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5. The following are examples of
IRREGULAR COMPARISON IN ADVERBS.
least. Nigh (or Near)
rather. (i) Worse comes from A.S weors, bad. Shakespeare has worser. (ii) Much is an adverb in the phrase much better. (iii) Little is an adverb in the phrase little inclined.
(iv) Next=nighest; and so we had also hext=highest. Near is really the comparative of nigh.
(v) Farrer would be the proper comparative. Chaucer has farrë, and this is still found in Yorkshire. The th in farther comes from a false analogy with forth, further, furthest.
(vi) Late is an adverb in the phrase He arrived late.
(vii) “Till rathe she rose, half-cheated in the thought.”—Tennyson ('Lancelot and Elaine ').
1. There is, in grammar, a class of words which may be called joining words or connectives. They are of two classes : (i) those which join nouns or pronouns to some other word; and (ii) those which join sentences. The first class are called Prepositions; the second Conjunctions.
PREPOSITIONS. 2. A Preposition is a word which connects a noun or pronoun with a verb, an adjective, or another noun or pronoun. (It thus shows the relation between things, or between a thing and an action, etc.)
(i) He stood on the table. Here on joins a verb and a noun.
(ii) Mary is fond of music. Here of joins an adjective and a noun. (iii) The man at the door is waiting. Here at joins two nouns.
The word preposition comes from the Lat. præ, before, and positus, placed. We have similar compounds in composition and deposition.
3. The noun or pronoun which follows the preposition is in the objective case, and is said to be governed by the preposition.
(i) But the preposition may come at the end of the sentence. Thus we can say, “This is the house we were looking at.” But at still gov. erns which (understood) in the objective. We can also say, Whom were you talking to ?”
4. Prepositions are divided into two classes: (i) simple ; and (ii) compound.
(i) The following are simple prepositions : at, by, for, in, of, of, on, out, to, with, up. (ii) The compound prepositions are formed in several ways :
(a) By adding a comparative suffix to an adverb: after, over, under.
(6) By prefixing a preposition to an adverb: above, about, before, behind, beneath, but (=be-out), throughout, within, etc.
(c) By prefixing a preposition to a noun: aboard, across, around, among, be. side, outside, etc.
(d) By prefixing an adverb or adverbial particle to a preposition : into, upon, until, etc.
(iii) The preposition but is to be carefully distinguished from the con- . junction but. “ All were there but him.” Here but is a preposition. “We waited an hour; but he did not come.” Here but is a conjunction. But, the preposition, was in O.E. be-útan, and meant on the outside of, and then without : but, the conjunction, was in 0.E. bot. The old proverb, “Touch not the cat but a glove," means “without a glove."
(iv) Down was adown=of down=off the down or hill.
(vi) There are several compound prepositions made up of separate words : instead of, on account of, in spite of, etc.
(vii) Some participles are used as prepositions : notwithstanding, concerning, respecting. The prepositions except and save may be regarded as imperatives.
5. The same words are used sometimes as adverbs, and sometimes as prepositions. We distinguish these words by their function. They can also be used as nouns or as adjectives.
(i) Thus we find the following words used either as
Prepositions. (1) Stand up!
(1) The boy ran up the hill. (2) Come on!
(2) The book lies on the table. (3) Be off!
(3) Get off the chair. (4) He walked quickly past. (4) He walked past the church.
(ii) Adverbs are sometimes used as nouns, as in the sentences, “I have met him before now.” “He is dead since then.”
(iii) In the following we find adverbs used as adjectives: “thine often infirmities ; ""the then king,” etc.
(iv) A phrase sometimes does duty as an adverb, as in “from beyond the sea ;
“ from over the mountains," etc.
CONJUNCTIONS. 6. A Conjunction is a word that joins sentences together.
(i) The word and, besides joining sentences, possesses the additional power of joining nouns or other words. Thus we say, “John and Jane are a happy pair ; “ Two and three are five.”
