English language

 Rules and Hints for Correct Speaking.

  1. Who  and whom  are used in relation to persons, and which  in relation to things. But it was once common to say, "the man which." This should now be avoided. It is now usual to say, "Our Father who  art in heaven," instead of "which  art in heaven."
  1. Whose  is, however, sometimes applied to things as well as to persons. We may therefore say, "The country whose  inhabitants are free." Grammarians differ in opinion upon this subject, but general usage justifies the rule.
  1. Thou  is employed in solemn discourse, and you in common language. Ye  (plural) is also used in serious addresses, and you in familiar language.
  1. The uses of the word It  are various, and very perplexing to the uneducated. It is not only used to imply persons, but things, and even, ideas, and therefore, in speaking or writing, its assistance is constantly required. The perplexity respecting this word arises from the fact that in using it in the construction of a long sentence, sufficient care is not taken to ensure that when it  is employed it really points out or refers to the object intended. For instance, "It was raining when John set out in his cart to go to the market, and he was delayed so long that it was over before he arrived." Now what is to be understood by this sentence? Was the rain over? or the market? Either or both might be inferred from the construction of the sentence, which, therefore, should be written thus:— "It was raining when John set out in his cart to go to the market, and he was delayed so long that the market was over before he arrived."
  1. Rule.—After writing a sentence always look through it, and see that wherever the word It is employed, it refers to or carries the mind back to the object which it is intended to point out.
  1. The general distinction between This  and That  may be thus defined: this  denotes an object present or near, in time or place,that  something which is absent.
  1. These  refers, in the same manner, to present objects, while those  refers to things that are remote.
  1. Who  changes, under certain conditions, into whose  and whom. But that  and which  always remain the same.
  1. That  may be applied to nouns or subjects of all sorts; as, the girl that  went to school, the dog that  bit me, the ship that  went to London, the opinion that  he entertains.
  1. The misuse of these pronouns gives rise to more errors in speaking and writing than any other cause.
  1. When you wish to distinguish between two or more persons, say, "Which  is the happy man?"—not who —"Which  of those ladies do you admire?"
  1. Instead of "Who  do you think him to be?"—say, "Whom  do you think him to be?"
  1. Whom  should I see?
  1. To whom  do you speak?
  1. Who  said so?
  1. Who  gave it to you?
  1. Of whom  did you procure them?
  1. Who  was he ?
  1. Who  do men say that I  am?
  1. Whom  do they represent me  to be 1 ?
  1. In many instances in which who  is used as an interrogative, it does not become whom ; as "Who  do you speak to?" "Who  do you expect?" "Who  is she married to?" "Who  is this reserved for?" "Who  was it made by?" Such sentences are found in the writings of our best authors, and it would be presumptuous to consider them as ungrammatical. If the word whom  should be preferred, then it would be best to say, "For whom  is this reserved?" &c
  1. Instead of "After which  hour," say "After that  hour."
  1. Self  should never be added to his, their, mine, or thine.
  1. Each  is used to denote every individual of a number.
  1. Every  denotes all the individuals of a number.
  1. Either  and or  denote an alternative: "I will take either  road, at your pleasure;" "I will take this or  that."
  1. Neither  means not either ; and nor  means not the other.
  1. Either  is sometimes used for each —"Two thieves were crucified, on either  side one."
  1. "Let each  esteem others as good as themselves," should be, "Let each  esteem others as good as himself."
  1. "There are bodies each  of which are  so small," should be, "each of which is  so small."
  1. Do not use double superlatives, such as most straightestmost highestmost finest.
  1. The term worser  has gone out of use; but lesser  is still retained.
  1. The use of such words as chiefestextremest, &c, has become obsolete, because they do not give any superior force to the meanings of the primary words, chiefextreme, &c
  1. Such expressions as more impossiblemore indispensablemore universalmore uncontrollablemore unlimited, &c, are objectionable, as they really enfeeble the meaning which it is the object of the speaker or writer to strengthen. For instance,impossible  gains no strength by rendering it more  impossible. This class of error is common with persons who say, "A great large  house," "A great big  animal," "A little small  foot," "A tiny little  hand."
  1. Herethere, and where, originally denoting place, may now, by common consent, he used to denote other meanings; such as, "There  I agree with you," "Where  we differ," "We find pain where  we expected pleasure," "Here  you mistake me."
  1. Hencewhence, and thence, denoting departure, &c, may be used without the word from. The idea of from  is included in the word whence —therefore it is unnecessary to say "From whence."
  1. Hitherthither, and whither, denoting to a place, have generally been superseded by herethere, and where. But there is no good reason why they should not be employed. If, however, they are used, it is unnecessary to add the word to, because that is implied—"Whither  are you going?" "Where  are you going?" Each of these sentences is complete. To say, "Where are you going to ?" is redundant.
  1. Two negatives  destroy each other, and produce an affirmative. "Nor  did he not  observe them," conveys the idea that he did observe them.
  1. But negative assertions are allowable. "His manners are not unpolite," which implies that his manners are, in some degree, marked by politeness.
  1. Instead of "I had  rather walk," say "I would  rather walk."
  1. Instead of "I had better  go," say "It were better that I should go."
  1. Instead of "I doubt not but  I shall be able to go," say "I doubt not that I shall be able to go."
  1. Instead of "Let you and I," say "Let you and me."
  1. Instead of "I am not so tall as him," say "I am not so tall as he."
  1. When asked "Who is there?" do not answer "Me," but "I."
  1. Instead of "For you and I," say "For you and me."
  1. Instead of "Says  I," say "I said."
  1. Instead of "You are taller than me," say "You are taller than I."
  1. Instead of "I ain't," or "I arn't," say "I am not."
  1. Instead of "Whether I be present or no," say "Whether I be present or not."
  1. For "Not that I know on," say "Not that I know."
  1. Instead of "Was  I to do so," say "Were  I to do so."
  1. Instead of "I would do the same if I was him," say "I would do the same if I were he."
  1. Instead of "I had  as lief go myself," say "I would as soon go myself," or "I would rather."
  1. It is better to say "Bred and born," than "Born and bred."
  1. It is better to say "Six weeks ago," than "Six weeks back."
  1. It is better to say "Since which time," than "Since when."
  1. It is better to say "I repeated it," than "I said so over again."
  1. It is better to say "A physician," or "A surgeon," than "A medical man."
  1. Instead of "He was too young to have  suffered much," say "He was too young to suffer much."
  1. Instead of "Less  friends," say "Fewer friends." Less refers to quantity.
  1. Instead of "A quantity  of people," say "A number of people."
  1. Instead of "He and they  we know," say "Him and them."
  1. Instead of "As  far as I can see," say "So far as I can see."
  1. Instead of "If I am not mistaken," say "If I mistake not."
  1. Instead of "You are mistaken," say "You mistake."
  1. Instead of "What beautiful  tea!" say "What good tea!"
