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How WRITE CLEARLY. TO RULES AND EXER""$]"S ENGLISH COMPOSITION. BY THE REV. EDWIN A. ABBOTT, M.A.,
How
WRITE
CLEARLY.
TO
RULES
AND
EXER""$]"S
ENGLISH
COMPOSITION.
BY
THE
REV.
EDWIN
A.
ABBOTT,
M.A.,
CIT^' OF
HEAD
MASTER
OF
THE
LONDON
SCHOOL.
AUTHOR'S
THE
COPYRIGHT
EDITION.
BOSTON:
ROBERTS
BROTHERS.
1876.
MOSES BERNARD Cambridge : Press of John Wilson and Son.
MOSES
BERNARD
Cambridge
:
Press
of
John
Wilson
and
Son.
PREFACE. ALMOST English boy be taught to write clearly, every can far least at clearness so
PREFACE.
ALMOST
English
boy
be
taught
to
write
clearly,
every
can
far
least
at
clearness
so
as
upon
the arrangement
of
words.
Force, elegance,
depends
variety of
and
style are
more
difficult
to
teach,
and
far
difficult
learn
; but
clear
to
more
writing
be
reduced
rules.
To
teach
the
of
can
to
art
writing
clearly is
the
main
object
of
these
Rules
and
Exercises.
Ambiguity
arise, not
only
from
bad
may
arrangement,
but
also
from
other
from
the
misuse
of
single
causes
"
words,
and
from
confused
These
causes
are
removable
not
by
definite
therefore, though
considered
in
this
not
neglected,
not
thought.
rules, and
prominently
are
book.
My
object rather
is
few
to
out
some
con-
tinually
recurring
and
to
causes
suggest
definite
remedies
in
each
in Parliament,
case.
narratives
and
point
of ambiguity,
Speeches
articles, and,
above
all, reso-
lutions
newspaper
at public meetings,
arising
furnish
abundant
instances
of
obscurity
from
the
monotonous
neglect
of
some
dozen
simple
rules.
The
of
art
writing
forcibly
is, of
valuable
course,
a
acquisition " almost
valuable
the
of
writing
art
as
as
clearly.
But
forcible
expression
is
like
clear
not,
pression,
ex-
question
of
mechanism
and
of
the
a
mere
manipulation
of
words
it is
much
higher
and
a
;
power,
implies much
more.
781074
6 Preface. Writing clearly does not imply thinking clearly. A think and man obscurely as Dogberry
6
Preface.
Writing clearly does
not
imply thinking clearly. A
think
and
man
obscurely as
Dogberry
may
reason
as
himself, but he
(though it is not
probable that
he
may
will) be
able
to
write
clearly for
all
that.
Writing
clearly "
far
of
words
is concerned
so
as
arrangement
is
a
mere
matter
of adverbs, conjunctions, preposi-
tions,
"
and auxiliaryverbs, placed and repeated according
to definite rules.1
Even
obscure
or illogicalthought can
be clearlyexpressed ; indeed, the transparent medium
of
clear writing is not
least beneficial
when
it reveals
the
illogical nature
of the meaning
beneath
it.
On
the
other
hand,
if a
is to
write
forcibly,
man
he
(to use
a well-known
must
illustration) describe
Jerusalem as
"
with salt," not
" captured," and
sown
as
the
Jews
not
being
" subdued"
but
"almost
as
as
ex-
terminated
"
by
Titus.
But
what
does
this
imply ?
It
implies knowledge, and
often
of know-
ledge,
very
a
great deal
and
it implies also a vivid imagination. The
writer
must
have
the
vivid
to
side of everything, as
eyes
see
well
words
to describe
what
he
Hence
forcible
as
sees.
writing, and
of
tasteful
writing also, is far less a
course
matter
of rules
than
is clear
writing ; and
hence, though
forcible
writing is exemplified in
the
exercises, clear
writing occupies most
of
the
devoted
to the
rules.
space
Boys
who
studying Latin
and
Greek
stand
in
are
especial need
of help to
enable
them
write
to
long
a
English
sentence
clearly. The
periods of ThucydMes
and
Cicero
not easily rendered
into
idiom
without
are
our
knowledge
of
the
links
that
connect
English
some
an
sentence.
There
is scarcely any
better training, rhetorical as well
as logical, than
the
task
of construing Thucydides
into
1
Punctuation
is fully discussed
in
most
English Grammars, and
is there-
fore
referred
in this book
the
to
only so
far
to point out
as
is necessary
slovenly fault of trusting too much
to punctuation, and
little to
too
ment.
arrange-
Preface. 7 genuine English ; but the flat, vague, long-winded Greek- English and Latin-English imposture that
Preface.
7
genuine English ; but the flat, vague, long-winded Greek-
English and
Latin-English imposture that is often
rated
tole-
in
examinations
and
is allowed
to
current
our
pass
for genuine English, diminishes
instead
of increasing the
that
pupils should
their native
power
our
possess
over
language.
By getting marks
school
and
at
college for
construing good Greek
and
Latin
into bad
English, our
pupils systematically unlearn
what
they may
have
been
allowed
to pick up
from
Milton
and
from
Shakespeare.
I
must
acknowledge very large obligations to Professor
Bain's
treatise
"English Composition and
Rhetoric,"
on
and
also
to
his English Grammar.
I have
not
always
been
able
with
Professor
Bain
of
to
to
matters
agree
as
taste
; but
I find it difficult to
admiration
for
express
my
the systematic thoroughness and
suggestiveness of his
book
on Composition.
In particular, Professor
Bain's rule
the
of
" that " and
" which
"
(see Rule
8) deserves
on
use
to
be better
known.1
The ambiguity
produced by the con-
fusion
between
these
two
forms
of
the
Relative
is not
a
mere
fiction of pedants ; it is practically serious.
Take,
for
instance, the
following sentence, which
appeared
lately in one
of
ablest
weekly periodicals: " There
our
are
a good
Radical
members
in
the
House
who
many
cannot
forgive the Prime
Minister
for being a Christian."
Twenty years
hence, who
is to
say whether
the meaning
is "and
they, i.e.all the Radical
members
in the House,"
"there
good
Radical
members
or
of
are
the
a
many
House
that
cannot
"c."?
Professor
Bain, apparently
admitting no exceptions to his useful rule, amends
many
sentences
in a
that
manner
seems
to me
intolerably harsh.
Therefore, while
laying due
stress
the
utility of the
on
rule, I have
endeavoured
to point out
and
explain the
exceptions.
1
Before
meeting with
Professor
Bain's
rule, I had
shown
that
the differ-
ence
between
the Relatives
is generally observed
by Shakespeare.
See
"Shakespearian Grammar," paragraph 259.
8 Preface. The rules stated briefly as possible, and are as are intended much for by
8
Preface.
The
rules
stated
briefly as
possible, and
are
as
are
intended
much
for
by themselves
for
not
so
use
as
re-
ference
while
the
pupil is working
at
the
exercises.
Consequently, there is no
the
rules
attempt
to
by
prove
accumulations
of examples.
The
few examples that
are
given, are
given not
but
to illustrate
the
rules.
to
prove,
The
exercises
intended
be written
to
out
and revised,
are
exercises
usually are
; but
they may
also
be
used
for
as
viva
instruction.
The
books
being shut, the pupils,
voce
with
their written exercises
before
them, may
be
ques-
tioned
the
for the
several
alterations they
to
as
reasons
have
made.
Experienced teachers
will
not
require any
explanation of the arrangement
or rather non-arrangement
of the exercises. They have been purposely mixed together
unclassified
to prevent the pupil from relying upon anything
but
his
and
industry, to show
him
own
common
sense
what
is the fault in each
and
how
it is to be amended.
case,
Besides
references
to
the
rules, notes
attached
are
to
each
that
the exercises
sentence,
ought not
so
to present
difficulty to a painstaking boy of twelve
or thirteen,
any
provided he
has
first been
fairly trained
in English
grammar.
The
" Continuous
Extracts
"
rather
diffi-
culty,
present
more
and
intended
for boys
somewhat
older
than
are
those
for whom
the Exercises
intended.
The
are
attempt
to modernize, and
clarify,so to speak, the style of Burnet,
Clarendon, and
Bishop Butler,1 may
ambitious,
appear
and perhaps requires some
explanation. My object has,
not
been
of course,
to improve
upon
the
style of these
authors, but
to
show
how
their meaning
might
be
pressed
ex-
clearly in modern
more
English. The
charm
of the
style is necessarilylost, but if the loss is recognized both
by
teacher
and
pupil, there
is nothing, in my
opinion, to
1
Sir Archibald
Alison
stands
different
footing. The
extracts
on
a very
from
this author
intended
to exhibit the dangers of verbosity and
are
geration.
exag-
Preface. 9 counterbalance the obvious utility of such exercises. Pro- fessor " Bain speaks to the
Preface.
