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GOOD USE NOT ALWAYS UNIFORM IN HER DECISIONS.
In answer to the former of these questions, I acknowledge that in every ease there is not a perfect uniformity in the determinations even of such use as may justly be denominated good. Wherever a considerable number of authorities can be produced in support of two different, though resembling modes of expression for the same thing, there is always a divided use, and one cannot be said to speak barbarously, or to oppose the usage of the language, who conforms to either side.*
This divided use hath place sometimes in single words, sometimes in construction, and sometimes in arrangement. In all such cases there is scope for choice; and it be· longs, without question, to the critical art to lay down the principles by which, in doubtful cases, our choice should be directed.
There are, indeed, some differences in single words, which ought still to be retained. They are a kind of synonymas, and afford a little variety, without occasioning any ineonvenience whatever.f In arrangement, too, it certainly holds, that various manners suit various styles, as various styles suit various subjects, and various sorts of composition. For this reason, unless when some obscurity, ambiguity, or inelegance is created, no disposition of words which hath obtained the public approbation ought to be altogether rejected. In construction the case is somewhat different. Purity, perspicuity, and elegance generally require that in this there be the strictest uniformity. Yet differences, here, are not only allowable, but even convenient, when attended with correspondent differences in the application. Thus the verb ta found, when used literally, is more properly followed by the preposition on, as, “The house was founded on a rock ;” in the metaphorical application, it is often better with in, as in this
* The words nowise, noway, and noways, afford a proper instance of this divided use. Yet our learned and ingenious lexicographer hath denominated all those who either write or pronounce the word noways ignorant barbarians. These ignorant barbarians (but he hath surely not adverted to this: circumstance) are only Pope, and Swift, and Addison, and Locke, and several others of our most celebrated writers. This censure is the more astonishing, that even in this form which he has thought fit to repudiate, the meaning assigned to it is strictly conformable to that which etymology, according to his own explication; would suggest.-See Johnson's Dictionary on the words nowise and wuy, particularly the senses of way, marked with these numbers, 15, 16, 18, and 19.
+ Such are subterranean and subterraneous, homogeneal and homogeneous, authentic and authentical, isle and island, mount and mountain, clime and climate, near and nigh, betwixt and between, amongst and among, amidst and amid. Nor do I see any hurt that would ensue from adding rowise and noway to the number
sentence, “ They maintained that dominion is founded in grace. Both sentences would be badly expressed if these prepositions were transposed, though there are perhaps cases wherein either would be good. In those instances, therefore, of divided use, which give scope for option, the following canons are humbly proposed, in order to assist us in assigning the preference. Let it, in the mean time, be remembered, as a point always presupposed, that the authorities on the opposite sides are equal, or nearly so. When those on one side greatly preponderate, it is in vain to oppose the prevailing usage. Custom, when wavering, may be swayed, but when reluctant will not be forced; and in this department a person never effects so little as when he attempts too much.*
CANON THE FIRST.
The first canon, then, shall be, When use is divided as to any particular word or phrase, and the expression used by one part hath been preoccupied, or is in any instance susceptible of a different signification, and the expression employed by the other part never admits a different sense, both perspicuity and variety require that the form of expression which is in every instance strictly univocal be preferred.
For this reason, aught, signifying anything, is preferable to ought, which is one of our defective verbs; by consequence, meaning consequently, is preferable to of consequence, as this expression is often employed to denote momentous or important. In the preposition toward and towards, and the adverbs forward and forwards, backward and backwards, the two forms are used indiscriminately. But as the first form in ali these is also an adjective, it is better to confine the particles to the second. Custom, too, seems at present to lean this way. Besides and beside serve both as conjunctions and as prepositions. There appears some tendency at present to assign to each a separate province. This tendency ought to
* For this reason, it is to no purpose, with Johnson, to pronounce the word news as a plural (whatever it might have been in the days of Sydney and Raleigh), since custom hath evidently determined otherwise. Nor is the observation on the letter  in his Dictionary well founded, that "it seems to be established as a rule that no noun singular should end with [s] single ;” the words alms, amends, summons, sous, genus, species, genius, chorus, and several others, show the contrary. For the same reason, the words averse and aversion are more properly construed with to than with from. The examples in favour of the latter preposition are beyond comparison outnumbered by those in favour of the former. The argument from etymology is here of no value, being taken from the use of another language. If by the same rule we were to regulate all nouns and verbs of Latin original, our present syntax would be overturned. It is more conformable to English analogy with to; the words dislike and hatred, nearly synonymous, are thus construed.