  1. Instead of "What a nice  prospect!" say "What a beautiful  prospect!"
  1. Instead of "A new pair  of gloves," say "A pair of new gloves."
  1. Instead of saying "He  belongs to the house," say "The house belongs to him."
  1. Instead of saying "Not no  such thing," say " Not any such thing."
  1. Instead of "I hope you'll think nothing on  it," say "I hope you'll think nothing of it."
  1. Instead of "Restore it back  to me," say "Restore it to me."
  1. Instead of "I suspect the veracity  of his story," say "I doubt the truth of his story."
  1. Instead of "I seldom or ever  see him," say " I seldom see him."
  1. Instead of "Rather warmish " or "A little  warmish," say "Rather warm."
  1. Instead of "I expected to have  found him," say "I expected to find him."
  1. Instead of "Shay," say "Chaise."
  1. Instead of "He is a very rising  person," say "He is rising rapidly."
  1. Instead of "Who learns  you music?" say "Who teaches you music?"
  1. Instead of "I never  sing whenever  I can help it," say "I never sing when I can help it."
  1. Instead of "Before I do that I must first  ask leave," say "Before I do that I must ask leave."
  1. Instead of "To get over  the difficulty," say "To overcome the difficulty."
  1. The phrase "get over " is in many cases misapplied, as, to "get over a person," to "get over a week," to "get over an opposition."
  1. Instead of saying "The observation  of the rule," say "The observance of the rule."
  1. Instead of "A man of  eighty years of age," say "A man eighty years old."
  1. Instead of "Here lays  his honoured head," say "Here lies his honoured head."
  1. Instead of "He died from negligence," say " He died through neglect," or "in consequence of neglect."
  1. Instead of "Apples are plenty," say "Apples are plentiful."
  1. Instead of "The latter end  of the year," say "The end, or the close of the year."
  1. Instead of "The then  government," say "The government of that age, or century, or year, or time."
  1. Instead of "For ought  I know," say "For aught I know."
  1. Instead of "A couple  of chairs," say "Two chairs."
  1. Instead of "Two couples," say "Four persons."
  1. But you may say "A married couple," or, "A married pair," or, "A couple of fowls," &c, in any case where one of each sex is to be understood.
  1. Instead of "They are united together  in the bonds of matrimony," say "They are united in matrimony," or, "They are married."
  1. Instead of "We travel slow," say "We travel slowly."
  1. Instead of "He plunged down  into the river," say "He plunged into the river."
  1. Instead of "He jumped from off of  the scaffolding," say "He jumped off from the scaffolding."
  1. Instead of "He came the last of all," say "He came the last."
  1. Instead of "universal," with reference to things that have any limit, say "general;" "generally approved," instead of "universally approved;" "generally beloved," instead of "universally beloved."
  1. Instead of "They ruined one another," say "They ruined each other."
  1. Instead of "If in case  I succeed," say "If I succeed."
  1. Instead of "A large enough  room," say "A room large enough."
  1. Instead of "This villa to let," say "This villa to be let."
  1. Instead of "I am slight in comparison to  you," say "I am slight in comparison with you."
  1. Instead of "I went for  to see him," say "I went to see him."
  1. Instead of "The cake is all eat up," say "The cake is all eaten."
  1. Instead of "It is bad at the best," say "It is very bad."
  1. Instead of "Handsome is as  handsome does," say "Handsome is who handsome does."
  1. Instead of "As I take  it," say "As I see," or, "As I under stand it."
  1. Instead of "The book fell on  the floor," say "The book fell to the floor."
  1. Instead of "His opinions are approved of  by all," say "His opinions are approved by all."
  1. Instead of "I will add one more  argument," say "I will add one argument more," or "another argument."
  1. Instead of "Captain Reilly was killed by  a bullet," say "Captain Reilly was killed with a bullet."
  1. Instead of "A sad curse is war," say "War is a sad curse."
  1. Instead of "He stands six foot  high," say "He measures six feet," or "His height is six feet."
  1. Instead of "I go every now and then," say "I go often, or frequently."
  1. Instead of "Who finds him in clothes," say "Who provides him with clothes."
  1. Say "The first two," and "the last two," instead of "the two first," "the two last;" leave out all expletives, such as "of all," "first of all," "last of all," "best of all," &c, &c
  1. Instead of "His health was drank with enthusiasm," say "His health was drunk enthusiastically."
  1. Instead of "Except  I am prevented," say "Unless I am prevented."
  1. Instead of "In its primary sense," say "In its primitive sense."
  1. Instead of "It grieves me to see  you," say "I am grieved to see you."
  1. Instead of "Give me them  papers," say "Give me those papers."
  1. Instead of "Those  papers I hold in my hand," say "These papers I hold in my hand."
  1. Instead of "I could scarcely imagine but what," say "I could scarcely imagine but that."
  1. Instead of "He was a man notorious  for his benevolence," say "He was noted for his benevolence."
  1. Instead of "She was a woman celebrated  for her crimes," say "She was notorious on account of her crimes."
  1. Instead of "What may your name be?" say "What is your name?"
  1. Instead of "Bills are requested not to be stuck here," say "Billstickers are requested not to stick bills here."
  1. Instead of "By smoking it often  becomes habitual," say "By smoking often it becomes habitual."
  1. Instead of "I lifted it up," say "I lifted it."
  1. Instead of "It is equally of the same  value," say "It is of the same value," or "equal value."
  1. Instead of "I knew it previous  to your telling me," say "I knew it previously to your telling me."
  1. Instead of "You was  out when I called," say "You were out when I called."
  1. Instead of "I thought I should have won  this game," say "I thought I should win this game."
  1. Instead of "This  much is certain," say "Thus much is certain," or, "So much is certain."
  1. Instead of "He went away as it may be  yesterday week," say "He went away yesterday week."
  1. Instead of "He came the Saturday as it may be before the Monday," specify the Monday on which he came.
  1. Instead of "Put your watch in  your pocket," say "Put your watch into your pocket."
  1. Instead of "He has got  riches," say "He has riches."
  1. Instead of "Will you set  down?" say "Will you sit down?"
  1. Instead of "The hen is setting," say "The hen is sitting."
  1. Instead of "It is raining very hard," say "It is raining very fast."
  1. Instead of "No thankee," say "No thank you."
  1. Instead of "I cannot do it without farther  means," say "I cannot do it without further means."
  1. Instead of "No sooner but," or "No other but," say "than."
  1. Instead of "Nobody else  but her," say "Nobody but her."
  1. Instead of "He fell down  from the balloon," say "He fell from the balloon."
  1. Instead of "He rose up  from the ground," say "He rose from the ground."
  1. Instead of "These  kind of oranges are  not good," say "This kind of oranges is not good."
  1. Instead of "Somehow or another," say "Somehow or other."
  1. Instead of "Undeniable  references required," say "Unexceptionable references required."
  1. Instead of "I cannot rise  sufficient funds," say "I cannot raise sufficient funds."
  1. Instead of "I cannot raise  so early in the morning," say "I cannot rise so early in the morning."
  1. Instead of "Well, I don't know," say "I don't know."
  1. Instead of "Will  I give you some more tea?" say "Shall I give you some more tea?"
  1. Instead of "Oh dear, what will  I do?" say "Oh dear, what shall I do?"
  1. Instead of "I think indifferent  of it," say "I think indifferently of it."
