Imatges de pÓgina
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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1831, by NOAH
Webster, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Connecticut.

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10 T 21


The British Grammars of the English language appear to me to be very imperfect, and, in some particulars, very erroneous. Since the publication of the grammars of Lowth and Priestley, who added most of the improvements, which have been made since the days of Wallis, some important discoveries have been made in the origin of words and in the construction of sentences, which have not been introduced into any grammar published in Great Britain ; at least as far as my knowledge extends.

Grammar is a difficult subject, especially to the young student; and the difficulties that belong to the subject, have been increased by the use of terms merely technical in designating the parts of speech. On entering upon the subject, the young student meets with the words noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb ; words he never saw or heard of before, as they are no part of the common language which he has been accustomed to use; and words which he does not understand. To remedy, as far as possible, this evil, I have, in this work, not only explained the technical terms, but have used other terms, with them, which serve as interpreters of the words commonly used. These interpreting words are more easily understood, and some of them are more strictly correct, or better adapted to express their true signification. Thus for noun, the English word name is often used; a word which every child understands. This accords with the practice of the nations on the continent of Europe. For pronoun, the word substitute or representative is sometimes used; for several of the words called pronouns are often used in the place of sentences, or they refer to them. Attribute is a word better understood than adjective ; though it were to be wished, we could find a more familiar term for that class of words. For adverb, I often use modifier ; a term much wanted to denote certain words which have the uses of different parts of speech. Thus most and very, which are adjectives, are often used as adverbs; as in the phrases most wise, very good. If we call the words, in such phrases, adverbs, then we call them by the same name as we do mostly and verily. In like manner, up, over, to, which are prepositions, are used to modify verbs, in such phrases as to give up, to give over, to come to ; and it seems very unnatural to call them, in these and similar forms of speech, prepositions.

The terms used to express the tenses of English verbs, are borrowed from the Latin ; but some of them are improperly applied. Thus, he created is called the imperfect tense, denoting unfinished action; but this is not correct: the imperfect tense in English is,



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