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ceeded to read the address ;” wherein King is the case absolute; and the clause, “The King having seated himself on the throne,” expresses the state in which the King was, and the time of the act expressed in the subsequent clause.
The possessive case is not used as the case absolute; hence such case must be either the nominative or the objective; and these cases being alike in form, it matters not,
; as far as nouns are concerned, whether the one or the other be set down as the absolute case. It is different with regard to pronouns, which are sometimes used absolutely, and which, in some instances, are so inflected as to be different in form in the nominative and objective.
“He being now dead, his son managed the estate." “ Him being now dead, his son managed the estate."
The question is, which of these is the correct expression; and the answer is, that although the latter would formerly be used, and may be, logically speaking, the more correct, the former is more adopted by late writers, and it may, from such examples, be laid down that the nominative is the case absolute.
“ He spoke regarding him.” This expression does not militate against the principle just laid down ; him is not the case absolute, but the objective case, governed by the transitive participle regarding, which agrees with he. If the absolute expression were used to express the same idea, it would be in the following form—“He spoke, he being regarded." A similar observation applies to the following —“He spoke concerning him ;" wherein the participle concerning is used transitively, and in its literal acceptation of perceiving, that is, having in mind.
“Generally speaking:” this is an instance of the absolute construction with an ellipsis of the noun or pronoun with which speaking agrees. The expression is equivalent to, “We, generally speaking," that is, speaking of the greater number as opposed to particulars ; here, we is the case absolute.
“ To be candid, I do not wish to accompany you.” In such expressions, the infinitive mood used as a noun may be considered as absolute; the better way, however, to account for such, is to consider them as elliptical : thus“To be candid," =" If you will allow me to be candid ;"
wherein to be is the infinitive mood, depending on the verb allow.
“Notwithstanding the wetness of the day, we took a walk ;” “He took a walk during the rain.”
Nothing can possibly be more ungrammatical and illogical than to consider notwithstanding and during, in such expressions, as prepositions governing the nouns which follow them in the objective case. Wetness is evidently the case absolute; and withstanding—that is, opposingqualified by the negative not, is the participle of the verb to withstand, and agrees with the noun wetness. In like manner, during is a contracted form of the participle enduring ; which, in the sense of holding out or lasting, agrees with the noun rain, which is the case absolute.
RULE VI.-ON THE VERB“ TO BE," &c., &c.
The verb To be requires the same case after as before it: thus—“Lartius was the first Dictator ;" wherein Lartius is the nominative before was ; and Dictator is therefore said to be the nominative following it.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE VERB “ TO BE,” &c. &c.
1. Passive verbs, especially verbs of naming, and some intransitive verbs, also require after them the case which precedes them: thus—“Brutus and Cassius were esteemed patriots ;" " William I. was called Conqueror;" "He became a great man ;” “He lived and died a hero.”
NOTE.—In the first example given under this observam tion, patriots may be regarded as following to be, understood. Whether this be required here or not, it is certain that, in the case of many intransitive verbs, such construction is necessary; as, “He seems the leader of his party;"
“ He seems to be the leader,” &c. 2. This construction of the verb to be, &c. &c., depends evidently on the principle of apposition; the noun following
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7. "Who do you think him to be ?” “ Whom do men say that I am ?” The remarks in 5 and 6, and a little more consideration, will prove these expressions incorrect. The him in the first, governed by think in the objective, requires whom, not who ; whilst the I in the second, the subject of am, being nominative, requires who, not whom. The latter expression, in order to retain whom, should run thus—“Whom do men say me to be;" which, though harsh to the ear, is correct grammar, according to classical usage.
8. “ Alfred was regarded a public benefactor;” “ Alfred was regarded as a public benefactor.” Both are correct; the latter probably more, according to present usage. In the first, we have literally the construction of apposition ; the latter sentence, and all such, may be regarded as elliptical; a verb out of the preceding clause being understood as the predicate of the noun which succeeds as : thus“Alfred was regarded as a public benefactor (is regarded).”
RULE VII.-ON THE INFINITIVE MOOD.
One verb governs another in the infinitive mood; as, “Boys love to play;” “He was desired to leave;" wherein to play, to leave, are infinitives, depending on the verbs love, desired, respectively. In the case of the first example, and all such, the infinitive is clearly the object of the transitive verb. (See Observation 2, Rule II.)
OBSERVATIONS ON THE INFINITIVE MOOD.
1. This general rule asserts the principle, that when the infinitive mood is in a state of government, that is, when it is neither the subject or part thereof, nor the object of a verb or preposition; it is merely the complement of some other verb, on which it is said to depend. “He wishes," for instance, gives no idea as to the object of his wishes : to make the idea complete, the infinitive is necessary, and we accordingly say, “ He wishes to write, to come, to play," &c. &c.
such verbs in every instance being another name for the subject thereof, and the verb itself serving as a copula whereby the two names are linked together. The rule, therefore, laid down under the head Apposition, is virtually identical with the rule on the verb To be ; the only difference, as recognised by grammarians, between them consist. ing in the fact, that where the copula is used, the construction is not called, though it really is, the construction of apposition.
3. From the remarks under the head Apposition, and from Observations 20. 25, under Rule I., it will be clearly seen, that though the nouns following the verb to be must agree in case with the nouns preceding it, yet they may be in different numbers.
4. The verb To be, &c. &c., as well as a noun or pronoun, takes after it also an adjective agreeing with or qualifying the subject; as—“The sun was high in the heavens ;' “ Few and evil are the days of my pilgrimage.”
5. “He said it was he;" “He believed it to be him.” These are both correct: he, in the first sentence, follows was in the nominative, because it in the nominative precedes it; him, in the second, follows to be in the objective, because it, supposed to be the objective governed by believed, precedes it. The classical scholar would probably account for the latter construction by regarding it as the subject of the verb to be ; and therefore in the accusative case, from which the him would naturally follow in the accusative too.
6. “It is him we blame;" “ It is he we blame.” Which is correct? Before answering this question, an analysis of the expressions is necessary; the fact is, they both originate in an attempt to amalgamate two distinct propositions into one. The propositions would be—“ It is he whom we blame." The question now arises, whether it is right to suppress he, the predicate of the proposition, or whom, the objective construction of the other; and the answer would naturally be—“ Principle cannot determine," but usage does, and suppresses whom ; but, as a kind of equivalent for such suppression, and probably more on account of the vicinity of the transitive verb blame, the he is changed into him.