How to Write Clearly - Rules and Exercises on English Composition
by Edwin A. Abbott
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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Text that has been changed to correct an obvious error is noted at the end of this ebook.

Text set in bold print is indicated by asterisks, i.e., *Bold*.]












Almost every English boy can be taught to write clearly, so far at least as clearness depends upon the arrangement of words. Force, elegance, and variety of style are more difficult to teach, and far more difficult to learn; but clear writing can be reduced to rules. To teach the art of writing clearly is the main object of these Rules and Exercises.

Ambiguity may arise, not only from bad arrangement, but also from other causes—from the misuse of single words, and from confused thought. These causes are not removable by definite rules, and therefore, though not neglected, are not prominently considered in this book. My object rather is to point out some few continually recurring causes of ambiguity, and to suggest definite remedies in each case. Speeches in Parliament, newspaper narratives and articles, and, above all, resolutions at public meetings, furnish abundant instances of obscurity arising from the monotonous neglect of some dozen simple rules.

The art of writing forcibly is, of course, a valuable acquisition—almost as valuable as the art of writing clearly. But forcible expression is not, like clear expression, a mere question of mechanism and of the manipulation of words; it is a much higher power, and implies much more.

Writing clearly does not imply thinking clearly. A man may think and reason as obscurely as Dogberry himself, but he may (though it is not probable that he will) be able to write clearly for all that. Writing clearly—so far as arrangement of words is concerned—is a mere matter of adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs, placed and repeated according to definite rules.[1] Even obscure or illogical thought can be clearly expressed; 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 man is to write forcibly, he must (to use a well-known illustration) describe Jerusalem as "sown with salt," not as "captured," and the Jews not as being "subdued" but as "almost exterminated" by Titus. But what does this imply? It implies knowledge, and very often a great deal of knowledge, and it implies also a vivid imagination. The writer must have eyes to see the vivid side of everything, as well as words to describe what he sees. Hence forcible writing, and of course tasteful writing also, is far less a matter of rules than is clear writing; and hence, though forcible writing is exemplified in the exercises, clear writing occupies most of the space devoted to the rules.

Boys who are studying Latin and Greek stand in especial need of help to enable them to write a long English sentence clearly. The periods of Thucydides and Cicero are not easily rendered into our idiom without some knowledge of the links that connect an English sentence.

There is scarcely any better training, rhetorical as well as logical, than the task of construing Thucydides into genuine English; but the flat, vague, long-winded Greek-English and Latin-English imposture that is often tolerated in our examinations and is allowed to pass current for genuine English, diminishes instead of increasing the power that our pupils should possess over their native language. By getting marks at school and 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 on "English Composition and Rhetoric," and also to his English Grammar. I have not always been able to agree with Professor Bain as to matters of taste; but I find it difficult to express my admiration for the systematic thoroughness and suggestiveness of his book on Composition. In particular, Professor Bain's rule on the use of "that" and "which" (see Rule 8) deserves to be better known.[2] The ambiguity produced by the confusion 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 our ablest weekly periodicals: "There are a good many Radical members in the House who 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," or "there are a good many Radical members of the House that cannot &c."? Professor Bain, apparently admitting no exceptions to his useful rule, amends many sentences in a manner that seems to me intolerably harsh. Therefore, while laying due stress on the utility of the rule, I have endeavoured to point out and explain the exceptions.

The rules are stated as briefly as possible, and are intended not so much for use by themselves as for reference while the pupil is working at the exercises. Consequently, there is no attempt to prove the rules by accumulations of examples. The few examples that are given, are given not to prove, but to illustrate the rules. The exercises are intended to be written out and revised, as exercises usually are; but they may also be used for viva voce instruction. The books being shut, the pupils, with their written exercises before them, may be questioned as to the reasons for the several alterations they 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 own common sense and industry, to show him what is the fault in each case, and how it is to be amended. Besides references to the rules, notes are attached to each sentence, so that the exercises ought not to present any difficulty to a painstaking boy of twelve or thirteen, provided he has first been fairly trained in English grammar.

The "Continuous Extracts" present rather more difficulty, and are intended for boys somewhat older than those for whom the Exercises are intended. The attempt to modernize, and clarify, so to speak, the style of Burnet, Clarendon, and Bishop Butler,[3] may appear ambitious, and perhaps requires some explanation. My object has, of course, not been to improve upon the style of these authors, but to show how their meaning might be expressed more clearly in modern English. The charm of the style is necessarily lost, but if the loss is recognized both by teacher and pupil, there is nothing, in my opinion, to counterbalance the obvious utility of such exercises. Professor Bain speaks to the same effect:[4] "For an English exercise, the matter should in some way or other be supplied, and the pupil disciplined in giving it expression. I know of no better method than to prescribe passages containing good matter, but in some respects imperfectly worded, to be amended according to the laws and the proprieties of style. Our older writers might be extensively, though not exclusively, drawn upon for this purpose."

To some of the friends whose help has been already acknowledged in "English Lessons for English People," I am indebted for further help in revising these pages. I desire to express especial obligations to the Rev. J. 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 of my colleagues at 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 say one word as to the manner in which this 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 40a, of great use. The rules about Metaphor and Climax have also been useful in correcting faults of taste in their Latin and Greek compositions. I have hopes that, used in this way, this little book may be of service to the highest as well as to the middle classes of our schools.


[1] Punctuation is fully discussed in most English Grammars, and is therefore referred to in this book only so far as is necessary to point out the slovenly fault of trusting too much to punctuation, and too little to arrangement.

[2] Before meeting with Professor Bain's rule, I had shown that the difference between the Relatives is generally observed by Shakespeare. See "Shakespearian Grammar," paragraph 259.

[3] Sir Archibald Alison stands on a very different footing. The extracts from this author are intended to exhibit the dangers of verbosity and exaggeration.

[4] "English Composition and Rhetoric," p. vii.




RULES 14-40



" " BURNET 70-73

" " BUTLER 74-75





1. Use words in their proper sense.

2. Avoid exaggerations.

3. Avoid useless circumlocution and "fine writing."

4. Be careful in the use of "not ... and," "any," "but," "only," "not ... or," "that."

4 a. Be careful in the use of ambiguous words, e.g. "certain."

5. Be careful in the use of "he," "it," "they," "these," &c.

6. Report a speech in the First Person, where necessary to avoid ambiguity.

6 a. Use the Third Person where the exact words of the speaker are not intended to be given.

6 b. Omission of "that" in a speech in the Third Person.

7. When you use a Participle implying "when," "while," "though," or "that," show clearly by the context what is implied.

8. When using the Relative Pronoun, use "who" or "which," if the meaning is "and he" or "and it," "for he" or "for it." In other cases use "that," if euphony allows. Exceptions.

9. Do not use "and which" for "which."

10. Equivalents for the Relative: (a) Participle or Adjective; (b) Infinitive; (c) "Whereby," "whereto," &c.; (d) "If a man;" (e) "And he," "and this," &c.; (f) "what;" (g) omission of Relative.

10 a'. Repeat the Antecedent before the Relative, where the non-repetition causes any ambiguity. See 38.

11. Use particular for general terms. Avoid abstract Nouns.

11 a. Avoid Verbal Nouns where Verbs can be used.

12. Use particular persons instead of a class.

13. Use metaphor instead of literal statement.

14. Do not confuse metaphor.

14 a. Do not mix metaphor with literal statement.

14 b. Do not use poetic metaphor to illustrate a prosaic subject.


15. Emphatic words must stand in emphatic positions; i.e., for the most part, at the beginning or the end of the sentence.

15 a. Unemphatic words must, as a rule, be kept from the end. Exceptions.

15 b. An interrogation sometimes gives emphasis.

16. The Subject, if unusually emphatic, should often be transferred from the beginning of the sentence.

17. The Object is sometimes placed before the Verb for emphasis.

18. Where several words are emphatic, make it clear which is the most emphatic. Emphasis can sometimes be given by adding an epithet, or an intensifying word.

19. Words should be as near as possible to the words with which they are grammatically connected.

20. Adverbs should be placed next to the words they are intended to qualify.

21. "Only"; the strict rule is that "only" should be placed before the word it affects.

22. When "not only" precedes "but also," see that each is followed by the same part of speech.

23. "At least," "always," and other adverbial adjuncts, sometimes produce ambiguity.

24. Nouns should be placed near the Nouns that they define.

25. Pronouns should follow the Nouns to which they refer, without the intervention of any other Noun.

26. Clauses that are grammatically connected should be kept as close together as possible. Avoid parentheses. But see 55.

27. In conditional sentences, the antecedent or "if-clauses" must be kept distinct from the consequent clauses.

28. Dependent clauses preceded by "that" should be kept distinct from those that are independent.

29. Where there are several infinitives, those that are dependent on the same word must be kept distinct from those that are not.