  1. Instead of "I will send it conformable  to your orders," say "I will send it conformably to your orders."
  1. Instead of "Give me a few  broth," say "Give me some broth."
  1. Instead of "Her  said it was hers," say "She said it was hers."
  1. Instead of "To be given away gratis," say "To be given away."
  1. Instead of "Will you enter in?" say "Will you enter?"
  1. Instead of "This  three days or more," say "These three days or more."
  1. Instead of "He is a bad grammarian," say " He is not a grammarian."
  1. Instead of "We accuse him for," say "We accuse him of."
  1. Instead of "We acquit  him from," say "We acquit him of."
  1. Instead of "I am averse from  that," say "I am averse to that."
  1. Instead of "I confide on  you," say "I confide in you."
  1. Instead of "I differ with  you," say "I differ from you."
  1. Instead of "As soon as ever," say "As soon as."
  1. Instead of "The very best " or "The very worst," say "The best or the worst."
  1. Instead of "A winter's morning," say "A winter morning," or "A wintry morning."
  1. Instead of "Fine morning, this  morning," say "This is a fine morning."
  1. Instead of "How do  you do ?" say "How are you?"
  1. Instead of "Not so well as I could wish," say "Not quite well."
  1. Avoid such phrases as "No great shakes," "Nothing to boast of," "Down in my boots," "Suffering from the blues." All such sentences indicate vulgarity.
  1. Instead of "No one cannot  prevail upon him," say "No one can prevail upon him."
  1. Instead of "No one hasn't  called," say "No one has called."
  1. Avoid such phrases as "If I was you," or even, "If I were you." Better say, "I advise you how to act."
  1. Instead of "You have a right  to pay me," say "It is right that you should pay me."
  1. Instead of "I am going on  a tour," say "I am about to take a tour," or "going."
  1. Instead of "I am going over  the bridge," say "I am going across  the bridge."
  1. Instead of "He is coming here," say "He is coming hither."
  1. Instead of "He lives opposite the square," say "He lives opposite to the square."
  1. Instead of "He belongs  to the Reform Club," say "He is a member of the Reform Club."
  1. Avoid such phrases as "I am up to you," "I'll be down upon you," "Cut," or "Mizzle."
  1. Instead of "I should just  think I could," say "I think I can."
  1. Instead of "There has been a good deal," say "There has been much."
  1. Instead of "Following up  a principle," say "Guided by a principle."
  1. Instead of "Your obedient, humble servant," say "Your obedient," or, "Your humble servant."
  1. Instead of saying "The effort you are making for  meeting the bill," say "The effort you are making to meet the bill."
  1. Instead of saying "It shall  be submitted to investigation and inquiry," say "It shall be submitted to investigation," or "to inquiry."
  1. Dispense with the phrase "Conceal from themselves the fact ;" it suggests a gross anomaly.
  1. Never say "Pure and unadulterated," because the phrase embodies a repetition.
  1. Instead of saying "Adequate for," say "Adequate to."
  1. Instead of saying "A surplus over and above," say "A surplus."
  1. Instead of saying "A lasting and permanent  peace," say "A permanent peace."
  1. Instead of saying "I left you behind at  London," say "I left you behind me at London."
  1. Instead of saying "Has been  followed by immediate dismissal," say "Was followed by immediate dismissal."
  1. Instead of saying "Charlotte was met with  Thomas," say "Charlotte was met by Thomas." But if Charlotte and Thomas were walking together, "Charlotte and Thomas were met by," &c
  1. Instead of "It is strange that no author should never  have written," say "It is strange that no author should ever have written."
  1. Instead of "I won't never write," say "I will never write."
  1. To say "Do not  give him no more  of your money," is equivalent to saying "Give him some of your money." Say "Do not give him any  of your money."
  1. Instead of saying "They are not what nature designed  them," say "They are not what nature designed them to be."
  1. Instead of "By this means," say "By these means."
  1. Instead of saying "A beautiful seat and gardens," say "A beautiful seat  and its gardens."
  1. Instead of "All that was wanting," say "All that was wanted."
  1. Instead of saying "I had not the pleasure of hearing his sentiments when I wrote that letter," say "I had not the pleasure of having heard," &c
  1. Instead of "The quality of the apples were  good," say "The quality of the apples was good."
  1. Instead of "The want of learning, courage, and energy are  more visible," say "Is more visible."
  1. Instead of "We are conversant about  it," say "We are conversant with it."
  1. Instead of "We called at  William," say "We called on William."
  1. Instead of "We die for  want," say "We die of want."
  1. Instead of "He died by  fever," say "He died of fever."
  1. Instead of "I enjoy  bad health," say "My health is not good."
  1. Instead of "Either  of the three," say "Any one of the three."
  1. Instead of "Better nor  that," say "Better than that."
  1. Instead of "We often think on  you," say "We often think of you."
  1. Instead of "Though he came, I did not see him," say "Though he came, yet I did not see him."
  1. Instead of "Mine is so  good as yours," say "Mine is as good as yours."
  1. Instead of "He was remarkable handsome," say "He was remarkably handsome."
  1. Instead of "Smoke ascends up  the chimney,'I say "Smoke ascends the chimney."
  1. Instead of "You will some  day be convinced," say "You will one day be convinced."
  1. Instead of saying "Because I don't choose to," say "Because I would father not."
  1. Instead of "Because  why?" say "Why?"
  1. Instead of "That there  boy," say "That boy."
  1. Instead of "Direct your letter to me," say "Address your letter to me."
  1. Instead of "The horse is not much worth," say "The horse is not worth much."
  1. Instead of "The subject-matter of debate," say "The subject of debate."
  1. Instead of saying "When he was  come back," say "When he had come back."
  1. Instead of saying "His health has been shook," say "His health has been shaken."
  1. Instead of "It was spoke  in my presence," say "It was spoken in my presence."
  1. Instead of "Very  right," or "Very  wrong," say "Right," or "Wrong."
  1. Instead of "The mortgager  paid him the money," say "The mortgagee paid him the money." The mortgagee lends; the mortgager borrows.
  1. Instead of "This town is not as  large as we thought," say "This town is not so large as we thought."
  1. Instead of "I took you to be  another person," say "I mistook you for another person."
  1. Instead of "On either  side of the river," say "On each side of the river."
  1. Instead of "There's  fifty," say "There are fifty."
  1. Instead of "The best  of the two," say "The better of the two."
  1. Instead of "My clothes have become too small  for me," say "I have grown too stout for my clothes."
  1. Instead of "Is Lord Lytton in?" say "Is Lord Lytton within?"
  1. Instead of "Two spoonsful  of physic," say "Two spoonfuls of physic."
  1. Instead of "He must  not do it." say "He need not do it."
  1. Instead of "She said, says she," say "She said."
  1. Avoid such phrases as "I said, says I," "Thinks I to myself, thinks I," &c
  1. Instead of "I don't think so," say "I think not."
  1. Instead of "He was in eminent  danger," say "He was in imminent  danger."
  1. Instead of "The weather is hot," say "The weather is very warm."
  1. Instead of "I sweat," say "I perspire."
  1. Instead of "I only  want two shillings," say "I want only two shillings."
  1. Instead of "Whatsomever," always take care to say "Whatever," or "Whatsoever."
  1. Avoid such exclamations as "God bless me!" "God deliver me!" "By God!" "By Gor'!" "My Lor'!" "Upon my soul," &c, which are vulgar on the one hand, and savour of impiety on the other, for:
  1. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."




