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´╗┐Title: How to Speak and Write Correctly
Author: Devlin, Joseph
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to Speak and Write Correctly" ***

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Edited by


Copyright, 1910, by


Vocabulary. Parts of speech. Requisites.

Divisions of grammar. Definitions. Etymology.

Different kinds. Arrangement of words. Paragraph.

Figures of speech. Definitions and examples. Use of figures.

Principal points. Illustrations. Capital letters.

Principles of letter writing. Forms. Notes.

Mistakes. Slips of authors. Examples and corrections. Errors of redundancy.

Common stumbling blocks. Peculiar constructions. Misused forms.

Diction. Purity. Propriety. Precision.

How to write. What to write. Correct speaking and speakers.

Origin. American slang. Foreign slang.

Qualification. Appropriate subjects. Directions.

Small words. Their importance. The Anglo-Saxon element.

Beginning. Different Sources. The present.

Great authors. Classification. The world's best books.


In the preparation of this little work the writer has kept one end in
view, viz.: To make it serviceable for those for whom it is intended,
that is, for those who have neither the time nor the opportunity, the
learning nor the inclination, to peruse elaborate and abstruse treatises
on Rhetoric, Grammar, and Composition. To them such works are as gold
enclosed in chests of steel and locked beyond power of opening. This book
has no pretension about it whatever,--it is neither a Manual of Rhetoric,
expatiating on the dogmas of style, nor a Grammar full of arbitrary rules
and exceptions. It is merely an effort to help ordinary, everyday people
to express themselves in ordinary, everyday language, in a proper manner.
Some broad rules are laid down, the observance of which will enable the
reader to keep within the pale of propriety in oral and written language.
Many idiomatic words and expressions, peculiar to the language, have been
given, besides which a number of the common mistakes and pitfalls have
been placed before the reader so that he may know and avoid them.

The writer has to acknowledge his indebtedness to no one in _particular_,
but to all in _general_ who have ever written on the subject.

The little book goes forth--a finger-post on the road of language
pointing in the right direction. It is hoped that they who go according
to its index will arrive at the goal of correct speaking and writing.



Vocabulary--Parts of Speech--Requisites

It is very easy to learn how to speak and write correctly, as for all
purposes of ordinary conversation and communication, only about 2,000
different words are required. The mastery of just twenty hundred words,
the knowing where to place them, will make us not masters of the English
language, but masters of correct speaking and writing. Small number, you
will say, compared with what is in the dictionary! But nobody ever uses
all the words in the dictionary or could use them did he live to be the
age of Methuselah, and there is no necessity for using them.

There are upwards of 200,000 words in the recent editions of the large
dictionaries, but the one-hundredth part of this number will suffice for
all your wants. Of course you may think not, and you may not be content
to call things by their common names; you may be ambitious to show
superiority over others and display your learning or, rather, your
pedantry and lack of learning. For instance, you may not want to call a
spade a spade. You may prefer to call it a spatulous device for abrading
the surface of the soil. Better, however, to stick to the old familiar,
simple name that your grandfather called it. It has stood the test of
time, and old friends are always good friends.

To use a big word or a foreign word when a small one and a familiar one
will answer the same purpose, is a sign of ignorance. Great scholars and
writers and polite speakers use simple words.

To go back to the number necessary for all purposes of conversation
correspondence and writing, 2,000, we find that a great many people who
pass in society as being polished, refined and educated use less, for
they know less. The greatest scholar alive hasn't more than four thousand
different words at his command, and he never has occasion to use half the

In the works of Shakespeare, the most wonderful genius the world has ever
known, there is the enormous number of 15,000 different words, but almost
10,000 of them are obsolete or meaningless today.

Every person of intelligence should be able to use his mother tongue
correctly. It only requires a little pains, a little care, a little study
to enable one to do so, and the recompense is great.

Consider the contrast between the well-bred, polite man who knows how to
choose and use his words correctly and the underbred, vulgar boor, whose
language grates upon the ear and jars the sensitiveness of the finer
feelings. The blunders of the latter, his infringement of all the canons
of grammar, his absurdities and monstrosities of language, make his very
presence a pain, and one is glad to escape from his company.

The proper grammatical formation of the English language, so that one may
acquit himself as a correct conversationalist in the best society or be
able to write and express his thoughts and ideas upon paper in the right
manner, may be acquired in a few lessons.

It is the purpose of this book, as briefly and concisely as possible, to
direct the reader along a straight course, pointing out the mistakes he
must avoid and giving him such assistance as will enable him to reach the
goal of a correct knowledge of the English language. It is not a Grammar
in any sense, but a guide, a silent signal-post pointing the way in the
right direction.


All the words in the English language are divided into nine great
classes. These classes are called the Parts of Speech. They are Article,
Noun, Adjective, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction and
Interjection. Of these, the Noun is the most important, as all the others
are more or less dependent upon it. A Noun signifies the name of any
person, place or thing, in fact, anything of which we can have either
thought or idea. There are two kinds of Nouns, Proper and Common. Common
Nouns are names which belong in common to a race or class, as _man_,
_city_. Proper Nouns distinguish individual members of a race or class as
_John_, _Philadelphia_. In the former case _man_ is a name which belongs
in common to the whole race of mankind, and _city_ is also a name which
is common to all large centres of population, but _John_ signifies a
particular individual of the race, while _Philadelphia_ denotes a
particular one from among the cities of the world.

Nouns are varied by Person, Number, Gender, and Case. Person is that
relation existing between the speaker, those addressed and the subject
under consideration, whether by discourse or correspondence. The Persons
are _First_, _Second_ and _Third_ and they represent respectively the
speaker, the person addressed and the person or thing mentioned or under

_Number_ is the distinction of one from more than one. There are two
numbers, singular and plural; the singular denotes one, the plural two or
more. The plural is generally formed from the singular by the addition of
_s_ or _es_.

_Gender_ has the same relation to nouns that sex has to individuals, but
while there are only two sexes, there are four genders, viz., masculine,
feminine, neuter and common. The masculine gender denotes all those of
the male kind, the feminine gender all those of the female kind, the
neuter gender denotes inanimate things or whatever is without life, and
common gender is applied to animate beings, the sex of which for the time
being is indeterminable, such as fish, mouse, bird, etc. Sometimes things
which are without life as we conceive it and which, properly speaking,
belong to the neuter gender, are, by a figure of speech called
Personification, changed into either the masculine or feminine gender,
as, for instance, we say of the sun, _He_ is rising; of the moon, _She_
is setting.

_Case_ is the relation one noun bears to another or to a verb or to a
preposition. There are three cases, the _Nominative_, the _Possessive_
and the _Objective_. The nominative is the subject of which we are
speaking or the agent which directs the action of the verb; the
possessive case denotes possession, while the objective indicates the
person or thing which is affected by the action of the verb.

An _Article_ is a word placed before a noun to show whether the latter is
used in a particular or general sense. There are but two articles, _a_ or
_an_ and _the_.

An _Adjective_ is a word which qualifies a noun, that is, which shows
some distinguishing mark or characteristic belonging to the noun.


A _Pronoun_ is a word used for or instead of a noun to keep us from
repeating the same noun too often. Pronouns, like nouns, have case,
number, gender and person. There are three kinds of pronouns, _personal_,
_relative_ and _adjective_.

A _verb_ is a word which signifies action or the doing of something. A
verb is inflected by tense and mood and by number and person, though the
latter two belong strictly to the subject of the verb.

An _adverb_ is a word which modifies a verb, an adjective and sometimes
another adverb.

A _preposition_ serves to connect words and to show the relation between
the objects which the words express.

A _conjunction_ is a word which joins words, phrases, clauses and
sentences together.

An _interjection_ is a word which expresses surprise or some sudden
emotion of the mind.


The three essentials of the English language are: _Purity_, _Perspicuity_
and _Precision_.

By _Purity_ is signified the use of good English. It precludes the use of
all slang words, vulgar phrases, obsolete terms, foreign idioms, ambiguous
expressions or any ungrammatical language whatsoever. Neither does it
sanction the use of any newly coined word until such word is adopted by
the best writers and speakers.

_Perspicuity_ demands the clearest expression of thought conveyed in
unequivocal language, so that there may be no misunderstanding whatever
of the thought or idea the speaker or writer wishes to convey. All
ambiguous words, words of double meaning and words that might possibly be
construed in a sense different from that intended, are strictly
forbidden. Perspicuity requires a style at once clear and comprehensive
and entirely free from pomp and pedantry and affectation or any straining
after effect.

_Precision_ requires concise and exact expression, free from redundancy
and tautology, a style terse and clear and simple enough to enable the
hearer or reader to comprehend immediately the meaning of the speaker or
writer. It forbids, on the one hand, all long and involved sentences,
and, on the other, those that are too short and abrupt. Its object is to
strike the golden mean in such a way as to rivet the attention of the
hearer or reader on the words uttered or written.



Divisions of Grammar--Definitions--Etymology.

In order to speak and write the English language correctly, it is
imperative that the fundamental principles of the Grammar be mastered,
for no matter how much we may read of the best authors, no matter how
much we may associate with and imitate the best speakers, if we do not
know the underlying principles of the correct formation of sentences and
the relation of words to one another, we will be to a great extent like
the parrot, that merely repeats what it hears without understanding the
import of what is said. Of course the parrot, being a creature without
reason, cannot comprehend; it can simply repeat what is said to it, and
as it utters phrases and sentences of profanity with as much facility as
those of virtue, so by like analogy, when we do not understand the
grammar of the language, we may be making egregious blunders while
thinking we are speaking with the utmost accuracy.


There are four great divisions of Grammar, viz.:

_Orthography_, _Etymology_, _Syntax_, and _Prosody_.

_Orthography_ treats of letters and the mode of combining them into words.

_Etymology_ treats of the various classes of words and the changes they

_Syntax_ treats of the connection and arrangement of words in sentences.

_Prosody_ treats of the manner of speaking and reading and the different
kinds of verse.

The three first mentioned concern us most.


A _letter_ is a mark or character used to represent an articulate sound.
Letters are divided into _vowels_ and _consonants_. A vowel is a letter
which makes a distinct sound by itself. Consonants cannot be sounded
without the aid of vowels. The vowels are _a_, _e_, _i_, _o_, _u_, and
sometimes _w_ and _y_ when they do not begin a word or syllable.


A syllable is a distinct sound produced by a single effort of
[Transcriber's note: 1-2 words illegible] shall, pig, dog. In every
syllable there must be at least one vowel.

A word consists of one syllable or a combination of syllables.

Many rules are given for the dividing of words into syllables, but the
best is to follow as closely as possible the divisions made by the organs
of speech in properly pronouncing them.



An _Article_ is a word placed before a noun to show whether the noun is
used in a particular or general sense.

There are two articles, _a_ or _an_ and _the_. _A_ or _an_ is called the
indefinite article because it does not point put any particular person or
thing but indicates the noun in its widest sense; thus, _a_ man means any
man whatsoever of the species or race.

_The_ is called the definite article because it points out some particular
person or thing; thus, _the_ man means some particular individual.


A _noun_ is the name of any person, place or thing as _John_, _London_,
_book_. Nouns are proper and common.

_Proper_ nouns are names applied to _particular_ persons or places.

_Common_ nouns are names applied to a whole kind or species.

Nouns are inflected by _number_, _gender_ and _case_.

_Number_ is that inflection of the noun by which we indicate whether it
represents one or more than one.

_Gender_ is that inflection by which we signify whether the noun is the
name of a male, a female, of an inanimate object or something which has
no distinction of sex.

_Case_ is that inflection of the noun which denotes the state of the
person, place or thing represented, as the subject of an affirmation or
question, the owner or possessor of something mentioned, or the object of
an action or of a relation.

Thus in the example, "John tore the leaves of Sarah's book," the
distinction between _book_ which represents only one object and _leaves_
which represent two or more objects of the same kind is called _Number_;
the distinction of sex between _John_, a male, and _Sarah_, a female, and
_book_ and _leaves_, things which are inanimate and neither male nor
female, is called _Gender_; and the distinction of state between _John_,
the person who tore the book, and the subject of the affirmation, _Mary_,
the owner of the book, _leaves_ the objects torn, and _book_ the object
related to leaves, as the whole of which they were a part, is called


An _adjective_ is a word which qualifies a noun, that is, shows or
points out some distinguishing mark or feature of the noun; as, A
_black_ dog.

Adjectives have three forms called degrees of comparison, the _positive_,
the _comparative_ and the _superlative_.

The _positive_ is the simple form of the adjective without expressing
increase or diminution of the original quality: _nice_.

The _comparative_ is that form of the adjective which expresses increase
or diminution of the quality: _nicer_.

The _superlative_ is that form which expresses the greatest increase or
diminution of the quality: _nicest_.


An adjective is in the positive form when it does not express comparison;
as, "A _rich_ man."

An adjective is in the comparative form when it expresses comparison
between two or between one and a number taken collectively, as, "John is
_richer_ than James"; "he is _richer_ than all the men in Boston."

An adjective is in the superlative form when it expresses a comparison
between one and a number of individuals taken separately; as, "John is
the _richest_ man in Boston."

Adjectives expressive of properties or circumstances which cannot be
increased have only the positive form; as, A _circular_ road; the _chief_
end; an _extreme_ measure.

Adjectives are compared in two ways, either by adding _er_ to the positive
to form the comparative and _est_ to the positive to form the superlative,
or by prefixing _more_ to the positive for the comparative and _most_ to
the positive for the superlative; as, _handsome_, _handsomer_, _handsomest_
or _handsome_, _more handsome_, _most handsome_.

Adjectives of two or more syllables are generally compared by prefixing
more and most.

Many adjectives are irregular in comparison; as, Bad, worse, worst; Good,
better, best.


A _pronoun_ is a word used in place of a noun; as, "John gave his pen to
James and _he_ lent it to Jane to write _her_ copy with _it_." Without
the pronouns we would have to write this sentence,--"John gave John's pen
to James and James lent the pen to Jane to write Jane's copy with the

There are three kinds of pronouns--Personal, Relative and Adjective

_Personal_ Pronouns are so called because they are used instead of the
names of persons, places and things. The Personal Pronouns are _I_,
_Thou_, _He_, _She_, and _It_, with their plurals, _We_, _Ye_ or _You_
and _They_.

_I_ is the pronoun of the first person because it represents the person

_Thou_ is the pronoun of the second person because it represents the
person spoken to.

_He_, _She_, _It_ are the pronouns of the third person because they
represent the persons or things of whom we are speaking.

Like nouns, the Personal Pronouns have number, gender and case. The
gender of the first and second person is obvious, as they represent the
person or persons speaking and those who are addressed. The personal
pronouns are thus declined:

                             First Person.
                               M. or F.

                               Sing.       Plural.
                      N.         I           We
                      P.       Mine         Ours
                      O.        Me           Us

                             Second Person.
                                M. or F.

                               Sing.       Plural.
                      N.       Thou          You
                      P.       Thine        Yours
                      O.       Thee          You

                             Third Person.

                               Sing.       Plural.
                      N.        He          They
                      P.        His        Theirs
                      O.        Him         Them

                             Third Person.

                               Sing.       Plural.
                      N.        She         They
                      P.       Hers        Theirs
                      O.        Her         Them

                             Third Person.

                               Sing.       Plural.
                      N.        It          They
                      P.        Its        Theirs
                      O.        It          Them

N. B.--In colloquial language and ordinary writing Thou, Thine and Thee
are seldom used, except by the Society of Friends. The Plural form You is
used for both the nominative and objective singular in the second person
and Yours is generally used in the possessive in place of Thine.

The _Relative_ Pronouns are so called because they relate to some word or
phrase going before; as, "The boy _who_ told the truth;" "He has done
well, _which_ gives me great pleasure."

Here _who_ and _which_ are not only used in place of other words, but
_who_ refers immediately to boy, and _which_ to the circumstance of his
having done well.

The word or clause to which a relative pronoun refers is called the

The Relative Pronouns are _who_, _which_, _that_ and _what_.

_Who_ is applied to persons only; as, "The man _who_ was here."

_Which_ is applied to the lower animals and things without life; as, "The
horse _which_ I sold." "The hat _which_ I bought."

_That_ is applied to both persons and things; as, "The friend _that_
helps." "The bird _that_ sings." "The knife _that_ cuts."

_What_ is a compound relative, including both the antecedent and the
relative and is equivalent to _that which_; as, "I did what he desired,"
i. e. "I did _that which_ he desired."

Relative pronouns have the singular and plural alike.

_Who_ is either masculine or feminine; _which_ and _that_ are masculine,
feminine or neuter; _what_ as a relative pronoun is always neuter.

_That_ and _what_ are not inflected.

_Who_ and _which_ are thus declined:

                  Sing. and Plural   Sing. and Plural

                  N.      Who        N.     Which
                  P.     Whose       P.     Whose
                  O.      Whom       O.     Which

_Who_, _which_ and _what_ when used to ask questions are called
_Interrogative Pronouns_.

_Adjective_ Pronouns partake of the nature of adjectives and pronouns and
are subdivided as follows:

_Demonstrative Adjective Pronouns_ which directly point out the person or
object. They are _this_, _that_ with their plurals _these_, _those_, and
_yon_, _same_ and _selfsame_.

_Distributive Adjective Pronouns_ used distributively. They are _each_,
_every_, _either_, _neither_.

_Indefinite Adjective Pronouns_ used more or less indefinitely. They are
_any_, _all_, _few_, _some_, _several_, _one_, _other_, _another_, _none_.

_Possessive Adjective Pronouns_ denoting possession. They are _my_, _thy_,
_his_, _her_, _its_, _our_, _your_, _their_.

N. B.--(The possessive adjective pronouns differ from the possessive case
of the personal pronouns in that the latter can stand _alone_ while the
former _cannot_. "Who owns that book?" "It is _mine_." You cannot say "it
is _my_,"--the word book must be repeated.)


A _verb_ is a word which implies action or the doing of something, or it
may be defined as a word which affirms, commands or asks a question.

Thus, the words _John the table_, contain no assertion, but when the word
_strikes_ is introduced, something is affirmed, hence the word _strikes_
is a verb and gives completeness and meaning to the group.

The simple form of the verb without inflection is called the _root_ of
the verb; _e. g. love_ is the root of the verb,--"To Love."

Verbs are _regular_ or _irregular_, _transitive_ or _intransitive_.

A verb is said to be _regular_ when it forms the past tense by adding
_ed_ to the present or _d_ if the verb ends in _e_. When its past tense
does not end in _ed_ it is said to be _irregular_.

A _transitive_ verb is one the action of which passes over to or affects
some object; as "I struck the table." Here the action of striking
affected the object table, hence struck is a transitive verb.

An _intransitive_ verb is one in which the action remains with the subject;
as _"I walk,"_ _"I sit,"_ _"I run."_

Many intransitive verbs, however, can be used transitively; thus, "I _walk_
the horse;" _walk_ is here transitive.

Verbs are inflected by _number_, _person_, _tense_ and _mood_.

_Number_ and _person_ as applied to the verb really belong to the
subject; they are used with the verb to denote whether the assertion is
made regarding one or more than one and whether it is made in reference
to the person speaking, the person spoken to or the person or thing
spoken about.


In their tenses verbs follow the divisions of time. They have _present
tense_, _past tense_ and _future tense_ with their variations to express
the exact time of action as to an event happening, having happened or yet
to happen.


There are four simple moods,--the _Infinitive_, the _Indicative_, the
_Imperative_ and the _Subjunctive_.

The Mood of a verb denotes the mode or manner in which it is used. Thus
if it is used in its widest sense without reference to person or number,
time or place, it is in the _Infinitive_ Mood; as "To run." Here we are
not told who does the running, when it is done, where it is done or
anything about it.

When a verb is used to indicate or declare or ask a simple question or
make any direct statement, it is in the _Indicative_ Mood. "The boy loves
his book." Here a direct statement is made concerning the boy. "Have you
a pin?" Here a simple question is asked which calls for an answer.

When the verb is used to express a command or entreaty it is in the
_Imperative_ Mood as, "Go away." "Give me a penny."

When the verb is used to express doubt, supposition or uncertainty or
when some future action depends upon a contingency, it is in the
subjunctive mood; as, "If I come, he shall remain."

Many grammarians include a fifth mood called the _potential_ to express
_power_, _possibility_, _liberty_, _necessity_, _will_ or _duty_. It is
formed by means of the auxiliaries _may_, _can_, _ought_ and _must_, but
in all cases it can be resolved into the indicative or subjunctive. Thus,
in "I may write if I choose," "may write" is by some classified as in the
potential mood, but in reality the phrase _I may write_ is an indicative
one while the second clause, _if I choose_, is the expression of a
condition upon which, not my liberty to write, depends, but my actual

Verbs have two participles, the present or imperfect, sometimes called
the _active_ ending in _ing_ and the past or perfect, often called the
_passive_, ending in _ed_ or _d_.

The _infinitive_ expresses the sense of the verb in a substantive form,
the participles in an adjective form; as "To rise early is healthful."
"An early rising man." "The newly risen sun."

The participle in _ing_ is frequently used as a substantive and
consequently is equivalent to an infinitive; thus, "To rise early is
healthful" and "Rising early is healthful" are the same.

The principal parts of a verb are the Present Indicative, Past Indicative
and Past Participle; as:

                         Love   Loved   Loved

Sometimes one or more of these parts are wanting, and then the verb is
said to be defective.

                Present       Past     Passive Participle

                  Can        Could         (Wanting)
                  May        Might             "
                 Shall       Should            "
                 Will        Would             "
                 Ought       Ought             "

Verbs may also be divided into _principal_ and _auxiliary_. A _principal_
verb is that without which a sentence or clause can contain no assertion
or affirmation. An _auxiliary_ is a verb joined to the root or participles
of a principal verb to express time and manner with greater precision
than can be done by the tenses and moods in their simple form. Thus, the
sentence, "I am writing an exercise; when I shall have finished it I
shall read it to the class." has no meaning without the principal verbs
_writing_, _finished read_; but the meaning is rendered more definite,
especially with regard to time, by the auxiliary verbs _am_, _have_,

There are nine auxiliary or helping verbs, viz., _Be_, _have_, _do_,
_shall_, _will_, _may_, _can_, _ought_, and _must_. They are called
helping verbs, because it is by their aid the compound tenses are formed.


The verb _To Be_ is the most important of the auxiliary verbs. It has
eleven parts, viz., _am, art, is, are, was, wast, were, wert; be, being_
and _been_.


The _active voice_ is that form of the verb which shows the Subject not
being acted upon but acting; as, "The cat _catches_ mice." "Charity
_covers_ a multitude of sins."

The _passive voice_: When the action signified by a transitive verb is
thrown back upon the agent, that is to say, when the subject of the verb
denotes the recipient of the action, the verb is said to be in the
passive voice. "John was loved by his neighbors." Here John the subject
is also the object affected by the loving, the action of the verb is
thrown back on him, hence the compound verb _was loved_ is said to be in
the _passive voice_. The passive voice is formed by putting the perfect
participle of any _transitive_ verb with any of the eleven parts of the
verb _To Be_.


The _conjugation_ of a verb is its orderly arrangement in voices, moods,
tenses, persons and numbers.

Here is the complete conjugation of the verb "Love"--_Active Voice_.

                            PRINCIPAL PARTS

               Present       Past        Past Participle
                Love         Loved            Loved

                            Infinitive Mood

                                To Love

                            Indicative Mood
                             PRESENT TENSE

                                 Sing.      Plural
                   1st person    I love     We love
                   2nd person   You love   You love
                   3rd person   He loves   They love

                               PAST TENSE

                                 Sing.       Plural
                  1st person    I loved     We loved
                  2nd person   You loved   You loved
                  3rd person   He loved    They loved

                              FUTURE TENSE

                               Sing.           Plural
              1st person   I shall love    They will love
              2nd person   You will love   You will love
              3rd person   He will love    We shall love

[Transcriber's note: 1st person plural and 3rd person plural reversed
in original]

                         PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

                              Sing.            Plural
             1st person    I have loved     We have loved
             2nd person   You have loved   You have loved
             3rd person    He has loved    They have loved

                           PAST PERFECT TENSE

                               Sing.           Plural
              1st person    I had loved     We had loved
              2nd person   You had loved   You had loved
              3rd person   He had loved    They had loved

                          FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

                            Sing.                 Plural
        1st person   I shall have loved    We shall have loved
        2nd person   You will have loved   You will have loved
        3rd person   He will have loved    They will have loved

                            Imperative Mood
                          (PRESENT TENSE ONLY)

                                 Sing.        Plural
                  2nd person   Love (you)   Love (you)

                            Subjunctive Mood
                             PRESENT TENSE

                                Sing.         Plural
                1st person    If I love     If we love
                2nd person   If you love   If you love
                3rd person   If he love    If they love

                               PAST TENSE

                               Sing.          Plural
               1st person    If I loved     If we loved
               2nd person   If you loved   If you loved
               3rd person   If he loved    If they loved

                         PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

                             Sing.               Plural
          1st person    If I have loved     If we have loved
          2nd person   If you have loved   If you have loved
          3rd person    If he has loved    If they have loved

                           PAST PERFECT TENSE

                             Sing.              Plural
           1st person    If I had loved     If we had loved
           2nd person   If you had loved   If you had loved
           3rd person   If he had loved    If they had loved


                         Present     Perfect
                         To love  To have loved


                     Present   Past      Perfect
                     Loving    Loved   Having loved

                        CONJUGATION OF "To Love"
                             Passive Voice
                            Indicative Mood

                             PRESENT TENSE

                               Sing.           Plural
              1st person    I am loved      We are loved
              2nd person   You are loved   You are loved
              3rd person    He is loved    They are loved

                               PAST TENSE

                              Sing.            Plural
             1st person    I was loved      We were loved
             2nd person   You were loved   You were loved
             3rd person    He was loved    They were loved

                              FUTURE TENSE

                             Sing.               Plural
          1st person   I shall be loved    We shall be loved
          2nd person   You will be loved   You will be loved
          3rd person   He will be loved    They will be loved

                         PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

                            Sing.                 Plural
        1st person    I have been loved     We have been loved
        2nd person   You have been loved   You have been loved
        3rd person    He has been loved    They have been loved

                           PAST PERFECT TENSE

                            Sing.                Plural
         1st person    I had been loved     We had been loved
         2nd person   You had been loved   You had been loved
         3rd person   He had been loved    They had been loved

                          FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

                         Sing.                      Plural
   1st person   I shall have been loved    We shall have been loved
   2nd person   You will have been loved   You will have been loved
   3rd person   He will have been loved    They will have been loved

                            Imperative Mood
                          (PRESENT TENSE ONLY)

                               Sing.            Plural
              2nd person   Be (you) loved   Be (you) loved

                            Subjunctive Mood
                             PRESENT TENSE

                              Sing.             Plural
            1st person    If I be loved     If we be loved
            2nd person   If you be loved   If you be loved
            3rd person   If he be loved    If they be loved

                               PAST TENSE

                             Sing.               Plural
          1st person    If I were loved    If they were loved
          2nd person   If you were loved   If you were loved
          3rd person   If he were loved     If we were loved

                         PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

                          Sing.                    Plural
     1st person    If I have been loved     If we have been loved
     2nd person   If you have been loved   If you have been loved
     3rd person    If he has been loved    If they have been loved

                           PAST PERFECT TENSE

                           Sing.                   Plural
      1st person    If I had been loved     If we had been loved
      2nd person   If you had been loved   If you had been loved
      3rd person   If he had been loved    If they had been loved


                Present                     Perfect
              To be loved              To have been loved


            Present            Past               Perfect
          Being loved       Been loved       Having been loved

(N. B.--Note that the plural form of the personal pronoun, _you_, is used
in the second person singular throughout. The old form _thou_, except in
the conjugation of the verb "To Be," may be said to be obsolete. In the
third person singular he is representative of the three personal pronouns
of the third person, _He_, _She_ and _It_.)


