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But though each is properly singular, the best writers are liable to err in the use of pronouns referring to this word. Addison writes,
Each of the sexes should keep within its particular
bounds, and content themselves to exult within their
respective districts.-Freeholder, No. 38. It is very doubtful whether, under any circumstances, themselves and their could grammatically refer to each ; but there can be no doubt at all, that it is a glaring error to use its in one part of the sentence, and themselves in another, both referring to the same word, each. For even if, in the first instance, we might take our choice of singular or plural, we ought to be consistent. And so Crabbe :
Now either spoke, as hope or fear impressed
* Each' their alternate triumph in the reast. The same caution applies to the use of every’: And they were judged every man according to their
works. -Revelation, xx. 13. 284. EVERY is derived from the Anglo-Saxon æfre, ' ever,' ælc, .each,' i. e. 'ever each.' In Early English, it appears in the forms ever-ilk,'
ever-ich.' In modern English, the word is used as an adjective only, and on that ground has been excluded by soine writers from the class of pronouns. But in Early English it is frequently employed as a noun : so Chaucer,
And everich had a chaplet on her head. When each' denoted one of two,' as seems to have been the case at one period in the history of the language, there was a difference in meaning between ' each and every,' which does not appear to exist any longer. At present, the difference is chiefly one of usage : each ' may be used substantively and adjectively; 'every' only as an adjective.
"Every' is an emphatic word for all,' and makes a direct appeal to individuals ; as,
England expects every man to do his duty. 285. Alternatives ; either,' neither.'
EITHER. The element æg in composition signifies 'ever,' 6 all’; as æghwa, "ever who,' that is every one'; æghwær, every
where.' In like manner from hwæther, 'which of two,
we have æghwæther, ægther,' every one of two,' each,'' either.' See Bosworth, Anglo-Sacon Dictionary; and Hensleigh Wedgwood, Dictionary of English Etymology.
But Dr. Bosworth gives another form-athor, auther, awthær, either,' other, "both. And we may observe that the pronunciation of the word either is various : some say ēther, others ither, and in some counties the people say other. It is used both as an adjective and as a substantive : Adjective
Either way is good.
Coleridge. Very commonly we find the alternative either, where we might expect the distributive each: as,
On either side
distresses or the degeneracy of the Romans, Sapor obliged the strong garrisons of Carrhæ and Nisibis to surrender, and spread devastation and terror on either
side of the Euphrates. --Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c. 10. According to modern usage, either means
one or other.' each means
one and other.' Now Gibbon does not intend to tell us, that Sapor carried devastation on one or other' bank of the Euphrates, but upon both banks of the river; and therefore we might have expected each instead of either.
Still, as the older forms of the language exhibit either in the sense of each,'I do not venture to say that Gibbon is wrong.
286. NEITHER is compounded of ne' not,' and either; and we remark, that while either means one or other,' neither means 6 not one and not the other'; for the negative excludes each.
Either and neither refer strictly to one of two objects : hence the following sentence is inaccurate :
Injustice springs only from three causes. Neither of
these causes for injustice can be found in a Being
wise, powerful, benevolent. We cannot say "Neither of three': we should read, “No one of these causes.'
287. Professor Max Müller remarks, that though the general outline of grammar existed at an early period in the schools of the Greek philosophers, yet the critical study of Greek took its origin at Alexandria, and was chiefly based on the text of Homer.
Plato recognised the noun ' and the 'verb' as the two component parts of speech ; Aristotle added 'conjunctions' and articles. But with Aristotle, the word rhema (øñua), commonly translated by the term verb, is little more than a
predicate.' For, in such a sentence as 'snow is white,' he would have called 'white' a rhema (öñua); and under the head of articles' he would have comprised many words, which modern grammarians classify among other parts of speech.
When the scholars of Alexandria were engaged in publishing critical editions of the Greek classics, they were obliged to discuss the various forms of Greek grammar. They raise such points as these : Did Homer use the article? Did Homer use the article before proper names ? Here the term "article' had obtained a more precise meaning, as distinguished, for example, from the demonstrative pronoun.
