Composition Rhetoric

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_Superintendent of Schools, Boston, Mass._


_Formerly English Department, High School La Salle, Illinois_

* * * * *



Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London.

* * * * *

Brooks’s Rhet.
W.P. 10

Whose teaching first demonstrated
to the authors that composition
could become a delight and pleasure,
this book is dedicated……


The aim of this book is not to produce critical readers of literature, nor
to prepare the pupil to answer questions about rhetorical theory, but to
enable every pupil to express in writing, freely, clearly, and forcibly,
whatever he may find within him worthy of expression.

Three considerations of fundamental importance underlie the plan of the

First, improvement in the performance of an act comes from the repetition
of that act accompanied by a conscious effort to omit the imperfections of
the former attempt. Therefore, the writing of a new theme in which, the
pupil attempts to avoid the error which occurred in his former theme is of
much greater educational value than is the copying of the old theme for
the purpose of correcting the errors in it. To copy the old theme is to
correct a result, to write a new theme correctly is to improve a process;
and it is this improvement of process that is the real aim of composition

Second, the logical arrangement of material should be subordinated to the
needs of the pupils. A theoretical discussion of the four forms of
discourse would require that each be completely treated in one place. Such
a treatment would ignore the fact that a high school pupil has daily need
to use each of the four forms of discourse, and that some assistance in
each should be given him as early in his course as possible. The book,
therefore, gives in Part 1 the elements of description, narration,
exposition, and argument, and reserves for Part II a more complete
treatment of each. In each part the effort has been made to adapt the
material presented to the maturity and power of thought of the pupil.

Third, expression cannot be compelled; it must be coaxed. Only under
favorable conditions can we hope to secure that reaction of intellect and
emotion which renders possible a full expression of self. One of the most
important of these favorable conditions is that the pupil shall write
something he wishes to write, for an audience which wishes to hear it. The
authors have, therefore, suggested subjects for themes in which high
school pupils are interested and about which they will wish to write. It
is hoped that the work will be so conducted by the teacher that every
theme will be read aloud before the class. It is essential that the
criticism of a theme so read shall, in the main, be complimentary,
pointing out and emphasizing those things which the pupil has done well;
and that destructive criticism be largely impersonal and be directed
toward a single definite point. Only thus may we avoid personal
embarrassment to the pupil, give him confidence in himself, and assure him
of a sympathetic audience–conditions essential to the effective teaching
of composition.

The plan of the book is as follows:–

1. Part 1 provides a series of themes covering description, narration,
exposition, and argument. The purpose is to give the pupil that
inspiration and that confidence in himself which come from the frequent
repetition of an act.

2. Each theme differs from the preceding usually by a single point, and
the teaching effort should be confined to that point. Only a false
standard of accuracy demands that every error be corrected every time it
appears. Such a course loses sight of the main point in a multiplicity of
details, renders instruction ineffective by scattering effort, produces
hopeless confusion in the mind of the pupil, and robs composition of that
inspiration without which it cannot succeed. In composition, as in other
things, it is better to do but one thing at a time.

3. Accompanying the written themes is a series of exercises, each designed
to emphasize the point presented in the text, but more especially intended
to provide for frequent drills in oral composition.

4. Throughout the first four chapters the paragraph is the unit of
composition, but for the sake of added interest some themes of greater
length have been included. Chapter V, on the Whole Composition, serves as
a review and summary of the methods of paragraph development, shows how to
make the transition from one paragraph to another, and discusses the more
important rhetorical principles underlying the union of paragraphs into a
coherent and unified whole.

5. The training furnished by Part 1 should result in giving to the pupil
some fluency of expression, some confidence in his ability to make known
to others that which he thinks and feels, and some power to determine that
the theme he writes, however rough-hewn and unshapely it may be, yet in
its major outlines follows closely the thought that is within his mind. If
the training has failed to give the pupil this power, it will be of little
advantage to him to have mastered some of the minor matters of technique,
or to have learned how to improve his phrasing, polish his sentences, and
distribute his commas.

6. Part II provides a series of themes covering the same ground as Part I,
but the treatment of these themes is more complete and the material is
adapted to the increased maturity and thought power of the pupils. By
means of references the pupils are directed to all former treatments of
the topics they are studying.

7. Part II discusses some topics usually treated in college courses in
rhetoric. These have been included for three reasons: first, because
comparatively few high school pupils go to college; second, because the
increased amount of time now given to composition enables the high school
to cover a wider field than formerly; and third, because such topics can
be studied with profit by pupils in the upper years of the high school

8. It is not intended that the text shall be recited. Its purpose is to
furnish a basis for discussion between teacher and pupils before the
pupils attempt to write. The real test of the pupils’ mastery of a
principle discussed in the text will be their ability to put it into

Any judgment of the success or failure of the book should be based upon
the quality of the themes which the pupils write. Criticisms and
suggestions will be welcomed from those who use the book.

