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CHAPTER IX

CHOICE OF ADJECTIVES

I We enjoy listening to people who have things worth while to say, and who are never at a loss for the word which will make their meaning clear, or their conversation attractive. Both in conversation and in writing it is well to have the power to use adjectives that give exactly the meaning one wishes to express.

Many adjectives have the same general meaning, but each word in the list below is more suitable under some circumstances than others. For instance, a little flower may be pretty, while a great picture may be beautiful.

Some adjectives are overworked, especially the following: cunning, nice, good, awful, pretty, sweet. When these words are used again and again, it usually means that the speaker has few adjectives in his vocabulary.

Study the following lists, and learn how to use different words to express different meanings : awful nice good

pretty dreadful dainty

pleasant beautiful fearful modest

desirable handsome shocking refined

excellent lovely appalling attractive righteous charming

II Read “ The Sandman” again. Read it in the quiet way in which it should be read. How does it make you feel? Notice that the poet used adjectives and other words to give this feeling.

What adjective is used to describe the steps of the sandman? What other words are used to show that he comes quietly? Find still other expressions that are used to give the feeling of quiet, of rest and peace.

The poet carefully chose words that gave this feeling. One should always be careful to choose words that express one's meaning or feeling.

Read the following stanzas and note the feeling expressed in each. Tell what words are used to express the feeling:

The sandman comes across the sand

At evening when the sun is low;
Upon his back, a bag of sand —

His step is soft and slow.
I never hear his gentle tread,

But when I bend my sleepy head,
“The Sandman's coming !” Mother says,
And Mother tells the truth always.

- MARIE VAN VORST.

The wind one morning sprang up from sleep,
Saying, "Now for a frolic! Now for a leap!
Now for a madcap, galloping chase!
I'll make a commotion in every place!”
So it swept with a bustle right through a great town,
Creaking the signs and scattering down
Shutters, and whisking with merciless squalls,
Old women's bonnets and gingerbread stalls.

- WILLIAM HOWITT.

The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby Street
Comes stealing, comes creeping.

- EUGENE FIELD.

CHAPTER X

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES

Study the following sentences :
1. The tiger, the lion, and the elephant are large animals.
2. The lion is larger than the tiger.
3. The elephant is larger than the lion.
4. The elephant is the largest of the three animals.

What adjective is used in the first sentence to describe the size of these animals?

How many animals are compared in the second sentence? in the third? What adjective is used ?

How many animals are compared in the fourth sentence? What adjective is used ?

As you see, three forms of the adjective large are used in these sentences. Which form is used when two animals are compared ? when three are compared ?

When comparing two things, use an adjective ending in er. When comparing more than two, use an adjective ending in est. Write the three forms of each of the following adjectives : strong dark wise

sweet sharp weak

“More” and “Most."

Study these sentences : 1. To-day is a pleasant day. 2. Yesterday was more pleasant than to-day. 3. Sunday was the most pleasant day we have had this spring.

How many days are compared in the second sentence? What word is used to show the comparison? What word is used to show the comparison in the third sentence?

Adjectives of two or more syllables are usually compared by using more and most. Use more when comparing two things, most when comparing more than two.

Use more and most with the following words:

[blocks in formation]

Read the following couplet :

The yellow chestnut showers its gold,
The sumachs spread their fire.

Of what season was the poet thinking?

What word tells what the chestnut does? what the sumachs do? Words that tell what persons or things do, or that express action, are called verbs. When you are older you

will find that there are other uses of verbs, but now you will speak of them as words which express action. Read:

The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing.

WORDSWORTH.

I am coming, I am coming,
Hark! The little bee is humming.

Hark! The new-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting.

- MARY HOWITT.

A baby was sleeping;
Its mother was weeping.

SAMUEL LOVER.

What group of words express action in the first line? in the second ?

Find the groups of words that express action in the lines written by Mrs. Howitt; in the lines by Samuel Lover.

A verb is a word or group of words used to express action.

Find the verbs in the following paragraph:

Jack Frost came in the night. The flowers were killed by his cold breath. The leaves turned brown and fell to the ground. The birds flew away to the south. Our noses were nipped by the sly fellow.

In two of the sentences there is a group of words used to express action. Read each group aloud.

In one of the sentences there are two verbs. Find them. Find the other verbs in the paragraph.

CHAPTER XII

VERBS (Continued)

“Lie ” and “ Lay.”

There are some verbs which are often misused in speaking. Lie and lay are two of these verbs. Study the following sentences carefully and find out where each verb should be used:

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