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wood, stone, pencil, paper, &c. belong to the neuter gender.
The masculine gender is commonly given to nouns which are conspicuous for imparting or communicating, and which by nature are strong and efficacious. Those are considered feminine which are conspicuous for the attributes of bringing forth, or which are peculiarly beautiful or amiable. Upon these principles, the sun is said to be masculine; and the moon, being the receptacle of the sun's light, to be feminine. A ship, a country, a city, &c., are likewise made feminine, being receivers or containers. Time is always masculine, 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.
It sometimes happens that the same noun is either masculine or feminine. The words, parent, child, cousin, friend, neighbor, servant, and several others are used indifferently for males or females. Parents is a noun of the masculine and feminine gender; Parent, if doubtful, is of the masculine or feminine gender; and Parent if the gender is known by the construction, is of the gender so ascertained.
There are nouns of person.
The first, second,
and third. The first person denotes the person speaking. The second denotes the person spoken to, and the third denotes the person spoken of. Nouns are never in the first person except, when put by apposition with the first person of the pronouns; as, 'I the Teacher.' The person who speaks to, or of, another person, is not a noun in the capacity of a speaker, but a pronoun. Some sentences contain two nouns, one of which is in the second person and the other in the third; ́as, King Agrippa, believest thou the Prophets?
There are nouns of different cases. The nominative, the possessive, and the objective.
Nominative, signifies naming. Case, signifies condition. The noun that acts or does a thing, is in the nominative case to the verb that tells what the noun does or suffers; as, Ladies walk, John studies, Catherine improves. Here Ladies, John, and Catherine are nominative to the verb walks, studies, improves.
Although in the above examples, the verb is the next word to the noun, yet this is not always the case. Sometimes we may read several lines before we come to the verb.
The nominative case is generally placed before the verb, yet, in poetry and often in prose, the verb precedes or goes before the nominative case. As, 'Is there a man can mark unmoved.' Here the noun man is in the nominative case to the verb is, although it follows it.
A noun may be in the nominative case after the verb to be, or any of its variations; as, am, art, was, were, are, and been. Example: She is Caroline.' Here the noun Caroline is in the nominative case after the neuter verb is; it has a nominative she before it.
If the verb to be or any of its variations has a nominative case before it, it must have one after it.
A noun may be in the objective case after the verb to be; as, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' Here Christian is in the objective case after the verb to be; it has an objective me before it.
When an address is made, the noun or pronoun is in the nominative case independent; as, · Adam, where art thou?' 6 George, study your lesson.' Nouns and pronouns thus circumstanced, are said to be in the nominative case independent, because they stand independent of the rest of the sentence, and unconnected with it. In the preceding examples, Adam and George are the names of the persons addressed; and they are mentioned merely to designate the persons, to whom the address is made. Therefore, to say they are in the nominative to a verb, or in the possessive, or objective case, would be improper.
Besides the nominative case independent in the second person, when an address is made, there is the sim
ple expression of the subject, independent in the third person: as,
'Religion, what treasure untold,
Resides in that heavenly word ? '—Couper.
'Brutus and Cæsar! what should be in that Cæsar ? *
Nouns and pronouns are sometimes in the nominative case absolute. This is the case when they join a participle and stand independent of the rest of the sentence, the noun having no connexion with any personal verb, but only with a participle. As, Shame being lost, all virtue is lost.' "That having been discussed long ago, there is no reason to resume it.'
A verb in the infinitive mode, comprising a part of a sentence, may be used as a noun, and put in the nominative case to another verb; as, 'To maintain a steady and unbroken mind amidst all the shocks of the world, marks a great and noble spirit.' Here, 'to maintain a steady and unbroken mind amidst all the shocks of the world,' is a part of a sentence, used as one word, as a noun, and put in the nominative case to the verb marks.
Two or more nouns signifying the same thing, are sometimes put by apposition or connexion in the same case with each other; as, Paul, the Apostle.'