An _adverb_ is a word which modifies a verb, an adjective or another
adverb. Thus, in the example--"He writes _well_," the adverb shows the
manner in which the writing is performed; in the examples--"He is
remarkably diligent" and "He works very faithfully," the adverbs modify
the adjective _diligent_ and the other adverb _faithfully_ by expressing
the degree of diligence and faithfulness.

Adverbs are chiefly used to express in one word what would otherwise
require two or more words; thus, _There_ signifies in that place;
_whence_, from what place; _usefully_, in a useful manner.

Adverbs, like adjectives, are sometimes varied in their terminations to
express comparison and different degrees of quality.

Some adverbs form the comparative and superlative by adding _er_ and
_est_; as, _soon_, _sooner_, _soonest_.

Adverbs which end in _ly_ are compared by prefixing _more_ and _most_;
as, _nobly_, _more nobly_, _most nobly_.

A few adverbs are irregular in the formation of the comparative and
superlative; as, _well_, _better_, _best_.


A _preposition_ connects words, clauses, and sentences together and shows
the relation between them. "My hand is on the table" shows relation
between hand and table.

Prepositions are so called because they are generally placed _before_ the
words whose connection or relation with other words they point out.


A _conjunction_ joins words, clauses and sentences; as "John _and_
James." "My father and mother have come, _but_ I have not seen them."

The conjunctions in most general use are _and, also; either, or; neither,
nor; though, yet; but, however; for, that; because, since; therefore,
wherefore, then; if, unless, lest_.


An _interjection_ is a word used to express some sudden emotion of the
mind. Thus in the examples,--"Ah! there he comes; alas! what shall I do?"
_ah_, expresses surprise, and _alas_, distress.

Nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs become interjections when they are
uttered as exclamations, as, _nonsense! strange! hail! away!_ etc.

We have now enumerated the parts of speech and as briefly as possible
stated the functions of each. As they all belong to the same family they
are related to one another but some are in closer affinity than others.
To point out the exact relationship and the dependency of one word on
another is called _parsing_ and in order that every etymological
connection may be distinctly understood a brief resume of the foregoing
essentials is here given:

The signification of the noun is _limited_ to _one_, but to any _one_ of
the kind, by the _indefinite_ article, and to some _particular_ one, or
some particular _number_, by the _definite_ article.

_Nouns_, in one form, represent _one_ of a kind, and in another, _any
number_ more than one; they are the _names of males_, or _females_, or of
objects which are neither male nor female; and they represent the
_subject_ of an affirmation, a command or a question,--the _owner_ or
_possessor_ of a thing,--or the _object_ of an action, or of a relation
expressed by a preposition.

_Adjectives_ express the _qualities_ which distinguish one person or
thing from another; in one form they express quality _without
comparison_; in another, they express comparison _between two_, or
between _one_ and a number taken collectively,--and in a third they
express comparison between _one_ and a _number_ of others taken

_Pronouns_ are used in place of nouns; one class of them is used merely
as the _substitutes_ of _names_; the pronouns of another class have a
peculiar _reference_ to some _preceding words_ in the _sentence_, of
which they are the substitutes,--and those of a third class refer
adjectively to the persons or things they represent. Some pronouns are
used for both the _name_ and the _substitute_; and several are frequently
employed in _asking questions_.

_Affirmations_ and _commands_ are expressed by the verb; and different
inflections of the verb express _number_, _person_, _time_ and _manner_.
With regard to _time_, an affirmation may be _present_ or _past_ or
_future_; with regard to manner, an affirmation may be _positive_ or
_conditional_, it being doubtful whether the condition is fulfilled or
not, or it being implied that it is not fulfilled;--the verb may express
_command_ or _entreaty_; or the sense of the verb may be expressed
_without affirming_ or _commanding_. The verb also expresses that an
action or state _is_ or _was_ going on, by a form which is also used
sometimes as a noun, and sometimes to qualify nouns.

_Affirmations_ are _modified_ by _adverbs_, some of which can be
inflected to express different degrees of modification.

Words are joined together by _conjunctions_; and the various _relations_
which one thing bears to another are expressed by _'prepositions. Sudden
emotions_ of the mind, and _exclamations_ are expressed by _interjections_.

Some words according to meaning belong sometimes to one part of speech,
sometimes to another. Thus, in "After a storm comes a _calm_," _calm_ is
a noun; in "It is a _calm_ evening," _calm_ is an adjective; and in
"_Calm_ your fears," _calm_ is a verb.

The following sentence containing all the parts of speech is parsed

_"I now see the old man coming, but, alas, he has walked with much

_I_, a personal pronoun, first person singular, masculine or feminine
gender, nominative case, subject of the verb _see_.

_now_, an adverb of time modifying the verb _see_.

_see_, an irregular, transitive verb, indicative mood, present tense,
first person singular to agree with its nominative or subject I.

_the_, the definite article particularizing the noun man.

_old_, an adjective, positive degree, qualifying the noun man.

_man_, a common noun, 3rd person singular, masculine gender, objective
case governed by the transitive verb _see_.

_coming_, the present or imperfect participle of the verb "to come"
referring to the noun man.

_but_, a conjunction.

_alas_, an interjection, expressing pity or sorrow.

_he_, a personal pronoun, 3rd person singular, masculine gender,
nominative case, subject of verb has walked.

_has walked_, a regular, intransitive verb, indicative mood, perfect tense,
3rd person singular to agree with its nominative or subject _he_.

_with_, a preposition, governing the noun difficulty.

_much_, an adjective, positive degree, qualifying the noun difficulty.

_difficulty_, a common noun, 3rd person singular, neuter gender,
objective case governed by the preposition _with_.

N.B.--_Much_ is generally an adverb. As an adjective it is thus compared:

              Positive       Comparative       Superlative
                much            more              most



Different Kinds--Arrangement of Words--Paragraph

A sentence is an assemblage of words so arranged as to convey a determinate
sense or meaning, in other words, to express a complete thought or idea.
No matter how short, it must contain one finite verb and a subject or agent
to direct the action of the verb.

"Birds fly;" "Fish swim;" "Men walk;"--are sentences.

A sentence always contains two parts, something spoken about and something
said about it. The word or words indicating what is spoken about form what
is called the _subject_ and the word or words indicating what is said about
it form what is called the _predicate_.

In the sentences given, _birds_, _fish_ and _men_ are the subjects, while
_fly_, _swim_ and _walk_ are the predicates.

There are three kinds of sentences, _simple_, _compound_ and _complex_.

The _simple sentence_ expresses a single thought and consists of one
subject and one predicate, as, "Man is mortal."

A _compound sentence_ consists of two or more simple sentences of equal
importance the parts of which are either expressed or understood, as,
"The men work in the fields and the women work in the household," or "The
men work in the fields and the women in the household" or "The men and
women work in the fields and in the household."

A _complex sentence_ consists of two or more simple sentences so combined
that one depends on the other to complete its meaning; as; "When he
returns, I shall go on my vacation." Here the words, "when he returns"
are dependent on the rest of the sentence for their meaning.

A _clause_ is a separate part of a complex sentence, as "when he returns"
in the last example.

A _phrase_ consists of two or more words without a finite verb.

Without a finite verb we cannot affirm anything or convey an idea,
therefore we can have no sentence.

Infinitives and participles which are the infinite parts of the verb
cannot be predicates. "I looking up the street" is not a sentence, for it
is not a complete action expressed. When we hear such an expression as "A
dog running along the street," we wait for something more to be added,
something more affirmed about the dog, whether he bit or barked or fell
dead or was run over.

Thus in every sentence there must be a finite verb to limit the subject.

When the verb is transitive, that is, when the action cannot happen
without affecting something, the thing affected is called the _object_.

Thus in "Cain killed Abel" the action of the killing affected Abel. In
"The cat has caught a mouse," mouse is the object of the catching.


Of course in simple sentences the natural order of arrangement is
subject--verb--object. In many cases no other form is possible. Thus in
the sentence "The cat has caught a mouse," we cannot reverse it and say
"The mouse has caught a cat" without destroying the meaning, and in any
other form of arrangement, such as "A mouse, the cat has caught," we feel
that while it is intelligible, it is a poor way of expressing the fact
and one which jars upon us more or less.

In longer sentences, however, when there are more words than what are
barely necessary for subject, verb and object, we have greater freedom of
arrangement and can so place the words as to give the best effect. The
proper placing of words depends upon perspicuity and precision. These two
combined give _style_ to the structure.

Most people are familiar with Gray's line in the immortal _Elegy_--"The
ploughman homeward plods his weary way." This line can be paraphrased to
read 18 different ways. Here are a few variations:

  Homeward the ploughman plods his weary way.
  The ploughman plods his weary way homeward.
  Plods homeward the ploughman his weary way.
  His weary way the ploughman homeward plods.
  Homeward his weary way plods the ploughman.
  Plods the ploughman his weary way homeward.
  His weary way the ploughman plods homeward.
  His weary way homeward the ploughman plods.
  The ploughman plods homeward his weary way.
  The ploughman his weary way plods homeward.

and so on. It is doubtful if any of the other forms are superior to the
one used by the poet. Of course his arrangement was made to comply with
the rhythm and rhyme of the verse. Most of the variations depend upon the
emphasis we wish to place upon the different words.

In arranging the words in an ordinary sentence we should not lose sight
of the fact that the beginning and end are the important places for
catching the attention of the reader. Words in these places have greater
emphasis than elsewhere.

In Gray's line the general meaning conveyed is that a weary ploughman is
plodding his way homeward, but according to the arrangement a very slight
difference is effected in the idea. Some of the variations make us think
more of the ploughman, others more of the plodding, and still others more
of the weariness.

As the beginning and end of a sentence are the most important places, it
naturally follows that small or insignificant words should be kept from
these positions. Of the two places the end one is the more important,
therefore, it really calls for the most important word in the sentence.
Never commence a sentence with _And_, _But_, _Since_, _Because_, and
other similar weak words and never end it with prepositions, small, weak
adverbs or pronouns.

The parts of a sentence which are most closely connected with one another
in meaning should be closely connected in order also. By ignoring this
principle many sentences are made, if not nonsensical, really ridiculous
and ludicrous. For instance: "Ten dollars reward is offered for
information of any person injuring this property by order of the owner."
"This monument was erected to the memory of John Jones, who was shot by
his affectionate brother."

In the construction of all sentences the grammatical rules must be
inviolably observed. The laws of concord, that is, the agreement of
certain words, must be obeyed.

(1) The verb agrees with its subject in person and number. "I have,"
"Thou hast," (the pronoun _thou_ is here used to illustrate the verb
form, though it is almost obsolete), "He has," show the variation of the
verb to agree with the subject. A singular subject calls for a singular
verb, a plural subject demands a verb in the plural; as, "The boy
writes," "The boys write."

The agreement of a verb and its subject is often destroyed by confusing
(1) collective and common nouns; (2) foreign and English nouns; (3)
compound and simple subjects; (4) real and apparent subjects.

  (1) A collective noun is a number of individuals or things
  regarded as a whole; as, _class regiment_. When the individuals
  or things are prominently brought forward, use a plural verb;
  as The class _were_ distinguished for ability. When the idea of
  the whole as a unit is under consideration employ a singular
  verb; as The regiment _was_ in camp. (2) It is sometimes hard
  for the ordinary individual to distinguish the plural from the
  singular in foreign nouns, therefore, he should be careful in
  the selection of the verb. He should look up the word and be
  guided accordingly. "He was an _alumnus_ of Harvard." "They
  were _alumni_ of Harvard." (3) When a sentence with one verb
  has two or more subjects denoting different things, connected
  by _and_, the verb should be plural; as, "Snow and rain _are_
  disagreeable." When the subjects denote the same thing and are
  connected by _or_ the verb should be singular; as, "The man or
  the woman is to blame." (4) When the same verb has more than
  one subject of different persons or numbers, it agrees with the
  most prominent in thought; as, "He, and not you, _is_ wrong."
  "Whether he or I _am_ to be blamed."

(2) Never use the past participle for the past tense nor _vice versa_.
This mistake is a very common one. At every turn we hear "He done it" for
"He did it." "The jar was broke" instead of broken. "He would have went"
for "He would have gone," etc.

(3) The use of the verbs _shall_ and _will_ is a rock upon which even
the best speakers come to wreck. They are interchanged recklessly.
Their significance changes according as they are used with the first,
second or third person. With the first person _shall_ is used in direct
statement to express a simple future action; as, "I shall go to the
city to-morrow." With the second and third persons _shall_ is used to
express a determination; as, "You _shall_ go to the city to-morrow,"
"He _shall_ go to the city to-morrow."

With the first person _will_ is used in direct statement to express
determination, as, "I will go to the city to-morrow." With the second and
third persons _will_ is used to express simple future action; as, "You
_will_ go to the city to-morrow," "He _will_ go to the city to-morrow."

A very old rule regarding the uses of _shall_ and _will_ is thus
expressed in rhyme:

  In the first person simply _shall_ foretells,
  In _will_ a threat or else a promise dwells.
  _Shall_ in the second and third does threat,
  _Will_ simply then foretells the future feat.

(4) Take special care to distinguish between the nominative and objective
case. The pronouns are the only words which retain the ancient distinctive
case ending for the objective. Remember that the objective case follows
transitive verbs and prepositions. Don't say "The boy who I sent to see
you," but "The boy whom I sent to see you." _Whom_ is here the object of
the transitive verb sent. Don't say "She bowed to him and I" but "She
bowed to him and me" since me is the objective case following the
preposition _to_ understood. "Between you and I" is a very common
expression. It should be "Between you and me" since _between_ is a
preposition calling for the objective case.

(5) Be careful in the use of the relative pronouns _who_, _which_ and
_that_. Who refers only to persons; which only to things; as, "The boy
who was drowned," "The umbrella which I lost." The relative _that_ may
refer to both persons and things; as, "The man _that_ I saw." "The hat
_that_ I bought."

(6) Don't use the superlative degree of the adjective for the comparative;
as "He is the richest of the two" for "He is the richer of the two."
Other mistakes often made in this connection are (1) Using the double
comparative and superlative; as, "These apples are much _more_ preferable."
"The most universal motive to business is gain." (2) Comparing objects
which belong to dissimilar classes; as "There is no nicer _life_ than a
_teacher_." (3) Including objects in class to which they do not belong;
as, "The fairest of her daughters, Eve." (4) Excluding an object from a
class to which it does belong; as, "Caesar was braver than any ancient

(7) Don't use an adjective for an adverb or an adverb for an adjective.
Don't say, "He acted nice towards me" but "He acted nicely toward me,"
and instead of saying "She looked _beautifully_" say "She looked

(8) Place the adverb as near as possible to the word it modifies. Instead
of saying, "He walked to the door quickly," say "He walked quickly to the

(9) Not alone be careful to distinguish between the nominative and
objective cases of the pronouns, but try to avoid ambiguity in their use.

The amusing effect of disregarding the reference of pronouns is well
illustrated by Burton in the following story of Billy Williams, a comic
actor who thus narrates his experience in riding a horse owned by
Hamblin, the manager:

"So down I goes to the stable with Tom Flynn, and told the man to put
the saddle on him."

"On Tom Flynn?"

"No, on the horse. So after talking with Tom Flynn awhile I mounted

"What! mounted Tom Flynn?"

"No, the horse; and then I shook hands with him and rode off."

"Shook hands with the horse, Billy?"

"No, with Tom Flynn; and then I rode off up the Bowery, and who should
I meet but Tom Hamblin; so I got off and told the boy to hold him by
the head."

"What! hold Hamblin by the head?"

"No, the horse; and then we went and had a drink together."

"What! you and the horse?"

"No, _me_ and Hamblin; and after that I mounted him again and went out
of town."

"What! mounted Hamblin again?"

"No, the horse; and when I got to Burnham, who should be there but Tom
Flynn,--he'd taken another horse and rode out ahead of me; so I told
the hostler to tie him up."

"Tie Tom Flynn up?"

"No, the horse; and we had a drink there."

"What! you and the horse?"

"No, me and Tom Flynn."

Finding his auditors by this time in a _horse_ laugh, Billy wound up
with: "Now, look here,--every time I say horse, you say Hamblin, and
every time I say Hamblin you say horse: I'll be hanged if I tell you
any more about it."


There are two great classes of sentences according to the general
principles upon which they are founded. These are termed the _loose_ and
the _periodic_.

In the _loose_ sentence the main idea is put first, and then follow
several facts in connection with it. Defoe is an author particularly
noted for this kind of sentence. He starts out with a leading declaration
to which he adds several attendant connections. For instance in the
opening of the story of _Robinson Crusoe_ we read: "I was born in the
year 1632 in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that
country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at
Hull; he got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade
lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose
relations were named Robinson, a very good family in the country and from
I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual corruption of words in
England, we are now called, nay, we call ourselves, and write our name
Crusoe, and so my companions always called me."

In the periodic sentence the main idea comes last and is preceded by a
series of relative introductions. This kind of sentence is often
introduced by such words as _that_, _if_, _since_, _because_. The
following is an example:

"That through his own folly and lack of circumspection he should have
been reduced to such circumstances as to be forced to become a beggar on
the streets, soliciting alms from those who had formerly been the
recipients of his bounty, was a sore humiliation."

On account of its name many are liable to think the _loose_ sentence an
undesirable form in good composition, but this should not be taken for
granted. In many cases it is preferable to the periodic form.

As a general rule in speaking, as opposed to writing, the _loose_ form is
to be preferred, inasmuch as when the periodic is employed in discourse
the listeners are apt to forget the introductory clauses before the final
issue is reached.

Both kinds are freely used in composition, but in speaking, the _loose_,
which makes the direct statement at the beginning, should predominate.

As to the length of sentences much depends on the nature of the

However the general rule may be laid down that short sentences are
preferable to long ones. The tendency of the best writers of the present
day is towards short, snappy, pithy sentences which rivet the attention of
the reader. They adopt as their motto _multum in parvo_ (much in little)
and endeavor to pack a great deal in small space. Of course the extreme of
brevity is to be avoided. Sentences can be too short, too jerky, too
brittle to withstand the test of criticism. The long sentence has its place
and a very important one. It is indispensable in argument and often is very
necessary to description and also in introducing general principles which
require elaboration. In employing the long sentence the inexperienced
writer should not strain after the heavy, ponderous type. Johnson and
Carlyle used such a type, but remember, an ordinary mortal cannot wield the
sledge hammer of a giant. Johnson and Carlyle were intellectual giants and
few can hope to stand on the same literary pedestal. The tyro in
composition should never seek after the heavy style. The best of all
authors in the English language for style is Addison. Macaulay says: "If
you wish a style learned, but not pedantic, elegant but not ostentatious,
simple yet refined, you must give your days and nights to the volumes of
Joseph Addison." The simplicity, apart from the beauty of Addison's
writings causes us to reiterate the literary command--"Never use a big word
when a little one will convey the same or a similar meaning."

Macaulay himself is an elegant stylist to imitate. He is like a clear
brook kissed by the noon-day sun in the shining bed of which you can see
and count the beautiful white pebbles. Goldsmith is another writer whose
simplicity of style charms.

The beginner should study these writers, make their works his _vade mecum_,
they have stood the test of time and there has been no improvement upon
them yet, nor is there likely to be, for their writing is as perfect as
it is possible to be in the English language.

Apart from their grammatical construction there can be no fixed rules for
the formation of sentences. The best plan is to follow the best authors
and these masters of language will guide you safely along the way.


The paragraph may be defined as a group of sentences that are closely
related in thought and which serve one common purpose. Not only do they
preserve the sequence of the different parts into which a composition is
divided, but they give a certain spice to the matter like raisins in a
plum pudding. A solid page of printed matter is distasteful to the reader;
it taxes the eye and tends towards the weariness of monotony, but when it
is broken up into sections it loses much of its heaviness and the
consequent lightness gives it charm, as it were, to capture the reader.

Paragraphs are like stepping-stones on the bed of a shallow river, which
enable the foot passenger to skip with ease from one to the other until
he gets across; but if the stones are placed too far apart in attempting
to span the distance one is liable to miss the mark and fall in the water
and flounder about until he is again able to get a foothold. 'Tis the
same with written language, the reader by means of paragraphs can easily
pass from one portion of connected thought to another and keep up his
interest in the subject until he gets to the end.

Throughout the paragraph there must be some connection in regard to the
matter under consideration,--a sentence dependency. For instance, in the
same paragraph we must not speak of a house on fire and a runaway horse
unless there is some connection between the two. We must not write

"The fire raged with fierce intensity, consuming the greater part of the
large building in a short time." "The horse took fright and wildly dashed
down the street scattering pedestrians in all directions." These two
sentences have no connection and therefore should occupy separate and
distinct places. But when we say--"The fire raged with fierce intensity
consuming the greater part of the large building in a short time and the
horse taking fright at the flames dashed wildly down the street scattering
pedestrians in all directions,"--there is a natural sequence, viz., the
horse taking fright as a consequence of the flames and hence the two
expressions are combined in one paragraph.

As in the case of words in sentences, the most important places in a
paragraph are the beginning and the end. Accordingly the first sentence
and the last should by virtue of their structure and nervous force,
compel the reader's attention. It is usually advisable to make the first
sentence short; the last sentence may be long or short, but in either
case should be forcible. The object of the first sentence is to state a
point _clearly_; the last sentence should _enforce_ it.

It is a custom of good writers to make the conclusion of the paragraph a
restatement or counterpart or application of the opening.

In most cases a paragraph may be regarded as the elaboration of the
principal sentence. The leading thought or idea can be taken as a nucleus
and around it constructed the different parts of the paragraph. Anyone
can make a context for every simple sentence by asking himself questions
in reference to the sentence. Thus--"The foreman gave the order"--
suggests at once several questions; "What was the order?" "to whom did he
give it?" "why did he give it?" "what was the result?" etc. These
questions when answered will depend upon the leading one and be an
elaboration of it into a complete paragraph.

If we examine any good paragraph we shall find it made up of a number of
items, each of which helps to illustrate, confirm or enforce the general
thought or purpose of the paragraph. Also the transition from each item
to the next is easy, natural and obvious; the items seem to come of
themselves. If, on the other hand, we detect in a paragraph one or more
items which have no direct bearing, or if we are unable to proceed
readily from item to item, especially if we are obliged to rearrange the
items before we can perceive their full significance, then we are
justified in pronouncing the paragraph construction faulty.

No specific rules can be given as to the construction of paragraphs. The
best advice is,--Study closely the paragraph structure of the best
writers, for it is only through imitation, conscious or unconscious of
the best models, that one can master the art.

The best paragraphist in the English language for the essay is Macaulay,
the best model to follow for the oratorical style is Edmund Burke and for
description and narration probably the greatest master of paragraph is
the American Goldsmith, Washington Irving.

A paragraph is indicated in print by what is known as the indentation of
the line, that is, by commencing it a space from the left margin.



Figures of Speech--Definitions and Examples--Use of Figures

In _Figurative Language_ we employ words in such a way that they differ
somewhat from their ordinary signification in commonplace speech and
convey our meaning in a more vivid and impressive manner than when we use
them in their every-day sense. Figures make speech more effective, they
beautify and emphasize it and give to it a relish and piquancy as salt
does to food; besides they add energy and force to expression so that it
irresistibly compels attention and interest. There are four kinds of
figures, viz.: (1) Figures of Orthography which change the spelling of a
word; (2) Figures of Etymology which change the form of words; (3) Figures
of Syntax which change the construction of sentences; (4) Figures of
Rhetoric or the art of speaking and writing effectively which change the
mode of thought.

