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must be taken to distinguish when such words are participial adjectives, and when they are essentially portions of the verb. In the two expressions, “I have written a letter ;" “I have in my possession a letter written by the Duke of Wellington,” it is evident that the position of, and idea represented by, the word written, are essentially different. In the first, the union of the verb have, and the participle written, are combined to form the English perfect tense, and they both express an act performed by the agent I. In the second, the word written is a real adjective, qualifying letter, and there are two distinct acts expressed as performed by different agents—the act of mere having performed by the agent I, and that of writing, in the past time, performed by the Duke of Wellington. No reasoning can ever successfully prove that these expres-sions, and such as these, are identical in meaning, and yet there are found grammarians who deny that the English verb has a perfect, or any tense but the present and past, and
any voice but the active, merely because there is no change of termination. Now it may be asked, where or by whom has a law been laid down which renders a change of termination essential to the constitution of tense, which, as has been shewn under the head of verb, merely expresses the bent or direction of the mind towards a particular point of time?- —or what is there in the nature of the thing to prevent the English people effectually to do that by combination of words, which the Latins and Greeks, having a more flexible language, were pleased to do by a change of termination ? The grammarians referred to accuse those who call “I have written,” and such expressions, a true tense, of a slavish imitation of the Latins and Greeks, and say that if there had not been a future and a perfect tense, &c. &c., and a passive voice in their language, we never should have heard of such in the English. With what consistency such charge is made will appear from the consideration, that of the two, he is the slave who, because the Latins and Greeks formed their different tenses by a change of termination, asserts there is no such thing as tense unless so formed ; and not he who departs from such usage, and admits an expression to constitute a tense, though differently arrived at.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE ADJECTIVE.
1. It was said, in the rule for the formation of the comparative and superlative degrees, that in the case of words of more than two syllables the prefixing of more and most serves the purpose. The same purpose appears to be served by less and least, according to necessity: as--avaricious, , less avaricious, least avaricious.
2. Some adjectives appear to form their superlatives by the addition of most to the end of the word, as inner, inmost, a contraction of innermost; outer, outermost, for which is used utmost; upper, uppermost, &c. &c.
3. Some adjectives have no positive, as exterior; some, again, though apparently in a positive form, have associated with them the superlative idea, as extreme.
4. When the positive ends in a single consonant, preceded by a single vowel, the consonant is repeated before er and est, as—big, bigger, biggest.
5. The adjectives much and many are given in the foregoing as the positives of more and most. It is worthy of remark that much is used when reference is made to things weighed, measured, or in any other way estimated ; many, when number alone is referred to. More and most are used indiscriminately when reference is made to all.
6. The quality expressed by the adjective may exist in different individuals in different proportions. A be tall as compared with the great bulk of men ; another, however, may have more than he of the quality of tallness. To express this, gives rise to the necessity of degrees, whence we have taller, tallest. Some adjectives, however, from their very nature, cannot be so modified. If a statement be true, for instance; that is, if it convey the idea of truth, it is perfect in this respect; it cannot be either more true or less true ;-hence true admits not of comparison. To this class belong virtuous, perfect, eternal, chief, moral, inmoral, &c. &c. This, as the philosophical,
, c is, no doubt, the correct, view. Society, however, having got the general idea of all qualities existing in different degrees, breaks through the rules of philosophy, and hence we have
such expressions as more perpendicular, more virtuous, truer, &c. &c.
7. Old has been compared with older and elder for the comparative, and oldest and eldest for the superlative. It is further to be remarked that elder and eldest are generally, if not always, applied to persons ; older and oldest to things.
8. Double comparatives and superlatives should be avoided. Of such are the expressions : “ The more milder die;" “The least happiest man." Such expressions are occasionally to be found in the best writers; they however abound more frequently in writers during or near to the time of the Stuart dynasty. “ After the most straitest sect of our religion,” is found in the Acts of the Apostles.
9. The indefinite adjective a is changed into an when the word following begins with a vowel, or an h not pronounced ; as an egg, an hour.
10. When two or more nouns immediately following each other refer to the same individual, the definite adjective the, or indefinite a, precedes the first only; as A or the friend and supporter-both characters being sustained by the same individual.' When however different individuals are referred to, the adjectives in question precede each of the nouns. In the expression, for instance, “ He now lost the friends and the supporters of his cause,” friends and supporters do not necessarily refer to the same individuals.
