Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

superlatives. In his estimation turgidity passes for eloquence, and simplicity is but another name for that which is weak and unmeaning.”—George Washington Moon.

Hit. The using of this word in the sense of success is incompatible with dignified diction; it is, at the best, but one remove from slang.

Instead of “He made a great hit,say rather, “He was very successful,” if this is the thought intended. In the sentence, “ The speaker made some capital hits,” the sense is quite different.

Honorable. See REVEREND.

How. “I have heard how, in Italy, one is beset on all sides by beggars ”; read, “heard that.” “I have heard now some critics have been pacified with claret and a supper, and others laid asleep with soft notes of flattery."-Dr. Johnson. The how in this sentence also should be that. How means the manner in which. We may therefore say, “ I have heard how he went about it to circumvent

you."

“And it is good judgment alone can dictate how far to proceed in it and when to stop." Cobbett comments on this sentence in this wise: “Dr. Watts is speaking here of writing. In such a case an adverb, like how far, expressive of longitudinal space, introduces a rhetorical figure; for the plain meaning is, that judgment will dictate how much to write on it, and not how far to proceed in it. The figure, however, is very proper, and much better than the literal words. But when a figure is begun it should be carried on throughout, which is not the case here ; for the doctor begins with a figure of longitudinal space and ends with a figure of time. It should have been, where to stop ; or, how long to proceed in it and when to stop. To tell a man how far he is to go into the western countries of America

[ocr errors]

and when he is to stop, is a very different thing from tell. ing him how far he is to go and where he is to stop. I have dwelt thus on this distinction for the purpose of putting you on the watch and guarding you against confounding figures. The less you use them the better, till you understand more about them.”

NOTE.-The alone in the first line of the paragraph above misused. The meaning is: The only thing that can dictate in the matter is good judgment. We could not say, 'the alone thing.' If alone were correct, then the meaning would be: Judgment unaided-i. e., alone-can dictate in the matter. The relative, being in the nominative, must not be omitted. Dr. Watts, then, should have written: "And it is good judgment only that can dictate," etc.

However. “However learned one may be, there is a limit to one's knowledge.” Here the word is properly used, but it is not properly used in a sentence such as this : " However could you tell such a story!” Properly, How could you ever," etc.

Humanitarianism. This word, in its original, theological sense, means the doctrine that denies the Godhead of Jesus Christ, and avers that he was possessed of a human nature only; a humanitarian, therefore, in the theological sense, is one that believes this doctrine. The word and its derivatives, however, nowadays, both in this country and in England, are most used in a humane, philanthropic sense ; thus, “The audience enthusiastically indorsed (applauded ?] the humanitarianism of his eloquent discourse."-Hatton.

Hung. See HANGED.

Hurry. Though widely different in meaning, both the verb and the noun hurry are continually used for haste and hasten. Hurry implies not only haste, but haste with confusion, flurry; while haste implies only rapidity of action, an eager desire to make progress, and, unlike hurry, is not

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

incompatible with deliberation and dignity. It is often wise to hasten in the affairs of life ; but, as it is never wise to proceed without forethought and method, it is never wise to hurry. Sensible people, then, may be often in haste but are never in a hurry; and we tell others to make haste, and not to hurry up.

If you do not hurry [hasten] you will not arrive in time."

Though I am in a great hurry [great haste), I can not let the opportunity slip to let you know,” etc.

“The aldermen are in no hurry [haste] to revive street music.”—N. Y. Sun.

Hyperbole. The magnifying of things beyond their natural limits is called hyperbole. Language that signifies, literally, more than the exact truth, more than is really intended to be represented, by which a thing is represented greater or less, better or worse, than it really is, is said to be hyperbolical. Hyperbole is exaggeration.

“Our common forms of compliment are almost all of them extravagant hyperboles." —Blair.

Some examples are the following:
“ Rivers of blood and hills of slain.”

“They were swister than eagles; they were stronger than lions.”

“ The sky shrunk upward with unusual dread,

And trembling Tiber dived beneath his bed.”
“So frowned the mighty combatants, that hell

Grew darker at their frown."
“I saw their chief, tall as a rock of ice ; his

spear,

the blasted fir; his shield, the rising moon: he sat on the shore, like a cloud of mist on a hill."

Ice cream-Ice water. As for ice cream, there is no such thing, as ice cream would be the product of frozen

а

[ocr errors]

cream-i. e., cream made from ice by melting. What is called ice cream is cream iced; hence, properly, iced cream, and not ice cream. The product of melted ice is ice water, whether it be cold or warm ; but water made cold with ice is iced water, and not ice water.

“ The Norwegians have gained credit for setting to Europe the example of having iced water in their railway cars."—N. Y. Sun.

“A butler was in attendance with provision baskets, wine, fruit, iced water,” etc.-James Anthony Froude.

Idea. Should not be used in the sense of opinion.

“Few words," says an English writer, “have been more completely transformed in meaning than the little word idea. Strange to say, this word is rarely misapplied, even in conversation, by the better class of Americans. Englishmen, whether in writing or [in] speaking, invariably lose sight of the true meaning of the word. To ‘have an idea that it is best to act justly on all occasions,' is a barbarous misuse of a word which [that] is very expressive and beautiful as used by our old writers. Shakespeare on no occasion, so far as we can recollect, uses the word as meaning an opinion, but as a mental vision.”

“I have an idea [it is my opinion, or, I have an impression] that you had better wait till to-morrow.”

If. “I doubt if this will ever reach you ": say, “I doubt whether this will ever reach you." “Go and see if (whether] he has come.”

III. See SICK.

Dily. It will astonish not a few to learn that there is no such word as illy. The form of the adverb, as well as of the adjective and the noun, is ill. A thing is ill formed, or ill done, or ill made, or ill constructed, or ill put together.

[ocr errors]

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay."

Goldsmith. Immodest. This adjective and its synonyms, indecent and indelicate, are often used without proper discrimination being made in their respective meanings. Indecency and immodesty are opposed to morality : indecency in externals, as dress, words, and looks ; immodesty in conduct and disposition. Indecency," says Crabb, “may be a partial, immodesty is a positive and entire, breach of the moral law. Indecency is less than immodesty but more than indelicacy.It is indecent for a man to marry again very soon after the death of his wife. It is indelicate for any one to obtrude himself upon another's retirement. It is indecent for women to expose their persons as do some that we can not call immodest.

“Immodest words admit of no defense,
For want of decency is want of sense.”

Earl of Roscommon. Imperfect Tense, misuse of. Few errors are more frequently made than that of using the imperfect tense when the thought requires the perfect.

“He is the worst boy I ever saw [have seen].”

“You never saw [have seen] such an excitement as it created.”

I was [have been] often told that I had (have) a phenomenally large head, but I fancy yours is larger.”

“The best district attorney New York ever had [has had] never tried [did not try] Mr. Dudley under the indictment."

“One of the most extraordinary psychological phenomena that ever was [has been) witnessed among mankind.”

« ÖncekiDevam »