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“He was a great though an erring man.” – “Hercules had the strength as well as the courage of the lion.” d. But if the adverb not, either with or without a conjunction, comes between two such words, a comma should be used after each, in accordance with the Rule, to indicate their common dependence on the last portion of the sentence; as, “The strong and violent emotions are the natural produce of an early, if not of a savage, state of society.” e. If the above-mentioned conjunctions unite not two words, but a word and a phrase, or two phrases, the commas should be inserted; as, “Intemperance not only wastes the earnings, but the health and minds, of men.” f. Two words or phrases connected by but or yet, or if either of these conjunctions be understood, are separated by a comma, when the first term is preceded by not or though; as, “Not beautiful, but graceful.”—“Though black, yet comely; and though rash, benign.” g. Commas should not be used between words contrasted in pairs, and having prepositions or conjunctions between them; as, “Let elevation without turgidness, purity without primness, pathos without whining, characterize our style.”—“Nothing is more wise or more admirable in action than to be resolute and yet calm, earnest and yet self-possessed, decided and yet modest.” h. When a negative word or phrase is put before an affirmative one, and does not commence the sentence, the phrases are separated by a comma, not only from each other, but from that portion of the sentence with which they are connected; as, “The greatest evils arise to human society, not from wild beasts, but from untamed passions.” i. If, however, the word expressing negation is not put in immediate connection with one of the phrases, but in that portion of the sentence on which they depend; or if a finite verb, active or neuter, immediately precedes the negative, the comma should be omitted before the first phrase; as, “The greatest evils do not arise to human society from wild beasts, but from untamed passions.”—“The greatest evils to human society arise not from wild beasts, but from untamed passions.”—“It is not from wild beasts, but from untamed passions, that the greatest evils arise to human Society.” .j. In some instances, where the insertion of a comma between contrasted phrases, used as a compound intermediate expression, would tend to obscure the connection subsisting between the parts of a sentence, the point between the phrases may be omitted; as, “The wise and good of every name are, with diversity of gifts but the same spirit, striving, each in his own way, to carry Society forWard into a healthier condition than the present.” By inserting a comma after “gifts,” — a mode of pointing which is correct in itself, —the relation between the verb “are" and the participle “striving” would be in some measure concealed from the eye.
k. The principle of omission exemplified in the preceding remark may be occasionally applied to sentences of a different construction, where words or expressions, admitting a comma without its being essential to the sense, are united to others from which the commas cannot at all be excluded. If this principle is judiciously applied, the relations and dependencies of the several parts of a sentence will be often exhibited to much advantage.
Why, according to the fifth Rule, should certain words and phrases in the following sentences be set off by commas?—
Truth is not a stagnant pool, but a fountain.
State the principles, as given in the Remarks, for the omission or the insertion of commas in the following sentences : —
Philosophy makes us wiser, Christianity makes us better, men.
EXERCISE TO BE WHITTEN.
Punctuate those sentences which require commas, in accordance with the principles laid down in the preceding Rule and Remarks (pp. 45–47): —
It is not the business of virtue to extirpate the affections but to regulate them. (Rule, and Remark i.) We live in deeds not years; in thoughts not breaths; in feelings not in figures on a dial. (Rule.) Novel-reading is generally calculated to weaken if not to debase the moral powers. (Rule, and Remark d.) Punishments often shock instead of harmonizing with the common feeling and sense of justice. (Rule.) Most of Homer's defects may reasonably be imputed not to his genius but to the manners of the age in which he lived. (Rem. h.) He who is insensible to praise is either raised far above or sunk much below the ordinary standard of human nature. (Rule.) Knowledge is conducive if not essential to all the ends of virtue (Rule, and Remark d.) Zeal without knowledge, prudence without courage, and peacefulness without principle, are dangerous qualities. (Remark g.) Christians have cast away the spirit in settling the precise dignity of their Master. (Rule.) . The Pyrrhonists not only doubted of every thing they saw and heard but of their own existence. (Rule, and Remark i.) A lofty rectitude marked every small as well as every great action of Washington's life. (Remark c.) The treasures of wisdom are not to be seized with a violent hand but to be earned by persevering labor. (Rule, and Remark i.) The literature of a nation is one of its highest and certainly one of its most refined elements of greatness and order. (Rule.) Those who flatter the prejudices of others are the enemies not the friends of the improvement and happiness of mankind. (Remark d.) God’s love to us is not a technical dogma but a living and practical truth. (Rule.) - Christianity may harmonize with but it needs not the sanction of philosophy. (Rule, and Remark b.) A man's self-reproach may be less for what one has than for what he has not done. (Rule.) Whenever words are contrasted with contradistinguished from or opposed to other words, they are always emphatical. (Rule, and Remark b.)
