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a correlative application : but those is no more the plural of that, than five and ten are simple plurals of
The nice distinction between the definite article,” and the demonstrative adjective pronouns," as to their measure of meaning, is commonly this:
181. The is applied to a thing which is before sufficiently understood, or where it is not necessary to be particularly “ definite;" and this, that, these, and those, refer to nouns more emphatically, with some concomitant explanation.
“ This moon that rose last night, round as my shield.”
Give me the news-paper.
“ Above these Heavens, to us invisible, or dimly seen, in these thy lower works."
182. In the colloquial use of these words, some visible sign, as a look or motion, often forms the attendant explanation; as, give me that volume and take this. Such allusions are, from familiar habit, carried into written language, with some reference to surrounding objects.
The satellites of Jupiter.
183. But the specifying adjective of relation, where it can be used, is the best "article" to point out nouns, and show how far their signification extends; as, Jupiter's satellites; which means, with precise limitation and identity, those four particular satellites which revolve around the planet Jupiter.
A father, the father, my father, John's father.
Does not every person see, at once, that these
possessives,” as words to “ ascertain what particular thing or things are meant,” are better « definite articles" than the ?
184. There is one other rule of the grammars, respecting the adjectives a and the, which will require a moment's attention.
“A substantive without any* article to limit it, is generally taken in its widest sense; as “man is mortal.”
“ A candid temper is proper for man; that is, for all mankind." The application is correct in this particular instance; but for a different reason from any thing which is to be understood by the rule. All mankind partake of a cominon nature, and the same mortality and the same moral temper which belong to one, extend to the whole.
“So God created man in his own image."--Ex. I.
To explain this sentence by the same priņciple, it would read “ All Gods, true and false, created in one day, the whole human race in every possible form."
185. If we should ask " what is the price of flour in market ?” it would, by this rule of construction, mean all flour kind in all the markets in the world. This would give an extent and importance to the question which a merchant, unacquainted with grammar, would never suspect.
“Seven candlesticks,” according to the same system, would imply all the candlesticks, to the greatest conceivable extent; because seven is not
* Any article means, according to Mr. Murray, any one of the two, a and the.
a nor the, and therefore the noun is to be taken in its greatest latitude of meaning.
The true and only rule is, that specifying words, of any kind, are not in general employed, where they are not necessary to perspicuity.
186. “And Jesus took clay, and spit upon it, and anointed the eyes of the blind man," &c.
No one asks how much clay was taken. The question would be entirely frivolous. It was equally miraculous that much or little clay, applied to the eyes of a man, blind from his birth, should immediately restore him to sight. This is the reason why it was not necessary to place a' or the, some, or any other "article” before the noun clay.
187. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The translators of the bible, who were distinguished scholars, knew that the word ears must include two, at least, as being in the plural number. They also knew, that according to the common course of nature, any one man, implied by the word he, would not be expected to have more than that number. They did not, therefore, anticipate the later grammatical version of this passage, ascribing all the ears in the world to a single person, by the mere omission of the word the.
Why is there an indefinite article in the singular, and none in the plural? Why are not twain, two, three, some, any, and many other words, as good articles as a?
DEGREES OF COMPARISON.
188. Adjectives generally express quality in different degrees, as blackish, black, blacker, blackest.
Besides these different forms of the adjective, many subsidiary words are used, which, according to the special meaning of the appended term, may serve to give various turns to the idea conveyed by the adjective
black; as, very, extremely, slightly, totally black. The direct forms of the adjective have been generally called degrees of comparison; though not with strict propriety, as comparison is not always implied, farther than as it belongs to the general nature of adjectives.
189. As there are nouns which admit of no limitation, nor increase, so many adjectives are unalterably fixed by the import of the term.
The Creator alone is omnipotent and omniscient, we can not say
any other being isless or more so. No one thing can be less or more eternal, immeasurable, countless, immaculate, or perfect, than an other. These terms denote quality, to a degree which can neither be increased nor diminished : because that, from the nature of things, more can not be; and less is inconsistent with the meaning of the word.
190. It is found convenient in practice to class adjectives under three degrees : positive, comparative, and superlative; as black, blacker, blackest. To these may be added an other modification of the single word, and which applies in a great number of instances, though not in so general use as the other forms; as blackish, inclining to blackness, or partially black. This may be considered as the minor positive degree.
191. Adjectives are commonly compared by adding er or est, which additions are, by origin, separate and significant words.
Several adjectives, of most frequent use, are made irregular by adopting different radical terms, to express the different degrees of quality.
The regular adjectives in their direct forms, are thus compared. Minor.
green greener greenest Longish long longer · longest.
192. Adjectives are also compared by various qualifying words, which augment or diminish their positive meaning, by different relations and degrees; as, wise-less, least, more, most, very, excerdingly wise. Some of these qualifying words, on account of their appropriate meaning, are much used. Those occasionally employed, for the sake of variety or harmony, or to mark the nicer distinctions of thought, are very numerous.
193. It should also be kept in mind, that the form of the adjective, which is assumed as the positive degree, is in fact almost always comparative. Whatever is high, is so, in reference to something else which is lower. The adjective in the positive degree, is associated with the idea of what is appropriate to the thing in which the quality is conceived to exist. The largest long boat would make a very small ship; and a potter's kiln, altogether too cool for baking stone ware, might yet be a very uncomfortably warm room, for people to live in.
194. Adjectives also stand connected with nouns, and with each other, by various kinds of relation, in a way which no mere grammar rules can explain : “ The smoky London air,” may mean either the air of smoky London, or the