Footnote 1:   Persons who wish to become well acquainted with the principles of English Grammar  by an easy process, are recommended to procure "The Useful Grammar," price 3d., published by Houlston and Sons.
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Some Female Spiders Produce 2,000 Eggs.


How to Speak Correct English

Correctly spoken English is quite as important as correctly written English. Errors in pronunciation, modulation and general expression are of frequent occurrence, and it sometimes seems that the erroneous utterance of whole classes of words league the tongue and ear against their right use. An improved standard of pronunciation, therefore, is the safest bulwark against a permanent deterioration of our language, as well as a positive influence in advancing individual culture of speech.

Five Fundamental Rules.—The essential steps toward securing the unconscious ability to speak correctly may be set down as follows:

1. To thoroughly study the elementary sounds, and their mode of representation.

2. To observe the current usage of the best speakers with regard to such words as are most liable to be mispronounced.

3. To note the standard of pronunciation and expression of the best dramatic theaters.

4. By forming the habit of frequent reference to the dictionary and learning to interpret at sight the authorized pronunciation.

5. Ample practice in the reading and application of the leading principles of pronunciation that give words their true spoken values.

The Organ of Speech.—The mouth is the organ of speech; and the manner of production of the various sounds is of the first importance in the cultivation of correct pronunciation.

The sound uttered depends upon the form of the mouth. Change the form and you change the sound. Each particular sound is produced from a particular position.

Not more than one sound can be produced from one position of the mouth.

To produce a different sound you must change the position.

Each sound should be clear and precise. There should be no slurring.

The muscles must be under perfect control so that the mouth (lips and tongue included) may readily assume the position necessary for the emission of the required sound.

The proper use of the lips is the great factor in fluent speech.

It is from inability to use or negligence in using the muscles of the organ of speech that Americans are such indifferent linguists and frequently even incapable of distinct utterance of their own language.

The manner of production of the various sounds is of the first importance in the cultivation of correct pronunciation.

Vowels.—Pronounce the following words: moor; meer; merry; marry; mar; more. The whole compass of the mouth is brought into exercise by these words.

The first sound is produced from the lips. The second comes from a point just inside the mouth. The third sound point is farther back still. The last vowel is uttered from the throat.

If the sound a  (long) as in bare, fair, is included, we have a scale of seven sounds produced by a gradual opening of the mouth, the sound point receding note by note from the front of the lips to the back of the throat, thus: moor, meer, merry, Mary, marry, mar, more.

In cultured English centers and in some parts of New England, the long sound of ä, No. 4, appears in such words as dance, France, glass, castle, cast, past, grasp, grant, etc.

In pronouncing the four words—meer merry, marry, mar—the mouth is gradually opened. The four separate “sound points” may be clearly recognized.

Repeat slowly:

1 2 3 4
meer merry marry mar
mee
ee éâä

O  is a single sound. In conversation, however, it usually becomes double, being combined with the sound—oo (as in too, tooth, woo)—thus:

so is pronounced so-oo
no is pronounced no-oo
go is pronounced go-oo

The short o  sound is pronounced as in hot, pot, nod, God.

O  followed by a double consonant is short:

off not awf
office not awfice
coffee not cawfee
cross, dross, loss, toss

The sound oo  unites with the open sound ä to form the double sound in such words as—cow, how, now:

cä-oo cow
nä-oo now
dä-oo-n down
ä-oo-t out

The sound u  is a peculiar combination of at least three sounds. It is really a continued flow from ee  to oo.

The letter is pronounced exactly as the word you. Speak the vowel very slowly.

The intermediate sound of û may be represented thus:

u is ee-û-oo
duke is dee-û-oo-k
tube is tee-û-oo-b
mute is mee-û-oo-t

The same sounds occur in such words as few, new, mew.

The middle sound is the most important, and the first and last must be cut very short for a good style.

Ru  and lu. When u  is preceded by r  or l, the first portion of the triple sound is omitted and a double vowel sound is heard—the last part also being cut very short.

Consonants.—Speak slowly and pronounce every letter.

Initial Consonants.—Of these only two require special attention:

th  and sh  followed by r.

Children frequently say:—one, two, free ; and grown-up people will speak of—shrimps as srimps.

Examples: three, shrimp; thread, shrill; throat, shrink; thrush, shroud; through, shrew.

Final Consonants.—The slurring or omission of final consonants is a greater fault than the mispronunciation of vowels, for it points directly to carelessness and indolence on the part of the speaker.

R. It is sometimes stated that there is no r  sound in English.

In singing the r  is always made distinct.

It should also be apparent in conversation. Thus: father  and farther  are quite distinct. So, too, ma  and mar.

The t  belongs to the preceding syllable and the words should be pronounced thus: nat-ure, feat-ure, pict-ure, premat-ure, creat-ure, fut-ure, indent-ure, nurt-ure.

The consonant values of w  and y  are never terminal in a syllable, but are followed in the same syllable by a vowel. In attempting, for phonic practice, to sound either of these consonants apart from its vowel, make it continuous, not abrupt.

H  cannot be separated from its accompanying vowel. Pronounce hahehihohuhy. Notice that the office of h  is to cover the following vowel with breath. It will be seen, on careful examination, that any attempt to sound h  alone will result in whispering a vowel with it.

Wh  has for its initial sound simply unvocalized breath, poured through the lips placed in position for w. As a whole the digraph is sounded as it would naturally be if the order of the letters were reversed, thus, hw ; as,whenwhilewhip, pronounced hwenhwilehwip.

Lisping children and Germans need to carefully observe the sounds of s  and th.

The sound of s  is formed by forcing unvocal breath between the tip of the tongue and the upper gum.

Th  is produced by placing the tip of the tongue between the teeth or against the upper front teeth, and forcing vocal or unvocal breath between the tongue and the teeth. If vocal breath is used, sonant th  is heard, as in this ; if unvocal breath, then non-sonant th  is produced, as in thin —this last is the sound made for s  by those who lisp (lithp).

TABLE OF CONSONANTS

Name
according to
exit of sound
Checks Spirants, Breathings[1]Liquids
Trills
Nasals
Name
according to
quality of sound
Tenues
Sharp
Hard
Mediæ
Flat
Soft
Sharp
Hard
Flat
Soft
  
       
Or-
gan-
ic
Names
- Labials p b  ... w ...m
Labio-
dentals
...... ... v ......
Dentals t d  th in thunder  th in this l n
Palatals ......- s  z ......
sh - j in (Fr.) jour ......
s in pleasure ......
ch in church  j in John r ...
ch in (Germ.) ich  y in you ......
Gutturals k, q, c g in go  ch in Scotch (loch) g in (Germ.) tage ...ng
       

[1] Some of the Breathings  are often called Aspirates.

Accent of Words

One syllable of every word with two or more syllables receives, in pronouncing, more force  than another. This stronger force is called Accent , and the syllable which receives this force is said to be accent ´ed.

Marks of Accent.—The primary accent is marked with a firm oblique stroke, thus: ob ´jectobject ´,discov ´er. The secondary accent is marked by a similar but lighter stroke, or sometimes by two light strokes, thus: lem ´on-ade ´ (or lem ´´on-ade ´).

Unaccented Vowels.—Every vowel, when under either the primary or the secondary accent, is distinct; that is, the exact sound of the vowel is evident, as short a, long i, broad o, etc. In an unaccented syllable, the vowel sound is sometimes doubtful; in most instances, however, it is not. For instance, a correct speaker says: ăttĕn ´tĭve, ăn ´ĕcdōte, cōmprēhĕnd ´, ăllēgā´tiȯn, chăp ´ĕl, prĕs ´e nt, ĕm ´ĭnĕnt, prāi ´rĭe, a̤u ´dĭĕnce, căl ´loŭs.

