THE GRAMMAR OF ENGLISH
Grammar, as an art, is the power of reading, writing, and speaking correctly. As an acquisition, it is the essential skill of scholarship. As a study, it is the practical science which teaches the right use of language.
An English Grammar is a book which professes to explain the nature and structure of the English language; and to show, on just authority, what is, and what is not, good English.
ENGLISH GRAMMAR, in itself, is the art of reading, writing, and speaking the English language correctly. It implies, in the adept, such knowledge as enables him to avoid improprieties of speech; to correct any errors that may occur in literary compositions; and to parse, or explain grammatically, whatsoever is rightly written.
To read is to perceive what is written or printed, so as to understand the words, and be able to utter them with their proper sounds.
To write is to express words and thoughts by letters, or characters, made with a pen or other instrument.
To speak is to utter words orally, in order that they may be heard and understood.
Grammar, like every other liberal art, can be properly taught only by a regular analysis, or systematic elucidation, of its component parts or principles; and these parts or principles must be made known chiefly by means of definitions and examples, rules and exercises.
A perfect definition of any thing or class of things is such a description of it, as distinguishes that entire thing or class from every thing else, by briefly telling what it is.
An example is a particular instance or model, serving to prove or illustrate some given proposition or truth.
A rule of grammar is some law, more or less general, by which custom regulates and prescribes the right use of language.
An exercise is some technical performance required of the learner in order to bring his knowledge and skill into practice.
LANGUAGE, in the primitive sense of the term, embraced only vocal expression, or human speech uttered by the mouth; but after letters were invented to represent articulate sounds, language became twofold, spoken and written, so that the term, language, now signifies, any series of sounds or letters formed into words and employed for the expression of thought.
Of the composition of language we have also two kinds, prose and verse; the latter requiring a certain number and variety of syllables in each line, but the former being free from any such restraint.
The least parts of written language are letters; of spoken language, syllables; of language significant in each part, words; of language combining thought, phrases; of language subjoining sense, clauses; of language coördinating sense, members; of language completing sense, sentences.
A discourse, or narration, of any length, is but a series of sentences; which, when written, must be separated by the proper points, that the meaning and relation of all the words may be quickly and clearly perceived by the reader, and the whole be uttered as the sense requires.
In extended compositions, a sentence is usually less than a paragraph; a paragraph, less than a section; a section, less than a chapter; a chapter, less than a book; a book, less than a volume; and a volume, less than the entire work.
The common order of literary division, then, is; of a large work, into volumes; of volumes, into books; of books, into chapters; of chapters, into sections; of sections, into paragraphs; of paragraphs, into sentences; of sentences, into members; of members, into clauses; of clauses, into phrases; of phrases, into words; of words, into syllables; of syllables, into letters.
But it rarely happens that any one work requires the use of all these divisions; and we often assume some natural distinction and order of parts, naming each as we find it; and also subdivide into articles, verses, cantoes, stanzas, and other portions, as the nature of the subject suggests.
Grammar is divided into four parts; namely, Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and Prosody.
Orthography treats of letters, syllables, separate words, and spelling.
Etymology treats of the different parts of speech, with their classes and modifications.
Syntax treats of the relation, agreement, government, and arrangement of words in sentences.
Prosody treats of punctuation, utterance, figures, and versification.
The Grammar of English Grammars by Goold Brown