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roar.' The good man shuns the path of vice.' the verbs learn, roar, and shuns, express the actions of the nouns to which they are annexed.

Verbs are divided into three kinds; active, passive, and neuter. These three are also divided into regular, irregular, and defective.


Active verbs are always transitive or intransitive, Active transitive verbs are those where the action es from the agent to the object; as, 'Charlotte studies grammar.' Here the verb studies is active and transitive; the action passes from Charlotte the agent, to grammar which is the object.

Active verbs govern nouns and pronouns in the objective case; as, He loves them; It displeases him.' Them and him are pronouns in the objective case, governed by the active verbs loves and displeases.

It often happens that an active verb governs two objective words; one of which, expressing the person, and the other, the thing; as, He taught them philosophy.'

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Sometimes the active verb governs two nouns in the objective, both of which are expressive of things only; The literati who make etymology the invariable rule of pronunciation.'


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Active intransitive verbs, are those where the action is wholly confined to the agent or actor; as, Birds fly, children run, men sing.' Here fly, run, and sing, are active, but intransitive verbs, because the exercise of flying, running, and singing, is confined to the agent who runs, flies, or sings, and does not pass over to any object.

An active intransitive verb, by the addition of a preposition, may become a compound active transitive verb. To smile, is an active intransitive verb; it cannot, therefore, be followed by an objective case, nor be construed as a passive verb. We cannot say, she smiled him, or he was smiled; but, to smile on, being a compound active transitive verb, we may properly say, she smiled on him, he was smiled on by fortune, in every undertaking.

Intransitive verbs do not act upon, or govern, nouns and pronouns, and therefore, they are not followed by

an objective case, specifying the object of an action. When an object of action comes after such verbs, though it has the appearance of being governed by them, it is affected by a preposition or some other word understood; as, He lay an hour, (that is, during an hour) in great distress."

Intransitive as well as neuter verbs have the same case after as before them; as, 'I am he whom ye seek.' He went out captain.'

The auxiliary let governs the objective case; as, 'Let him beware.' Let us judge candidly.'

Passive verbs express the receiving, or suffering, the action of the agent or actor; as, am loved, is esteemed, art admired. A passive verb always implies an agent and an object to be acted upon, and the object is always placed at the beginning of the sentence; as, Thomas is respected by me.' The man was killed by him.' It always takes two verbs to make one passive verb; as, am loved, be hated.

The neuter verb be, and its variations, am, art, is, are, was, were, and been, can be rendered passive by adding a perfect participle to them. In fact, there never was a passive verb without the neuter be, or one of its variations joined to another verb. By this rule, the passive verb may easily be distinguished.

Neuter verbs express neither action nor passion, but only a mere state of being or existence; as, am, be, lie, sleep, sit. A neuter verb may always be known, because, no object can be put after it. The expressions, to run a race, to walk, to hop, to crawl, &c., are thought by some to be of a neuter signification, but they certainly imply a greater or less degree of activity, and cannot, on this account, be considered strictly neuter.

Many verbs that have an active meaning, are frequently employed as neuter verbs; as, His fortune increases; the storm abates."

Some verbs are occasionally used, sometimes in an active, and sometimes in a neuter signification; as, 'The flying clouds separate from each other.' Here separates is a neuter verb, not admitting an objective word after it. "He shall separate them as a shepherd

divideth his sheep.' Here separate is an active verb, and governs them in the objective case.

Neuter verbs occasionally govern either the nominative or objective case after them; as, 'Thou art the man.' Here man is in the nominative case, governed by the neuter verb art. I knew it to be him.' Here him is in the objective case, governed by the neuter verb to be.

If a noun, or pronoun, in the nominative case, precedes a neuter verb, then the noun, or pronoun, which follows, will be in the nominative. But if a noun, or pronoun, in the objective case, precedes a neuter verb, then the noun, or pronoun, which follows the verb, will be in the objective. In this latter state, the neuter verb is always in the infinitive mode; as, 'I thought it to be her.' Here it is in the objective case, governed by the verb thought. Her is in the objective case, and follows the neuter verb to be, by which it is also governed.