30. The principle of Suspense.

30 a. It is a violation of the principle of suspense to introduce unexpectedly at the end of a long sentence, some short and unemphatic clause beginning with (a) "not," (b) "which."

31. Suspense must not be excessive.

32. In 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 Subject.

34. Suspensive Conjunctions, 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 intervening Conjunction, especially if a Verb and an Object also intervene.

37. Repeat Conjunctions, Auxiliary Verbs, and Pronominal Adjectives.

37 a. Repeat Verbs after the Conjunctions "than," "as," &c.

38. Repeat the Subject, or some other emphatic word, or a summary of what has been said, if the sentence is so long that it is difficult to keep the thread of meaning unbroken.

39. Clearness is increased, when the beginning of the sentence prepares the way for the middle, and the middle for the end, the whole forming a kind of ascent. This ascent is called "climax."

40. When the thought is expected to ascend, but descends, feebleness, and sometimes confusion, is the result. The descent is called "bathos."

40 a. A new construction should not be introduced unexpectedly.

41. Antithesis adds force and often clearness.

42. Epigram.

43. Let each sentence have one, and only one, principal subject of thought. Avoid heterogeneous sentences.

44. The connection between different sentences must be kept up by Adverbs used as Conjunctions, or by means of some other connecting words at the beginning of the sentence.

45. The connection between two long sentences or paragraphs sometimes requires a short intervening sentence showing the transition of thought.


46. Metaphor is briefer than literal statement.

47. General terms are briefer, though less forcible, than particular terms.

47 a. A phrase may sometimes be expressed by a word.

48. Participles may often be used as brief (though sometimes ambiguous) equivalents of phrases containing Conjunctions and Verbs.

49. Participles, Adjectives, Participial Adjectives, and Nouns may be used as equivalents for phrases containing the Relative.

50. A statement may sometimes be briefly implied instead of being expressed at length.

51. Conjunctions may be omitted. Adverbs, e.g. "very," "so." Exaggerated epithets, e.g. "incalculable," "unprecedented."

51 a. The imperative may be used for "if &c."

52. Apposition may be used, so as to convert two sentences into one.

53. Condensation may be effected by not repeating (1) the common Subject of several Verbs; (2) the common Object of several Verbs or Prepositions.

54. Tautology. Repeating what may be implied.

55. Parenthesis maybe used with advantage to brevity. See 26.

56. Brevity often clashes with clearness. Let clearness be the first consideration.


Numbers in brackets refer to the Rules.


*1. Use words in their proper sense.*

Write, not "His apparent guilt justified his friends in disowning him," but "his evident guilt." "Conscious" and "aware," "unnatural" and "supernatural," "transpire" and "occur," "circumstance" and "event," "reverse" and "converse," "eliminate" and "elicit," are often confused together.

This rule forbids the use of the same word in different senses. "It is in my power to refuse your request, and since I have power to do this, I may lawfully do it." Here the second "power" is used for "authority."

This rule also forbids the slovenly use of "nice," "awfully," "delicious," "glorious," &c. See (2).

*2. Avoid exaggerations.*

"The boundless plains in the heart of the empire furnished inexhaustible supplies of corn, that would have almost sufficed for twice the population."

Here "inexhaustible" is inconsistent with what follows. The words "unprecedented," "incalculable," "very," and "stupendous" are often used in the same loose way.

*3. Avoid useless circumlocution and "fine writing."*

"Her Majesty here partook of lunch." Write "lunched."

"Partook of" implies sharing, and is incorrect as well as lengthy.

So, do not use "apex" for "top," "species" for "kind," "individual" for "man," "assist" for "help," &c.

*4. Be careful how you use the following words: "not ... and," "any," "only," "not ... or," "that."*[5]

*And.* See below, "Or."

*Any.*—"I am not bound to receive any messenger that you send." Does this mean every, or a single? Use "every" or "a single."

*Not.*—(1) "I do not intend to help you, because you are my enemy &c." ought to mean (2), "I intend not to help you, and my reason for not helping you is, because you are my enemy." But it is often wrongly used to mean (3), "I intend to help you, not because you are my enemy (but because you are poor, blind, &c.)." In the latter case, not ought to be separated from intend. By distinctly marking the limits to which the influence of not extends, the ambiguity may be removed.

*Only* is often used ambiguously for alone. "The rest help me to revenge myself; you only advise me to wait." This 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, strictly speaking, to be used like "and," nor like "nor." The strict use of "not ... or" would be as follows:—

"You say you don't want both butter and honey—you want butter or honey; I, on the contrary, do not want butter or honey—I want them both."

Practically, however, this meaning is so rare, that "I don't want butter or honey" is regularly used for "I want neither butter nor honey." But where there is the slightest danger of ambiguity, it is desirable to use nor.

The same ambiguity attends "not ... and." "I do not see Thomas and John" is commonly used for "I see neither Thomas nor John;" but it might mean, "I do not see them both—I see only one of them."

*That.*—The different uses of "that" produce much ambiguity, e.g. "I am so much surprised by this statement that I am desirous of resigning, that I scarcely know what reply to make." Here it is impossible to tell, till one has read past "resigning," whether the first "that" depends upon "so" or "statement." Write: "The statement that I am desirous of resigning surprises me so much that I scarcely know &c."

*4 a. Be careful in the use of ambiguous words, e.g. "certain."*

"Certain" is often used for "some," as in "Independently of his earnings, he has a certain property," where the meaning might be "unfailing."

Under this head may be mentioned the double use of words, such as "left" in the same form and sound, but different in meaning. Even where there is no obscurity, the juxtaposition of the same word twice used in two senses is inelegant, e.g. (Bain), "He turned to the left and left the room."

I have known the following slovenly sentence misunderstood: "Our object is that, with the aid of practice, we may sometime arrive at the point where we think eloquence in its most 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" see 8.) The 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 (6) for remedy.

Much ambiguity is also caused by excessive use of such phrases as in this way, of this sort, &c.

"God, foreseeing the disorders of human nature, has given us certain 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 of it may be noted. It, when referring to 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.[6] In "It 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 a subject: "To give indiscriminately is a crime."

*6. Report a speech in the First, not the Third Person, where necessary to avoid ambiguity.* Speeches in the third person afford a particular, though very common case, of the general ambiguity mentioned in (5). Instead of "He told his friend that if he did not feel better &c.," write "He said to his friend, 'If, I (or you) 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 may be appointed Attorney-General, the dialogue is (as it almost always is in Lord Macaulay's writings) in the First Person, except where it becomes tedious and uninteresting 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."

*6 b. Omission of "that" in a speech reported in the Third Person.*—Even when a speech is reported in the third person, "that" need not always be inserted before the dependent verb. Thus, instead of "He said that he took it ill that his promises were not believed," we may write, "'He took it ill,' he said, 'that &c.'" This gives a little more life, and sometimes more clearness also.

*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 never desired for their own sakes. I do not think they will finally be desired at all, unaccompanied by courtly graces and good breeding."

Here there is a little doubt whether the meaning is "since they are, or, if they are, unaccompanied."

*That or when.*—"Men walking (that walk, or when they walk) on ice sometimes fall."

It is better to use "men walking" to mean "men when they walk." If the relative is meant, use "men that walk," instead of the participle.

(1) "While he was } Walking on { (1) the road, } he fell." (2) "Because he was } { (2) the ice, }

When the participle precedes the subject, it generally implies a cause: "Seeing this, he retired." Otherwise it generally has its proper participial meaning, e.g. "He retired, keeping his face towards us." If there is any ambiguity, write "on seeing,"—"at the same time, or while, keeping."

(1) "Though he was} {(1) he nevertheless stood } { his ground." (2) "Since he was } Struck with terror, {(2) he rapidly retreated." (3) "If he is } {(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 this from the inspector, who (and he) heard it from the guard that travelled with the train."

"Fetch me (all) the books that lie on the table, and also the pamphlets, which (and these) you will find on the floor."

An adherence to this rule would remove much ambiguity. Thus: "There was a public-house next door, which was a great nuisance," means "and this (i.e. the fact of its being next door) was a great nuisance;" whereas that would have meant "Next door was a public-house that (i.e. the public-house) was a great nuisance." *"Who," "which," &c. introduce a new fact about the antecedent, whereas "that" introduces something without which the antecedent is incomplete or undefined.* Thus, in the first example above, "inspector" is complete in itself, and "who" introduces a new fact about him; "guard" is incomplete, and requires "that travelled with the train" to complete the meaning.

It is not, and cannot be, maintained that this rule, though observed in Elizabethan English, is observed by our best modern authors. (Probably a general impression that "that" cannot be used to refer to persons has assisted "who" in supplanting "that" as a relative.) But the convenience of the rule is so great that beginners in composition may with advantage adhere to the rule. The following are some of the cases where who and which are mostly used, contrary to the rule, instead of that.