We shall only consider the last mentioned here as they are the most
important, really giving to language the construction and style which
make it a fitting medium for the intercommunication of ideas.

Figures of Rhetoric have been variously classified, some authorities
extending the list to a useless length. The fact is that any form of
expression which conveys thought may be classified as a Figure.

The principal figures as well as the most important and those oftenest
used are, _Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Allegory, Synechdoche,
Metonymy, Exclamation, Hyperbole, Apostrophe, Vision, Antithesis, Climax,
Epigram, Interrogation_ and _Irony_.

The first four are founded on _resemblance_, the second six on _contiguity_
and the third five, on _contrast_.

A _Simile_ (from the Latin _similis_, like), is the likening of one thing
to another, a statement of the resemblance of objects, acts, or relations;
as "In his awful anger he was _like_ the storm-driven waves dashing
against the rock." A simile makes the principal object plainer and
impresses it more forcibly on the mind. "His memory is like wax to
receive impressions and like marble to retain them." This brings out the
leading idea as to the man's memory in a very forceful manner. Contrast
it with the simple statement--"His memory is good." Sometimes _Simile_ is
prostituted to a low and degrading use; as "His face was like a danger
signal in a fog storm." "Her hair was like a furze-bush in bloom." "He
was to his lady love as a poodle to its mistress." Such burlesque is
never permissible. Mere _likeness_, it should be remembered, does not
constitute a simile. For instance there is no simile when one city is
compared to another. In order that there may be a rhetorical simile, the
objects compared must be of different classes. Avoid the old _trite_
similes such as comparing a hero to a lion. Such were played out long
ago. And don't hunt for farfetched similes. Don't say--"Her head was
glowing as the glorious god of day when he sets in a flambeau of splendor
behind the purple-tinted hills of the West." It is much better to do
without such a simile and simply say--"She had fiery red hair."

A _Metaphor_ (from the Greek _metapherein_, to carry over or transfer),
is a word used to _imply_ a resemblance but instead of likening one
object to another as in the _simile_ we directly substitute the action or
operation of one for another. If, of a religious man we say,--"He is as a
great pillar upholding the church," the expression is a _simile_, but if
we say--"He is a great pillar upholding the church" it is a metaphor. The
metaphor is a bolder and more lively figure than the simile. It is more
like a picture and hence, the graphic use of metaphor is called
"word-painting." It enables us to give to the most abstract ideas form,
color and life. Our language is full of metaphors, and we very often use
them quite unconsciously. For instance, when we speak of the _bed_ of a
river, the _shoulder_ of a hill, the _foot_ of a mountain, the _hands_ of
a clock, the _key_ of a situation, we are using metaphors.

Don't use mixed metaphors, that is, different metaphors in relation to the
same subject: "Since it was launched our project has met with much
opposition, but while its flight has not reached the heights ambitioned, we
are yet sanguine we shall drive it to success." Here our project begins as
a _ship_, then becomes a _bird_ and finally winds up as a _horse_.

_Personification_ (from the Latin _persona_, person, and _facere_, to make)
is the treating of an inanimate object as if it were animate and is
probably the most beautiful and effective of all the figures.

"The mountains _sing_ together, the hills _rejoice_ and _clap_ their

  "Earth _felt_ the wound; and Nature from her seat,
  _Sighing_, through all her works, gave signs of woe."

Personification depends much on a vivid imagination and is adapted
especially to poetical composition. It has two distinguishable forms:
(1) when personality is ascribed to the inanimate as in the foregoing
examples, and (2) when some quality of life is attributed to the
inanimate; as, a _raging_ storm; an _angry_ sea; a _whistling_ wind, etc.

An _Allegory_ (from the Greek _allos_, other, and _agoreuein_, to speak),
is a form of expression in which the words are symbolical of something.
It is very closely allied to the metaphor, in fact is a continued metaphor.

_Allegory_, _metaphor_ and _simile_ have three points in common,--they
are all founded on resemblance. "Ireland is like a thorn in the side of
England;" this is simile. "Ireland _is_ a thorn in the side of England;"
this is metaphor. "Once a great giant sprang up out of the sea and lived
on an island all by himself. On looking around he discovered a little
girl on another small island near by. He thought the little girl could be
useful to him in many ways so he determined to make her subservient to
his will. He commanded her, but she refused to obey, then he resorted to
very harsh measures with the little girl, but she still remained obstinate
and obdurate. He continued to oppress her until finally she rebelled and
became as a thorn in his side to prick him for his evil attitude towards
her;" this is an allegory in which the giant plainly represents England
and the little girl, Ireland; the implication is manifest though no
mention is made of either country. Strange to say the most perfect allegory
in the English language was written by an almost illiterate and ignorant
man, and written too, in a dungeon cell. In the "Pilgrim's Progress,"
Bunyan, the itinerant tinker, has given us by far the best allegory ever
penned. Another good one is "The Faerie Queen" by Edmund Spenser.

_Synecdoche_ (from the Greek, _sun_ with, and _ekdexesthai_, to receive),
is a figure of speech which expresses either more or less than it literally
denotes. By it we give to an object a name which literally expresses
something more or something less than we intend. Thus: we speak of the
world when we mean only a very limited number of the people who compose
the world: as, "The world treated him badly." Here we use the whole for a
part. But the most common form of this figure is that in which a part is
used for the whole; as, "I have twenty head of cattle," "One of his _hands_
was assassinated," meaning one of his men. "Twenty _sail_ came into the
harbor," meaning twenty ships. "This is a fine marble," meaning a marble

_Metonymy_ (from the Greek _meta_, change, and _onyma_, a name) is the
designation of an object by one of its accompaniments, in other words, it
is a figure by which the name of one object is put for another when the
two are so related that the mention of one readily suggests the other.
Thus when we say of a drunkard--"He loves the bottle" we do not mean that
he loves the glass receptacle, but the liquor that it is supposed to
contain. Metonymy, generally speaking, has, three subdivisions: (1) when
an effect is put for cause or _vice versa_: as "_Gray hairs_ should be
respected," meaning old age. "He writes a fine hand," that is, handwriting.
(2) when the _sign_ is put for the _thing signified_; as, "The pen is
mightier than the sword," meaning literary power is superior to military
force. (3) When the _container_ is put for the thing contained; as "The
_House_ was called to order," meaning the members in the House.

_Exclamation_ (from the Latin _ex_, out, and _clamare_, to cry), is a
figure by which the speaker instead of stating a fact, simply utters an
expression of surprise or emotion. For instance when he hears some
harrowing tale of woe or misfortune instead of saying,--"It is a sad
story" he exclaims "What a sad story!"

Exclamation may be defined as the vocal expression of feeling, though it
is also applied to written forms which are intended to express emotion.
Thus in describing a towering mountain we can write "Heavens, what a
piece of Nature's handiwork! how majestic! how sublime! how awe-inspiring
in its colossal impressiveness!" This figure rather belongs to poetry and
animated oratory than to the cold prose of every-day conversation and

_Hyperbole_ (from the Greek _hyper_, beyond, and _ballein_, to throw), is
an exaggerated form of statement and simply consists in representing
things to be either greater or less, better or worse than they really
are. Its object is to make the thought more effective by overstating it.
Here are some examples:--"He was so tall his head touched the clouds."
"He was as thin as a poker." "He was so light that a breath might have
blown him away." Most people are liable to overwork this figure. We are
all more or less given to exaggeration and some of us do not stop there,
but proceed onward to falsehood and downright lying. There should be a
limit to hyperbole, and in ordinary speech and writing it should be well
qualified and kept within reasonable bounds.

An _Apostrophe_ (from the Greek _apo_, from, and _strephein_, to turn),
is a direct address to the absent as present, to the inanimate as living,
or to the abstract as personal. Thus: "O, illustrious Washington! Father
of our Country! Could you visit us now!"

  "My Country tis of thee--
   Sweet land of liberty,
   Of thee I sing."

"O! Grave, where is thy Victory, O! Death where is thy sting!" This
figure is very closely allied to Personification.

_Vision_ (from the Latin _videre_, to see) consists in treating the past,
the future, or the remote as if present in time or place. It is appropriate
to animated description, as it produces the effect of an ideal presence.
"The old warrior looks down from the canvas and tells us to be men worthy
of our sires."

This figure is much exemplified in the Bible. The book of Revelation is a
vision of the future. The author who uses the figure most is Carlyle.

An _Antithesis_ (from the Greek _anti_, against, and _tithenai_, to set)
is founded on contrast; it consists in putting two unlike things in such
a position that each will appear more striking by the contrast.

  "Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring out the false, ring in the true."

"Let us be _friends_ in peace, but _enemies_ in war."

Here is a fine antithesis in the description of a steam engine--"It can
engrave a seal and crush masses of obdurate metal before it; draw out,
without breaking, a thread as fine as a gossamer; and lift up a ship of
war like a bauble in the air; it can embroider muslin and forge anchors;
cut steel into ribands, and impel loaded vessels against the fury of
winds and waves."

_Climax_ (from the Greek, _klimax_, a ladder), is an arrangement of
thoughts and ideas in a series, each part of which gets stronger and more
impressive until the last one, which emphasizes the force of all the
preceding ones. "He risked truth, he risked honor, he risked fame, he
risked all that men hold dear,--yea, he risked life itself, and for
what?--for a creature who was not worthy to tie his shoe-latchets when he
was his better self."

_Epigram_ (from the Greek _epi_, upon, and _graphein_, to write),
originally meant an inscription on a monument, hence it came to signify
any pointed expression. It now means a statement or any brief saying in
prose or poetry in which there is an apparent contradiction; as,
"Conspicuous for his absence." "Beauty when unadorned is most adorned."
"He was too foolish to commit folly." "He was so wealthy that he could
not spare the money."

_Interrogation_ (from the Latin _interrogatio_, a question), is a figure
of speech in which an assertion is made by asking a question; as, "Does
God not show justice to all?" "Is he not doing right in his course?"
"What can a man do under the circumstances?"

_Irony_ (from the Greek _eironcia_, dissimulation) is a form of expression
in which the opposite is substituted for what is intended, with the end in
view, that the falsity or absurdity may be apparent; as, "Benedict Arnold
was an _honorable_ man." "A Judas Iscariot never _betrays_ a friend." "You
can always _depend_ upon the word of a liar."

Irony is cousin germain to _ridicule_, _derision_, _mockery_, _satire_
and _sarcasm_. _Ridicule_ implies laughter mingled with contempt;
_derision_ is ridicule from a personal feeling of hostility; _mockery_ is
insulting derision; _satire_ is witty mockery; _sarcasm_ is bitter satire
and _irony_ is disguised satire.

There are many other figures of speech which give piquancy to language
and play upon words in such a way as to convey a meaning different from
their ordinary signification in common every-day speech and writing. The
golden rule for all is to _keep them in harmony with the character and
purpose of speech and composition_.



Principal Points--Illustrations--Capital Letters.

Lindley Murray and Goold Brown laid down cast-iron rules for punctuation,
but most of them have been broken long since and thrown into the junk-heap
of disuse. They were too rigid, too strict, went so much into _minutiae_,
that they were more or less impractical to apply to ordinary composition.
The manner of language, of style and of expression has considerably
changed since then, the old abstruse complex sentence with its hidden
meanings has been relegated to the shade, there is little of prolixity or
long-drawn-out phrases, ambiguity of expression is avoided and the aim is
toward terseness, brevity and clearness. Therefore, punctuation has been
greatly simplified, to such an extent indeed, that it is now as much a
matter of good taste and judgment as adherence to any fixed set of rules.
Nevertheless there are laws governing it which cannot be abrogated, their
principles must be rigidly and inviolably observed.

The chief end of punctuation is to mark the grammatical connection and
the dependence of the parts of a composition, but not the actual pauses
made in speaking. Very often the points used to denote the delivery of a
passage differ from those used when the passage is written. Nevertheless,
several of the punctuation marks serve to bring out the rhetorical force
of expression.

The principal marks of punctuation are:

1. The Comma [,]

2. The Semicolon [;]

3. The Colon [:]

4. The Period [.]

5. The Interrogation [?]

6. The Exclamation [!]

7. The Dash [--]

8. The Parenthesis [()]

9. The Quotation [" "]

There are several other points or marks to indicate various relations,
but properly speaking such come under the heading of Printer's Marks,
some of which are treated elsewhere.

Of the above, the first four may be styled the grammatical points, and
the remaining five, the rhetorical points.

The _Comma_: The office of the Comma is to show the slightest separation
which calls for punctuation at all. It should be omitted whenever
possible. It is used to mark the least divisions of a sentence.

(1) A series of words or phrases has its parts separated by commas:--
"Lying, trickery, chicanery, perjury, were natural to him." "The brave,
daring, faithful soldier died facing the foe." If the series is in pairs,
commas separate the pairs: "Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, black
and white, Christian and Jew, Mohammedan and Buddhist must pass through
the same gate."

(2) A comma is used before a short quotation: "It was Patrick Henry who
said, 'Give me liberty or give me death.'"

(3) When the subject of the sentence is a clause or a long phrase, a comma
is used after such subject: "That he has no reverence for the God I
love, proves his insincerity." "Simulated piety, with a black coat and a
sanctimonious look, does not proclaim a Christian."

(4) An expression used parenthetically should be inclosed by commas: "The
old man, as a general rule, takes a morning walk."

(5) Words in apposition are set off by commas: "McKinley, the President,
was assassinated."

(6) Relative clauses, if not restrictive, require commas: "The book,
which is the simplest, is often the most profound."

(7) In continued sentences each should be followed by a comma:
"Electricity lights our dwellings and streets, pulls cars, trains, drives
the engines of our mills and factories."

(8) When a verb is omitted a comma takes its place: "Lincoln was a great
statesman; Grant, a great soldier."

(9) The subject of address is followed by a comma: "John, you are a good

(10) In numeration, commas are used to express periods of three figures:
"Mountains 25,000 feet high; 1,000,000 dollars."

The _Semicolon_ marks a slighter connection than the comma. It is
generally confined to separating the parts of compound sentences. It is
much used in contrasts:

(1) "Gladstone was great as a statesman; he was sublime as a man."

(2) The Semicolon is used between the parts of all compound sentences in
which the grammatical subject of the second part is different from that
of the first: "The power of England relies upon the wisdom of her
statesmen; the power of America upon the strength of her army and navy."

(4) The Semicolon is used before words and abbreviations which introduce
particulars or specifications following after, such as, _namely, as,
e.g., vid., i.e., etc._: "He had three defects; namely, carelessness,
lack of concentration and obstinacy in his ideas." "An island is a
portion of land entirely surrounded by water; as Cuba." "The names of
cities should always commence with a capital letter; _e.g._, New York,
Paris." "The boy was proficient in one branch; viz., Mathematics."
"No man is perfect; i.e., free from all blemish."

The _Colon_ except in conventional uses is practically obsolete.

(1) It is generally put at the end of a sentence introducing a long
quotation: "The cheers having subsided, Mr. Bryan spoke as follows:"

(2) It is placed before an explanation or illustration of the subject
under consideration: "This is the meaning of the term:"

(3) A direct quotation formally introduced is generally preceded by a
colon: "The great orator made this funny remark:"

(4) The colon is often used in the title of books when the secondary or
subtitle is in apposition to the leading one and when the conjunction
_or_ is omitted: "Acoustics: the Science of Sound."

(5) It is used after the salutation in the beginning of letters: "Sir: My
dear Sir: Gentlemen: Dear Mr. Jones:" etc. In this connection a dash very
often follows the colon.

(6) It is sometimes used to introduce details of a group of things
already referred to in the mass: "The boy's excuses for being late were:
firstly, he did not know the time, secondly, he was sent on an errand,
thirdly, he tripped on a rock and fell by the wayside."

The _Period_ is the simplest punctuation mark. It is simply used to mark
the end of a complete sentence that is neither interrogative nor

(1) After every sentence conveying a complete meaning: "Birds fly."
"Plants grow." "Man is mortal."

(2) In abbreviations: after every abbreviated word: Rt. Rev. T. C.
Alexander, D.D., L.L.D.

(3) A period is used on the title pages of books after the name of the
book, after the author's name, after the publisher's imprint: _American
Trails_. By Theodore Roosevelt. New York. Scribner Company.

The _Mark of Interrogation_ is used to ask or suggest a question.

(1) Every question admitting of an answer, even when it is not expected,
should be followed by the mark of interrogation: "Who has not heard of

(2) When several questions have a common dependence they should be
followed by one mark of interrogation at the end of the series: "Where
now are the playthings and friends of my boyhood; the laughing boys; the
winsome girls; the fond neighbors whom I loved?"

(3) The mark is often used parenthetically to suggest doubt: "In 1893 (?)
Gladstone became converted to Home Rule for Ireland."

The _Exclamation_ point should be sparingly used, particularly in prose.
Its chief use is to denote emotion of some kind.

(1) It is generally employed with interjections or clauses used as
interjections: "Alas! I am forsaken." "What a lovely landscape!"

(2) Expressions of strong emotion call for the exclamation: "Charge,
Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"

(3) When the emotion is very strong double exclamation points may be
used: "Assist him!! I would rather assist Satan!!"

The _Dash_ is generally confined to cases where there is a sudden break
from the general run of the passage. Of all the punctuation marks it is
the most misused.

(1) It is employed to denote sudden change in the construction or
sentiment: "The Heroes of the Civil War,--how we cherish them." "He was a
fine fellow--in his own opinion."

(2) When a word or expression is repeated for oratorical effect, a dash
is used to introduce the repetition: "Shakespeare was the greatest of all
poets--Shakespeare, the intellectual ocean whose waves washed the
continents of all thought."

(3) The Dash is used to indicate a conclusion without expressing it: "He
is an excellent man but--"

(4) It is used to indicate what is not expected or what is not the
natural outcome of what has gone before: "He delved deep into the bowels
of the earth and found instead of the hidden treasure--a button."

(5) It is used to denote the omission of letters or figures: "J--n J--s"
for John Jones; 1908-9 for 1908 and 1909; Matthew VII:5-8 for Matthew
VII:5, 6, 7, and 8.

(6) When an ellipsis of the words, _namely, that is, to wit_, etc., takes
place, the dash is used to supply them: "He excelled in three branches--
arithmetic, algebra, and geometry."

(7) A dash is used to denote the omission of part of a word when it is
undesirable to write the full word: He is somewhat of a r----l (rascal).
This is especially the case in profane words.

(8) Between a citation and the authority for it there is generally a dash:
"All the world's a stage."--_Shakespeare_.

(9) When questions and answers are put in the same paragraph they should
be separated by dashes: "Are you a good boy? Yes, Sir.--Do you love study?
I do."

_Marks of Parenthesis_ are used to separate expressions inserted in the
body of a sentence, which are illustrative of the meaning, but have no
essential connection with the sentence, and could be done without. They
should be used as little as possible for they show that something is
being brought into a sentence that does not belong to it.

(1) When the unity of a sentence is broken the words causing the break
should be enclosed in parenthesis: "We cannot believe a liar (and Jones
is one), even when he speaks the truth."

(2) In reports of speeches marks of parenthesis are used to denote
interpolations of approval or disapproval by the audience: "The masses
must not submit to the tyranny of the classes (hear, hear), we must show
the trust magnates (groans), that they cannot ride rough-shod over our
dearest rights (cheers);" "If the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown), will
not be our spokesman, we must select another. (A voice,--Get Robinson)."

When a parenthesis is inserted in the sentence where no comma is
required, no point should be used before either parenthesis. When
inserted at a place requiring a comma, if the parenthetical matter
relates to the whole sentence, a comma should be used before each
parenthesis; if it relates to a single word, or short clause, no stop
should come before it, but a comma should be put after the closing

The _Quotation marks_ are used to show that the words enclosed by them
are borrowed.

(1) A direct quotation should be enclosed within the quotation marks:
Abraham Lincoln said,--"I shall make this land too hot for the feet of

(2) When a quotation is embraced within another, the contained quotation
has only single marks: Franklin said, "Most men come to believe 'honesty
is the best policy.'"

(3) When a quotation consists of several paragraphs the quotation marks
should precede each paragraph.

(4) Titles of books, pictures and newspapers when formally given are

(5) Often the names of ships are quoted though there is no occasion for it.

The _Apostrophe_ should come under the comma rather than under the
quotation marks or double comma. The word is Greek and signifies a turning
away from. The letter elided or turned away is generally an _e_. In poetry
and familiar dialogue the apostrophe marks the elision of a syllable, as
"I've for I have"; "Thou'rt for thou art"; "you'll for you will," etc.
Sometimes it is necessary to abbreviate a word by leaving out several
letters. In such case the apostrophe takes the place of the omitted letters
as "cont'd for continued." The apostrophe is used to denote the elision of
the century in dates, where the century is understood or to save the
repetition of a series of figures, as "The Spirit of '76"; "I served in the
army during the years 1895, '96, '97, '98 and '99." The principal use of
the apostrophe is to denote the possessive case. All nouns in the singular
number whether proper names or not, and all nouns in the plural ending with
any other letter than _s_, form the possessive by the addition of the
apostrophe and the letter _s_. The only exceptions to this rule are, that,
by poetical license the additional _s_ may be elided in poetry for sake of
the metre, and in the scriptural phrases "For goodness' sake." "For
conscience' sake," "For Jesus' sake," etc. Custom has done away with the
_s_ and these phrases are now idioms of the language. All plural nouns
ending in _s_ form the possessive by the addition of the apostrophe only as
boys', horses'. The possessive case of the personal pronouns never take the
apostrophe, as ours, yours, hers, theirs.


_Capital letters_ are used to give emphasis to or call attention to
certain words to distinguish them from the context. In manuscripts they
may be written small or large and are indicated by lines drawn
underneath, two lines for SMALL CAPITALS and three lines for CAPITALS.

Some authors, notably Carlyle, make such use of Capitals that it
degenerates into an abuse. They should only be used in their proper
places as given in the table below.

(1) The first word of every sentence, in fact the first word in writing
of any kind should begin with a capital; as, "Time flies." "My dear

(2) Every direct quotation should begin with a capital; "Dewey said,--
'Fire, when you're ready, Gridley!'"

(3) Every direct question commences with a capital; "Let me ask you;
'How old are you?'"

(4) Every line of poetry begins with a capital; "Breathes there a man
with soul so dead?"

(5) Every numbered clause calls for a capital: "The witness asserts: (1)
That he saw the man attacked; (2) That he saw him fall; (3) That he
saw his assailant flee."

(6) The headings of essays and chapters should be wholly in capitals; as,

(7) In the titles of books, nouns, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs
should begin with a capital; as, "Johnson's Lives of the Poets."

(8) In the Roman notation numbers are denoted by capitals; as, I II III V
X L C D M--1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000.

(9) Proper names begin with a capital; as, "Jones, Johnson, Caesar, Mark
Antony, England, Pacific, Christmas."

Such words as river, sea, mountain, etc., when used generally are common,
not proper nouns, and require no capital. But when such are used with an
adjective or adjunct to specify a particular object they become proper
names, and therefore require a capital; as, "Mississippi River, North
Sea, Alleghany Mountains," etc. In like manner the cardinal points north,
south, east and west, when they are used to distinguish regions of a
country are capitals; as, "The North fought against the South."

When a proper name is compounded with another word, the part which is not
a proper name begins with a capital if it precedes, but with a small
letter if it follows, the hyphen; as "Post-homeric," "Sunday-school."

(10) Words derived from proper names require a Capital; as, "American,
Irish, Christian, Americanize, Christianize."

In this connection the names of political parties, religious sects and
schools of thought begin with capitals; as, "Republican, Democrat, Whig,
Catholic, Presbyterian, Rationalists, Free Thinkers."

(11) The titles of honorable, state and political offices begin with a
capital; as, "President, Chairman, Governor, Alderman."

(12) The abbreviations of learned titles and college degrees call for
capitals; as, "LL.D., M.A., B.S.," etc. Also the seats of learning
conferring such degrees as, "Harvard University, Manhattan College," etc.

(13) When such relative words as father, mother, brother, sister, uncle,
aunt, etc., precede a proper name, they are written and printed with
capitals; as, Father Abraham, Mother Eddy, Brother John, Sister Jane,
Uncle Jacob, Aunt Eliza. Father, when used to denote the early Christian
writer, is begun with a capital; "Augustine was one of the learned
Fathers of the Church."

(14) The names applied to the Supreme Being begin with capitals: "God,
Lord, Creator, Providence, Almighty, The Deity, Heavenly Father, Holy
One." In this respect the names applied to the Saviour also require
capitals: "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Man of Galilee, The Crucified, The
Anointed One." Also the designations of Biblical characters as "Lily of
Israel, Rose of Sharon, Comfortress of the Afflicted, Help of Christians,
Prince of the Apostles, Star of the Sea," etc. Pronouns referring to God
and Christ take capitals; as, "His work, The work of Him, etc."

(15) Expressions used to designate the Bible or any particular division
of it begin with a capital; as, "Holy Writ, The Sacred Book, Holy Book,
God's Word, Old Testament, New Testament, Gospel of St. Matthew, Seven
Penitential Psalms."

(16) Expressions based upon the Bible or in reference to Biblical
characters begin with a capital: "Water of Life, Hope of Men, Help of
Christians, Scourge of Nations."

(17) The names applied to the Evil One require capitals: "Beelzebub,
Prince of Darkness, Satan, King of Hell, Devil, Incarnate Fiend, Tempter
of Men, Father of Lies, Hater of Good."

(18) Words of very special importance, especially those which stand out
as the names of leading events in history, have capitals; as, "The
Revolution, The Civil War, The Middle Ages, The Age of Iron," etc.

(19) Terms which refer to great events in the history of the race require
capitals; "The Flood, Magna Charta, Declaration of Independence."

(20) The names of the days of the week and the months of the year and the
seasons are commenced with capitals: "Monday, March, Autumn."

