Page images

81. An apostrophe () should be used in a contraction to show the omission of one or more letters.

82. The contraction ain't should not be used. Don't should be used as a contraction of do not, and not of does not.


83. Explain the following contractions:

Don't; sha'n't; he's; they're; aren't; isn't; I'll; 'tis; we've.

84. Correct the following errors :

1. Theyre not coming. 2. Weve found them. 3. I aint going. 4. He dont care. 5. Aint you mistaken?

Omitted Words

85. Words necessary to the sense are frequently omitted in speaking and writing. The hearer or reader must be able to supply them.

Frequently, it is better to answer questions without omitting words. We should form the habit of using sentences to express our thoughts.


86. Supply the omitted words :

1. Where is Gibraltar ? In Spain. 2. To what government does it belong? England. 3. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. — Prov. xvi. 18. 4. Who won the battle of Chancellorsville ? General Lee. 5. How? By skillful generalship.


A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
Will not affront me, and no other can. — Cowper.



87.: 1. Composition is the art of expressing thought by means of words combined in sentences. (67.)

88. To write well we must know (1) what to write, and (2) how to express what we wish to write.

Material for written composition may be drawn from one's own experience, or obtained by reading and observation. The ability to read a book thoroughly and quickly is of great advantage. A course in the grammatical analysis of sentences enables pupils to grasp the thought of an author by teaching them to analyze the sentence in which the thought is expressed.

Directions for collecting material for composition exercises will be found throughout this work. A few remarks with reference to expression will be of service.

Suggestions as to the form of preparing compositions and the method of correcting them will be found in the Appendix, p. 350.

A lucid atmosphere in prose diction is the fruit of an orderly and logical habit of mind. Grammar well studied tends to implant a logical habit of mind without wakening much conscious attention to the valuable acquisition. Earle.

89. When one writes a composition of any kind, his first object should be to make himself understood. The following rules will assist the pupil to accomplish this object.

1. Write naturally. It is often the case that a person has one list of words that he uses when he talks, and another list that he uses when he writes. The aim should be to write easily and naturally, without restraint, and

without making an effort to use "big words." Neither should one try to express his thoughts in short words only. Use the words you have at command, and use them without thinking whether they are one syllabled words or four.

2. Write carefully. To write naturally does not mean that you are to write carelessly. Your penmanship should be neat; you should not misspell any words; you should not violate any grammatical rules; you should not neglect to use the proper punctuation marks; your finished exercise should be neat and clean.

3. Write clearly. A few rules will be given to aid you in the use of words and in the construction and form of sentences. Make every sentence express what you mean it to express. If its meaning is not clear to you, select such words as will make it clear, or change the form of the sentence, so that it will be understood.


90. The following words should begin with capital letters :

I. The first word of a sentence.
2. The first word of a line of poetry.
3. The first word of a direct quotation. (95, 6.)

4. Names representing the Deity; as, “Trust in Providence.Thou Great First Cause.

And also, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior, the Holy Trinity, etc.

Pronouns representing the Deity are generally capitalized, when used in direct address without an antecedent; as, “O Thou that hearest the mourner's prayer," etc. But see the Holy Bible.


Particular names, and words derived from them; as, John Smith, France, Augustan, French.

We write “ The Red River," because both words are needed to form the name, and “ The Ohio river," because the word river is not part of the name.

6. Titles, and abbreviations of particular names and titles; as, Prof. Jas. W. Westlake, A.M.

Titles like sir, madam, your honor, etc., are usually not capitalized.

7. The names of things regarded as persons; as, “Out of the bosom of the Air."

8. The names of the months and of the days of the week.

9. The important words in a heading; as, “A song entitled "The Last Rose of Summer.'

10. Words of special importance; as, “The Centennial Exhibition."

The names of religious sects and political parties should usually begin with capitals.

II. The pronoun I and the interjection O should be written with capitals.


91. Explain the use of the capitals in your geography lesson.

In your reading lesson.

92. Copy the following sentences, using capitals where necessary :

1. god might have made the earth bring forth enough for great and small, the oak tree and the cedar tree, without a flower at all.1 - mary howitt. 2. carlyle wrote a work entitled “the french revolution.” 3. do

3. do you think

any one should begin a letter by saying, “i take my pen in hand to let you know that i am well”?

1. A four-line stanza.


93. Punctuation is the art of dividing written composition by means of marks, or points. Punctuation is based upon grammatical analysis. Westlake.

The purpose of every point is to indicate to the eye the construction of the sentence in which it

A. S. Hill.


94. The principal points used are the comma, the semicolon, the colon, the period, the interrogation point, the exclamation point, the dash, marks of parenthesis, brackets, and quotation marks.

The Comma (,)

95. The comma is used

1. Between every two words or phrases of a series of more than two in the same construction.

EXAMPLES. —“Carlyle's translations of Goethe's works are powerful, accurate, and graceful.‘God's spirit is in us, around us, and above us."


2. Between two words or phrases of equal rank, when the conjunction is omitted.

EXAMPLE. “ Sober, industrious men are needed."

3. To set off appositive nouns and adjective clauses that are explanatory, but not restrictive.

EXAMPLES. — “ John Bunyan, an illiterate tinker, wrote ‘Pilgrim's Progress,' the great allegory." Geoffrey Chaucer, who is called the father of English poetry, died in the last year of the fourteenth century.”

« PreviousContinue »