When two or more nominative nouns are placed together in apposition, the verb must agree with the first or most important word.
Nouns of the singular number that are in apposition, must ever have a singular verb and relative to agree with them.
Nouns are sometimes called substantives, because they are supposed to be, in general, the names of substances, in contradistinction to adjectives, which are the names only of qualities belonging to those substances. Thus in the example, a sweet apple,'-apple is the name of the substance, and sweet the name of a quality existing in that substance.
The possessive case denotes the possessor of a thing; as, John's hat, Peter's cane. Here the words, John's
and Peter's, besides being the names of persons, denote that those persons are the possessors of the objects signified by the nouns, hat and cane. The possessive case may readily be known by its having an apostrophe and generally the letter s after it. When the s would occasion too much hissing in the pronunciation, the apostrophe only is used, as, 'For conscience' sake,' 'For righteousness' sake.'
When the thing to which another is said to belong, is expressed by many terms, the sign of the possessive case is commonly added to the last term; as, 'This was my father, mother, and uncle's advice.' It is, however, better to say, It was the advice of my father, mother, and uncle.
The preposition of, joined to a noun, is frequently equivalent to the possessive case, and may be used to express the same relation with more elegance; as, 'A Christian's hope,' 'The hope of a Christian.' But it is only so, when the expression can be converted into the regular form of the possessive case. We can say,
Virtue's reward,' and The reward of virtue;' but, though it is proper to say, 'A crown of gold,' we cannot convert the expression into the possessive case, and 'Gold's crown.'
The city of London; the city of Boston; the town of Waltham.' This is not correct, though custom and habit have made this manner of writing and speaking familiar to us. It should be the city London; the city Boston; the town Waltham.' To say 'the city of Boston' is not correct, because if the latter noun be governed by the preposition of, it cannot be put in apposition to the former, and consequently does not signify the same thing. City, then, must be one thing, and Boston another. City must be a thing that belongs to Boston, or is the property of Boston. When two nouns in conjunction signify different things, and the latter implies property, the former is put in the possessive case; as, the boy's book.' Sometimes a periphrasis is used, with the help of the preposition of; as 'the book of the boy.' If the book of the boy be the boy's book, as it most certainly is, then the City of Boston, must be Boston's City; or a city, which Boston has in
its possession; and where shall we find the city that belongs to Boston? Does it lie near Boston, or is it at a great distance from it?
The harbor of Boston. The Queen of Sheba. These are correct; both nouns do not refer to the same thing. Harbor is one thing, and Boston is another. Queen is one thing, and Sheba another. 'King Solomon.' Here both words refer to the same thing; but King of Solomon' is not more improper than the city of Boston.' The month of March, the month of April, the month of May. Corrected. The month March, the month April, the month May. The City of New-York.' This, in one sense may be correct. New-York is the name of a State possessing a City of the same name. But if the question were asked: ' What city of NewYork?' We should be obliged to answer: 'NewYork City, or, the city New-York. Not the city of New-York of New-York.'
One noun governs another, signifying a different thing in the possessive case; as, Man's happiness.' 'Virtue's crown.
Nouns govern pronouns, as well as nouns, in the possessive case; as, Every tree is known by its fruit;' That book is mine.'
Sometimes a noun in the possessive case stands alone, the latter one, by which it is governed, being understood; as, 'I called at the bookseller's,' that is, at the bookseller's shop.
The possessive its is often improperly used for 'tis or it is; as, Its my book;' instead of It is my book.' Participial or verbal nouns should either have a possessive pronoun united to them, or the noun preceding them should be in the possessive case. As, We frequently hear of the Indian's enduring hardships.' When they heard of Washington's taking Cornwallis.' Thy felicity depends on thy having contracted an alliance with this family.'
A noun or pronoun, signifying possession, must be put in the possessive case; as, Henry's cane; my horse; his house.