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S. Three, the Pofitive, the Comparative, and the Superlative.
M. What is the pofitive Degree?
S. The pofitive Degree is the Adjective, or Thing itself, without being compared with any other, as (in the foregoing Words) good, high, and wife, are pofitive 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 Pofitive: Thus, better, bigber, and wifer (in the foregoing Words) are call'd Comparative Adjectives.
M. How may I know the Superlative Degree?
S. The Superlative generally ends in eft; or elfe the Word most comes before the Pofitive: Thus, in the foregoing Words, best, highest, and wisest, are Superlatives.
M. Give me one Example at large?
S. Suppofe I am fpeaking of three School Boys, Tommy, Sammy, and Billy, I fay,
M. Are there never but three Degrees of Comparifon?
S. Yes; but then two of them belong to the Comparative.
M. Pray give me an Inftance?
S. Some irregular Adjectives have four Degrees. Thus, the Word little, when compared, becomes little, lefs, leffer, and leaft. That is, little is pofitive; lefs is comparative; leffer is also comparative in a higher Degree; and leaft is fuperlative, being leaft 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 Pofitive makes the Comparative; as more high is the fame as higher; and most before the Pofitive makes the Superlative; as moft bigb is the fame as higheft.
N. B. The Word more is never used before the Comparative, nor the Word most before the Superlative; for more higher is more, more high; and most highest is most, most high, which is not true Grammar.
There is an Exception to this Rule, when applied to God; who is called the most higheft; that is, the most, most high God; which is but a dutiful, and reafonable Appellation, for fuch a BEING. See Pfalm ix. v. 2. and xiii v. 6.
Of the NUMBER S.
M. How many Numbers are there belonging to Nouns ?
S. Two, the Singular and Plural.
M. How are they used?
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 fpeak of more than one Man, one Tree, or one Book; for then we fay, Men, Trees, Books, &c.
M. How do Words that end in f or fe make 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 thefe Rules?
S. No, for Man in the Singular, becomes Men in the Plural; Moufe, 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, confift of many Hundreds, or Thoufands.
S. No Matter how many they confist of; for it is ftill but one Flock, or one Multitude.
M. Very well; but pray have all Nouns the plural and fingular Number?
S. No Sir; for the Names of Kingdoms and Towns, as England, France, Spain, London, York, &c. as alfo Juftice, Mercy, Truth, &c. have no Plural. And Sheep, Deer, Fern, Swine, Afbes, Bellows, Tongs, &c. have no Singular, but are alike in both.
M. What does the Word Cafe imply in Grammar? S. The different Termination, or ending of a Noun in the Latin Tongue, or Languages in gene
M. You fay in the Latin, and in other Tongues in general; pray is it not the fame in the English Language?
S. No; for the Latin, &c. have fix Cafes, but the English no more than one.
M. Pray let me know the Names of thefe different Cafes ?
S. They are call'd the Nominative, the Genitive, the Dative, the Accufative, the Vocative, and the Ablative, which in the Latin, are known by the different Endings of the Word.
M. You fay the English Tongue has but one Cafe; pray which is that?
S. The Genitive.
M. Pray how is that made or known?
S. By the Word of, or by putting s to the fin gular Number, or Word itself, with an Apoftrophe, or Comma over it. Thus, God's Glory, the King's Right, John's Houfe, the Mafter's Book, is the fame as the Glory of God, the Right of the King, the Houfe of John, and the Book of the Mafter, &c. &c. M. As the English have but one Cafe, pray how do they exprefs Things to fupply all the other Cafes ?
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,
Of the GENDER.
M. What do you mean by Gender?
S. Gender is the Diftinction of Noun Subftantives, according to the Sex, and fhews 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 diftinguished?
S. By the Words He, She, and it. He is the Male, or mafculine Gender. She is the Female, or feminine Gender, and It is the Neuter; that is, neither Male nor Female, and fometimes both; for we fay of the Sun, He is a glorious Body; and we fay alfo, it fbines: So alfo 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 diftinguish the Genders?
S. Yes; for the Word Child is both Mafculine, Feminine, or Neuter of itself; but we fay Boy for a Male, and Girl for a Female; but when they cry, we as often say, it cries, without regard to Sex.
S. Pronouns are Words that fupply the Place of Nouns, and fave a repeating of them twice over. M. Pray name fome of the Pronouns Subftantive? S. They are these, I, thou, thee (or you) be, she, it; whofe Plurals are we, ye (or you). and they. M. Which are the Pronouns Adjective?
S. My, mine, thy, thine, our, ours, your, yours, who, whom, whofe, which, what, this, that, fame, him-felf, it-felf, her-felf, your-felf, them-felves, &c. M. How many Perfons belong to a Pronoun ?
S. Three Singular, and three Plural.
M. Name the Perfons in both?