The She Farers Tale: A Tale Set To Rhyme Vol. 1 (Poetic Series)

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Nouns are of the second person when addressed or spoken to. Felton's Gram. Thou is the second person, singular. He, she , or it , is the third person, singular. We is the first person, plural. Ye or you is the second person, plural. They is the third person, plural.

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Murray's Grammar , p. Adams's , 37; A. Flint's , 18; Kirkham's , 98; Cooper's , 34; T. Putnam's , Now there is no more propriety in affirming, that " I is the first person ," than in declaring that me, we, us, am, ourselves, we think, I write , or any other word or phrase of the first person, is the first person. Yet Murray has given us no other definitions or explanations of the persons than the foregoing erroneous assertions; and, if I mistake not, all the rest who are here named, have been content to define them only as he did. Some others, however, have done still worse: as, "There are three personal pronouns; so called, because they denote the three persons, who are the subjects of a discourse, viz.

I, who is the person speaking ; 2d thou, who is spoken to; 3d he, she , or it, who is spoken of, and their plurals, we, ye or you, they. Here the two kinds of error which I have just pointed out, are jumbled together. It is impossible to write worse English than this! Nor is the following much better: "Of the personal pronouns there are five, viz.

I , in the first person, speaking; Thou , in the second person, spoken to; and He, she, it , in the third person, spoken of. This exception takes place more particularly in the writing of dialogues and dramas; in which the first and second persons are abundantly used, not as the representatives of the author and his reader, but as denoting the fictitious speakers and hearers that figure in each scene.

But, in discourse, the grammatical persons may be changed without a change of the living subject. In the following sentence, the three grammatical persons are all of them used with reference to one and the same individual: "Say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest , because I said I am the Son of God? Consequently, nouns are rarely used in the first person; and when they do assume this relation, a pronoun is commonly associated with them: as, " I John ,"--" We Britons.

But some grammarians deny the first person to nouns altogether; others, with much more consistency, ascribe it;[] while very many are entirely silent on the subject.


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Yet it is plain that both the doctrine of concords, and the analogy of general grammar, require its admission. The reason of this may be seen in the following examples: " Themistocles ad te veni. Again, if the word God is of the second person, in the text, " Thou, God , seest me," why should any one deny that Paul is of the first person, in this one? Or this? And so of the plural: "Of you builders. How can it be pretended, that, in the phrase, " I Paul ," I is of the first person, as denoting the speaker, and Paul , of some other person, as denoting something or somebody that is not the speaker?

Let the admirers of Murray, Kirkham, Ingersoll, R. Smith, Comly, Greenleaf, Parkhurst, or of any others who teach this absurdity, answer.


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  • In the following example, the patriarch Jacob uses both forms; applying the term servant to himself, and to his brother Esau the term lord : "Let my lord, I pray thee , pass over before his servant : and I will lead on softly. For when a speaker or writer does not choose to declare himself in the first person, or to address his hearer or reader in the second , he speaks of both or either in the third. So Judah humbly beseeches Joseph: "Let thy servant abide in stead of the lad a bondman to my lord. And Abraham reverently intercedes with God: "Oh! And the Psalmist prays: " God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us.

    So, on more common occasions Ye mountains , that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills , like lambs?

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    Tremble, thou earth , at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. The plural number is that which denotes more than one; as, "The boys learn. The plural number of nouns is regularly formed by adding s or es to the singular: as, book, books; box, boxes; sofa, sofas; hero, heroes. When the singular ends in a sound which will unite with that of s , the plural is generally formed by adding s only , and the number of syllables is not increased: as, pen, pens; grape, grapes.

    But when the sound of s cannot be united with that of the primitive word, the regular plural adds s to final e , and es to other terminations, and forms a separate syllable: as, page, pages; fox, foxes. In some languages, as the Greek and the Arabic, there is a dual number, which denotes two , or a pair ; but in ours, this property of words, or class of modifications, extends no farther than to distinguish unity from plurality, and plurality from unity. It belongs to nouns, pronouns, and finite verbs; and to these it is always applied, either by peculiarity of form, or by inference from the principles of concord.

    Pronouns are like their antecedents, and verbs are like their subjects, in number. The terminations which always make the regular plural in es , with increase of syllables, are twelve; namely, ce, ge, ch soft, che soft, sh, ss, s, se, x, xe, z , and ze : as in face, faces; age, ages; torch, torches; niche, niches; dish, dishes; kiss, kisses; rebus, rebuses; lens, lenses; chaise, chaises; corpse, corpses; nurse, nurses; box, boxes; axe, axes; phiz, phizzes; maze, mazes. All other endings readily unite in sound either with the sharp or with the flat s , as they themselves are sharp or flat; and, to avoid an increase of syllables, we allow the final e mute to remain mute after that letter is added: thus, we always pronounce as monosyllables the words babes, blades, strifes, tithes, yokes, scales, names, canes, ropes, shores, plates, doves , and the like.