9
counterbalance
the obvious
utility of such exercises.
Pro-
fessor
"
Bain
speaks to the same
effect : l
For
English
an
exercise, the matter
should
in
other
be
some
way
or
supplied, and the pupil disciplined in giving it expression.
I know
of
better
method
than
to prescribe passages
no
containing good matter,
but
in
respects imperfectly
some
worded, to be
amended
according to the
laws
and
the
proprieties of style. Our
older
writers
might
be
ex-
tensively,
though
not
exclusively, drawn
for
this
upon
purpose."
To
of the
friends
whose
help has
been
already
some
acknowledged in " English Lessons for English People,"
I
indebted
for further
help in revising these
am
pages.
I
desire
to
especial obligations to the Rev.
J.
express
H.
Lupton, late Fellow
of St. John's College, Cambridge,
and
Second
Master
of St. Paul's
School, for copious and
valuable
suggestions ; also to several
colleagues at
of my
the
City of London
School, among
whom
I must
mention
in particular the
Rev.
A.
R.
Vardy, Fellow
of Trinity
College,Cambridge.
Before electrotyping the Fourth
and
Revised
Edition^
I
wish
to
word
to
the
in which
say
one
as
this
manner
book
has
been
used
by my
highest class,as a collection
of
Rules
for reference
in their construing lessons.
In
construing, from
Thucydides
especially, I have
found
Rules
5, 30, 34, 36, 37, and
The
of great
rules
400,
use.
about
Metaphor
and
Climax
have
also
been
useful
in
correcting faults of taste
in
their
Latin
and
Greek
positions.
com-
I
have
hopes that, used
this little
in this way,
book
be
of service
to the highest as
well
may
to
the
as
middle
classes
of
schools.
our
* " English Composition and Rhetoric," p. viL
CONTENTS. PAGE INDEX RULES OF 11"13 RULES 14 40 " SHORT EXERCISES 63 41 " CONTINUOUS
CONTENTS.
PAGE
INDEX
RULES
OF
11"13
RULES
14
40
"
SHORT
EXERCISES
63
41
"
CONTINUOUS
EXERCISES
CLARENDON
64
70
"
"
BURNET
70"73
"
"
BUTLER
74"75
"
SIR
ARCHIBALD
ALISON
76"78
"
"
INDEX OF RULES. I. CLEARNESS AND FORCE. WORDS. USE words in their 1. proper sense. Avoid
INDEX
OF
RULES.
I. CLEARNESS
AND
FORCE.
WORDS.
USE
words
in their
1.
proper
sense.
Avoid
2.
exaggerations.
Avoid
useless
circumlocution
and
"fine writing."
3.
Be
careful
in
the
of
"not
4.
use
.
.
"only,"
"not
or," "that."
.
.
.
Be
careful
in the
of ambiguous
words,
"
certain."
4
a.
use
e.g.
Be
careful
in the
of "he,"
"it,"
5.
"'they," "these,"
"c.
use
6.
Report
speech
in
the
First
Person, where
a
to
necessary
avoid
ambiguity.
6
Use
the
Third
Person
where
the
exact
words
of
the
a.
speaker are
not
intended
to be given.
"
"
6 b.
Omission
of
that
in a
speech in the
Third
Person.
When you
7.
a Participle implying "when,"
"while,"
use
"though,"
"that,"
show
clearly by
the
context
what
is
or
implied.
8.
When
using the Relative
"
who
"
Pronoun,
" which,"
use
or
"
if the meaning
is "
and
he
"
and
it," "for
he"
"
for it."
or
or
In
other
"that," if euphony
allows.
Exceptions.
cases
use
"
Do
"
not
and
which
for "
which."
9.
use
10.
Equivalents for the Relative
: (a] Participle or
Adjective ;
(b] Infinitive ; (":)"Whereby,"
"whereto,"
"c.
(d) "Ifaman-"
;
(e)
"And
he,"
"and
this," "c.
; (/)
"what;"
(g) omission
of
Relative.
10
Repeat
the Antecedent
before
the
Relative, where
the
a.
non-repetition causes
any ambiguity.
See
38.
Use
11.
particular for general terms.
Avoid
abstract
Nouns.
1
Avoid
Verbal
1
Nouns
where
Verbs
be
used.
a.
can
Use
12.
particular persons
instead
of a
class.
Use
13.
metaphor
instead
of
literal statement.
Do
not
confuse
14.
metaphor.
Do
14
not
mix
metaphor
with
a.
literal statement.
b.
Do
14
not
poetic metaphor
illustrate
prosaic
use
to
a
subject.
ORDER
OF
WORDS
IN
A
SENTENCE.
15.
Emphatic words
stand
must
in emphatic positions ; i.e., for
the
most
part, at the beginning or
the
end
of
the
sentence.
15
a- Unemphatic
Exceptions.
words
must,
rule, be
kept
from
the
as
a
end.
Index of Rules. r.2 15 " An interrogation sometimes gives emphasis. 1 6. The Subject, if
Index
of Rules.
r.2
15
" An interrogation sometimes
gives emphasis.
1 6. The
Subject, if unusually emphatic, should often be trans-
ferred
from
the beginning of the sentence.
17. The
Object is sometimes
placed before
the
Verb
for
emphasis.
1 8.
Where
several words
emphatic, make
it clear which
is
are
emphatic. Emphasis can
an epithet,or an intensifying word.
the
most
sometimes
be
given by adding
Words
should
be
possible to the words
with
19.
as
near
as
which
they are grammatically connected.
Adverbs
placed next
to qualify.
should
be
to
the
words
20.
they are
intended
"
Only"
; the
strict rule is that
"
only " should
be placed
21.
before
the word
it affects.
When
"not
only" precedes "but
part of speech.
also," see
that
each
is
22.
followed
by the
same
" At least," " always," and other adverbial adjuncts, some-
23.
times
produce ambiguity.
Nouns
should
be placed near
the Nouns
that they define.
24.
Pronouns
should
follow
the
Nouns
to
which
they refer,
25.
without
the intervention
of
other
Noun.
any
26.
Clauses
that are
grammatically connected
should
be kept
close together as possible. Avoid
parentheses. But see
as
55.
In conditional
sentences, the antecedent
or "if-clauses"
27.
must
be
kept distinct from
the consequent clauses.
28.
Dependent clauses preceded by "that"
should
be
kept
distinct from
those
that are
independent.
Where
there
dent
29.
several infinitives, those that are depen-
are
the
word
must
be
kept distinct from
those
that
on
same
are
not.
30.
The principle of Suspense.
It is a violation
of the
duce
intro-
30
a.
principle of suspense
to
unexpectedly at the end
of a
short
and
long sentence,
some
unemphatic clause beginning with
(a) "
not," (b) "
which."
Suspense must
not
be excessive.
31.
In
32.
a sentence
with "if," " when,"
" though," "c., put the
"if-clause,"antecedent, or protasis, first.
33.
Suspense is gained
by placing a Participle or Adjective,
that qualifies the Subject, before the vSubject.
34.
SuspensiveConjunctions, e.g. "either," "not only," "on
the one
hand," "c., add
clearness.
35.
Repeat the
Subject, where
its omission
would
cause
obscurity or ambiguity.
36.
Repeat a Preposition after an interveningConjunction,
especially if a Verb
and
Object also intervene.
an
37.
Repeat Conjunctions, Auxiliary Verbs, and Pronominal
Adjectives.
37
a.
Repeat Verbs
after the Conjunctions"than," "as," "c.
Index of Rules. 13 38. Repeat the Subject, or other emphatic word, or some a of
Index
of Rules.
13
38.
Repeat the Subject, or
other
emphatic word, or
some
a
of what
has
been
said, if the
sentence
is so
summary
long that it
is difficult to
keep the
thread
of meaning unbroken.
Clearness
is increased, when
the beginning of the sentence
39.
the
for
the
middle,
and
the middle
for the
end,
prepares
way
the
whole
forming a
kind
of
ascent.
This
ascent
is called
"climax."
When
the
thought is expected to ascend, but
descends,
40.
feebleness, and sometimes
confusion, is the result.
The
descent
is called "bathos."
A
construction
should
not
be introduced
40
a.
new
pectedly.
unex-
Antithesis
adds
force
and
often clearness.
41.
42.
Epigram.
Let
each sentence
have
and
43.
one,
of thought.
Avoid
only one, principalsubject
heterogeneous sentences.
The
connection
between
different sentences
must
be kept
44.
by Adverbs
used as Conjunctions, or by means
of
other
up
some
connecting words
at the
beginning of the sentence.
The
connection
between
45.
two
long sentences
sometimes
requires a short intervening sentence
or paragraphs
showing the
transition of thought.
II. BREVITY.
46.
Metaphor is briefer than literal statement.
General
terms
are briefer,though less forcible, than par-
47.
ticular
terms.