(21) The Pronoun _I_ and the interjection _O_ always require the use of
capitals. In fact all the interjections when uttered as exclamations
commence with capitals: "Alas! he is gone." "Ah! I pitied him."

(22) All _noms-de-guerre_, assumed names, as well as names given for
distinction, call for capitals, as, "The Wizard of the North," "Paul
Pry," "The Northern Gael," "Sandy Sanderson," "Poor Robin," etc.

(23) In personification, that is, when inanimate things are represented
as endowed with life and action, the noun or object personified begins
with a capital; as, "The starry Night shook the dews from her wings."
"Mild-eyed Day appeared," "The Oak said to the Beech--'I am stronger
than you.'"



Principles of Letter-Writing--Forms--Notes

Many people seem to regard letter-writing as a very simple and easily
acquired branch, but on the contrary it is one of the most difficult
forms of composition and requires much patience and labor to master its
details. In fact there are very few perfect letter-writers in the
language. It constitutes the direct form of speech and may be called
conversation at a distance. Its forms are so varied by every conceivable
topic written at all times by all kinds of persons in all kinds of moods
and tempers and addressed to all kinds of persons of varying degrees in
society and of different pursuits in life, that no fixed rules can be
laid down to regulate its length, style or subject matter. Only general
suggestions can be made in regard to scope and purpose, and the forms of
indicting set forth which custom and precedent have sanctioned.

The principles of letter-writing should be understood by everybody who
has any knowledge of written language, for almost everybody at some time
or other has necessity to address some friend or acquaintance at a
distance, whereas comparatively few are called upon to direct their
efforts towards any other kind of composition.

Formerly the illiterate countryman, when he had occasion to communicate
with friends or relations, called in the peripatetic schoolmaster as his
amanuensis, but this had one draw-back,--secrets had to be poured into an
ear other than that for which they were intended, and often the
confidence was betrayed.

Now, that education is abroad in the land, there is seldom any occasion
for any person to call upon the service of another to compose and write a
personal letter. Very few now-a-days are so grossly illiterate as not to
be able to read and write. No matter how crude his effort may be it is
better for any one to write his own letters than trust to another. Even
if he should commence,--"deer fren, i lift up my pen to let ye no that i
hove been sik for the past 3 weeks, hopping this will findye the same,"
his spelling and construction can be excused in view of the fact that his
intention is good, and that he is doing his best to serve his own turn
without depending upon others.

The nature, substance and tone of any letter depend upon the occasion
that calls it forth, upon the person writing it and upon the person for
whom it is intended. Whether it should be easy or formal in style, plain
or ornate, light or serious, gay or grave, sentimental or matter-of-fact
depend upon these three circumstances.

In letter writing the first and most important requisites are to be
natural and simple; there should be no straining after effect, but simply
a spontaneous out-pouring of thoughts and ideas as they naturally occur
to the writer. We are repelled by a person who is stiff and labored in
his conversation and in the same way the stiff and labored letter bores
the reader. Whereas if it is light and in a conversational vein it
immediately engages his attention.

The letter which is written with the greatest facility is the best kind
of letter because it naturally expresses what is in the writer, he has
not to search for his words, they flow in a perfect unison with the ideas
he desires to communicate. When you write to your friend John Browne to
tell him how you spent Sunday you have not to look around for the words,
or study set phrases with a view to please or impress Browne, you just
tell him the same as if he were present before you, how you spent the
day, where you were, with whom you associated and the chief incidents
that occurred during the time. Thus, you write natural and it is such
writing that is adapted to epistolary correspondence.

There are different kinds of letters, each calling for a different style
of address and composition, nevertheless the natural key should be
maintained in all, that is to say, the writer should never attempt to
convey an impression that he is other than what he is. It would be silly
as well as vain for the common street laborer of a limited education to
try to put on literary airs and emulate a college professor; he may have
as good a brain, but it is not as well developed by education, and he
lacks the polish which society confers. When writing a letter the street
laborer should bear in mind that only the letter of a street-laborer is
expected from him, no matter to whom his communication may be addressed
and that neither the grammar nor the diction of a Chesterfield or
Gladstone is looked for in his language. Still the writer should keep in
mind the person to whom he is writing. If it is to an Archbishop or some
other great dignitary of Church or state it certainly should be couched
in terms different from those he uses to John Browne, his intimate
friend. Just as he cannot say "Dear John" to an Archbishop, no more can
he address him in the familiar words he uses to his friend of everyday
acquaintance and companionship. Yet there is no great learning required
to write to an Archbishop, no more than to an ordinary individual. All
the laborer needs to know is the form of address and how to properly
utilize his limited vocabulary to the best advantage. Here is the form
for such a letter:

                                 17 Second Avenue,
                                      New York City.
                                        January 1st, 1910.

               Most Rev. P. A. Jordan,
                   Archbishop of New York.

               Most Rev. and dear Sir:--
                  While sweeping the crossing at Fifth
               Avenue and 50th street on last Wednesday
               morning, I found the enclosed Fifty Dollar
               Bill, which I am sending to you in the hope
               that it may be restored to the rightful
                  I beg you will acknowledge receipt and
               should the owner be found I trust you will
               notify me, so that I may claim some reward
               for my honesty.
                  I am, Most Rev. and dear Sir,

                          Very respectfully yours,
                                          Thomas Jones.

Observe the brevity of the letter. Jones makes no suggestions to the
Archbishop how to find the owner, for he knows the course the Archbishop
will adopt, of having the finding of the bill announced from the Church
pulpits. Could Jones himself find the owner there would be no occasion to
apply to the Archbishop.

This letter, it is true, is different from that which he would send to
Browne. Nevertheless it is simple without being familiar, is just a plain
statement, and is as much to the point for its purpose as if it were
garnished with rhetoric and "words of learned length and thundering

Letters may be divided into those of friendship, acquaintanceship, those
of business relations, those written in an official capacity by public
servants, those designed to teach, and those which give accounts of the
daily happenings on the stage of life, in other words, news letters.

_Letters of friendship_ are the most common and their style and form
depend upon the degree of relationship and intimacy existing between the
writers and those addressed. Between relatives and intimate friends the
beginning and end may be in the most familiar form of conversation,
either affectionate or playful. They should, however, never overstep the
boundaries of decency and propriety, for it is well to remember that,
unlike conversation, which only is heard by the ears for which it is
intended, written words may come under eyes other than those for whom
they were designed. Therefore, it is well never to write anything which
the world may not read without detriment to your character or your
instincts. You can be joyful, playful, jocose, give vent to your feelings,
but never stoop to low language and, above all, to language savoring in
the slightest degree of moral impropriety.

_Business letters_ are of the utmost importance on account of the
interests involved. The business character of a man or of a firm is often
judged by the correspondence. On many occasions letters instead of
developing trade and business interests and gaining clientele, predispose
people unfavorably towards those whom they are designed to benefit.
Ambiguous, slip-shod language is a detriment to success. Business letters
should be clear, concise, to the point and, above all, honest, giving no
wrong impressions or holding out any inducements that cannot be fulfilled.
In business letters, just as in business conduct, honesty is always the
best policy.

_Official letters_ are mostly always formal. They should possess clearness,
brevity and dignity of tone to impress the receivers with the proper
respect for the national laws and institutions.

Letters designed to teach or _didactic letters_ are in a class all by
themselves. They are simply literature in the form of letters and are
employed by some of the best writers to give their thoughts and ideas a
greater emphasis. The most conspicuous example of this kind of composition
is the book on Etiquette by Lord Chesterfield, which took the form of a
series of letters to his son.

_News letters_ are accounts of world happenings and descriptions of
ceremonies and events sent into the newspapers. Some of the best authors
of our time are newspaper men who write in an easy flowing style which is
most readable, full of humor and fancy and which carries one along with
breathless interest from beginning to end.

The principal parts of a letter are (1) the _heading_ or introduction;
(2) the _body_ or substance of the letter; (3) the _subscription_ or
closing expression and signature; (4) the _address_ or direction on the
envelope. For the _body_ of a letter no forms or rules can be laid down
as it altogether depends on the nature of the letter and the relationship
between the writer and the person addressed.

There are certain rules which govern the other three features and which
custom has sanctioned. Every one should be acquainted with these rules.


The _Heading_ has three parts, viz., the name of the place, the date of
writing and the designation of the person or persons addressed; thus:

                                   73 New Street,
                                       Newark, N. J.,
                                      February 1st, 1910.
          Messr. Ginn and Co.,
              New York

The name of the place should never be omitted; in cities, street and
number should always be given, and except when the city is large and very
conspicuous, so that there can be no question as to its identity with
another of the same or similar name, the abbreviation of the State should
be appended, as in the above, Newark, N. J. There is another Newark in
the State of Ohio. Owing to failure to comply with this rule many letters
go astray. The _date_ should be on every letter, especially business
letters. The date should never be put at the bottom in a business letter,
but in friendly letters this may be done. The _designation_ of the
person or persons addressed differs according to the relations of the
correspondents. Letters of friendship may begin in many ways according to
the degrees of friendship or intimacy. Thus:

  My dear Wife:
  My dear Husband:
  My dear Friend:
  My darling Mother:
  My dearest Love:
  Dear Aunt:
  Dear Uncle:
  Dear George: etc.

To mark a lesser degree of intimacy such formal designations as the
following may be employed:

  Dear Sir:
  My dear Sir:
  Dear Mr. Smith:
  Dear Madam: etc.

For clergymen who have the degree of Doctor of Divinity, the designation
is as follows:

  Rev. Alban Johnson, D. D.
  My dear Sir: or Rev. and dear Sir: or more familiarly
  Dear Dr. Johnson:

Bishops of the Roman and Anglican Communions are addressed as
_Right Reverend_.

  The Rt. Rev., the Bishop of Long Island. or
  The Rt. Rev. Frederick Burgess, Bishop of Long Island.
  Rt. Rev. and dear Sir:

Archbishops of the Roman Church are addressed as _Most Reverend_ and
Cardinals as _Eminence_. Thus:

          The Most Rev. Archbishop Katzer.
            Most Rev. and dear Sir:

          His Eminence, James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.
            May it please your Eminence:

The title of the Governor of a State or territory and of the President of
the United States is _Excellency_. However, _Honorable_ is more commonly
applied to Governors:--

          His Excellency, William Howard Taft,
            President of the United States.


          His Excellency, Charles Evans Hughes,
            Governor of the State of New York.


          Honorable Franklin Fort,
            Governor of New Jersey.


The general salutation for Officers of the Army and Navy is _Sir_. The
rank and station should be indicated in full at the head of the letter,

          General Joseph Thompson,
            Commanding the Seventh Infantry.


          Rear Admiral Robert Atkinson,
            Commanding the Atlantic Squadron.


The title of officers of the Civil Government is Honorable and they are
addressed as _Sir_.

            Hon. Nelson Duncan,
              Senator from Ohio.


            Hon. Norman Wingfield,
              Secretary of the Treasury.


            Hon. Rupert Gresham,
              Mayor of New York.


Presidents and Professors of Colleges and Universities are generally
addressed as _Sir_ or _Dear Sir_.

      Professor Ferguson Jenks,
        President of .......... University.

      Sir: or Dear Sir:

Presidents of Societies and Associations are treated as business men and
addressed as _Sir_ or _Dear Sir_.

            Mr. Joseph Banks,
              President of the Night Owls.

            Dear Sir: or Sir:

Doctors of Medicine are addressed as _Sir: My dear Sir: Dear Sir:_
and more familiarly My dear Dr: or Dear Dr: as

            Ryerson Pitkin, M. D.
            Dear Sir:
            My dear Dr:

Ordinary people with no degrees or titles are addressed as Mr. and Mrs.
and are designed Dear Sir: Dear Madam: and an unmarried woman of any age
is addressed on the envelope as Miss So-and-so, but always designed in
the letter as

            Dear Madam:

The plural of Mr. as in addressing a firm is _Messrs_, and the
corresponding salutation is _Dear Sirs: or Gentlemen:_

In England _Esq._ is used for _Mr._ as a mark of slight superiority and
in this country it is sometimes used, but it is practically obsolete.
Custom is against it and American sentiment as well. If it is used it
should be only applied to lawyers and justices of the peace.


The _Subscription_ or ending of a letter consists of the term of respect
or affection and the signature. The term depends upon the relation of the
person addressed. Letters of friendship can close with such expressions

          Yours lovingly,
          Yours affectionately,
          Devotedly yours,
          Ever yours, etc.

as between husbands and wives or between lovers. Such gushing
terminations as Your Own Darling, Your own Dovey and other pet and silly
endings should be avoided, as they denote shallowness. Love can be
strongly expressed without dipping into the nonsensical and the farcical.

Formal expressions of Subscription are:

          Yours Sincerely,
          Yours truly,
          Respectfully yours,

and the like, and these may be varied to denote the exact bearing or
attitude the writer wishes to assume to the person addressed: as,

          Very sincerely yours,
          Very respectfully yours,
          With deep respect yours,
          Yours very truly, etc.

Such elaborate endings as

    "In the meantime with the highest respect, I am yours to command,"
    "I have the honor to be, Sir, Your humble Servant,"
    "With great expression of esteem, I am Sincerely yours,"
    "Believe me, my dear Sir, Ever faithfully yours,"

are condemned as savoring too much of affectation.

It is better to finish formal letters without any such qualifying
remarks. If you are writing to Mr. Ryan to tell him that you have a house
for sale, after describing the house and stating the terms simply sign

            Your obedient Servant
            Yours very truly,
            Yours with respect,
              James Wilson.

Don't say you have the honor to be anything or ask him to believe
anything, all you want to tell him is that you have a house for sale and
that you are sincere, or hold him in respect as a prospective customer.

Don't abbreviate the signature as: _Y'rs Resp'fly_ and always make
your sex obvious. Write plainly

  Yours truly,
  _John Field_

and not _J. Field_, so that the person to whom you send it may not take
you for _Jane Field_.

It is always best to write the first name in full. Married women should
prefix _Mrs._ to their names, as

  Very sincerely yours,
  _Mrs._ Theodore Watson.

If you are sending a letter acknowledging a compliment or some kindness
done you may say, _Yours gratefully,_ or _Yours very gratefully,_ in
proportion to the act of kindness received.

It is not customary to sign letters of degrees or titles after your name,
except you are a lord, earl or duke and only known by the title, but as
we have no such titles in America it is unnecessary to bring this matter
into consideration. Don't sign yourself,

           Sincerely yours,
             Obadiah Jackson, M.A. or L.L. D.

If you're an M. A. or an L.L. D. people generally know it without your
sounding your own trumpet. Many people, and especially clergymen, are
fond of flaunting after their names degrees they have received _honoris
causa_, that is, degrees as a mark of honor, without examination. Such
degrees should be kept in the background. Many a deadhead has these
degrees which he could never have earned by brain work.

Married women whose husbands are alive may sign the husband's name with
the prefix _Mrs:_ thus,

  Yours sincerely,
  _Mrs._ William Southey.

but when the husband is dead the signature should be--

    Yours sincerely,
    _Mrs._ Sarah Southey.

So when we receive a letter from a woman we are enabled to tell whether
she has a husband living or is a widow. A woman separated from her
husband but not a _divorcee_ should _not_ sign his name.


The _address_ of a letter consists of the name, the title and the

          Mr. Hugh Black,
            112 Southgate Street,

Intimate friends have often familiar names for each other, such as pet
names, nicknames, etc., which they use in the freedom of conversation,
but such names should never, under any circumstances, appear on the
envelope. The subscription on the envelope should be always written with
propriety and correctness and as if penned by an entire stranger. The
only difficulty in the envelope inscription is the title. Every man is
entitled to _Mr._ and every lady to _Mrs._ and every unmarried lady to
_Miss_. Even a boy is entitled to _Master_. When more than one is addressed
the title is _Messrs._ _Mesdames_ is sometimes written of women. If the
person addressed has a title it is courteous to use it, but titles never
must be duplicated. Thus, we can write

  Robert Stitt, M. D., but never
  Dr. Robert Stitt, M. D, or
  Mr. Robert Stitt, M. D.

In writing to a medical doctor it is well to indicate his profession by
the letters M. D. so as to differentiate him from a D. D. It is better to
write Robert Stitt, M. D., than Dr. Robert Stitt.

In the case of clergymen the prefix Rev. is retained even when they have
other titles; as

  Rev. Tracy Tooke, LL. D.

When a person has more titles than one it is customary to only give him
the leading one. Thus instead of writing Rev. Samuel MacComb, B. A.,
M. A., B. Sc., Ph. D., LL. D., D. D. the form employed is Rev. Samuel
MacComb, LL. D. LL. D. is appended in preference to D. D. because in most
cases the "Rev." implies a "D. D." while comparatively few with the prefix
"Rev." are entitled to "LL. D."

In the case of _Honorables_ such as Governors, Judges, Members of Congress,
and others of the Civil Government the prefix "Hon." does away with _Mr._
and _Esq._ Thus we write Hon. Josiah Snifkins, not Hon. Mr. Josiah Snifkins
or Hon. Josiah Snifkins, Esq. Though this prefix _Hon._ is also often
applied to Governors they should be addressed as Excellency. For instance:

          His Excellency,
            Charles E. Hughes,
                               N. Y.

In writing to the President the superscription on the envelope should be

          To the President,
            Executive Mansion,
               Washington, D. C.

Professional men such as doctors and lawyers as well as those having
legitimately earned College Degrees may be addressed on the envelopes by
their titles, as

  Jonathan Janeway, M. D.
  Hubert Houston, B. L.
  Matthew Marks, M. A., etc.

The residence of the person addressed should be plainly written out in
full. The street and numbers should be given and the city or town written
very legibly. If the abbreviation of the State is liable to be confounded
or confused with that of another then the full name of the State should
be written. In writing the residence on the envelope, instead of putting
it all in one line as is done at the head of a letter, each item of the
residence forms a separate line. Thus,

            Sullivan County,
                          New York.

          215 Minna St.,
            San Francisco,

There should be left a space for the postage stamp in the upper right
hand corner. The name and title should occupy a line that is about
central between the top of the envelope and the bottom. The name should
neither be too much to right or left but located in the centre, the
beginning and end at equal distances from either end.

In writing to large business concerns which are well known or to public
or city officials it is sometimes customary to leave out number and street.

          Messrs. Seigel, Cooper Co.,
                        New York City,

          Hon. William J. Gaynor,
                           New York City.


_Notes_ may be regarded as letters in miniature confined chiefly to
invitations, acceptances, regrets and introductions, and modern etiquette
tends towards informality in their composition. Card etiquette, in fact,
has taken the place of ceremonious correspondence and informal notes are
now the rule. Invitations to dinner and receptions are now mostly written
on cards. "Regrets" are sent back on visiting cards with just the one
word _"Regrets"_ plainly written thereon. Often on cards and notes of
invitation we find the letters R. S. V. P. at the bottom. These letters
stand for the French _repondez s'il vous plait_, which means "Reply, if
you please," but there is no necessity to put this on an invitation card
as every well-bred person knows that a reply is expected. In writing
notes to young ladies of the same family it should be noted that the
eldest daughter of the house is entitled to the designation _Miss_ without
any Christian name, only the surname appended. Thus if there are three
daughters in the Thompson family Martha, the eldest, Susan and Jemina,
Martha is addressed as _Miss_ Thompson and the other two as _Miss_ Susan
Thompson and _Miss_ Jemina Thompson respectively.

Don't write the word _addressed_ on the envelope of a note.

Don't _seal_ a note delivered by a friend.

Don't write a note on a postal card.

Here are a few common forms:--


            Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wagstaff request the
          honor of Mr. McAdoo's presence on Friday
          evening, June 15th, at 8 o'clock to meet the
          Governor of the Fort.
               19 Woodbine Terrace
                         June 8th, 1910.

This is an invitation to a formal reception calling for evening dress.
Here is Mr. McAdoo's reply in the third person:--

            Mr. McAdoo presents his compliments to
          Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wagstaff and accepts with
          great pleasure their invitation to meet the
          Governor of the Fort on the evening of June
            215 Beacon Street,
                       June 10th, 1910.

Here is how Mr. McAdoo might decline the invitation:--

            Mr. McAdoo regrets that owing to a prior
          engagement he must forego the honor of paying
          his respects to Mr. and Mrs. Wagstaff and the
          Governor of the Fort on the evening of June
            215 Beacon St.,
                June 10th, 1910.

Here is a note addressed, say to Mr. Jeremiah Reynolds.

            Mr. and Mrs. Oldham at home on Wednesday
          evening October ninth from seven to eleven.
            21 Ashland Avenue,
                      October 5th.

Mr. Reynolds makes reply:--

            Mr. Reynolds accepts with high appreciation
          the honor of Mr. and Mrs. Oldham's invitation
          for Wednesday evening October ninth.
            Windsor Hotel
                October 7th


            Mr. Reynolds regrets that his duties render
          it impossible for him to accept Mr. and Mrs.
          Oldham's kind invitation for the evening of
          October ninth.
            Windsor Hotel,
                  October 7th,

Sometimes less informal invitations are sent on small specially designed
note paper in which the first person takes the place of the third. Thus

                                       360 Pine St.,
                                       Dec. 11th, 1910.
          Dear Mr. Saintsbury:
            Mr. Johnson and I should be much pleased to
          have you dine with us and a few friends next
          Thursday, the fifteenth, at half past seven.
                               Yours sincerely,
                                    Emma Burnside.

Mr. Saintsbury's reply:

                                       57 Carlyle Strand
                                       Dec. 13th, 1910.
          Dear Mrs. Burnside:
            Let me accept very appreciatively your
          invitation to dine with Mr. Burnside and you
          on next Thursday, the fifteenth, at half past
                                  Yours sincerely,
                                     Henry Saintsbury.
          Mrs. Alexander Burnside.


Notes of introduction should be very circumspect as the writers are in
reality vouching for those whom they introduce. Here is a specimen of
such a note.

                             603 Lexington Ave.,
                                     New York City,
                                      June 15th, 1910.

          Rev. Cyrus C. Wiley, D. D.,
                          Newark, N. J.
          My dear Dr. Wiley:
                             I take the liberty of
          presenting to you my friend, Stacy Redfern,
          M. D., a young practitioner, who is anxious
          to locate in Newark. I have known him many
          years and can vouch for his integrity and
          professional standing. Any courtesy and
          kindness which you may show him will be very
          much appreciated by me.
                              Very sincerely yours,
                                       Franklin Jewett.



Mistakes--Slips of Authors--Examples and Corrections--Errors of Redundancy.

In the following examples the word or words in parentheses are uncalled
for and should be omitted:

1. Fill the glass (full).

2. They appeared to be talking (together) on private affairs.

3. I saw the boy and his sister (both) in the garden.

4. He went into the country last week and returned (back) yesterday.

5. The subject (matter) of his discourse was excellent.

6. You need not wonder that the (subject) matter of his discourse was
excellent; it was taken from the Bible.

7. They followed (after) him, but could not overtake him.

8. The same sentiments may be found throughout (the whole of) the book.

9. I was very ill every day (of my life) last week.

10. That was the (sum and) substance of his discourse.

11. He took wine and water and mixed them (both) together.

12. He descended (down) the steps to the cellar.

13. He fell (down) from the top of the house.

14. I hope you will return (again) soon.

15. The things he took away he restored (again).

16. The thief who stole my watch was compelled to restore it (back again).

17. It is equally (the same) to me whether I have it today or tomorrow.

18. She said, (says she) the report is false; and he replied, (says he)
if it be not correct I have been misinformed.

19. I took my place in the cars (for) to go to New York.

20. They need not (to) call upon him.

21. Nothing (else) but that would satisfy him.

22. Whenever I ride in the cars I (always) find it prejudicial to my

23. He was the first (of all) at the meeting.

24. He was the tallest of (all) the brothers.

25. You are the tallest of (all) your family.

26. Whenever I pass the house he is (always) at the door.

27. The rain has penetrated (through) the roof.

28. Besides my uncle and aunt there was (also) my grandfather at the

29. It should (ever) be your constant endeavor to please your family.

30. If it is true as you have heard (then) his situation is indeed pitiful.

31. Either this (here) man or that (there) woman has (got) it.

32. Where is the fire (at)?

33. Did you sleep in church? Not that I know (of).

34. I never before (in my life) met (with) such a stupid man.

35. (For) why did he postpone it?

36. Because (why) he could not attend.

37. What age is he? (Why) I don't know.

38. He called on me (for) to ask my opinion.

39. I don't know where I am (at).

40. I looked in (at) the window.

41. I passed (by) the house.

42. He (always) came every Sunday.

43. Moreover, (also) we wish to say he was in error.

44. It is not long (ago) since he was here.

45. Two men went into the wood (in order) to cut (down) trees.

Further examples of redundancy might be multiplied. It is very common in
newspaper writing where not alone single words but entire phrases are
sometimes brought in, which are unnecessary to the sense or explanation
of what is written.


Even the best speakers and writers are sometimes caught napping. Many of
our standard authors to whom we have been accustomed to look up as
infallible have sinned more or less against the fundamental principles of
grammar by breaking the rules regarding one or more of the nine parts of
speech. In fact some of them have recklessly trespassed against all nine,
and still they sit on their pedestals of fame for the admiration of the
crowd. Macaulay mistreated the article. He wrote,--"That _a_ historian
should not record trifles is perfectly true." He should have used _an_.

Dickens also used the article incorrectly. He refers to "Robinson Crusoe"
as "_an_ universally popular book," instead of _a_ universally popular

The relation between nouns and pronouns has always been a stumbling block
to speakers and writers. Hallam in his _Literature of Europe_ writes,
"No one as yet had exhibited the structure of the human kidneys, Vesalius
having only examined them in dogs." This means that Vesalius examined
human kidneys in dogs. The sentence should have been, "No one had as yet
exhibited the kidneys in human beings, Vesalius having examined such
organs in dogs only."

