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the sentence, we give each function a name, that is, we call it a certain Part of Speech. Words like horse and dog, which name objects, are called nouns; words like gallops and barks, which state actions, are called verbs. There are, besides, six other functions of words in the sentence, giving altogether eight parts of speech in the English language. These eight are as follows:
(a) The Noun, the chief function of which is to name persons or things. The italicized words in the following
sentences are nouns:
(1) I have neither paper, pen, nor ink.
(b) The Pronoun, which is used in place of the name of a person or thing. The italicized words are pronouns:
(1) My brother intended to go away to-day, but he missed the
(2) They threw the book into the corner, where it lay neglected. (3) She did not think he could come.
(4) Have you seen him?
(5) These houses are not old, but they have long been uninhabited.
(c) The Adjective, the chief function of which is to point out and describe persons or things. The italicized words are adjectives:
(1) He picked up a smooth, round stone.
(2) The burnt child dreads the fire.
(3) We bought a half dozen of sweet apples.
(4) The way is long and difficult.
(5) Many agreeable and nutritious fruits grow there.
(d) The Verb, the chief function of which is to make some statement with respect to a person or thing. The italicized words are verbs:
(1) The earth trembled.
(2) He laughed and said nothing further.
(5) Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
(e) The Adverb, the chief function of which is to modify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Examples:
(1) The Indians advanced quickly and silently.
(2) Silently we laid him down.
(3) We have considered the plan very carefully.
(5) We soon found that we were completely lost.
(f) The Preposition, the chief function of which is to connect a noun or a pronoun with another word in the sentence, usually a noun or a verb, by showing the relation between them. The preposition of, for example, in the sentence, We had a loaf of stale bread, connects the two nouns loaf and bread, and the group of words consisting of the preposition and the words that follow it is called a Prepositional Phrase. The italicized words in the following sentences are prepositional phrases, the first word in each phrase being a preposition:
(1) The shingles on the roof are new.
without a noise.
(3) I went to Taffy's house but Taffy was in bed.
(4) They ate from long trenchers
(5) The hope of a nation is its youth.
with wooden spoons.
(g) The Conjunction, the function of which also is to
connect words, though it does so without making phrases like the preposition. The italicized words are conjunctions:
(1) An apple or a pear was his usual lunch.
(2) We walked and ran alternately.
(3) We usually sit in the garden or in the orchard.
(4) They are going for a walk and then they are going home. (5) You may go if you have finished your lessons.
(6) I asked him because I thought he would know.
(7) He will come to-morrow or he will telegraph.
(h) The Interjection, the function of which is exclamatory, expressing emotions of surprise, joy, grief, and so forth. Examples:
(1) Oh, what a pity!
(2) Hm! I thought it would turn out that way.
(3) Alas! we never saw him again.
(4) Why, where did you come from?
3. Inflection. The words of the sentence must be examined from still another point of view. If the two sentences given above (2) are changed so as to read The horses galloped and The dogs barked, it will be seen that the words still perform the same function and are consequently the same parts of speech, but that they have been changed somewhat in form to indicate a corresponding change in meaning. The noun horse has been changed to horses to show that more than one horse is meant, and the verb gallop has been changed to galloped to indicate that the action stated by the verb is not now taking place, but that it has taken place in past time. This change in the form of a word to correspond to a change in its meaning is called Inflection. The study of inflections is important, because the inflection of a particular word in the sentence
is sometimes dependent upon the meaning of the other words of the sentence, as in Your sheep are (is) here.
(1) This boy has no book.
(3) A bee is a very industrious insect.
(4) Bees are very industrious insects.
(5) He has planted a new tree in front of his house. (6) They have planted new trees in front of their houses. 4. Construction of Words.-Finally it is necessary to consider words not only by themselves, but also in their relations to each other in the sentence. Thus the words horses and dogs in the sentences given in (3) are in the same relation respectively to galloped and barked. And if we change the word horses to the word they, which is a pronoun and a different part of speech from the noun horses, the word they would still be in the same relation to galloped as horses is. The relation of a word to other words in the sentence is called its Construction.
5. What Grammar is.-We are now prepared to give a definition of the study of Grammar. Grammar is the study of the Functions or Parts of Speech, the Inflections, and the Constructions of Words in the Sentence.
1.-Read the following passage aloud and observe how the tones of the voice indicate the divisions into sentences:
"Here, then, poor Rip was brought to a stand. He again called and whistled after his dog. He was only answered by the cawing of
a flock of idle crows, sporting high in air about a dry tree that overhung a precipice, and who, secure in their elevation, seemed to look down and scoff at the poor man's perplexities. What was to be done? The morning was passing away, and Rip felt famished for want of his breakfast. He grieved to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not do to starve among the mountains. He shook his head, shouldered the rusty firelock, and, with a heart full of trouble and anxiety, turned his steps homeward.”
-IRVING, from Rip Van Winkle.
2.-Form sentences in which
(1) The following words are used as nouns: boat, cap, basket, stone, match, light, speed, paper, fish, sail, box.
(2) The following words are used as adjectives: hard, old,
ruinous, smooth, oily, swift, dark, light, gentle, agreeable. (3) The following words are used as verbs: throw, fall, hung, talk, race, sail, bite, took, followed, saw, light.
(4) The following words are used as adverbs: skilfully, soon,
(6) The following words are used as conjunctions: and, or, if,
SUMMARY OF DEFINITIONS.
2. The Parts of Speech is the classification of words according to the functions which they perform in the sentence. In the English language there are eight parts of speech: the Noun, the Pronoun, the Adjective, the Verb, the Adverb, the Preposition, the Conjunction, and the Interjection.
3. Inflection is the variation in the form of a word. to indicate a corresponding variation in its use and meaning.