47
A phrase may
sometimes
be expressedby a word.
a.
48.
Participles may
often
be
used
brief (though sometimes
as
ambiguous) equivalents of phrases containing Conjunctions and
Verbs.
Participles,Adjectives,ParticipialAdjectives, and Nouns
49.
may be used as equivalents for phrases containing the Relative.
A
sometimes
be brieflyimplied instead of
50.
statement
may
being expressed at length.
51.
Conjunctions may
be
omitted.
Adverbs,
e.g. "very,"
"so." Exaggerated epithets, t?.^. "incalculable, ''"unprecedented."
The
used
for "
if "c."
51
imperative may
be
a.
52.
Apposition may
be used, so
to
convert
two
sentences
as
into one.
Condensation
be
effected
53.
by
not
may
Verbs
repeating (i) the
Object of
common
Subject of several
; (2) the
common
several Verbs
or Prepositions.
54.
Tautology. Repeating what may
be implied.
Parenthesis
used with
26.
55.
maybe
advantage to brevity. See
56.
Brevity often clashes with clearness.
Let clearness
be
the
firstconsideration.
CLEARNESS AND FORCE. Numbers in brackets refer to the Rules* WORDS. 1. Use words in their
CLEARNESS
AND
FORCE.
Numbers
in
brackets
refer to
the
Rules*
WORDS.
1. Use
words
in
their
proper
sense.
Write,
not
"His
guilt justified his friends
in
dis-
owning
apparent
him,"
but
"his
evident
guilt."
"Conscious"
and
"aware,"
"unnatural"
and
"supernatural,"
"
transpire " and
"
"occur,"
" circumstance
and
"event,"
"reverse"
and
verse,"
"con-
"eliminate"
and
"elicit," are
often
confused
together.
This
rule
forbids
the
of
the
word
in different
use
same
senses.
"It
is
in
refuse
to
and
since
I
have
power
request,
my
your
do
power
to
this, I
lawfully
do
it,"
Here
the
second
may
"power"
is used
for "authority."
This
rule
also
forbids
the
slovenly use
of
"nice,"
"awfully,"
"delicious,"
"glorious," "c.
See
(2).
2.
Avoid
exaggerations.
"The
plains in
supplies of corn,
the population."
boundless
the
heart
of
the
empire
furnished
inexhaustible
that
would
have
almost
sufficed
for
twice
"
Here
" inexhaustible
is inconsistent
with
what
follows.
The
words
"unprecedented,"
"incalculable,"
"very,"
and
pendous
"stu-
"
often
used
in
the
loose
are
same
way.
3.
Avoid
useless
circumlocution
and
"fine
writing,"
"
"
Her
Majesty
"
here partook
of lunch.
Write
' ' lunched.
"Partook
of"
implies sharing,
and
is incorrect
well
as
as
lengthy.
So,
do
not
"apex"
for
"top,"
"species"
for
"kind,"
use
"individual
"
for
"man,"
"assist"
for "help,"
"c.
4.
Be
careful
how
the following
words
: "not
you
use
. and,"
"any,"
"only,"
"not
or," "that."1
.
.
.
.
.
1
For,
the
beginning:
of
sometimes
at
doubt,
a
sentence,
causes
temporary
while
the
reader
is finding
whether
it is
out
used
a conjunction
as
or
pre-
position.
.
Words. 15 And. See below, "Or." Any. " "I not bound to receive that you am
Words.
15
And.
See
below, "Or."
Any. "
"I
not
bound
to
receive
that you
am
any messenger
send."
Does
this mean
single?
Use
every,
or
a
"every"
or
-a single."
Not.
"
(i) "I
ought to mean
do
not
intend
to help you,
because
you
are
my
"c."
(2), "
I intend
enemy
not
and
my
for not
reason
helping you is, because
But
you
are
my
it is often wrongly used
to
(3), "I
intend
mean
to help you,
enemy."
to help you,
not
because
(but because
poor, blind, "c. )."
you
are
my
enemy
you
are
In
the latter case,
not
ought to be
separated from
intend.
By
distinctlymarking the limits to which
the
influence of
not
ex-
tends,
the ambiguity may
be removed.
Only
is often
"
used
ambiguously
for alone.
The
rest
help
me
to
myself; you
only advise
to
wait."
This
revenge
me
ought to mean,
"you only advise, instead
of helping;" but
in
similar
sentences
"you
only" is often
used
for "you
alone."
But
see
21.
Or. "
When
"or"
is preceded by a negative,as
"I
do
not
want
butter
or honey," "or"
ought not, strictlyspeaking, to be
used
like " and," nor
like "nor."
The
strict use
of "
not
.
.
.
"
would
be
follows
or
as
:
"
"You
don't want
both
butter
and
honey "
want
say
you
you
butter or honey ; I, on
butter or
the contrary, do not
want
honey
I want
them
both."
"
Practically,however, this meaning is so
that
"
I don't
rare,
butter
honey "
is regularly used
for "I
want
want
neither
or
butter
honey."
But
where
there
is the slightestdanger of
nor
ambiguity, it is desirable
to
use
nor.
The
ambiguity attends "
John " is commonly
but it might mean,
and."
"
not
I do
not
same
see
.
.
.
Thomas
and
used
for "
neither Thomas
I see
"
John ; "
I do
not
them
both "
I
nor
see
see
only one
of them."
That.
The
different uses
of " that" produce much
ambiguity,
"
much
surprised by this statement
that
I
de-
sirous
e.g. "I
am
so
am
what
reply to make."
Here
of resigning, that I scarcely know
it is impossible to tell,till one
has
read
past " resigning,"
whether
the
first "that"
depends upon
"so"
or "statement"
Write
"
The
:
statement
that
desirous of resigningsurprises
I am
much
"c."
me
so
that I scarcely know
e.g. "certain."
4
Be
careful
of ambiguous words,
a.
in the use
L
jay
in the same
form
and
sound, but different
in meaning.
Even
where
there
is
1 6 Clearness and Force. no obscurity, the juxtaposition of the word twice used is same
1 6
Clearness
and
Force.
no obscurity, the juxtaposition of the
word
twice
used
is
same
in two
senses
inelegant, e.g. (Bain), " He
turned
the left and
to
lejt the room."
I have
known
the followingslovenly sentence
misunderstood
: "Our
object
is that, with
the aid of practice, we
sometime
arrive
at
the point where
may
think
eloquence in its most
we
praiseworthy form to lie"
" To
lie " has
been
supposed to mean
"
to deceive."
5. Be
careful
how
you
use
"he,"
"it," "they,"
"these," "C.
(For "which"
8.)
The
see
ambiguity arising
from
the use
of he applying to
different persons
is well
known.
* * He
told
his
friend
that
if he
did
not
feel better
in half an
hour he thought he had
better return."
See
Much
by excessive
ambiguity is also caused
(6) for remedy.
of such phrases
use
in this way,
as
of this sort, "c.
"God,
of
human
foreseeing the disorders
nature, has
given
certain
us
passions and
affections
which
arise from, or
whose
objects are, these disorders.
Of
this sort
are
fear,resentment,
compassion."
Repeat the noun
: "Among
these passions and
affections are
fear"c."
Two
distinct uses
be
noted.
//, when
referring to
of it may
something that precedes, may
be called "retrospective;" but
when
to something that follows, "prospective." In
"Avoid
indiscriminate
charity: it is a crime," " it " is retrospective.1 In
"// is a crime to give indiscriminately," "it" is prospective.
The prospective " it," if productive of ambiguity, can often be
omitted
by using the infinitive as
subject: "To
give
criminately
indis-
a
is a
crime."
6.
Report a
speech in the First, not the Third
Person,
where
to
avoid
ambiguity.
necessary
Speeches in the
afford a particular,though very common
of
third person
case,
the
generalambiguity mentioned
in
(5). Instead
of
"
He
told
his
friend that
if he
did
not
feel better
"c.," write
"He
said
"
to his friend, * If/
(QICyou] don't
feel better
"c.'
6
a.
Sometimes,
where
the
writer
cannot
know
the
exact
words, or
where
the
exact
words
are unimportant,
or
lengthy
and uninteresting-, the Third
Person
is preferable. Thus, where
Essex
is asking
Sir
Robert
Cecil
that Francis
Bacon
be appointed
may
Attorney-General, the dialogue is (as it almost always
is in Lord
Macanlay's
writings) in the
First
Person, except
where
it becomes
tedious
and
un-
interesting
so
as
to require condensation, and
then
it drops
into the Third
Person
:
"
Sir Robert
had
nothing to say but that he thought his own
abilities equal
to
the
place which
he hoped to
obtain, and
that
his father's long services
deserved
such
a mark
of gratitude from
the
Queen."
1
It
should
refer (i) either
the
Noun
to
immediately preceding, or (2) to
Noun
some
superior to all intervening Nouns
in emphasis.
See
(25).
