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one, happened, which makes the affirmation concerning the subject incidents.
A complex sentence may be resolved into as many simple 'sentences as there are subjects or predicates therein. In the foregoing sentence there are four predicates ; and, accordingly, it may be resolved into four simple sentences thus :—“Some incidents happened; these incidents revived her tenderness for. Essex ; these incidents filled her with the deepest sorrow for the consent ; she had unwarily given this consent to his execution.”
On the order in which the component parts of a complex sentence should succeed each other, it is scarcely possible to lay down any more practical rule than this : viz., Such order of the several parts must be observed as is conducive to perspicuity, and least adapted to cloud and obscure, or even to render dubious, the sense, and make it a question what idea is intended to be conveyed by each particular word in its place.
The following is given as a specimen of a complex sentence, the parts of which are accurately arranged “Metals in a perfect state are easily distinguished from other minerals, by a peculiar brilliancy which pervades their whole substance, by their complete opacity, and great weight in proportion to that of other mineral substances." A different order, shewing that rules in the matter of the arrangement of the parts of a sentence are not arbitrary, may be substituted, without introducing any obscurity as to sense. “Metals are easily distinguished in a perfect state from other minerals, by a peculiar brillianey which pervades their whole substance, by their complete opacity and great weight, in proportion to that of other mineral substances." Again, thus—.- Metals, by a peculiar brilliancy which pervades their whole substance, by their complete opacity and great weight, in proportion to that of other mineral substances, are easily distinguished in a perfeet state from other minerals.”
Of the order of words observed in the foregoing though the arrangement may be different, yet it is to be remarked that there are several parts whose position is fixed and cannot be altered; the expression for instance, in a perfect state, belongs evidently to the word metals, as descrip
tive of certain conditions under which only the assertion in the text is capable of being made concerning them; this expression, therefore, may not be removed so far from the word metals as to render it difficult to conclude to what it belongs; the sentence should not run thus—“Metals are easily distinguished from other minerals in a perfect state," &c., for in this case the expression may be said to belong to the word minerals, which would evidently destroy the sense: for a similar reason the expression in question may not be inserted after either of the words brilliancy, whick, substance, opacity, weight. The position of the adverb, too, is fixed, and for perspicuity must always be placed in juxtaposition with the qualified word, sometimes coming before, sometimes after it ; and in the case of a verb made up of more words than one, sometimes between the component parts, as in the expression, “I have been fearfully deceived,” or as in the expression in the text, “ are easily distinguished.” “From other minerals,” is immediately connected with metals, and distinguished; it is therefore rightly placed, and may not be placed otherwise. It should not be placed thus :-"Metals are easily distinguished by a
peculiar brilliancy, which pervades their whole substance, from other minerals.” This order, it is true, would not in the present instance obscure the sense, but yet the parts would hang awkwardly, because incongruously, together, a thing by all means to be avoided in the use of language: if the sentence were a single one, and the words from which to substance inclusive, were omitted, then the order objected to would be admissible, and it might run thus“Metals are easily distinguished, by a peculiar brilliancy, from other minerals,” “Which pervades their whole substance.” This and such clauses are called relative, because they have in them a relative pronoun; they are farther called “ the relative complement,” from com=together, and pleo=to fill; as being clauses intended to fill up, as it were, and render more perfect the idea to be conveyed regarding the word or phrase to which they are attached : their position is fixed, and they are always introduced as near as possible to the word or phrase to which they belong. In the sentence under examination, which stands for brilliancy, the subject of pervades : the clause commencing
with which is therefore rightly placed in the text, and may not be placed otherwise. Sometimes, however, they cannot, by reason of some unavoidable obstacle, be placed immediately after the words to which they refer: the expressions in question may, for instance, run thus :—“Metals are easily distinguished from other minerals by a peculiar brilliancy of appearance, which pervades their whole substance;" but the rule should be as undeviatingly observed as circumstances will admit, viz., to introduce the relative clause as nearly as possible in juxtaposition with the word or words to which it is intended to belong.
