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If these lines be construed literally, Adam is one of his own sons, and Eve is one of her own daughters.
Some writers use the superlative, when only two objects are implied : as,
The question is not whether a good Indian or bad
Englishman be most happy, but which state is most desirable, supposing virtue and reason to be the same
in both.—Johnson. Here, others would say be the more happy,'' is the more desirable.' And, no doubt, the comparative degree is preferable, because two individuals and two states are compared.
183. The following is an example of wrong construction in the comparative:
This noble nation hath of all others admitted fewer cor
ruptions.--Swift. The construction is not consistent with itself; for the phrase of all others' would lead us to expect a superlative degree; but even that would not mend the sentence, because this nation' is here confounded with all others.' The writer meant to say : This noble nation hath admitted fewer corruptions than any
other. So here :
The vice of covetousness is what enters deepest into the soul of any other.-Guardian, No. 19.
First of all, the phrase of any other' is most unfortunately placed; for it might mean the soul of any other person.' But the chief fault is, that covetousness is classed among all other vices; and is then said to enter the deepest of those vices. The writer might have said :
The vice of covetousness enters deeper into the soul, than
Of all vices, covetousness enters deepest into the soul. 184. In comparisons of equality, the second clause is introduced by as; in comparisons of greater or less, the second clause is introduced by than. Sometimes awkwardness results from coupling these two kinds of phrase in one construc
Will it be urged, that the four gospels are as old or even
older than tradition ?--Bolingbroke, Essays, iv. 19. The words 'as old' and 'older' cannot have a common construction : the one should be followed by as, the other by than. If Bolingbroke had said as old as tradition and even older,' there would have been no error.—See Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric, pp. 182—187.
185. We have seen, § 64, that the word than, commonly called a conjunction, is a later form of the adverb then. Hence, this is better than that' means, ' first this is better; then that [is good).'
The same word than is used after other, rather, else, otherwise, and all forms of speech implying comparison :
Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours,
ours, To make allowance for us all.
Tennyson, In Memoriam, 50. Style is nothing else than that sort of expression which
our thoughts most readily assume.-Blair, Lecture 10. When a comparative is used with than, the thing compared must always be excluded from the class of things with which it is compared. Take this sentence:
Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children. But Joseph was one of those very children. Therefore, if he loved Joseph more than all, he loved Joseph more than his other children, and Joseph to boot. If we read than his other children' or 'than all his other children,' there could be no room for objection.
The noun or pronoun that follows than, will be in the nominative or objective according to the construction of the subordinate clause. Thus,
I esteem you more than they, means,
I esteem you more than they [esteem you). But,
I esteem you more than them, means,
I esteem you more than [I esteem] them. 186. Dr. Priestley seems to have had a notion that than, in some cases, is a preposition ; and this view is very properly rejected by Dr. Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric, pp. 182, 183.
Yet there is one construction in which the objective has been so commonly used after than, that we can hardly refuse to accept the anomaly, though it cannot be justified by rule. In the best authors we find such phrases as these :
The Duke of Argyle, than whom no man was more hearty
in the cause.—Hume. Cromwell, than whom no man was better skilled in
artifice.-Hume. Pope, than whom few men had more vanity.—Johnson. Dr. Lowth says, (Grammar, p. 154):
•The relative who, having reference to no verb or preposition understood, but only to its antecedent, when it follows than is always in the objective case ; even though the pronoun, if substituted in its place, would be in the nominative; as,
Beelzebub, than whom,
Milton, Paradise Lost, ü. 299. which, if we substitute the pronoun, would be,
'none higher sat than he.' It is evident that there is no reason for using the objective in this construction. I suspect that this peculiarity has resulted from confounding the English idiom with the Latin, where the comparative is followed by the ablative quo. In Latin quo means “than who,' and than is expressed by the ablative. Our classical scholars, writing in English, have supplied than, and yet, with the Latin syntax in their minds, have retained the oblique case. The influence of Latin idioms upon English style would form an interesting subject of inquiry ; and I think that when boys are translating upon paper, they should not be allowed to follow the original so closely as to violate the English idiom. • Which when Cæsar saw,' and similar phrases, are not English. They may pass in oral construing, but not in written translation.
187. A PRO-NOUN is defined as a word used instead of a noun.
Buttmann, however, says, ' Pronouns cannot be so precisely defined as not to admit many words which may also be considered as adjectives.'-Angus, Handbook of the English Tongue,
Grammarians are not all agreed upon the meaning of the word noun.
According to some it comprises both substantives and adjectives; and those who take this view distinguish nouns substantive' and 'nouns adjective.'
To avoid controversy, we have uniformly used the word noun in the sense of a noun substantive;' but we shall extend the term “pronoun' to comprise pronouns substantive,' and 'pronouns adjective.' Pronouns are divided into the following classes :
7. Reciprocal. We shall consider, in a separate chapter, words which have been variously termed Adjective Pronouns or Pronominal Adjectives.
PERSONAL PRONOUNS. 188. There are three
form the subject of any discourse :
1. The person who speaks, may speak of himself.
himself. 3. He may speak of some other person, or of some thing. These are called, respectively, the first, second, and third persons.
The persons speaking and spoken to, being at the same time the subjects of the discourse, are supposed to be present; hence their sex is commonly known, and needs not to be marked by a distinction of gender in the pronouns; but the third person or thing spoken of, being absent and in many respects unknown, needs to be marked by a distinction of gender. Accordingly the pronoun of the third person has, in the singular, three genders; but in the plural, we have only one set of forms for all the genders.
189. In pronouns, we have some remains of the variations used in Anglo-Saxon. Thus in the First Personal Pronoun, we have, Singular.
Acc., We shall remark upon the genitives mine and our under the head of Possessive Pronouns.
The old dative me appears in such forms as me-seems, methinks, meaning it seems to me, it appears to me.' For here thinks' is derived not from thencan, 'to think, but from thincan, 'to seem.'
The same dative is frequently used as a secondary objective: “Give me the book,' • Tell me the story. In like manner the old dative us is employed as a secondary objective: as, ' He gave us good words.'
190. In the Second Personal Pronoun we have the following forms: Singular.
you Acc., thee
you In former times in England, thou was used as a mark of endearnient among relatives ; and the corresponding pronoun is still so used in France, Germany, and other countries. Perhaps one reason why it has gone out of common use with us, is that being adopted by the Society of Friends, and used by them on all occasions, it became a token of sectarian distinction.
But, beside expressing affection, it was used, in old times, to denote familiarity; and the transition from familiarity to contempt is soon made:
If thou thouest him some thrice, it shall not be amiss.-Twelfth Night, iii. 2.