Words. 17 6b. Omission of "that" in a speech reported in the Third Person. Even when
Words.
17
6b.
Omission
of "that"
in a speech reported in the
Third
Person.
Even
when
a speech is reported in the
third
" that "
need
person,
"
always be
inserted
before
the dependent verb.
Thus, instead
of
"He
not
said
that
he took
it ill that
his promises were
believed," we
write,
not
may
"
' He
took
it ill,' he said, ' that "c.'"
This givesa little more
life, and
times
some-
clearness also.
more
7. When
you use a Participle, as
" walking," implying
"when," "while," "though," " that," make
it clear by
the context
what
is implied.
" Republics, in the first instance, are
desired for their
never
sakes.
I do
think
they will finally be desired
not
at all,
own
unaccompanied'by courtly graces and good breeding."
Here
there
is a littledoubt
whether
the meaning is " since they
are, or, //"theyare, unaccompanied."
That
when.
"Men
walking (that walk, or
when
they
or
"
walk) on
ice sometimes
fall. "
It
is better
"
to
walking" to
"men
when
use
men
mean
they walk."
If the
relative is meant,
"men
that walk,"
use
instead of the participle.
(1) " While
he
)
road, ) ,
was
r-
...
f
"
"
\ WalkmS
on
on
j
\ h(
(2) "Because
he
\ (i) the
(2) the
ice,
was
When
the participleprecedes the subject, it generallyimplies
: "Seeing this, he retired." Otherwise
it generally has its
a
cause
proper
towards
participialmeaning, e.g. " He retired,keeping his face
If there is any ambiguity, write "on seeing," "
us."
"
at
time, or while, keeping. "
the same
/(i)he nevertheless stood
((3) he will soon
retreat."
8. When
using the Relative
Pronoun, use
"who"
and
"which"
where
the meaning
is "and
he, it,"c.,"
"for
he, it, "c." In other cases
use "that," if euphony
allows.
"
I heard
(and he) heard
it from
this from the inspector, who
the guard that travelled
with
the train. "
"
Fetch
(all) the books
that
lie on
the
table, and
also the
me
pamphlets, which (and
the floor."
these) you
will find on
An
adherence
to
this rule
would
much
ambiguity.
remove
Thus
: "There
a public-house next door, which
was
a great
was
nuisance," means
"
and
this (i.e. the fact of its being next
door)
a great nuisance
;" whereas
that
would
have
"
meant
Next
was
door
a public-house that (i.e. the public-house) was
a great
was
B
Clearness and Force. 1 8 nuisance." "Who," "which," "c. introduce fact a new about the antecedent,
Clearness and
Force.
1 8
nuisance."
"Who,"
"which,"
"c. introduce
fact
a
new
about
the antecedent,
whereas
" that
" introduces
thing
some-
without
which
the antecedent
is incomplete
or
defined.
un-
Thus,
in
the
first example
above, "inspector" is
complete in itself, and
"guard" is incomplete, and requires "that
train " to complete the meaning.
"who"
introduces
fact about
him;
a
new
travelled with
the
be, maintained
It is not, and
cannot
that this rule,though
observed
in Elizabethan
English, is observed
by
best modern
our
authors.
(Probably a general impression that "that"
cannot
be
used
has assisted
"who"
in supplanting *' that"
to refer to persons
relative.) But
the convenience
of
the
rule
is so
as
a
great that
beginners in composition may
following are some
with advantage adhere
to
the rule.
The
of
the
where
who
and
which
cases
are
of that.
mostly used, contrary to the rule, instead
Exceptions :"
(a) When
the antecedent
is defined, e.g.
by a
possessive case,
modern
English uses
who
instead
of that.
It
though
it would
be
is rare,
use-
ful,1
"
His
that
had
him"
for
"the
to
English friends
not
say
seen
English friends, or
those of his English friends, that had
him."
not
seen
(3) That
sounds
ill when
separated from
its verb
and
from its antecedents,
and
emphasized
by isolation :
"There
that, though
are
many
persons
unscrupulous, are commonly
good-tempered,
and
that, if not
strongly
Incited by self- interest,are
ready for the most
to think
of the interest
part
of their neighbours." Shakespeare frequently uses
ivho
after
that
when
the relative is repeated. See
" Shakespearian
Grammar,"
260.
par.
(c) If
the
antecedent
is qualifiedby
that,
the
relative
be
that.
must
not
Besides
other considerations, the repetition is disagreeable. Addison
ridicules such language
"
That
remark
that
I made
yesterday is not
as
that
that
I said
that
I regretted
that
I had
made."
(d)
That
be
cannot
preceded by
a preposition, and
hence
throws
the
preposition to the
end.
"This
is the
rule
that
I adhere
to"
This
is
perfectlygood English, though sometimes
unnecessarily avoided.
But,
with
is
harsh and objectionable, e.g.
some
prepositions, the construction
"
"
This
is the mark
that
I jumped
beyond"
Such
the prejudices
were
that
he
above."
The
is that
of
these
disyllabic
rose
reason
some
prepositions are
used
adverbs, and, when
separated from their nouns,
as
give one
the impression that they are
used
adverbs.
as
(e) After pronominal adjectives used for personal pronouns,
modern
Engl'sh
"
prefers who.
There
others, several, those, -who
are
many,
can
testify "c."
(f ) After
that
used
a dislike to use
as a conjunction there is sometimes
that
a relative.
See
(c).
as
9. Do
not
redundant
"and"
before "which."2
use
"
him
a very interesting book
which
for a present, and
I gave
cost
In short
me five shillings."
the absurdity is evident, but in long sentences
sentences
it is less evident, and
very
common.
"A
petition was
presented for rescinding that portion of the
bye-laws which permits application of public money
to support
"
1
So
useful
that, on
consideration, I am
disposed to adopt "that
mature
here
and
in several of the following exceptional cases.
"
3
Of
"and
which
be used
where
" which
M precedes.
course
may
Clearness and Force. 20 after a negative: " He said that he would not hear even
Clearness
and
Force.
20
after a negative: " He
said
that
he
would
not
hear
even
me,
which
I confess
I had
expected." Here
the meaning
be,
may
"I
had
expected that he would," or
"that
he
would
not, hear
me."
Write,
I
had
expected."
" a refusal, or, a favour, that I confess
See (38).
11.
Use particular for general terms."
This
is a
most
important rule.
Instead
of
"I
have
neither
the
necessaries
of life nor
the
with
means
(if you
can
truth), " I have
to buy one."
not
of procuring them," write
of bread, nor
crust
a
a penny
CAUTION.
There
is a danger in this use.
The meaning is vividly expressed
"
but
sometimes
be exaggerated
imperfect.
Crust
of bread
may
or
may
be
exaggeration
the
other
hand,
if the
speaker is destitute
an
;
on
not
only of bread, but
also of shelter
and
clothing, then crust
of 'bread
is an
imperfect expression of the meaning.
In philosophy and science, where
the language ought very often
to
be
inclusive
and
brief,general and
not particular terms
must
be
used.
11 a.
Avoid
Verbal
Nouns
where
Verbs
be used
can
instead.
The
disadvantage of the use
of Verbal
Nouns
is this,
that, unless they are immediately preceded by prepositions,they
sometimes
liable
to
be
confounded
are
with participles. The
following is an
instance
of an
excessive
of
Verbal
Nouns
use
:
"
The
pretended confession
only collusion
of the secretary was
to lay the jealousies of the king'sfavouring popery, which still
hung upon him, notwithstanding his writing on the Revelation,
and affecting to enter
all occasions
on
into controversy, asserting
in particular that the Pope was
Antichrist."
Write "notwithstanding that he wrote
and
affected "c."
12.
Use a particular Person
instead
of
class.
compared with
a
" What
is the splendour of the greatest monarch
the beauty of a flower?"
"
What
is the
splendour of Solomon
with
"
compared
the beauty of a daisy ?
Under
this
head
the
forcible
of Noun
for
may
come
use
Adjective: " This
fortress is weakness
itself."
An
of this use is lengthy and pedantically bombastic,
excess
following paraphrase for "in
British colony:" "
e.g., the
every
"under
Indian
palm-groves, amid
Australian
in the
gum-trees,
shadow
of African
mimosas, and
beneath
Canadian
pines."
13.
Use
Metaphor instead of literal statement.
"The
shipploughs the sea"
is clearer
than
"the
ship cleaves
the
sea," and
shorter than
"the
ship cleaves the
as a plough
sea
cleaves the land."
Words. 21 Of there Metaphor should course are some not be used. See (14 a] and
Words.
21
Of
there
Metaphor should
course
are
some
not
be used.
See
(14 a] and
subjects for which
(14 b}.
14. Do
not confuse
Metaphor.
"
In a
the thunderbolt
moment
was
them, deluging their
upon
country with invaders."
