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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
The work that follows is a new edition of one published by the writer in England, about six years ago, under the title of " A Treatise on Grammatical Punctuation;" the difference consisting, not in their fundamental principles, but in the mode in which these are stàted, in the divisions of the subjects treated of, in the augmentation of the exercises, and in the insertion of matter which is entirely
The proper manner of using the book will depend altogether on the capabilities of the learner. If unversed in Punctuation, or but slightly acquainted with the art, it is recommended, that, after a careful study of Sect. II. of the “ Introduction," he confine his attention to the leading principles laid down in the definitions and rules, all of which are printed in a larger character, and may be readily seen; and also to their illustrations, which are given under the head of “ Examples " and of “ Oral Exercises," — in that portion which applies merely to the rules. When he has gone through this course, he will have been furnished with as much information as will enable him to comprehend the exceptions or the additional principles contained in the “ Remarks,” and to explain or write and punctuate the remaining or second series of exercises in accordance both with the rules and the remarks.
These modes of studying the book, it is conceived, may be advantageously adopted in schools, with more or less variation, to suit the capacity of each individual in a class. The Italic lines, under the heads termed “ Exercises,” are mere general directions, which the teacher may modify according to his own taste and judgment. But, beyond these brief hints, the writer has not prescribed
any questions for examination, because he thinks that such a pro cedure, common as it is in elementary books, either offers a premium to sloth and ignorance on the part of an instructor, or implies an insult to his understanding and his talents, as if he were less capable than an author of knowing what to ask of those under his charge.
Though written in a manner which specially adapts it to instruction in schools, the work is also designed for printers and private students, all of whom must have some previous acquaintance with English literature; and also for young authors, who can have little difficulty in mastering an art so intimately connected with their tastes or profession. For this class of students, the exercises termed “ Oral ” will be found peculiarly serviceable; tending, as they do by a variety of examples, to impress on the mind the practica) applications of the rules and remarks to which they refer.
At the request of friends, the writer has introduced into the Appendix a short article on Proof-reading, the insertion of which will, he trusts, be found of some use to authors and printers, if not to general readers.
With respect to the mode in which the work has been executed, its author asks no indulgence but that of candor and good feeling. He has ventured, as in the former edition, to call the book a
46 Treatise," because he professes to have gone somewhat thoroughly into the subject with which it deals; but he does not flatter himself, that he has cleared away every obstacle which has beset one small but requisite pathway to literary excellence. On the contrary, he feels that in a production of this nature, which requires so much experience and accuracy, and for the preparation of which so little aid, comparatively speaking, can be derived from other writers, all is not yet effected that can be done to simplify, and to put on a firm basis, that despised but useful art, – the art of Punctuation.
Boston, May, 1850.