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that which is laid down as the basis of an argument.' By the Greek grammarians, the hypothetical (or supposing) clause is termed the protasis (i. e. the 'putting forward '); while the consequent clause is named the apodosis, (i.e. the 'paying back,' the rejoinder ').
With younger pupils, I have found it simpler to call these clauses respectively the 'if-clause, and the then-clause; for although, in modern English, then is not very often found introducing the consequent clause, it sometimes held such a position in the older stages of the language. We have then the following comparison of terms: if-clause
then-clause. hypothetical clause
consequent clause. protasis
apodosis. By some writers, the hypothetical clause is termed the conditional clause.
Although the general tendency of philological opinion is now rather against Horne Tooke's derivation of 'if,' I still think the word is derived from gif, 'give, the imperative mood of the Anglo-Saxon verb gifan. In many instances, we find two co-ordinate sentences, with an imperative mood in each clause; and this may have been the original form : as,
Gyf thu hyt eart, hat me cuman to the.
come to thee.
Matthew xiv. 28. Here gyf means "give that,''grant that,' or suppose that.' Sometimes we find a question in the second clause: as, Gyf Dauid hyne Dryhten clepað, hu ys he hys sunu? Give David him Lord calleth, how is he his son ? If David call him Lord, how is he his son ?'
Matthew xxii. 45. 71. At other times, we find an indicative in the second clause, introduced by the particle thonne then :'as,
Gif ge forgyfað mannum heora synna, thonne forgyf Give ye forgive to-men their sins, then forgiveth eower se heofenlica Fæder eow eowre gyltas. your the heavenly Father to-you your guilts. If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.'—Matthew vi. 14.
We find similar constructions in early English, as,
Douglas, Preface, p. 11.
Id. Prol. to 4th boke.
Chaucer, Man of Luwes Prologue. She wolde weepe, yf that she saw a mous.
Id. Prologue to Canterbury Tales. 72. The form if then
throw some light upon the reading or pointing of Macbeth iii. 4. lIorne Tooke quotes from the First Folio:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian beare,
The baby of a girlo. He then remarks : 'Pope here changed Inhabit to Inhibit. Upon this correction Steuvens builds another, and changes then to thee. Both which insipid corrections Malone, with his usual judgment, inserts in his text. And there it stands,
• “ If trembling I inhibit thee.” • But for these tasteless commentators, one can hardly suppose that any reader of Shakspeare could have found a difficulty; the original text is so plain, easy and clear, and so much in the author's accustomed
"“Dare me to the desart with thy sworde," «« If I inhabit then ”-i.e. If then I do not meet thee there; if trembling I stay at home, or within doors, or under any roof, or within any habitation : If when you call me to the desart, I then House me, or through fear, hide myself from thee in any dwelling: "“ If trembling I do House me then-Protest me,
Diversions of Purley, ii. 54. The Second, Third, and Fourth Folios read :
If trembling I inhabit, then, &c. And although the reading of the First Folio may be more energetic, the pointing of the other folios is more in accordance with grammatical form ;, if „then, i.e., 'If trembling I keep the house (or
keep at home"), then protest me the baby of a girl.
73. It may be useful to point out the relation of affirmative and negative clauses in sentences of this kind : as, 1. If .
then (affirmative-affirmative). 2. If not
then not negative-negative). 3. If.
then not (affirmative-negative). 4. If not
then (negative-affirmative). As for example:
1. If he comes, (then) I will go.
4. If he does not write, (then) I will go. As before remarked, then is generally omitted. And observe, that if ... not may be represented by unless, or by any word, or words, to the same effect : as, except, save that. Thus, instead of sentences marked 2 and 4, we might say,
2. Unless he comes, I will not go.
Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
Acts xxvii. 31. 74. In these sentences involving condition and consequence, the use of the subjunctive mood demands particular attention. Theories derived from the doctrine of the Latin subjunctive have affected English composition; and in many cases, where the English subjunctive is used, it is possible that the employment of the mood has been introduced by classical scholars, who laboured under a false impression that the Latin required a subjunctive. Professor Key has shown, (Latin Grammar, $ 1153,) that in suppositions, which may be the fact or not, so far as the speaker professes to know, conditional sentences have nearly always the indicative in Latin in both clauses, and not the subjunctive.
75. Dr. Webster, in the Introduction to his English Dictionary, states his opinion, that the subjunctive form of the verb if he be, if he have, if he go, if he say, if thou write, whether thou see, though he fall, which was generally used by the writers of the sixteenth century, was in a great measure discarded before the time of Addison.
Whether this change resulted from the prevalence of colloquial usage over grammar rules, or because discerning men perceived the impropriety and inconsistency of the language of books, Dr. Webster does not pretend to determine. But he
observes that Locke, Watts, Addison, Pope, and other authors
If principles are innate.—Locke.
, and not for a master, will
If he warns others against his own failings.—Id. 76. This, according to Dr. Webster, is generally the language of Johnson. Except the substantive verb [be], there is in his Rambler but a single instance of the subjunctive form in conditional sentences. In all other cases, the use of the indicative is uniform.
But neither Johnson, nor other authors, are consistent in the use of moods; thus Johnson writes :
If it is to be discovered only by experiment.
If other indications are to be found. But in the next sentence, If to miscarry in an attempt be a proof of having mis
taken the direction of genius. The following expressions occur in Pope's Preface to Homer's Iliad, in the compass of thirteen lines :
If he has given a regular catalogue of an army.
The verb be is often used in the subjunctive form hy writers who never use that form in any other verb. Dr. Webster thinks the reason is, that be is primarily the indicative as well as the subjunctive mood of that verb. But as the form be is, in modern usage, restricted to the subjunctive, and as this is the only verb exhibiting a marked difference of form,
have been tempted to avail themselves of this difference. Our grammar presents so few varieties, that when we have one we are apt to use it too freely. As Falstaff says, “it was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing to make it too common.'—2nd Hen. IV.
77. The preceding remarks and quotations refer to the present and past tenses. Dr. Webster, in criticising Dr. Lowth, sets up a distinction, which appears to me untenable.
Dr. Lowth remarks (English Grammar, p. 61, note) that the forms of the subjunctive mood carry with them something of a future sense. Dr. Webster says this is true; but he charges Dr. Lowth with overlooking the distinction between an event of uncertain existence in present time and a future contingent event.' For example :Present: If the mail that has arrived contains a letter for
me, I shall soon receive it. Future : If the mail arriving to-morrow contain a letter for
me, I shall be happy to receive it. 78. This distinction is fanciful; nor is it supported by good usage. Dr. Webster appeals to the Anglo-Saxon laws, many of which begin with gif followed by a subjunctive. But in other laws an indicative follows. The usage is not uniform, any more than among ourselves. We shall see that the Anglo-Saxon had no distinct form for the future, even in the indicative; or rather, that one form did double duty for the present, and for the future. Even in modern English we constantly say, 'I go to London to-morrow, They come to see us next week. No doubt, the present subjunctive has sometimes a future force; but so, sometimes, has the present indicative. And therefore Dr. Webster appears to be in error, when he insists so strongly upon the future sense of the present subjunctive. In the passage, “If his son ask bread, will be give him a stone ?” he says the words are unintelligible, unless we take ask in the sense of shall ask.
I believe that to say • If his son shall ask' is not so idiomatic as • If his son asks.' In Cork people constantly say, 'If it will be,'