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Use of Inflexion and Compounding.

§ 29. Five of the eight classes of words (part I. chap. ii.) - viz., nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbsare subject to inflexion.

8 30. Nouns and pronouns have inflexions which express variations in Gender, Number, Person, and Case.

Verbs have inflexions for Voice, Mood, Tense, Number, and Person.

Adjectives and adverbs are inflected for Degrees of Comparison.

§ 31. Prepositions and conjunctions have no inflexion. They express certain relations only between things and statements.

Interjections have no part in coherent speech, and are without change.

$ 32. For the purpose of varying the meanings of words, besides the method of inflexion there is another in very great use in English, called compounding.

e.g. mouse-trap, pitch-dark, back-bite. (§ 20.)

$ 33. When one part of a compound has lost the significance that it would have separately, and serves only to express some relation or condition of the word to which it is attached, the compound should be treated as a single word.

e.g. spoonful, have gone, was seen, laugh at.

$ 34. In English the relations of gender, voice, mood, tense, and degree of comparison are very often represented in compounds.


Inflexion of the Noun.

[See § 30. “Nouns are inflected in Gender, Number, Person, Case.”]

8 35. Nouns are, with respect to gender:
(1) Masculine; e.g. man, lion.
(2) Feminine; e.g. woman, lioness.

(3) Common to both genders, 1 and 2; e.g. child, animal.

(4) Of neither gender, 1 nor 2; e.g. crowd, class.

§ 36. Distinction of gender is shown in three ways:

I. By a termination. e.g. (a) Add ess to author

deacon Jew peer prior baron giant lion poet

prophet count heir mayor priest shepherd dauphin host patron prince viscount

(1) Drop er, or, and add ess.

caterer forgerer murderer sorcerer (C) Drop e or o in the ending, and add ess. actor conductor founder

porter ambassador director hunter tiger arbiter


idolater songster benefactor elector

negro (seamster) chanter



[blocks in formation]

Compounds of neither gender: hen-bane, jack-screw, mankind.

$ 37. Nouns are, with respect to number : Singular; e.g. pen, mouse, fox, potato.

Plural; e.g. pens, mice, foxes, potatoes.

$ 38. To form the plurals of nouns.

I. The rule : Adds to the singular. II. Five rules for exceptions : (a) Add es when the noun ends in 8, 2, 2, сh (soft),

sh, or o (the e serving in the last case to

preserve the long sound of 9). (1) Change y into i, and add es, when the noun

ends in y preceded by a consonant. (c) Change f into v, and add es or 8 generally,

when the noun ends in f or fe. (d) Change the vowel sound in these seven nouns :

foot, tooth, goose, mouse, louse, man, woman. (e) Add en to ox, childr, brethr.

III. Two rules for compound nouns : (a) Add the sign of the plural to both in certain

old compounds consisting of two nouns. (6) Add the sign of the plural only to the noun

in other compounds, and not to the part which serves as an adjective:

IV. Four classes of nouns peculiar:

pennies. (a) With two plurals; e.g. penny

pence. (1) With singular and plural alike; e.g, salmon. (c) With no singular; e.g. pincers, tongs, &c. (a) With no plural; e.g. wood, iron, &c.

V. Follow the rules of the languages from which they

come, to form the plurals of foreign nouns.

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