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PREFACE TO REVISED EDITION.
I KNOW I have succeeded in making this book much larger than it was in the previous editions, and I think I have succeeded in making it as much better as I have made it larger. It certainly is now by far the most comprehensive book of its kind in the language.
I have gathered the new matter, little by little, during the last five or six years, and I trust that little has escaped me that I ought to have gathered.
Of the new matter, there is nothing that is newer, or possibly of more importance, than what will be found under the heading NounConstruction.
If the book is now not so good as it should be, then-it should have had another author.
Α. Α. New York, January, 1896.
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.
The title-page sufficiently sets forth the end this little book is intended to serve.
For convenience' sake I have arranged in alphabetical order the subjects treated of, and for economy's sake I have kept in mind that “ he that uses many words for the explaining of any subject doth, like the cuttle-fish, hide himself in his own ink."
The curious inquirer who sets himself to look for the learning in the book is advised that he will best find it in such works as George P. Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, Fitz-Edward Hall's Recent Exemplifications of False Philology, and Modern English, Richard Grant White's Words and Their Uses, Edward S. Gould's Good English,
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.
William Mathews' Words: their Use and Abuse, Dean Alford's The Queen's English, George Washington Moon's Bad English, and The Dean's English, Blank's Vulgarisms and Other Errors of Speech, Alexander Bain's English Composition and Rhetoric, Bain's Higher English Grammar, Bain's Composition Grammar, Quackenbos' Composition and Rhetoric, John Nichol's English Composition, William Cobbett's English Grammar, Peter Bullion's English Grammar, Goold Brown's Grammar of English Grammars, Graham's English Synonymes, Bigelow's Hand-book of Punctuation, and other kindred works.
Suggestions and criticisms are solicited, with the view of profiting by them in future editions.
If The Verbalist receive as kindly a welcome as its companion volume, The Orthoëpist, has received, I shall be content.
Α. Α. New YORK, October, 1881.
ESCHEW fine words as you would rouge.-HARE.
Cant is properly a double-distilled lie; the second power of a lie.-CARLYLE.
If a gentleman be to study any language, it ought to be that of his own country.--LOCKE.
In language the unknown is generally taken for the magnificent.-RICHARD GRANT WHITE.
He who has a superlative for everything, wants a measure for the great or small.—LAVATER.
Inaccurate writing is generally the expression of inaccurate thinking.-RICHARD GRANT WHITE.
To acquire a few tongues is the labor of a few years ; but to be eloquent in one is the labor of a life.-ANONYMOUS.
Words and thoughts are so inseparably connected that an artist in words is necessarily an artist in thoughts.WILSON.
It is an invariable maxim that words which add nothing to the sense or to the clearness must diminish the force of the expression.-CAMPBELL.
Propriety of thought and propriety of diction are commonly found together. Obscurity of expression generally springs from confusion of ideas.-MACAULAY.