Any verb may have the same case after it as before it, when both words refer to the same thing; as, 'I took her to be Mary.'

A neuter verb standing between two nominative cases, one in the singular, and the other in the plural number, must agree in number and person with the first; as, Men are vanity; words are wind; the weight is fifty pounds.'

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Most neuter vorbs may be rendered active by annexing a preposition to them; as, 'He winks at her.' Winks is originally a neuter verb, but being followed by a preposition, it has an active meaning.

Active verbs of asking, teaching, and some others, are followed by two objective cases, the one of a thing, the other of a person; a preposition being understood, as, He taught (to) me grammar.' Here me is in the objective, governed by to understood. Passive verbs of asking, teaching, and some others, are followed by the objective case; as, I was asked a question.' 'I was taught grammar by him.'

Verbs have number, person, mode, and time, or tense. The numbers are two; singular and plural. The persons, are first, second, and third. The modes are

five; the indicative, imperative, potential, subjunctive, and infinitive. The tenses are of six divisions; viz: the present, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, first and second future.


The verb must always be of the same number and person as its nominative case. The number and case of a verb can never be ascertained until its nominative is known. Thus, if you say, I love, the verb love is first person singular, because the agent Iis, with which it agrees. If you say, thou lovest, lovest is second person singular, because the agent thou is. If you say, he, she, or it loves, loves is third person singular, because he, she, or it, is. If you say, we love, the verb love is first person plural, because the agent we is, with which it agrees. If you say, ye or you love, love is second person plural, because its agent ye, or you, is. If you say, they love, love is then third person plural, because its agent they is. If you say, gentlemen love, love is then third person plural, because its agent gentlemen is.

When a verb comes between two nominatives of different numbers, it agrees with that which is the nearest to it; as, 'The wages of sin is death.'

When several nominatives, of different persons, are connected by a copulative conjunction, the verb will agree in person with the first, sooner than the second, and with the second, rather than the third; as, 'James and thou may divide it among you.' Here you is used because of the nominative thou.

Two or more nouns, or pronouns, (except such as refer to the same person or thing) in the singular number, connected by a copulative conjunction, expressed or understood, must have verbs, nouns, and pronouns • Time agreeing with them in the plural number; as, and tide wait for no man.' Innocence and happiness dwell together.'

When the pronoun every is added to nouns, connected by a copulative conjunction, the verb must be in the singular number, referring to the whole separately

and individually; as, 'Every man, woman, and child was preserved from the devouring element.' • Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.'

When two nominatives are connected by a disjunctive conjunction, the verb may agree with either, but if they are of different persons or numbers, the verb will agree with the plural nominative in number, and with the one nearest to it, in person; as, 'John or the girls are out. The girls or John are out.' In both these examples, it is better to use are than is. I or James is in fault.' Here the verb agrees in person with the one nearest to it.

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A verb or pronoun, agreeing with a noun of multititude, may be either in the singular or plural number; yet not without regard to the import of the noun, as conveying unity or plurality of idea; as, 'The meeting was large. The assembly is dissolved. The council were divided in their sentiments. The peasantry go barefoot.'

When a noun of multitude is preceded by a definite word, which clearly limits the sense to an aggregate with an idea of unity, the verb and pronoun, agreeing with it, must be in the singular number; as, 'A company of troops was detached; a troop of cavalry was raised; this people is become a great nation.'


Mode is the manner of representing action, being, or passion.



The indicative mode simply affirms or an action, being, or passion; as, I teach; I learn; I exist. Or, it asks a question; 'Is he come? Does he love?"


The imperative mode commands, entreats, exhorts, or permits a second person to do a thing; as, 'Depart, thou; do come here; you may go.'

A verb in the imperative mode can never agree with a noun. Therefore, never parse a noun in the nominative case to a verb in that mode.

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