Rules of Pronunciation

Rule I.—The letter u  should not be sounded as ōō, except when immediately preceded by the sound of r.

Exceptions: sure and its derivatives, also sumac, tulle, hurrah, pugh.

Pronounce rule, fruit, garrulous, ruin, sure, tūne, mūle, institūte, constitūtion, sūture, dūty, lūcid.

Rule II.A  constituting or ending an unaccented syllable is short Italian a.

Examples: cȧnine ´, lȧpel ´, ȧgain ´, ȧlas ´, fȧtal ´ity, al ´kȧli, or ´nȧment, pal ´ȧtȧble.

When the a  of terminal ary  or any  is immediately preceded by an accented syllable, it has the sound of short Italian a ; thus, pri ´mȧry, epiph ´ȧny.

Rule III.E  or o  constituting or ending a syllable is long.

Examples: ēvent, mēmentō, lōcōmōtion, sōciety, nōtōriety, sōbriety, supērior, infērior, thēōries, cōteriē, lōcō-fōcō.

Rule IV.I  constituting or ending an unaccented syllable not initial, is always short, and is usually short even in initial syllables, if unaccented.

Examples: Dĭvide, dĭrect, fĭnance, phĭlosophy, imĭtate, pĭazza, tĭrade, intĭmate, indĭvisĭble, nobilĭty.

In the initial  syllables ibichiclicripritri, however, i  is generally long.

Examples: īdea, īdle, īsothermal, bīology, Chīnese, chīrurgery, clīmatic, crīterion, prīmeval, trīangular, trīpod.

Rule V.E  before terminal n  should always be silent in participles, and also in most other words.

Examples: given (giv n), taken (tak n), bitten (bit n), broken, spoken, riven, fallen.

But in the following words e  must be sounded:

Aspĕn, chickĕn, glutĕn, kitchĕn, lichĕn, lindĕn, martĕn, mittĕn, suddĕn.

It must also be sounded in any word (not a participle) in which terminal en  is immediately preceded by l,mn, or r.

Examples: womĕn, lĭnen, omĕn, barrĕn, Helĕn, Allĕn, Ellĕn, woolĕn, pollĕn.

Rule VI.E  before terminal l  should usually be sounded.

Examples: levĕl, bevĕl, novĕl, nickĕl, cancĕl, vessĕl, chapĕl, gravĕl, hovĕl, camĕl, channĕl, kernĕl, Abĕl, Mabĕl, panĕl, modĕl, funnĕl, flannĕl.

But in the following words the e  before terminal l  must not be sounded:

Betel (bē´tl), chattel (chat ´tl), drivel, easel, grovel, hazel, mantel, mussel, navel, ravel, shekel, shovel, shrivel, snivel, swivel, teasel, weasel, and their derivatives.

Rule VII.—In all but the following words, i  before terminal l  or n  must be sounded: devil, evil, weevil, basin, cousin, raisin.

Pronounce Latĭn, satĭn, matĭn, spavĭn, anvĭl, civĭl, cavĭl, councĭl, perĭl, javelĭn, lentĭl, pistĭl, resĭn, fusĭl, coffĭn, codicĭl, axĭl.

Rule VIII.—The eight words, bath, cloth, lath, moth, mouth, oath, path, wreath, and these only, require sonant ths  in the plural.

Pronounce m oth s, p ath s, truths, o ath s, heaths, cl oth s, b ath s, l ath s, deaths, wr eath s, mo uths, Sabbaths, sheaths, piths, plinths, lengths, widths, depths, breadths, earths, myths, Goths, fourths, breaths.

Rule IX.O  in a final unaccented syllable ending in a consonant, frequently verges toward the sound of short u ; as in custom, felon, bigot, bishop, method, carol, Briton. But it has its regular short sound in pentagon, hexagon, octagon, etc.

When, however, the termination on  is immediately preceded by ccks  or t, the o  is commonly suppressed.

Examples: bacon, beacon, beckon, benison, button, cotton, crimson, damson, deacon, garrison, glutton, lesson, mason, mutton, parson, person, poison, prison, reason, reckon, season.

Rule X.I  accented in most words from the French has the sound of long e.

Examples: pĭque, caprĭce, guillotĭne, quarantĭne, routĭne, suĭte, fatĭgue, valĭse, antĭque, Bastĭle, critĭque, palanquĭn, tambourĭne, regĭme (rā-zheem ´), cuĭsĭne (kwe-zeen ´), unĭque, intrĭgue, magazĭne.

Rule XI.Ou  in most words from the French has the value of ōō, but in Anglo-Saxon words it has the sound of ow, as in cow.

Examples: bouquet, contour, croup; out, bound, sound.

Note.—Ou  has also other values, as in soul, rough, adjourn, could, ought, hough (hŏk), trough.

Rule XII.X  followed by an accented vowel, or by an accented syllable beginning with a silent h, has the sound of gz.

Examples: luxu ´rious, exam ´ple, exhaust ´, exhale ´, exhib ´it, exam ´ine, exalt ´, exec ´utive.

Rule XIII.—The termination tion  is always shun, except when it follows the letter s  or x, as in question (kwestyun), bastion, combustion.

Examples: notation, completion, equation, relation, suggestion, transition (tranzish ´un).

Rule XIV.—The termination sion  immediately preceded by an accented vowel is zhun ; when not so preceded it is shun.

Examples: expulsion, immersion, mansion, excursion, diversion, explosion, adhesion, delusion.

Rule XV.C  is soft (s ) before ei  and y, and hard (k ) in other positions.

Examples: cacecicocucy.

Exceptions: c  is hard (k ) in sceptic and scirrhus; and in the following words it has the sound of z : sacrifice (fīz), sice, suffice, discern, and their derivatives. It is silent in czar, victuals, indict, and their derivatives, and also in the termination scle, as in musclecorpuscle.

Rule XVI.G  is generally soft (j ) before ei  and y, and always hard (g ) before other vowels.

Examples: gagegigogugy.

Note.—The exceptions to the rule that g  is usually soft before ei  and y  are many; but they are nearly all common Anglo-Saxon words, such as get, give, gild, girl, girdle, giddy, foggy, gimlet, geese, gig, giggle, gift, gills, begin, gimp, beget, gird, gear, gizzard.

Rule XVII.—In an accented syllable of any primitive word, a vowel before r  followed by a syllable beginning with a vowel or another r  has its short sound.

Examples: Ărab, ărabesque, ărid, Ăristotle, Săracen, bĕryl, pĕril, delĭrious, ĭrritate, mĭracle, delĭrium, abhŏrrence, flŏrid, cŏroner, fŏreign, tŭrret, bŭrrow, cŭrry, coŭrage, fŭrrow, py̆rrhic, empy̆real.

Rule XVIII.N  ending an accented syllable has the sound of ng, if immediately followed by hard g  or k, or any equivalent of k  (cq, or x ).

Examples: co̱ṉ´gress, ga̱ṉ´grene, co̱ṉ´cord, tra̱ṉ´quil, u̱ṉ´cle, a̱ṉ´ger, hu̱ṉ´ger, mo̱ṉ´key, sa̱ṉ´guine, si̱ṉ´gle, cla̱ṉ´gor, exti̱ṉ´guish, bla̱ṉ´ket, twi̱ṉ´kle, co̱ṉ´course, Li̱ṉ´coln.

