Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here either must mean not the one and the other, but the one or the other; otherwise both has no meaning. But in other passages, Milton clearly uses the word in the sense of each, i. e. both of them; as, Par. L., V, 130

"She silently a gentle tear let fall

From either eye, and wiped them with her bair.” A tear from each eye, justifies the plural them. Again, Par. L., XII, 636

In either hand the hastening Angel

Caught our lingering parents.” This passage, I consess, is very puzzling. Either must mean not the one or the other, but the one and the other; that is, both of them taken. distinctively or separately. This being the case, the object ought also to have been expressed distinctively and separately; be caught in either band one lingering parent: I do not, however, recommend this reading either on critical or æsthetic grounds.

The present practice in the use of either is still very unsettled. By some it is used for any one; for instance, «Which of these ten books do you like?" "I do not like either," or, “I want neither.” This is utterly bad grammar.

It is clear we must confine the word to one of the two significations, the Latin alteruter, or uterque. It cannot retain both without detriment to the language. Now, although the signification uterque is the oldest, the other bas taken its place in the majority of cases, so that I agree with Bishop Lowth's canon.*) "On which side will you sit, on the right or on the left?" "On either." “Will you occupy the right side or the left?” -Both.” This is clear language and correct grammar. It is further confirmed by the adverbial use of either, as: “Either say yes or no."

Each.

Each is the singular number and ought never to be used as a plural. Yet it often is found connected with the plural verb. For instance in the above quoted passage:

"Let each esteem other better than themselves." It ought to be: "better than himself.” Milton Par. L., V, 477

“Each in their several active spheres assigned.” The same mistake is made with words of similar signification, as wevery one,” and “any one,” in spite of the warning voice "one.” Bentley, Dissert. on Themistocles' Epistles, Lect. II “It is observable, that every one of the letters bear date after bis banishment, and contain a complete narrative

*) Shakspere uses it thus: Anth. & Cleop.:

"Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flattered; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him."

of all his story afterwards.” So also: “He forgave every one their sins." Addison, Spect. 25 "I do not mean, that I think any one to blame for taking due care of their health.”

In spite of Addison's authority, and the very frequent use of the plural with each, there can be no doubt that it is faulty, as for example in the following passages :

“Each of us had reasons for our opinions best known to ourselves.": (Goldsmith.)

"I shall venture to mention some qualities, every one of which are in a pretty high degree necessary to this order of historians.”— (Fielding.)

"And so indeed may any one; for I know the captain will well reward them for it.”— (Fielding.)

Similarly neither is incorrectly used as a plural noun, as
“Neither of them are remarkable for precision.”— (Blair.)
There is a very peculiar use of each in the common versions of Euclid

"If two sides of one triangle be equal to two sides of another, each to each, &c.” This is perfectly absurd. For if a and b be equal to n and ß each to each, then a = a=

B and b

B, i. e., each of the former to each of the latter, which will make them all the same size. The word wbich ought to be used is “respectively.” This would imply a = a, b = ß. Just so we have the banns published when more than one couple are named: "If any of you know cause or just impediment, why these persons should not be joined together - respectively in holy matrimony, ye are to declare it. What awful result would follow, if the four or six persons were to be joined each to each? It might be supposed to be something like the promiscuous conjugal life of the Ancient Britons of whom Casar says, that a certain number of men married a certain number of women on communistic principles, discarding the idea of individual and peculiar rights.

I have endeavoured so far to trace the growth of the present English Future Tense, to account for its origin, to point out in what respect it is defective and where its use is still unsettled and likely to undergo further change. As for laying down practical rules, it is for an Englishman as unnecessary as it is difficult. For a thorough Scotchman it would be utterly useless, not because he is ill-bred or illiterate, but because he is from his birth accustomed to another formation of the Future verb, which not without a show of reason he may maintain to be as good as the English in itself. As for foreigners, I believe that they have not greit difficulty in acquiring the proper use of shall and will, provided they make their studies of Eng. lish on the south side of the Tweed.

Other and Others. Other, as an Adjective when followed by a Substantive, takes no s in the plural: "Other lords besides thee have had dominion over us."

When used substantively it takes the plural sign, as

Psalm xlix, 10. The fool and brutal person die and leave their wealth to others." (Authorized version.)

Matthew v. “What do ye more than others.”
Ephesians ii, "We were children of wrath even as others.”

Yet this plural form seems by no means to be fully established. We often find the plural without an s, for instance: in the Prayer-book translation of the above-quoted Psalm xlix, 10, we read "and leave their riches for other."

Philip. ii. 3. “Let each esteem other better than themselves." (Cranmer translates another.) Shakspere. Merchant of Venice, I, 1

"Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time;
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,

And other of such vinegar aspect,” &c.
Dryden. Satire of Juvenal

"One sends him marble * * * and one the work of Polyclete * * while other images for altars give."

This is now quite obsolete. But the question arises whether other should have an s in the plural when it is not a Substantive of the masculine gender, but a simple Adjective to which a Substantive is to be supplied, for instance Dlatt. xiii, 4. "Some seeds fell by the way side .. 8. But other fell into good ground." There seems to be a difficulty in this use of the word. All the other translators avoid it. Wiclif says: "other seedis.” The Rheims version has “othersome.”*) The Geneva and Cranmer have "some,” Tyndale "part."

The modern practice is to add the s; for instance "Some books are useful, others entertaining." This was not usual formerly. Shakspere says, Measure for Measure, iv. 4

“Every letter he hath writ, hath disvouched other." Ibid. iv, 5. "There's other of our friends."

