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Synonymes, p. 236. The prevailing and best modern usage is in favor of to instead of from after averse and aversion, and before the object. The words themselves include the idea of from.

“Clearness ... enables the reader to see thoughts without noticing the language with which they are clothed.” -Townsend's Art of Speech. We clothe thoughts in language.

Shakespeare ... and the Bible are ... models for the English-speaking tongue.”—Ibid. If this means models of English, then it should be of ; but if it means models for English organs of speech to practice on, then it should be for ; or if it means models to model English tongues after, then also it should be for.

“ If the resemblance is too faint, the mind is fatigued while attempting to trace the analogies.” “ Aristotle is in error while thus describing governments.”—Ibid. Here we have two examples, not of the misuse of the preposition, but of the erroneous use of the adverb while instead of the preposition in.

“For my part I can not think that Shelley's poetry, except by snatches and fragments, has the value of the good work of Wordsworth or Byron.”—Matthew Arnold. Should be, “except in snatches.”

“Taxes with us are collected nearly [almost] solely from real and personal estate.”—Appletons' Journal. Taxes are levied on estates and collected from the owners.

“If I am not commended for the beauty of my works, I may hope to be pardoned for their brevity.” Cobbett comments on this sentence as follows : “We may commend him for the beauty of his works, and we may pardon him for their brevity, if we deem the brevity a fault; but this is not what he means. He means that, at any rate, he shall have the merit of brevity. “If I am not commended for the beauty of my works, I may hope to be pardoned on account of their brevity.' This is what the doctor meant; but this would have marred a little the antithesis: it would have unsettled a little of the balance of that seesaw in which Dr. Johnson so much delighted, and which, falling into the hands of novel-writers and of members of Parliament, has, by moving unencumbered with any of the doctor's reason or sense, lulled so many thousands asleep! Dr. Johnson created a race of writers and speakers. 'Mr. Speaker, that the state of the nation is very critical, all men will allow ; but that it is wholly desperate, few will believe.' When you hear or see a sentence like this, be sure that the person who speaks or writes it has been reading Dr. Johnson, or some of his imitators. But, observe, these imitators go no further than the frame of the sentences. They, in general, take care not to imitate the doctor in knowledge and reasoning.”

The rhetoricians would have us avoid such forms of ex. pression as, “The boy went to and asked the advice of his teacher” ; “I called on and had a conversation with my brother.”

Very often the preposition is not repeated in a sentence when it should be. We say properly, “He comes from Ohio or from Indiana”; or, “He comes from either Ohio or Indiana."

“Some authorities object to the use of a preposition as the final word of a sentence, but such usage is in accord with the genius of all the Teutonic languages.”-Standard Dictionary.

Prepossess. See PREJUDICE.

Present-Introduce. Few errors are more common, especially among those that are always straining to be fine, than that of using present, in the social world, instead of introduce. Present means to place in the presence of a superior ; introduce, to bring to be acquainted. A person is presented at court, and on an official occasion to our President; but persons that are unknown to each other are introduced by a common acquaintance. And in these introductions it is the younger that is introduced to the older; the lower to the higher in place or social position; the gentleman to the lady. A lady should say, as a rule, that Mr. Blank was introduced to her, not that she was introduced to Mr. Blank.

Presumptive. This word is sometimes misused by the careless for presumptuous.

Preventive. A useless and unwarranted syllable is sometimes added to this word, making preventative.

Previous. This adjective, in common with subsequent, independent, relative, antecedent, and possibly others, is often erroneously used as an adverb.

" Previous [previously) to the races at Monmouth Park yesterday," etc.-N. Y. Sun.

“ The coaling steamer, Loch Garry, went into dock yesterday for inspection previous [previously) to being sent to her owners.”

“The new police board is hard at work laying the foundation for reform quite independent (independently] of Albany."-Evening Sun.

“Should has also certain meanings independent (independently] of its relations as,” etc.—Standard Dictionary.

Independently of this reason, there was another about which," etc.-M. W. H. in N. Y. Sun.

“ There is no tradition of the Earls of Derby making the castle their residence subsequent [subsequently] to the death of the Countess."


It is seldom really necessary to use any one of these adverbs; but if they are used, they should not be used in the adjective form.

Procure. This is a word much used by people that strive to fine. “Where did you get it?” with them is, “Where did you procure it?”

Profanity. The extent to which some men habitually interlard their talk with oaths is disgusting even to many who, on occasion, do not themselves hesitate to give expression to their feelings in oaths portly and unctuous. If these fellows could be made to know how offensive to decency they make themselves, they would, perhaps, be less profane.

Promise. This word is sometimes very improperly used for assure; thus, “I promise you I was very much astonished.”

“ I shall get into Parliament this time, I promise [assure) you."

Promote. Should not be used when the thing advanced is evil. “ He argues that pernicious reading promotes crime and should be excluded from libraries."

Pronouns of the First Person. “The ordinary uses of 'I' and 'we,' as the singular and plural pronouns of the first person, would appear to be above all ambiguity, uncertainty, or dispute. Yet when we consider the force of the plural ‘we,' we are met with a contradiction; for, as a rule, only one person can speak at the same time to the same audience. It is only by some exceptional arrangement, or some latitude or license of expression, that several persons can be conjoint speakers. For example, a plurality may sing together in chorus, and may join in the responses at church, or in the simultaneous repetition of the Lord's Prayer or the Creed. Again, one person may be the authorized spokesman in delivering a judgment or opinion held by a number of persons in common. Finally, in written compositions, the 'we' is not unsuitable, because a plurality of persons may append their names to a document.

“A speaker using 'we' may speak for himself and one or more others ; commonly he stands forward as the representative of a class, more or less comprehensive. “As soon as my companion and I had entered the field, we saw a man coming toward us'; 'we like our new curate'; 'you do us poets the greatest injustice'; 'we must see to the efficiency of our forces.' The widest use of the pronoun will be mentioned presently.

“We'is used for ‘I’in the decrees of persons in authority; as when King Lear says:

'Know that we have divided

In three our kingdom.' By the fiction of plurality a veil of modesty is thrown over the assumption of vast superiority over human beings generally. Or, 'we' may be regarded as an official form whereby the speaker personally is magnified or enabled to rise to the dignity of the occasion.

“ The editorial 'we' is to be understood on the same principle. An author using 'we' appears as if he were not alone, but sharing with other persons the responsibility of his views.

“This representative position is at its utmost stretch in the practice of using 'we' for human beings generally ; as in discoursing on the laws of human nature. The preacher, the novelist, or the philosopher, in dwelling upon the peculiarity of our common constitution, being himself an example of what he is speaking of, associates the rest of mankind with him, and speaks collectively by means of 'we.'

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