject.

2. The queen, whom it highly imported that the two monarchs should be at peace, acted the part of mediator.

3. All these things required abundance of finesse and delicatesse to manage with advantage, as well as a strict observance of times and sea

4. The hauteur of Florio was very disgracious, and disgusted both his friends and strangers.

5. When I made some a propos remarks upon his conduct, he began to quiz me : but he had as lief set it alone.

6. They thought it an important subject, and the question was streny, ously debated pro and con.



Q. What do you mean by Propriety as applied to style?

Ă. The selection of such words as are best adapted to express the meaning intended to be conveyed.

Q. What is the first rule to be observed with regard to propriety?

A. Avoid such words and expressions as are low and vulgar, or tend to excite mean conceptions; as, to see a thing with half an eye; to get into a scrape; which should be, to see a thing at a glance; to get into a difficulty.

Q. What is the second rule?

A. In writing prose, we should reject such words as belong entirely to the province of poetry; as, morn, for morning ; eve, for evening; lone, for lonely.

Q. What is the rule next to be observed ?

À. We should avoid technical terms, or terms peculiar to some particular art or profession, unless when writing to persons who understand them; as, we tacked

* If his pupils have not been thoroughly instructed in grammar, the teacher may revert to the rules of syntax, on which he will find abundance of exercises in all the ordinary text-books.

“ His own

os His

to the larboard; we may construct the shelves without haffets. Q. What is the next rule ?

Ă. It is, not to use the same word too often, or in different senses; as, “ The king communicated his intention to the minister, who disclosed it to the secretary, who made it known to the public.” reason might have suggested better reasons."

Q. How would you rectify these sentences ?

A. Thus : “ The king communicated his intention to the minister, who disclosed it to the secretary, and the secretary made it known to the public.” own judgment might have suggested better reasons. Q. What is the next rule to be attended to ?

A. All words that are necessary to complete the sense ought to be supplied; thus, instead of “This acion increased his former services;" we should say,

This action increased the merit of his former services.'

Q. What rule have you next to give?
A. Avoid all equivocal or ambiguous expressions.
Q. What do you mean by equivocal or ambiguous expressions ?

A. Such expressions as are either susceptible of a double or a doubtful meaning: Q. Can you give an example of this?

A. “I can not find one of my books ;" which may mean either that there is one of my books which I can not find, or that I can find none of them at all. Q. Have you any farther rule to give ?

A. One, and but one ; avoid unintelligible and inconsistent words and phrases ; as, “ I have but an opaque idea of the subject.” Q. What word ought to be used instead of opaque in this case ?

A. The word confused or indistinct, which signifies not clear, while opaque means not fit to be seen through.

Q: Can you point out the errors, and make the necessary corrections in the following sentences ? I had as lief say a thing after him as after another. I need say no more concerning the drift of these letters. What is it but a sort of rack that forces men to say what they have no mind to?. These persons know not what to make of themselves. Our friend does not hold long in one mind.

A. I should like as well to say a thing after him as after another. I need say no more concerning the purport of these letters. What is it but a sort of rack that forces men to say what they wish to conceal, or do not wish to communicate? These persons know not how to employ their time. Our friend does not continue long in one opinion.

EXERCISES. I. Correct the vulgar or technical expressions in the following sentences :

1. He is not a whit better than those whom he so liberally condemns.

2. The meaning of the phrase, as I take it, is very different from the common acceptation.

3. I exposed myself so much among the people, that I had like to have gotten one or two broken heads.

4. He is very dexterous in smelling out the views and designs of others.

5. You may perceive, with half an eye, the difficulties to which such conduct will expose you.

6. It fell out, unfortunately, that two of the principal persons fell out, and had a fatal quarrel.

II. Supply the words which are necessary to make the sense complete in the following sentences :

1. He is engaged in a treatise on the interests of the soul and body.

2. Some productions of nature rise in value, according as they more or less resemble those of art.

3. He is impressed with a true sense of that function, when chosen from a regard to the interests of piety and virtue.

III. Correct the improper use of the same word in different senses, in the following sentences :

1. An eloquent speaker may give more, but can not give more convincing arguments, than this plain man offered.

2. They were persons of very moderate intellects, even before they were impaired by their passions.

3. The sharks, who prey on the inadvertency of young heirs, are more pardonable than those, who trespass upon the good opinion of those, who treat them with great confidence and respect.

IV. Correct the equivocal or ambiguous expressions in the following sentences :

1. When our friendship is considered, how is it possible that I should not grieve for his loss?

2. The eagle killed the hen, and eat her in her own nest.

3. Solomon, the son of David, who built the temple of Jerusalem, was the richest monarch that reigned over the Jewish people.

4. The Divine Being heapeth favors on his servants, ever liberal and faithful.

V. Correct or omit such words and phrases, in the following sentences, as are unintelligible, inapplica

ble, or less significant than others, of the ideas which they are intended to express :

1. I seldom see a noble building, or any great piece of magnificence and pomp, but I think, how little is all this to satisfy the ambition, or to fill the idea, of an immortal soul.

2. The attempt, however laudable, was found to be impracticable 3. He is our mutual benefactor, and deserves our respect and obedience.

4. Vivacity is often promoted by presenting a sensible object to the mind, instead of an intelligible one.

5. It is difficult for him to speak three sentences together 6. The negligence of timely precaution was the cause of this great loss.

7. By proper reflection, we may be taught to mend what is erroneous und defective.


Q. What do you mean by the term Precision ?

A. The using of no more words to convey our meaning than the sense absolutely requires. Q. To what does precision stand opposed ?

Ă. To that looseness and vagueness of style which arise from too great a multiplicity of words.

Q. What tends most to produce precision ?

A. Clear and accurate thinking. We must perfectly know our own meaning, and thoroughly understand the words we make use of.

Q. What is the evil of employing too many words to express an idea?

A. It distracts the attention of the reader or hearer, and prevents him from forming a correct conception of the subject under discussion.

Q. Is want of precision a common error ?

A. Perhaps the most so of any that can be named as many, not content with one word to express an idea, are apt to subjoin another, which, conceiving it to be of the same import, will, they think, make the thought much plainer.

Q. What is the best rule for avoiding this error ?

Ă. Select the word that exactly expresses the idea intended to be communicated, and use that and no other for the purpose. Q. When is precision most apt to be violated ? A. In the use of what are called synonymous terms,

« PreviousContinue »