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parenthesis. It is a loose, long sentence, but full of information that may be better expressed in this manner than by a number of short sentences:
This great nation, filling all profitable latitudes, cradled between two oceans, with inexhaustible resources, with riches increasing in an unparalleled ratio, by agriculture, by manufactures, by commerce, with schools and churches, with books and newspapers thick as leaves in our forests, with institutions sprung from the people, and peculiarly adapted to their genius; a nation not sluggish, but active, used to excitement, practiced in political wisdom, and accustomed to self-government, and all its vast outlying parts held together by a federal government, mild in temper, gentle in administration, and beneficent in results, seemed to have been formed for peace.
- HENRY WARD BEECHER The main thought consists of the short sentence, "This great nation seemed to have been formed for peace," and all that explains its situation, its resources, and its government is parenthetical. This illustration is not cited as a good example for speakers to follow, but it is merely given to show one of the means employed by Mr. Beecher, an eloquent speaker, in expressing his ideas. The subject of the construction of sentences is dealt with at length in the chapter on Composition.
Pauses should be regulated by the sense and not by grammatical punctuation. A pause is sometimes required where no mark of punctuation is placed, and at times a mark of punctuation should be passed over quickly in order to not retard the conveyance of the speaker's
thought. The pauses used by the speaker, but not employed by the grammarian, are called rhetorical pauses, and are used for emphasis; as,
Go, forget that you have a wife and children, to ruin, and remember only — that you have France to save.*
What is a series? A series is a group of three or more important positive words or phrases, of different meanings, yet so closely related as to be capable of being welded into one thought; as,
Let old issues, old questions, old differences, and old feuds be regarded as fossils of another epoch.
ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS The group that constitutes the series is composed of “old issues," "old questions," "old differences,” “old feuds," which, united, should all “be regarded as fossils of another epoch.”
What use is the series? The series allows a speaker to gather many forces, amalgamate them, thus uniting the feeble powers of the number into the powerful strength of the one, and to direct the united force to one point; as,
We are among the sepulchres of our fathers. We are on ground distinguished by their valor, their constancy, and the shedding of their blood.
- DANIEL WEBSTER The orator tells the assembly that they are on ground distinguished by the valor of their fathers, but he does
*Spoken to D’Aguesseau by his wife when he went to confront his enraged King. Quoted by Wendell Phillips in his address on “Idols."
more: he tells them that the ground was also distinguished by their constancy and the shedding of their blood. The series enables the speaker to weld together
valor," "constancy,” and “ blood,” thus combining the three virtues shown by the fathers, and this arrangement, the blending of the three reasons, gives the one strong reason, the patriotism of our fathers, for honoring the ground upon which the people were gathered. Cicero thus clearly defines a series and tells what it accomplishes: “For there is such an admirable continuation and series of things that each seems connected with the other, and all appear linked together and united.” This is exactly what a series is: Words or phrases that are closely connected with one another and are all linked together; as,
We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of christianity, and the light of everlasting truth!
- DANIEL WEBSTER How many kinds of series are there? Two, the commencing and the concluding.
What is a commencing series? A commencing series is always an incomplete one, so far as the sense is concerned, as it requires something more than the series to complete the sense. It generally commences a sentence; as,
It is only when public opinion, or the strong power of government, the formidable array of influence, the force of a nation, or the fury of a multitude, is directed against you, that the advocate is of any use.
– JAMES T. BRADY The series ends with “or the fury of a multitude," and
the sense is made complete by “is directed against you, that the advocate is of any use."
A series is often composed of qualifying words; as,
What though it breaks like lightning from the cloud ? The electric fire had been collecting in the firmament through many a silent, calm, and clear day. ORVILLE DEWEY The words “silent, calm, and clear” qualify the word day and constitute a commencing series, because they require the word day to complete the thought.
What is a concluding series? A series is considered a concluding one when the sense is complete with the close of the series. It generally concludes the sentence; as,
The remarkable people of this world are useful in their way; but the common people, after all, represent the nation, the age, and the civilization. - HENRY WARD BEECHER The series consists of "the nation,” “the age," "the civilization”; a group of three important things which the common people represent.
Here is a good example of a concluding series of phrases:
With such consecrated service, what could we not accomplish; what riches we should gather for her; what glory and prosperity we should render to the union; what blessings we should gather into the universal harvest of humanity.
HENRY W. GRADY A series constitutes sometimes a parenthesis; as,
For no cause, in the very frenzy of wantonness, by the red hand of murder, he was thrust from the full tide of this
world's interest, from its hopes, its aspirations, its victories, irto the visible presence of death — and he did not quail.
- JAMES G. BLAINE This example opens with a commencing series which ends with“ by the red hand of murder," the sense of which is completed by "he was thrust from the full tide of this world's interest into the visible presence of death,” but the thought is interrupted by the orator to interject the parenthetical clause " from its hopes, its aspirations, its victories," and as what completes the sense, “the full tide of this world's interest,” precedes the series, it is a concluding series.
· Is there any difference as to how the two series should be spoken? Yes. The commencing series requires the falling inflection on every member except the last, which should be given the rising inflection; as,
From the very beginning I chose an honest and straightforward course in politics, to support the honor, the power, the glory of my fatherland.
- DEMOSTHENES The series is embraced in the words “the honor, the power, the glory," and as the sense is incomplete with the close of the series, requiring “of my fatherland" to complete the sense, it is a commencing series. The proper delivery of this series requires that "honor" should be given the falling inflection, "power" the falling, and “glory” the rising.
The concluding series requires the falling inflection on every member except the next to the last, which should be given the rising inflection; as,