11. The relatives what and which are frequently used as adjectives, as "I know not by what fatality he was impelled.” This is evidently resolvable into the relative and antecedent: “I know not the fatality by which.” “Which things are an allegory,” is explained in the same way.
12. The adjectives this and that admit of a plural, as This book, These books, Those books. When this and that refer to different things, this refers to the last expressed, that to the first; as, “Wealth and poverty are both temptations; that tends to excite pride, this discontent." Them is often used improperly for these and those, as Them books, Them houses.
13. One, other, another, are sometimes used as nouns, and admit of inflection, the two former in number and case, the latter in case only, as “One's feelings; I saw fine ones
feeding; He left it to others to do that; Another's grief preyed on him.”
14. All the cardinal numeral adjectives are convertible into nouns; as six twenties, seven hundreds.
15. The comparative degree is used when two things only are compared ; the superlative when more than two, as
-“ Alexander and Julius Cæsar were great generals ; of the two, however, Julius Cæsar was the greater," not greatest : “Pompey, Cæsar, and Crassus formed the first triumvirate; of these Crassus was the richest,” not richer. No rule is more frequently disregarded than this. Latham himself supplies a case of its violation: “Of the two elements of a compound word, which is the most important ?" (Handbook of the English Language.)
16. The adjective, it was shewn, generally precedes the noun in the English language, except when it (adjective) is modified or limited by some phrase, in which case it fol. lows the noun. It is further to be remarked, that in some instances the adjective neither immediately precedes nor succeeds the noun, especially when a possessive adjective operates to disunite them. No writer would say, “He made his retreat good,” nor “He made his good retreat,” but rather, “ He made good his retreat.”
QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION ON THE ADJECTIVE.
Define the term, derive it, and shew what concerning it the name implies. Give a list of adjectives, with nouns qualified by them. Give examples of the adjective following the noun; others of the adjective neither immediately preceding nor succeeding the noun. (See Observation 16.) Is the noun without the adjective more or less abstract than the noun and adjective taken as one term ? Prove this by examples. Give examples of adjectives used as nouns. When are nouns used as adjectives ? What is the name by which such words as shoe-maker are generally called ? What gives rise to such combinations ? Give the substance of Latham's remarks on compound nouns; and shew accurately the difference between finger-ring and ring, finger, also between nut-ground and ground-nut; and form six other compound nouns on a similar principle. Name
the five heads under which adjectives have been subdivided, and give three examples of each. Subdivide numeral adjectives under the different heads given. Give examples of numeral adjectives being used as nouns. (See Observation 14.) Mention some adjectives which are declined with number; some with number and case; and one with case only. Shew why such words as my, thy, &c. &c. are rather to be considered adjectives than pronouns.
What are the pronominal adjectives sometimes called by, and why? What are participial adjectives ? What is the difference between, "I have published a book,” and “I have a book published ?" How do you parse the word published in both cases ? How did the Latins and Greeks form their different tenses? How do the English form theirs ? Shew that the positive state of the adjective expresses a comparison in the expression, “My uncle is an old man.” What gives rise to the necessity of degrees of comparison ? (See Observation 6.) What two methods are there of forming the comparative and superlative? What does the difference of methods result from? When is the one observed, and when the other ? What constitutes irregularity in adjectives ? Mention some irregular ones, and compare them. What does Locke call attributive adjectives generally? Give a list of adjectives which ought not to be compared; and shew why. Are they compared by men ? Why? Mention any adjectives you know which have one degree and not any other; and any which, under a positive form, have a superlative sense. How do such adjectives as ready, lively, homely form their degrees ? What is the reason of such formations, and what is the peculiarity of the class ? Whence the terms cardinal, ordinal, as applied to certain numeral adjectives ? Point out the difference in the use of such, as regards the number of the nouns with which they are connected ? Whence the terms definite and indefinite ? Give a list under both heads. What words, as well as more and most, are used in the expression of comparison ? Give a list of adjectives which form their superlative by adding most. What peculiarity is there in forming the degrees of big ? What causes such peculiarity ? and give 3 list of such adjectives. Point out the difference between