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S. Three, the Positive, the Comparative, and the Superlative.
M. What is the positive Degree?
S. The positive Degree is the Adječtive, or Thing itself, without being compared with any other, as (in the foregoing Words) good, bigb, and wise, are positive Adjectives ; because they affirm Things to be fo.
M. What is the Comparative Degree?
S. The Comparative Degree is known by being compared with the Positive : Thus, better, bigber, and wiser (in the foregoing Words) are callid Comparative Adjectives.
M. How may I know the Superlative Degree?
S. The Superlative generally ends in eft; or else the Word most comes before the Positive : Thus, in the foregoing Words, beft, big best, and wiseft, are Superlatives. M. Give me one Example at large ?
S. Suppofe I am speaking of three School Boys, Tommy, Sammy, and Billy, I say,
Tommy is a good Boy; positive.
Tommy is a tall Boy of his Age ; positive.
comparative. But Billy is the tallest ;
superlative: M. Are there never but three Degrees of Comperifon?
S. Yes; but then two of them belong to the Comparative.
- M. Pray give me an Instance ?
s. Some irregular Adjectives have four Degrees. Thus, the Word little, when compared, becomes little, less, lefler, and least. That is, little is positive; less is comparative ; lefser is also comparative in a higher Degree ; and least is superlative, being least of all,
M. Are the Comparative and Superlative known only by ending in er, or eft ?
S. Yes; they are known by the Words more and most ; for more before the Positive makes the Comparative; as more bigh is the fame as higher ; and most before the Positive' makes the Superlative ; as' moft bigh is the same as highest.
N. B. The Word more is never used before the Comparative, nor the Word most before the Superlative; for more bigber is more, more bigh; and most highest is moft, mot high, which is not true Grammar.
There is an Exception to this Rule, when applied to God; who is called the most hizbijt; that is, the moj, most high God; which is but a dutiful, and reasonable Appellation, for such a Being. See Psalm ix. V. 2. and xiii v. 6.
Of the NUMBER S.
S. Two, the Singular and Plural.
S. The fingular Number is used when we speak of one Thing only; as, a Man, a Tree, a Book ; and the Plural, when we speak of more than one Man, one Tree, or one Book ; for then we say, Men, Trees, Books, &c.
M. How do Words that end in f or te vake their Plurals ?.
S. By changing f, or fe into ves, Thus Calf, Half, will be Calves, Halves, and Life, Knife, will be Lives, Knives, &c.
M. Do all Words make their Plurals according to these Rules ?
S. No, for Man in the Singular, becomes Men in the Plural ; Mouse, is Mice ; Foot, is Feet ; Tooth, is Teeth, &c.
M. Pray is a Flock, or a Multitude, a plural, or Jingular Number :
S. Of the fingular Number.
M. How can that be, fince a Flock, and a Multitude, consist of many Hundreds, or Thousands.
S. No Matter how many they consist of; for it is still but one Flock, or one Multitude.
M. Very well; but pray have all Nouns the plural and singular Number?
S. No Sir; for the Names of Kingdoms and Towns, as England, France, Spain, London, York, &c. as also Justice, Mercy, Truth, &c. have no Plural. And Sheep, Deer, Fern, Swine, Albes, Bellows, Tongs, &c. have no Singular, but are alike in both.
S. The different Termination, or ending of a Noun in the Latin Tongue, or Languages in general.
M. You say in the Latin, and in other Tongues in general ; pray is it not the same in the English Lana
S. No; for the Latin, &c. have six Cafes, but the English no more than one.
M. Pray let me know the Names of these different Cases ?
S. They are call'd the Nominative, the Genitive, the Dative, the Accusative, the Vocative, and the Ablative, which in the Latin, are known by the different Endings of the Word. As. Deus
of God. .
to God, &c. M. You fay the English Tongue has but one Cafe; pray which is that ?
S. The Genitive.
S. By the Word of, or by putting s to the fingular Number, or Word itself, with an Apostrophe, or Comma over it. Thus, God's Glory, the King's Right, Fobn's House, the Master's Book, is the same as the Glory of God, the Right of the King, the House of John, and the Book of the Master, &c. &c.
M. As the English have but one Case, pray how do they express Things to supply all the other Cases ?
S. They do it by the Help of these little Words, of, to, from, with, by, &c. as the Cathedral of Canterbury; I gave a Book to Peter; they came from France, c.
Of the GENDER.
S. Gender is the Distinction of Noun Substantives, according to the Sex, and shews the Male from the Female. " M. How many Genders are there?
S. Three ; the Masculine, Feminine, and the Neuter.
M. How are these three Genders known, or distinguished?
S. By the Words He, She, and it. He is the Male, or masculine Gender. She is the Female, or feminine Gender, and It is the Neuter ; that is, neither Male nor Female, and sometimes both; for we say of the Sun, He is a glorious Body; and we say also, it shines: So also of a Church or a Ship, we say, She; and at another Time, it is a fine Church, &c.
M. Are there no other Words to distinguish the Genders ?
S. Yes; for the Word Child is both Masculine, Feminine, or Neuter of itself; but we say Boy for a Male, and Girl for a Female ; but when they cry, we as often say, it cries, without regard to Sex.
TAB L E IV.
M, What is a Pronoun ?
S. Pronouns are Words that supply the Place of Nouns, and save a repeating of them twice over,
M. Pray name some of the Pronouns Substantive?
S. They are these, ), thou, thee (or you) be, fae, it ; whose Plurals are we, je (or you), and they.
M. Wbich are the Pronouns Adjective ?
M. How many Persons belong to a Pronoun ?