+ These nearly correspond to the conjunction præteria, and the preposi. tion præter in Latin,
be humjured by employing only the former as the conjurie tion, the latter as the preposition.
This principle likewise leads me to prefer extemporary, as an adjective, to extempore, which is properly an adverb, and ought, for the sake of precision, to be restrained to that use. It is only of late that this last term begins to be employed adjectively. Thus we say, with equal propriety, an extemporary prayer, an extemporary sermon, and he prays extempore, he preaches extempore. I know not how Dr. Priestley hath happened to mention the term extemporary in a way which would make one think he considered it as a word peculiar to Mr. Hume. The word hath evidently been in good use for a longer time than one thinks of searching back in quest of authorities, and remains in good use to this day. By the same rule, we ought to prefer scarcely, as an adverb, to scarce, which is an adjective, and exceedingly, as an adverb, to exceeding, which is a participle. For the same reason, also, I am inclined to prefer that use which makes ye invariably the nominative plural of the personal pronoun thou, and you the accusative, when applied to an actual plurality. When used for the singular number, custom hath determined that it shall be you in both cases. This renders the distinction rather more important, as for the most part it would show directly whether one or more were addressed; a point in which we are often liable to mistake in all modern fanguages. From the like principle, in those verbs which have for the participle passive both the preterit form and one peculiar, the peculiar form ought to have the preference. Thus, I have gotten, I have hidden, I have spoken, are better than I have got, I have hid, I have spoke.* From the same principle, I think ate is preferable in the preterit tense, and eaten in the participle, to eat, which is the constant form of the present, though soinetimes, also, used for both the others.
But though, in this judgment concerning the participles, I agree entirely with all our approved modern grammarians, 1 can by no means concur with some of them in their manner of supporting it. “We should be immediately shocked,” says one of the best of them, “at I have knew, I have saw, I have grave, &c., but our ears are grown familiar with I have wrote, I have drank, I have bore, &c., which are altogether as bai barous.'' Nothing can be more inconsistent, in my opinion, with the very first principles of grammar, than what is here advanced. This ingenious gentleman surely will not pretend that there is a barbarism in every word which serves for preterit and participle both, else the far
* Yet I should prefer “I have held, helped, melted," to “I have holden, holpen, molten," these last participles being now obsolete. Holpen is, indeed, still used when we speak formally of courts or public meetings,
+ Lowth's Int: oduction to English Grammar.
greater parts of the preterits and participles of our tongue are barbarous. If not, what renders many of them, such as loved, hated, sent, brought, good English when employed either way? I know no answer that can be given but custom; that is, in other words, our ears are familiarized to them by frequent use. And what was ever meant by a barbarism in speech but that which shocks us by violating the constant usage in speakng or in writing ? If so, to be equally barbarous and to be equally shocking are synonymous, whereas to be barbarous and to be in familiar use are a contradiction in terms. Yet in this manner does our author often express himself. “No authority,” says he in another place, “is sufficient to justify so manifest a solecism.". No man needed less to be informed that authority is everything in language, and that it is the want of it alone that constitutes both the barbarism and the solecism.
CANON THE SECOND.
The second canon is, In doubtful cases regard ought to be had in our decisions to the analogy of the language.
For this reason I prefer contemporary to cotemporary. The general use in words compounded with the inseparable preposition con is to retain the [n] before a consonant, and to expunge it before a vowel or an [h] mute.