Exceptions: concrete, penguin, mangrove, Mongol, pancreas, and some others.

Rule XIX.Cs, or t, when immediately preceded by an accented syllable and followed by ei  or u, has usually the force of sh, and is said to be “aspirated,” as in ocean, nauseate, Asiatic, negotiation.

Rule XX.—In pronouncing the terminal syllables, blecledlefleglekleplestletle, and zle, no vowel sound is heard. Terminal cre, however, is pronounced kẽr. The combination of any of these terminations with ing  forms but one syllable.

Examples: quibbling, doubling, circling, meddling, huddling, ruffling, shuffling, giggling, struggling, pickling, trickling, coupling, rippling, battling, whittling, whistling, jostling, puzzling, muzzling, massacring.

Common Errors in Pronunciation

1. Do not pronounce ing  like in ; as eve ´nin  for eve ´ningwrit ´in  for writ ´ing.

Pronounce the following: Speak ´ing, read ´ing, talk ´ing, walk ´ing, stop ´ping, smok ´ing, suppos ´ing, expect ´ing, cel ´ebrating.

2. Do not pronounce ow  like ur  or uh ; as hol ´lur  or hol ´luh  for hol ´lowshad ´ur  or shad ´uh  for shad ´ow.

Pronounce the following: Bor ´row, to-mor ´row, nar ´row, yel ´low, fel ´low, wid ´ow, pil ´low, mel ´lowing, swal ´lowing.

3. Do not pronounce ed  like id  or ud ; as unit ´id  or unit ´ud  for unit ´edprovid ´id  or provid ´ud  for provid ´ed.

Pronounce the following: Rest ´ed, resid ´ed, decid ´ed, regard ´ed, exhib ´ited, cel ´ebrated, excit ´ed, delight ´ed, support ´ed.

4. Do not pronounce ess  like iss ; as good ´niss  for good ´nessbold ´niss  for bold ´ness.

Pronounce the following: Hard ´ness, bad ´ness, harm ´less, care ´less, clear ´ness, ful ´ness, seam ´stress, host ´ess, em ´press.

5. Do not pronounce el  like il, nor et  like it, nor est  like ist ; as cru ´il  for cru ´elbask ´it  for bask ´etfor ´ist  for for ´est.

Pronounce the following: Fu ´el, du ´el, bush ´el, yet, get, mark ´et, hatch ´et, rock ´et, rack ´et, riv ´ulet, hon ´est, bold ´est, larg ´est, small ´est, young ´est, strong ´est.

6. Do not pronounce ent  like unt, nor ence  like unce ; as si ´lunt  for si ´lentsen ´tunce  for sen ´tence.

Pronounce the following: Pru ´dent, de ´cent, mo ´ment, gar ´ment, mon ´ument, gov ´ernment, superintend ´ent, par ´liament (par ´lĭ-ment), pa ´tience, expe ´rience, superintend ´ence.

7. Do not insert the sound of short u  before a final m ; as hel ´um  for helmchas ´um  for chasm.

Pronounce the following: Spasm, rhythm, phan ´tasm, bap ´tism, pa ´triotism, elm, film, overwhelm ´, worm.

8. Do not give the drawling sound ăōō for ou  (i. e. äōō); as căōō for cowhăōōs  for house.

Pronounce the following: How, now, ground, sound, bound, found, town, gown, pound, confound ´, around ´, astound ´.

9. Do not sound sh  before r  like s ; as srub  for shrubsrink  for shrink.

Pronounce the following: Shred, shrine, shriek, shroud, shriv ´el, shrunk ´en.

10. Do not sound wh  like w ; as wen  for whenwat  for what.

Pronounce the following: Where, wheat, wharf, whale, whine, white, whim ´per, whis ´per, whip ´ping, whit ´tle.

11. Do not omit to give the sound of r  after a vowel in the same syllable, as in armform, etc., not ahmfawum, etc.

Pronounce the following: Dark, hark, start, chart, are, tar, remark ´, course, for, nor, door, floor, lord, hon ´or, do ´nor, short, support ´, report ´, pa ´per, or ´der, horse, purse, warm, alarm ´ing, return ´ing, reform ´ing.

12. Do not add the sound of r  to a final vowel or dipthong; as lawr  for lawide ´ar  for ide ´a.

Pronounce the following: saw, draw, paw, claw, pota ´to, toma ´to, com ´ma, Em ´ma.

13. Do not shorten the sound of long o  in certain words by leaving off its vanishing element ōō.

Pronounce the following: Boat, bone, broke, choke, cloak, colt, comb, dolt, hole, home, home ´ly, hope, jolt, load, on ´ly, road, rogue, smoke, spoke, spok ´en, stone, throat, toad, whole, wrote, yoke, bolster.

14. Do not omit the sound of d  when preceded by n ; as stan  for standfrenz  for friends.

Pronounce the following: Stands, bands, wĭnds, wīnds, depends ´, defends ´, demands ´, blind ´ness, grand ´mother, grand ´father, hand ´ful.

15. Do not omit the sound of d  in the terminal letters lds ; as wīlz  for wildsfēlz  for fields.

Pronounce the following: Folds, holds, scolds, builds, scalds, unfolds ´, child ´s.

16. Do not omit the sound of t  when preceded by c hard  in the same syllable; as aks  for actsexak ´ly  for exact ´ly.

Pronounce the following: Facts, tracts, com ´pacts, inspects ´, respects ´, inducts ´, instructs ´, correct ´ly, direct ´ly, ab ´stractly, per ´fectly.

17. Do not omit the sound of t  in the terminal letters sts ; as fis ´s  for fistspes ´s  for pests.

Pronounce the following: Posts, boasts, coasts, hosts, ghosts, accosts ´.

18. Do not improperly suppress the vowel sounds in unaccented syllables; as ev ´ry  for ev ´er-yhis ´try  for his ´to-ry.

Pronounce the following: Belief ´, crock ´ery, fam ´ily, fa ´vorite, des ´perate, des ´olate, nom ´inative, mis ´ery, li ´brary, sal ´ary, com ´pany, com ´fortable, perfum ´ery, mem ´ory, vic ´tory, slip ´pery, part ´iciple, sev ´eral, bois ´terous.

19. Do not suppress the sound of e  or of i  before l  or n  in those words in which it should be articulated; as lev ´l  for lev ´elciv ´l for civ ´ilkitch ´n  for kitch ´enLat ´n  for Lat ´in.

Pronounce the following: Trav ´el, nov ´el, bar ´rel, par ´cel, hov ´el, chap ´el, quar ´rel, sor ´rel, pen ´cil, chick ´en, lin ´en, sud ´den, mit ´ten, sat ´in.

20. Do not sound e  or i  before n  or l  in those words in which it is properly silent; e ´ven  for e ´vnheav ´en  for heav ´nba ´sin  for ba ´snhaz ´el  for ha ´zle ´vil  for e ´vl.

Pronounce the following: Ha ´ven, sev ´en, gold ´en, o ´pen, short ´en, wood ´en, wak ´en, wid ´en, fro ´zen.

21. After rch, or sh  do not give the sound of long u  when the simple sound of oo  (long or short) should be heard; as rule  for roolfruit, for froot.

Pronounce the following: True, truth, grew, chew, sure, sug ´ar, tru ´ly, crew, brute, bru ´tal, rude, through, cru ´el, ru ´by, ru ´bicund.

