Imágenes de páginas

tion is to connect the parts of a discourse together, and of an adverb to express some circumstances of an action, &c. yet, in some instances, the same word may seem to answer both these purposes ; in which case it is not very material, whether we call it an adverb, ora conjunction,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ELLIPSIS, as applied to grammar, is the omission of some word or words which must be supplied, either to complete the sense, or to make out the grammatical construction of the sentence.

The principal design of ellipsis is to avoid disagreeable repetitions, as well as to express our ideas in as few words, and as pleasing a manner as possible.

In the application of this figure, great care should be taken to avoid ambiguity ; for whenever it obscures the sense, it ought by no means to be admitted.

Almost all compound sentences are more or less elliptical.


TỊIE ELLIPSIS OF THE ARTICLE. “ A man, woman, and child; i, e. a man, a woman, and a child.”

66 A father and son. The sun and moon, " The day and hour.”

In all which instances the article being once nientioned, the repetition of it, unless some pe. culiar emphasis requires it, would be unnecessary

“Not only the year, but the day, and the 6 hour."

In this case the ellipsis of the last article would be rather improper.

learned man,

a wise

TIE ELLIPSIS OF TIIĘ NOUN. " A learned, wise, and good man; i. e. a

man, and a good man." 66 A prudent and faithful wife. The laws of " God and man. The safety and happiness of 66 the state."

In some very emphatical expressions the ellipsis should not be admitted ; as, “Chirst the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

66. At Saint Jameses.
“By Saint Paul's."

Here we have a noun in the genitive case, and no word in the sentence to govern it; the ellipsis must therefore be supplied to make out the construction: and yet, in common conversation at least, it is much better to say, “I " went by Saint Paul's ;' than “ I went by 66 Saint Paul's church."

THE ELLIPSIS OF THE ADJECTIVE. “A delightful orchard and garden; i. e. a " delightful orchard and a delightful garden.”.

66. A little man and woman. Great wealth 66 and power."

In such elliptical expressions, the adjective ought to have exactly the same signification, and to be quite as proper, when joined to the latter as to the former substantives; otherwise the ellipsis should not be admitted.

Nor should we, I think, apply this ellipsis of the adjective to nouns of different numbers.

A magnificent house and gardens.” Better use another word, “a magnificent house and "fine gardens"

66 A tall man and a woman."

In this sentence there is no ellipsis; the adjective or quality respects only the man.

THE ELLIPSIS OF THE PRONOUN. “ I love and fear him ; i. e. I love him, and C I fear him."

" My honse and lands. Thy learning and “ wisdom. His wife and daughter. Her lord

and master."

In all these instances the ellipsis may be in. troduced with propriety : but if we would be more express and emphatical, it must not be admitted. My Lord and


God. My sons and my daughters.”

" This is the man they hate. These are the goods they bought. Are these the gods they

worship? Is this the woman you saw ?”

In such common forms of speech, the rela. tive pronoun is usually omitted: though for the most part, especially in complex sentences, it is much better to have it expressed.

“ In the posture I lay. In the way I went. " The horse I rodc fell down.”

Better say, “ The posture in which I lay. .

in which I went. The horse on 66 which I rode fell down."

The antecedent and the relative connect the parts of a sentence together, and should, to pre

[ocr errors]

vent confusion and obscurity, answer to each other with great exactness.

66 We speak that we do know, and testify w that we have seen.”

The ellipsis, in such instances, is manifestly improper : let it therefore be supplied. “We 56 speak that which we do know, and testify 66 that which we have seen."

The relative, what, in the neuter gender, seems to include both the antecedent and the relative. 66 This is what you speak of; i. e. 66 the thing which you speak of.”


66 The man was old and crafty; i. e. the man wus old, and the man was crafty."

“She is young, and rich, and beautiful, « Thou art poor, and wretched, and miserable, 66 and blind, and naked.”

But if we would, in such enumerations, point out one property above the rest, let that property be put last, and the ellipsis supplied. “She is young and beautiful, and she is rich.” 1

66 I recommend the father and son. We salto " the town and country. He rewarded the 66 women and children.”

« AnteriorContinuar »