Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

ent virtues, vices, passions, qualities, sciences, arts, metals, herbs, &c.; as, “ prudence is commendable ; falsehood is odious ; anger ought to be avoided;" &c. It is not pre to a proper name; as, “ Alexander,” (because that'f denotes a determinate individual or particular thing,) except for the sake of distinguishing a particular family: as, “ He is a Howard, or of the family of the Howards ;" or hy way of eminence: as, “Every man is not a Newton;" “ He has the courage of an Achilles :" or when some noun is understood; “ He sailed down the (river) Thames, in the (ship) Britannia."

When an adjective is used with the noun to which the article relates, it is placed between the article and the noun; as, a good man, an agreeable woman,

19 « the best friend. On some occasions, however, the adjective precedes a or an; as,“ such a shame,'' “as great a man as Alexander,” “ too careless an author.“

The indefinite article can be joined to substantives in the singular number only; the definite article may be joined also to plurals.

But there appears to be a remarkable exception to this rule, in the use of the adjectives few and many, (the latter chiefly with the word great before it,) which, though joined with plural substantyos, yet admit of the singular article a: as, a few men; a great many men.

The reason of it is manifest, from the effect which the article has in these phrases; it means a small or great number collectively taken, and therefore gives the idea of a whole, that is, of unity. Thus likewise, a dozen, a score, a hundred, or a thousand, is one whole number, an aggregate of many collectively taken ; and therefore still retains the article å, though joined as an adjective to a plural substantive; as, a hundred years, Sóc.

The indefinite article is sometimes placed between the adjective many, and a singular nouri: as,

“Full nany a gem of purest ray serene,

“The dark unfathoin'd caves of ocean bear : “ Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,

“And waste its sweeiness on the desert air." In these lines, the phrases, many a gem and many a flow'r re. fer to many gems and many flowers, separatory, not collectively considered.

The definite article the is frequently applied to adverbs in the comparative and superlative degree; and its effect is, to mark the degree the more strongly, and to define it the more

I like this the least of any." See this Chapter, in the Octavo Grammar.


Of Substantives. SECTION 1. Of Substantives in general. A SUBSTANTIVE or Noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion :sas, London, man, virtue.

Substantives are either proper or common.

Proper names or substantives, are the names appropriated to individuals. Us, George, London, Thames.

Common names or substantives, stand for kinds containing many sorts, or for sorts containing many individuals under them; as, animal, man, tree, &c.

When proper names have an article annexed to them, they are used as common names : as, “He is the Cicero of his age; he is reading the lives of the Twelve Cæsars."

Common names may also be used to signify individuals, by the addition of articles or pronouns: as,

« The boy is studious; that girl is discreet*"?

To substantives belong gender, number, and case; and they are all of the third person when spoken of, and of the second when spoken to : as, Blessings attend us on every side; be grateful, children of men !" that is, ye children of men.

Section 2. Of Gender. GENDER is the distinction of nouns, with regard to sex. There are three galers, the MASCULINE, the FEMININE, and the NEUTEL

The Mascunde Gender denotes animals of the male kind : as, a man, a horse, a bull.

The Feminine Gender signifies animals of the female kind :

; as, a woman, a duck, a hen. The Neuter Gender denotes objects which are neither males por females : as, a field, a house, a garden.

Some substantives, naturally neuter, are, by a figure of speech, converted into the masculine or feminine gender :

* Nouns may also be divided into the following classes : Collective nouns. or nouns of meltitude ; as, the people, the parliament, the army: Abstract nouns, or the nauses of qualities abstracted from their substances; as, knowledge, goodness, whiteness: l'erbal or participial neurs; as, beginning, reading, vri:


as, when we say of the sun, he is setting ; and of a ship, she sails well.

Figuratively, in the English tongue, we commonly give the masculine gender to nouns which are conspicuous for theattributes of imparting or communicating, and which are by nature strong and efficacious. Those, again, are made feminine, which are conspicuous for the attributes of containing or bringing forth, or which are peculiarly beautiful or amiable. Upon these principles, the sun is said to be inasculine; and the moon, being the receptacle of the sun's light, to be feminine. The earth is generally feminine. A ship, a country, a city, &c. are likewise made feminine, being receiv. ers or containers. Time is always maculine, on account of its mighty efficacy. Virtue is feminine from its beauty, and its being the object of love. Fortune and the church are generally put in the feminine gender.

The English language has three methods of distinguishing the sex; viz.

1. By different words : as,

Bachelor. Maid.

Husband. Wife.





Bullock or



Nephew. Niece.



Songstress or

Countess. Sloven.







