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tence; and even where the meaning is apparent, yët if' these relatives be misplaced, we always find something awkward and disjointed in the structure of the period. The following passage in Bishop Sherlock's Sermons will exemplify these observations: " It is folly to pre"tend to arm ourselves against the accidents of life, by "heaping up treasures which nothing can protect us, "against, but the good providence of our heavenly "Father." Which grammatically refers to the immedi ately preceding noun, which here is "treasures;" and this would convert the whole period into nonsense. The sentence should have been thus constructed: "It is fol"ly to pretend by heaping up treasures to arm our "selves against the accidents of life, against which "nothing can protect us, but the good providence of "our heavenly Father."
We now proceed to the second quality of a well arranged sentence, which we termed its Unity. This is a capital property. The very nature of a sentence implies one proposition to be expressed. It may consist of parts; but these parts must be so closely bound together, as to make an impression of one object only upon the mind.
To preserve this unity, we must first observe, that during the course of the sentence the subject should be changed as little as possible. There is generally in eve ry sentence some person or thing which is the governing word. This should be continued so, if possible,
from the beginning to the end of it. Should a man express himself in this manner: "After we came to "anchor, they put me on shore, where I was saluted "by all my friends, who received me with the great"est kindness"-Though the objects in this sentence are sufficiently connected; yet, by shifting so often the subject and person, we, they, I, and who, they ap pear in so disunited a view, that the sense and connexion are nearly lost. The sentence is restored to its proper unity by constructing it thus: "Having come "to anchor, I was put on shore, where I was saluted "by all my friends, who received me with the greatest "kindness."
The second rule is, never crowd into one sentence ideas, which have so little connexion, that they might well be divided into two or more sentences., Violation of this rule never fails to displease a reader. Its effect indeed is so disgusting, that of the two it is the safest extreme, to err rather by too many short sentences, than by one, that is overloaded and confused. The following sentence from a translation of Plutarch will justify this opinion: "Their march," says the author speaking of the Greeks, "was through an uncultivat
ed country, whose savage inhabitants fared hardly, "having no other riches than a breed of lean sheep, " whose flesh was rank and unsavoury by reason of their "continual feeding upon sea-fish." Here the subject is repeatedly changed. The march of the Greeks, the
description of the inhabitants, through whose country they passed, the account of their sheep, and the reason of their sheep being disagreeable food, make a jumble of objects, slightly related to each other, which the reader cannot without considerable difficulty comprehend in one view.
The third rule for preserving the unity of a sentence is, keep clear of parentheses in the middle of it. These may on some occasions have a spirited appearance, as prompted by a certain vivacity of thought, which can glance happily aside, as it is going along, But in general their effect is extremely bad; being a perplex, ed method of disposing of some thought, which a writer has not art enough to introduce in its proper place. It is needless to produce any instances, as they occur so frequently aniong incorrect writers.
The fourth rule for the unity of a sentence is, bring it to a full and perfect close. It needs not to be observed, that an unfinished sentence is no sentence with respect to grammar. But sentences often occur, which are more than finished. When we have arrived at what we expected to be the conclusion; when we are come to the word, on which the mind is naturally led to rest; unexpectedly some circumstance is added, which ought to have been omitted, or disposed of elsewhere. Thus, for instance, in the following sentence from Sir William Temple, the adjection to the sentence is entirely foreign to it. Speaking of Burnet's Theory
of the Earth, and Fontenelle's Plurality of Worlds; "The first," says he, "could not end his learned trea"tise without a panegyric of modern learning in com"parison of the ancient; and the other falls so grossly "into the censure of the old poetry, and preference of "the new, that I could not read either of these strains "without some indignation; which no quality among 66 men is so apt to raise in me, as self sufficiency." The word "indignation" concludes the sentence; for the last member is added after the proper close.
STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES.
WE now proceed to the third quality of a correct sentence, which we termed Strength. By this is meant such a disposition of the several words and members as will exhibit the sense to the best advantage; as will render the impression, which the period. is intended to make, most full and complete; and give every word and every member its due weight and force. To the production of this effect, perspicuity and unity are absolutely necessary; but more is requisite. For a sentence may be clear; it may also be compact, or have the requisite unity; and yet, by some unfavourable circumstance in the structure, it may fail in that strength or liveliness of im pression, which a more happy collocation would produce.
The first rule for promoting the strength of a sentence is, take from it all redundant words. Whatever can be easily supplied in the mind, is better omitted in the expression, thus," Content with deserving a tri"umph, he refused the honor of it," is better than "being content with deserving a triumph, he refused "the honour of it." It is one of the most useful exercises, on reviewing what we have written, to contract that circuitous mode of expression, and to cut off those useless excrescences which are usually found in a first draught. But we must be cautious of pruning so closely, as to give a hardness and dryness to the style. Some leaves must be left to shelter and adorn the fruit.
As sentences should be cleared of superfluous words' so also of superfluous members. Opposed to this is the fault we frequently meet, the last member of a period being only a repetition of the former in a different dress. For example, speaking of beauty, “The "very first discovery of it," says Addison, "strikes "the mind with inward joy, and spreads delight "through all its faculties." In this instance scarcely any thing is added by the second member of the sentence to what was expressed in the first. Though the flowing style of Addison may palliate such negligence, yet it is generally true, that language divested of this prolixity, is more strong and beautiful,