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enunciation of arranged as to ammatical construcbe so written
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ightly called the manner yed in order of thought.
the very opposite to that which they really possessed. Thus the Furies, demons who took delight in torturing human beings, were called Eumenides, which implies benevolently disposed in mind. Such names are said to be formed by the figure Antiphrasis.
The Synecdoche puts a part for the whole: thus-"Fifty sail appeared in the horizon," meaning fifty ships, of which the sails are but a part;Seventy souls in all went down with Jacob into Egypt," meaning seventy human beings, of whom the souls were but a part.
The Onomatopeia forms words so that by their sound they may express the sense; of such words are gurgle, tickle, rattle, hiss, &c. &c. This figure is coeval with the formation of language itself, and instances of it are to be found in every language that is spoken.
The Oxymoron is a figure of which but few examples occur in the English language; it deals in uniting terms which imply opposition of meaning; as, “A cruel kindness ;" "A laborious idleness."
The Periphrasis is a kind of circumlocution, which abounds in classical languages, and is copied, in some instances, by the English; thus-"He spoke with his mouth; "He heard with his ears." Such expressions are more usually assigned to the figure called Pleonasm, and are said to be pleonastic; whilst such as, "From the rising to the setting of the sun" = "From east to west, belong, it is said by grammarians, more properly to the periphrasis.
The Usteron proteron, i.e. the last first, inverts the logical order of things, by placing an event last which should come first, and vice versa. Of this there is a well-known instance in Virgil's Æneid, wherein the poet represents the shipwrecked mariners as baking the corn they had rescued from the deep, and afterwards grinding it. Livy speaks of a town as taken "primo impetu et clamore"-at the first onset and battle shout-as if the shout succeeded the onset. The English language has an imitation of this in the expression, "He was bred and born;" and it is used with considerable rhetorical effect in the question of Joseph to his brethren," Is your father well? the old man of whom ye
spake, is he yet alive?" wherein the natural order of things is violated; it being natural to ask first whether a man is alive or not, and afterwards as to his health.
Ir is not enough, in order to the clear enunciation of what is meant, that words should be so arranged as to violate no acknowledged principle of grammatical construction. Written language and spoken may be so written and spoken as to mislead, not inform. The order in which words should follow each other has been touched on in the introductory remarks on Syntax. Not less important than this, is that department of grammar called Punctuation, (from punctum a point or mark,) which treats of the manner in which sentences should be subdivided by marks indicating the necessity of a pause on the part of a reader or speaker, as well as in the works of a writer, in order that the proper connection of the several parts of what is spoken or written, and the bearing and dependence of one member of a sentence on another, should be readily understood by him who reads or hears.
Of what essential importance Punctuation is to the due expression of the sense intended, one example will suffice to shew. "If you be industrious in a few years you will be beyond the reach of poverty." No one can determine the sense of this passage as it is written. And that the ambiguity results from a want of punctuation appears from the fact, that the words are accurately arranged, and require not to be altered in any manner; the only alteration, or rather addition required, being the punctuation of the sentence; which shews that punctuation has been rightly called a department of grammar, which treats of the manner in which words should be arranged and employed in order to serve as a medium for the transmission of thought.
Let it not be thought, therefore, that punctuation is a matter of trivial importance. No department of grammar is more important; indeed, in many instances it is more important than any other, as the presence or absence of a comma not unfrequently obscures the sense, where no violation of syntactical or etymological principles could do so. If the foregoing passage were thus written, " If you be industrious in a few years, you will be beyond the reach of poverty;" it would convey the idea that the person addressed, by becoming industrious in a few years after the time at which he is spoken to, would be beyond the reach of poverty at some point of the future not definitely fixed. Written thus, "If you be industrious, in a few years you will be beyond the reach of poverty;" it would convey the idea that the party admonished, by becoming industrious at the time at which he is addressed, would be beyond the reach of poverty at a point of the future time definitely fixed, viz. a few years.
The principal points or stops made use of in language are- -the Comma, marked thus (,), the Semicolon (;), the Colon (:), and the Period, or full stop, (.). Rules to determine the proper place in which to use each are impossible, because fixed rules in this matter have never been agreed on, different writers claiming the privilege of determining for themselves when one should be used and not the other. Still, there are general principles acknowledged and acted on by all; and these may be laid down: in addition to which, the reflection of the writer, as to the meaning which he may wish to convey, and proper care and caution used to convey it, will be amply sufficient to enable him to avoid all errors in regard of the matter of punctuation.
The Comma (from kopto=I cut, because it cuts or divides the members of a sentence from each other,) is used— 1. When the pause necessary to be made is but very slight, and the members of the sentence thus separated are most intimately connected; thus, "Plants, whether regarded as individuals, or as grouped in the garden,
the field, and the landscape, are objects of universal interest."
2. After the subject of a verb, when the verb and subject are separated by some intervening clause, generally introduced for the purpose of explanation. Thus-" Nitrogen, called also azote, is a gaseous body;" Men, before they found out a material for clothing, must have been far advanced in the observation of nature."
NOTE 1.-If the subject and verb be not so separated, the comma should not be used after the subject; thus-" Men must have been far advanced in the observation of nature, before they found out a material for clothing."
NOTE 2.-If the subject, placed as referred to in Rule 2, have a prepositional phrase annexed to it, the comma is not used after the subject, but at the end of such phrase; thus"The excellence of silk, as a material for clothing, consists in its strength, lightness, lustre, and readiness in taking dyes."
3. When several nouns are used under the same link, that is, similarly situated as to government, the comma should be placed after each one thereof except the last; thus-"He visited Rome, St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Aleppo, and Damascus, in one year."
NOTE 1.—In this Rule it is said, "except the last :" the attentive student will object that, in the Example given, the last noun, Damascus, has a comma after it. Let him observe, however, that the rule has reference to the comma as separating the nouns in the same link from each other; the comma after Damascus does not separate that noun from Aleppo, as the comma after Aleppo does Aleppo from Damascus; the comma in question is intended to cut off all the nouns used from the following phrase, in one year, which, by such stopping, is directly connected, as it ought to be, with the phrase, " He visited."
NOTE 2.-Rule 3 applies equally to several adjectives qualifying the same noun, and several verbs predicated of the same subject; thus-"He is a good, wise, industrious, and useful citizen;" "Cæsar wrote very laconically of himself in saying that he came, saw, and conquered."
NOTE 3.-Many writers do not place a comma after the