Page images



§ 103. The word COLON comes from the Greek language, and means limb or member. Its use appears to have originated with the early printers of Latin books. Formerly it was much used, and seems to have been preferred to the semicolon, which, with writers of the present day, too generally usurps its place. The Colon, however, has a distinct office of its own to perform; and there are many cases in which no point can with propriety be substituted for it. It indicates the next greatest degree of separation to that denoted by the period.

§ 104. RULE I.-A colon must be placed between the great divisions of sentences, when minor subdivisions occur that are separated by semicolons; as, "We perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, but did not see it moving; we observe that the grass has grown, though it was impossible to see it grow: so the advances we make in knowledge, consisting of minute and gradual steps, are perceivable only after intervals of time."

The example just given is composed of three members, of which it is evident that the first two are more closely connected with each other than with the last. The former requiring a semicolon between them, as will appear hereafter, the latter must be cut off by a point indicating a greater degree of separation, that is, a colon.

§ 105. RULE II.—A colon must be placed before a formal enumeration of particulars, and a direct quotation, when referred to by the words thus, following, as follows, this, these, &c.; as, "Man consists of three parts: first, the body, with

108. From what language is the word colon derived? What does it mean? With whom did this point originate? What is said of its use formerly and at the present day? What degree of separation does it denote?

$104. Repeat Rule I.

105. Repeat Rule II. What is meant by a formal enumeration of particulars?

its sensual appetites; second, the mind, with its thirst for knowledge and other noble aspirations; third, the soul, with its undying principle."-" Mohammed died with these words on his lips: O God, pardon my sins! Yes, I come among my fellow-citizens on high.'"


By "a formal enumeration” is meant one in which the particulars are introduced by the words first, secondly, &c., or similar terms. In this case, the objects enumerated are separated from each other by semicolons; and before the first a colon must be placed, as in the example given above. If the names of the particulars merely are given, without any formal introductory words or accompanying description, commas are placed between them, and a semicolon, instead of a colon, is used before the first; as, "Grammar is divided into four parts; Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody."

§ 106. If the quoted passage consists of several sentences or begins a new paragraph, it is usual to place a colon followed by a dash (:—) at the end of the preceding sentence; as, "The cloth having been removed, the president rose and said:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have assembled," &c.

§ 107. If the quoted passage is introduced by that, or if it is short and incorporated in the middle of a sentence, a colon is not admissible before it; as, "Remember that one to-day is worth two to-morrows." "Bion's favorite maxim, 'Know thyself,' is worth whole pages of good advice."

§ 108. When the quoted passage is brought in without any introductory word, if short, it is generally preceded by a comma; if long, by a colon; as, "A simpleton, meeting a philosopher, asked him, 'What affords wise men the greatest pleasure?' Turning on his heel, the sage promptly replied, "To get rid of fools."" The use of the colon in this case is illustrated in § 105.

§ 109. RULE III.-A colon was formerly, and may now be, placed between the members of a compound sentence,

When thus formally enumerated, how are the particulars separated from each other? What marks must precede the first? When the names merely are given, how are they separated, and by what preceded?

§ 106. If the quoted passage consists of several sentences or a paragraph, how is the preceding sentence generally closed?

§ 107. In what case is a colon inadmissible before a quoted passage?

§108. State the principle that applies to a quoted passage brought in without any introductory word.

§ 109. Repeat Rule III. What is said of usage in these cases? What is the highest point that can be used between members connected by a conjunction?

when there is no conjunction between them and the connection is slight; as, "Never flatter the people: leave that to such as mean to betray them."

With regard to the cases falling under this rule, usage is divided. Many good authorities prefer a semicolon; while others substitute a period, and commence a new sentence with what follows. It appears to be settled, however, that, if the members are connected by a conjunction, a semicolon is the highest point that can be placed between them; as, "Never flatter the people; but leave that to such as mean to betray them."


Insert, wherever required in the following sentences, pe riods, interrogation-points, exclamation-points, and colons.