(a) When the antecedent is defined, e.g. by a possessive case, modern English uses who instead of that. It is rare, though it would be useful,[7] to say "His English friends that had not seen him" for "the English friends, or those of his English friends, that had not seen him."

(b) That sounds ill when separated from its verb and from its antecedents, and emphasized by isolation: "There are many persons that, though unscrupulous, are commonly good-tempered, and that, if not strongly incited by self-interest, are ready for the most part to think of the interest of their neighbours." Shakespeare frequently uses who after that when the relative is repeated. See "Shakespearian Grammar," par. 260.

(c) If the antecedent is qualified by that, the relative must not be that. Besides other considerations, the repetition is disagreeable. Addison ridicules such language as "That remark that I made yesterday is not that that I said that I regretted that I had made."

(d) That cannot be preceded by a preposition, and hence throws the preposition to the end. "This is the rule that I adhere to." This is perfectly good English, though sometimes unnecessarily avoided. But, with some prepositions, the construction is harsh and objectionable, e.g. "This is the mark that I jumped beyond," "Such were the prejudices that he rose above." The reason is that some of these disyllabic prepositions are used as adverbs, and, when separated from their nouns, give one the impression that they are used as adverbs.

(e) After pronominal adjectives used for personal pronouns, modern English prefers who. "There are many, others, several, those, who can testify &c."

(f) After that used as a conjunction there is sometimes a dislike to use that as a relative. See (c).

*9. Do not use redundant "and" before "which."[8]*

"I gave him a very interesting book for a present, and which cost me five shillings."

In short sentences the absurdity is evident, but in long 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 sectarian schools over which ratepayers have no control, this being a violation of the principle of civil and religious liberty, and which the memorialists believe would provoke a determined and conscientious resistance."

Here which ought grammatically to refer to "portion" or "schools." But it seems intended to refer to "violation." Omit "and," or repeat "a violation" before "which," or turn the sentence otherwise.

*10. Equivalents for Relative.*

*(a) Participle.*—"Men thirsting (for 'men that thirst') for revenge are not indifferent to plunder." The objection to the participle is that here, as often, it creates a little ambiguity. The above sentence may mean, "men, when they thirst," or "though they thirst," as well as "men that thirst." Often however there is no ambiguity: "I have documents proving this conclusively."

*(b) Infinitive.*—Instead of "He was the first that entered" you can write "to enter;" for "He is not a man who will act dishonestly," "to act." This equivalent cannot often be used.

*(c) Whereby, wherein, &c.,* can sometimes be used for "by which," "in which," so as to avoid a harsh repetition of "which." "The means whereby this may be effected." But this use is somewhat antiquated.

*(d) If.*—"The man that does not care for music is to be pitied" can be written (though not so forcibly), "If a man does not care for music, he is to be pitied." It is in long sentences that this equivalent will be found most useful.

*(e) And this.*—"He did his best, which was all that could be expected," can be written, "and this was all that, &c."

*(f) What.*—"Let me repeat that which[9] you ought to know, that that which is worth doing is worth doing well." "Let me repeat, what you ought to know, that what is worth doing is worth doing well."

*(g) Omission of Relative.*—It is sometimes thought ungrammatical to omit the relative, as in "The man (that) you speak of." On the contrary, that when an object (not when a subject) may be omitted, wherever the antecedent and the subject of the relative sentence are brought into juxtaposition by the omission.

*10 a'. Repeat the Antecedent in some new form, where there is any ambiguity.* This is particularly useful after a negative: "He said that he would not even hear me, which I confess I had expected." Here the meaning may be, "I had expected that he would," or "that he would not, hear me." Write, "a refusal, or, a favour, that I confess I had expected." 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 means of procuring them," write (if you can with truth), "I have not a crust of bread, nor a penny to buy one."

CAUTION.—There is a danger in this use. The meaning is vividly expressed but sometimes may be exaggerated or imperfect. Crust of bread may be an exaggeration; on the other hand, if the speaker is destitute 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 can be used instead.* The disadvantage of the use of Verbal Nouns is this, that, unless they are immediately preceded by prepositions, they are sometimes liable to be confounded with participles. The following is an instance of an excessive use of Verbal Nouns:

"The pretended confession of the secretary was only collusion to lay the jealousies of the king's favouring popery, which still hung upon him, notwithstanding his writing on the Revelation, and affecting to enter on all occasions 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 a class.*

"What is the splendour of the greatest monarch compared with the beauty of a flower?" "What is the splendour of Solomon compared with the beauty of a daisy?"

Under this head may come the forcible use of Noun for Adjective: "This fortress is weakness itself."

An excess of this use is lengthy and pedantically bombastic, e.g., the following paraphrase for "in every British colony:"—"under Indian palm-groves, amid Australian gum-trees, in the shadow of African mimosas, and beneath Canadian pines."

*13. Use Metaphor instead of literal statement.*

"The ship ploughs the sea" is clearer than "the ship cleaves the sea," and shorter than "the ship cleaves the sea as a plough cleaves the land."

Of course there are some subjects for which Metaphor should not be used. See (14 a) and (14 b).

*14. Do not confuse Metaphor.*

"In a moment the thunderbolt was upon them, deluging their country with invaders."

The following is attributed to Sir Boyle Roche: "Mr. Speaker, I smell a rat, I see him brewing in the air; but, mark me, I shall yet nip him in the bud."

Some words, once metaphorical, have ceased to be so regarded. Hence many good writers say "under these circumstances" instead of "in these 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 unravelled obscurities."

*14 a. Do not introduce literal statement immediately after Metaphor.*

"He was the father of Chemistry, and brother to the Earl of Cork."

"He was a very thunderbolt of war, And was lieutenant to the Earl of Mar."

*14 b. Do not use poetic metaphor to illustrate a prosaic subject.* Thus, we may say "a poet soars," or even, though rarely, "a nation soars to greatness," but you could not say "Consols soared to 94-1/2." Even commonplace subjects may be illustrated by metaphor: for it is a metaphor, and quite unobjectionable, to say "Consols mounted, or jumped to 94-1/2." But commonplace subjects must be illustrated by metaphor that is commonplace.


*15. Emphatic words must stand in emphatic positions; i.e. for the most part, at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.* This rule occasionally supersedes the common rules about position. Thus, the place for an adverb, as a rule, should be between the subject and verb: "He quickly left the room;" but if quickly is to be emphatic, it must 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 come at the beginning for emphasis: "Insolent though he was, he was silenced at last."

*15 a. Unemphatic words must, as a rule, be kept from the end of the sentence.* It is a common fault to break this rule by placing a short and unemphatic predicate at the end of a long sentence.

"To know some Latin, even if it be nothing but a few Latin roots, is useful." Write, "It is useful, &c."

So "the evidence proves how kind to his inferiors he is."

Often, where an adjective or 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."

A short "chippy" ending, even though emphatic, is to be avoided. It is abrupt and unrhythmical, e.g. "The soldier, transfixed with the spear, writhed." We want a longer ending, "fell writhing to the ground," or, "writhed in the agonies of death." A "chippy" ending is common in bad construing from Virgil.

*Exceptions.*—Prepositions and pronouns attached to emphatic words need not be moved from the end; e.g. "He does no harm that I hear of." "Bear witness how I loved him."

*N.B. In all styles, especially in letter-writing, a final emphasis must not be so frequent as to become obtrusive and monotonous.*

*15 b. An interrogation sometimes gives emphasis.* "No one can doubt that the prisoner, had he been really guilty, would have shown some signs of remorse," is not so emphatic as "Who can doubt, Is it possible to doubt, &c.?"

Contrast "No one ever names Wentworth without thinking of &c." with "But Wentworth,—who ever names him 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. Therefore the principal subject of a sentence, being emphatic, and being wanted early in the sentence to tell us what the sentence is about, comes 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 was built by Thomas," or "It was Thomas that built this house."

Thus, the emphasis on "conqueror" is not quite so strong in "A mere conqueror ought not to obtain from us the reverence that is due to the great benefactors of mankind," as in "We ought not to bestow the reverence that is due to the great benefactors of mankind, upon a mere conqueror." Considerable, but less emphasis and greater smoothness (19) will be obtained by writing the sentence thus: "We ought not to bestow upon a mere conqueror &c."

Where the same subject stands first in several consecutive sentences, it rises in emphasis, and need not be removed from 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 common in antithesis. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" "Some he imprisoned, others he put to death."

Even where there is no antithesis the inversion is not uncommon:

"Military courage, the boast of the sottish German, of the frivolous and prating Frenchman, of the romantic and arrogant Spaniard, he neither possesses nor values."