22. Do not substitute the sound oo  for that of long u ; as toon  for tunedoo ´ty  for du ´ty.

Pronounce the following: Tube, duke, mute, nude, mu ´sic, Tues ´day, du ´bious, lute, blue, illume ´, illude ´, in ´stitute.

23. The vowel a, when unaccented, at the end of a word has the sound of ä (as in far ) somewhat shortened; as com ´ma  not com ´ nor commā.

Pronounce the following: Dra ´ma, da ´ta, pi ´ca, so ´fa, al ´gebra, Chi ´na, Amer ´ica, dilem ´ma, mi ´ca, alpac ´a, a ´rea, neb ´ula.

24. Give to the vowel a  in the unaccented terminal syllables alantance, its short sound, but do not make it prominent.

Pronounce the following: Na ´tional, par ´tial, fi ´nal, eter ´nal, ig ´norant, ty ´rant, in ´stant, fla ´grant, vig ´ilance, ig ´norance, in ´stance, fra ´grance.

25. Do not give to the vowel a  (as in far ), when unaccented and made brief, the sound of short u ; as ŭbase ´ for abase ´ŭrouse for arouse ´.

Pronounce the following: Abound ´, abate ´, above ´, about ´, abridge ´, amuse ´, fanat ´ic, ag ´gravate, traduce ´.

26. Do not give to long e, when unaccented and slightly abridged, the sound of short u ; as ŭvent ´ for event ´soci ´ŭty  for soci ´ety.

Pronounce the following: Emo ´tion, vari ´ety, sobri ´ety, sati ´ety, anxi ´ety, impi ´ety.

27. Do not give to long o, when unaccented and slightly abridged, the sound of short u ; as ŭbey ´ for obey ´prŭpose ´ for propose ´.

Pronounce the following: Opin ´ion, obe ´dience, provide ´, promote ´, provoke ´, pota ´to, tobac ´co, posi ´tion, soci ´ety, el ´oquence, disposi ´tion, mel ´ody, composi ´tion.

28. Do not sound short o, when unaccented, as short u ; as ŭbscure ´ for obscure ´cŭmmit ´tee  for commit ´tee.

Pronounce the following: Observe ´, oppose ´, command ´, conceal ´, condi ´tion, contain ´, content ´, possess ´.

29. Do not lay too much stress on an unaccented syllable or a syllable having a secondary accent; as pri ´ma ´ry  for pri ´mary,ex ´act ´ly  for exact ´ly.

Pronounce the following: Gigan ´tic, precise ´ly, salva ´tion, loca ´tion, vaca ´tion, ter ´ritory, sec ´ondary, mat ´rimony, prom ´issory, vac ´cinated.

30. In unaccented syllables do not bring out the quality of the vowel too distinctly.

In many words, “there would be pedantry in scrupulously avoiding the short and easier sounds which the organs are inclined to adopt.” For instance, cab ´bage  in common conversation might be cab ´bijpal ´acepal ´ăs, etc.

a. When a  at the end of an unaccented syllable is followed in the next syllable by n  or r, it has nearly the sound of short e, as in mis ´cel-la-nycus ´tom-a-ry.

b. In the unaccented final syllable ate, of adjectives and nouns, the vowel a  generally has a sound verging toward short e, as in del ´i-catecon-sum ´mate  (adj.).

Expression

Speak firmly; take time. Articulate clearly; do not slur.

Correct pronunciation: requires—1. Exact vowel sounds. 2. Distinct terminal consonants.

Read just as you would speak under the same circumstances, so that if you could be heard without being seen, it would be impossible to tell whether you were reading or talking.

Avoid a monotone. Dull repetition of words in the same pitch is disagreeable. Enter into the spirit of what you read, and give expression to your natural feeling.

The simplest way to emphasize a word is to pause after it. The word may be spoken a little louder or may be pronounced more slowly than the other words in the sentence.

When speaking in public, address the person standing just behind the back row.

Inflection of the Voice

Rising inflection is used in incomplete thought, or thought carried through consecutive phrases. It is used to express emotion, surprise, prayer.

Falling inflection denotes complete thought. It expresses command, authority.

The voice has three pitches:—upper, middle, lower.

The upper register is the medium for the expression of excitement and earnestness. It must be used with care and artistic moderation, otherwise it is unpleasant.

Use it rarely. Be careful of straining the voice.

The middle register is used in familiar speaking, and general conversation. It is the most durable, and is the vehicle for everyday use.

The lower register is suited to grave, solemn, impassioned utterances. It should be used cautiously. Practice will mellow the voice.

Written English

Written English is the art of putting words together in order to convey our thoughts to others. Good composition conveys our thoughts correctly, clearly, and pleasantly, so as to make them readily understood and easily remembered.

To express ourselves well we must first have something to say. If we have not been able to come to any definite conclusion about a subject, we should be silent.

We must next choose the right names for the things or actions of which we are going to speak. This is not always easy, for we are apt to talk loosely of quantities and qualities; to say there are “thousands” when there are only hundreds, to call an event “marvelous” when it is only unusual, or to refer to “ages” when there are only years.

Again, we must arrange our words in the right way, so that they shall fit one another and combine to make good sense, just as we must put bricks or stones together properly to make a building stand. All language is a construction; it is the building or binding of words.

There are many forms of written English, or composition—from a simple letter to the most elaborate treatise—but all are made up of the same elements, namely: words, sentences and paragraphs. It is essential, therefore, that these elements be thoroughly mastered at the outset. Beyond this comes the matter of style, the essentials of which may be summed up in four words: AccuracyClearnessStrength  and Grace.

Accuracy  and Clearness  are requisite in all kinds of writing to insure the faithful presentation of thought.

Strength  and Grace  are more especially applicable to the higher branches of prose composition and to poetry.

Grammatical Connections.—No expression can form part of a good composition unless it be constructed in accordance with correct grammar. Every sentence is inaccurate which gives wrong forms of the parts of speech, or violates the rules of syntax. The most common errors are of two kinds:

(1) Errors in the use of single words or forms.

(2) False concords, that is, wrong genders, numbers, cases and tenses.

Rules Relating to Style

 GOOD STYLE  POOR STYLE
Purity
prescribes the use of
- Correct forms and concords. -Wrong forms. Solecisms.
 
Classic or good English words. -Barbarisms.
  
Proper words, i.e., words fit for the occasion. -Improprieties.
 
Perspicuity
prescribes
- Simplicity.- Roundabout, inflated or pedantic words or phrases.
 
Brevity.- Tautology.
Pleonasm.
Verbosity.
 
Precision.- Ambiguity or Obscurity.
a. In words.
b. In sentences from bad arrangement.

Choice and Use of Words.—Good usage—the usage of the best writers and speakers—sanctions only words that are in reputable, national, and present usage.

The term Barbarism  is applied to unauthorized language. Some offenses against good usage are the following:

1. Obsolete  words, words gone out of use.

2. Provincialisms, words peculiar to some locality.

3. Colloquialisms, words peculiar to familiar conversation.

4. Solecisms, ungrammatical expressions.

5. Archaisms, expressions which would be obsolete except for their occasional use in poetry.

The term Impropriety  is used to designate reputable words misapplied.

Slang  is a general name for current, vulgar, unauthorized language. It may take the form of barbarism or impropriety.

Use the fewest and simplest words that the subject will bear.

Specific words are usually more forcible than general terms.

