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horse' means one piebald horse. 'The secretary and the treasurer' means two officials; 'the secretary and treasurer' means one man who holds both offices. But when no misunderstanding is possible, the article is frequently repeated for the purpose of emphasis: 'A dark and a distant unknown,' 'This machine is the cheapest and the best.'
The following are clearly wrong:
'I saw the secretary and treasurer, and they examined my accounts.' 'He could not distinguish between the red and green signal.' 'A statesman and politician are two very different persons.'
When there is no chance of ambiguity, because the adjectives cannot be taken as descriptive of a single thing, English idiom allows us either to repeat the article with the noun in the singular, or to use it only once with the noun in the plural. So we may say 'The Old and the New Testament,' or 'The Old and New Testaments;' 'the singular and the plural number,' or 'the singular and plural numbers;' 'the primary and the secondary meaning,' or 'the primary and secondary meanings.' But 'the black and white horses' might signify either the piebald horses, or those horses which are all black and those which are all white. When the latter meaning is intended, there are two forms of expression free from all risk of misinterpretation, namely, 'the black and the white horses,' or 'the black horses and the white ones.'
Correct:-'It is sometimes said that the Nile is longer than all the rivers of the eastern and of the western hemispheres. During the past week it has overflown its right and left banks.'
The following points require consideration: (1) As the Nile is one of the rivers of the eastern hemisphere, can it be longer than ‘all the rivers of the eastern hemisphere?' (2) 'The eastern and the western hemispheres,'-'the eastern and the western hemisphere,'-'the eastern and western hemispheres:' which of these forms may we use? why? Apply the same principle to 'right and left banks.' (3) From what verb does overflown come?
254. Government. The adjectives like and near govern an objective case: 'I met a man like him,' 'The
boy near me made a disturbance.' Like is used also as an adverb; 'like as a father pitieth his children,' meaning 'in like manner as.' But it should never be used as a conjunction, followed by a nominative case and a finite verb. Such solecisms' as 'like you said,' 'like I told you,' though in common use, are peculiarly grating and offensive.
'These sort of men are sure not to speak true like we do.'
Here we have (1) 'these sort,' already commented on: (2) 'speak true' instead of 'truly' (or 'the truth'): 'true' can be defended however on the ground that the adjective is used as an adverb, p. 183. (3) 'like' used as a conjunction instead of 'as.' Like would require us after it, but we cannot make us the subject of do, therefore like must be discarded, unless we say 'like as we do,' employing like as an adverb. But such an expression is out of date.
255. Order. A single adjective used attributively generally stands before the noun, but in poetry sometimes comes after it, e.g. 'tempests fierce,' 'shadows dark,' and in certain phrases it always occupies this position owing to Norman French influence: e.g. 'knight errant,' 'heir apparent,' 'malice prepense,' 'sign manual.' When several adjectives are attached to one noun they are sometimes placed after it for emphasis: 'We reached the town, dull, dismal, and deserted.'
256. Concord. In so far as Pronouns possess inflexions, they may be said to agree with the Nouns for which they stand in Gender, Number, and Person: their Case is regulated by their relation to their own clause. Thus we say 'Your sister borrowed my dictionary yesterday: I met her this morning, and she gave it back to me:' 'Let us divide the books: you take these and I will keep those.'
1 By a solecism is signified a violation of syntax or of idiom. The people of the Athenian colony of Soli in Asia Minor spoke Greek with many blunders. Hence an error in grammar or pronunciation was called σoλoikio μós, from which we borrowed the word solecism.
The anticipatory It is used however of masculine and of feminine nouns, and of nouns both singular and plural: 'It is the prince and princess.' You, the pronoun of ordinary address, though applied to single individuals, is followed by a verb in the plural: 'You are old, father William.'
257. Great care is needed in the employment of pronouns the promiscuous use of them is frequently a source of obscurity'. The historian Clarendon is a notorious transgressor against clearness in the use of the pronouns. In the following extract from Goldsmith's History of Greece, the numbers 1, 2, 3, inserted after the pronouns of the Third Person, refer respectively to Philip, Aristotle, and Alexander:
'He  wrote to that distinguished philosopher...begging of him  to undertake his  education, and to bestow upon him  those useful lessons which his  numerous avocations would not allow him  to bestow.'