This inversion sometimes creates ambiguity in poetry, e.g. "The son the father slew," and must be sparingly used in prose.

Sometimes the position of a word may be considered appropriate by some, and inappropriate by others, according to different interpretations of the sentence. Take as an example, "Early in the morning the nobles and gentlemen who attended on the king assembled in the great hall of the castle; and here they began to talk of what a dreadful storm it had been the night before. But Macbeth could scarcely understand what they said, for he was thinking of something worse." The last sentence has been amended by Professor Bain into "What they said, Macbeth could scarcely understand." But there appears to be an antithesis between the guiltless nobles who can think about the weather, and the guilty Macbeth who cannot. Hence, "what they said" ought not, and "Macbeth" ought, to be emphasized: and therefore "Macbeth" ought to be retained at the beginning of the sentence.

The same author alters, "The praise of judgment Virgil has justly contested with him, but his invention remains yet unrivalled," into "Virgil has justly contested with him the praise of judgment, but no one has yet rivalled his invention"—an alteration which does not seem to emphasize sufficiently the antithesis between what had been 'contested,' on the one hand, and what remained as yet 'unrivalled' on the other.

More judiciously Professor Bain alters, "He that tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain one," into "for, to maintain one, he must 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 pretence of serving it, in reality the prize of their contention to each of these opposite parties," it is unpleasantly doubtful whether the writer means (1) state or (2) parties to be emphatic.

If (1), "As for the state, these two parties, under the pretence of serving it, converted it into a prize for their contention." If (2), write, "Though served in profession, the state was in reality converted into a prize for their contention by these two parties." In (1) parties is subordinated, in (2) state.

Sometimes the addition of some intensifying word serves to emphasize. Thus, instead of "To effect this they used all devices," we can write "To effect this they used every conceivable device." So, if we want to emphasize fidelity in "The business will task your skill and fidelity," we can write "Not only your skill but also your fidelity." This, however, sometimes 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, as "I will make you know it," or by some addition, as "You shall 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 are intended to affect.* When 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 room;" "He has quickly left the room;" but, when emphatic, after the verb: "He left, or has left, the room quickly."[10] When such a sentence as the latter is followed by a present participle, there arises ambiguity. "I told him to go slowly, but he left the room quickly, dropping the purse on the floor." Does quickly here modify left or dropping? The remedy[11] 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," or "He dropped the purse and quickly left the room."

*21. "Only" requires careful use. The strict[12] rule is, that "only" should be placed before the word affected by it.*

The following is ambiguous:

"The heavens are not open to the faithful only at intervals."

The best rule is to avoid placing "only" between two emphatic words, and to avoid using "only" where "alone" can be used 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 more than beat, did not kill, three.

(2) He beat no more than three.

(3) He beat three, and that was all he did. (Here only modifies the whole of the sentence and depreciates the action.)

But the best authors sometimes transpose the word. "He only lived" ought to mean "he did not die or make any great sacrifice;" but "He only lived but till he was a man" (Macbeth, v. 8. 40) means "He lived only till he was a man." Compare also, "Who only hath immortality."

Only at the beginning of a statement = but. "I don't like to importune you, only I know you'll forgive me." Before an imperative it diminishes the favour asked: "Only listen to me." This use of only is mostly confined to letters.

Very often, only at the beginning of a sentence is used for alone: "Only ten came," "Only Caesar approved." Alone is less ambiguous. The ambiguity of only is illustrated by such a sentence as, "Don't hesitate to bring a few friends of yours to shoot on my estate at any time. Only five (fifteen) came yesterday," which might mean, "I don't mind a few; only don't bring so many as fifteen;" or else "Don't hesitate to bring a few more; no more than five came yesterday." In conversation, ambiguity is prevented by emphasis; but in a letter, only thus used might cause unfortunate mistakes. Write "Yesterday only five came," if you mean "no more than five."

*22. When "not only" precedes "but also," see that each is followed by the same part of speech.*

"He not only gave me advice but also help" is wrong. Write "He gave me, not only advice, but also help." On the other hand, "He not only gave me a grammar, but also lent me a dictionary," is right. Take an instance. "He spoke not only forcibly but also tastefully (adverbs), and this too, not only before a small audience, but also in (prepositions) a large public meeting, and his speeches were not only successful, but also (adjective) worthy of success."

*23. "At least," "always," and other adverbial adjuncts, sometimes produce ambiguity.*

"I think you will find my Latin exercise, at all events, as good as my cousin's." Does this mean (1) "my Latin exercise, though not perhaps my other exercises;" or (2), "Though not very good, yet, at all events, as good as my cousin's"? Write for (1), "My Latin exercise, at all events, you will find &c." and for (2), "I think you will find my Latin exercise as good as my cousin's, at all events."

The remedy is to avoid placing "at all events" between two emphatic words.

As an example of the misplacing of an adverbial adjunct, take "From abroad he received most favourable reports, but in the City he heard that a panic had broken out on the Exchange, and that the funds were fast falling." This ought to mean that 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 any nearer word. This is very common when the Adverbial Adjunct is placed in an emphatic position at the beginning of the sentence: "On this very spot our guide declared that Claverhouse had fallen."

*24. Nouns should be placed near the nouns that they define.* In the very common sentence "The death is announced of Mr. John Smith, an author whose works &c.," the transposition is probably made from a feeling that, if we write "The death of Mr. John Smith is announced," we shall be obliged to begin a new sentence, "He was an author whose works &c." But the difficulty can be removed by writing "We regret to announce, or, we are informed of, the death of Mr. John Smith, an author, &c."

*25. Pronouns should follow the nouns to which they refer without the intervention of another noun.* Avoid, "John Smith, the son of Thomas Smith, who gave me this book," unless Thomas Smith is the antecedent of who. Avoid also "John supplied Thomas with money: he (John) was very well off."

When, however, one of two preceding nouns is decidedly superior to the other in emphasis, the more emphatic may be presumed to be the noun referred to by the pronoun, even though the noun of inferior emphasis intervenes. Thus: "At this moment the colonel came up, and took the place of the wounded general. He gave orders to halt." Here he would naturally refer to colonel, though general intervenes. A conjunction will often show that a pronoun refers to the subject of the preceding sentence, and not to another intervening noun. "The sentinel at once took aim at the approaching soldier, and fired. He then retreated to give the alarm."

It is better to adhere, in most cases, to Rule 25, which may be called (Bain) the Rule of Proximity. The Rule of Emphasis, of which an instance was given in the last paragraph, is sometimes misleading. A distinction might be drawn by punctuating thus:

"David the father of Solomon, who slew Goliath." "David, the father of Solomon who built the Temple." But the propriety of omitting a comma in each case is questionable, and it is better to write so as not to be at the mercy of 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 now generally received in this country, that in muscular effort the substance of the muscle itself undergoes disintegration." Here it is difficult to tell whether the theory of "disintegration" is (1) "the result," or, as the absence of a comma after "be" would indicate, (2) "in opposition to the result of these observations." If (1) is intended, add "and to prove" after "country;" if (2), insert "which is" after "country."

There is an excessive complication in the following:—"It cannot, at all events, if the consideration demanded by a subject of such importance from any one professing to be a philosopher, be given, be denied that &c."

Where a speaker feels that his hearers have forgotten the connection of the beginning of the sentence, he should repeat what he has said; e.g. after the long parenthesis in the last sentence he should recommence, "it cannot, I say, be denied." In writing, however, this licence must be sparingly used.

A short parenthesis, or modifying clause, will not interfere with clearness, especially if antithesis he used, so as to show the connection between the different parts of the sentence, e.g. "A modern newspaper statement, though probably true, would be laughed at if quoted in a book as testimony; but the letter of a court gossip is thought good historical evidence if written some centuries ago." Here, to place "though probably true" at the beginning of the sentence would not add clearness, and would impair the emphasis of the contrast between "a modern newspaper statement" and "the letter of a court gossip."

*27. In conditional sentences, the antecedent clauses must be kept distinct from the consequent clauses.*—There is ambiguity in "The lesson intended to be taught by these manoeuvres will be lost, if the plan of operations is laid down too definitely beforehand, and the affair degenerates into a mere review." Begin, in any case, with the antecedent, "If the plan," &c. Next write, according to the meaning: (1) "If the plan is laid down, and the affair degenerates &c., then the lesson will be lost;" or (2) " ... then the lesson ... will be lost, and the affair degenerates into a mere review."

*28. Dependent clauses preceded by "that" should be kept distinct from those that are independent.*

Take as an example:

(1) "He replied that he wished to help them, and intended to make preparations accordingly."

This ought not to be used (though it sometimes is, for shortness) to mean:

(2) "He replied ..., and he intended."

