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A verb in the imperative mode can never agree with pronouns of the first or third person; but always agrees with the second person thou, ye or you, expressed or understood. It agrees with thou when we address but one person; as, 'Charlotte, improve thou the present opportunity.' It agrees with ye or you when we address more than one; as, Gentlemen, permit me to correct you.'


The potential mode implies possibility, liberty, power, will, obligation, or necessity. As, It may rain; I can ride; he would walk; they must learn.'

May, can, must, might, could, should, or would, are signs of the potential mode. There never was a verb in the potential mode, without one of these signs, either expressed or understood. The conjunction, that, is frequently followed by the potential mode; as, 'I study, that I may improve.' 'He knows that I would not hurt



An action that is doubtful or conditional, is expressed in the subjunctive mode. The verb is always preceded by a conjunction expressing doubt or conditionality, and on this account, some grammatical authors name it the subjunctive mode. Examples: 'If he write; though he hates me; lest he should see me. I will perform the operation if he desires it;' or, 'If he desires it, I will perform the operation.'

The conjunction is not always expressed, but understood; as, 'Were he good, he would be happy; hadst thou been here, our brother had not died;' that is, ' If he were good-if thou hadst been here,' &c.

Pronouns, implying uncertainty, govern this mode; as, 'Whosoever he be; whichsoever he choose.'

That, when it expresses condition, governs this mode; as, 'On condition that he perform his promise.'

There never was a verb in the subjunctive mode, unless something uncertain, or doubtful, was implied.


Infinitive, signifies undetermined, undefined, unlimited. The infinitive mode represents a thing or action, without any regard to time, number or person; as, "To write well is commendable. To love; to learn; to exist.' The word to is the sign of the infinitive mode. There never was a verb in the infinitive mode, without the sign to, expressed or understood.

Verbs following bid, dare, let, make, need, feel, hear, see, &c. are put in the infinitive mode without the sign to, being expressed; as, 'Let me go;' instead of saying 'let me to go.'

Every verb must have a nominative case, spoken or implied, except verbs in the infinitive mode. They have no person, number, or nominative case.

All that can be said of such, after giving the mode and tense, is to tell by what they are governed. They may be governed by a noun, adjective, verb, or participle; as, 'His ambition to excel is very commendable.' not worthy to unloose his shoe's latchet.' The scholar, that desires to learn, loves to study.' 'He was learning to write.'


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The infinitive mode, or part of a sentence, is/sometimes used as the nominative case to a verb in the third person singular; as, To study is delightful. To err is human. To begin is one thing, to finish is another. To fear God is the glory of man.

The infinitive mode may follow verbs, participles, adjectives, nouns and pronouns, and the conjunctions than and as.

The infinitive mode is often independent; as, 'To conclude, I shall make one remark. 'To speak the truth, I heard him declare it.'

The infinitive mode is often used as an antecedent

to a relative; as, 'We are required to fear God and keep his commandments, which is the whole duty of man.'

The infinitive mode is often used after than and as, instead of the indicative; as, 'He conducted so well, as to merit the esteem of his friends. He desired no more than to know his faults."

When two verbs in the infinitive mode are connected by a conjunction, the signs to and to have are omitted before the latter verb; as, 'George desires to learn and study. He appears to have read and studied.'

The conjunction for is often inelegantly used before verbs in the infinitive mode; as, 'He came for to study Latin. They went for to hear him preach. All their works they do for to be seen of men.'

Verbs expressive of hope, desire, intention or command, are always followed by the present tense of the infinitive mode; as, 'I found him more comfortable than I expected to find him. It is some time since I commanded him to do it.'

One verb governs another that follows it, or depends upon it, in the infinitive mode; as, 'Cease to do evil; learn to do well.' 'We should be prepared to render

an account of our actions."

One verb may often govern a noun, in the objective case, and a following verb in the infinitive mode; as, 'A good preceptor stimulates his pupils to prosecute their studies with vigor.' 'I know him to be well qualified for his station.


