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THE present work has grown out of the conviction that ENGLISH GRAMMAR, especially in its bearings on Composition, may be taught on an easier and more fruitful method. The usual array of Definitions, Classifications, Rules, Lists, and Exceptions, formidably labelled with Technical Designations, cannot possibly be separated from the deeper study of the subject; but these, I imagine, are not for the young pupil at the outset. What he wants, to begin with, is-familiarity with concrete instances in sufficient number and variety. When these have been specially presented to him, he cannot help beginning to compare them; and accordingly it would be well to suggest to him a profitable method. Presently, with his mind full of examples and of multiplying points of likeness among them, he will naturally begin to grope for generalities. At this stage the regular Grammar takes its place, as built upon the foundation of examples methodically compared: and the pupil may now be guided gradually to associate his examples with the technical names. Acting on this view, I have selected a sufficient number of typical instances, and arranged them side by side for comparison, comformably to the received designations; these last, however, being left optional.

This plan, I may add, reaches much farther than the primary intention now expressed. It provides a well filled and clearly arranged storehouse of grammatical illustration, ever useful to teachers, and suitable to students at all stages. Moreover, while the comparative study of different


modes of expression is the first-the simplest and the most fundamental-work of the student of English, it is also, in its highest development, his last work, the final polishing touch of the finished composition. .

The new-found zeal for the study of English has naturally developed great variety both of methods and of material. Evidently, however, the whole ground cannot be covered, except perhaps by a very few students; the vast majority must confine themselves to such parts of the subject as may be considered most suitable to their individual wants. The ungracious task of selection must be performed. In deference to the practical needs of the average pupil, large departments of English study, interesting and valuable in the eyes of the scholar, must, if not wholly, at all events in great part, be regretfully set aside. In our present circumstances, and for a long time to come, teachers and students ought, I conceive, to direct their best energies to the attainment of high practical facility and excellence. This difficult end is to be reached only by earnest labour in the direction generally indicated in these words of Dryden: "to understand the purity of English, and critically to discern, not only good writers from bad, and a proper style from a corrupt, but also to distinguish that which is pure in a good author from that which is vicious and corrupt in him." And the purpose of the present work is to lay down a method and to furnish materials whereby the first steps towards this end may be taken, as indeed in my own classes they have been taken, with increased facility and with encouraging success.

Any one that desires to be a thoroughly competent writer, will seek to gain complete command over all the parts and all the devices of his craft, over the higher and the lower resources alike. Not content to proceed solely upon his own ideas, or upon the general notions that may have spontaneously occurred to him in random practice, he will diligently gather and test, for his own

guidance, the experience of his predecessors and fellows. Neither will he rashly despise any individual part of his composition, lest he should thereby endanger the effect of the whole. Hence he will attentively consider the single words, the combinations of such in phrases and clauses, and of these again in sentences, as well as the higher forms-paragraphs, sections, chapters, books. It should seem, then, that the elementary parts of such work claim the first attention of beginners; and, accordingly, in the present volume, pupils are asked to mould the raw material into the widest variety of forms, till it shall become perfectly plastic under their hands. After a long course of practice, the better students may be able to select the fittest forms, not indeed spontaneously, but almost as rapidly as if spontaneously. They must not, however, allow themselves to be misled into the seductive and dangerous belief that the art of composition cannot be taught, but really comes by nature." Let no student for one moment entertain the delusion that he may with impunity exempt himself from humble apprentice-work; the finest artist does not restrict his labour to the broad lines alone, in contempt of the resources of detail.


The present volume may almost be described as a series of Exercises connected on a framework of Headings and Explanation. Introductory to the Exercises, typical Examples are fully worked out as specimens of what the pupil is intended to do with the further similar examples constituting the exercises. Different forms for identical meanings are taken together in couples for mutual illustration: one form is set forth, and then a second is declared to be a practical equivalent. Occasionally short explanations are appended. The pupil, having studied the preparatory equivalents and explanations, proceeds to the accompanying exercise. This consists of a number of examples typified by the first of the preliminary equivalents; and the task of the pupil is to express the same meaning in the form of the second equivalent. He is expected to do with each example in the exercise precisely what he has seen done with similar examples in the matter pre

ceding the exercise. In the Exercises, I have endeavoured to place systematically before the pupil examples of all the common modes of expression in all their variety. The interchange of forms in the statement of the same meaning is carried out at length from both points of view; it is given first on one side and then on the other, each side being fully illustrated in its proper place. As the pupil works out these interchanges, he is gradually and insensibly furnished with illustrations of all forms disclosed in the "Analysis of Sentences" and in the more important parts of "Parsing." By thorough study of the whole course, he should become familiar with the effective use of every mode of expression, and indeed of the limits of the use of every mode in every situation.

I do not undertake to decide in each case which of two or more equivalent forms is the most eligible—I could not possibly do so without changing the nature of the work, and greatly extending it: I assume that the teacher is competent to do this. As a result of the constant comparison of a number of similar instances, accompanied with guiding remarks, there will soon spring up in the pupil's mind a ready feeling of merit and demerit as regards the special forms under consideration. The following opinion of Professor Bain underlies every page of this work: "The pupils are thus accustomed to weigh every expression that comes before them, and this I take to be the beginning of the art of composition."

The practical nature of the volume is sufficiently apparent. Particular instances are held in the foreground as the basis of study; as far as possible, the concrete examples are to be allowed to tell their own tale. Generalization is mainly to be left as an effect of these on the mind of the pupil. At the same time, all the important forms of Parsing and Analysis may be put under the command of the pupil, for practical purposes, without his hearing of a classification or of a tabulated arrangement.

Many pupils, however, will desire to learn not merely

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