In (1), "intended," having no subject, must be supposed to be connected with the nearest preceding verb, in the same mood and tense, that has a subject, i.e. "wished." It follows that (1) is a condensation of:

(3) "He replied that he wished ..., and that he intended."

(2), though theoretically free from ambiguity, is practically ambiguous, owing to a loose habit of repeating the subject unnecessarily. It would be better to insert a conjunctional word or a full stop between the two statements. Thus:

(4) "He replied that he wished to help them, and indeed he intended," &c., or "He replied, &c. He intended, &c."

Where there is any danger of ambiguity, use (3) or (4) in preference to (1) or (2).

*29. When there are several infinitives, those that are dependent on the same word must be kept distinct from those that are not.*

"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 a visit to the capital, and that he also wished to study medicine."

From the three different versions it will be perceived that this ambiguity must be met (a) by using "that" for "to," which allows us to repeat an auxiliary verb [e.g. "might" in (2)], and (b) by inserting conjunctions. As to insertions of conjunctions, see (37).

"In order to," and "for the purpose of," can be used to distinguish (wherever there is any ambiguity) between an infinitive that expresses a purpose, and an infinitive that does not, e.g. "He told his servant to call upon his friend, to (in order to) give him information about the trains, and not to leave him till he started."

*30. The principle of suspense.* Write your sentence in such a way that, until he has come to the full stop, the reader may feel the sentence to be incomplete. In other words, keep your reader in suspense. Suspense is caused (1) by placing the "if-clause" first, and not last, in a conditional sentence; (2) by placing participles before the words they qualify; (3) by using suspensive conjunctions, e.g. not only, either, partly, on the one hand, in the first place, &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 was looked upon as the man of greatest experience in parliaments, where he had served very long, and was always a man of business, being an officer in the Exchequer, and of a good reputation generally, though known to be inclined to the Puritan party; yet not of those furious resolutions (Mod. Eng. so furiously resolved) against the Church as the other leading men were, and wholly devoted to the Earl of Bedford, who had nothing of that spirit."

The foregoing sentence might have ended at any one of the eight points marked 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 none of the fanatical spirit manifested 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, some short and unemphatic clause beginning with (a) " ... not" or (b) " ... which."*

(a) "This reform has already been highly beneficial to all classes of our countrymen, and will, I am persuaded, encourage among us industry, self-dependence, and frugality, and not, as some say, wastefulness."

Write "not, as some say, wastefulness, but industry, self-dependence, and frugality."

(b) "After a long and tedious journey, the last part of which was a little dangerous owing to the state of the roads, we 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 something of the sting of an epigram. See (42). Thus:

"The old miser said that he should have been delighted to give the poor fellow a shilling, but most unfortunately he had left his purse at home—a habit of his."

Suspense naturally throws increased emphasis on the words for which we are waiting, i.e. on the end of the sentence. It has been pointed out above that *a monotony of final emphasis is objectionable, especially in letter writing and conversation*.

*31. Suspense must not be excessive.* Excess of suspense is a common 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 across the Hellespont, hearing that Xerxes was in full flight, and thinking that it might be profitable to secure the friendship of the king, wrote as follows to him." The more English idiom is: "When Themistocles had secured the safety of Greece by the destruction of the Persian fleet, he made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Greeks to break down the bridge across the Hellespont. Soon afterwards, hearing &c."

A long suspense that would be intolerable in prose is tolerable in the introduction to a poem. See the long interval at the beginning of Paradise Lost between "Of man's first disobedience" and "Sing, heavenly Muse." Compare also the beginning of Paradise Lost, Book II.:

"High on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth of Ormuz and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold— Satan exalted sat."

with the opening of Keats' Hyperion:

"Deep in the shady sadness of a vale, Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, Far from the fiery noon and eve's one star— Sat grey-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone."

*32. In a long conditional sentence put the "if-clause," antecedent, or protasis, first.*

Everyone will see the flatness of "Revenge thy father's most unnatural murder, if thou didst ever love him," as compared with the suspense that forces an expression of agony from Hamlet in—

"Ghost. If thou didst ever thy dear father love— 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 or "if-clause." "I should be delighted to introduce you to my friends, and to show you the objects of interest in our city, and the beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood, if you were here." Where the "if-clause" comes last, it ought to be very emphatic: "if you were only here."

The introduction of a clause with "if" or "though" in the middle of a sentence may often cause ambiguity, especially when a great part of the sentence depends on "that:" "His enemies answered that, for the sake of preserving the public peace, they would keep quiet for the present, though he declared that cowardice was the motive of the delay, and that for this reason they would put off the trial to a more convenient season." See (27).

*33. Suspense[13] is gained by placing a Participle or Adjective that qualifies the Subject, before the Subject.*

"Deserted by his friends, he was forced to have 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 was forced to have recourse to his enemies, having been deserted by his friends," the effect is very flat.

Of course we might sometimes write "He was deserted and forced &c." But this cannot be done where the "desertion" is to be not stated but implied.

Often, when a participle qualifying the subject is introduced late in the sentence, it causes positive ambiguity: "With this small force the general determined to attack the foe, flushed with recent victory and rendered negligent by success."

An excessive use of the suspensive participle is French and objectionable: e.g. "Careless by nature, and too much engaged with business to think of the morrow, spoiled by a long-established liberty and a fabulous prosperity, having for many generations forgotten the scourge of war, we allow ourselves to drift on without taking heed of the signs of the times." The remedy is to convert the participle into a verb depending on a conjunction: "Because we are by nature careless, &c.;" or to convert the participle into a verb co-ordinate with the principal verb, e.g. "We are by nature careless, &c., and therefore we allow ourselves, &c."

*34. Suspensive Conjunctions, e.g. "either," "not only," "on the one hand," add clearness.*—Take the following sentence:—"You must take this extremely perilous course, in which success is uncertain, and failure disgraceful, as well as ruinous, or else the liberty of your country is endangered." Here, the meaning is liable to be misunderstood, till the reader has gone half through the sentence. Write "Either you must," &c., and the reader is, from the first, prepared for an alternative. Other suspensive conjunctions or phrases are partly, for our part; in the first place; it is true; doubtless; of course; though; on the one hand.

*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 in reality is suffering from his flattery, and (he? or it?) will not permit anyone 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 private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason."

*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 was poor and uninfluential, and (to) John Smith in particular." Here, omit to, and the meaning may be "that helped all his companions, and John Smith in particular." The intervention of the verb and object, "helped" and "companions," causes this ambiguity.

*37. When there are several Verbs at some distance from a Conjunction on which they depend, repeat the Conjunction.*[14]

"When we look back upon the havoc that two hundred years have made in the ranks of our national authors—and, above all, (when) we refer their rapid disappearance to the quick succession of new competitors—we cannot help being dismayed at the prospect that lies before the writers of the present day."

Here omit "when," and we at once substitute a parenthetical statement for what is really a subordinate clause.

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.

"We might say that the Caesars did not persecute the Christians; (that) they only punished men who were charged, rightly or wrongly, with burning Rome, and committing the foulest abominations in secret assemblies; and (that) the refusal to throw frankincense on the altar of Jupiter was not the crime, but only evidence of the crime." But see (6 b).

*37 a. Repeat Verbs after the conjunctions "than," "as," &c.*

"I think he likes me better than you;" i.e. either "than you like me," or "he likes you."

"Cardinal Richelieu hated Buckingham as sincerely as did the Spaniard Olivares." Omit "did," and you cause ambiguity.

*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 cotton, banks and railways, crowded ports, and populous cities—these are not the elements that constitute a great nation."

This repetition (though useful and, when used in moderation, not unpleasant) is more common with speakers than with writers, and with slovenly speakers than with good speakers.

"The country is in such a condition, that if we delay longer some fair measure of reform, sufficient at least to satisfy the more moderate, and much more, if we refuse all reform whatsoever—I say, if we adopt so unwise a policy, the country is in such a condition that we may precipitate a revolution."

Where the relative is either implied (in a participle) or repeated, the antecedent must often be repeated also. In the following sentence we have the Subject repeated not only in the final summary, but also as the antecedent:—

"But if there were, in any part of the world, a national church regarded as heretical by four-fifths of the nation committed to its care; a church established and maintained by the sword; a church producing twice as many riots as conversions; a church which, though possessing great wealth and power, and though long backed by persecuting laws, had, in the course of many generations, been found unable to propagate its doctrines, and barely able to maintain its ground; a church so odious that fraud and violence, when used against its clear rights of property, were generally regarded as fair play; a church whose ministers were preaching to desolate walls, and with difficulty obtaining their lawful subsistence by the help of bayonets,—such a church, on our principles, could not, we must own, be defended."

