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tical exercises designed to assist the learner in the
Part Five treats of synonyms, homonyms, idioms,
To the contents of the original edition of this book,
Some teachers may not like the sequence govern-
It should never be forgotten that in the arduous
GEORGE W. RINE.
FAULTLESS grammar is the first requisite of good English. It is a degree of perfection of speech to which all can attain. It is, however, only by extended observation and practice that grammatical accuracy can be crystallized into habita habit indispensable to those who appeal to their fellows through voice or pen.
The only phase of grammar with which we are here concerned is the application of its laws. The standard of grammatical correctness is the usage of scholarly writers and speakers of the present time. Like all other living tongues, the English language is a growing language, and is therefore subject to change from time to time. What was faultless English in the time of Shakespeare, contains not a few expressions that are now solecisms.
DEFINITION.- A solecism is a construction at variance with the laws of grammar.
DEFINITION.-Syntax is the art of correctly applying the laws of grammar in the construction of sentences.
Hence solecisms, taken collectively, are usually called false syntax. The few solecisms found in the King James Version of the Bible were not solecisms at the time that version was made (1611).
The fundamental principles of grammar, established by good usage, will now be stated and illustrated.
HOW TO FORM THE POSSESSIVE CASE OF NOUNS
RULE. The possessive of nearly all singular nouns, and of all plural nouns not ending in s, is formed by adding an apostrophe and s ('s) to the nominative form. The possessive of all plural nouns that end in s is formed by adding an apostrophe alone.
a. The possessive case of a few proper nouns, for examples, Jesus, Moses, Xerxes, Achilles, Hercules, Demosthenes, etc., and of some abstract nouns, as goodness and conscience, is formed by adding an apostrophe alone, thus: Jesus' disciples; Xerxes' army; Achilles' wrath; for conscience' sake; for goodness' sake.
b. Words having the same form in the singular and the plural number form the plural possessive by adding an s and an apostrophe (s'); as, sheeps' eyes; deers' horns. As a rule, proper nouns of the singular number, whether they end in s or not, take the possessive form regularly; that is, by the adding of the apostrophe and s; as, Dr. Brooks's sermons; Burns's poems; Charles's bicycle. The adding or the omitting of the s in such cases is chiefly a matter of taste. The practice of newspaper publishers varies greatly. Whenever there is doubt, it is safe