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Tense is the distinction of time. The present tense expresses an action now doing; as, I walk, or am walking. The present tense likewise expresses a character, quality, &c. at present existing; as is an able man.' She is an amiable woman. It is also used in speaking of actions continued, with occasional intermissions, to the present time; as, C He frequently rides.' He walks out every morning.' goes into the country every summer.' The present tense is sometimes applied to persons long since dead; as, Seneca reasons and moralizes well,' Job speaks feelingly of his afflictions.'

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The present tense, preceded by the words, when, before, after, as soon as, &c., is sometimes used to point out the relative time of a future action; as, 'When he arrives he will hear the news,' 'He will hear the news before he arrives, or as soon as he arrives, or at farthest, soon after he arrives.' The more she improves, the more amiable she will be.'

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In animated historical narrations, this tense is sometimes substituted for the imperfect tense; as, ' He enters the territory of the peaceable inhabitants; he fights and conquers, takes an immense booty, which he divides amongst his soldiers, and returns home to enjoy an empty triumph.'

The imperfect tense denotes an action or event in past time, either as finished, or as remaining unfinished at a certain time past; as, I loved her for her modesty and virtue.' 'They were travelling post when we met them.'

The first example, in the preceding paragraph, shows, that the action was past and finished, though the precise time of it was not defined. Therefore, the tense may be said to be imperfect; the time of the action is not exactly and perfectly ascertained. In the second instance, the action is represented as past, but not finished, and it may, therefore, with propriety, be denominated imperfect.

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In the following sentences: He wrote to her yesterday;'They behaved themselves at that period, very properly; the precise time of the action is not denoted by the tense of the verb itself, but by the addition of the words, yesterday, and at that period.

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The perfect tense expresses an action that is past, or finished, and also conveys an antusion to the present I have finished my letter.' 'I have seen the person that was recommended to me.' In both of these examples, the finishing of the letter, and the seeing of the person, comprehend periods, each of which extends to the time present. We have no idea of any certain portion of time intervening between the time of action and the time of speaking of it. The sentence: I have written a letter,' implies, that 'I have, or possess the finished action of writing a letter.' With these views of the subject, it appears that the term, perfect, may be properly applied to this time, as the action is not only finished, but the period of its completion is specially referred to, and ascertained. Let it be remembered, that there never was a verb in the perfect tense without have, has, hath or hast, expressed or implied, joined to another verb,

The perfect tense, and the imperfect tense, both denote a thing that is past; but the former denotes it in such a manner, that there is actually some part of the time to slide away, wherein we declare the thing has been done; as, I have heard great news to-day.' 'Philosophers have made great discoveries in the present century.' But the latter denotes the thing or action. past, in such a manner, that nothing remains of that time in which it was done; as, 'I saw him yesterday;' Philosophers made great discoveries in the last century.'

In general, the perfect tense may be applied wherever the action is connected with the present time, by the actual existence, either of the author, or of the work, though it may have been performed many centuries ago; but if neither the author nor the work now remains, it cannot be used.

The perfect tense preceded by the words, when, after, as soon as, &c. is often used to denote the relative time of a future action; as, When I have finished my letter, I will attend to his request.' I will attend to the business, as soon as I have finished my letter.'

The pluperfect tense expresses an action or event that passed prior or before some other period of time specified in the sentence; as, 'I had finished my letter before he arried,' I him after I had written to him.' There never was a verb in the pluperfect tense, without had, or hadst, expressed or implied, joined to another verb.

The first future tense represents an action yet to

e, either with or without respect to the precise time. The sun will rise to-morrow.' I shall see you again. There never was a verb in the first future tense, without shall, or will, either expressed or implied, joined to another verb.

Each of the auxiliaries, shall and will, is employed to signify the resolution of the speaker, or simple futurity. Will, in the first person singular and plural, intimates resolution and promising; in the second and third person, only foretells; as, I will reward the good, and will punish the wicked; we will remember benefits, and be grateful; you or they will have a pleasant walk.'

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