*39. It is a help to clearness, when the first part of the sentence prepares the way for the middle and the middle for the end, in a kind of ascent. This ascent is called "climax."*

In the following there are two climaxes, each of which has three terms:—

"To gossip(a) is a fault(b); to libel(a'), a crime(b'); to slander(a''), a sin(b'')."

In the following, there are several climaxes, and note how they contribute to the clearness of a long sentence:—

"Man, working, has contrived(a) the Atlantic Cable, but I declare that it astonishes(b) me far more to think that for his mere amusement(c), that to entertain a mere idle hour(c'), he has created(a') 'Othello' and 'Lear,' and I am more than astonished, I am awe-struck(b'), at that inexplicable elasticity of his nature which enables him, instead of turning away(d) from calamity and grief(e), or instead of merely defying(d') them, actually to make them the material of his amusement(d''), and to draw from the wildest agonies of the human spirit(e') a pleasure which is not only not cruel(f), but is in the highest degree pure and ennobling(f')."

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 creature, mount where science guides; Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule"—

the ascent would have been too rapid. The transition from earth to heaven, and 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, soar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere, 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 pen can describe the tears, the lamentations, the agonies, the animated remonstrances of the unfortunate prisoners?"

"She was a woman of many accomplishments and virtues, graceful in her movements, winning in her address, a kind friend, a faithful and loving wife, a most affectionate mother, and she played beautifully on the pianoforte."

INTENTIONAL BATHOS has a humorous incongruity and abruptness that is 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 new construction should not be introduced without cause.*—A sudden and apparently unnecessary change of construction causes awkwardness and roughness at least, and sometimes breaks the flow of the sentence so seriously as to cause perplexity. Thus, write "virtuous and accomplished," or "of many virtues and accomplishments," not "of many virtues and accomplished;" "riding or walking" or "on foot or horseback," not "on foot or riding." In the same way, do not put adjectives and participles, active and passive forms of verbs, in too close juxtaposition. Avoid such sentences as the following:—

"He had good reason to believe that the delay was not an accident (accidental) but premeditated, and for supposing (to suppose, or else, for believing, above) that the fort, though strong both by art and naturally (nature), would be forced by the treachery of the governor and the indolent (indolence of the) general to capitulate within a week."

"They accused him of being bribed (receiving bribes from) by the king and unwilling (neglecting) to take the city."

*41. Antithesis adds force, and often clearness.*—The meaning of liberal in the following sentence is ascertained by the antithesis:—

"All the pleasing illusions which made power(a) gentle(b) and obedience(a') liberal(b') ... are now to be destroyed."

There is a kind of proportion. As gentleness is to power, so liberality (in the sense here used) is to obedience. Now gentleness is the check on the excess of power; therefore liberal here applies to that which checks the excess of obedience, i.e. checks servility. Hence liberal here means "free."

The contrast also adds force. "They aimed at the rule(a), not at the destruction(a'), of their country. They were men of great civil(b) and great military(b') talents, and, if the terror(c), the ornament(c') of their age."

Excessive antithesis is unnatural and wearisome:—

"Who can persuade where treason(a) is above reason(a'), and might(b) ruleth right(b'), and it is had for lawful(c) whatsoever is lustful(c'), and commotioners(d) are better than commissioners(d'), and common woe(e) is named common wealth(e')?"

*42. Epigram.*—It has been seen that the neglect of climax results in lameness. Sometimes the suddenness of the descent produces amusement: and when the descent is intentional and very sudden, the effect is striking as well as amusing. Thus:—

(1) "You are not only not vicious, you are virtuous," is a climax.

(2) "You are not vicious, you are vice," is not climax, nor is it bathos: it is epigram.[15]

Epigram may be defined as a "short sentence expressing truth under an amusing appearance of incongruity." It is often antithetical.

"The Russian grandees came to { and diamonds," climax. court dropping pearls { and vermin," epigram.

"These two nations were divided { and the bitter remembrance by mutual fear { of recent losses," climax. { and mountains," epigram.

There is a sort of implied antithesis in:—

"He is full of information—(but flat also) like yesterday's Times."

"Verbosity is cured (not by a small, but) by a large vocabulary."

The name of epigram may sometimes be given to a mere antithesis; e.g. "An educated man should know something of everything, and everything of something."

*43. Let each sentence have one, and only one, principal subject of thought.*

"This great and good man died on the 17th of September, 1683, leaving behind him the memory of many noble actions, and a numerous family, of whom three were sons; one of them, George, the eldest, heir to his father's virtues, as well as to his principal estates in Cumberland, where most of his father's property was situate, and shortly afterwards elected member for the county, which had for several generations returned this family to serve in Parliament." Here we have (1) the "great and good man," (2) "George," (3) "the county," disputing which is to be considered the principal subject. Two, if not three sentences should have been made, instead of one. Carefully avoid a long sentence like this, treating of many different subjects on one level. It is called heterogeneous.

*44. The connection between different sentences must be kept up by Adverbs used as Conjunctions, or by means of some other connecting words at the beginning of each sentence.*—Leave out the conjunctions and other connecting words, and it will be seen that the following sentences lose much of their meaning:—

"Pitt was in the army for a few months in time of peace. His biographer (accordingly) insists on our confessing, that, if the young cornet had remained in the service, he would have been one of the ablest commanders that ever lived. (But) this is not all. Pitt (, it seems,) was not merely a great poet in esse and a great general in posse, but a finished example of moral excellence.... (The truth is, that) there scarcely ever lived a person who had so little claim to this sort of praise as Pitt. He was (undoubtedly) a great man. (But) his was not a complete and well-proportioned greatness. The public life of Hampden or of Somers resembles a regular drama which can be criticised as a whole, and every scene of which is to be viewed in connection with the main action. The public life of Pitt (, on the other hand,) is," &c.

The following are some of the most common connecting adverbs, or connecting phrases: (1) expressing consequence, similarity, repetition, or resumption of a subject—accordingly, therefore, then, naturally, so that, thus, in this way, again, once more, to resume, to continue, to sum up, in fact, upon this; (2) expressing opposition—nevertheless, in spite of this, yet, still, however, but, on the contrary, on the other hand; (3) expressing suspension—undoubtedly ... but; indeed ... yet; on the one hand ... on the other; partly ... partly; some ... others.

Avoid a style like that of Bishop Burnet, which strings together a number of sentences with "and" or "so," or with no conjunction at all:

"Blake with the fleet happened to be at Malaga, before he made war upon Spain; and some of his seamen went ashore, and met the Host carried about; and not only paid no respect to it, but laughed at those who did." Write "When Blake &c."

*45. The connection between two long sentences sometimes requires a short intervening sentence, showing the transition of thought.*

"Without force or opposition, it (chivalry) subdued the fierceness of pride and power; it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar[16] of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a dominating vanquisher of laws to be subdued by manners. But now (all is to be changed:) 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 private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason." If the words italicized were omitted, the transition would be too abrupt: the conjunction but alone would be insufficient.


[5] For, at the beginning of a sentence, sometimes causes temporary doubt, while the reader is finding out whether it is used as a conjunction or preposition.

[6] It should refer (1) either to the Noun immediately preceding, or (2) to some Noun superior to all intervening Nouns in emphasis. See (25).

[7] So useful that, on mature consideration, I am disposed to adopt "that" here and in several of the following exceptional cases.

[8] Of course "and which" may be used where "which" precedes.

[9] "That which," where that is an object, e.g. "then (set forth) that which is worse," St. John ii. 10, is rare in modern English.

[10] Sometimes the emphatic Adverb comes at the beginning, and causes the transposition of an Auxiliary Verb, "Gladly do I consent."

[11] Of course punctuation will remove the ambiguity; but it is better to express oneself clearly, as far as possible, independently of punctuation.

[12] Professor Bain.

[13] See (30).

[14] The repetition of Auxiliary Verbs and Pronominal Adjectives is also conducive to clearness.

[15] Professor Bain says: "In the epigram the mind is roused by a conflict or contradiction between the form of the language and the meaning really conveyed."

[16] This metaphor is not recommended for imitation.

* * * * *


*46. Metaphor is briefer than literal statement.* See (13).

"The cares and responsibilities of a sovereign often disturb his sleep," is not so brief as "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," where the effect of care on the mind is assimilated to the effect of a heavy crown pressing on the head.

*47. General terms are briefer, though less forcible, than particular terms.* Thus: "He devours literature, no matter of what kind," is shorter than, "Novels or sermons, poems or histories, no matter what, he devours them all."

*47 a. A phrase may be expressed by a word.*

"These impressions can never be forgotten, i.e. are indelible."

"The style of this book is of such a nature that it cannot be understood, i.e. unintelligible."

The words "of such a nature that" are often unnecessarily inserted. See the extract from Sir Archibald Alison.