Foreign and technical terms should be used with care.

Use idioms wherever it is possible.

Coherence  demands that the parts shall be so connected that the thought will be clear and compact.

The length of sentences is governed by the effect to be produced. Short sentences give vigor, emphasis, and rapidity. Long sentences give weight and rhythm.

A well-constructed sentence keeps the same subject as long as possible.

All modifying elements should be placed as near as possible to the words they modify.

Dangling Element —one that modifies nothing—must be avoided. Example: Looking into the water, a fish was seen.

A “Squinting Construction ” is one that is so poorly placed in the sentence as to modify equally well the part preceding and the part following. Example: Will you say to Mr. Brown, when he comes, I will be ready.

Redundancy —A weak repetition of an idea—must be avoided.

Pleonasm  consists in the addition of words which can be omitted without affecting the construction or the meaning of the sentence.

Tautology, or repeating a thought that has just been stated.

Verbosity  or Prolixity  is the fault in sentence-making caused by using needless words.

Don't begin a sentence with—and, but, also, so, then, next, however, after this, of course, in consequence, as a matter of fact.

The Paragraph.—A Paragraph  is a division in composition treating only one part of the subject. A paragraph must conform to the same rules that should govern the whole composition; that is, it must show unity, massing, and coherence.

Unity  demands that all the thoughts in a sentence, in a paragraph, or in the whole theme shall cluster about one main idea.

Massing  demands that the important thoughts shall be placed in prominent places.

Coherence  demands that thoughts shall be closely connected.

The length of paragraphs is not to be regulated absolutely: the subject-matter to be treated, the appearance of the page, and the comfort of the reader must all be considered. In a dialogue a new paragraph is begun with each change of speaker.

The Sentence.—Rhetorically, sentences may be classified as periodic, loose, and balanced.

Periodic  sentence is one that holds the thought in suspense until the end. Example: In all his long life, from the time when, as a twelve-year-old boy, he was roaming in the fields and fishing the streams, to the days of his manhood, when he was upholding the honor of his state in the Senate, he showed the same simple, democratic nature.

Loose  sentence is one in which there is no attempt to show suspense; the different parts may come in where natural ease of expression suggests.

Balanced  sentence is one in which contrasting thoughts are stated in similar forms. Example: God made the country and man made the town.

The periodic and the balanced sentence are likely to result in artificiality of expression unless used with care. The loose sentence gives ease and naturalness, but these desirable qualities may easily change to slovenliness of expression in the hands of a careless writer.

Sentences, like paragraphs, should show unity, massing, and coherence.

Unity  demands that the sentence shall have one main idea. The unity of a sentence is destroyed by putting together ideas that should be separated, by making the wrong idea subordinate, or by making ideas coördinate that are not of equal importance.

Examples of lack of unity :—

1. The words are very simple and I think it very strange that a tinker could write such a good book.

2. We went up the main road about half a mile, when we came to a pasture.

Massing  in the sentence demands that the main thought shall be placed where it will “readily catch the eye.”

 Rules of Pronunciation.

  1. C  before a, o, and u, and in some other situations, is a close articulation, like k. Before e, i, and y, c  is precisely equivalent to s in same, this ; as in cedar, civil, cypress, capacity.
  1. E  final indicates that the preceding vowel is long; as in hate, mete, sire, robe, lyre, abate, recede, invite, remote, intrude.
  1. E  final indicates that c  preceding has the sound of s ; as in lace, lance; and that g  preceding has the sound of j, as in charge, page, challenge.
  1. E  final, in proper English words, never forms a syllable, and in the most-used words, in the terminating unaccented syllable it is silent. Thus, motive, genuine, examine, granite, are pronounced motiv, genuin, examin, granit.
  1. E  final, in a few words of foreign origin, forms a syllable; as syncope, simile.
  1. E  final is silent after l  in the following terminations,—ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, kle, ple, tle, zle; as in able, manacle, cradle, ruffle, mangle, wrinkle, supple, rattle, puzzle, which are pronounced a'bl, mana'cl, cra'dl, ruf'fl man'gl, wrin'kl, sup'pl, puz'zl.
  1. E  is usually silent in the termination en ; as in token, broken; pronounced tokn, brokn.
  1. ous , in the termination of adjectives and their derivatives, is pronounced us; as in gracious, pious, pompously.
  1. ce, ci, ti  before a vowel, have the sound of sh; as in cetaceous, gracious, motion, partial, ingratiate; pronounced cetashus, grashus, moshun, parshal, ingrashiate.
  1. si , after an accented vowel, is pronounced like zh; as in Ephesian, confusion; pronounced Ephezhan, confuzhon
  1. When ci  or ti  precede similar combinations, as in pron u n ci a ti on, nego ti a ti on, they should be pronounced ze  instead of she, to prevent a repetition of the latter syllable; as pronunceashon  instead of pronunsheashon.
  1. gh , both in the middle and at the end of words ia silent; as in caught, bought, fright, nigh, sigh; pronounced caut, baut, frite, ni, si. In the following exceptions, however, gh  are pronounced as f:—cough, chough, clough, enough, laugh, rough, slough, tough, trough.
  1. When wh  begins a word, the aspirate h  precedes w  in pronunciation; as in what, whiff, whale; pronounced hwat, hwiff, hwale, w  having precisely the sound of oo, French ou. In the following words w  is silent:—who, whom, whose, whoop, whole.
  1. h  after r  has no sound or use; as in rheum, rhyme ; pronounced reum, ryme.
  1. h  should be sounded in the middle of words; as in fore h ead, ab h or, be h old, ex h aust, in h abit, un h orse.
  1. H should always be sounded except in the following words:—heir, herb, honest, honour, hospital, hostler, hour, humour, and humble, and all their derivatives,—such as humorously, derived from humour.
  1. k  and g  are silent before n ; as know, gnaw; pronounced no, naw.
  1. w  before r  is silent; as in wring, wreath; pronounced ring, reath.
  1. b  after m  is silent; as in dumb, numb; pronounced dum, num.
  1. L  before k  is silent; as in balk, walk, talk; pronounced bauk, wauk, tauk.
  1. ph  has the sound of f; as in philosophy; pronounced filosofy.
  1. ng  has two sounds, one as in anger, the other as in fin-ger.
  1. n after m, and closing a syllable, is silent; as in hymn, condemn.
  1. p before s  and t  is mute; as in psalm, pseudo, ptarmigan; pronounced sarm, sudo, tarmigan.
  1. r  has two sounds, one strong and vibrating, as at the beginning of words and syllables, such as robber, reckon, error; the other as at the terminations of words, or when succeeded by a consonant, as farmer, morn.
  1. Before the letter r , there is a slight sound of e  between the vowel and the consonant. Thus, bare, parent, apparent, mere, mire, more, pure, pyre, are pronounced nearly baer, paerent, appaerent, me-er,mier, moer,puer, pyer. This pronunciation proceeds from the peculiar articulation of r, and it occasions a slight change of the sound of a, which can only be learned by the ear.
  1. There are other rules of pronunciation affecting the combinations of vowels, &c; but as they are more difficult to describe, and as they do not relate to errors which are commonly prevalent, we shall content ourselves with giving examples of them in the following list of words. When, a syllable in any word in this list is printed in bold , the accent or stress of voice should be laid on that syllable.


Auctions Commenced in Britain in A.D. 1779.