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them, he has, by these exercises, made great gains in his ability to do close, accurate thinking.

This book contains many sentences, — possibly too many; but it is easier for a teacher to omit what are unnecessary than to find time in a crowded day to collect more. Any exercise is useful until its lesson is learned, no longer. It would be as sensible to continue submitting tanagers to a student of birds for their classification, or trilliums to a student of flowers, after both were thoroughly known, as to continue giving a student of language adverbial nouns when adverbial nouns were perfectly familiar. Use only as many sentences as are needed.

Moreover, it is worse than a waste of precious time to continue detailed analysis when it has become familiar rote work. Such repetition induces thoughtless, slovenly inaccuracy. A prepositional phrase is generally composed of a preposition and a modified noun; and it is a positive injury to a class to go on separating all prepositional phrases into their component parts. The same principle holds with many of the subordinate processes necessary to the complete analysis of sentences, as well as with much of the parsing. Stale, unprofitable matters should be dropped ; fresh, inviting problems should be set for study. Grammar can be made one of the most valuable studies in the curriculum ; but it should be made a fascinating subject as well. It is a branch of study that yields bountiful returns by cultivating greater purity of speech, by giving an understanding and appreciation of our rich, beautiful literature, and by training and developing the reasoning faculty, - the chief glory of educated man.


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1. All have probably played a very common game called “Twenty Questions,' “ Yes and No." You remember that one person leaves the room, while other members of the party agree upon an object which the first is to find out by asking twenty questions, to be answered by “Yes” or “No.” Suppose that the person has come back into the room to begin his questioning. His first inquiry is, “Is it large?” The answer is, "No." "Is it pretty ?” “Yes.” “Is it expensive ?” “Yes.” “ Is it useful ?“Yes." "Is it ornamental ?” “Yes." "Is it made of gold ?” “Yes.

“ Yes.” And so he goes on, until he learns that it is small, pretty, expensive, useful, ornamental, made of gold, - at last, a watch.

Each person in the room had seen the watch selected, and knew just how it looked. In his mind he had a picture of this watch. This mental picture is called an idea. His idea of the watch was of an object, small, pretty, expensive, useful, ornamental, made of gold. The questioner found out these qualities, or attributes, one at a time; then he put them together and built up for himself the picture of a watch. This picture in his mind, or this idea, of the watch is made of the sum of its attributes, or qualities. And so it is with the idea of every object; it is made from the sum of the attributes that describe it.


2. Name five attributes of each of the following objects. Be sure to select those which, when added together, will make a good mental picture of the object.

Sea, sky, forest, stream, plain, cloud, ice, steam, smoke, stone.


3. On a small piece of paper write the names of ten attributes of an object. Select good ones.

Be sure not to name the object. Exchange these slips. Each may then tell the name of the object described on the slip of

paper he has.

A SENTENCE. 4. When in the game the question was asked, " Is it large ?” each person thought, “ The watch is small.” He united the idea which he had of the object with the idea of smallness. Such a union of two ideas makes a thought. And when this thought is expressed in words, these words form a sentence. “The watch is small," then, is a sentence.

In the sentence, “ A watch is small,” the word “watch” names that of which something is thought and said ; it is called the subject of the sentence. The word “small” tells what attribute is asserted or predicated 1 of the subject “watch"; it is called the predicate attribute of the sentence. The word “is” asserts the relation existing between the subject and the predicate attribute. It is used to link, or couple, the subject and the predicate attribute; it is called the copula.1

1 For the primary meaning of these words see the dictionary. These primary definitions will help you to understand what these words mean in grammar.

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