Sayfadaki görseller

“ The heroes prayed, and Pallas from the skies

Accords their vow."-Pope. The goddess of wisdom, when she granted the prayers of her worshipers, may be said to have accorded ; not so, however, when the clerks of our Sub-Treasury answer the inquiries of their chief.

Accuse. See BLAME IT ON.
Acquaintance. See FRIEND.

Ad. This abbreviation for the word advertisement is very justly considered a gross vulgarism. It is doubtful whether it is permissible under any circumstances.

Adapt—Dramatize. In speaking and in writing of stage matters, these words are often misused. To adapt a play is to modify its construction with the view of improving its form for representation. Plays translated from one language into another are usually more or less adapted; i. e., altered to suit the taste of the public before which the translation is to be represented. To dramatize is to change the form of a story from the narrative to the dramatic ; i. e., to make a drama out of a story. In the first instance, the product of the playwright's labor is called an adaptation ; in the second, a dramatization.

Adjectives. “Very often adjectives stand where adverbs might be expected; as, 'drink deep,' 'this looks strange,''standing erect.'

“We have also examples of one adjective qualifying another adjective; as, 'wide open,' 'red hot,''the pale blue sky.' Sometimes the corresponding adverb is used, but with a different meaning; as, 'I found the way easy_easily' ; ‘it appears clear-clearly. Although there is a propriety in the employment of the adjective in certain instances, yet such forms as 'indifferent well,''extreme bad,' are grammatical errors. 'He was interrogated relative to that cir

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cumstance,' should be relatively, or in relation to. It is not unusual to say, 'I would have done it independent of that circunstance,' but independently is the proper

construction. “The employment of adjectives for adverbs is accounted for by the following considerations:

“(1.) In the classical languages the neuter adjective may be used as an adverb, and the analogy would appear to have been extended to English.

(2.) In the oldest English the adverb was regularly formed from the adjective by adding 'e,' as ‘soft, softe,' and the dropping of the 'e' left the adverb in the adjective form ; thus, 'clæne,' adverb, became 'clean,' and appears in the phrase 'clean gone'; 'fæste, fast,''to stick fast. By a false analogy, many adjectives that never formed adverbs in of were freely used as adverbs in the age of Elizabeth : 'Thou didst it excellent,'' equal (for equally) good,'' excellent well. This gives precedent for such errors as those mentioned above.

“(3.) There are cases where the subject is qualified rather than the verb, as with verbs of incomplete predication, ‘being,''seeming,''arriving,' etc. In the matter seems clear,'

clear' is part of the predicate of matter.' "They arrived safe': 'safe' does not qualify arrived,' but goes with it to complete the predicate. So, 'he sat silent,'' he stood firm.' 'It comes beautiful' and ' it comes beautifully' have different meanings. This explanation applies especially to the use of participles as adverbs, as in Southey's lines on Lodore; the participial epithets applied there, although appearing to modify 'came,' are really additional predications about'the water,' in elegantly shortened form. 'The church stood gleaming through the trees': 'gleaming' is a shortened predicate of church'; and the full form would be, 'the church stood and gleamed.' The participle retains

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

its force as such, while acting the part of a coördinating adjective, complement to 'stood'; 'stood gleaming' is little more than 'gleamed.' The feeling of adverbial force in 'gleaming' arises from the subordinate participial form joined with a verb, “stood,' that seems capable of predicat. ing by itself. 'Passing strange' is elliptical : 'passing (sur. passing) what is strange.'”—Bain.

“The comparative adjectives wiser, better, larger, etc., and the contrasting adjectives different, other, etc., are often so placed as to render the construction of the sentence awkward ; as, 'That is a much better statement of the case than yours,' instead of, “That statement of the case is much better than yours'; ‘Yours is a larger plot of ground than John's,' instead of, “Your plot of ground is larger than John's'; 'This is a different course of proceeding from what I expected,' instead of, 'This course of proceeding is different from what I expected'; 'I could take no other method of silencing him than the one I took,' instead of, 'I could take no method of silencing him other than the one I took.'”—Gould's “Good English," p. 69.

Administer. “Carson died from blows administered by policeman Johnson.”—“New York Times.” If policeman Johnson was as barbarous as is this use of the verb to administer, it is to be hoped that he was hanged. Governments, oaths, medicine, affairs—such as the affairs of the state-are administered, but not blows: they are dealt.

Adopt. This word is often used instead of to decide upon, and of to take ; thus, “The measures adopted [by Parliament], as the result of this inquiry, will be productive of good.” Better, “ The measures decided upon,etc. Instead of, “What course shall you adopt to get your pay ?” say, “What course shall you take,” etc. Adopt is properly used in a sentence like this: “The course (or measures)

[ocr errors]


proposed by Mr. Blank was adopted by the committee.” That is, what was Blank's was adopted by the committee-. a correct use of the word, as to adopt, means, to assume as one's own.

Adopt is sometimes so misused that its meaning is inverted. Wanted to adopt," in the heading of advertisements, not unfrequently is intended to mean that the advertiser wishes to be relieved of the care of a child, not that he wishes to assume the care of one.

Aggravate. This word is often used when the speaker means to provoke, irritate, or anger. Thus, “ It aggravates [provokes] me to be continually found fault with ”; “He is easily aggravated (irritated]." To aggravate means to make worse, to heighten. We therefore very properly speak of aggravating circumstances. To say of a person that he is aggravated is as incorrect as to say that he is palliated.

Agriculturist. This word is to be preferred to agriculturalist. See CONVERSATIONIST.

Alike. This word is often most bunglingly coupled with both. Thus, “ These bonnets are both alike,” or, worse still, if possible, “both just alike.” This reminds one of the story of Sam and Jem, who were very like each other, especially Sam.


All over. “The disease spread all over the country.” It is more logical and more emphatic to say, “The disease spread over all the country.”

Allegory. An elaborated metaphor is called an allegory ; both are figurative representations, the words used signifying something beyond their literal meaning. Thus, in the eightieth Psalm, the Jews are represented under the symbol of a vine :

“ Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast


cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it."

An allegory is sometimes so extended that it makes a volume ; as in the case of Swift's “ Tale of a Tub,” Arbuthnot's “ John Bull,” Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress,” etc. Fables and parables are short allegories.

Allow. This word is frequently misused in the West and South, where it is made to do service for assert or to be of opinion. Thus, "He allows that he has the finest horse in the country.”

Allude. The treatment this word has received is to be specially regretted, as its misuse has wellnigh robbed it of its true meaning, which is, to intimate delicately, to refer to without mentioning directly. Allude is now very rarely used in any other sense than that of to speak of, to mention, to name, which is a long way from being its legitimate signification. This degradation is doubtless a direct outcome of untutored desire to be fine and to use big words.

Alone. This word is often improperly used for only. That is alone which is unaccompanied; that is only of which there is no other. “ Virtue alone makes us happy,” means that virtue unaided suffices to make us happy ; “Virtue only makes us happy," means that nothing else can do it--that that, and that only (not alone), can do it. “This means of communication is employed by man alone.

« ÖncekiDevam »