The following is attributed to Sir Boyle Roche
: " Mr. Speaker,
I
smell
a rat, I see
him
I shall
brewing in the air ; but, mark
me,
yet nip him
in the
bud. "
Some
words,
metaphorical, have ceased
be
once
to
regarded.
Hence
so
"
good
writers say
under
these circumstances"
instead
of "in
these
many
circumstances."
An
excessive
regard for disused metaphor savours
of pedantry : disregard
is inelegant. Write, not, "
unparalleled complications," but " unprecedented
complications;"
and
^ he
threw
light on
obscurities," instead
of
" he
un-
ravelled
obscurities."
14
Do
not introduce
literal statement
a.
immediately
after Metaphor.
"He
the father of Chemistry,
and
brother
to the Earl
of
was
Cork."
"
He
thunderbolt
was
a very
of war,
And
lieutenant
to the Earl
of Mar."
was
14
b.
Do
not
poetic metaphor
to illustrate
use
a
prosaicSubject. Thus, we
"a
poet soars"
may
say
or
even,
though rarely, " a nation soars
"
Consols
soared
to 944-"
Even
to greatness," but you could
commonplace subjects may be
not
say
illustrated
by metaphor : for it is a
metaphor, and
quite un-
to 944." But
objectionable,
"
Consols
mounted, Q\ jumped
to say
commonplace subjects must
commonplace.
be illustrated
by metaphor that is
ORDER
OF
WORDS
IN
A
SENTENCE.
15. Emphatic words
must
stand
in emphatic posi- tions;
i.e. for the
most
part, at the beginning or at the
end
of
the sentence.
This rule occasionallysupersedes the
rules about
common
position.Thus, the place for an
the subject and
adverb, as
rule, should
be between
verb
"
He
a
quickly
:
"
left the
but
if quickly is to be emphatic, it must
room
;
come
at the beginning or
end, as
in
"I
told ,him to
leave
the
room
slowly, but he left quickly."
Adjectives, in clauses beginning with
"if"
and "though,"
often
at the beginning for emphasis : "Insolent
come
though he
he
silenced
at last. "
was.
was
Clearness and Force. 22 15 a, Unemphatic words must, as rule, be kept a from the
Clearness
and
Force.
22
15 a,
Unemphatic
words
must, as
rule, be kept
a
from
the
end
of the
sentence,
it
is a
fault
to
common
break
this
rule
by
placing a short
and
unemphatic predicate
at the end
of a
long sentence.
"
To
know
Latin, even
if it be
nothing but
few
Latin
some
a
roots, is useful." Write, " It is useful, "c."
So
"
the evidence
how
kind
to his inferiors he is."
proves
Often, where
an adjectiveor auxiliary verb comes
at
the end,
the addition
of an
emphatic adverb
justifies the position, e.g.
above, "is very useful," " he has invariably been."
though emphatic, is to be avoided.
A short "chippy"
ending, even
It is
abrupt
"
and
unrhythmical, e.g.
The
soldier, transfixed
with
the
spear,
-writhed"
We
want
longer
ending, " fell writhing to
the "ground," or.
a
"
writhed
in the agonies of death."
A
" chippy"
ending is common
in bad
construing from Virgil.
Exceptions. " Prepositions and pronouns
attached
to
phatic
em-
words
need
moved
from
end
"
not
be
the
He
does
; e.g.
harm
that
I hear
of"
"
Bear
witness
how
I loved
him"
no
.N.B.
In
all styles, especially in letter- writing, a
final
emphasis
must
not
be
frequent as
to
become
obtrusive
so
and
monotonous.
15 b. An
interrogation sometimes
gives emphasis.
"
No
doubt
that
the
prisoner, had
he
been
really
one
can
guilty, would
have
shown
signs of
remorse," is not
some
so
emphatic as
"Who
doubt, Is it possible to doubt, "c. ?"
can
Contrast
"No
Went
worth
without
think-
ing
one
ever
names
of
"c."
with
"But
Wentworth,"
who
him
ever
names
without
thinking of those harsh
dark features, ennobled
by their
expression into more
than
the majesty of an
antique Jupiter? "
16.
The subject, if unusually emphatic, should often
be removed
from
the beginning of the
sentence.
The
beginning of the sentence
is an emphatic position,though mostly
not
so emphatic as the end.
a sentence, being emphatic, and
Therefore
the principalsubject of
being wanted
sentence
to
tell us
what
the
sentence
is about, comes
early in the
as a rule,
at
or
near
the beginning : "
Thomas
built this house."
Hence,
since the beginning is the usual
place for the subject, if
"
we
want
to emphasize " Thomas
unusually, we
must
remove
"Thomas"
from
the beginning: "This
house
built
by
was
Thomas"
"
Thomas
that built this house."
or
It was
Thus, the emphasis on
"conqueror" is not
quite so
strong in
"A
mere
ought not
to obtain
from
that
conqueror
us
the reverence
is due
to the great
benefactors
of mankind,"
in
"We
ought
as
Order of Words in Sentence. a 23 not to bestow that is due to the great
Order
of Words
in
Sentence.
a
23
not
to bestow
that
is due
to
the great benefactors
the reverence
of mankind,
upon
conqueror"
Considerable, but less
a
mere
emphasis and greater smoothness
(19) \villbeobtained
by writing
thus
"
the sentence
We
ought not
to bestow
:
upon
a
mere
queror
con-
"c."
Where
the
subject stands
first in several
consecutive
it
same
sentences,
rises in emphasis, and
need
be removed
from
not
the beginning, even
though
unusual
emphasis be
required :
"The
captain was
the
life and
soul of the expedition. He
first pointed
out the possibility of advancing ; he warned
them of the approaching scarcity
of provisions ; he showed how they might replenish their exhausted
stock
"c."
17.
The
object is sometimes
placed before
the
verb
for emphasis.
This
is most
in antithesis.
common
"Jesus
I know,
and
Paul
I know
but
who
ye?"
'* Some
he
;
are
imprisoned, others he put to death."
Even
where
there
is no
antithesis the inversion
is not
un-
common
:
the
boast
of the
" Military courage,
sottish German,
of
the
of
the
romantic
frivolous and pratingFrenchman,
and arrogant
values."
Spaniard, he neither possesses nor
This
inversion
sometimes
creates
ambiguity in poetry, e.g. " The
the
son
father slew," and
must
be sparingly used
in prose.
Sometimes
the position of a word
be considered
appropriate by some,
may
and inappropriate by others, according to different interpretations of the
Take
example, "Early
in
the
morning
the
nobles
sentence.
and
as
an
gentlemen who
attended
the king assembled
in
the
hall
of the
on
great
castle
; and
here
they began to talk of what
a dreadful
it had
storm
been
the
night before.
But Macbeth
could scarcely understand
what
they said, for he
thinking of something worse."
The
has
been
amended
was
last sentence
by
Professor
Bain
into "
What
they said, Macbeth
could
scarcely understand."
But
to
be
antithesis
between
the guiltless nobles who
there appears
an
can
think about
the weather, and the guilty Macbeth
who
cannot.
Hence,
"
what
they said " ought not, and
" Macbeth
" ought, to be emphasized : and
there-
fore
"Macbeth
" ought
to be retained
at
the beginning of the sentence.
The
author
alters, " The
praise of judgment Virgil has justlycon- tested
same
with
him, but
his invention
remains
yet unrivalled," into
" Virgil has
justly contested
with
him
the praise of judgment,
but
has
yet rivalled
no
one
his invention"
alteration which
does
an
not
to emphasize sufficiently
"
seem
the antithesis between
what
had
been
' contested,' on
the one
hand, and
what
remained
yet 'unrivalled'
the other.
as
on
More
judiciously Professor
Bain
alters, " He
that tells a lie is not
sensible
how
task
he
undertakes
; for
he
be
forced
invent
great
a
must
to
twenty
to maintain
one," into " for, to
maintain
he
more
must
one,
invent twenty
more," putting the emphatic words
in their emphatic place, at the end.
18. Where
several words
are emphatic, make
it clear
Which
is the
most
emphatic.
Thus,
in
"The
state
was
made,
under
the
their contention
pretence of serving it, in reality the prize of
opposite parties," it is un"
each
of
to
these
pleasantly doubtful
parties to be emphatic.
whether
the writer
(i) state
means
or
(2)
Clearness and Force. 24 for If (i), "As the state, Jhese two parties, under the pre-
Clearness and
Force.
24
for
If (i), "As
the
state, Jhese two
parties, under the pre-
tence
it into a prize for their contention.'1
of servingit, converted
If (2),write,"Though served in profession, the state
was
converted
into a prize for their contention
by these
in reality
two parties"
In (l)parties is subordinated, in (2) state.
Sometimes
the addition
of
intensifying word
some
serves
to
emphasize. Thus, instead
of
"
To
effect
this
they
used
all
devices," we
write
"To
effect this they used
able
conceiv-
can
every
device"
So, if we
want
to emphasize fidelity in "The
business
will
task
skill and fidelity,"we
write
"Not
your
can
skill but
also
only your
fidelity." This, however,
your
times
some-
leads
to exaggerations. See
(2).
