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B. F. SISK, M. S..
in the Austin High School.
English Grammar is a science and should be dealt with in a scientific manner. The method of procedure should not differ essentially from that in other sciences; the subject matter only is different. The subject-matter of English Grammar is the English sentence. The learner should be furnished with a variety of sentences which he may study in very much the same way as he would study a variety of plants in Botany or a collection of rocks in Geology. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about a sentence is, that it is made up of words. An investigation of the words will reveal the fact that they are expressions of ideas. Now the mere juggling with empty words is profitless. Hence to make a really scientific classification of words, some knowledge of ideas is needed. The aim of the Introduction and Chapter I. is to furnish this knowledge. Ideas properly related form a thought. Words properly arranged form a sentence—the expression of a thought. The form of the thought determines the form of the sentence. No sentence whose meaning is not clear can be intelligently analyzed. The purpose of Chapters XII. and XIII. is to show that the classification of the sentence is determined by, and based upon, the classification of the thought. The main purpose of this book is to lead the student to look through the sentence to the thought, and thereby make sentence analysis truly thought analysis.
Grammar should be studied for at least three reasons : (1) It disciplines the mind. In regard to this phase of the subject, Dr. Hinsdale says, “Like the other sciences, grammar has a disciplinary value. The study involves a peculiar exercise of the powers of observation—the forms of words, idioms, and sentences, and of the realities that are behind them, distinctions, meanings, and relations. These forms and relations develop a kind of sense or perception that external objects do not develop. Secondly, the study involves also a vigorous exercise of the logical powers-analysis, abstraction, comparison, inference. Grammar is the application of logic to a large and important class of facts. The powers of thought are developed by studying the relations of objects, external and internal. The first rank far below the second in educational value. It is only when we can employ thought upon general relations, which are always abstract, that we begin to unsense or dematerialize the mind, and so introduce it to the sphere of scientific thinking." (2) It furnishes the key that unlocks the treasures of literature, and gives us the measure by which we may distinguish good literature from poor literature. It enables us to correct our own language, and gives us the power to express our thoughts in a way that our meaning will not be mistaken. (3) It lays a good foundation for the study of other languages.
The author is indebted for helpful suggestions to Mr. T. G. Harris, Principal of Southwest Texas Normal School, and to Mr. W. S. Sutton, Professor of the Science and the Art of Education, University of Texas.
B. F. SISK. Austin, Texas, June, 1903.