Motives of the most sincere though fanciful devotion induced the old man to renew the half-defaced inscriptions on the tombs of his ancestors. (Remark c.) Benevolence is not merely a feeling but a principle; not a dream of rapture for the fancy to indulge it, but a business for the hand to execute. (Rule, and Remark.f.) * The missionary went forth, not only with the wisdom of the serpent but with the simplicity of the dove, to do battle against every form of error and vice. (Remark j.) Society proceeds from barbarity to refinement, from ignorance to knowledge, from wealth to corruption, and from corruption to ruin. (Remark g.) Every one can distinguish an angry from a placid a cheerful from a melancholy a thoughtful from a thoughtless and a dull from a penetrating countenance. (Remarks g, a, and Rule.) Though unavoidable calamities make a part yet they make not the chief part of the vexations and sorrows that distress human life. (Rule, and Remark f.) The great object of education is not to store the mind with knowledge but to give activity and vigor to its powers. (Remark i, and Rule.) We are so made as to be capable not only of perceiving but also of being pleased with or pained by the various objects by which we are surrounded. (Rule, and Remarks h, b.) From the hour at which printing was invented, the brain and not the arm, the thinker and not the soldier, books and not kings, were to rule the world. (Remark g.) A rhetorical sometimes a grammatical pause should be used after words in apposition with or in opposition to each other. (Rule, and Remarks a, b.) Poetry is a voice that issues from and finds its echoes in the deep popular heart, where lies the source of all faith and of all enthusiasm for good. (Rule, and Remark b.) Contrasted faults through all their manners reign: Though poor luxurious; though submissive vain; Though grave yet trifling; zealous yet untrue; And, even in penance, planning sins anew. (Rule, and Remark f.) By the side of man should stand woman, – not Amazonian but angelic; gentle yet godlike in works of knowledge and duty; meek yet mighty in all the miracles of charity and benevolence. (Rule. and Remark f.)
R U L E VI.
The Subject and the Predicate.
No point, or pause-mark, is admissible between the subject or nominative and the predicate, or after any word that has a direct bearing on an expression which immediately follows.
1. Poetry has a natural alliance with the best affections of the human heart. 2. A grandee on the exchange may be a pauper in God's universe. 3. To be totally indifferent to praise or censure is a real defect in character. 4. The love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul.
a. In the above examples, the words “poetry,” “grandee,” “to be indifferent" (equivalent to the noun indifference), and “love,” are the several nominatives to the verbs “has,” “may be,” and “is.” Such phrases as “a grandee on the exchange,” “to be totally indifferent to praise or censure,” are sometimes called nominative phrases; and such an expression as “the love which survives the tomb,” a nominative clause. (See pp. 21, 22; V., VI.) But, logically speaking, all these are the subjects of what are severally predicated of them.
b. In these examples, with a partial exception in the first, the nominatives and verbs are accompanied by certain modifying or limiting phrases, so strictly connected in sense with the former as to be grammatically inseparable from them. In other words, each of the sentences expresses an uninterrupted flow of thought, and therefore allows no marked division.
c. There is, however, a class of sentences in which the subject or the predicate is accompanied with expressions, qualifying or explanatory, that are separable from the portions with which they are connected; as, “The weakest reasoners, especially on the subject of religion, are, generally speaking, the most positive.” -- “Health, which is God’s gift, should be preserved.” Expressions of this kind are sometimes termed parenthetical or intermediate, and will be particularly considered under Rule VIII. In every such case, two commas must be used, as above, to show the relation of the nominative to its verb, and that of the verb to the chief words in the predicate.