Sir Arthur Helps in writing of Dickens, states--"I knew a brother author
of his who received such criticisms from him (Dickens) very lately and
profited by _it_." Instead of _it_ the word should be _them_ to agree
with criticisms.

Here are a few other pronominal errors from leading authors:

"Sir Thomas Moore in general so writes it, although not many others so
late as _him_." Should be _he_.--Trench's _English Past and Present_.

"What should we gain by it but that we should speedily become as poor as
_them_." Should be _they_.--Alison's _Essay on Macaulay_.

"If the king gives us leave you or I may as lawfully preach, as
_them_ that do." Should be _they_ or _those_, the latter
having persons understood.--Hobbes's _History of Civil Wars_.

"The drift of all his sermons was, to prepare the Jews for the reception
of a prophet, mightier than _him_, and whose shoes he was not worthy
to bear." Should be than _he_.--Atterbury's _Sermons_.

"Phalaris, who was so much older than _her_." Should be _she_.--Bentley's
_Dissertation on Phalaris_.

"King Charles, and more than _him_, the duke and the Popish faction were
at liberty to form new schemes." Should be than _he_.--Bolingbroke's
_Dissertations on Parties_.

"We contributed a third more than the Dutch, who were obliged to the same
proportion more than _us_." Should be than _we_.--Swift's _Conduct of the

In all the above examples the objective cases of the pronouns have been
used while the construction calls for nominative cases.

"Let _thou_ and _I_ the battle try"--_Anon_.

Here _let_ is the governing verb and requires an objective case after it;
therefore instead of _thou_ and _I_, the words should be _you_ (_sing_.)
and _me_.

"Forever in this humble cell, Let thee and I, my fair one, dwell"

Here _thee_ and _I_ should be the objectives _you_ and _me_.

The use of the relative pronoun trips the greatest number of authors.

Even in the Bible we find the relative wrongly translated:

Whom do men say that I am?--_St. Matthew_.

Whom think ye that I am?--_Acts of the Apostles_.

_Who_ should be written in both cases because the word is not in the
objective governed by say or think, but in the nominative dependent on
the verb _am_.

"_Who_ should I meet at the coffee house t'other night, but my old

"It is another pattern of this answerer's fair dealing, to give us hints
that the author is dead, and yet lay the suspicion upon somebody, I know
not _who_, in the country."--Swift's _Tale of a Tub_.

"My son is going to be married to I don't know _who_."--Goldsmith's
_Good-natured Man_.

The nominative _who_ in the above examples should be the objective

The plural nominative _ye_ of the pronoun _thou_ is very often
used for the objective _you_, as in the following:

"His wrath which will one day destroy _ye both_."--_Milton_.

"The more shame for _ye_; holy men I thought _ye_."--_Shakespeare_.

"I feel the gales that from _ye_ blow."--_Gray_.

"Tyrants dread _ye_, lest your just decree Transfer the power and
set the people free."--_Prior_.

Many of the great writers have played havoc with the adjective in the
indiscriminate use of the degrees of comparison.

"Of two forms of the same word, use the fittest."--_Morell_.

The author here in _trying_ to give good advice sets a bad example.
He should have used the comparative degree, "Fitter."

Adjectives which have a comparative or superlative signification do not
admit the addition of the words _more_, _most_, or the terminations,
_er_, _est_, hence the following examples break this rule:

"Money is the _most universal_ incitement of human misery."--Gibbon's
_Decline and Fall_.

"The _chiefest_ of which was known by the name of Archon among the
Grecians."--Dryden's _Life of Plutarch_.

"The _chiefest_ and largest are removed to certain magazines they call
libraries."--Swift's _Battle of the Books_.

The two _chiefest_ properties of air, its gravity and elastic force,
have been discovered by mechanical experiments.--_Arbuthno_.

"From these various causes, which in greater or _lesser_ degree,
affected every individual in the colony, the indignation of the people
became general."--Robertson's _History of America_.

"The _extremest_ parts of the earth were meditating a submission."
--Atterbury's _Sermons_.

"The last are indeed _more preferable_ because they are founded on some new
knowledge or improvement in the mind of man."--Addison, _Spectator_.

"This was in reality the _easiest_ manner of the two."--Shaftesbury's
_Advice to an Author_.

"In every well formed mind this second desire seems to be the _strongest_
of the two."--Smith's _Theory of Moral Sentiments_.

In these examples the superlative is wrongly used for the comparative.
When only two objects are compared the comparative form must be used.

Of impossibility there are no degrees of comparison, yet we find the

"As it was impossible they should know the words, thoughts and secret
actions of all men, so it was _more impossible_ they should pass judgment
on them according to these things."--Whitby's _Necessity of the Christian

A great number of authors employ adjectives for adverbs. Thus we find:

"I shall endeavor to live hereafter _suitable_ to a man in my station."

"I can never think so very _mean_ of him."--Bentley's _Dissertation on

"His expectations run high and the fund to supply them is _extreme_
scanty."--_Lancaster's Essay on Delicacy_.

The commonest error in the use of the verb is the disregard of the
concord between the verb and its subject. This occurs most frequently
when the subject and the verb are widely separated, especially if some
other noun of a different number immediately precedes the verb. False
concords occur very often after _either_, _or_, _neither_, _nor_, and
_much_, _more_, _many_, _everyone_, _each_.

Here are a few authors' slips:--

"The terms in which the sale of a patent _were_ communicated to the
public."--Junius's _Letters_.

"The richness of her arms and apparel _were_ conspicuous."--Gibbon's
_Decline and Fall_.

"Everyone of this grotesque family _were_ the creatures of national

"He knows not what spleen, languor or listlessness _are_."--Blair's

"Each of these words _imply_, some pursuit or object relinquished."

"Magnus, with four thousand of his supposed accomplices _were_ put
to death."--_Gibbon_.

"No nation gives greater encouragements to learning than we do; yet at
the same time _none are_ so injudicious in the application."

"_There's two_ or _three_ of us have seen strange sights."--_Shakespeare_.

The past participle should not be used for the past tense, yet the
learned Byron overlooked this fact. He thus writes in the _Lament of

"And with my years my soul _begun to pant_ With feelings of strange
tumult and soft pain."

Here is another example from Savage's _Wanderer_ in which there is
double sinning:

"From liberty each nobler science _sprung_, A Bacon brighten'd and a
Spenser _sung_."

Other breaches in regard to the participles occur in the following:--

"Every book ought to be read with the same spirit and in the same manner
as it is _writ_"--Fielding's _Tom Jones_.

"The Court of Augustus had not _wore_ off the manners of the republic"
--Hume's _Essays_.

"Moses tells us that the fountains of the earth were _broke_ open or
clove asunder."--Burnet.

"A free constitution when it has been _shook_ by the iniquity of
former administrations."--_Bolingbroke_.

"In this respect the seeds of future divisions were _sowed_ abundantly."

In the following example the present participle is used for the infinitive

"It is easy _distinguishing_ the rude fragment of a rock from the splinter
of a statue."--Gilfillan's _Literary Portraits_.

_Distinguishing_ here should be replaced by _to distinguish_.

The rules regarding _shall_ and _will_ are violated in the following:

"If we look within the rough and awkward outside, we _will_ be
richly rewarded by its perusal."--Gilfillan's _Literary Portraits_.

"If I _should_ declare them and speak of them, they should be more
than I am able to express."--_Prayer Book Revision of Psalms XI_.

"If I _would_ declare them and speak of them, they are more than can
be numbered."--_Ibid_.

"Without having attended to this, we _will_ be at a loss, in understanding
several passages in the classics."--Blair's _Lectures_.

"We know to what cause our past reverses have been owing and _we_
will have ourselves to blame, if they are again incurred."--Alison's
_History of Europe_.

Adverbial mistakes often occur in the best writers. The adverb _rather_ is
a word very frequently misplaced. Archbishop Trench in his "English Past
and Present" writes, "It _rather_ modified the structure of our sentences
than the elements of our vocabulary." This should have been written,--"It
modified the structure of our sentences _rather than_ the elements of our

"So far as his mode of teaching goes he is _rather_ a disciple of
Socrates than of St. Paul or Wesley." Thus writes Leslie Stephens of Dr.
Johnson. He should have written,--" So far as his mode of teaching goes
he is a disciple of Socrates _rather_ than of St. Paul or Wesley."

The preposition is a part of speech which is often wrongly used by some
of the best writers. Certain nouns, adjectives and verbs require
particular prepositions after them, for instance, the word _different_
always takes the preposition _from_ after it; _prevail_ takes _upon_;
_averse_ takes _to_; _accord_ takes _with_, and so on.

In the following examples the prepositions in parentheses are the ones
that should have been used:

"He found the greatest difficulty _of_ (in) writing."--Hume's
_History of England_.

"If policy can prevail _upon_ (over) force."--_Addison_.

"He made the discovery and communicated _to_ (with) his friends."
--Swift's _Tale of a Tub_.

"Every office of command should be intrusted to persons _on_ (in)
whom the parliament shall confide."--_Macaulay_.

Several of the most celebrated writers infringe the canons of style by
placing prepositions at the end of sentences. For instance Carlyle, in
referring to the Study of Burns, writes:--"Our own contributions to it,
we are aware, can be but scanty and feeble; but we offer them with good
will, and trust they may meet with acceptance from those they are
intended _for_."

--"for whom they are intended," he should have written.

"Most writers have some one vein which they peculiarly and obviously
excel _in_."--_William Minto_.

This sentence should read,--Most writers have some one vein in which they
peculiarly and obviously excel.

Many authors use redundant words which repeat the same thought and idea.
This is called tautology.

"Notwithstanding which (however) poor Polly embraced them all around."

"I judged that they would (mutually) find each other."--_Crockett_.

"....as having created a (joint) partnership between the two Powers in
the Morocco question."--_The Times_.

"The only sensible position (there seems to be) is to frankly acknowledge
our ignorance of what lies beyond."--_Daily Telegraph_.

"Lord Rosebery has not budged from his position--splendid, no doubt,--of
(lonely) isolation."--_The Times_.

"Miss Fox was (often) in the habit of assuring Mrs. Chick."--_Dickens_.

"The deck (it) was their field of fame."--_Campbell_.

"He had come up one morning, as was now (frequently) his wont,"

The counsellors of the Sultan (continue to) remain sceptical
--_The Times_.

Seriously, (and apart from jesting), this is no light matter.--_Bagehot_.

To go back to your own country with (the consciousness that you go back
with) the sense of duty well done.--_Lord Halsbury_.

The _Peresviet_ lost both her fighting-tops and (in appearance)
looked the most damaged of all the ships--_The Times_.

Counsel admitted that, that was a fair suggestion to make, but he
submitted that it was borne out by the (surrounding) circumstances.

Another unnecessary use of words and phrases is that which is termed
circumlocution, a going around the bush when there is no occasion for
it,--save to fill space.

It may be likened to a person walking the distance of two sides of a
triangle to reach the objective point. For instance in the quotation:
"Pope professed to have learned his poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever an
opportunity was presented, he praised through the whole period of his
existence with unvaried liberality; and perhaps his character may receive
some illustration, of a comparison he instituted between him and the man
whose pupil he was" much of the verbiage may be eliminated and the
sentence thus condensed:

"Pope professed himself the pupil of Dryden, whom he lost no opportunity
of praising; and his character may be illustrated by a comparison with
his master."

"His life was brought to a close in 1910 at an age not far from the one
fixed by the sacred writer as the term of human existence."

This in brevity can be put, "His life was brought to a close at the age
of seventy;" or, better yet, "He died at the age of seventy."

"The day was intensely cold, so cold in fact that the thermometer crept
down to the zero mark," can be expressed: "The day was so cold the
thermometer registered zero."

Many authors resort to circumlocution for the purpose of "padding," that
is, filling space, or when they strike a snag in writing upon subjects of
which they know little or nothing. The young writer should steer clear of
it and learn to express his thoughts and ideas as briefly as possible
commensurate with lucidity of expression.

Volumes of errors in fact, in grammar, diction and general style, could
be selected from the works of the great writers, a fact which eloquently
testifies that no one is infallible and that the very best is liable to
err at times. However, most of the erring in the case of these writers
arises from carelessness or hurry, not from a lack of knowledge.

As a general rule it is in writing that the scholar is liable to slip; in
oral speech he seldom makes a blunder. In fact, there are many people who
are perfect masters of speech,--who never make a blunder in conversation,
yet who are ignorant of the very principles of grammar and would not know
how to write a sentence correctly on paper. Such persons have been
accustomed from infancy to hear the language spoken correctly and so the
use of the proper words and forms becomes a second nature to them. A
child can learn what is right as easy as what is wrong and whatever
impressions are made on the mind when it is plastic will remain there.
Even a parrot can be taught the proper use of language. Repeat to a
parrot.--"Two and two _make_ four" and it never will say "two and two
_makes_ four."

In writing, however, it is different. Without a knowledge of the
fundamentals of grammar we may be able to speak correctly from
association with good speakers, but without such a knowledge we cannot
hope to write the language correctly. To write even a common letter we
must know the principles of construction, the relationship of one word to
another. Therefore, it is necessary for everybody to understand at least
the essentials of the grammar of his own language.



Common Stumbling Blocks--Peculiar Constructions--Misused Forms.


Very often the verb is separated from its real nominative or subject by
several intervening words and in such cases one is liable to make the
verb agree with the subject nearest to it. Here are a few examples
showing that the leading writers now and then take a tumble into this

(1) "The partition which the two ministers made of the powers of
government _were_ singularly happy."--_Macaulay_.

(Should be _was_ to agree with its subject, _partition_.)

(2) "One at least of the qualities which fit it for training ordinary men
_unfit_ it for _training_ an extraordinary man."--_Bagehot_.

(Should be _unfits_ to agree with subject _one_.)

(3) "The Tibetans have engaged to exclude from their country those
dangerous influences whose appearance _were_ the chief cause of our
action."--_The Times_.

(Should be _was_ to agree with _appearance_.)

(4) "An immense amount of confusion and indifference _prevail_ in these

(Should be _prevails_ to agree with amount.)


Errors in ellipsis occur chiefly with prepositions.

His objection and condoning of the boy's course, seemed to say the least,

(The preposition _to_ should come after objection.)

Many men of brilliant parts are crushed by force of circumstances and
their genius forever lost to the world.

(Some maintain that the missing verb after genius is _are_, but such
is ungrammatical. In such cases the right verb should be always
expressed: as--their genius _is_ forever lost to the world.)


Even the best speakers and writers are in the habit of placing a
modifying word or words between the _to_ and the remaining part of the
infinitive. It is possible that such will come to be looked upon in time
as the proper form but at present the splitting of the infinitive is
decidedly wrong. "He was scarcely able _to_ even _talk_" "She commenced
_to_ rapidly _walk_ around the room." "_To have_ really _loved_ is better
than not _to have_ at all _loved_." In these constructions it is much
better not to split the infinitive. In every-day speech the best speakers
sin against this observance.

In New York City there is a certain magistrate, a member of "the 400,"
who prides himself on his diction in language. He tells this story: A
prisoner, a faded, battered specimen of mankind, on whose haggard face,
deeply lined with the marks of dissipation, there still lingered faint
reminders of better days long past, stood dejected before the judge.
"Where are you from?" asked the magistrate. "From Boston," answered the
accused. "Indeed," said the judge, "indeed, yours is a sad case, and yet
you don't seem _to_ thoroughly _realise_ how low you have sunk." The man
stared as if struck. "Your honor does me an injustice," he said bitterly.
"The disgrace of arrest for drunkenness, the mortification of being
thrust into a noisome dungeon, the publicity and humiliation of trial in
a crowded and dingy courtroom I can bear, but to be sentenced by a Police
Magistrate who _splits his infinitives_--that is indeed the last blow."


The indefinite adjective pronoun _one_ when put in place of a personal
substantive is liable to raise confusion. When a sentence or expression
is begun with the impersonal _one_ the word must be used throughout in
all references to the subject. Thus, "One must mind one's own business if
one wishes to succeed" may seem prolix and awkward, nevertheless it is
the proper form. You must not say--"One must mind his business if he
wishes to succeed," for the subject is impersonal and therefore cannot
exclusively take the masculine pronoun. With _any one_ it is different.
You may say--"If any one sins he should acknowledge it; let him not try
to hide it by another sin."


This is a word that is a pitfall to the most of us whether learned or
unlearned. Probably it is the most indiscriminately used word in the
language. From the different positions it is made to occupy in a sentence
it can relatively change the meaning. For instance in the sentence--"I
_only_ struck him that time," the meaning to be inferred is, that the
only thing I did to him was to _strike_ him, not kick or otherwise abuse
him. But if the _only_ is shifted, so as to make the sentence read-"I
struck him _only_ that time" the meaning conveyed is, that only on that
occasion and at no other time did I strike him. If another shift is made
to-"I struck _only_ him that time," the meaning is again altered so that
it signifies he was the only person I struck.

In speaking we can by emphasis impress our meaning on our hearers, but in
writing we have nothing to depend upon but the position of the word in
the sentence. The best rule in regard to _only_ is to place it
_immediately before_ the word or phrase it modifies or limits.


is another word which creates ambiguity and alters meaning. If we
substitute it for only in the preceding example the meaning of the
sentence will depend upon the arrangement. Thus "I _alone_ struck him at
that time" signifies that I and no other struck him. When the sentence
reads "I struck him _alone_ at that time" it must be interpreted that he
was the only person that received a blow. Again if it is made to read "I
struck him at that time _alone_" the sense conveyed is that that was the
only occasion on which I struck him. The rule which governs the correct
use of _only_ is also applicable to _alone_.


These are words which often give to expressions a meaning far from that
intended. Thus, "I have _nothing_ to do with that _other_ rascal across
the street," certainly means that I am a rascal myself. "I sent the
despatch to my friend, but another villain intercepted it," clearly
signifies that my friend is a villain.

A good plan is to omit these words when they can be readily done without,
as in the above examples, but when it is necessary to use them make your
meaning clear. You can do this by making each sentence or phrase in which
they occur independent of contextual aid.


Never use _and_ with the _relative_ in this manner: "That is the dog I
meant _and which_ I know is of pure breed." This is an error quite
common. The use of _and_ is permissible when there is a parallel relative
in the preceding sentence or clause. Thus: "There is the dog which I
meant and which I know is of pure breed" is quite correct.


A participle or participial phrase is naturally referred to the nearest
nominative. If only one nominative is expressed it claims all the
participles that are not by the construction of the sentence otherwise
fixed. "John, working in the field all day and getting thirsty, drank
from the running stream." Here the participles _working_ and _getting_
clearly refer to John. But in the sentence,--"Swept along by the mob I
could not save him," the participle as it were is lying around loose and
may be taken to refer to either the person speaking or to the person
spoken about. It may mean that I was swept along by the mob or the
individual whom I tried to save was swept along.

"Going into the store the roof fell" can be taken that it was the roof
which was going into the store when it fell. Of course the meaning
intended is that some person or persons were going into the store just as
the roof fell.

In all sentence construction with participles there should be such
clearness as to preclude all possibility of ambiguity. The participle
should be so placed that there can be no doubt as to the noun to which it
refers. Often it is advisable to supply such words as will make the
meaning obvious.


Sometimes the beginning of a sentence presents quite a different
grammatical construction from its end. This arises from the fact
probably, that the beginning is lost sight of before the end is reached.
This occurs frequently in long sentences. Thus: "Honesty, integrity and
square-dealing will bring anybody much better through life than the
absence of either." Here the construction is broken at _than_. The use of
_either_, only used in referring to one of two, shows that the fact is
forgotten that three qualities and not two are under consideration. Any
one of the three meanings might be intended in the sentence, viz.,
absence of any one quality, absence of any two of the qualities or
absence of the whole three qualities. Either denotes one or the other of
two and should never be applied to any one of more than two. When we fall
into the error of constructing such sentences as above, we should take
them apart and reconstruct them in a different grammatical form.
Thus,--"Honesty, integrity and square-dealing will bring a man much
better through life than a lack of these qualities which are almost
essential to success."


It must be remembered that two negatives in the English language destroy
each other and are equivalent to an affirmative. Thus "I _don't_ know
_nothing_ about it" is intended to convey, that I am ignorant of the
matter under consideration, but it defeats its own purpose, inasmuch as
the use of nothing implies that I know something about it. The sentence
should read--"I don't know anything about it."

Often we hear such expressions as "He was _not_ asked to give _no_
opinion," expressing the very opposite of what is intended. This sentence
implies that he was asked to give his opinion. The double negative,
therefore, should be carefully avoided, for it is insidious and is liable
to slip in and the writer remain unconscious of its presence until the
eye of the critic detects it.


The use of the first personal pronoun should be avoided as much as
possible in composition. Don't introduce it by way of apology and never
use such expressions as "In my opinion," "As far as I can see," "It
appears to me," "I believe," etc. In what you write, the whole
composition is expressive of your views, since you are the author,
therefore, there is no necessity for you to accentuate or emphasize
yourself at certain portions of it.

Moreover, the big _I's_ savor of egotism! Steer clear of them as far as
you can. The only place where the first person is permissible is in
passages where you are stating a view that is not generally held and
which is likely to meet with opposition.


When two verbs depend on each other their tenses must have a definite
relation to each other. "I shall have much pleasure in accepting your
kind invitation" is wrong, unless you really mean that just now you
decline though by-and-by you intend to accept; or unless you mean that
you do accept now, though you have no pleasure in doing so, but look
forward to be more pleased by-and-by. In fact the sequence of the
compound tenses puzzle experienced writers. The best plan is to go back
in thought to the time in question and use the tense you would _then_
naturally use. Now in the sentence "I should have liked to have gone to
see the circus" the way to find out the proper sequence is to ask
yourself the question--what is it I "should have liked" to do? and the
plain answer is "to go to see the circus." I cannot answer--"To have gone
to see the circus" for that would imply that at a certain moment I would
have liked to be in the position of having gone to the circus. But I do
not mean this; I mean that at the moment at which I am speaking I wish I
had gone to see the circus. The verbal phrase _I should have liked_
carries me back to the time when there was a chance of seeing the circus
and once back at the time, the going to the circus is a thing of the
present. This whole explanation resolves itself into the simple
question,--what should I have liked _at that time_, and the answer is "to
go to see the circus," therefore this is the proper sequence, and the
expression should be "I should have liked to go to see the circus."

If we wish to speak of something relating to a time _prior_ to that
indicated in the past tense we must use the perfect tense of the
infinitive; as, "He appeared to have seen better days." We should say "I
expected to _meet him_," not "I expected _to have met him_." "We intended
_to visit you_," not "_to have visited_ you." "I hoped they _would_
arrive," not "I hoped they _would have_ arrived." "I thought I should
_catch_ the bird," not "I thought I should _have caught_ the bird." "I
had intended _to go_ to the meeting," not "I had intended to _have gone_
to the meeting."


These prepositions are often carelessly interchanged. _Between_ has
reference to two objects only, _among_ to more than two. "The money was
equally divided between them" is right when there are only two, but if
there are more than two it should be "the money was equally divided among


_Less_ refers is quantity, _fewer_ to number. "No man has _less_ virtues"
should be "No man has _fewer_ virtues." "The farmer had some oats and a
_fewer_ quantity of wheat" should be "the farmer had some oats and a
_less_ quantity of wheat."


_Further_ is commonly used to denote quantity, _farther_ to denote
distance. "I have walked _farther_ than you," "I need no _further_
supply" are correct.


_Each other_ refers to two, _one another_ to more than two. "Jones and
Smith quarreled; they struck each other" is correct. "Jones, Smith and
Brown quarreled; they struck one another" is also correct. Don't say,
"The two boys teach one another" nor "The three girls love each other."


These words are continually misapplied. _Each_ can be applied to two
or any higher number of objects to signify _every one_ of the number
_independently_. Every requires _more than two_ to be spoken of and
denotes all the _persons_ or _things_ taken _separately_. _Either_
denotes _one or the other of two_, and should not be used to include
both. _Neither_ is the negative of either, denoting not the other,
and not the one, and relating to _two persons_ or _things_ considered

The following examples illustrate the correct usage of these words:

_Each_ man of the crew received a reward.

_Every_ man in the regiment displayed bravery.

We can walk on _either_ side of the street.

_Neither_ of the two is to blame.


When two singular subjects are connected by _neither_, _nor_ use a
singular verb; as, "_Neither_ John _nor_ James _was there_," not _were_


Custom Has sanctioned the use of this word both with a singular and
plural; as--"None _is_ so blind as he who will not see" and "None _are_
so blind as they who will not see." However, as it is a contraction of
_no one_ it is better to use the singular verb.


These verbs are very often confounded. _Rise_ is to move or pass upward
in any manner; as to "rise from bed;" to increase in value, to improve in
position or rank, as "stocks rise;" "politicians rise;" "they have risen
to honor."

_Raise_ is to lift up, to exalt, to enhance, as "I raise the table;"
"He raised his servant;" "The baker raised the price of _bread_."


The transitive verb _lay_, and _lay_, the past tense of the neuter verb
_lie_, are often confounded, though quite different in meaning. The
neuter verb _to lie_, meaning to lie down or rest, cannot take the
objective after it except with a preposition. We can say "He _lies_ on
the ground," but we cannot say "He _lies_ the ground," since the verb is
neuter and intransitive and, as such, cannot have a direct object. With
_lay_ it is different. _Lay_ is a transitive verb, therefore it takes a
direct object after it; as "I _lay_ a wager," "I _laid_ the carpet," etc.