Even living writers adhere to this use, as Dean Milman in his Memoir of Lord Macaulay

“He lies at the foot of Addison's statute near to Johnson, and among many other of our most famous statesmen and men of letters."

Nothing else, nihil aliud, is in Shakspere often found expressed by no other. Measure for Measure, v. 1

"If she be mad (as I believe no other),

Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense.” 2nd part King Henry 6th, iii. 2

"That when the King comes, he may perceive

No other but that he died of his own accord.
A. Trollope. In no guise did he look other than a clever man.

*) Othersome is found also in Shakspere, Measure for Measure, iii, 2 "Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other some, he is in Rome." The Adjective, Apart from such Adjectives, that are occasionally transformed into substantives, there are others, which become substantives with specific significations. They do not preserve the whole range of their meaning as Adjectives, but Àre restricted to a parrower limit. Such words are, to name a few “Goods." not all things good, but a special kind. The wilds," not all tbings wild, but wild countries.' lacks,” are not all persons black, but a specified class. Many things are green, without being "greens." "A flat” is a particular kind of fat boat; “flats” are level plains; “flats and sharps” are restricted to music. So only one class of small things comes under the head of “smalls”; not all things new are “news”; or all things long or short, "longs or shorts."

The list of such substantives which are originally Adjectives is very long, but yet clearly defined, so that we are not at liberty to coin new ones;

it includes mortals, ancients, straits, levels, ills, evils, colds, elders, betters seniors, juniors, savages, innocents, the open, the deep, the narrows, the rapids, the shallows, valuables, to which may be added some words not originally Adjectives, as the ins and outs, the ups and downs. All these words assume the characteristic mark of substantives, the s of the plural. In some of them we can trace the gradual transition from the Adjective to the substantive character, when we find the same word sometimes with, and sometimes without the plural s, e. g., the heathens and the heathen.

The words hitherto referred to, though originally Adjectives, have become substantives in every way, in form and meaning, and should be enumerated in dictionaries as such.-)

But every Adjective in the language can, under certain circumstances, be used substantively. It is with these that I specially propose to deal.

The English language hæs, in the article, the grammatical instrument, by which an ive be raised to the rank of a substantive, but as the article has no different forms for the genders, this process can only take place under certain limitations. It is restricted to the following two cases:

1. To designate a noun of the neuter gender, singular number.

2. To designate a noun of the masculine or common gender and plural number. We say:

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones.
Meaning malum, bonum, das Boese, das Gute.

Milton, Parad. L, II, 278 - speaks of whe sensible of pain." Shakspere, 2 P. King Henry VI, I. 4 — „Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night." Milton freely adds qualifying words to such Adjective nouns, as Pararl. L., II, 97

«His utmost ire ..
Will * * * reduce

To nothing this essential.”
Parad. L., II, 406

“Who shall
Through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way;
Upborn with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt."

*) Psalm xxxv, 15, is translated: Yea the very abjects (udotiyes?) came against me unawares."

very limited.

This might be done legitimately with every Adjective, but, from the want of all adjectival inflexions, and from an instinctive aversion of the English language to a prevalence of abstract nouns, and I might add of the English mind to abstract ideas, the use made of this grammatical law is

The second transformation of Adjectives in nouns of masculine or common gender and plural number is much more frequent, pus: “Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly." Yet even here we mostly prefer adding a substantive, and it is not difficult to show that the English language long evaded the use of such Adjectives; for instance, Matthew ix, 12 “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The words of the original, οι 'σχύοντες and οι κακώς έχοντες, might have been translated by the Adjectives tbus: «The whole need not a physician, but the sick;" but only Tyndale and the Geneva version have the Adjective whole" used substantively, and no translator has "sick” in that form. Wiclif has "inen that faren wel," and "men that be yvel at ease.” Cranmer translates "they that be streng, they that be sick.” The Rheims translation has "they that are in health,” and “they that are ill at ease,” thus avoiding the use of the simple Adjective by a circumlocution.

The rule which confines the Adjective used substantively for the nouns of masculine cr common gender to the plural is now strictly adhered to. But in older writers numerous deviations from it are found; for instance, Psalm x, 2

“The wicked in his pride, does prosecute the poor.” 3. “For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous.” 14. “The poor committeth himself unto thee.

Verse 15, in the Prayer Book, v. 17

"Break thou the power of the ungodly and malicious, take away his ungodliness." The last verse is rendered by the authorised version:

“Break thou the arm of the wicked and evil man: seek out his wickedness."

This addition of the substantive man shows the awakening feeling of grammatical propriety, which felt ill at ease in using an Adjective without å poun in the singular number in the place of a noun. Other instances are Psalm xxxvi, 1

"My heart sheweth me the wickedness of the ungodly: that there is no fear of God before his eyes."

12 and many more passages. The Adjectives limited in their use as substantives to the plural masculine or common, labour under other disabilities which show that they are to some extent intruders and aliens in the ranks of native substantives; they cannot take into their service determining and qualifying words like other substantives. *) We can speak of the godly and the ungodly, but we cannot distinguish these godly, from those ungodly; we can speak of the bold and the brave, but not of many bold, or few brave.

Yet Lord Byron has the following passage, (Sardanap. V.)

Psalm v,

*) The Neuter Singular may be qualified by determining words, e. g, much good, this good he has done me, &c. What good? A universal good. See the passages of Milton quoted above, Parad. Lost, II, 97, 406.

« PreviousContinue »