verb gave.

a weapon, so a word may be an adjective, or a noun, or a verb, - just as it is used.

5. Examples.—When we say, “He gave a shilling for the book," for is a preposition connecting the noun book with the

But when we say, “Let us assist them, for our case is theirs,” the word for joins two sentences together, and is hence a conjunction. In the same way, we can contrast early in the proverb, “The early bird catches the worm," and in the sentence “He rose early.Hard in the sentence “He works hard” is an adverb; in the phrase “A hard stone” it is an adjective. Right is an adverb in the phrase "Right reverend ;” but an adjective in the sentence “That is not the right road.” Back is an adverb in the sentence "He came back yesterday ;” but a noun in the sentence “He fell on his back.” Here is an adverb, and where an adverbial conjunction; but in the line

“Thou losest here, a better where to find,”

Shakespeare employs these words as nouns. The, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, is an adjective; but in such phrases as "The more, the merrier," it is an adverb, modifying merrier and more. Indeed, some words seem to exercise two functions at the same time. Thus Tennyson has—

“Slow and sure comes up the golden year,”–

where slow and sure may either be adverbs modifying comes, or adjectives marking year ; or both. This is also the case with the participle, which is both an adjective and a verb; and with the gerund, which is both a verb and a noun.

6. Function or Form ?-From all this it appears that we are not merely to look at the form of the word, we are not merely to notice and observe ; but we must thinkwe must ask ourselves what the word does, what is its function ? In other words, we must always—when trying to settle the class to which a word belongs—ask ourselves two questions

(i) What other word does it go with ? and
(ii) What does it do to that word ?



1. The word syntax is a Greek word which means arrangement. Syntax, in grammar, is that part of it which treats of the relations of words to each other in a sentence.

2. Syntax is usually divided into two parts, which are called Concord and Government.

(i) Concord means agreement. The chief concords in grammar are those of the Verb with its Subject; the Adjective with its Noun; one Noun with another Noun; the Pronoun with the Noun it stands for ; the Relative with its Antecedent.

(ii) Government means the influence that one word has upon another. The chief kinds of Government are those of a Transitive Verb and a Noun; a Preposition and a Noun.



RULE I. — The Subject of a sentence is in the Nominative Case.

Thus we say, I write ; John writes : and both I and John—the subjects in these two sentences—are in the nominative case.

RULE II.-—When one noun is used to explain or describe another, the two nouns are said to be in Apposition; and they are always in the same case.

Thus we find in Shakespeare's Henry V., i. 2. 188:

“ So work the honey-bees, Creatures that by a rule in Nature teach

The art of order to a peopled kingdom.” Here bees is the nominative to work ; creatures is in apposition with bees, and hence is also in the nominative case. (Of course, two nouns in apposition may be in the objective case, as in the sentence, “We met John the gardener.”)

(i) The words in apposition may be separated from each other, as in Cowper's well-known line about the postman :

“ He comes, the herald of a noisy world.”

RULE III.—The verb to be, and other verbs of a like nature, take two nominatives—one before and the other after.

Thus we find such sentences as

(i) General Wolseley is an able soldier.

(ii) The long-remembered beggar was his guest. In the first sentence Wolseley and soldier refer to the same person ; beggar and guest refer to the same person ; and all that the verbs is and was do is to connect them. They have no influence whatever upon either word. When is (or are) is so used, it is called the copula.

AT If we call the previous kind of apposition noun-apposition, this might be called verb-apposition.

RULE IV.--The verbs become, be-called, be-named, live, turn-out, prove, remain, seem, look, and others, are of an appositional character, and take a nominative case after them as well as before them.

Thus we find :

(i) Tom became an architect.
(ii) The boy is called John.
(iii) He turned out a dull fellow.

(iv) She moves a goddess ; and she looks a queen. On examining the verbs in these sentences, it will be seen that they do not and cannot govern the noun that follows them. The noun before and the noun after, designate the same person.

RULE V.-A Noun and an Adjective, or a Noun and a Participle, or a Noun and an Adjective Phrase,—not syntactically


connected with any other word in the sentence,—are put in the Nominative Absolute. Thus we have :(i) “She earns a scanty pittance, and at night

Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light.”—COWPER, (ii) The wind shifting, we sailed slowly. (iii) “Next Anger rushed, his eyes on fire.”—COLLINS. (iv) Dinner over, we went up-stairs.

The word absolutus means freed; and the absolute case has been freed from, and is independent of, the construction of the sentence.

REMARKS.—1. In the oldest English (or Anglo-Saxon), the absolute case was the Dative; and this we find even as late as Milton (1608-1674), who says

“Him destroyed, All else will follow."

2. Caution! In the sentence, “Pompey, having been defeated, fled to Africa,” the phrase having been defeated is an attributive clause to Pompey, which is the noun to fled. But, in the sentence, “Pompey having been defeated, his army broke up," Pompeynot being the noun to any verb is in the nominative absolute. Hence, if a noun is the nominative to a verb, it cannot be in the nominative absolute.


1. The pronoun It is often used as a Preparatory Nominative, or—as it may also be called—a Representative Subject. Thus we say, “It is very hard to climb that hill,” where it stands for the true nominative, to-climb-that-hill.

2. In the same way, the demonstrative adjective that is often used as a Representative Subject. “That (he has gone to Paris) is certain.” What is certain ? That. What is that ? The fact that he has gone to Paris.

3. Still more oddly, we find both it and that used in one sentence as a kind of Joint-Representative Subject. Thus we have : (i) “It now and then happened that (he lost his temper);" and, in Shakespeare's “Othello " -

(ii) “That (I have ta’en away this old man's daughter)

It is most true."

What is most true? It. What is it? That. What is that?? That (I have taken away, etc.) Here the verb is has really three subjects, all meaning the same thing.

1AT It must be observed that the demonstrative that has by use gained the

force, and exercises the function, of a conjunction joining two sentences. It here joins the two sentences “It is most true," and “I have taken away," etc.

4. The nominative to a verb in the Imperative Mood is often omitted. Thus Come along! = Come thou (or ye) along! !


RULE VI.—When one Noun stands in the relation of an attribute to another Noun, the first of these nouns is put in the Possessive Casè.

(i) The Possessive Case originally denoted mere possession, as John's book; John's gun. But it has gradually gained a wider reference; and we can say, “ The Duke of Portland's funeral,” etc.

(ii) The objective case with of is the possessive ; and we can say, "The might of England," instead of “England's might.”

RULE VII.—When (i) two or more Possessives are in apposition, or (ii) when several nouns connected by and are in the possessive case, the sign of the possessive is affixed to the last only.

(i) Thus we find : (i) For thy servant David's sake. (ii) Messrs Simpkin & Marshall's house.

AT The fact is, that Messrs Simpkin-&-Marshall, and other such phrases, are regarded as one compound phrase.

(ii) The sentence, This is a picture of Turner's,” is “ This is a picture (one) of Turner's pictures.' The of governs, not Turner's, but pictures. Hence it is not a double possessive, though it looks like it.

The phrase, “a friend of mine," contains the same idiom; only mine is used in place of my, because the word friend has been suppressed.

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