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quently used improperly than properly. As a noun, it means the common people, the lower orders, the multitude, the many; as an adjective, it means coarse, low, unrefined, as, “ the vulgar people.” The sense in which it is misused is that of immodest, indecent.
“ The word 'vulgarity' was formerly thought to mean indecent; now it means simply bad manners. To be vulgar is to be inadmissible to society. Vulgar people are low, mean, coarse, plebeian, no matter where the ever-turning wheel of fortune has placed them.”—The Queen.
Was. “He said he had come to the conclusion that there was no God.” “The greatest of Byron's works was his whole work taken together.”—Matthew Arnold. What is true at all times should be expressed by using the verb in the present tense. The sentences above should read is, not was.
“There have been some men who denied that there was [is] a God."-Capel.
Was given. Tendered, or presented. See PASSIVE. Way. Often used for away, in such sentences as, Way down East,” “From way back," "He made way with the money.” In strictness, the word to use is away.
Ways. Erroneously used for way; as, “ The river is a long ways off.”
Well, “Used by Americans with peculiar fondness to begin almost every sentence, especially an answer to a question. This custom seems to have originated in New England, where it still most generally prevails, in order to gain time before replying, as the Yankee is accused of answering only with a new question."-De Vere.
Wharf. See Dock.
What. “ He would not believe but what I did it": read, but that. “I do not doubt but what I shall go to
Boston to-morrow": read, doubt that. We say properly, “I have nothing but what you see " ; “You have brought everything but what I wanted.”
We sometimes hear a redundant what in sentences like these: “I have read more than what you think I have.” “ They were no larger than what he was.”
Whence. As this adverb means, unaided, from what place, source, or cause, it is, as Dr. Johnson styled it,“ vicious mode of speech” to say from whence, Milton to the contrary notwithstanding. Nor is there any more propriety in the phrase from thence, as thence means, unaided, from that place. “Whence do you come ?” not“ From whence do you come?” Likewise, “He went hence," not “ from hence."
Whether. This conjunction is often improperly repeated in a sentence ; thus, “I have not decided whether I shall go to Boston or whether I shall go to Philadelphia.” Properly, “ To Boston or to Philadelphia.”
“ Whether I go or not, what difference does it make?” is the form of expression that no one finds fault with, while “Whether ...no is objected to by many, and among these we find, for the most part, the better informed.
Which. This pronoun, as an interrogative, applies to persons as well as to things; as a relative, it is now made to refer to things only.
“ Which is employed in co-ordinate sentences, where it or they, and a conjunction, might answer the
purpose ; thus, * At school I studied geometry, which (and it] I found useful afterward.' Here the new clause is something independent added to the previous clause, and not limiting that clause in any way. So in the adjectival clause ; as, 'He struck the poor dog, which [and it, or although it] had never done him harm.' Such instances represent the most accurate meaning of which. Who and which might be termed the co-ORDINATING RELATIVES.
" Which is likewise used in restrictive clauses that limit or explain the antecedent; as, 'The house which he built still remains.' Here the clause introduced by which specifies, or points out, the house that is the subject of the statement, namely, by the circumstance that a certain person built it. Our most idiomatic writers prefer that in this particular application, and would say, 'The house that he built still remains.''
“ Which sometimes has a special reference attaching to it, as the neuter relative : Cæsar crossed the Rubicon, which was in effect a declaration of war. The antecedent in this instance is not Rubicon, but the entire clause.
“There is a peculiar usage where which may seem to be still regularly used in reference to persons, as in ‘John is a soldier, which I should like to be’; that is, 'And I should like to be a soldier.'” See THAT, WHICH, Who.
Which, Who, That. See That, WHICH, WHO.
Who. There are few persons, even among the most cultivated, that do not make frequent mistakes in the use of this pronoun. They say, “Who did you see?” “Who did you meet ?” “Who did he marry?” “Who did you hear?" “Who did he know?”. Who are you writing to?” “Who are you looking at ?” In all these sentences the interrogative pronoun is in the objective case, and should be used in the objective form, which is whom, and not who. To show that these sentences are not correct, and are not defensible by supposing any ellipsis whatsoever, we have only to put the questions in another form. Take the first one, and, instead of "Who did you see ?" say, “Who saw you ?” which, if correct, justifies us in saying, “Who knew he?” which is the equivalent of “Who
did he know?" But “Who saw you ?" in this instance, is clearly not correct, since it says directly the opposite of what is intended.
Who was little used as a relative till about the sixteenth century. Bain says: “In modern use, more especially in books, who is frequently employed to introduce a clause intended to restrict, define, limit, or explain a noun (or its equivalent); as, ' That is the man who spoke to us yesterday.'
“Here the clause introduced by who is necessary to define or explain the antecedent the man ; without it, we do not know who the man is. Such relative clauses are typical adjective clauses—i. e., they have the same effect as adjectives in limiting nouns. This may be called the RESTRICTIVE use of the relative.
“Now it will be found that the practice of our most idiomatic writers and speakers is to prefer that to who in this application.
“Who is properly used in such co-ordinate sentences as, 'I met the watchman, who told me there had been a fire.' Here the two clauses are distinct and independent; in such a case, and he might be substituted for who.
“Another form of the same use is when the second clause is of the kind termed adverbial, where we may resolve who into a personal or demonstrative pronoun and conjunction. Why should we consult Charles, who [for he, seeing that he] knows nothing of the matter?'
“Who may be regarded as a modern objective form, side by side with whom ; for many good writers and speakers say 'Who are you talking of?' 'Who does the garden belong to?' 'Who is this for ?''Who from?'” etc.
If this be true—if who may be regarded as a modern objective form, side by side with whom-then, of course,
such expressions as Who did you see?” “Who did you meet ?” “Who did he marry ?” “Who were you with ?" “Who will you give it to ?” and the like, are correct. That they are used colloquially by well-nigh everybody, no one will dispute ; but that they are correct, few grammarians will concede. See That.
Whole. This word is sometimes most improperly used for all; thus, “ The whole Germans seem to be saturated with the belief that they are really the greatest people on earth, and that they would be universally recognized as being the greatest, if they were not so exceeding modest.” “The whole Russians are inspired with the belief that their mission is to conquer the world.”-Alison.
Whole of. Improperly used for entire and for all. We say properly, the entire audience; not, the whole of the audience. All the delegates; not, the whole of the delegates.
Wholesome. See HEALTHY.
Whom. The relative pronoun who is often very erroneously put in its objective form even by persons whose grammar is commonly correct. “I saw the man whom, they thought, was dead.” The parenthetic clause they thought, we see, on a moment's reflection, does not alter the relation of the relative to its verb was, hence it should be, “I saw the man who,” etc. No one would say, “I saw the man whom was dead.”
“ The younger Harper whom [who), they agree, was rather nice-looking."
“The two individuals [persons ?) whom [who), he thought, were far away.”
“Nina was annoyed by the presence of Mr. Jekyl, whom (who] her brother insisted should remain to dinner."