*48. Participles can often be used as brief (though sometimes ambiguous) equivalents of phrases containing Conjunctions and Verbs.*

"Hearing (when he heard) this, he advanced." See (7) for more instances. So "phrases containing conjunctions" means "phrases that contain conjunctions." "This done, (for, when this was done) he retired."

Sometimes the participle "being" is omitted. "France at our doors, he sees no danger nigh," for "France being" or "though France is."

*49. Participles and participial adjectives may be used like Adjectives, as equivalents for phrases containing the Relative.*

"The never-ceasing wind," "the clamouring ocean," "the drenching rain," are instances. The licence of inventing participial adjectives by adding -ing to a noun, is almost restricted to poetry. You could not write "the crannying wind" in prose.

*50. A statement may sometimes be briefly implied instead of being expressed at length.* Thus, instead of "The spirit of Christianity was humanizing, and therefore &c.," or "Christianity, since it was (or being) of a humanizing spirit, discouraged &c.," we can write more briefly and effectively, "Gladiatorial shows were first discouraged, and finally put down, by the humanizing spirit of Christianity." So instead of "The nature of youth is thoughtless and sanguine, and therefore &c.," we can write, "The danger of the voyage was depreciated and the beauty of the island exaggerated by the thoughtless nature of youth."

Sometimes a mere name or epithet implies a statement. "It was in vain that he offered the Swiss terms: war was deliberately preferred by the hardy mountaineers," i.e. "by the Swiss, because they were mountaineers and hardy." "The deed was applauded by all honest men, but the Government affected to treat it as murder, and set a price upon the head of (him whom they called) the assassin." "The conqueror of Austerlitz might be expected to hold different language from the prisoner of St. Helena," i.e. "Napoleon when elated by the victory of Austerlitz," and "Napoleon when depressed by his imprisonment at St. Helena."

CAUTION.—Different names must not be used for the same person unless each of them derives an appropriateness from its context. Thus, if we are writing about Charles II., it would be in very bad taste to avoid repeating "he" by using such periphrases as the following: "The third of the Stewarts hated business," "the Merry Monarch died in the fifty-fourth year of his age," &c.

*51. Conjunctions may be omitted.* The omission gives a certain forcible abruptness, e.g. "You say this: I (on the other hand) deny it."

When sentences are short, as in Macaulay's writings, conjunctions may be advantageously omitted.

Where a contrast is intended, the conjunction but usually prepares the way for the second of the two contrasted terms: "He is good but dull." Where and is used instead of but, the incongruity savours of epigram: "He always talks truthfully and prosily." "He is always amusing and false."

*51 a. The Imperative Mood may be used for "if."*

"Strip (for, if you strip) Virtue of the awful authority she derives from the general reverence of mankind, and you rob her of half her majesty."

*52. Apposition may be used so as to convert two sentences into one.*

"We called at the house of a person to whom we had letters of introduction, a musician, and, what is more, a good friend to all young students of music." This is as clear as, and briefer than, "He was a musician, &c."

*53. Condensation may be effected by not repeating (1) the common subject of several verbs, (2) the common object of several verbs or prepositions.*

(1) "He resided here for many years, and, after he had won the esteem of all the citizens, (he) died," &c. So, (2) "He came to, and was induced to reside in, this city," is shorter than "He came to this city, and was induced to reside in it."

Such condensation often causes obscurity, and, even where there is no obscurity, there is a certain harshness in pausing on light, unemphatic words, such as to, in, &c., as in the first example.

*54. Tautology.*—The fault of repeating the same word several times unnecessarily is called tautology, e.g.:

"This is a painful circumstance; it is a circumstance that I much regret, and he also will much regret the circumstance." But the fault is not to be avoided by using different words to mean the same thing, as, "This is a painful event; it is a circumstance that I much regret, and he also will greatly lament the occurrence." The true remedy is to arrange the words in such a manner that there may be no unnecessary repetition, thus: "This is a painful circumstance, a circumstance that causes me, and will cause him, deep regret."

The repetition of the same meaning in slightly different words is a worse fault than the repetition of the same word. See, for examples, the extract from Sir Archibald Alison, at the end of the book. Thus "A burning thirst for conquests is a characteristic of this nation. It is an ardent passion that &c." Other instances are—"The universal opinion of all men;" "His judgment is so infallible that it is never deceived," &c.

*55. Parenthesis may be used with advantage to brevity.*

"We are all (and who would not be?) offended at the treatment we have received," is shorter and more forcible than the sentence would have been if the parenthesis had been appended in a separate sentence: "Who, indeed, would not be offended?"

Extreme care must, however, be taken that a parenthesis may not obscure the meaning of a long sentence.

*56. Caution: let clearness be the first consideration.* It is best, at all events for beginners, not to aim so much at being brief, or forcible, as at being perfectly clear. Horace says, "While I take pains to be brief, I fall into obscurity," and it may easily be seen that several of the rules for brevity interfere with the rules for clearness.

Forcible style springs from (1) vividness and (2) exactness of thought, and from a corresponding (1) vividness and (2) exactness in the use of words.

(1) When you are describing anything, endeavour to see it and describe it as you see it. If you are writing about a man who was killed, see the man before you, and ask, was he executed, cut down, run through the body, butchered, shot, or hanged? If you are writing about the capture of a city, was the city stormed, surprised, surrendered, starved out, or demolished before surrender? Was an army repelled, defeated, routed, crushed, or annihilated?

(2) Exactness in the use of words requires an exact knowledge of their meanings and differences. This is a study by itself, and cannot be discussed here.[17]


[17] See English Lessons for English People, pp. 1-53.


For an explanation of the manner in which these Exercises are intended to be used, see the Preface.

A number in brackets by itself, or followed by a letter, e.g. (43), (40 a), refers to the Rules.

Letters by themselves in brackets, e.g. (b), refer to the explanations or hints appended to each sentence.

N.B..—(10 a) refers to the first section of Rule (10); (10 a') to the Rule following Rule (10).

1. "Pleasure and excitement had more attractions for him than (a) (36) (37 a) his friend, and the two companions became estranged (15 a) gradually."

(a) Write (1) "than for his friend," or (2) "than had his friend," "had more attractions than his friend."

2. "(a) He soon grew tired of solitude even in that beautiful scenery, (36) the pleasures of the retirement (8) which he had once pined for, and (36) leisure which he could use to no good purpose, (a) (30) being (15) restless by nature."

(a) This sentence naturally stops at "purpose." Also "being restless" seems (wrongly) to give the reason why "leisure" could not be employed. Begin "Restless by nature...."

3. "The opponents of the Government are naturally, and not (a) (40 a) without justification, elated at the failure of the bold attempt to return two supporters of the Government at the recent election, (b) (10 a') which is certainly to be regretted."

(a) "unjustifiably." (b) Write, for "which," either (1) "an attempt that &c.," or (2) "a failure that &c."

4. "Carelessness in the Admiralty departments has co-operated with Nature to weaken the moral power of a Government that particularly needs to be thought efficient in (a) (5) this respect, (b) (29) to counterbalance a general distrust of its excessive desire (c) (47 a) to please everybody in Foreign Affairs."

(a) Write "the Navy." (b) Instead of "to" write "in order to," so as to distinguish the different infinitives, (c) "obsequiousness."

5. "(a) He was sometimes supported by Austria, who, oddly enough, appears under Count Beust to have been more friendly to Italy than (37 a) France, (30) in this line of action."

(a) Begin with "In this line of action." Why? (b) Write "than was France" or "than France was."

6. "There was something so startling in (a) (5) this assertion, (a) (4) that the discoveries of previous investigators were to be (b) (47 a) treated as though they had never been made, and (4) that one who had not yet (47 a) attained the age of manhood had superseded the grey-headed philosophers (8) who had for centuries patiently sought after the truth, (4) that (a) (5) it naturally provoked derision."

(a) "This," "that," and "it," cause a little perplexity. Write "The startling assertion that the discoveries...." (b) "ignored." (c) "a mere youth," "a mere stripling."

7. "One of the recommendations (on which very (a) (26) (47, a) much depended) of the Commission was that a council in each province should establish smaller councils, each to have the oversight of a small district, and (b) (37) report to a central council on the state of Education in (c) (5) it."

(a) Write "cardinal recommendations." Derive "cardinal." (b) Write, either (1) "and should report," or (2) "and to report." (c) Write "in its province," or "district."

8. "At this (a) (1) period an (b) (11) event (c) (1) transpired that destroyed the last hopes of peace. The king fell from his horse and died two hours after the fall (d) (30), which was occasioned by his horse's stumbling on a mole-hill, while he was on his return from reviewing his soldiers."

(a) What is a "period"? (b) Express the particular kind of event ("accident"). (c) What is the meaning of "transpired"? (d) Transpose thus: "While the king was on his return ... his horse ...; the king fell and &c." The cause should precede the effect.