Relative clauses are one of the chief agents in giving birth to complex sentences, as they give occasion for the introduction of other subjects than that which is the basis of the simple sentence; for a similar reason, the conjunction that, expressive of purpose or means, or an existing state of things, plays an important part in producing such sentences, as will be seen from the following examples :“Arise, and eat, that thy soul may bless me. “ I see that good men are not so good as I once thought they were.”
The subject of a sentence, though that which, of all the parts thereof, is first present to the mind, does not necessarily occupy the first place therein as to the order of the words ; of this the following will serve as an example : “At first setting out upon a vicious course, men are a little nice and delicate.” When the idea intended to be conveyed is represented through the medium of other words as well as the subject, and when such other words refer to something of primary importance which it is especially desirable to rivet the attention on, then such words are, with peculiar propriety, placed first, and the subject subsequently introduced : thus—“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses.” Of this there is a notable example in the commencement of Milton's invocation to his muse in the “ Paradise Lost,”
“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Of which sentence, thou is the subject understood before the imperative sing in the last line. When, however, this is not the case, the sentence should not proceed far prior to the introduction of the subject, as being the word of greatest importance, and that to which, therefore, immediate attention should be directed. The following sentence is, in this respect, though not without precedent, highly inaccurate :-“ By reason of his goodness and mercy, as evidenced by the care wherewith he hath provided for the supply of things necessary to their comfort, and his patience in abstaining from inflicting punishment on them forthwith for their manifold shortcomings, men owe a debt of gratitude to their Creator of which it is impossible for them to exonerate themselves."
No words but nouns and pronouns, and such combinations of words as serve in the place of nouns, can form the subject of a sentence; and of the pronouns it is worthy of remark, in this respect, that the first and second personal pronoun only can form an independent subject, that is, can be used as the subjects without any explanatory clause to accompany them. The reason of this is obvious: I is the name of the speaker, and thou of the individual addressed ; either is sufficiently determinate of itself, and there is no possibility of mistaking the parties which they are used to represent. The case is different with he: it would serve no purpose to begin a sentence thus :-“He died in Babylon in a fit of debauch," as no one would understand to whom he refers. This remark applies to he, considered as the subject of the sentence, and not as a subject of a dependent clause. He, however, is capable of becoming the subject, when it is rendered definite by an accompanying clause, intended to explain it, for then it is general, not particular, in its application: thus——“He whom prosperity cannot elate nor adversity depress to an inordinate degree, deserves the name of philosopher.” A similar remark applies to the adjective those, used, a noun being understood, as the subject of a sentence.
The pronoun it is frequently used as the subject of a sentence, when, however, the noun, an assemblage of words, for which it stands, is, contrary to the general usage
of the pronoun, expressed in the same sentence; this usage occurs when inconvenience would arise from the introduction, in the previous part of the sentence, of the assemblage of words which forms the real subject : thus-“ It is universally admitted that religion entrenches upon no privileges, and invades no pleasures, which reason can prove to us ought to be enjoyed,”—where it is the apparent, but the whole sentence from that to the end, the real subject. Care should be taken that the proper subject should appear in its proper clause, and thus be connected with its proper predicate. The following sentence, and such like, violate all the rules in this respect of grammatical propriety :- “ When Antiochus was ordered to limit his kingdom by Mount Taurus, he used to say, that it was favourably arranged for him by the Roman people that he might enjoy a moderate extent of dominion." Here used is manifestly the predicate ; was ordered, evidently being but a secondary one, or existing in a secondary clause, commenced with when, showing the time at which the individual referred to used to give utterance to this expression; he is the subject of this verb used. As the sentence is constructed, this violates all usage; Antiochus being clearly the subject intended. The sentence therefore should run thus:
“ Antiochus, when he was ordered to limit his kingdom by Mount Taurus, used to say,” &c. &c. Similar to this is the violation of grammatical usage in the following passage from the New Testament:-“When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am P" The proper order requiring—" Jesus, when he came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, asked his disciples, saying," &c.
With regard to the construction of a sentence, no extensive rules can be laid down, and there is observable in writings as great a diversity in force, clearness, and accuracy of expression, as there is in thought. Such diversity gives birth to the expression-"A man's style of writing;" which is, in most instances, vigorous and efficient as the vehicle of his communications in proportion to the accuracy of his thinking ; confused sentences most frequently arising