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Such another. Properly, another such.
Summon. This verb comes in for its full share of mauling. We often hear such expressions as
I will summons him," instead of summon him ; and “He was summonsed," instead of summoned.
Superfluous relatives. Sentences are often met with in which there is a superfluous relative pronoun.
“There are Latin words in us which [that] we treat in English as nouns singular, yet which in Latin,” etc. The second relative only serves to make the diction clumsy. Had the writer used that for his first relative, it is probable that he would not have thought a second pronoun necessary.
Superfluous words. “Whenever I try to write well, I always find I can do it.” “I shall have finished by the latter end of the week.” “ Iron sinks down in water." “He combined together all the facts.” “My brother called on me, and we both took a walk.” “I can do it equally as well as he.” “We could not forbear from do“Before I go, I must first be paid."
“ We were compelled to return back.” “We forced them to retreat back fully a mile.” “His conduct was approved of by everybody.” “They conversed together for a long time.*
' “ The balloon rose up very rapidly." “ Give me another one." "Come home as soon as ever you can." “ Who finds him in money?” “He came in last of all.” “He has got all he can carry.” “What have you got?” “No matter what I have got.” “I have got the headache." “Have you got any brothers ?” “No, but I have got a sister.” All the words in italics are superfluous.
Superior. See INFERIOR.
Superior. This word is not infrequently used for able, excellent, gifted; as, “She is a superior woman,
meaning an excellent woman; “He is a superior man,” meaning an able man. The expression “an inferior man" is not less objectionable.
Supposititious. This word is properly used in the sense of put by a trick into the place or character belonging to another; spurious ; counterfeit ; not genuine ; and improperly in the sense of conjectural ; hypothetical ; imaginary; presumptive ; as,“ This is a supposititious case," meaning an imaginary or presumptive case. “The English critic derived his material from a stray copy of some supposititious indexes devised by one of the Post reporters."—Nation. Here is a correct use of the word.
Sure. Can not properly be used as an adverb. Not, “He will be here sure, but, “He will surely be here."
Sustain. We occasionally see the word used in the sense of receive by persons who find it difficult to be direct and simple. For example, we do not sustain—we receive injuries.
It is also sometimes misused in the sense of to meet with ; thus, “He had lately sustained several small losses, which greatly worried him.”
Swosh. There is a kind of ill-balanced brain in which the reflective and the imaginative very much outweigh the perceptive. Men to whom this kind of an organization has been given commonly have active minds, but their minds never present anything clearly. To their mental vision all is ill-defined, chaotic. They see everything in a haze. Whether such men talk or write, they are verbose, illogical, intangible, Will-o'-the-wispish. Their thoughts are phantomlike ; like shadows, they continually escape their grasp. In their talk they will, after long dissertations, tell you that they have not said just what they would like to say; there is always a subtle, lurking something still unexpressed, which something—the real essence of the matter-your penetration is expected to divine. In their writings they are eccentric, vague, labyrinthine, pretentious, transcendental,* and frequently ungrammatical. These men, if write they must, should confine themselves to the descriptive ; for when they enter the essayist's domain—which they are very prone to do—they write what I will venture to call swosh.
We find examples in plenty of this kind of writing in the essays of Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Indeed, the impartial critic that will take the trouble to examine any of Mr. Emerson's essays at all carefully, is quite sure to come to the conclusion that Mr. Emerson has seen everything he has ever made the subject of his essays very much as London is seen in a fog from the top of St. Paul's.
Mr. Emerson's definition of Nature runs thus: “Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which philosophy distinguishes from the Not Me—that is, both Nature and Art, and all other men, and my own body-must be ranked under this name ‘NATURE.' In enumerating the values of Nature and casting up their sum, I shall use the word in both senses—in its common and in its philosophical import. In inquiries so general as our present one, the inaccuracy is not material ; no confusion of thought will occur. Nature, in the common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man: space,
* To those that are not quite clear as to what transcendentalism is, the following lucid definition will be welcome: “It is the spiritual cognoscence of psychological irrefragability connected with concutient ademption of incolumnient spirituality and etherealized contention of subsultory concretion.” Translated by a New York lawyer, it stands thus: “Transcendentalism is two holes in a sandbank: a storm washes away the sand-bank without disturbing the holes."
the air, the river, the leaf. Art is applied to the mixture of his will with the same things, as in a house, a canal, a picture, a statue. But his operations, taken together, are so insignificant-a little chipping, baking, patching, and washing—that in an impression so grand as that of the world on the human mind they do not vary the result."
In Letters and Social Aims, Mr. Emerson writes: “Eloquence is the power to translate a truth into language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak. He who would convince the worthy Mr. Dunderhead of any truth which Dunderhead does not see, must be a master of his art. Declamation is common; but such possession of thought as is here required, such practical chemistry as the conversion of a truth written in God's language into a truth in Dunderhead's language, is one of the most beautiful and cogent weapons that is forged in the shop of the Divine Artificer."
The first paragraph of Mr. Emerson's Essay on Art reads: “All departments of life at the present dayTrade, Politics, Letters, Science, or Religion-seem to feel, and to labor to express, the identity of their law. They are rays of one sun; they translate each into a new language the sense of the other. They are sublime when seen as emanations of a Necessity contradistinguished from the vulgar Fate by being instant and alive, and dissolving man, as well as his works, in its flowing beneficence. This influence is conspicuously visible in the principles and history of Art."
Another paragraph from Mr. Emerson's Essay on Eloquence : “ The orator, as we have seen, must be a substantial personality. Then, first, he must have power of statement-must have the fact, and know how to tell it. In a knot of men conversing on any subject, the person who knows most about it will have the ear of the company, if he wishes it, and lead the conversation, no matter what genius or distinction other men there present may have; and, in any public assembly, him who has the facts, and can and will state them, people will listen to, though he is otherwise ignorant, though he is hoarse and ungrateful, though he stutters and screams.”
Mr. Emerson, in his Essay on Prudence, writes : “There are all degrees of proficiency in knowledge of the world. It is sufficient to our present purpose to indicate three. One class live to the utility of the symbol, esteeming health and wealth a final good. Another class live above this mark to the beauty of the symbol, as the poet and artist, and the naturalist and man of science. A third class live above the beauty of the symbol to the beauty of the thing signified; those are wise men. The first class have common sense; the second, taste; and the third, spiritual perception. Once in a long time a man traverses the whole scale, and sees and enjoys the symbol solidly; then, also, has a clear eye for its beauty; and, lastly, while he pitches his tent on this sacred volcanic isle of nature, does not offer to build houses and barns thereon, reverencing the splendor of God which he sees bursting through each chink and cranny."
Those that are wont to accept others at their self-assessment and to see things through other people's eyes—and there are many such—are in danger of thinking this kind of writing very fine, when in fact it is not only the veriest swosh, but that kind of swosh that excites at least an occasional doubt with regard to the writer's sanity. We can make no greater mistake than to suppose that the reason we do not understand these rhetorical contortionists is because they are so subtle and profound. We understand