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998. In the narrative given in paragraph 809, is found a brief description of a dip net, which is appropriately inserted to make the narrative more easily understood. It will be found that these two forms of composition narrative and description - are generally combined, the purpose of the composition determining in most cases which form is to be made the more prominent.

999. No definite rules in addition to those already stated will be given for the writing of compositions of this kind. It seems natural to begin with a brief description, though this rule is not always followed. Do not introduce a long description so as to break into the narrative abruptly. Combine description with narrative in such a way as to make your characters as real and lifelike as possible. Try to have an appropriate ending to every composition that

you write.

1000. The following subjects are suggested:

1. In a Sleigh in a Blizzard. 2. A Narrow Escape from Drowning. 3. Washington's Army at Valley Forge. 4. Paul before 'Agrippa. 5. A Fire in a Crowded Tenement House. 6. From your Home to a Neighboring Town on a Bicycle. 7. An Excursion Trip to Niagara Falls. 8. A Fishing Trip with Three Companions. 9. A Fourth of July Celebration. 10. Your most Thrilling Adventure. II. Your most Interesting Trip. 12. The Children of Israel Crossing the Red Sea. 13. The Dedication of a New Schoolhouse.


Abbreviated Constructions

1001. Sentences may be abbreviated

1. By omitting words that affect the grammatical relation of some of the remaining words and are necessary to their construction; as, “She is as lovely as (she) ever (was lovely).” “ It is good news if (it is) true.” “ Dot (you) your i’s.”

Words thus omitted must be supplied and disposed of in parsing and analysis.

2. By omitting words that affect the grammatical relation of some of the remaining words, but are not necessary to their construction; as, “The ring (that is) on my finger I will not take off.” “He looks as (he would look) if he were frightened.” (956.)

Words thus omitted need not be supplied in parsing or analysis.

A few abbreviated expressions have already been presented for analysis. The design of this section is to call attention more fully to constructions of this nature.

1002. A sentence from which words have been omitted that are necessary to the construction of the remaining words is an elliptical sentence. (1001, 1.)

The omitted words of an elliptical sentence must be supplied in parsing and analysis. (1006, 1007.)

1003. The desire to be brief causes us

1. To avoid repetitions; as, “Time is as precious as gold (is precious).” "He looks as (he would look) if he were tired." It is also true that the desire to avoid repetitions causes us to be brief.


2. To omit words not essential to the sense; as, “A bird (that is) in the hand is worth two (that are) in the bush."

1004. Sentences are abbreviated in all kinds of discourse, but more frequently than elsewhere, in common conversation and in emotional expressions.


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1005. Brevity is one of the commonest causes of irregularity, hence many abbreviated expressions are irregular.

1006. Simple sentences are often abbreviated. EXAMPLES. “Where did you go yesterday?” “(I went) to Lancas

“ How (did you go)?” “(I went) with Mr. Frantz.” “ What news (is there) ?” “Where (are you going) now?" “(You) call at Smith's (store).” “(I) thank you.” “ (This is) a fine day.” “(Go ye) to your tents, O Israel!” “(To) Joshua L. Lyte, (at) Lancaster, (in) Pa.”

“ Hidden dangers are the most difficult (dangers) to avoid." 1007. Complex sentences frequently contain abbreviated expressions.

EXAMPLES. “He came as soon as (it was) possible (to come soon)." “She loves him better than (she loves) me; than I (love him)." (“ Better than John” is ambiguous; why?) It is much easier to be critical than it is easy) to be correct. Beaconsfield. The night hath been to me a more familiar face than that of man (hath been a familiar face). -Byron. “The advantages of this world, even when (they are) innocently gained, are uncertain blessings.” What blockheads are those wise persons who think it (to be) necessary that a child should comprehend everything (that) it reads. · Southey.

1008. Words used in the first member of a compound sentence are frequently omitted from the second member.

EXAMPLES. — “The cars are running, but not the stage (the stage is not running).” I knew him well and every truant knew (him well). - Goldsmith. Grace was in all her steps, heaven (was) in her eye,


in every gesture (were) dignity and love. Milton. To astonish, as well as to sway by his energies (became the aim, etc.), became the great aim of his life. — Channing. “Contemporaries appreciate the man, rather than (they appreciate) the merit; but posterity will regard the merit, rather than it will regard) the man.” “ The land, but not the buildings (were sold), was sold.” “Not the land (was sold), but the buildings were sold.” (1002.)

Irregular Constructions 1009. An irregular construction is a construction that deviates from the general principles, or rules that govern the relation and form of words.

The proper method of disposing of a number of irregular constructions is stated in some of the special rules. The object of this section is to show how some of these difficult expressions originated.

1010. To dispose of the words of an irregular construction, we should, if possible —

1. Ascertain the regular construction. 2. Ascertain the cause of the irregularity. 1011. Among the commonest causes of irregularity






1. The desire to be brief. (1006.)

ILLUSTRATION. — “All 1 the oranges” for “All of the oranges.” So also “half the oranges.” But “one half of the oranges," not “one half the oranges ”; “ half an orange ” or “one half of an orange,” not half an orange," etc.

2. The confounding of one construction with another.

ILLUSTRATION. — “A dozen oranges.” According to rule, we should say “ a dozen of oranges” as we say “a score of oranges.” But since a dozen = twelve, we are led to say a dozen oranges.” So also 6 a hundred 2 men,” “

“ a few men,” a great many men,” etc. Some words have a twofold use, etc., page 325.


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1. Adj. 2. A noun used as an adjective.


3. The desire for euphony, or strength.

ILLUSTRATION. “ Books have I none." “ It is he,” for “he is it" (Ger. Er ist es). So also, “ that is yours," “ this news of Blanche's,” “this husband of yours,” etc. Compare “ that is your(s)” with “ that is John's.” The s seems to have been added to your, partly by confounding the two constructions, and partly, too, to avoid the harshness and weakness of “ that is your.” (I wol be your in alle that ever I may. Chaucer.) So, also, “hers is lost," etc. In “this husband of yours,"

," "this news of Blanche's," yours and Blanche's are usually disposed of as modifying a noun omitted. It may be remarked that Blanche's, in " this news of Blanche's," is illogically used for Blanche to avoid the confusion arising from confounding the two meanings of of (about and belonging to); and, also, that yours is used for your by confounding one construction with another and to avoid harshness, and your for you to distinguish between the two meanings of of (this husband of yours this husband belonging to you). But see under Rule for possessives.

A few grammarians call mine, yours, hers, etc., "possessive pronouns used only in the nominative or objective case.”

4. The desire for accuracy.

ILLUSTRATION. — “His being a Roman protected them,” for “he being a Roman,” etc. “He being a Roman protected them” is grammatically correct, but ambiguous. To prevent ambiguity, the pronoun is put in the possessive case. But since ambiguity rarely occurs in constructions of this kind except when proper nouns and personal pronouns are used, the best writers use the nominative or the objective form in most other instances. The report of an armed force having assembled, etc. Prescott.


Poetical Constructions 1012. The following constructions are common in poetry: 1. Inverted constructions; as,

From peak to peak the rattling crags among

Leaps the live thunder. Byron. 2. Abbreviated constructions; as, —

Who pants for glory, finds but short repose ;
A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows. Pope.

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