UNDER § 104. No monumental marble emblazons the deeds and fame of Marco Bozarris; a few round stones piled over his head are all that marks his grave yet his name is conspicuous among the greatest heroes and purest patriots of history "Most fashionable ladies," says a plainspoken writer, "have two faces; one face to sleep in and another to show in company the first is generally reserved for the husband and family at home; the other is put on to please strangers abroad the family face is often indifferent enough, but the out-door one looks something better" - You have called yourself an atom in the universe; you have said that you were but an insect in the solar blaze is your present pride consistent with these professions

UNDER § 105. The object of this book is twofold first, to teach the inexperienced how to express their thoughts correctly and elegantly; secondly, to enable them to appreciate the productions of others-The human family is composed of five races, differing from each other in feature and color first, the Caucasian or white; second, &c - Lord Bacon has summed up the whole matter in the following words "A little philosophy inclineth men's minds to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds to religion"-Where can you find anything simpler yet more sublime than this sentiment of Richter's "I love God and little children"-He answered my argument thus "The man who lives by hope will die by despair"

UNDER $106. Cato, being next called on by the consul for his opinion, delivered the following forcible speech

Conscript fathers, I perceive that those who have spoken before me, &c

UNDER 107. Socrates used to say that other men lived in order that they might eat, but that he ate in order that he might live — The propo sition that "whatever is, is right", admits of question-It is a fact on which we may congratulate ourselves that "honor and shame from no condition rise" -The Spanish proverb, "he is my friend that grinds at my mill," exposes the false pretensions of persons who will not go out of their way to serve those for whom they profess friendship

UNDER § 108. Solomon says "Go to the ant, thou sluggard” — Dioge nes, the eccentric Cynic philosopher, was constantly finding fault with his pupils and acquaintances To excuse himself, he was accustomed to say" Other dogs bite their enemies; but I bite my friends, that I may save them"-A Spanish proverb says "Four persons are indispensable to the production of a good salad first, a spendthrift for oil; second, a miser for vinegar; third, a counsellor for salt; fourth, a madman, to stir it all up "

UNDER § 109. Love hath wings beware lest he fly - I entered at the first window that I could reach a cloud of smoke filled the apartmentLife in Sweden is, for the most part, patriarchal almost primeval simplicity reigns over this northern land, almost primeval solitude and stillness-Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide in all the duties of life cunning is a kind of instinct, that looks out only after its own immediate interest and welfare

MISCELLANEOUS.-What a truthful lesson is taught in these words of Sterne "So quickly, sometimes, has the wheel turned round that many a man has lived to enjoy the benefit of that charity which his own piety projected"-Colton has truly said that "kings and their subjects, masters and servants, find a common level in two places; at the foot of the cross, and in the grave"-We have in use two kinds of language, the spoken and the written the one, the gift of God; the other, the invention of man- How far silence is prudence, depends upon circumstances I waive that question-You have friends to cheer you on; you have books and teachers to aid you but after all the proper education of your mind must be your own work- Death is like thunder in two particulars we are alarmed at the sound of it; and it is formidable only from what has preceded it




§ 110. THE word SEMICOLON means half a limb or member; and the point is used to indicate the next greatest degree of separation to that denoted by the colon. It was first employed in Italy, and seems to have found its way into England about the commencement of the seventeenth century.

§111. RULE I.—A semicolon must be placed between the

$110. What does the word semicolon mean? What degree of separation does it Indicate? Where was it first employed? When did it find its way into England?

members of compound sentences (see § 41), unless the con nection is exceedingly close; as, "Lying lips are an abomina tion to the Lord; but they that deal truly are His delight."

We have already seen, in § 109, that, when there is no conjunction between the members, a colon may be used, if the connection is slight; a semicolon, however, is generally preferred. On the other hand, wher the members are very short and the connection is intimate, a comma may without impropriety be employed; as, "Simple men admire the learned, ignorant men despise them." Usage on this point is much divided, the choice between semicolon and comma depending entirely on the degree of connection between the members, respecting which different minds cannot be expected to agree. In the example last given, either a semicolon or a comma may be placed after learned.

§ 112. RULE II.-A semicolon must be placed between the great divisions of sentences, when minor subdivisions occur that are separated by commas; as, "Mirth should be the embroidery of conversation, not the web; and wit the ornament of the mind, not the furniture."

§ 113. RULE III.-When a colon is placed before an enumeration of particulars, the objects enumerated must be separated by semicolons; as, "The value of a maxim depends on four things: the correctness of the principle it embodies; the subject to which it relates; the extent of its application; and the ease with which it may be practically carried out."

§ 114. RULE IV.-A semicolon must be placed before an enumeration of particulars, when the names of the objects. merely are given without any formal introductory words or accompanying description; as, "There are three genders; the masculine, the feminine, and the neuter."

§ 115. RULE V.-A semicolon must be placed before the conjunction as, when it introduces an example. For an illus tration, see the preceding Rule.

§ 111. Repeat Rule L. What other point may be used, when there is no conjurotion? When the connection is very close, what point may be employed!

§ 112. Repeat Rule II.

§ 118. Repeat Rule III. §114. Repeat Rule IV. § 115. Repeat Rule V.

« PreviousContinue »