In Indirect Narrative the dangers of ambiguity from this cause are naturally great. Thus
‘A father who brought his boy to the police court complained that he got up and ran away before he was out of bed.'
'He told his friend that, if he did not feel better in half-an-hour, he thought that he had better go home.'
258. Construction of the Relative Pronoun. How far is it correct to say that there is agreement of the relative with its antecedent in gender in English? Who is used only of persons, which (in modern English) of other animals and inanimate things. That is used in reference to antecedents of all kinds. The concord of the relative with the antecedent in number and person can be seen only in the inflexion of the verb which agrees with the relative. Thus, in the following sentences—
1 See Angus' Handbook of the English Tongue, p. 289, and Salmon's School Composition, pp. 181-3.
'I, who am here, see this,'
'We, you, they, who are here, see this,'
the change in the person or number of the relative who is seen in the change in the verb which agrees with it. Am, art, is, are not in agreement with I, thou, he; they are in agree ment with who. I, thou, he, are nominatives to see, seest, sees, respectively: who is the nominative to am, art, is, and the person of who is determined according as it refers to I, thou, he.
The following sentence is wrong. Probably most students would correct it, but only a few would give the right reason.
'Thou art he who hast commanded us.' Hast should be has. Why? Not, as five people out of six would say, "Because it must agree with its subject he," for he is not its subject; but because it must agree with its subject who, and who is here of the 3rd person, since it refers to an antecedent he, which is the pronoun of the 3rd person.
Ought we to say 'It is I, your master, who command you,' or 'It is I, your master, who commands you'?
Either construction admits of defence. In the former case who refers to I as its antecedent; in the latter to master, the noun in apposition with I.
The following examples are wrong because the relative does not agree with its antecedent in number: the mistake is due to attraction of one.
'It is one of the most valuable books that has appeared in any language.'
Has should be have, because its subject that refers to a plural antecedent, books.
'Johnson's Lives of the Poets are now published in six octavo volumes, forming one of the most elegant editions that was ever offered to the public.'
Here (1) are should be is: (2) was should be plural, as that, its nominative, refers to a plural antecedent, editions; (3) was should be have been, as the statement covers all editions up to the time of writing the notice.
The case of the relative is determined by its construction in its own clause. Thus in the sentences 'This is the man who lost his money,' 'This is the man
whose money was lost,' 'This is the man whom they robbed,' the antecedent man is in the nominative case, but the case of the relative varies according to the requirements of the clause in which it occurs.
Errors in the case of the relative are seen in the following sen
'He picked up the man who he had knocked down.' Who should be whom, object of knocked down.
'I offer a prize of six pairs of gloves to whomsoever will tell me what thought is passing through my mind.' Whomsoever cannot stand as subject of will tell. The error arises from the suppression of the antecedent, which would be in the objective case, governed by to. The full expression is 'to him whosoever will tell.' Whosoever is wrongly attracted to agree in case with the antecedent, which is omitted.
259. Errors of case sometimes occur in the use of the personal and relative pronouns. Such expressions as the following are often to be heard: ‘Ask him to let you and I go,' 'Between you and I it stands in this way,' 'You are taller than me,' 'Whom do men say that I am?' Two common forms of faulty construction of the interrogative pronoun are commented on in the following paragraphs.
'Who did you ask to come?'
What are we to say about the grammar of this sentence? Clearly the who is indefensible on formal grounds, as we see by throwing the sentence into the shape of an assertion, 'You asked him (not he) to come.' And in deliberate or dignified speech or writing, whom is the word which we should employ. But in ordinary conversation who is often used in sentences of this sort by people who are quite aware that whom is grammatically the correct form. Expressions of this type have indeed been defended on the assumption that there is an ellipsis of the words is it that after Who:-'Who is it that you did ask to come?' in which expanded sentence the relative pronoun that is the object required. But this ingenious assumption rests on no valid foundation, and the slovenly constructions in question must be avoided by those who wish to speak correct English.
'Who do you believe he is?'
This sentence may be defended on the ground that do you believe is parenthetical, and not the principal clause, though the natural order