Of a carpet or any inanimate subject we should say, "It lies on the
floor," "A knife _lies_ on the table," not _lays_. But of a person we
say--"He _lays_ the knife on the table," not "He _lies_----." _Lay_ being
the past tense of the neuter to lie (down) we should say, "He _lay_ on
the bed," and _lain_ being its past participle we must also say "He has
_lain_ on the bed."

We can say "I lay myself down." "He laid himself down" and such

It is imperative to remember in using these verbs that to _lay_ means _to
do_ something, and to lie means _to be in a state of rest_.


_"Says I"_ is a vulgarism; don't use it. "I said" is correct form.


Be careful to distinguish the meaning of these two little prepositions
and don't interchange them. Don't say "He went _in_ the room" nor "My
brother is _into_ the navy." _In_ denotes the place where a person or
thing, whether at rest or in motion, is present; and _into_ denotes
_entrance_. "He went _into_ the room;" "My brother is _in_ the navy" are


Don't confound the two. _Eat_ is present, _ate_ is past. "I _eat_ the
bread" means that I am continuing the eating; "I _ate_ the bread" means
that the act of eating is past. _Eaten_ is the perfect participle, but
often _eat_ is used instead, and as it has the same pronunciation (et) of
_ate_, care should be taken to distinguish the past tense, I _ate_ from
the perfect _I have eaten_ (_eat_).


Remember that the _first_ person takes precedence of the _second_ and the
_second_ takes precedence of the _third_. When Cardinal Wolsey said _Ego
et Rex_ (I and the King), he showed he was a good grammarian, but a bad


"_I am come_" points to my being here, while "I have come" intimates that
I have just arrived. When the subject is not a person, the verb _to be_
should be used in preference to the verb _to have_; as, "The box is come"
instead of "The box has come."


The interchange of these two parts of the irregular or so-called _strong_
verbs is, perhaps, the breach oftenest committed by careless speakers and
writers. To avoid mistakes it is requisite to know the principal parts of
these verbs, and this knowledge is very easy of acquirement, as there are
not more than a couple of hundred of such verbs, and of this number but a
small part is in daily use. Here are some of the most common blunders: "I
seen" for "I saw;" "I done it" for "I did it;" "I drunk" for "I drank;"
"I begun" for "I began;" "I rung" for "I rang;" "I run" for "I ran;" "I
sung" for "I sang;" "I have chose" for "I have chosen;" "I have drove"
for "I have driven;" "I have wore" for "I have worn;" "I have trod" for
"I have trodden;" "I have shook" for "I have shaken;" "I have fell" for
"I have fallen;" "I have drank" for "I have drunk;" "I have began" for "I
have begun;" "I have rang" for "I have rung;" "I have rose" for "I have
risen;" "I have spoke" for "I have spoken;" "I have broke" for "I have
broken." "It has froze" for "It has frozen." "It has blowed" for "It has
blown." "It has flowed" (of a bird) for "It has flown."

N. B.--The past tense and past participle of _To Hang_ is _hanged_ or
_hung_. When you are talking about a man meeting death on the gallows,
say "He was hanged"; when you are talking about the carcass of an animal
say, "It was hung," as "The beef was hung dry." Also say your coat "_was_
hung on a hook."


Don't forget that prepositions always take the objective case. Don't say
"Between you and _I_"; say "Between you and _me_"

_Two_ prepositions should not govern _one objective_ unless there is an
immediate connection between them. "He was refused admission to and
forcibly ejected from the school" should be "He was refused admission to
the school and forcibly ejected from it."


Don't say "I shall summons him," but "I shall summon him." _Summon_ is a
verb, _summons_, a noun.

It is correct to say "I shall get a _summons_ for him," not a _summon_.


"My brother has an undeniable character" is wrong if I wish to convey the
idea that he has a good character. The expression should be in that case
"My brother has an unexceptionable character." An _undeniable_ character
is a character that cannot be denied, whether bad or good. An
unexceptionable character is one to which no one can take exception.


Very many mistakes occur in the use of the pronouns. "Let you and I go"
should be "Let you and _me_ go." "Let them and we go" should be "Let them
and us go." The verb let is transitive and therefore takes the objective

"Give me _them_ flowers" should be "Give me _those_ flowers"; "I mean
_them_ three" should be "I mean those three." Them is the objective case
of the personal pronoun and cannot be used adjectively like the
demonstrative adjective pronoun. "I am as strong as _him_" should be "I
am as strong as _he_"; "I am younger than _her_" should be "I am younger
than _she_;" "He can write better than _me_" should be "He can write
better than I," for in these examples the objective cases _him_, _her_
and _me_ are used wrongfully for the nominatives. After each of the
misapplied pronouns a verb is understood of which each pronoun is the
subject. Thus, "I am as strong as he (is)." "I am younger than she (is)."
"He can write better than I (can)."

Don't say "_It is me_;" say "_It is I_" The verb _To Be_ of which is is a
part takes the same case after it that it has before it. This holds good
in all situations as well as with pronouns.

The verb _To Be_ also requires the pronouns joined to it to be in the
same case as a pronoun asking a question; The nominative _I_ requires the
nominative _who_ and the objectives _me_, _him_, _her_, _its_, _you_,
_them_, require the objective _whom_.

"_Whom_ do you think I am?" should be "_Who_ do you think I am?" and
"_Who_ do they suppose me to be?" should be "_Whom_ do they suppose me to
be?" The objective form of the Relative should be always used, in
connection with a preposition. "Who do you take me for?" should be
"_Whom_ do, etc." "Who did you give the apple to?" should be "Whom did
you give the apple to," but as pointed out elsewhere the preposition
should never end a sentence, therefore, it is better to say, "To whom did
you give the apple?"

After transitive verbs always use the objective cases of the pronouns.
For "_He_ and _they_ we have seen," say "_Him_ and _them_ we have seen."


"The hurt it was that painful it made him cry," say "so painful."


Don't say, _These kind; those sort_. _Kind_ and _sort_ are each singular
and require the singular pronouns _this_ and _that_. In connection with
these demonstrative adjective pronouns remember that _this_ and _these_
refer to what is near at hand, _that_ and _those_ to what is more
distant; as, _this book_ (near me), _that book_ (over there), _these_
boys (near), _those_ boys (at a distance).


"_This_ much is certain" should be "_Thus_ much or _so_ much is certain."


These are two separate verbs and must not be interchanged. The principal
parts of _flee_ are _flee_, _fled_, _fled_; those of _fly_ are _fly_,
_flew_, _flown_. _To flee_ is generally used in the meaning of getting
out of danger. _To fly_ means to soar as a bird. To say of a man "He _has
flown_ from the place" is wrong; it should be "He _has fled_ from the
place." We can say with propriety that "A bird has _flown_ from the


Don't say "He is well known through the land," but "He is well known
throughout the land."


Don't mistake these two words so nearly alike. Vocation is the employment,
business or profession one follows for a living; avocation is some
pursuit or occupation which diverts the person from such employment,
business or profession. Thus

"His vocation was the law, his avocation, farming."


In the subjunctive mood the plural form _were_ should be used with a
singular subject; as, "If I _were_," not _was_. Remember the plural form
of the personal pronoun _you_ always takes _were_, though it may denote
but one. Thus, "_You were_," never "_you was_." "_If I was him_" is a
very common expression. Note the two mistakes in it,--that of the verb
implying a condition, and that of the objective case of the pronoun. It
should read _If I were he_. This is another illustration of the rule
regarding the verb _To Be_, taking the same case after it as before it;
_were_ is part of the verb _To Be_, therefore as the nominative (I) goes
before it, the nominative (he) should come after it.


_A_ becomes an before a vowel or before _h_ mute for the sake of euphony
or agreeable sound to the ear. _An apple_, _an orange_, _an heir_, _an
honor_, etc.




It is the object of every writer to put his thoughts into as effective
form as possible so as to make a good impression on the reader. A person
may have noble thoughts and ideas but be unable to express them in such a
way as to appeal to others, consequently he cannot exert the full force
of his intellectuality nor leave the imprint of his character upon his
time, whereas many a man but indifferently gifted may wield such a facile
pen as to attract attention and win for himself an envious place among
his contemporaries.

In everyday life one sees illustrations of men of excellent mentality
being cast aside and ones of mediocre or in some cases, little, if any,
ability chosen to fill important places. The former are unable to impress
their personality; they have great thoughts, great ideas, but these
thoughts and ideas are locked up in their brains and are like prisoners
behind the bars struggling to get free. The key of language which would
open the door is wanting, hence they have to remain locked up.

Many a man has to pass through the world unheard of and of little benefit
to it or himself, simply because he cannot bring out what is in him and
make it subservient to his will. It is the duty of every one to develop his
best, not only for the benefit of himself but for the good of his fellow
men. It is not at all necessary to have great learning or acquirements, the
laborer is as useful in his own place as the philosopher in his; nor is it
necessary to have many talents. One talent rightly used is much better than
ten wrongly used. Often a man can do more with one than his contemporary
can do with ten, often a man can make one dollar go farther than twenty in
the hands of his neighbor, often the poor man lives more comfortably than
the millionaire. All depends upon the individual himself. If he make right
use of what the Creator has given him and live according to the laws of God
and nature he is fulfilling his allotted place in the universal scheme of
creation, in other words, when he does his best, he is living up to the
standard of a useful manhood.

Now in order to do his best a man of ordinary intelligence and education
should be able to express himself correctly both in speaking and writing,
that is, he should be able to convey his thoughts in an intelligent
manner which the simplest can understand. The manner in which a speaker
or writer conveys his thoughts is known as his Style. In other words
_Style_ may be defined as the peculiar manner in which a man expresses
his conceptions through the medium of language. It depends upon the
choice of words and their arrangement to convey a meaning. Scarcely any
two writers have exactly the same style, that is to say, express their
ideas after the same peculiar form, just as no two mortals are fashioned
by nature in the same mould, so that one is an exact counterpart of the

Just as men differ in the accent and tones of their voices, so do they
differ in the construction of their language.

Two reporters sent out on the same mission, say to report a fire, will
verbally differ in their accounts though materially both descriptions
will be the same as far as the leading facts are concerned. One will
express himself in a style _different_ from the other.

If you are asked to describe the dancing of a red-haired lady at the last
charity ball you can either say--"The ruby Circe, with the Titian locks
glowing like the oriflamme which surrounds the golden god of day as he
sinks to rest amid the crimson glory of the burnished West, gave a divine
exhibition of the Terpsichorean art which thrilled the souls of the
multitude" or, you can simply say--"The red-haired lady danced very well
and pleased the audience."

The former is a specimen of the ultra florid or bombastic style which may
be said to depend upon the pomposity of verbosity for its effect, the
latter is a specimen of simple _natural_ Style. Needless to say it is to
be preferred. The other should be avoided. It stamps the writer as a
person of shallowness, ignorance and inexperience. It has been eliminated
from the newspapers. Even the most flatulent of yellow sheets no longer
tolerate it in their columns. Affectation and pedantry in style are now
universally condemned.

It is the duty of every speaker and writer to labor after a pleasing
style. It gains him an entrance where he would otherwise be debarred.
Often the interest of a subject depends as much on the way it is
presented as on the subject itself. One writer will make it attractive,
another repulsive. For instance take a passage in history. Treated by one
historian it is like a desiccated mummy, dry, dull, disgusting, while
under the spell of another it is, as it were, galvanized into a virile
living thing which not only pleases but captivates the reader.


The first requisite of style is _choice_ of _words_, and this comes under
the head of _Diction_, the property of style which has reference to the
words and phrases used in speaking and writing. The secret of literary
skill from any standpoint consists in putting the right word in the right
place. In order to do this it is imperative to know the meaning of the
words we use, their exact literal meaning. Many synonymous words are
seemingly interchangeable and appear as if the same meaning were applicable
to three or four of them at the same time, but when all such words are
reduced to a final analysis it is clearly seen that there is a marked
difference in their meaning. For instance _grief_ and _sorrow_ seem to be
identical, but they are not. _Grief_ is active, _sorrow_ is more or less
passive; _grief_ is caused by troubles and misfortunes which come to us
from the outside, while _sorrow_ is often the consequence of our own
acts. _Grief_ is frequently loud and violent, _sorrow_ is always quiet
and retiring. _Grief_ shouts, _Sorrow_ remains calm.

If you are not sure of the exact meaning of a word look it up immediately
in the dictionary. Sometimes some of our great scholars are puzzled over
simple words in regard to meaning, spelling or pronunciation. Whenever
you meet a strange word note it down until you discover its meaning and
use. Read the best books you can get, books written by men and women who
are acknowledged masters of language, and study how they use their words,
where they place them in the sentences, and the meanings they convey to
the readers.

Mix in good society. Listen attentively to good talkers and try to
imitate their manner of expression. If a word is used you do not
understand, don't be ashamed to ask its meaning.

True, a small vocabulary will carry you through, but it is an advantage
to have a large one. When you live alone a little pot serves just as well
as a large one to cook your victuals and it is handy and convenient, but
when your friends or neighbors come to dine with you, you will need a
much larger pot and it is better to have it in store, so that you will
not be put to shame for your scantiness of furnishings.

Get as many words as you possibly can--if you don't need them now, pack
them away in the garrets of your brain so that you can call upon them if
you require them.

Keep a note book, jot down the words you don't understand or clearly
understand and consult the dictionary when you get time.


_Purity_ of style consists in using words which are reputable, national
and present, which means that the words are in current use by the best
authorities, that they are used throughout the nation and not confined to
one particular part, and that they are words in constant use at the
present time.

There are two guiding principles in the choice of words,--_good use_
and _good taste_. _Good use_ tells us whether a word is right or wrong;
_good taste_, whether it is adapted to our purpose or not.

A word that is obsolete or too new to have gained a place in the
language, or that is a provincialism, should not be used.

Here are the Ten Commandments of English style:

(1) Do not use foreign words.

(2) Do not use a long word when a short one will serve your purpose.
_Fire_ is much better than _conflagration_.

(3) Do not use technical words, or those understood only by specialists
in their respective lines, except when you are writing especially for
such people.

(4) Do not use slang.

(5) Do not use provincialisms, as "I guess" for "I think"; "I reckon" for
"I know," etc.

(6) Do not in writing prose, use poetical or antiquated words: as "lore,
e'er, morn, yea, nay, verily, peradventure."

(7) Do not use trite and hackneyed words and expressions; as, "on the
job," "up and in"; "down and out."

(8) Do not use newspaper words which have not established a place in the
language as "to bugle"; "to suicide," etc.

(9) Do not use ungrammatical words and forms; as, "I ain't;" "he don't."

(10) Do not use ambiguous words or phrases; as--"He showed me all about
the house."

Trite words, similes and metaphors which have become hackneyed and worn
out should be allowed to rest in the oblivion of past usage. Such
expressions and phrases as "Sweet sixteen" "the Almighty dollar," "Uncle
Sam," "On the fence," "The Glorious Fourth," "Young America," "The lords
of creation," "The rising generation," "The weaker sex," "The weaker
vessel," "Sweetness long drawn out" and "chief cook and bottle washer,"
should be put on the shelf as they are utterly worn out from too much

Some of the old similes which have outlived their usefulness and should
be pensioned off, are "Sweet as sugar," "Bold as a lion," "Strong as an
ox," "Quick as a flash," "Cold as ice," "Stiff as a poker," "White as
snow," "Busy as a bee," "Pale as a ghost," "Rich as Croesus," "Cross as a
bear" and a great many more far too numerous to mention.

Be as original as possible in the use of expression. Don't follow in the
old rut but try and strike out for yourself. This does not mean that you
should try to set the style, or do anything outlandish or out of the way,
or be an innovator on the prevailing custom. In order to be original
there is no necessity for you to introduce something novel or establish a
precedent. The probability is you are not fit to do either, by education
or talent. While following the style of those who are acknowledged
leaders you can be original in your language. Try and clothe an idea
different from what it has been clothed and better. If you are speaking
or writing of dancing don't talk or write about "tripping the light
fantastic toe." It is over two hundred years since Milton expressed it
that way in "_L'Allegro_." You're not a Milton and besides over a million
have stolen it from Milton until it is now no longer worth stealing.

Don't resurrect obsolete words such as _whilom_, _yclept_, _wis_, etc.,
and be careful in regard to obsolescent words, that is, words that are at
the present time gradually passing from use such as _quoth, trow,
betwixt, amongst, froward_, etc.

And beware of new words. Be original in the construction and arrangement
of your language, but don't try to originate words. Leave that to the
Masters of language, and don't be the first to try such words, wait until
the chemists of speech have tested them and passed upon their merits.

Quintilian said--"Prefer the oldest of the new and the newest of the
old." Pope put this in rhyme and it still holds good:

In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold, Alike fantastic, if too
new or old: Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last
to lay the old aside.


_Propriety_ of style consists in using words in their proper sense and as
in the case of purity, good usage is the principal test. Many words have
acquired in actual use a meaning very different from what they once
possessed. "Prevent" formerly meant to go before, and that meaning is
implied in its Latin derivation. Now it means to put a stop to, to
hinder. To attain propriety of style it is necessary to avoid confounding
words derived from the same root; as _respectfully_ and _respectively_;
it is necessary to use words in their accepted sense or the sense which
everyday use sanctions.


_Simplicity_ of style has reference to the choice of simple words and
their unaffected presentation. Simple words should always be used in
preference to compound, and complicated ones when they express the same
or almost the same meaning. The Anglo-Saxon element in our language
comprises the simple words which express the relations of everyday life,
strong, terse, vigorous, the language of the fireside, street, market and
farm. It is this style which characterizes the Bible and many of the
great English classics such as the "Pilgrim's Progress," "Robinson
Crusoe," and "Gulliver's Travels."


_Clearness_ of style should be one of the leading considerations with the
beginner in composition. He must avoid all obscurity and ambiguous
phrases. If he write a sentence or phrase and see that a meaning might be
inferred from it otherwise than intended, he should re-write it in such a
way that there can be no possible doubt. Words, phrases or clauses that
are closely related should be placed as near to each other as possible
that their mutual relation may clearly appear, and no word should be
omitted that is necessary to the complete expression of thought.


_Unity_ is that property of style which keeps all parts of a sentence in
connection with the principal thought and logically subordinate to it. A
sentence may be constructed as to suggest the idea of oneness to the
mind, or it may be so loosely put together as to produce a confused and
indefinite impression. Ideas that have but little connection should be
expressed in separate sentences, and not crowded into one.

Keep long parentheses out of the middle of your sentences and when you
have apparently brought your sentences to a close don't try to continue
the thought or idea by adding supplementary clauses.


_Strength_ is that property of style which gives animation, energy and
vivacity to language and sustains the interest of the reader. It is as
necessary to language as good food is to the body. Without it the words
are weak and feeble and create little or no impression on the mind. In
order to have strength the language must be concise, that is, much
expressed in little compass, you must hit the nail fairly on the head and
drive it in straight. Go critically over what you write and strike out
every word, phrase and clause the omission of which impairs neither the
clearness nor force of the sentence and so avoid redundancy, tautology
and circumlocution. Give the most important words the most prominent
places, which, as has been pointed out elsewhere, are the beginning and
end of the sentence.


_Harmony_ is that property of style which gives a smoothness to the
sentence, so that when the words are sounded their connection becomes
pleasing to the ear. It adapts sound to sense. Most people construct
their sentences without giving thought to the way they will sound and as
a consequence we have many jarring and discordant combinations such as
"Thou strengthenedst thy position and actedst arbitrarily and
derogatorily to my interests."

Harsh, disagreeable verbs are liable to occur with the Quaker form _Thou_
of the personal pronoun. This form is now nearly obsolete, the plural
_you_ being almost universally used. To obtain harmony in the sentence
long words that are hard to pronounce and combinations of letters of one
kind should be avoided.


Style is expressive of the writer, as to who he is and what he is. As a
matter of structure in composition it is the indication of what a man can
do; as a matter of quality it is an indication of what he is.


Style has been classified in different ways, but it admits of so many
designations that it is very hard to enumerate a table. In fact there are
as many styles as there are writers, for no two authors write _exactly_
after the same form. However, we may classify the styles of the various
authors in broad divisions as (1) dry, (2) plain, (3) neat, (4) elegant,
(5) florid, (6) bombastic.

The _dry_ style excludes all ornament and makes no effort to appeal to
any sense of beauty. Its object is simply to express the thoughts in a
correct manner. This style is exemplified by Berkeley.

The _plain_ style does not seek ornamentation either, but aims to make
clear and concise statements without any elaboration or embellishment.
Locke and Whately illustrate the plain style.

The _neat_ style only aspires after ornament sparingly. Its object is to
have correct figures, pure diction and clear and harmonious sentences.
Goldsmith and Gray are the acknowledged leaders in this kind of style.

The _elegant_ style uses every ornament that can beautify and avoids
every excess which would degrade. Macaulay and Addison have been
enthroned as the kings of this style. To them all writers bend the knee
in homage.

The _florid_ style goes to excess in superfluous and superficial
ornamentation and strains after a highly colored imagery. The poems of
Ossian typify this style.

The _bombastic_ is characterized by such an excess of words, figures and
ornaments as to be ridiculous and disgusting. It is like a circus clown
dressed up in gold tinsel Dickens gives a fine example of it in Sergeant
Buzfuz' speech in the "Pickwick Papers." Among other varieties of style
may be mentioned the colloquial, the laconic, the concise, the diffuse,
the abrupt the flowing, the quaint, the epigrammatic, the flowery, the
feeble, the nervous, the vehement, and the affected. The manner of these
is sufficiently indicated by the adjective used to describe them.

In fact style is as various as character and expresses the individuality
of the writer, or in other words, as the French writer Buffon very aptly
remarks, "the style is the man himself."



How to Write--What to Write--Correct Speaking and Speakers

Rules of grammar and rhetoric are good in their own place; their laws
must be observed in order to express thoughts and ideas in the right way
so that they shall convey a determinate sense and meaning in a pleasing
and acceptable manner. Hard and fast rules, however, can never make a
writer or author. That is the business of old Mother Nature and nothing
can take her place. If nature has not endowed a man with faculties to put
his ideas into proper composition he cannot do so. He may have no ideas
worthy the recording. If a person has not a thought to express, it cannot
be expressed. Something cannot be manufactured out of nothing. The author
must have thoughts and ideas before he can express them on paper. These
come to him by nature and environment and are developed and strengthened
by study. There is an old Latin quotation in regard to the poet which
says "Poeta nascitur non fit" the translation of which is--the poet is
born, not made. To a great degree the same applies to the author. Some
men are great scholars as far as book learning is concerned, yet they
cannot express themselves in passable composition. Their knowledge is
like gold locked up in a chest where it is of no value to themselves or
the rest of the world.

The best way to learn to write is to sit down and write, just as the best
way how to learn to ride a bicycle is to mount the wheel and pedal away.
Write first about common things, subjects that are familiar to you. Try
for instance an essay on a cat. Say something original about her. Don't
say "she is very playful when young but becomes grave as she grows old."
That has been said more than fifty thousand times before. Tell what you
have seen the family cat doing, how she caught a mouse in the garret and
what she did after catching it. Familiar themes are always the best for
the beginner. Don't attempt to describe a scene in Australia if you have
never been there and know nothing of the country. Never hunt for
subjects, there are thousands around you. Describe what you saw yesterday--
a fire, a runaway horse, a dog-fight on the street and be original in
your description. Imitate the best writers in their _style_, but not in
their exact words. Get out of the beaten path, make a pathway of your

Know what you write about, write about what you know; this is a golden
rule to which you must adhere. To know you must study. The world is an
open book in which all who run may read. Nature is one great volume the
pages of which are open to the peasant as well as to the peer. Study
Nature's moods and tenses, for they are vastly more important than those
of the grammar. Book learning is most desirable, but, after all, it is
only theory and not practice. The grandest allegory in the English, in
fact, in any language, was written by an ignorant, so-called ignorant,
tinker named John Bunyan. Shakespeare was not a scholar in the sense we
regard the term to-day, yet no man ever lived or probably ever will live
that equalled or will equal him in the expression of thought. He simply
read the book of nature and interpreted it from the standpoint of his own
magnificent genius.

Don't imagine that a college education is necessary to success as a
writer. Far from it. Some of our college men are dead-heads, drones,
parasites on the body social, not alone useless to the world but to
themselves. A person may be so ornamental that he is valueless from any
other standpoint. As a general rule ornamental things serve but little
purpose. A man may know so much of everything that he knows little of
anything. This may sound paradoxical, but, nevertheless, experience
proves its truth.

If you are poor that is not a detriment but an advantage. Poverty is an
incentive to endeavor, not a drawback. Better to be born with a good,
working brain in your head than with a gold spoon in your mouth. If the
world had been depending on the so-called pets of fortune it would have
deteriorated long ago.

From the pits of poverty, from the arenas of suffering, from the hovels
of neglect, from the backwood cabins of obscurity, from the lanes and
by-ways of oppression, from the dingy garrets and basements of unending
toil and drudgery have come men and women who have made history, made the
world brighter, better, higher, holier for their existence in it, made of
it a place good to live in and worthy to die in,--men and women who have
hallowed it by their footsteps and sanctified it with their presence and
in many cases consecrated it with their blood. Poverty is a blessing, not
an evil, a benison from the Father's hand if accepted in the right spirit.
Instead of retarding, it has elevated literature in all ages. Homer was a
blind beggarman singing his snatches of song for the dole of charity;
grand old Socrates, oracle of wisdom, many a day went without his dinner
because he had not the wherewithal to get it, while teaching the youth of
Athens. The divine Dante was nothing better than a beggar, houseless,
homeless, friendless, wandering through Italy while he composed his
immortal cantos. Milton, who in his blindness "looked where angels fear
to tread," was steeped in poverty while writing his sublime conception,
"Paradise Lost." Shakespeare was glad to hold and water the horses of
patrons outside the White Horse Theatre for a few pennies in order to buy
bread. Burns burst forth in never-dying song while guiding the ploughshare.
Poor Heinrich Heine, neglected and in poverty, from his "mattress grave"
of suffering in Paris added literary laurels to the wreath of his German
Fatherland. In America Elihu Burritt, while attending the anvil, made
himself a master of a score of languages and became the literary lion of
his age and country.

