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IN PROSE AND VERSE,
BASED ON GRAMMATICAL SYNTHESIS.
WALTER SCOTT DALGLEISH, M.A. EDIN.,
VICE-PRINCIPAL OF DREGHORN COLLEGE.
OLIVER AND BOYD, TWEEDDALE COURT.
This Book is intended as a sequel to the ordinary Text-Books on English Grammar and Analysis. It takes up the subject where analysis leaves it; and as its method is synthetical throughout, its processes form the natural and necessary complement to those of analysis.
The process of grammatical Synthesis which forms the fundamental peculiarity of this work (vide § 41, et seq.), will be found to differ widely from the so-called synthesis hitherto in use. This latter process, which is little else than the conversion of a series of similar simple sentences into one complex or compound sentence, corresponds rather with what in the following pages is termed Contraction ($ 29), -an exercise which, however useful incidentally, neither requires great skill, nor conduces to much mental exertion. This work, on the contrary, aims at making the building up of sentences by Synthesis, as exact and useful a discipline as the breaking down of sentences by Analysis is now admitted to be. Accordingly, in the following exercises, especially will this be noticed in those on complex and compound sentences --each element in the data has a specific function to perform ; so that if the sentence, constructed according to the given formula, were to be again analysed, the relations of its clauses and parts would be the same as those in the formula. It is in this sense that the synthesis here proposed forms the exact counterpart of grammatical analysis. The process, it may be added, is simply that of nature reduced to a system; for there is no one who, in making a sentence, does not, how.
ever unconsciously, go through the same process of considering and combining the items of thought of which it is to be composed. It is hoped that, by this method, the teaching of English Composition,-hitherto the least systematic, and when professing to be systematic the least profitable, of school subjects,—may be rendered as valuable an instrument of mental training as English Grammar has of late become.
A glance at the Table of Contents will shew that this synthetic character has been maintained throughout the entire work. It requires Words to be built into Sentences; sentences into Paragraphs; and paragraphs into Themes. While this general outline has been adhered to, the usual details and applications of composition have not been omitted, but have been systematically wrought into the plan of the work. Thus the often meaningless and looso exercise of filling up “ elliptical sentences” has, under the head of Enlargement ($ 30), been employed as a test both of thought and of grammatical knowledge. Transposition has been applied to the change from the Direct to the Indirect form of speech, which in classical schools may, in some measure, prepare the pupils for understanding the difficulties of the “ oratio obliqua.” Punctuation is treated of in connection with each kind of sentence, separately. Figurative Language falls under the head of the “ Selection of Words” in a sentence. Paraphrasing (which is strictly defined, $ 75) also finds its proper place in the Part devoted to the Sentence; for the real object of the process is to express a given thought in original language. In like manner, Summary (Précis
. Writing), implying as it does both analysis and synthesis, stands intermediately between paragraphs and themes. The important place which the last-named exercise occupies in the examinations for the public services, seemed to warrant its treatment with considerable minuteness and special care.
The plans suggested for Theme writing will, it is believed, be found at once less ambitious and more practical,-more within