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THE high road of Grammar is the same in all languages, and the principles of Language and Grammar, when really understood, explain every peculiarity which occurs in any particular language. But nevertheless these peculiarities or idioms are puzzling to learners. There are also some few words, or usages of words, or ways of writing words, which require to be noticed. The first part of this book deals with some of the peculiar usages of the English language, and is a sort of supplement to the English Grammar. It is intended to show a person who can already speak the language what are allowable forms of expression in common instances, and in some cases to explain what seem to be doubtful or difficult usages.

The second part is occupied with Composition and Analysis. This demands careful attention and practice, whereas the other is rather for reference than connected study.


In a compound noun the last word is usually inflected in the Possessive Case; as

The Queen of England's palace.

Hume and Smollett's History of England.

Queen Anne's bounty.

The Bishop of London's charge.

The apostrophe placed before the 's' of the possessive case in the singular, and after it in the plural

> Nature's loveliness,

The swallows' coming,


is used merely to mark the distinction between the singular and plural, and does not imply that any letter is dropped. It is not found in books printed earlier than the eighteenth century.

There is some doubt in common practice as to which of the expressions, 'The Miss Smiths,' or 'The Misses Smith,' and similar cases, is right. In English Grammar there is no doubt whatever. In the singular number, 'Miss Smith,' 'Smith' is a noun, and 'Miss' a qualifying adjective. If more than one 'Smith' are spoken of, the ordinary plural is used, 'The Smiths are coming.' The addition of the adjective can make no difference in this. The sole question turns on what is to become of the adjective. No adjective changes its form in English for number, therefore 'The Smiths' simply become 'The Miss Smiths.' Or else' Miss' is a noun, and 'Smith' in apposition to that noun, as is the case when the word denotes a class, e. g. in an account of the Queen's levée,

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then the correct apposition is to state each person's name with the conjunction 'and,' 'Misses A. B. and C. B.,' &c., unless the name also denotes a class, when it would be put in the plural number with 'the' prefixed.

The words 'his' and 'her' are sometimes in old English erroneously added to a noun to form the possessive case (under a mistaken impression that the 's'-termination of the possessive case is a contraction of 'his'); as—

John Martin his mark.

Our Sovereign the Queen, her crown and dignity.

The Objective Case of pronouns is sometimes used in common English erroneously for the Subject-form in the Predicate: 'It is me,' 'it is us,' 'it is them;' like the French 'C'est moi.' The correct form is-It is I.

It is me that ought to thank you.

This usage occurs probably in all languages, and in the most common instances can scarcely be called wrong. It arises from

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