In other fields of endeavor poverty has been the spur to action. Napoleon
was born in obscurity, the son of a hand-to-mouth scrivener in the backward
island of Corsica. Abraham Lincoln, the boast and pride of America, the
man who made this land too hot for the feet of slaves, came from a log
cabin in the Ohio backwoods. So did James A. Garfield. Ulysses Grant came
from a tanyard to become the world's greatest general. Thomas A. Edison
commenced as a newsboy on a railway train.

The examples of these men are incentives to action. Poverty thrust them
forward instead of keeping them back. Therefore, if you are poor make
your circumstances a means to an end. Have ambition, keep a goal in sight
and bend every energy to reach that goal. A story is told of Thomas
Carlyle the day he attained the highest honor the literary world could
confer upon him when he was elected Lord Rector of Edinburgh University.
After his installation speech, in going through the halls, he met a
student seemingly deep in study. In his own peculiar, abrupt, crusty way
the Sage of Chelsea interrogated the young man: "For what profession are
you studying?" "I don't know," returned the youth. "You don't know,"
thundered Carlyle, "young man, you are a fool." Then he went on to
qualify his vehement remark, "My boy when I was your age, I was stooped
in grinding, gripping poverty in the little village of Ecclefechan, in
the wilds of [Transcriber's note: Part of word illegible]-frieshire,
where in all the place only the minister and myself could read the Bible,
yet poor and obscure as I was, in my mind's eye I saw a chair awaiting
for me in the Temple of Fame and day and night and night and day I
studied until I sat in that chair to-day as Lord Rector of Edinburgh

Another Scotchman, Robert Buchanan, the famous novelist, set out for
London from Glasgow with but half-a-crown in his pocket. "Here goes,"
said he, "for a grave in Westminster Abbey." He was not much of a
scholar, but his ambition carried him on and he became one of the great
literary lions of the world's metropolis.

Henry M. Stanley was a poorhouse waif whose real name was John Rowlands.
He was brought up in a Welsh workhouse, but he had ambition, so he rose
to be a great explorer, a great writer, became a member of Parliament and
was knighted by the British Sovereign.

Have ambition to succeed and you will succeed. Cut the word "failure" out
of your lexicon. Don't acknowledge it. Remember

  "In life's earnest battle they only prevail
   Who daily march onward and never say fail."

Let every obstacle you encounter be but a stepping stone in the path of
onward progress to the goal of success.

If untoward circumstances surround you, resolve to overcome them. Bunyan
wrote the "Pilgrim's Progress" in Bedford jail on scraps of wrapping
paper while he was half starved on a diet of bread and water. That
unfortunate American genius, Edgar Allan Poe, wrote "The Raven," the most
wonderful conception as well as the most highly artistic poem in all
English literature, in a little cottage in the Fordham section of New
York while he was in the direst straits of want. Throughout all his short
and wonderfully brilliant career, poor Poe never had a dollar he could
call his own. Such, however, was both his fault and his misfortune and he
is a bad exemplar.

Don't think that the knowledge of a library of books is essential to
success as a writer. Often a multiplicity of books is confusing. Master a
few good books and master them well and you will have all that is
necessary. A great authority has said: "Beware of the man of one book,"
which means that a man of one book is a master of the craft. It is
claimed that a thorough knowledge of the Bible alone will make any person
a master of literature. Certain it is that the Bible and Shakespeare
constitute an epitome of the essentials of knowledge. Shakespeare
gathered the fruitage of all who went before him, he has sown the seeds
for all who shall ever come after him. He was the great intellectual
ocean whose waves touch the continents of all thought.

Books are cheap now-a-days, the greatest works, thanks to the printing
press, are within the reach of all, and the more you read, the better,
provided they are worth reading. Sometimes a man takes poison into his
system unconscious of the fact that it is poison, as in the case of
certain foods, and it is very hard to throw off its effects. Therefore,
be careful in your choice of reading matter. If you cannot afford a full
library, and as has been said, such is not necessary, select a few of the
great works of the master minds, assimilate and digest them, so that they
will be of advantage to your literary system. Elsewhere in this volume is
given a list of some of the world's masterpieces from which you can make
a selection.

Your brain is a storehouse, don't put useless furniture into it to crowd
it to the exclusion of what is useful. Lay up only the valuable and
serviceable kind which you can call into requisition at any moment.

As it is necessary to study the best authors in order to be a writer, so
it is necessary to study the best speakers in order to talk with
correctness and in good style. To talk rightly you must imitate the
masters of oral speech. Listen to the best conversationalists and how
they express themselves. Go to hear the leading lectures, speeches and
sermons. No need to imitate the gestures of elocution, it is nature, not
art, that makes the elocutionist and the orator. It is not _how_ a
speaker expresses himself but the language which he uses and the manner
of its use which should interest you. Have you heard the present day
masters of speech? There have been past time masters but their tongues
are stilled in the dust of the grave, and you can only read their
eloquence now. You can, however, listen to the charm of the living. To
many of us voices still speak from the grave, voices to which we have
listened when fired with the divine essence of speech. Perhaps you have
hung with rapture on the words of Beecher and Talmage. Both thrilled the
souls of men and won countless thousands over to a living gospel. Both
were masters of words, they scattered the flowers of rhetoric on the
shrine of eloquence and hurled veritable bouquets at their audiences
which were eagerly seized by the latter and treasured in the storehouse
of memory. Both were scholars and philosophers, yet they were far surpassed
by Spurgeon, a plain man of the people with little or no claim to
education in the modern sense of the word. Spurgeon by his speech
attracted thousands to his Tabernacle. The Protestant and Catholic, Turk,
Jew and Mohammedan rushed to hear him and listened, entranced, to his
language. Such another was Dwight L. Moody, the greatest Evangelist the
world has ever known. Moody was not a man of learning; he commenced life
as a shoe salesman in Chicago, yet no man ever lived who drew such
audiences and so fascinated them with the spell of his speech. "Oh, that
was personal magnetism," you will say, but it was nothing of the kind. It
was the burning words that fell from the lips of these men, and the way,
the manner, the force with which they used those words that counted and
attracted the crowds to listen unto them. Personal magnetism or personal
appearance entered not as factors into their success. Indeed as far as
physique were concerned, some of them were handicapped. Spurgeon was a
short, podgy, fat little man, Moody was like a country farmer, Talmage in
his big cloak was one of the most slovenly of men and only Beecher was
passable in the way of refinement and gentlemanly bearing. Physical
appearance, as so many think, is not the sesame to the interest of an
audience. Daniel O'Connell, the Irish tribune, was a homely, ugly,
awkward, ungainly man, yet his words attracted millions to his side and
gained for him the hostile ear of the British Parliament, he was a master
of verbiage and knew just what to say to captivate his audiences.

It is words and their placing that count on almost all occasions. No
matter how refined in other respects the person may be, if he use words
wrongly and express himself in language not in accordance with a proper
construction, he will repel you, whereas the man who places his words
correctly and employs language in harmony with the laws of good speech,
let him be ever so humble, will attract and have an influence over you.

The good speaker, the correct speaker, is always able to command
attention and doors are thrown open to him which remain closed to others
not equipped with a like facility of expression. The man who can talk
well and to the point need never fear to go idle. He is required in
nearly every walk of life and field of human endeavor, the world wants
him at every turn. Employers are constantly on the lookout for good
talkers, those who are able to attract the public and convince others by
the force of their language. A man may be able, educated, refined, of
unblemished character, nevertheless if he lack the power to express
himself, put forth his views in good and appropriate speech he has to
take a back seat, while some one with much less ability gets the
opportunity to come to the front because he can clothe his ideas in ready
words and talk effectively.

You may again say that nature, not art, makes a man a fluent speaker; to
a great degree this is true, but it is _art_ that makes him a _correct_
speaker, and correctness leads to fluency. It is possible for everyone to
become a correct speaker if he will but persevere and take a little pains
and care.

At the risk of repetition good advice may be here emphasized: Listen to
the best speakers and note carefully the words which impress you most.
Keep a notebook and jot down words, phrases, sentences that are in any
way striking or out of the ordinary run. If you do not understand the
exact meaning of a word you have heard, look it up in the dictionary.
There are many words, called synonyms, which have almost a like
signification, nevertheless, when examined they express different shades
of meaning and in some cases, instead of being close related, are widely
divergent. Beware of such words, find their exact meaning and learn to
use them in their right places.

Be open to criticism, don't resent it but rather invite it and look upon
those as friends who point out your defects in order that you may remedy



Origin--American Slang--Foreign Slang

Slang is more or less common in nearly all ranks of society and in every
walk of life at the present day. Slang words and expressions have crept
into our everyday language, and so insiduously, that they have not been
detected by the great majority of speakers, and so have become part and
parcel of their vocabulary on an equal footing with the legitimate words
of speech. They are called upon to do similar service as the ordinary
words used in everyday conversation--to express thoughts and desires and
convey meaning from one to another. In fact, in some cases, slang has
become so useful that it has far outstripped classic speech and made for
itself such a position in the vernacular that it would be very hard in
some cases to get along without it. Slang words have usurped the place of
regular words of language in very many instances and reign supreme in
their own strength and influence.

Cant and slang are often confused in the popular mind, yet they are not
synonymous, though very closely allied, and proceeding from a common
Gypsy origin. Cant is the language of a certain class--the peculiar
phraseology or dialect of a certain craft, trade or profession, and is
not readily understood save by the initiated of such craft, trade or
profession. It may be correct, according to the rules of grammar, but it
is not universal; it is confined to certain parts and localities and is
only intelligible to those for whom it is intended. In short, it is an
esoteric language which only the initiated can understand. The jargon, or
patter, of thieves is cant and it is only understood by thieves who have
been let into its significance; the initiated language of professional
gamblers is cant, and is only intelligible to gamblers.

On the other hand, slang, as it is nowadays, belongs to no particular class
but is scattered all over and gets _entre_ into every kind of society and
is understood by all where it passes current in everyday expression. Of
course, the nature of the slang, to a great extent, depends upon the
locality, as it chiefly is concerned with colloquialisms or words and
phrases common to a particular section. For instance, the slang of London
is slightly different from that of New York, and some words in the one city
may be unintelligible in the other, though well understood in that in which
they are current. Nevertheless, slang may be said to be universally
understood. "To kick the bucket," "to cross the Jordan," "to hop the twig"
are just as expressive of the departing from life in the backwoods of
America or the wilds of Australia as they are in London or Dublin.

Slang simply consists of words and phrases which pass current but are not
refined, nor elegant enough, to be admitted into polite speech or
literature whenever they are recognized as such. But, as has been said, a
great many use slang without their knowing it as slang and incorporate it
into their everyday speech and conversation.

Some authors purposely use slang to give emphasis and spice in familiar and
humorous writing, but they should not be imitated by the tyro. A master,
such as Dickens, is forgivable, but in the novice it is unpardonable.

There are several kinds of slang attached to different professions and
classes of society. For instance, there is college slang, political
slang, sporting slang, etc. It is the nature of slang to circulate freely
among all classes, yet there are several kinds of this current form of
language corresponding to the several classes of society. The two great
divisions of slang are the vulgar of the uneducated and coarse-minded,
and the high-toned slang of the so-called upper classes--the educated and
the wealthy. The hoyden of the gutter does not use the same slang as my
lady in her boudoir, but both use it, and so expressive is it that the
one might readily understand the other if brought in contact. Therefore,
there are what may be styled an ignorant slang and an educated slang--the
one common to the purlieus and the alleys, the other to the parlor and
the drawing-room.

In all cases the object of slang is to express an idea in a more vigorous,
piquant and terse manner than standard usage ordinarily admits. A school
girl, when she wants to praise a baby, exclaims: "Oh, isn't he awfully
cute!" To say that he is very nice would be too weak a way to express her
admiration. When a handsome girl appears on the street an enthusiastic
masculine admirer, to express his appreciation of her beauty, tells you:
"She is a peach, a bird, a cuckoo," any of which accentuates his
estimation of the young lady and is much more emphatic than saying: "She
is a beautiful girl," "a handsome maiden," or "lovely young woman."

When a politician defeats his rival he will tell you "it was a cinch," he
had a "walk-over," to impress you how easy it was to gain the victory.

Some slang expressions are of the nature of metaphors and are highly
figurative. Such are "to pass in your checks," "to hold up," "to pull the
wool over your eyes," "to talk through your hat," "to fire out," "to go
back on," "to make yourself solid with," "to have a jag on," "to be
loaded," "to freeze on to," "to bark up the wrong tree," "don't monkey
with the buzz-saw," and "in the soup." Most slang had a bad origin. The
greater part originated in the cant of thieves' Latin, but it broke away
from this cant of malefactors in time and gradually evolved itself from
its unsavory past until it developed into a current form of expressive
speech. Some slang, however, can trace its origin back to very
respectable sources.

"Stolen fruits are sweet" may be traced to the Bible in sentiment.
Proverbs, ix:17 has it: "Stolen waters are sweet." "What are you giving
me," supposed to be a thorough Americanism, is based upon Genesis,
xxxviii:16. The common slang, "a bad man," in referring to Western
desperadoes, in almost the identical sense now used, is found in
Spenser's _Faerie Queen_, Massinger's play _"A New Way to Pay Old
Debts,_" and in Shakespeare's _"King Henry VIII_." The expression "to
blow on," meaning to inform, is in Shakespeare's _"As You Like it_."
"It's all Greek to me" is traceable to the play of _"Julius Caesar_."
"All cry and no wool" is in Butler's _"Hudibras_." "Pious frauds,"
meaning hypocrites, is from the same source. "Too thin," referring to an
excuse, is from Smollett's "_Peregrine Pickle_." Shakespeare also used

America has had a large share in contributing to modern slang. "The
heathen Chinee," and "Ways that are dark, and tricks that are vain," are
from Bret Harte's _Truthful James_. "Not for Joe," arose during the Civil
War when one soldier refused to give a drink to another. "Not if I know
myself" had its origin in Chicago. "What's the matter with----? He's all
right," had its beginning in Chicago also and first was "What's the
matter with Hannah." referring to a lazy domestic servant. "There's
millions in it," and "By a large majority" come from Mark Twain's _Gilded
Age_. "Pull down your vest," "jim-jams," "got 'em bad," "that's what's
the matter," "go hire a hall," "take in your sign," "dry up," "hump
yourself," "it's the man around the corner," "putting up a job," "put a
head on him," "no back talk," "bottom dollar," "went off on his ear,"
"chalk it down," "staving him off," "making it warm," "dropping him
gently," "dead gone," "busted," "counter jumper," "put up or shut up,"
"bang up," "smart Aleck," "too much jaw," "chin-music," "top heavy,"
"barefooted on the top of the head," "a little too fresh," "champion
liar," "chief cook and bottle washer," "bag and baggage," "as fine as
silk," "name your poison," "died with his boots on," "old hoss," "hunkey
dorey," "hold your horses," "galoot" and many others in use at present
are all Americanisms in slang.

California especially has been most fecund in this class of figurative
language. To this State we owe "go off and die," "don't you forget it,"
"rough deal," "square deal," "flush times," "pool your issues," "go bury
yourself," "go drown yourself," "give your tongue a vacation," "a bad
egg," "go climb a tree," "plug hats," "Dolly Vardens," "well fixed,"
"down to bed rock," "hard pan," "pay dirt," "petered out," "it won't
wash," "slug of whiskey," "it pans out well," and "I should smile."
"Small potatoes, and few in the hill," "soft snap," "all fired," "gol
durn it," "an up-hill job," "slick," "short cut," "guess not," "correct
thing" are Bostonisms. The terms "innocent," "acknowledge the corn,"
"bark up the wrong tree," "great snakes," "I reckon," "playing 'possum,"
"dead shot," had their origin in the Southern States. "Doggone it," "that
beats the Dutch," "you bet," "you bet your boots," sprang from New York.
"Step down and out" originated in the Beecher trial, just as
"brain-storm" originated in the Thaw trial.

Among the slang phrases that have come directly to us from England may be
mentioned "throw up the sponge," "draw it mild," "give us a rest," "dead
beat," "on the shelf," "up the spout," "stunning," "gift of the gab,"

The newspapers are responsible for a large part of the slang. Reporters,
staff writers, and even editors, put words and phrases into the mouths of
individuals which they never utter. New York is supposed to be the
headquarters of slang, particularly that portion of it known as the
Bowery. All transgressions and corruptions of language are supposed to
originate in that unclassic section, while the truth is that the laws of
polite English are as much violated on Fifth Avenue. Of course, the
foreign element mincing their "pidgin" English have given the Bowery an
unenviable reputation, but there are just as good speakers of the
vernacular on the Bowery as elsewhere in the greater city. Yet every
inexperienced newspaper reporter thinks that it is incumbent on him to
hold the Bowery up to ridicule and laughter, so he sits down, and out of
his circumscribed brain, mutilates the English tongue (he can rarely coin
a word), and blames the mutilation on the Bowery.

'Tis the same with newspapers and authors, too, detracting the Irish
race. Men and women who have never seen the green hills of Ireland, paint
Irish characters as boors and blunderers and make them say ludicrous
things and use such language as is never heard within the four walls of
Ireland. 'Tis very well known that Ireland is the most learned country on
the face of the earth--is, and has been. The schoolmaster has been abroad
there for hundreds, almost thousands, of years, and nowhere else in the
world to-day is the king's English spoken so purely as in the cities and
towns of the little Western Isle.

Current events, happenings of everyday life, often give rise to slang
words, and these, after a time, come into such general use that they take
their places in everyday speech like ordinary words and, as has been
said, their users forget that they once were slang. For instance, the
days of the Land League in Ireland originated the word _boycott_, which
was the name of a very unpopular landlord, Captain Boycott. The people
refused to work for him, and his crops rotted on the ground. From this
time any one who came into disfavor and whom his neighbors refused to
assist in any way was said to be boycotted. Therefore to boycott means to
punish by abandoning or depriving a person of the assistance of others.
At first it was a notoriously slang word, but now it is standard in the
English dictionaries.

Politics add to our slang words and phrases. From this source we get
"dark horse," "the gray mare is the better horse," "barrel of money,"
"buncombe," "gerrymander," "scalawag," "henchman," "logrolling," "pulling
the wires," "taking the stump," "machine," "slate," etc.

The money market furnishes us with "corner," "bull," "bear," "lamb,"
"slump," and several others.

The custom of the times and the requirements of current expression require
the best of us to use slang words and phrases on occasions. Often we do
not know they are slang, just as a child often uses profane words without
consciousness of their being so. We should avoid the use of slang as much
as possible, even when it serves to convey our ideas in a forceful
manner. And when it has not gained a firm foothold in current speech it
should be used not at all. Remember that most all slang is of vulgar
origin and bears upon its face the bend sinister of vulgarity. Of the
slang that is of good birth, pass it by if you can, for it is like a
broken-down gentleman, of little good to any one. Imitate the great
masters as much as you will in classical literature, but when it comes to
their slang, draw the line. Dean Swift, the great Irish satirist, coined
the word "phiz" for face. Don't imitate him. If you are speaking or
writing of the beauty of a lady's face don't call it her "phiz." The
Dean, as an intellectual giant, had a license to do so--you haven't.
Shakespeare used the word "flush" to indicate plenty of money. Well, just
remember there was only one Shakespeare, and he was the only one that had
a right to use that word in that sense. You'll never be a Shakespeare,
there will never be such another--Nature exhausted herself in producing
him. Bulwer used the word "stretch" for hang, as to stretch his neck.
Don't follow his example in such use of the word. Above all, avoid the
low, coarse, vulgar slang, which is made to pass for wit among the
riff-raff of the street. If you are speaking or writing of a person
having died last night don't say or write: "He hopped the twig," or "he
kicked the bucket." If you are compelled to listen to a person discoursing
on a subject of which he knows little or nothing, don't say "He is
talking through his hat." If you are telling of having shaken hands with
Mr. Roosevelt don't say "He tipped me his flipper." If you are speaking
of a wealthy man don't say "He has plenty of spondulix," or "the long
green." All such slang is low, coarse and vulgar and is to be frowned
upon on any and every occasion.

If you use slang use the refined kind and use it like a gentleman, that
it will not hurt or give offense to any one. Cardinal Newman defined a
gentleman as he who never inflicts pain. Be a gentleman in your slang--
never inflict pain.



Qualification--Appropriate Subjects--Directions

The newspaper nowadays goes into every home in the land; what was
formerly regarded as a luxury is now looked upon as a necessity. No
matter how poor the individual, he is not too poor to afford a penny to
learn, not alone what is taking place around him in his own immediate
vicinity, but also what is happening in every quarter of the globe. The
laborer on the street can be as well posted on the news of the day as the
banker in his office. Through the newspaper he can feel the pulse of the
country and find whether its vitality is increasing or diminishing; he
can read the signs of the times and scan the political horizon for what
concerns his own interests. The doings of foreign countries are spread
before him and he can see at a glance the occurrences in the remotest
corners of earth. If a fire occurred in London last night he can read
about it at his breakfast table in New York this morning, and probably
get a better account than the Londoners themselves. If a duel takes place
in Paris he can read all about it even before the contestants have left
the field.

There are upwards of 3,000 daily newspapers in the United States, more
than 2,000 of which are published in towns containing less than 100,000
inhabitants. In fact, many places of less than 10,000 population can
boast the publishing of a daily newspaper. There are more than 15,000
weeklies published. Some of the so-called country papers wield quite an
influence in their localities, and even outside, and are money-making
agencies for their owners and those connected with them, both by way of
circulation and advertisements.

It is surprising the number of people in this country who make a living
in the newspaper field. Apart from the regular toilers there are thousands
of men and women who make newspaper work a side issue, who add tidy sums
of "pin money" to their incomes by occasional contributions to the daily,
weekly and monthly press. Most of these people are only persons of
ordinary, everyday ability, having just enough education to express
themselves intelligently in writing.

It is a mistake to imagine, as so many do, that an extended education is
necessary for newspaper work. Not at all! On the contrary, in some cases,
a high-class education is a hindrance, not a help in this direction. The
general newspaper does not want learned disquisitions nor philosophical
theses; as its name implies, it wants news, current news, interesting
news, something to appeal to its readers, to arouse them and rivet their
attention. In this respect very often a boy can write a better article
than a college professor. The professor would be apt to use words beyond
the capacity of most of the readers, while the boy, not knowing such
words, would probably simply tell what he saw, how great the damage was,
who were killed or injured, etc., and use language which all would

Of course, there are some brilliant scholars, deeply-read men and women
in the newspaper realm, but, on the whole, those who have made the
greatest names commenced ignorant enough and most of them graduated by
way of the country paper. Some of the leading writers of England and
America at the present time started their literary careers by contributing
to the rural press. They perfected and polished themselves as they went
along until they were able to make names for themselves in universal

If you want to contribute to newspapers or enter the newspaper field as a
means of livelihood, don't let lack of a college or university education
stand in your way. As has been said elsewhere in this book, some of the
greatest masters of English literature were men who had but little
advantage in the way of book learning. Shakespeare, Bunyan, Burns, and
scores of others, who have left their names indelibly inscribed on the
tablets of fame, had little to boast of in the way of book education, but
they had what is popularly known as "horse" sense and a good working
knowledge of the world; in other words, they understood human nature, and
were natural themselves. Shakespeare understood mankind because he was
himself a man; hence he has portrayed the feelings, the emotions, the
passions with a master's touch, delineating the king in his palace as true
to nature as he has done the peasant in his hut. The monitor within his own
breast gave him warning as to what was right and what was wrong, just as
the daemon ever by the side of old Socrates whispered in his ear the course
to pursue under any and all circumstances. Burns guiding the plough
conceived thoughts and clothed them in a language which has never, nor
probably never will be, surpassed by all the learning which art can confer.
These men were natural, and it was the perfection of this naturality that
wreathed their brows with the never-fading laurels of undying fame.

If you would essay to write for the newspaper you must be natural and
express yourself in your accustomed way without putting on airs or
frills; you must not ape ornaments and indulge in bombast or rhodomontade
which stamp a writer as not only superficial but silly. There is no room
for such in the everyday newspaper. It wants facts stated in plain,
unvarnished, unadorned language. True, you should read the best authors
and, as far as possible, imitate their style, but don't try to literally
copy them. Be yourself on every occasion--no one else.

  Not like Homer would I write,
  Not like Dante if I might,
  Not like Shakespeare at his best,
  Not like Goethe or the rest,
  Like myself, however small,
  Like myself, or not at all.

Put yourself in place of the reader and write what will interest yourself
and in such a way that your language will appeal to your own ideas of the
fitness of things. You belong to the _great_ commonplace majority,
therefore don't forget that in writing for the newspapers you are writing
for that majority and not for the learned and aesthetic minority.

Remember you are writing for the man on the street and in the street car,
you want to interest him, to compel him to read what you have to say. He
does not want a display of learning; he wants news about something which
concerns himself, and you must tell it to him in a plain, simple manner
just as you would do if you were face to face with him.

What can you write about? Why about anything that will constitute current
news, some leading event of the day, anything that will appeal to the
readers of the paper to which you wish to submit it. No matter in what
locality you may live, however backward it may be, you can always find
something of genuine human interest to others. If there is no news
happening, write of something that appeals to yourself. We are all
constituted alike, and the chances are that what will interest you will
interest others. Descriptions of adventure are generally acceptable. Tell
of a fox hunt, or a badger hunt, or a bear chase.

