Sivut kuvina

say, an operator, one who operates, or has operated or performed some action.

In the extensive comparison of languages, the strikingly apparent singularity in one, of the same idiom, which is perfectly familiar in an other, will be found a very efficient aid to the philosophic investigator.


289. 1st. “A passive verb expresses a passion, or a suffering, or the receiving of an action ; and necessarily implies an object acted upon, and an agent by which it is acted upon: as, to be loved ; “ Penelope is loved by me.”—Murray's Grammar.

2d. “A passive verb is conjugated by adding the perfect participle to the auciliary to be, through all its changes of number,-mood, and tense, in the following manner."--The same.

3d. “The learner will perceive that the preceding auxiliary verbs to have and to be, could not be conjugated through all the moods and tenses, without the help of other auxiliary verbs, namely may, can, will, shall, and their variations. That auxiliary verbs, in their simple state, and unassisted by others, are of a very limited extent; and that they are chiefly useful, in the aid which they afford in conjugating the principal verbs, will clearly appear to the scholar, by a distinct conjugation of each of them, uncombined with any other. They are exhibited for his inspection; not to be committed to memory.”—The same. Penelope is loved by me.

is departed from Judah.

The scepter

The man is addicted to intemperance.
The criminal is found guilty of murder.

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Penelope is loved by me." This is the passive verb to love, in the indicative mood, present tense. The grammatical resolution of it is, that me, in the objective case, acting backwards, through the preposition by, performs the present action,

denoted by the perfect participle loved. This objective love causes the suffering of the lady, whose name is the leading word of the sentence.

290. “ The scepter is departed from Judah."

This is precisely the same grammatical structure as the other sentence, except the "definite article." It is accordingly to be resolved in the same way. Judah, the real actor, disguised under the apparent government of a preposition, exerting his activity from this ambush, departs the scepter ; and what is still more wonderful, differing entirely in disposition from other monarchs, departs this symbol of his authority from himself; yet Judah is no way affected by this circumstance, but the whole weight of suffering falls on the scepter.

Penelope is loved by me," is turned to the active voice by saying, "I love Penelope.” If this theory of passive verbs is a good one, the other sentences will bear the same change : Intemperance addicts the man. Murder finds the criminal guilty, and the criminal suffers the finding.

Passive verb. Penelope is sent to England.
Active do. England sends Penelope.

291. An other difficulty arises in the passive verb. This relates to the tense.

According to the principles laid down in the grammars, the verbs have and be, as auxiliaries, are both neuter, and in this character have very little meaning of their own; being both used merely to conjugate other verbs. They agree then in all the essential points; they must of course have the same manner of meaning, and there can be but a slight shade of special difference between them.

He has gone.
He is gone.

These two sentences, it will be seen, are precisely alike, except the auxiliaries. These helping verbs has and is are both in the present tense of the indicative mood, third person singular. Every rational person, therefore, must of course expect the structure of the two sentences to be explained on similar principles. Yet, by the touch of a grammarian's pen, as of a conjuror's wand, one of these sentences is active, in the second degree of past tense, and the other is passive, and in the present tense. Such is the difference between two terms, belonging in all respects, to the same special class of words, and used precisely in the same manner.

Passive. Penelope is loved for my sake.
Active. My sake loves Penelope.

It is undoubtedly true that if Penelope is loved, somebody loves her; but this is the inference of common sense, and does not depend on grammatical construction.

The passive verb, nine times in ten, is turned into downright nonsense, by the mere change of the preposition. It needs a new grammar, therefore, to explain on what principle a preposition can go

vern an objective case after it, and at the same time, like a two edged sword, turn back, and totally change the character of a preceding verb.

292. Persons of candor and talent, who will give themselves the trouble to examine the principles alluded to in the preceding pages, will see at once, how much the whole business of learning and teaching language is simplified, by adopting the selfproving fact, that all verbs are necessarily active and transitive; the verb to be, among the rest, for which an other transitive verb may always be substituted, without altering the grammatical construction.

“The very populace in Athens were [rendered themselves] critics in pronunciation, in language, and even in eloquence; and, in Rome, at present, the most illiterate shopkeeper is [proves himself ] a better judge of statues and pictures than many persons of refined education in London.- Lord Kaime's Elements of Criticism.

“ The soldiers are [hold themselves] ready to march at a moment's warning.”

293. It is not pretended that an other word of precisely the same specific meaning, can be substituted for the verb to be. What is insisted on is, that a transitive verb, with its governed object, can be substituted, in every possible case, for the verb to be, substantially preserving the sense, and without changing the grammatical construction. This is sufficient to show that the verb to be, is itself an active and transitive verb, and has nothing in its manner of meaning to distinguish it from others.

The tree was very high.
The tree grew very high.
They were ready.
They made themselves ready.

She is respected and happy.
She lives respected and happy.
He is in good health.

He keeps himself in good health.
The light was the life of men.

The light caused or produced the life of men.
The people of New Holland are opposite to us.
The people of New Holland pass their lives opposite to us

He is convicted.
He stands convicted."
He is guilty.

He confesses himself guilty.
The stream is beautifully clear.
The stream runs [ ] beautifully clear.

They are pleasantly situated. Once for all : the meaning of this expression is, they are or air themselves, they enjoy the air or light or life, pleasantly situated. They spiritor

inspirit themselves,” are expressions used with perfect correctness, according to the standing definitions in the dictionaries, though these words are not so convenient, nor so appropriately expressive as the different parts of the verb to be; and they are therefore not in, fashionable use.

294. Again, the doctrine of passive verbs, as to their relation to time, is totally irreconcilable with the fact.

The following are examples of the present tense.

6. The vessel is dashed on the rocks."

If it is dashed on the rocks, who or what dashes it in the present tense?

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