Sometimes
antithesis
gives emphasis, as in " You
do
not
know
this, but you
shall know
it." Where
antithesis
cannot
be
used,
the emphasis must
be expressed by turning the
"
sentence,
I
as
"will make
know
it," or
by
addition, as
"You
shall
you
some
hereafter know it."
19. Words
should
be as
near
as possible to the words
with
which
they are grammatically connected.
See
Paragraphs 20
to 29.
For exceptions see
30.
20. Adverbs
should
be placed next
to the words
they
intended
to
affect.
When
are
unemphatic, adverbs
come
between
the subject and
the
verb, or,
if the tense
is compound,
between
the parts of the compound
tense
"He
quickly left the
:
;" "He
room
has quickly left the
emphatic,
room
after
the
verb:
"He
left,or
has
;" but, when
left, the
quickly"*
room
When
such
sentence
the
latter
is followed
a
by a
as
present
participle, there arises ambiguity. "I
told
him
to go slowly,
but
he
left the
quickly,dropping the purse on
the floor."
room
Does
quickly here modify leftor dropping ?
The
remedy2 is, to
give the adverb its unemphatic place, "He
quickly left the room,
dropping
"c.," or
else
to
avoid
the participle, thus:
"He
quickly dropped the purse
and
left the room,"
" He
dropped
or
and
quickly left the room."
the purse
21. "Only"
requires careful use.
The
strict3 rule
is, that
"only" should
be
placed before
the
word
affected
by it.
1 Sometimes
the emphatic Adverh
at the beginning, and causes
the
comes
transposition of an
Auxiliary Verb, " Gladly
do
I consent."
2
Of
punctuation will remove
the ambiguity ; but
it is better
to
course
express oneself clearly,as far as possible,independently of punctuation.
3 Professor
Bam.
Order of Words in Sentence. a 25 The following is ambiguous : "The heavens to the
Order
of Words
in
Sentence.
a
25
The following is ambiguous :
"The
heavens
to the faithful only at intervals."
not
are
open
The
best rule is to avoid
placing * ' only " between
two emphatic
words, and
to avoid
using " only " where
" alone "
be
used
can
instead.
In strictness perhaps the three following sentences
:
(1) He
only beat three,
(2) He
beat only three,
(3) He
beat
three only,
ought to be explained, severally, thus :
(1) He
did no
than
beat, did not kill, three.
more
(2)He
beat
than
three.
no
more
(3) He
beat
three, and
that
all he
did.
(Here only modifies
the
was
whole
of the
sentence
and depreciates the action.)
But
best
authors
sometimes
the
"
the
word.
He
only lived "
transpose
"
"
ought to mean
he
did
die or
make
sacrifice ;" but
He
not
only
any
great
"
lived
but .tillhe
" (Macbeth,
8.
He
lived
only till
was
a
man
v.
40) means
he
man."
Compare
also, " Who^w/j'
hath immortality."
was
a
Only
the
beginning of a statement
but.
"
I don't
like to importune
at
=
only I know
you'llforgive me."
Before
the
an
imperative it diminishes
you,
favour
asked
"Only
listen to me."
This
of
only is mostly confined
to
:
use
letters.
Very often, only at the beginning of a sentence
is used
for alone
: " Only
The
ten
came,"
"Only
Caesar
approved."
A
lone
is less ambiguous.
"
ambiguity of only is illustrated
by such
Don't
hesitate
to
a
sentence
as,
bring a few
friends
of
to shoot
time.
Only
five
estate
at
yours
on
my
any
(fifteen)came
yesterday," which
might mean,
"I
don't
mind
afeiv;
only
"
few
don't
bring so many
as fifteen ; " or
else
Don't
hesitate
to
bring a
than five came
yesterday." In conversation, ambiguity is
more;
no
more
prevented
by emphasis ; but
in a letter,only
thus
used
might
cause
un-
fortunate
mistakes.
Write
" Yesterday
only five came," if you
"no
mean
than
five."
more
22. When
"not only" precedes "but
also,"see that
each is followed
by the
part of speech.
same
"He
advice
but
also
help"
not
only gave
me
is wrong.
Write
On
the
"He
not
only advice, but also help."
gave
me,
but
also lent me
ether
hand, " He
not
only gave
me
a grammar,
a dictionary," is right. Take
instance.
" He
spoke not only
an
forcibly but also tastefully(adverbs), and this too, not only before
small
audience,
but
also
in (prepositions) a large public
a
meeting, and
his speeches were
not
only successful, but also
(adjective)worthy of success."
23.
"At least," "always," and
other adverbial
ad-
juncts,
sometimes
produce ambiguity.
"
I think
will find my
Latin
exercise, at all events, as good
you
( I
"
)
Latin
cousin's. "
Does
exercise, though
this mean
my
as
my
not
perhaps my
other
exercises;" or
(2), " Though
not
very
cousin's"?
Write
for (i),
good, yet, at all events, as
good as my
will
find "c."
and
for (2),
"My
Latin
exercise, at all events, you
Latin
exercise
as good as my
cousin's,
"I
think
will find my
you
at all events."
26 Clearness and Force. The remedy is to avoid placing "at all events" between two emphatic
26
Clearness
and
Force.
The
remedy
is to avoid
placing "at all events"
between
two
emphatic words.
example of the misplacing of an
As
adverbial
adjunct, take
an
"
From
abroad
he received
most
favourable
in
the
reports, but
City he
heard
that
broken
out
the
Exchange,
a
on
and
that the funds
panic had
falling." This
fast
ought to mean
that
were
the "hearing," and
not
(as is intended) that the "breaking out
of the panic," took
place in
the City.
In practice, an adverb
is often
used
to qualify a
remote
word, where
the
latter is more
emphatic than
word.
This
when
any
nearer
is very
common
the Adverbial
Adjunct
is placed
in an
emphatic
position at the
beginning of
"On
this
spot our
guide declared
that Oaverhouse
had
the sentence:
very
fallen."
24.
Nouns
should
be
placed near
the
that
nouns
they define.
In
the
"The
death
is
sentence
very
common
announced
of Mr.
John Smith,
author
whose
works
"c.,"
an
the transposition is probably made
from
feeling that, if we
a
write
"
The
death
of Mr.
John
Smith
is announced," we
shall be
"
obliged to begin a new
He
author
whose
sentence,
was
an
"
works
"c."
But the difficulty can
be
removed
by writing
We
informed
of, the
death
of Mr.
regret to announce,
or,
we
are
John Smith, an
author, "c."
25.
Pronouns
should
follow the nouns
to which
they
refer without
the intervention
of another
Avoid,
noun.
"John Smith, the son
of Thomas
Smith, who
this book,"
gave
me
"
unless Thomas
Smith
is the antecedent
of who.
Avoid
also
John
supplied Thomas
with
: he (John) was
off."
money
very well
When,
however, one
of
two
preceding nouns
is decidedly superior to the
other
in emphasis, the
emphatic
be presumed
be
the
to
more
may
noun
referred
to by the
though
the
of inferior emphasis
venes.
inter-
pronoun,
even
noun
Thus
: "At
the colonel
and
took
this moment
the place of
came
up,
the wounded
general. He
orders
to halt."
Here
he would
naturally refer
gave
A conjunction
will often
show
that a
to colonel, though general intervenes.
refers
and
another
to
the subject of the preceding sentence,
not
to
pronoun
intervening noun.
"The
sentinel
took
aim
at
at the approaching
soldier,
once
and
fired.
He
then retreated
give the alarm."
to
It is
better
to adhere, in most
Rule
which
be
called
to
cases,
25,
may
(Bain) the
Rule
of Proximity.
The
Rule
of Emphasis, of which
instance
an
is sometimes
misleading. A distinction
given in the last paragraph,
was
might
be drawn
by punctuating
thus
:
slew Goliath."
"
"David
the father
of Solomon,
who
David, the father
of
Solomon
who
built the Temple."
But
the propriety of omitting a comma
in
each
is questionable, and
it is better
write
to
be
the
case
to
so
as
not
at
of
mercy
commas.
26.
Clauses that are grammatically connected
should
be kept as
close together as
possible. (But see 55.) The
introduction of parentheses violating this rule often produced
serious ambiguity. Thus,
in the following : " The
result of these
observations appears
to be in opposition to the view
generally
now
28 Clearness and Force. (3) "He and that he intended." replied that he wished . .
28
Clearness and
Force.
(3) "He
and
that he intended."
replied that he wished
.
.
.
,
(2), though theoretically free from ambiguity, is practically
ambiguous, owing to
loose
habit
of
repeating the
subject
a
unnecessarily. It would be better to insert a conjunctional word
a full stop between
the two
statements.