If there is any important manufacturing plant in your neighborhood
describe it and, if possible, get photographs, for photography plays a
very important part in the news items of to-day. If a "great" man lives
near you, one whose name is on the tip of every tongue, go and get an
interview with him, obtain his views on the public questions of the day,
describe his home life and his surroundings and how he spends his time.

Try and strike something germane to the moment, something that stands out
prominently in the limelight of the passing show. If a noted personage,
some famous man or woman, is visiting the country, it is a good time to
write up the place from which he or she comes and the record he or she has
made there. For instance, it was opportune to write of Sulu and the little
Pacific archipelago during the Sultan's trip through the country. If an
attempt is made to blow up an American battleship, say, in the harbor of
Appia, in Samoa, it affords a chance to write about Samoa and Robert Louis
Stephenson. When Manuel was hurled from the throne of Portugal it was a
ripe time to write of Portugal and Portuguese affairs. If any great
occurrence is taking place in a foreign country such as the crowning of a
king or the dethronement of a monarch, it is a good time to write up the
history of the country and describe the events leading up to the main
issue. When a particularly savage outbreak occurs amongst wild tribes in
the dependencies, such as a rising of the Manobos in the Philippines, it is
opportune to write of such tribes and their surroundings, and the causes
leading up to the revolt.

Be constantly on the lookout for something that will suit the passing
hour, read the daily papers and probably in some obscure corner you may
find something that will serve you as a foundation for a good article--
something, at least, that will give you a clue.

Be circumspect in your selection of a paper to which to submit your copy.
Know the tone and general import of the paper, its social leanings and
political affiliations, also its religious sentiments, and, in fact, all
the particulars you can regarding it. It would be injudicious for you to
send an article on a prize fight to a religious paper or, _vice versa_,
an account of a church meeting to the editor of a sporting sheet.

If you get your copy back don't be disappointed nor yet disheartened.
Perseverance counts more in the newspaper field than anywhere else, and
only perseverance wins in the long run. You must become resilient; if you
are pressed down, spring up again. No matter how many rebuffs you may
receive, be not discouraged but call fresh energy to your assistance and
make another stand. If the right stuff is in you it is sure to be
discovered; your light will not remain long hidden under a bushel in the
newspaper domain. If you can deliver the goods editors will soon be
begging you instead of your begging them. Those men are constantly on the
lookout for persons who can make good.

Once you get into print the battle is won, for it will be an incentive to
you to persevere and improve yourself at every turn. Go over everything
you write, cut and slash and prune until you get it into as perfect form
as possible. Eliminate every superfluous word and be careful to strike
out all ambiguous expressions and references.

If you are writing for a weekly paper remember it differs from a daily
one. Weeklies want what will not alone interest the man on the street,
but the woman at the fireside; they want out-of-the-way facts, curious
scraps of lore, personal notes of famous or eccentric people, reminiscences
of exciting experiences, interesting gleanings in life's numberless
by-ways, in short, anything that will entertain, amuse, instruct the home
circle. There is always something occurring in your immediate surroundings,
some curious event or thrilling episode that will furnish you with data
for an article. You must know the nature of the weekly to which you
submit your copy the same as you must know the daily. For instance, the
_Christian Herald_, while avowedly a religious weekly, treats such secular
matter as makes the paper appeal to all. On its religious side it is
_non-sectarian_, covering the broad field of Christianity throughout the
world; on its secular side it deals with human events in such an impartial
way that every one, no matter to what class they may belong or to what
creed they may subscribe, can take a living, personal interest.

The monthlies offer another attractive field for the literary aspirant.
Here, again, don't think you must be an university professor to write for a
monthly magazine. Many, indeed most, of the foremost magazine contributors
are men and women who have never passed through a college except by going
in at the front door and emerging from the back one. However, for the most
part, they are individuals of wide experience who know the practical side
of life as distinguished from the theoretical.

The ordinary monthly magazine treats of the leading questions and issues
which are engaging the attention of the world for the moment, great
inventions, great discoveries, whatever is engrossing the popular mind
for the time being, such as flying machines, battleships, sky-scrapers,
the opening of mines, the development of new lands, the political issues,
views of party leaders, character sketches of distinguished personages,
etc. However, before trying your skill for a monthly magazine it would be
well for you to have a good apprenticeship in writing for the daily

Above all things, remember that perseverance is the key that opens the
door of success. Persevere! If you are turned down don't get
disheartened; on the contrary, let the rebuff act as a stimulant to
further effort. Many of the most successful writers of our time have been
turned down again and again. For days and months, and even years, some of
them have hawked their wares from one literary door to another until they
found a purchaser. You may be a great writer in embryo, but you will
never develop into a fetus, not to speak of full maturity, unless you
bring out what is in you. Give yourself a chance to grow and seize upon
everything that will enlarge the scope of your horizon. Keep your eyes
wide open and there is not a moment of the day in which you will not see
something to interest you and in which you may be able to interest
others. Learn, too, how to read Nature's book. There's a lesson in
everything--in the stones, the grass, the trees, the babbling brooks and
the singing birds. Interpret the lesson for yourself, then teach it to
others. Always be in earnest in your writing; go about it in a determined
kind of way, don't be faint-hearted or backward, be brave, be brave, and
evermore be brave.

  On the wide, tented field in the battle of life,
    With an army of millions before you;
  Like a hero of old gird your soul for the strife
    And let not the foeman tramp o'er you;
  Act, act like a soldier and proudly rush on
    The most valiant in Bravery's van,
  With keen, flashing sword cut your way to the front
    And show to the world you're a _Man_.

If you are of the masculine gender be a man in all things in the highest
and best acceptation of the word. That is the noblest title you can
boast, higher far than that of earl or duke, emperor or king. In the same
way womanhood is the grandest crown the feminine head can wear. When the
world frowns on you and everything seems to go wrong, possess your soul
in patience and hope for the dawn of a brighter day. It will come. The
sun is always shining behind the darkest clouds. When you get your
manuscripts back again and again, don't despair, nor think the editor
cruel and unkind. He, too, has troubles of his own. Keep up your spirits
until you have made the final test and put your talents to a last analysis,
then if you find you cannot get into print be sure that newspaper writing
or literary work is not your _forte_, and turn to something else. If
nothing better presents itself, try shoemaking or digging ditches.
Remember honest labor, no matter how humble, is ever dignified. If you
are a woman throw aside the pen, sit down and darn your brother's, your
father's, or your husband's socks, or put on a calico apron, take soap
and water and scrub the floor. No matter who you are do something useful.
That old sophistry about the world owing you a living has been exploded
long ago. The world does not owe you a living, but you owe it servitude,
and if you do not pay the debt you are not serving the purpose of an
all-wise Providence and filling the place for which you were created. It
is for you to serve the world, to make it better, brighter, higher, holier,
grander, nobler, richer, for your having lived in it. This you can do in
no matter what position fortune has cast you, whether it be that of
street laborer or president. Fight the good fight and gain the victory.

  "Above all, to thine own self be true,
   And 'twill follow as the night the
   day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."



Small Words--Their Importance--The Anglo-Saxon Element

In another place in this book advice has been given to never use a long
word when a short one will serve the same purpose. This advice is to be
emphasized. Words of "learned length and thundering sound" should be
avoided on all possible occasions. They proclaim shallowness of intellect
and vanity of mind. The great purists, the masters of diction, the
exemplars of style, used short, simple words that all could understand;
words about which there could be no ambiguity as to meaning. It must be
remembered that by our words we teach others; therefore, a very great
responsibility rests upon us in regard to the use of a right language. We
must take care that we think and speak in a way so clear that there may
be no misapprehension or danger of conveying wrong impressions by vague
and misty ideas enunciated in terms which are liable to be misunderstood
by those whom we address. Words give a body or form to our ideas, without
which they are apt to be so foggy that we do not see where they are weak
or false. We must make the endeavor to employ such words as will put the
idea we have in our own mind into the mind of another. This is the
greatest art in the world--to clothe our ideas in words clear and
comprehensive to the intelligence of others. It is the art which the
teacher, the minister, the lawyer, the orator, the business man, must
master if they would command success in their various fields of endeavor.
It is very hard to convey an idea to, and impress it on, another when he
has but a faint conception of the language in which the idea is expressed;
but it is impossible to convey it at all when the words in which it is
clothed are unintelligible to the listener.

If we address an audience of ordinary men and women in the English
language, but use such words as they cannot comprehend, we might as well
speak to them in Coptic or Chinese, for they will derive no benefit from
our address, inasmuch as the ideas we wish to convey are expressed in
words which communicate no intelligent meaning to their minds.

Long words, learned words, words directly derived from other languages
are only understood by those who have had the advantages of an extended
education. All have not had such advantages. The great majority in this
grand and glorious country of ours have to hustle for a living from an
early age. Though education is free, and compulsory also, very many never
get further than the "Three R's." These are the men with whom we have to
deal most in the arena of life, the men with the horny palms and the iron
muscles, the men who build our houses, construct our railroads, drive our
street cars and trains, till our fields, harvest our crops--in a word,
the men who form the foundation of all society, the men on whom the world
depends to make its wheels go round. The language of the colleges and
universities is not for them and they can get along very well without it;
they have no need for it at all in their respective callings. The plain,
simple words of everyday life, to which the common people have been used
around their own firesides from childhood, are the words we must use in
our dealings with them.

Such words are understood by them and understood by the learned as well;
why then not use them universally and all the time? Why make a one-sided
affair of language by using words which only one class of the people, the
so-called learned class, can understand? Would it not be better to use,
on all occasions, language which the both classes can understand? If we
take the trouble to investigate we shall find that the men who exerted
the greatest sway over the masses and the multitude as orators, lawyers,
preachers and in other public capacities, were men who used very simple
language. Daniel Webster was among the greatest orators this country has
produced. He touched the hearts of senates and assemblages, of men and
women with the burning eloquence of his words. He never used a long word
when he could convey the same, or nearly the same, meaning with a short
one. When he made a speech he always told those who put it in form for
the press to strike out every long word. Study his speeches, go over all
he ever said or wrote, and you will find that his language was always
made up of short, clear, strong terms, although at times, for the sake of
sound and oratorical effect, he was compelled to use a rather long word,
but it was always against his inclination to do so, and where was the man
who could paint, with words, as Webster painted! He could picture things
in a way so clear that those who heard him felt that they had seen that
of which he spoke.

Abraham Lincoln was another who stirred the souls of men, yet he was not
an orator, not a scholar; he did not write M.A. or Ph.D. after his name,
or any other college degree, for he had none. He graduated from the
University of Hard Knocks, and he never forgot this severe _Alma Mater_
when he became President of the United States. He was just as plain, I
just as humble, as in the days when he split rails or plied a boat on the
Sangamon. He did not use big words, but he used the words of the people,
and in such a way as to make them beautiful. His Gettysburg address is an
English classic, one of the great masterpieces of the language.

From the mere fact that a word is short it does not follow that it is
always clear, but it is true that nearly all clear words are short, and
that most of the long words, especially those which we get from other
languages, are misunderstood to a great extent by the ordinary rank and
file of the people. Indeed, it is to be doubted if some of the "scholars"
using them, fully understand their import on occasions. A great many such
words admit of several interpretations. A word has to be in use a great
deal before people get thoroughly familiar with its meaning. Long words,
not alone obscure thought and make the ideas hazy, but at times they tend
to mix up things in such a way that positively harmful results follow
from their use.

For instance, crime can be so covered with the folds of long words as to
give it a different appearance. Even the hideousness of sin can be cloaked
with such words until its outlines look like a thing of beauty. When a bank
cashier makes off with a hundred thousand dollars we politely term his
crime _defalcation_ instead of plain _theft_, and instead of calling
himself a _thief_ we grandiosely allude to him as a _defaulter_. When we
see a wealthy man staggering along a fashionable thoroughfare under the
influence of alcohol, waving his arms in the air and shouting boisterously,
we smile and say, poor gentleman, he is somewhat _exhilarated_; or at worst
we say, he is slightly _inebriated_; but when we see a poor man who has
fallen from grace by putting an "enemy into his mouth to steal away his
brain" we express our indignation in the simple language of the words:
"Look at the wretch; he is dead drunk."

When we find a person in downright lying we cover the falsehood with the
finely-spun cloak of the word _prevarication_. Shakespeare says, "a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet," and by a similar sequence, a
lie, no matter by what name you may call it, is always a lie and should
be condemned; then why not simply call it a lie? Mean what you say and
say what you mean; call a spade a spade, it is the best term you can
apply to the implement.

When you try to use short words and shun long ones in a little while you
will find that you can do so with ease. A farmer was showing a horse to a
city-bred gentleman. The animal was led into a paddock in which an old
sow-pig was rooting. "What a fine quadruped!" exclaimed the city man.

"Which of the two do you mean, the pig or the horse?" queried the farmer,
"for, in my opinion, both of them are fine quadrupeds."

Of course the visitor meant the horse, so it would have been much better
had he called the animal by its simple; ordinary name--, there would have
been no room for ambiguity in his remark. He profited, however, by the
incident, and never called a horse a quadruped again.

Most of the small words, the simple words, the beautiful words which
express so much within small bounds belong to the pure Anglo-Saxon element
of our language. This element has given names to the heavenly bodies, the
sun, moon and stars; to three out of the four elements, earth, fire and
water; three out of the four seasons, spring, summer and winter. Its simple
words are applied to all the natural divisions of time, except one, as day,
night, morning, evening, twilight, noon, mid-day, midnight, sunrise and
sunset. The names of light, heat, cold, frost, rain, snow, hail, sleet,
thunder, lightning, as well as almost all those objects which form the
component parts of the beautiful, as expressed in external scenery, such as
sea and land, hill and dale, wood and stream, etc., are Anglo-Saxon. To
this same language we are indebted for those words which express the
earliest and dearest connections, and the strongest and most powerful
feelings of Nature, and which, as a consequence, are interwoven with the
fondest and most hallowed associations. Of such words are father, mother,
husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, child, home, kindred,
friend, hearth, roof and fireside.

The chief emotions of which we are susceptible are expressed in the same
language--love, hope, fear, sorrow, shame, and also the outward signs by
which these emotions are indicated, as tear, smile, laugh, blush, weep,
sigh, groan. Nearly all our national proverbs are Anglo-Saxon. Almost all
the terms and phrases by which we most energetically express anger,
contempt and indignation are of the same origin.

What are known as the Smart Set and so-called polite society, are
relegating a great many of our old Anglo-Saxon words into the shade,
faithful friends who served their ancestors well. These self-appointed
arbiters of diction regard some of the Anglo-Saxon words as too coarse, too
plebeian for their aesthetic tastes and refined ears, so they are
eliminating them from their vocabulary and replacing them with mongrels of
foreign birth and hybrids of unknown origin. For the ordinary people,
however, the man in the street or in the field, the woman in the kitchen or
in the factory, they are still tried and true and, like old friends, should
be cherished and preferred to all strangers, no matter from what source the
latter may spring.



Beginning--Different Sources--The Present

The English language is the tongue now current in England and her colonies
throughout the world and also throughout the greater part of the United
States of America. It sprang from the German tongue spoken by the Teutons,
who came over to Britain after the conquest of that country by the Romans.
These Teutons comprised Angles, Saxons, Jutes and several other tribes
from the northern part of Germany. They spoke different dialects, but
these became blended in the new country, and the composite tongue came to
be known as the Anglo-Saxon which has been the main basis for the language
as at present constituted and is still the prevailing element. Therefore
those who are trying to do away with some of the purely Anglo-Saxon
words, on the ground that they are not refined enough to express their
aesthetic ideas, are undermining main props which are necessary for the
support of some important parts in the edifice of the language.

The Anglo-Saxon element supplies the essential parts of speech, the
article, pronoun of all kinds, the preposition, the auxiliary verbs, the
conjunctions, and the little particles which bind words into sentences and
form the joints, sinews and ligaments of the language. It furnishes the
most indispensable words of the vocabulary. (See Chap. XIII.) Nowhere is
the beauty of Anglo-Saxon better illustrated than in the Lord's Prayer.
Fifty-four words are pure Saxon and the remaining ones could easily be
replaced by Saxon words. The gospel of St. John is another illustration of
the almost exclusive use of Anglo-Saxon words. Shakespeare, at his best, is
Anglo-Saxon. Here is a quotation from the _Merchant of Venice_, and of the
fifty-five words fifty-two are Anglo-Saxon, the remaining three French:

  All that glitters is not gold--
  Often have you heard that told;
    Many a man his life hath sold,
    But my outside to behold.
  Guilded _tombs_ do worms infold.
    Had you been as wise as bold,
    Young in limbs, in _judgment_ old,
    Your answer had not been inscrolled--
  Fare you well, your _suit_ is cold.

The lines put into the mouth of Hamlet's father in fierce intenseness,
second only to Dante's inscription on the gate of hell, have one hundred
and eight Anglo-Saxon and but fifteen Latin words.

The second constituent element of present English is Latin which comprises
those words derived directly from the old Roman and those which came
indirectly through the French. The former were introduced by the Roman
Christians, who came to England at the close of the sixth century under
Augustine, and relate chiefly to ecclesiastical affairs, such as saint from
_sanctus_, religion from _religio_, chalice from _calix_, mass from
_missa_, etc. Some of them had origin in Greek, as priest from _presbyter_,
which in turn was a direct derivative from the Greek _presbuteros_, also
deacon from the Greek _diakonos_.

The largest class of Latin words are those which came through the
Norman-French, or Romance. The Normans had adopted, with the Christian
religion, the language, laws and arts of the Romanized Gauls and Romanized
Franks, and after a residence of more than a century in France they
successfully invaded England in 1066 under William the Conqueror and a new
era began. The French Latinisms can be distinguished by the spelling. Thus
Saviour comes from the Latin _Salvator_ through the French _Sauveur_;
judgment from the Latin _judiclum_ through the French _jugement_; people,
from the Latin _populus_, through the French _peuple_, etc.

For a long time the Saxon and Norman tongues refused to coalesce and were
like two distinct currents flowing in different directions. Norman was
spoken by the lords and barons in their feudal castles, in parliament and
in the courts of justice. Saxon by the people in their rural homes, fields
and workshops. For more than three hundred years the streams flowed apart,
but finally they blended, taking in the Celtic and Danish elements, and as
a result came the present English language with its simple system of
grammatical inflection and its rich vocabulary.

The father of English prose is generally regarded as Wycliffe, who
translated the Bible in 1380, while the paternal laurels in the secular
poetical field are twined around the brows of Chaucer.

Besides the Germanic and Romanic, which constitute the greater part of
the English language, many other tongues have furnished their quota. Of
these the Celtic is perhaps the oldest. The Britons at Caesar's invasion,
were a part of the Celtic family. The Celtic idiom is still spoken in two
dialects, the Welsh in Wales, and the Gaelic in Ireland and the Highlands
of Scotland. The Celtic words in English, are comparatively few; cart,
dock, wire, rail, rug, cradle, babe, grown, griddle, lad, lass, are some
in most common use.

The Danish element dates from the piratical invasions of the ninth and
tenth centuries. It includes anger, awe, baffle, bang, bark, bawl,
blunder, boulder, box, club, crash, dairy, dazzle, fellow, gable, gain,
ill, jam, kidnap, kill, kidney, kneel, limber, litter, log, lull, lump,
mast, mistake, nag, nasty, niggard, horse, plough, rug, rump, sale,
scald, shriek, skin, skull, sledge, sleigh, tackle, tangle, tipple,
trust, viking, window, wing, etc.

From the Hebrew we have a large number of proper names from Adam and Eve
down to John and Mary and such words as Messiah, rabbi, hallelujah,
cherub, seraph, hosanna, manna, satan, Sabbath, etc.

Many technical terms and names of branches of learning come from the Greek.
In fact, nearly all the terms of learning and art, from the alphabet to the
highest peaks of metaphysics and theology, come directly from the Greek--
philosophy, logic, anthropology, psychology, aesthetics, grammar,
rhetoric, history, philology, mathematics, arithmetic, astronomy, anatomy,
geography, stenography, physiology, architecture, and hundreds more in
similar domains; the subdivisions and ramifications of theology as
exegesis, hermeneutics, apologetics, polemics, dogmatics, ethics,
homiletics, etc., are all Greek.

The Dutch have given us some modern sea terms, as sloop, schooner, yacht
and also a number of others as boom, bush, boor, brandy, duck, reef,
skate, wagon. The Dutch of Manhattan island gave us boss, the name for
employer or overseer, also cold slaa (cut cabbage and vinegar), and a
number of geographical terms.

Many of our most pleasing euphonic words, especially in the realm of
music, have been given to us directly from the Italian. Of these are
piano, violin, orchestra, canto, allegro, piazza, gazette, umbrella,
gondola, bandit, etc.

Spanish has furnished us with alligator, alpaca, bigot, cannibal, cargo,
filibuster, freebooter, guano, hurricane, mosquito, negro, stampede,
potato, tobacco, tomato, tariff, etc.

From Arabic we have several mathematical, astronomical, medical and
chemical terms as alcohol, alcove, alembic, algebra, alkali, almanac,
assassin, azure, cipher, elixir, harem, hegira, sofa, talisman, zenith
and zero.

Bazaar, dervish, lilac, pagoda, caravan, scarlet, shawl, tartar, tiara
and peach have come to us from the Persian.

Turban, tulip, divan and firman are Turkish.

Drosky, knout, rouble, steppe, ukase are Russian.

The Indians have helped us considerably and the words they have given us
are extremely euphonic as exemplified in the names of many of our rivers
and States, as Mississippi, Missouri, Minnehaha, Susquehanna, Monongahela,
Niagara, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Nebraska, Dakota, etc. In
addition to these proper names we have from the Indians wigwam, squaw,
hammock, tomahawk, canoe, mocassin, hominy, etc.

There are many hybrid words in English, that is, words, springing from two
or more different languages. In fact, English has drawn from all sources,
and it is daily adding to its already large family, and not alone is it
adding to itself, but it is spreading all over the world and promises to
take in the entire human family beneath its folds ere long. It is the
opinion of many that English, in a short time, will become the universal
language. It is now being taught as a branch of the higher education in the
best colleges and universities of Europe and in all commercial cities in
every land throughout the world. In Asia it follows the British sway and
the highways of commerce through the vast empire of East India with its two
hundred and fifty millions of heathen and Mohammedan inhabitants. It is
largely used in the seaports of Japan and China, and the number of natives
of these countries who are learning it is increasing every day. It is
firmly established in South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and in many of
the islands of the Indian and South Seas. It is the language of Australia,
New Zealand, Tasmania, and Christian missionaries are introducing it into
all the islands of Polynesia. It may be said to be the living commercial
language of the North American continent, from Baffin's Bay to the Gulf of
Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and it is spoken largely in
many of the republics of South America. It is not limited by parallels of
latitude, or meridians of longitude. The two great English-speaking
countries, England and the United States, are disseminating it north,
south, east and west over the entire world.



Great Authors--Classification--The World's Best Books.

The Bible is the world's greatest book. Apart from its character as a work
of divine revelation, it is the most perfect literature extant.

Leaving out the Bible the three greatest works are those of Homer, Dante
and Shakespeare. These are closely followed by the works of Virgil and


Homer, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Goethe.

(The best translation of _Homer_ for the ordinary reader is by Chapman.
Norton's translation of _Dante_ and Taylor's translation of Goethe's
_Faust_ are recommended.)


Besides the works mentioned everyone should endeavor to have the following:

_Plutarch's Lives_, _Meditations of Marcus Aurelius_, _Chaucer_, _Imitation
of Christ_ (Thomas a Kempis), _Holy Living and Holy Dying_ (Jeremy Taylor),
_Pilgrim's Progress, Macaulay's Essays, Bacon's Essays, Addison's Essays,
Essays of Elia_ (Charles Lamb), _Les Miserables_ (Hugo), _Heroes and Hero
Worship_ (Carlyle), _Palgrave's Golden Treasury_, _Wordsworth_, _Vicar of
Wakefield_, _Adam Bede_ (George Eliot), _Vanity Fair_ (Thackeray),
_Ivanhoe_ (Scott), _On the Heights_ (Auerbach), _Eugenie Grandet_ (Balzac),
_Scarlet Letter_ (Hawthorne), _Emerson's Essays_, _Boswell's Life of
Johnson_, _History of the English People_ (Green), _Outlines of Universal
History, Origin of Species, Montaigne's Essays, Longfellow, Tennyson,
Browning, Whittier, Ruskin, Herbert Spencer_.

A good encyclopoedia is very desirable and a reliable dictionary


_Scarlet Letter, Parkman's Histories, Motley's Dutch Republic, Grant's
Memoirs, Franklin's Autobiography, Webster's Speeches, Lowell's Bigelow
Papers_, also his _Critical Essays_, _Thoreau's Walden_, _Leaves of Grass_
(Whitman), _Leather-stocking Tales_ (Cooper), _Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table_, _Ben Hur_ and _Uncle Tom's Cabin_.


Bryant, Poe, Whittier, Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Whitman, Lanier,
Aldrich and Stoddard.


Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley,
Tennyson, Browning.


Bacon, Addison, Steele, Macaulay, Lamb, Jeffrey, De Quincey, Carlyle,
Thackeray and Matthew Arnold.


In order of merit are: _Hamlet_, _King Lear_, _Othello_, _Antony and
Cleopatra_, _Macbeth_, _Merchant of Venice_, _Henry IV_, _As You Like It_,
_Winter's Tale_, _Romeo and Juliet_, _Midsummer Night's Dream_, _Twelfth
Night_, _Tempest_.


If you are not able to procure a library of the great masterpieces, get
at least a few. Read them carefully, intelligently and with a view to
enlarging your own literary horizon. Remember a good book cannot be read
too often, one of a deteriorating influence should not be read at all.
In literature, as in all things else, the good alone should prevail.

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