7. Conjunctions are of two kinds : (i) Co-ordinative; and (ii) Subordinative.
(i) Co-ordinative Conjunctions are those which connect co-ordinate sentences and clauses--that is, sentences neither of which is dependent on the other. The following is a list : And, both, but, either-or, neither
(ii) Subordinative Conjunctions are those which connect subordinate sentences with the principal sentence to which they are subordinate. The type of a subordinative conjunction is that, which is really the demonstrative pronoun. “I know that he has gone to London” is =“He has gone to London : I know that.”
(iii) The following is a list of subordinative conjunctions: After, before; ere, till; while, since; lest ; because, as; for; if; unless ; though ; whether-or; than.
1. Interjections are words which have no meaning in themselves, but which give sudden expression to an emotion of the mind. They are no real part of language; they do not enter into the build or organism of a sentence. They have no grammatical relation to any word in a sentence, and are there
fore not, strictly speaking, “parts of speech.” Thus we say, Oh! Ah! Alas! and so on; but the sentences we employ would be just as complete--in sense—without them. They are extragrammatical utterances.
(i) The word interjection comes from the Lat. inter, between, and jactus, thrown.
(ii) Sometimes words with a meaning are used as interjections. Thus we say, Welcome! for“ You are well come.” Good-bye ! for God be with you ! The interjection "Now then !” consists of two words, each of which has a meaning; but when employed interjectionally, the compound meaning is very different from the meaning of either.
(iii) In written and printed language, interjections are followed by the mark (!) of admiration or exclamation.
WORDS KNOWN BY THEIR FUNCTIONS,
AND NOT BY THEIR INFLEXIONS.
1. The Oldest English. —When our language first came over to this island, in the fifth century, our words possessed a large number of inflexions; and a verb could be known from a noun, and an adjective from either, by the mere look of it. Verbs had one kind of inflexion, nouns another, adjectives a third ; and it was almost impossible to confuse them. Thus, in O.E. (or Anglo-Saxon) thunder, the verb, was thunrian- with the ending an; but the noun was thunor, without any ending at all. Then, in course of time, for many and various reasons, the English language began to lose its inflexions; and they dropped off very rapidly between the 11th and the 15th centuries, till, nowadays, we possess very few indeed.
2. Freedom given by absence of Inflexions. In the 16th century, when Shakespeare began to write, there were very few inflexions; the language began to feel greater liberty, greater ease in its movements; and a writer would use the same word sometimes as one part of speech, and sometimes as another. Thus Shakespeare himself uses the conjunction but both as a verb and as a noun, and makes one of his characters say, But
me no buts !” He employs the adverb askance as a verb, and says, “From their own misdeeds they askance their eyes." He has the adverb backward with the function of a noun, as in the phrase "The backward and abyss of time.” Again, he gives us an adverb doing the work of an adjective, as in the phrases “my often rumination," "a seldom pleasure.” In the same way, Shakespeare has the verbs “to glad” and “to mad.” Very often he uses an adjective as a noun; and “ a fair" is his phrase for “beauty,” — -“ a pale” for “a paleness.” He carries this power of using one “part of speech” for another to the most extraordinary lengths. He uses happy for to make happy; unfair for to deface; to climate for to live ; to bench for to sit ; to false for to falsify; to path for to walk; to verse for to speak of in verse ; and many others. Perhaps the most remarkable is where he uses tongue for to talk of, and brain for to think of. In “ Cymbeline” he says :
“'Tis still a dream ; or else such stuff as madness
3. Absence of Inflexions.—At the present time, we have lost almost all the inflexions we once had. We have only one for the cases of the noun ; none at all for ordinary adjectives (except to mark degrees); a few in the pronoun; and a few in the verb. Hence we can use a word sometimes as one part of speech, and sometimes as another. We can say, “The boys had a good run ;” and “The boys run very well.” We can say, “The train travelled very fast," where fast is an adverb, modifying travelled ; and we can speak of “a fast train.” We can use the phrase, “The very man," where very is an adjective marking man; and also the phrase "A very good man,” where very is an adverb modifying the adjective good.
4. Function. It follows that, in the present state of our language, when we cannot know to what class a word belongs by its look, we must settle the matter by asking ourselves what is its function. We need not inquire what a word is; but we must ask what it does. And just as a bar of iron may be used as a lever, or as a crowbar, or as a poker, or as a hammer, or as