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suggest any such connection. They express simply six detached ideas, which cannot be put into any grammatical relations of case, number, subject and predicate, because the ideas are incongruous. No rules of syntax can force these two nouns, two adjectives and two verbs, the common material of sentences, into grammatical harmony. They will not take the form of a sentence, because these ideas do not make the substance of one. Not all ideas, then, or successions of ideas, allow of being constructed into sentences by any grammatical device, but only those which have some natural relations among themselves.
3. Again, such an arrangement of words as this, contrived for the purpose of illustration, the swollen river timidly shrank within its widening channel ; and this, not one bit less absurd though taken from a story in a paper devoured by thousands of readers, I am transcendently your peer, look like sentences. The latter would pass muster with many who read words only; and both, with all their falseness of ideas, might be parsed mechanically. There are in them what have the likeness of subjects and predicates and adjectives; that is, the words stand near each other in apparent relations, and the words are good words as in real sentences.
Why, then, is neither of these collections of words a sentence ? Because there is no such relation of things as seems
-or rather sounds—to be expressed in them. To speak of a swollen river's being timid, or of any river's shrinking within a bed which is growing wider, or of any one's being transcendently—that is, exceedingly, in the highest degree—the peer, or equal, of another, is lunatic. The seeming relation of the words goes for nothing because there is no such real relation of ideas. Sense and syntax must agree in sentence-making. Not all printed collections of words, then, though joined in
apparent union, make sentences, but only such as when so joined express true relations of ideas, and so express thoughts.
5. Again. Such a succession of words as this, mother, child, garden, flowers, play, find, is no sentence, and can be put in no order to make one. As in the other instances, they are, as they stand, merely unconnected idea-words. But the mind at once perceives that relations exist among the ideas expressed by them, that the material of sentences is there, and that the words only need constructing to make a sentence.
So with the words a, the, at, from, with, in, anong; they cannot make a sentence, because there is no niaterial of ideas. The first list contains nothing to make a sentence with ; the second list contains nothing to make a sentence of.
Out of the two lists of words more than one sentence can readily be constructed ; as, the mother found the child at play among the flowers in the garden ; or, the mother finds the children playing with flowers from the garden.
6. Notice that the ideas, the materials, are all from the first list; the sentences contain nothing but what is there; the constructing of the words into sentences is accomplished by the help of the relation-words in the second list. The ideas expressed by the first are put into proper relations by the connecting links of the second list.
7. Notice further, that as many sentences can be made out of these words as there are different relations existing or discoverable among the ideas they express.
8. The content of a sentence depends on the number of properly related ideas it expresses and the manner in which these relations are combined.
9. The logical accuracy of a sentence depends on the exactness of the relations asserted to exist among the ideas which
make its substance, and the corresponding exactness of grammatical construction with which these relations are expressed.
10. It is not said or meant, of course, that sentences are composed by selecting lists of idea-words and of relationwords, and then skillfully weaving them together. Things are seen or thought in their relations, and are then expressed as seen or thought. But all sentences can be reduced by analysis to these elements. When they are decomposed they are found to have been made of these materials, in this manner, and with these limitations.
1. What must be clearly understood as a preliminary to intelligent analysis of sentences ? 2. Why cannot the six words given be made into a sentence? 3. In what respects do the collections of words given appear like sentences ? 4. Why, then, are they not sentences ? What collections of words alone make sentences ? 5. In what respect are the words given like those in paragraph 2? In what respect unlike ? Construct sentences out of the two lists. 6. What two points may be noticed about those sentences ? 7. How many sentences may be made out of these, or any lists of words? 8. On what does the content of a sentence depend? 9. On what does the logical accuracy of a sentence depend? 10. How are sentences really composed ? What does an analysis of them discover?
For practice of this lesson, vary the form of sentences found in any passage in this book or in the reader; that is, construct other sentences with the idea-words of any sentence, by putting them into different relations with each other.
ESSENTIAL STATEMENTS AND DEFINITIONS DERIVED
FROM THE FOREGOING LESSONS.
1. The example of others, familiarity with books in reading, and mental babits, directly fix ordinary manner of speech, both as to grammatical correctness and essential quality.
2. The study of grammar in the direction of etymology, parsing and analysis, only indirectly and slightly affects modes of speech; it may be made to do so only by special attention to the correction of incorrect or careless habits already formed and of which the pupil is aware ; even so, its results are confined mainly to forms of words and the most ordinary constructions. Accurate English may be spoken with absolutely no knowledge of grammar, as grammar.
3. The study of grammar properly belongs to adults, and deals with language as a product already formed, and as such brought before the mind for investigation.
4. Grammar coming after language, its province is to recognize and classify established forms of speech, to indicate and, if necessary, to guard against innovations and improper tendencies, and to record changes authorized by reputable writers and speakers.
5. Sentences express thoughts; thoughts are expressed by words properly constructed; they are so constructed when the elements which compose them are put into such form and in such order as good usage, that is, grammar, authorizes. Sentences so constructed are said to be “good English.”
Collections of words from which the sense may be guessed, though not expressed in "good English,” are not sentences in the grammarian's sense of the word. He deals with good sentences only, in which sense and syntax agree.
6. Grammar is the science of language, and as such sets forth the principles of an art—that of speech-already in general practice.
7. The study of grammar includes the etymology and syntax of words, the composition and functions of thoughtelements, and is applied and practiced in parsing and analyzing sentences.
8. The unit of grammar is the sentence; grammar deals with nothing beyond sentences, and it may, in this view, be lefined as the doctrine of sentences.
9. Sentences are composed, primarily, of words. Words are signs or representatives, and may be divided into three great divisions : (a) those which represent ideas, or ideawords, (b) those which represent relations or relation-words, and (c) those which represent other words, or substitutes.
10. The great mass of words in a language are idea-words ; the relation-words are few, though many relations are expressed by them; the substitutes are also few.
11. The substance of sentences is idea-words; their form and structure depend on the combination of these, with or without the help of distinct relation-words.
12. Words are joined (1) directly by their position, with or without change of form, and (2) by some word standing between them.
13. A sentence is the grammatical form of a complete thought; or, it is a thought expressed in words.
Or, a sentence is the form in which idea-words are so combined as to express the thought intended.