Images de page

over 2public1crimes.-Virgil, Horace, and Tibullus were friends. Tibulle ind-2 with with my father.-You,

-He and she will go to the country campagne f.

your cousin, and I, have each a 'different 1opinion.---You and

- f.

he shall accompany me to the botanical garden.



When two subjects singular are joined by the conjunction ou (or, either), the verb is put in the singular; as, Jean ou Jacques le FERA.

John or James will do it.

When, however, the words joined by ou are of different persons, usage requires the verb to be in the plural, and that it should agree with the person that has priority, that is, with the first person rather than with the other two, and with the second rather than with the third; as,

Vous ou moi PARLERONS.
Vous ou votre frère VIENDREZ.


1. As l'un et l'autre (both), expresses plurality, the verb should be put in the plural; as,

Both are come.

L'un et l'autre SONT venus.

You or I shall speak.

You or your brother will come.

L'un et l'autre ont promis.-(Racine.)

L'un et l'autre ont le cerveau troublé.-(Boileau.)

2. Ni l'un ni l'autre (neither, neither the one nor the other), and all subjects joined together by ni repeated, require also the verb in the plural; as,

J'ai lu vos deux discours : ni l'un | I have read your two speeches; neini l'autre ne SONT bons. ther the one nor the other is good. Ni l'or ni la grandeur ne nous rendent heureux.-(La Fontaine.) Exception. When one of the words united by ni can alone perform the action expressed by the verb, the verb is then put in the singular; as,

Ni l'un NI l'autre n'OBTIENDRA le |

Ni M. le duc, NI M. le comte ne
SERA nommé ambassadeur à Saint-

Neither the one nor the other will obtain the prize.

Neither the Duke nor the Count will be appointed ambassador to St. Petersburg.

Observe that Ni l'un ni l'autre takes NE before the verb.


It was either Pitt or Fox who said that.-Either mildness, C' ind-1 ind-4 douceur f. or force will do it.-Either the one or the other will write to



you. It was either he or I that did that.-I send you my ind-1 ind-4


two servants, both are honest.-Neither has done his duty.— domestique devoir m.


Neither of them shall marry my daughter.


3. We have already seen (page 11) that there are two sorts of collective nouns: the collective general, and the collective partitive.-The collective general are those which express the totality of the persons or things of which we speak; as, l'armée, the army, la foule, the crowd; or a determinate number of those same persons or things; as, la moitié, the half.-The collective partitive are those which express only a partial number; as, une quantité, a quantity, une foule, a crowd.

La troupe de voleurs s'est introduite, the gang of thieves got in:-Une troupe de voleurs se sont introduits, a gang of thieves got in. In the first sentence troupe is a collective general; in the second it is a collective partitive.

RULE I. When a collective general is followed by the preposition de (of) and a noun, the adjective, pronoun, participle, and verb, agree with the collective general; as,

L'armée des infidèles FUT entièrement détruite.

Il a fourni LE NOMBRE d'exemplaires CONVENU.—(Acad.)

The army of the infidels was entirely destroyed.

He has furnished the number of copies agreed upon.

RULE II. When a collective partitive is followed by the preposition de (of) and a noun, the adjective, pronoun, participle, and verb, agree with the last noun, because it

expresses the principal idea, and more particularly fixes. the attention; as,

LA PLUPART du monde le CROIT.
LA PLUPART des hommes le PEN-


UN grand NOMBRE d'ennemis PA


Il trouva UNE PARTIE des abricots mangés, UNE PARTIE des liqueurs


Most people believe it.
Most men think so.

A great many enemies appeared.

He found a part of the apricots eaten, a part of the liquors drunk.

Observations.-1. Adverbs of quantity, as peu, few; beaucoup, many; assez, enough; plus, more; trop, too many, etc., are considered as collectives partitive. Consequently we write :

Peu de gens négligent leurs | Few people neglect their interests. intérêts.

Beaucoup de monde était à la Many people were walking. promenade.

2. Peu, beaucoup, and la plupart, used by themselves, require the verb in the plural; as,

Le sénat fut partagé, LA PLUPART The senate was divided, the majoVOULAIENT que.... rity wished...