Thus we say condiscipline, conjuncture, concomitant ; but co-equal, co-elernal, coincide, co-heir. I know but one exception, which is co-partner. But in dubious cases we ought to follow the rule, and not the exception. If by the former canon the adverbs backwards and forwards are preferable to backward and forward, by this canon, from the principle of analogy, afterwards and homewards should be preferred to afterward and homeward. Of the two adverbs thereabout and thereabouts, compounded of the participle there and the preposition, the former alone is analogical, there being no such word in the language as abouts. The same holds of hereabout and whereabout. In the verbs to dare and to need, many say, in the third person present singular, dare and need, as, “ he need not go; he dare not do it.” Others say dares and needs. As the first usage is exceedingly irregular, hardly anything less than uniform practice could authorize it. This rule supplies us with another reason for preferring scarcely and exceedingly, as adverbs, to scarce and exceeding. The phrases Would to God and Would God can both plead the authority of custom ; but the latter is strictly analogical, the former is not. It is an established idiom in the English tongue, that any of the auxiliaries might, could, would, should, did, and had, with the nominative subjoined, should express sometimes a supposition, sometimes a wish; which of the two it expresses in any instance is easily discovered from the context. Thus the expression “ Would
he but ask it of me,” denotes either “ If he would, or I wish that he would but ask it of me." Would God, then, is properly, I wish that God would, or O that God would. The other expression it is impossible to reconcile to analogy in any way.* For a like reason, the phrase ever so, as when we say “though he were ever so good,” is preferable to never so. In both these decisions I subscribe to the judgment of Dr. Johnson. Of the two phrases in no wise, in three words, and nowise in one, the last only is conformable to the present genius of the tongue. The noun wise, signifying manner, is quite obsolete. It remains now only in composition, in which, along with an adjective or other substantive, it forms an adverb or conjunction. Such are sidewise, lengthwise, coastwise, contrariwise, likewise, otherwise. These always preserve the compound form, and never admit a preposition; consequently nowise, which is an adverb of the same order, ought analogically to be written in one word, and not to be preceded by in. In every ancient style all these words were uncompounded, and had the preposition. They said in like wise and in other wise.t And even if custom at present were uniform, as it is divided, in admitting in before nowise, it ought to be followed, though anomalous. In these matters it is foolish to attempt to struggle against the stream. All that I here plead for is, that when custom varies, analogy should decide the question. In the determination of this particular instance I differ from Dr. Priestley. Sometimes whether is followed by no, sometimes by not. For instance, some would say
" Whether he will or no;" others, " Whether he will or not.” Of these, it is the latter only that is analogical. There is an ellipsis of the verb in the last clause, which when you supply, you find it necessary to use the adverb not,
" Whether he will or will not.” I shall only add, that by both the preceding canons we ought always to say rend in the present of the indicative and of the infinitive, and never rent, as is sometimes done. The latter term hath
* What has given rise to it is evidently the French Plut à Dieu, of the same import. But it has not been adverted to (so servile commonly are imitators) that the verb plaire is impersonal, and regularly construed with the preposition a; neither of which is the case with the English will and would.
+ In proof of this, I shall produce a passage taken from the Prologue of the English translation of the Legenda Aurea, which seems to have been made towards the end of the fifteenth century. “I haue submysed my selfe to translate into Engylsshe the legende of sayntes whyche is called legenda aurea in Latyn; that is to saye, the golden legende. For in lyke wyse as golde is moost noble aboue all other metallys; in like wyse is thys legende holden moost noble aboue all other werkes." About the time that our present version of the Scriptures was made, the old usage was wearing out. The phrase in like wise occurs but once (Matt., xxi., 24), whereas the compound term likewise occurs frequently. We find in several places, on this wise, in any wise, and in no wise. The first two phrases are now obsolete, and the third seems to be in a state which Dr. Johnson calls obsolescent.