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Ex.-Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow.
(1) VI. When a word is omitted in a sentence.
Ex.- Alexander being dead, his dominions were divided among his generals.
VIII. When modifying words are employed.
(2) IX. When the same parts of speech are not coupled by a conjunction.
Ex.-Men, women, and children, were there.
The insertion or omission of the comma, or the change of its position, frequently alters the meaning of the sentence. Ex.--My name is Norval on the Grampian hills, &c.
My name is Norval, on the Grampian hills, &c.
(3) When a sentence contains a proposition followed by an inference or explanation, the semicolon is used.
Ex.-There are few readers to whom the monuments of pagan Rome are not familiar; but few have heard of the numberless institutes which the charity of Christian Rome has founded.
Semicolons are used to separate several members of a sentence, which form distinct propositions dependant on each other, but in a less degree than those which require only commas.
Ex.-Bodies that reflect all the rays of light that fall upon them, appear white; those that absorb them all, seem black; those that reflect only red rays, appear red, &c., &c.
(4) When a complete sentence is followed by an additional remark, which depends upon the sentence in sense, though not in construction, they are separated by a colon.
Ex.--In the triumphal entry of Pius VII into Rome, he was borne on the shoulders of the most distinguished artists, headed by Canova : and never shall I forget the enthusiasm with which he was received.
When a sentence complete in its syntax, leaves us in expectation of something to follow, the colon is used.
Ex.-It is in your power to destroy the dwellings of the living, and the tombs of the dead: but our religion ! she subsisted before us, and will subsist after us.
(1) When several parts of a sentence contains each a distinct proposition, from which one inference is finally deduced; the last clause and the inference are separated by a colon.
Ex.—The words of the Apostles are authorised by striking miracles; they are believed; the people throng in crowds around the new preachers; the first Christian church is established in sight of Mount Calvary; others are established throughout Judea; the synagogue rages in vain; she struggles for a time and falls; the city and temple are involved in her ruin; the Gospel is diffused among nations : was ever victory more sudden or amazing ?
The period is used after initials and abbreviations, as well as to mark the completion of a sentence.
Ex.-Capt. W. served in the Peninsular war.
(2) The Dash is used to mark an abrupt turn, a significant pause, or break in a sentence. Ex.-The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms--the day
The Point of Interrogation is put after a sentence that asks a question. Ex.-Enter: its grandeur overwhelms thee not;
And why? it is not lessen'd; but thy mind,
Has grown colossal. (3) The Point of Exclamation or Admiration is used after sudden expressions of emotion. Ex.-Oh! yonder is the well-known spot,
My dear, my long-lost native home!
Where I shall rest, no more to roam. The Parenthesis is used to enclose a remark, useful in explaining the subject, though not necessary for the construction of the sentence.
Ex.-Religion (I mean the true religion, the only one that deserves the name) is not a mere word, a something unknown or undefined.
(4) Every sentence, every line in poetry, the names of the Supreme Being, proper nouns, and adjectives derived from them, should commence with a capital letter. The pronoun I, and the interjection 0, must be capitals in
The study of English composition should find a place in every system of education. Of its importance to every native of these countries, it is impossible to speak too highly. It tends to awaken curiosity, and to increase the desire of knowledge and love of useful reading; it gives a reflecting turn to the mind, and such an accuracy in the expression of thought, as guards from the evil of being misunderstood by those with whom we communi
cate. It exercises great influence on the language used in ordinary conversation, and enables us to convey our ideas to the minds of others, with ease, fluency, and precision.*
The Style of composition is defined to be, the peculiar manner in which ideas are expressed. Its most important quality is perspicuity, which depends upon two things; namely, the choice of words and phrases, and the combining of these words and phrases into sentences. In the choice of words, care should be taken to select such as are used by approved writers, and are most significant of our ideas; avoiding such as are vulgar, ambiguous, foreign, or obsolete. As to the construction of sentences, the fundamental rule is, to communicate to the mind of the reader in the clearest and most natural manner, the ideas which we mean to convey. The requisites indispensable to a good sentence are, Clearness, Strength, Unity, and Harmony.
By Clearness is meant, a perspicuous arrangement of all the members of a sentence, so as to express one's
* The following method of teaching the rudiments of composition has been used with success :—The children are shown an object, told its name, how it is produced, whether it is an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral substance, its sensible qualities, and the uses to which it is applied. They are then required to write upon their slates what they have learned of the thing, under three distinct heads; Name, Qualities, Uses. This little exercise gives them habits of attention, teaches them how to arrange their thoughts, and is a means of improving them in writing and orthography. It affords the teacher an opportunity of correcting bad spelling, pointing out inaccuracies of expression, and teaching his pupils the use of pauses and capital letters. The following simple form is an example for this first exercise :Bark is the rind of a tree. It is a vegetable production. It is
brown, rough, and opaque. It is also cold, dry, hard, and tough. It is not, like glass, easily broken. Its principal use is to tan leather, after which it is sometimes used by the
poor for firing. For the second exercise is read a short, simple description of an animal, a town, a country, or of any object interesting to young persons. The children are then questioned on what has beena
meaning without the possibility of being misunderstood. To attain this, great care must be taken to place the words which have the nearest relation as close as possible to each other; and to dispose properly of the position of adverbs, relative pronouns, and of such circumstances as may happen to be introduced in the middle of the sentence. Obscurity frequently arises from the neglect of this precaution, as well as from the immoderate length to which some sentences are extended. Long sentences, when perfectly clear and well constructed, are always pleasing; but few young writers possess sufficient judgment to construct them free from errors, or preserve throughout that clearness which is necessary to prevent confusion in the mind of the reader. An agreeable intermixture of long and short sentences not only gratifies the ear, but imparts force and animation to the style. These sentences should not, however, follow each
read, and directed to produce of the same object a similar descrip. tion in their own language. They are also encouraged occasion. ally to write from recollection, in their own words, what they have learned in their ordinary reading lessons. About this period, too, they are made to transcribe, every day, a portion of some approved author. This improves their writing and spelling, and familiarises them with words and phrases, which they may afterwards use in the expression of their own ideas.
The next exercise is, the construction of sentences from single words. Five or six words are placed on a lecture-board, and the class are required to produce sentences containing these words properly applied. They are at liberty to make each sentence, so constructed, a distinct subject, or to embody the words in any number of sentences on any subject of their own selection. The sentences so formed, are sometimes placed on the lecture-board, and made the subject of a parsing exercise. The objects attainable at this period are, neat writing, correct spelling, due attention to punctuation, the use of capitals, the proper application of the words, and freedom from errors in the construction of sentences. The following words may be used as exercises :