Article is a literal interpretation of the Greek word arthron (äpOpov), which literally signifies the socket of a joint.' The word was first used by Aristotle, and was fancifully applied to words which formed the 'sockets' in which the members of a sentence were supposed to move. Before the time of Zenodotus, the first librarian of Alexandria, 250 B.C., all pronouns were simply classed as "sockets,' arthra, or articles' of speech. Zenodotus was the first to introduce a distinction between personal pronouns and the mere articles or articulations of speech, which henceforth retained the name of arthra. (See Max Müller, Science of Language, First Series, pp. 87–89.)
288. In English we have two articles, an (sometimes contracted to a) and the.
An, called the Indefinite Article, is used in speaking of any individual of a class. The old notion was, that the Indefinite Article was a, but that n was added (an) before a word beginning with a vowel or silent h. The fact is just the
contrary; the article is an, and n is dropped before a word beginning with a consonant, or with vocal h.
The, called the Definite Article, is employed in speaking of a particular object, or class of objects. It is regarded as defining,' that is ' marking out,' the object in question,
289. An is a modification of the numeral one ; AngloSaxon, an or æn; Old English, ane, an, a.
When it comes before a word beginning with a consonant, or with h vocal, w or y, the letter n is dropped : as a man,' • a horse,' a wall,' « a year.'
In older English it is frequently written before h vocal, as an house'; and even yet, some writers think
say, historical account.' It was also common to write an before a word beginning with the letter u: as, an University.' But where the initial u has the force of yu, it is now customary to omit n: as, Union,'' a University.'
When several objects are separately specified, the indefinite article is usually placed before each :
Leave not a foot of verse, a foot of stone,
A page, a grave, that they can call their own.-Pope. Hence, when the indefinite article is expressed before the first only of two or more nouns, the reader will infer that the nouns are to be taken together, as referring to the same person or thing. Thus, "a priest and king' will be interpreted to indicate the same individual holding the offices of priest and king combined. Similarly, “a coachhouse and stable’ implies that the two form one building, or one tenement, or that they are in close connection. Consequently, if we wish to mark separation, we must repeat the article: a priest and a king'; à coachhouse and a stable.' By this rule, "a black and a white horse' means two horses ; "a black and white horse means one horse.
The same rule applies to the use of the Definite Article : the secretary and treasurer' would lead us to suppose that one person occupied a twofold position; but the secretary and the treasurer' would point to two distinct persons.
290. If two nouns are applied to the same person, by way of comparison, the article is used only once : as,
Southey is a better prose writer than poet.
Not that it would be wrong to say, 'a better prose writer than a poet '; for we might turn the sentence thus :
Southey is more successful as a prose writer than as a poet.
291. The force of a, prefixed to a noun, is to represent that noun as belonging to a class ; for instance, Gold is a
' metal,' means, ‘Gold is one of the class of metals.' . It is therefore very frequently found with common nouns, that is nouns which are employed in a general sense, as representing a class.
Sometimes in poetry, or in oratory, a proper name is used with the indefinite article, and thus receives something of the force of a common noun, indicating a character like that of the person named
Frenchmen, I'll be a Salisbury to you;' that is, as terrible
as the Earl of Salisbury. He may be a Newton or a Herschel in affairs of astro
nomy, but of the knowledge of affairs of the world he
is quite ignorant.-Burke. That is, ' as profound as Newton or Herschel.'
This use of the Indefinite Article may sometimes be employed with good effect; but it has been so hackneyed by rhetoricians and declaimers, that a man of taste will be very careful in imitating this construction.
292. As the Indefinite Article indicates one thing of a kind, it must not be joined with a word denoting a whole kind or class. We
: the unicorn is a kind of rhinoceros,' but not the unicorn is a kind of a rhinoceros.'
293. When two or more objects are distinctly specified, and attention is drawn to each, the Indefinite Article should be repeated : as,
Burleigh had a cool temper, a sound judgment, and a
constant eye to the main chance.—Macaulay. 294. When an indefinite article is used with a noun, and the noun is qualified by several adjectives, the construction will depend upon the force of those adjectives :1. If the adjectives are all to the same purpose, so that
one merely amplifies the other, it is sufficient to prefix the article to the first alone: as,
There is about the whole book a vehement,
contentious, replying manner.—Macaulay. 2. But where there is a marked emphasis, or contrast, the
article is usually repeated : as.