    In some instances, however, usage is various in writing, though uniform in speech; an unsettlement peculiar to certain words that terminate in vowels: as, Rabbis , or rabbies; octavos , or octavoes; attornies , or attorneys. There are also some other difficulties respecting the plurals of nouns, and especially respecting those of foreign words; of compound terms; of names and titles; and of words redundant or deficient in regard to the numbers.

    What is most worthy of notice, respecting all these puzzling points of English grammar, is briefly contained in the following observations. To this rule, the plurals of words ending in quy , as alloquies, colloquies, obloquies, soliloquies , are commonly made exceptions; because many have conceived that the u , in such instances, is a mere appendage to the q , or is a consonant having the power of w , and not a vowel forming a diphthong with the y. See Rule 12th for Spelling.

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    So nouns in i , so far as we have any that are susceptible of a change of number, form the plural regularly by assuming es : as, alkali, alkalies; salmagundi, salinagundies. Common nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, are numerous; and none of them deviate from the foregoing rule of forming the plural: thus, duty, duties.

    The termination added is es , and the y is changed into i , according to the general principle expressed in Rule 11th for Spelling. But, to this principle, or rule, some writers have supposed that proper nouns were to be accounted exceptions. And accordingly we sometimes find such names made plural by the mere addition of an s ; as, "How come the Pythagoras' , [it should be, the Pythagorases ,] the Aristotles , the Tullys , the Livys , to appear, even to us at this distance, as stars of the first magnitude in the vast fields of ether?

    This doctrine, adopted from some of our older grammars, I was myself, at one period, inclined to countenance; see Institutes of English Grammar , p. To pronounce the final a flat, as Africay for Africa , is a mark of vulgar ignorance. This class of words being anomalous in respect to pronunciation, some authors have attempted to reform them, by changing the e to y in the singular, and writing ies for the plural: as, apostrophy, apostrophies; epitomy, epitomies; simily, similies.

    A reformation of some sort seems desirable here, and this has the advantage of being first proposed; but it is not extensively adopted, and perhaps never will be; for the vowel sound in question, is not exactly that of the terminations y and ies , but one which seems to require ee --a stronger sound than that of y , though similar to it.

    In words of this class, the e appears to be useful as a means of preserving the right sound of the o ; consequently, such of them as are the most frequently used, have become the most firmly fixed in this orthography.

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    In practice, however, we find many similar nouns very frequently, if not uniformly, written with s only; as, cantos, juntos, grottos, solos, quartos, octavos, duodecimos, tyros. So that even the best scholars seem to have frequently doubted which termination they ought to regard as the regular one. The whole class includes more than one hundred words. Some, however, are seldom used in the plural; and others, never. Wo and potato are sometimes written woe and potatoe.

    This may have sprung from a notion, that such as have the e in the plural, should have it also in the singular. But this principle has never been carried out; and, being repugnant to derivation, it probably never will be. The only English appellatives that are established in oe , are the following fourteen: seven monosyllables, doe, foe, roe, shoe, sloe, soe, toe ; and seven longer words, rockdoe, aloe, felloe, canoe, misletoe, tiptoe, diploe.

    The last is pronounced dip'-lo-e by Worcester; but Webster, Bolles, and some others, give it as a word of two syllables only. Nay, for lack of a rule to guide his pen, even Johnson himself could not remember the orthography of the common word mangoes well enough to copy it twice without inconsistency. This may be seen by his example from King, under the words mango and potargo.

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    Since, therefore, either termination is preferable to the uncertainty which must attend a division of this class of words between the two; and since es has some claim to the preference, as being a better index to the sound; I shall make no exceptions to the principle, that common nouns ending in o preceded by a consonant take es for the plural. Murray says, " Nouns which end in o have sometimes es added, to form the plural; as, cargo, echo, hero, negro, manifesto, potato, volcano, wo: and sometimes only s ; as, folio, nuncio, punctilio, seraglio.

    This amounts to nothing, unless it is to be inferred from his examples , that others like them in form are to take s or es accordingly; and this is what I teach, though it cannot be said that Murray maintains the principle. These, however, may still be called proper nouns , in parsing; because they are only inflections, peculiarly applied, of certain names which are indisputably such. So likewise when such nouns are used to denote character: as, " Solomons , for wise men; Neros , for tyrants.

    The proper names of nations, tribes , and societies , are generally plural; and, except in a direct address, they are usually construed with the definite article: as, " The Greeks, the Athenians, the Jews, the Jesuits. And those which are only or chiefly plural, have, or ought to have, such terminations as are proper to distinguish them as plurals, so that the form for the singular may be inferred: as, "The Tungooses occupy nearly a third of Siberia. Here the singular must certainly be a Tungoose.