Thus
or
:
(4) " He
replied that he wished
to help them, and
indeed
he
intended," "c., or
"He
replied, "c.
He
intended, "c."
Where
there
danger of ambiguity, use
(3) or
(4) in
is
any
preference to (i) or (2).
29.
When
there
are
several infinitives, those
that
dependent on
the
word
must
be kept dis-
tinct
are
same
from
those
that
not.
are
"He
said
that
he wished
to take
his friend
with
him
to visit
the
capital and to study medicine."
Here
it is doubtful
whether
the meaning is
"
"
He
said that he
wished
to take
his friend
with
him,
(1) and
also to
visit the capital and study medicine," or
(2) "that
his friend
might
visit the
capital and
might also
study medicine," or
(3) "on
visit
to the capital, and that he also wished
to study
a
medicine."
From
the three different versions
it will be perceived that
this
ambiguity must
be
(a] by using "that"
met
for "to,"
which
allows
to repeat an
auxiliary verb \e.g."might " in (2)], and
us
(b] by insertingconjunctions.
As
to insertions of conjunctions,
(37).
see
"In
order
to," and
"for
be
used
to dis-
tinguish
the purpose of," can
infinitive
(wherever there is any ambiguity) between
an
that
and
infinitive that
does
expresses a purpose,
an
not,
e.g.
"
He
told his servant
his friend, to (in order
to) give
to call upon
him
information
about
the trains, and
not
to
leave
him
till he
started."
30.
Write
sentence
in
The principle Of Suspense.
your
"such a way
that, until
he has
the
reader
to
come
full stop, the
feel the
sentence
to be incomplete. In other
words, keep
may
reader
your
in suspense.
Suspense is caused
(i)by placing the
"if-clause" firsthand not
last, in a conditional
sentence
; (2) by
placing participles before the words
they qualify; (3) by using
suspensiveconjunctions, e.g. not only, either ; partly', on the one
hand, in the firstplace, "c.
The
following is an example of an unsuspended sentence.
The
sense
draggles, and
it is difficult to keep up
one's attention.
"
Mr.
Pym
looked
the man
of greatest experience
was
upon
as
in parliaments,| where he had
served
very long, | and
always
was
of business, |being an
| and
of a
a, man
officer in the Exchequer,
Order of Words in Sentence. a 29 good reputation generally,j though known to be inclined to
Order
of
Words
in
Sentence.
a
29
good reputation generally,j though
known
to
be
inclined
to
the
Puritan
party ;
of those
furious resolutions
yet not
(Mod.
Eng.
furiously resolved) against the Church
the
other
so
as
leading men
| and wholly devoted
to the Earl
of Bedford, "
were,
who
had
nothing of that spirit."
The foregoing sentence
eightpoints marked
might have
ended
at
of
the
any
one
above.
When
suspended it becomes
:
"
"Mr.
Pym,
owing
to
his
long service
in Parliament
in
the
Exchequer, was esteemed
above
all others for his Parliamentary
experience and
for his knowledge
of business.
He
had
also a
good reputation generally ; for, though openly favouring the
Puritan
party, he was
closely devoted
to the Earl
of Bedford, and,
like the
Earl, had
of the fanatical spirit manifested
none
against
the Church
by the
other
leading men."
30
a. It is a violation of the principle of Suspense to
introduce
unexpectedly, at the
end of a long sentence,
short
and
unemphatic clause beginning with (a)
some
" ...
not"
(b) "
...
which."
or
(a) "
This
reform
has
already been
highly beneficial to
all
classes
of
and
will, I
persuaded,
our
countrymen,
am
us industry,self-dependence, and frugality,
encourage
among
and
not, as
say, wastefulness"
some
Write
"not,
say, wastefulness, but industry, self-
as
some
dependence, and frugality."
(b)
"After
a long and
tedious
journey, the
last part of which
a little dangerous owing
to
the
state
of the roads, we
was
arrived safely at York, which
is a fine old town."
Exception. "
When
the
short
final clause
is intended
to
be
unexpectedly unemphatic, it comes
in appropriately, with
thing
some-
of the sting of an
epigram ..
See
(42). Thus
:
"
The
old
miser
said
that
he
should
have
been
give the
fellow
a shilling, but most
delighted to
unfortunately he had
poor
at home
habit of his."
left his parse
a
"
Suspense naturally throws
increased
emphasis on
the
words
for which
waiting, i.e. on
the
end
of the
It
sentence.
we
are
has
been
pointed out above
that
of
final
a
monotony
phasis
em-
is objectionable,
especially in letter
writing and
conversation.
31.
Suspense must
not
be excessive.
Excess
of suspense is a com-
mon
fault in boys translating from
Latin.
" Themistocles,
having secured
the safety of Greece,
the
Persian
fleet being now
destroyed, when
he
had
unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Greeks
to break
down
the bridge
the Hellespont, hearing that
Xerxes
in full flight, and
thinking
across
was
that
it might be profitable to secure
the
friendship of the king, wrote
as
Clearness and Force. 30 follows him." The "When Themistocles had to English idiom is: more secured
Clearness and
Force.
30
follows
him."
The
"When
Themistocles
had
to
English idiom
is:
more
secured
the
Greece
by the
destruction
of
the
Persian
safety of
fleet, he
made
unsuccessful
to persuade
the Greeks
break
down
the
attempt
to
an
bridge across
the Hellespont.
Soon afterwards, hearing "c."
A
that would
be intolerable
is tolerable
in the
duction
intro-
long suspense
in prose
See
the
long interval
the beginning
of Paradise
Lost
to
at
a
poem.
between
"Of
man's
first disobedience"
and
" Sing, heavenly
Muse."
pare
Com-
also the beginning of Paradise
Lost*
Book
II. :
" High
throne
of royal state, tvhich far
on
a
Outshone
the
wealth
of Ormuz
and
of Indy
Or
where
East
with
richest hand
the gorgeous
Showers
her kings barbaric
pearl and
gold "
on
"
Satan
exalted
sat.
with
the opening of
Keats'
Hyperion
:
"Deep
in
the shady
sadness
of a
vale,
Far
sunken
from
the healthy
breath
oj mom,
Far
from
the fiery noon
and
eve's
star"
one
Sat grey-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone."
32.
In
long conditional
sentence
a
put the
"if-
clause,"antecedent, or protasis, first.
Every one
will see
the flatness of
" Revenge
thy father's most
unnatural
murder,
if thou
didst
love him,"
as compared
ever
with
the
that
forces
expression of agony
from
suspense
an
Hamlet
in "
"
Ghost.
If thou
didst
thy dear father love
ever
Hamlet.
O, God
!
Ghost.
Revenge
his foul and
most
unnatural
murder."
The
effect is sometimes
almost
ludicrous when
the consequent is
long and complicated, and when
it precedes the antecedent
"if-
or
clause."
"
I should
be delighted to introduce
you
to
friends,
my
and
show
the
to
objects of interest
in
city, and
the
you
our
beautiful
the
neighbourhood, if you
here."
scenery
in
were
Where
the
"
if-clause "
last, it ought to be very emphatic :
comes
only here."
"if you
were
The
introduction
of
clause with
"if"
" though " in the
a
or
middle
of a
sentence
often
ambiguity,especially when
may
cause
a great
part of
the sentence
depends
"
that : "
"
His
enemies
on
answered
that, for the sake of preserving the public peace,
they
would
keep
quiet for
the
he
declared
that
present, though
cowardice
the motive
that
for this reason
was
of the delay, and
they would
put
off the
trial
to
convenient
season."
a
more
See
(27).
33.
Suspense l is gained by placing a Participle or
Adjective that qualifies the Subject, before the Subject.
1 See
(30).
Order of Words in Sentence. a 31 " Deserted by his friends, he forced to have
Order
of Words
in
Sentence.
a
31
"
Deserted
by his friends, he
forced
to
have
was
recourse
to
those
that
had
been
his enemies."
Here, if we
write, "He,
deserted
by his friends,was
forced "c.," he is unduly emphasized ;
and
if we
write, " He
forced
to have
was
recourse
to his enemies,
having been deserted
by his friends," the
effect is very
flat.
Of
might sometimes
write
"He
deserted
and
course
we
was
forced
"c."
But
this cannot
be
done
where
the "desertion"
is
to be
not
stated but implied.
Often, when a participlequalifying the subject is introduced
late in
the
positiveambiguity : " With
this
sentence,
it causes
small force the general determined
to attack the foe,flushed with
recent
victory and rendered negligentby success."
An
excessive
of the suspensive participle is French and objectionable:
use
e.g. " Careless
and
much
with
business
of
by nature,
too
engaged
to
think
the
spoiled by a long-established liberty and
fabulous
morrow,
a
pros-
perity,
having for many
generations forgotten the scourge
of
allow
war,
we
ourselves
drift on
without
to
taking heed
of
the
signs of the
times."