The noun which here regulates the agreement of the verb is understood: La plupart des SÉNATEURS voulaient que, etc.; the majority of the SENATORS wished...


It was with James the first, that began that series of C' ind-1 à t que ind-1 chaîne f. misfortunes which gave to the house of Stuart the title of malheur ind-4 titrem. unfortunate.-A troop of nymphs, crowned with flowers, infortuné troupe f. nymphe f. swam behind her car. Few men reason, and all wish to ind-2 derrière char m. raisonner decide. Most of them were of that opinion.


vouloir *


avis m.

* *

† See Rule III., page 195.

Additional Remarks upon the General Rule.

1. When the words forming the subject are synonymous, the verb agrees, in French, with the last noun; as,

Son courage, son intrépidité étonne les plus braves.-(Domergue.) Synonymous nouns must never be joined, in French, by the conjunction et.

2. The verb agrees also with the last noun only, although the nouns be not synonymous, if we dwell more on the last than upon the others, either because it explains the preceding nouns-is more energetic, or is of such moment that the others are forgotten; as,

Le fer, le bandeau, la flamme EST toute prête.-(Racine.)
Le Pérou, le Potose, Alzire EST sa conquête.-(Voltaire.)

3. The verb is put in the singular, although preceded by plurals, when there is an expression which sums up all the nouns into one, such as tout, rien, personne, nul, chacun; or when the conjunction mais is placed before the last noun, and this noun is in the singular; as,


Paroles et regards, tout EST charme dans vous.-(La Fontaine.) Crainte, périls, rien ne m'a retenu. -(Racine.)

Non-seulement toutes ses richesses,

mais toute sa vertu s'évanouit.


Words and looks, every thing is a charm in you.

Neither fear nor dangers, nothing could restrain me.

Not only all his riches, but all his virtue vanished.

4. When two subjects are joined by the following and similar conjunctions, comme, de même que, ainsi que, aussi bien que, the verb agrees with the first subject, the second being the subject of a verb understood; as,

Cette bataille, comme tant d'autres, | That battle, like so many others, ne décida de rien.-(Voltaire.) decided nothing. Aristophane, aussi bien que Ménandre, charmait les Grecs.(J. B. Rousseau.)

It is as if it were:

Aristophanes, as well as Menander, delighted the Greeks.

Cette bataille ne décida de rien, comme tant d'autres batailles ne décidèrent de rien.

Aristophane charmait les Grecs, aussi bien que Ménandre charmait les



Vanity, says Pascal, is so rooted in the


fruit of

vouloir *

a scullion, a porter even boasts, and wishes to have his marmiton crocheteur * se vanter admirers.-Games, conversations, shows, nothing diverts admirateur + jeu ne distraire her. The strength of the mind, like that of the body, is the force f. âme f.


temperance. Alcibiades, as well as Plato, was Alcibiade


among the disciples of Socrates. au nombre de

human 1heart, that de l'homme


RULE. The subject or nominative is generally placed before the verb, in French, as in English; as,

Le maître enseigne, et l'écolier | The master teaches, and the scholar apprend. learns.

Nous irons vous voir.

We shall come and see you.

There are a few cases in which the subject is placed after the verb; they are the following:

1st. When, in any interrogative sentence, the subject is a pronoun; as,

Quand viendra-t-elle ?


When will she come?

But if, in asking a question, the subject of the verb is a noun, the noun is placed before the verb, and to show that a question is asked, one of the pronouns il, elle, ils, elles, is placed immediately after the verb; as,

Votre frère parle-t-il français ? Vos sœurs sont-elles arrivées ? Remark.-When an interrogative sentence begins with que, à quoi, où, we generally place the noun subject after the verb, without adding a pronoun to it; as,

Que fait votre frère ?

A quoi s'occupe votre sœur?
Ou demeure votre oncle?

Does your brother speak French?
Have your sisters arrived?

What is your brother doing?
What is your sister busy with?
Where does your uncle live?

(See the Preliminary Remarks on Interrogation, page 82.)

† See Remark, page 200.

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