Table Of Contents
I. GOOD USE 3
II. ARTICLES 12
III. NOUNS 16
IV. PRONOUNS 43
V. VERBS 61
VI. ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS 109
VII. PREPOSITIONS 134
VIII. CONJUNCTIONS 142
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OF GOOD USE
Why is it that for the purposes of English composition one word is not so good as another? To this question we shall get a general answer if we examine the effect of certain classes of expressions.
PRESENT USE.—Let us examine first the effect produced by three passages in the authorized version of the English Bible—a version made by order of King James in 1611:–
“For these two years hath the famine been in the land, and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest” (Gen. xlv. 6).
“O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?” (Psa. iv. 2).
“Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let hitherto” (Rom. i. 18).
See also Gen. xxv. 29; Matt. iii 8; Acts viii. 3; 1 Thess. iv. 15.
An ordinary reader of our time cannot without assistance fully understand these passages, because the words “earing,” “leasing,” and “let” convey to his mind either no idea at all or a wrong idea. Two hundred and eighty years ago, when this translation of the Bible was made, these words were common words with plain meanings; but “earing” and “leasing” have since dropped out of common use, and “let” has acquired a different meaning; consequently an ordinary reader of the present time must consult a dictionary before he can be sure what the passages mean. Words and meanings which have gone out of use are called obsolete. There is not much temptation to use obsolete words; but the temptation sometimes comes. Therefore we note, as our first conclusion, that a person who wishes to be understood must avoid expressions and meanings which are not in present use.Other Details
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