The
remedy
is to
convert
the participle into a verb depending on
a conjunction :
"
"
Because
by
nature
careless, "c. ;
to
the
participle into
we
are
or
convert
"
verb
co-ordinate
with the principalverb, e.g.
We
a
are
by nature
careless,
"c., and
therefore
allow ourselves, "c."
we
34. Suspensive Conjunctions, e.g. "either," "not
only," "oil
the
hand," add
clearness." Take
the
one
following sentence:
"You
must
take this extremely perilous
"
in which
is uncertain, and failure disgraceful,as
course,
success
well
ruinous,
else
the
liberty of
is
as
or
your
country
dangered."
en-
Here,
the meaning
is liable
to
be misunderstood,
tillthe reader
half through the sentence.
Write
"Either
has gone
must," "c., and
the reader
is, from
the first, prepared for an
you
alternative.
Other suspensiveconjunctions or phrases are partly,
for our
part ; in the firstplace ; it is true
; doubtless ; of course
;
though ; on
hand.
the one
35. Repeat
the
Subject when
the omission
would
Cause
ambiguity or Obscurity " The
omission
is particularly
likely to cause
obscurity after a Relative standing as Subject : "
"
He
professes to be helping the nation, which
suffering from
his flattery, and
(he ? or
it ?) will
not
in reality is
permit any-
one
else to give it advice."
The
Relative
should
be repeated when
it is the
Subject of
several Verbs.
"
All
the pleasing illusions which
made
power
gentle and
obedience
liberal, which
harmonized
the different
shades
of life, and which, by a bland assimilation,incorporated
into politics the sentiments
that beautify and soften privatesociety,
are
to
be
dissolved
by this new
conquering empire of light and
"
reason.
Clearness and Force. 32 36. Repeat a Preposition after an intervening Conjunction, especially if a Verb
Clearness and
Force.
32
36.
Repeat
a Preposition after
an
intervening
Conjunction, especially if a Verb
and
an
Object also
intervene.
"
He
forgets the gratitude that he owes
to those
that helped
all his
companions
when
he
poor and uninfluential, and
was
in particular." Here, omit
to, and the meaning
(to)John Smith
be
"that
helped all his companions,
and
John Smith
in
may
"
particular." The
intervention
and "companions," causes
of the verb and object,"helped
this ambiguity.
37. When
there
several Verbs
at
distance
are
some
from
a Conjunction on
which
they depend, repeat the
Conjunction.1
"
When
look
back
the havoc
that two
hundred
we
upon
years
have
made
in the
ranks
of
national authors-
-and, above
all,
our
(when) we
refer their rapid disappearance to the quick succession
of
competitors " we
cannot
help being dismayed at
the
new
prospect that lies before
the writers
of the present day."
Here
omit
"when,"
and
at
substitute a parenthetical
we
once
for what
is really a subordinate
clause.
statement
In reporting a speech or opinion, " that" must
be continually
repeated, to avoid
the danger of confusing what
the
writer says
with
what
others
say.
might
Christians ; (that)they only punished men
"We
that
the
Caesars
did
not
say
persecute the
who
charged,
were
rightly or wrongly, with
burning Rome,
and
committing the
foulest abominations
assemblies
in secret
; and
(that) the refusal
to
throw
frankincense
the altar
of Jupiter was
the crime,
on
not
but only evidence
of the crime."
But
(6 b).
see
37 a. Repeat Verbs
after the conjunctions "than,"
"as," "c.
"
I think
he
likes
better than
; " i.e. either "
than
me
you
you
like me," or
"he
likes you."
"
Cardinal
Richelieu
hated Buckingham
as
the Spaniard Olivares."
Omit
"did," and
sincerely as did
ambiguity.
you
cause
38.
If the
sentence
is so
long that
it is difficult to
keep the
thread
of meaning
unbroken,
repeat the
subject, or some
other emphatic word, or a summary
of
what
has
been
said.
"Gold
and
and
cotton, banks
railways, crowded
ports, and
populous cities "
these are
not
the elements
that constitute
a great
nation. "
1
The
repetition of Auxiliary Verbs
and
Pronominal
Adjectives is also
conducive
to clearness.
Order of Words in a Sentence. 33 This repetition(though useful and, when used in moderation, not
Order
of Words
in a
Sentence.
33
This repetition(though useful and, when
used in moderation,
not
unpleasant) is more
with
speakers than
with
common
writers, and with
slovenlyspeakers than with good speakers.
"The
is in such
country
a condition, that if we
delay longer
of reform, sufficient at least to satisfy the more
some
fair measure
moderate, and
much
more,
if we
refuse all reform
whatsoever
"
"
I
adopt so
unwise
a policy, the country is in such
say, if we
a
dition
con-
that we
precipitatea revolution."
may
Where
the
relative
is
either
repeated, the antecedent
must
often
implied (in a participle) or
repeated also.
Subject icpeated not only in
be
In
the
following sentence
have
the
we
but
also
the antecedent
the final summary,
as
:
"
"
But
if there
in
the
world, a
national
were,
any
part of
church
regarded as heretical
by four-fifths
of the
nation
mitted
com-
by the
to
; a church
established
and
maintained
its care
sword; a church
producing twice as many
riots
as conversions; a
church
which, though possessinggreat wealth
and
and
power,
though long backed
by persecuting laws, had,
in
the
of
course
generations, been found
unable
to propagate its doctrines,
many
and
barely able to maintain
its ground ; a church
odious
that
so
fraud
and
violence, when
used
against its clear
rights of pro-
perty,
were
generallyregarded as
preaching to desolate
fair play ; a
church
whose
ministers
walls, and
with difficulty
were
subsistence
by the help of
obtaining their lawful
bayonets, "
such
a Churchy on
our
principles, could not, we
must
own,
be defended."
39.
It is a help to
clearness, when
the
first part of
the sentence
the
for the
middle
and
the
prepares
way
middle
for the end, in a kind of ascent,
This ascent
is
called " climax."
In the following there are
two
has
climaxes, each of which
three terms
:
"
"To
gossip(a) is a
fault (b) ; to
libel(ti\ a
crime
(b') ; to
slander (a"),a sin(b")."
In
the
following, there
several climaxes, and
note
how
are
they contribute
to the clearness
of
a long sentence
:
"
"Man,
working, has
contrived '(a) the Atlantic
Cable, but I
declare
that it astonishes $"} me
to think ft"\.forhismere
far more
amusement
(c), that to entertain
idle
hour(d), he
has
a
mere
created^} * Othello' and
' Lear,' and I am
than astonished, I
more
struck ($\
at
that inexplicable elasticity of his nature
am
awe-
which
enables
him, instead
of turning away
("} from
calamity
and grief(e), or instead of merely defying("'}them, actually to
make
them
the material
of his amusement
(ft), and
to
draw
from
the
spirit'(e') a pleasure which is
"wildest agoniesof the human
C
Clearness and Force. 34 not only not ennobling({'}." crue^f), but is in the highest degree pure
Clearness and
Force.
34
not
only not
ennobling({'}."
crue^f), but
is in the highest degree pure
and
The
neglect of climax
produces an
abruptness that interferes with
the
even
flow
of
thought.
Thus, if Pope,
in his
ironical
address
to mankind,
had
written"
" Go,
wondrous
where
creature,
science
mount
guides ;
Go,
earth, weigh
air, and
the
tides ;
measure
state
Go,
teach
Eternal
Wisdom
how
rule" "
to
the
would
have
been
ascent
too
rapid.
The
transition from
earth
to heaven,
"nd from investigating to governing, is prepared by the intervening climax "
"
Instruct
the
planets in what
orbs
to
run
;
Correct
old Time, and
regulate the Sun
:
Go,
with
Plato
to
th' empyreal
sphere,
soar
To
the
first good, first
perfect, and
first fair."
40.
When
the thought is expected to ascend
and yet
descends, feebleness
and
sometimes
confusion
is the
result.
The
descent is called "bathos."
"What
describe
the
pen
can
tears,
the
lamentations,
the
agonies, the
animated
remonstrances
of
the unfortunate
prisoners?"
"
She
of
accomplishments and virtues,
was
a
woman
many
graceful in her movements,
winning in her
address, a kind
friend,
faithful and
loving wife, a most
affectionate
mother, and
she
a
"
played beautifully on the pianoforte
INTENTIONAL
has
a humorous
incongruity and abruptness that is
BATHOS
sometimes
forcible.
For example,
after the
climax
ending with
the line"
"Go,
teach
Eternal
Wisdom
how
to rule,"
Pope adds"
"Then
drop into thyself, and
be a. fool."
40 a.
A
construction
should
not
be
introduced
new
Without
A sudden
cause.
change of
"
and apparently unnecessary
construction
awkwardness
causes
times
some-
breaks
the flow
of the
sentence
plexity.
per-
Thus, write
" virtuous