2. By a difference of termination : as, Male.

Female. Abbot. Abbess.

Landgrave. Landgravine. Actor. Actress. Lion.

Lioness. Administrator. Administratris Marquis. Marchioness. Adulterer. Adultress. Master.

Ambassador. Ambassadress. Mayor. Mayoress.
Arbitress. Patron.

Baroness. Peer.




[ocr errors]



Female. aterer. Cateress. Prince.

Princess. "hanter. Chantress. Prior.

Prioress. *onductor Conductress. Prophet. Prophetess. Count,

('ountess. Protector. Protectress. Seacon.

Deaconess. Shepherd. Shepherdess. Duke.

Duchess. Songster. Songstress. Slector,

Electress. Sorcerer. Sorceress. Emperor Empress.


Sultan. Enchanter. Enchantress.

Sultana. Sxecutor. Executrix. Tiger.

Tigress. lovernor. Governess. Traitor.

'Traitress leir. Heiress. Tutor.

Tutoress. lero,

Heroine. Viscount Viscountess.


Hostess. Widower, Widow. few.

Jewess. 3. By, a noun, pronoun, or adjective, being prefixed to the ubstantive : as A cock-sparrow.

A hen-sparrow. A man-servant.

A maid-servant. A he-goat.

A she-goat. A he-bear.

A she-bear A male child

A female child. Male descendants.

Female descendants. It sometimes happens, that the same noun is either mascuine or feminine. The words parent, child, cousin, friend, Leighbour, servant, and several others, are used indifferently for males or females.

Nouns with variable terminations contribute to conciseness and perspicuity ofexpression. We have only a sufficient number of them to make us feel our want; for when we say of a woman, she is a philosopher, an astronomer, a builder, a Weaver, we perceive an impropriety in the termination, which we cannot avoid ; but we ciin say, that she is a botanist, a student, a witness, a scholar, anorphan, a companion, because these terminations have not annexed to them the notion of sex.

SECTION 3. , Of Number. NUMBER is the consideration of an object, as one or more. Substantives are of two numbers, the singular and the plural.

The siogular number expresses but one object; as, a chair, table. The plural number signifies more objects than one; as, chairs, tables.

Some nouns, from the nature of the things which they erregs. are used only in the siugular form ; as, wheat, pitch,

gold, sloth, pride, &c.; others, only in the plural form; as, bellows, scissors, lungs, riches, &c.

Some words are the same in both numbers; as, deer, sheep, swine, &c.

The plural number of nouns is generally formed by adding s to the singular: as, dove, doves; face, faces; thought, thoughts. But when the substantive singular ends in soft, sh, ss, ors, we add es in the plural: as, box, boxes church, churches; lash, lashes; kiss, kisses ; rebus, rebusses, If the singular ends in ch hard, the plural is formed by adding $; as, monarch, monarchs; distich, distichs.

Nouns which end in o, have sometimes cs, added to the plural; ; as, cargo, echo, hero, negro, manifesto, potato, vol cano, wo: and sometimes only s ; as, folio, nuncio, punctilio, seraglio.

Nouns ending in f, or fe, are rendered plural by the change of those terminations into ves : as, loaf, loaves ; hall

, halves; wife, wives: except grief, relief, reproof, and several others, which form the plural hy the addition of s. Those which end io ff, have the regular plural: as, ruff, ruffs ; except staff, staves.

Nouns which have y in the singular, with no other vowe in the same syllable, change it into ies in the plural: as, beauty, beauties ; fly, flies. But the yis not changed, when there is another vowel in the syllable: as, key, keys ; delay, de lays ; attorney, attorneys.

Some nouns become plural by changing the a of the singular into e: as, man, men ; woman, women; alderman alt dermen. The words, ox and child, form oxen and children brother, makes either brothers, or brethren. Sometimes the diphthong oo is changed into me in the plural: as, foot, feet anse, geese ; tooth teeth. Louse and inouse make lice and

Penny makes pence, or peonies, when the coin i int: die, dice (for play;) die, dies (for coining.) It is agreeable to analogy, and the practice of the general ity of correct writers, to construe the following words as

ral nouns; pains, riches, alms: and also, matheinates metaphysics, politics, ethics, optics, pneumatics, with other similar names of sciences.

Dr. Johnson says that the adjective much is sminetimes a term of number, as well as of quantity. This may account for the instances we meet with of its associating sitht un 39'a plural noun: as,“ much pains." The connexion, how: ever, is not to be recommended.

The word news is now almost universally considered as belonging to the singular number.


« AnteriorContinuar »