9. "He determined (c) on selling all his estates, and, as soon as this was done (40 a), to (c) quit the country, (a) (33) believing that his honour demanded this sacrifice and (40) (40 a) in (b) the hope of satisfying his creditors."

(a) Begin with "Believing that &c." (b) "hoping thereby to satisfy &c." (c) "to sell" or "on quitting.".

10. "He read patiently on, Leading Articles, Foreign Correspondence, Money Article and all; (a) (43) during which his father fell asleep, and he (b) went in search of his sister."

Point out the absurdity of "during which" applied to the last part of the sentence. (a) "Meanwhile." (b) Insert "then."

11. "The general was quite (a) (1) conscious (40 a) how treacherous were the intentions of those who were (b) (49) entertaining him, and (40 a) of the dangers from which he had escaped (15) lately."

(a) Distinguish between "conscious" and "aware." (b) "entertainers."

12. "If certain (a) (11) books had been published a hundred years ago, there can be no doubt that certain recent (b) (11) historians would have made great use of them. But it would (c) (15 b) not, on that account, be judicious in a writer of our own times to publish an edition of the works of one of these (b) (11) historians, in which large extracts from these books should be incorporated with the original text."

(a) "Mrs. Hutchinson's Memoirs." (b) "Mr. Hume." (c) Add at the end of the sentence, "Surely not."

13. "He made no attempt to get up a petition, (32) though he did not like the new representative quite so well as (a) (37 a) his colleagues."

(a) "as did his colleagues" or "as he liked his colleagues."

14. "Though he was (a) (15) obstinate and (15) unprincipled, yet he could not face an angered father (15 a) in spite of his effrontery."

(a) Begin with "Obstinate."

15. "He was known to his country neighbours (a) (15) during more than forty years as a gentleman of cultivated mind, (40 a) whose principles were high, (40 a) with polished address, happy in his family, and (b) (40 a) actively discharging local duties; and (40 a) among political men, as an honest, industrious, and sensible member of Parliament, (40 a) without (c) eagerness to display his talents, (40 a) who (10 g) was stanch to his party, and attentive to the interests of those whose (d) (47 a) representative he was."

(a) "During more &c.," is emphatic, and affects the latter as well as the former half of the sentence: hence it should stand first. (b) "in the discharge of." (c) "not eager." (d) Condense into one word.

16. "The poor think themselves no more disgraced by taking bribes at elections than (a) (37 a) the rich by offering them."

(a) Write (1) "Than the rich think themselves disgraced," or (2) "Than they think the rich disgraced."

17. "We are told that the Sultan Mahmoud, by his perpetual wars, (a) (41) and his tyranny, (a) (41) had filled his dominions with (b) (1) misfortune and (c) (11) calamity, and greatly (d) (11) diminished the population of the Persian Empire. This great Sultan had (e) (50) a Vizier. We are not (f) (55) (15) informed whether he was a humorist or an enthusiast, (g) but he pretended (h) that he had learned from (i) (11) some one how to understand the language of birds, so that he (j) (5) knew what was said by any bird that opened its mouth. (k) (44) One evening he was with the Sultan, returning from hunting. They saw a couple of owls which (10 g) were sitting upon a tree (l) (8) which grew near an old wall out of a heap of rubbish. The Sultan said (6) he should like to know what the two owls were saying to one another, and asked the (m) Vizier to listen to their discourse and give him an account of it. The Vizier, (n) (31) pretending to be very attentive to the owls, approached the tree. He (o) returned to the Sultan and said that (6) he had heard part of their conversation, but did not wish to tell him what it was. (p) (5) He, not (q) (31) being satisfied with this answer, forced him to repeat everything the owls had said (20) exactly. (r) (44) (5) (6) He told (5) him that the owls were arranging a treaty of marriage between their children, and that one of them, after agreeing to settle five hundred villages upon the female owl, had prayed (6) that God would grant a long life to Sultan Mahmoud, because as long as he reigned over them they would never want ruined villages. The story says (s) that (t) (5) he was touched with the fable, (30) and (s) that he (a) (39) from that time forward consulted (15) the good of his people, and that he rebuilt the towns and villages (v) which had been destroyed."

(a) "abroad ... at home." (b) "ruin." (c) "desolation." (d) "half unpeopled." (e) "The Vizier of &c." (f) "We are not informed" is emphatic, and therefore should be inverted, "whether he was, &c., we are not informed." (g) "but he" will be omitted when "the Vizier" is made the subject of "pretended." (h) "Pretended" once meant "claimed," "professed." Write "professed." (i) "a certain dervish." (j) Introduce a new subject that you may substitute "Vizier" for "he," thus: "so that not a bird could open its mouth, but the Vizier knew &c." (k) "As he was, one evening, &c." (l) Note that the tree is represented as growing out of ruins. This is in accordance with the story of the mischief Mahmoud had done. (m) Omit this. (n) "Suspense" is out of place in a simple narrative like this; the sentence therefore ends with "owls." (o) "Upon his return." (p) "The Sultan" (q) "would not be satisfied." (r) "You must know then, &c." (s) Omit. (t) "so touched ... that." (u) end with "people." (v) Addison here uses "which" probably because of the preceding "that." We have to choose between sound and clearness. "Which" implies that all the villages in the country had been destroyed, whereas the country had been only (see above) "half unpeopled."

18. "Though this great king never permitted any pastime to interfere with the duties of state, which he considered to be superior to (54) all other claims and of paramount importance, and (a) (37) kept himself so far under control that he allowed no one pursuit or amusement to run to any excess, yet he took (54) great pleasure in the chase, of which he was (b) (2) excessively (54) fond, and for the purposes of which he created several large parks of considerable (54) magnitude."

(a) Either repeat "though," or else strikeout the first "though" and begin a new sentence after "excess." (b) Point out the contradiction between "excessively" and what precedes.

19. "To inundate (a) (11) their land, to man their ships, to leave their country, with all its miracles of art and industry, its cities, its villas, and its (b) (11) pastures buried under the waves (c) (11); to bear to a distant climate their (d) (11) faith and their old (e) (11) liberties; to establish, with auspices that(10 a) might perhaps be happier, the new (f) (11) constitution of their commonwealth, in a (g) (11) foreign and strange (h) (11) land, in the Spice Islands of the Eastern Seas, (38) were the plans which they had the spirit to form."

(a) Introduce "dykes." (b) Introduce something peculiar to the Dutch, e.g. "canals," "tulip gardens." (c) "of the German Ocean." (d) The Dutch were Calvinists. (e) The country was in old times "Batavia," so that "Batavian" would be a fit epithet to denote what the Dutch had inherited from their forefathers. (f) "Stadthaus," the German for "town-hall." (g) "other stars." (h) "strange vegetation."

20. "During twenty years of unexampled prosperity, during (a) which the wealth of the nation had shot (14 a) up and extended its branches on every side, and the funds had (14 a) soared to a higher point than had been ever attained before, (b) (15) speculation had become general."

(a) Omit. (b) Begin a new sentence: "This, or Prosperity, had increased the taste for speculation."

21. "At that time (a) (16) a mere narrow-minded pedant (for he deserves no better name) had been set up by the literary world as a great author, and as the supreme (b) critic, alone qualified to deliver decisions which could never be (b) reversed upon (15 a) the literary productions of the day."

(a) End with " ... one who was—for he deserves no better name—a mere narrow-minded pedant." (b) "Which could never be reversed" can be expressed in one word; or else "the supreme ... reversed" may be condensed into a personification: "a very Minos of contemporary criticism."

22. "With the intention of fulfilling his promise, and (40 a) intending also to clear himself from the suspicion that attached to him, he determined to ascertain how (40 a) far this testimony was corroborated, and (a) (40 a) the motives of the prosecutor, (b) (43) who had begun the suit last Christmas."

(a) "what were." (b) Begin a new sentence, "The latter &c.," or "The suit had been begun &c."

23. "The Jewish nation, relying on the teaching of their prophets, looked forward to a time when its descendants should be as numerous as the heavenly (11) bodies, and when the products (a) (11) of the earth should be so increased as to create an abundant (54) plenty, when each man should rest beneath the shade of his own (a) (11) trees, and when the instruments (11) of war should be converted to the (11) uses of peace."

(a) Mention some "products," "trees" of Palestine.

24. "He replied (32), when he was asked the reason for his sudden unpopularity, that he owed it to his refusal to annul the commercial treaty, (a) (8) which(10 a') gave great displeasure to the poorer classes."

(a) Point out the ambiguity, and remove it by (8) or (10 a').

25. "I saw my old schoolfellow again by mere accident when I was in London at the time of the first Exhibition, (19) walking down Regent Street and looking in at the shops."

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