The authors wish to express their obligation for advice and assistance to
Professor Edward Fulton, Department of Rhetoric, University of Illinois;
Messrs. Gilbert S. Blakely and H. E. Foster, Instructors in English,
Morris High School, New York; Miss Elizabeth Richardson, Girls’ High
School, Boston; Miss Katherine H. Shute, Boston Normal School; Miss E.
Marguerite Strauchon, Kansas City High School.

The selections from Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, Whittier,
Warner, Burroughs, Howells, and Trowbridge are used by permission of and
by special arrangement with Hoaghton, Mifflin, and Company, publishers of
their works.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Harper and Brothers; The Century
Company; Doubleday, Page, and Company; and Charles Scribner’s Sons for
permission to use the selections to which their names are attached: to the
publishers of the _Forum, Century, Atlantic Monthly, McClure’s, Harper’s,
Scribner’s_, and the _Outlook_ for permission to use extracts: and to
Scott, Foresman, and Company; D. Appleton and Company; Henry Holt and
Company; G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Thomas Y. Crowell and Company; and Benjamin
H. Sanborn and Company for permission to use copyrighted material.



1. Expression of Ideas arising from Experience

II. Expression of Ideas furnished by Imagination

III. Expression of Ideas acquired through Language

IV. The Purpose of Expression

V. The Whole Composition

VI. Letter Writing

VII. Poetry


VIII. Description

IX. Narration

X. Exposition

XI. Argument


I. Elements of Form

II. Review of Grammar

III. Figures of Speech

IV. The Rhetorical Features of the Sentence

V. List of Synonyms

VI. List of Words for Exercise in Word Usage




+1. Pleasure in Expressing Ideas.+–Though we all enjoy talking, we cannot
write so easily as we talk, nor with the same pleasure. We seldom talk
about topics in which we are not interested and concerning which we know
little or nothing, but we often have such topics assigned to us as
subjects for compositions. Under such conditions it is no wonder that
there is little pleasure in writing. The ideas that we express orally are
those with which we are familiar and in which we are interested, and we
tell them because we wish to tell them to some one who is likewise
interested and who desires to hear what we have to say. Such expression of
ideas is enjoyed by all. If we but choose to express the same kinds of
ideas and for the same reason, there is an equal or even greater pleasure
to be derived from the expression of ideas in writing. The purpose of this
book is to show you how to express ideas _clearly, effectively_, and _with

+2. Sources of Ideas.+–We must have ideas before we can express them.
There are three sources from which ideas arise. We may gain them from
experience; we may recombine them into new forms by the imagination; and
we may receive them from others through the medium of language, either by
conversation or by reading.

Every day we add to our knowledge through our senses. We see and hear and
do, and thus, through experience, acquire ideas about things. By far the
greater part of expression has to do with ideas that have originated in
this way. The first chapter in this book is concerned with the expression
of ideas gained through experience.

We may, however, think about things that have not actually occurred. We
may allow our minds to picture a football game that we have not seen, or
to plan a story about a boy who never existed. Nearly every one takes
pleasure in such an exercise of the imagination. The second chapter has to
do with the expression of ideas of this kind.

We also add to our knowledge through the medium of language. Through
conversation and reading we learn what others think, and it is often of
value to restate these ideas. The expression of ideas so acquired is
treated in the third chapter.

+3. Advantages of Expressing Ideas Gained from Experience.+–Young people
sometimes find difficulty in writing because they “have nothing to say.”
Such a reason will not hold in regard to ideas gained from experience.
Every one has a multitude of experiences every day, and wishes to tell
about some of them. Many of the things which happen to you or to your
friends, especially some which occur outside of the regular routine of
school work, are interesting and worth telling about. Thus experience
furnishes an abundance of material suitable for composition purposes, and
this material is of the best because the ideas are _sure to be your own_.
The first requisite of successful composition is to have thoughts of your
own. The expressing of ideas that are not your own is mere copy work, and
seldom worth doing.

Ideas acquired through experience are not only interesting and your own,
but they are likely to be _clear_ and _definite_. You know what you do and
what you see; or, if you do not, the effort to express your ideas so that
they will be clear to others will make you observe closely for yourself.

Still another advantage comes from the fact that your experiences are not
presented to you through the medium of language. When experience furnishes
the ideas, you are left free to choose for yourself the words that best
set forth what you wish to tell. The things of your experience are the
things with which you are most familiar, and therefore the words that best
apply to them are those which you most often use and whose meanings are
best known to you.

Because experience supplies an abundance of interesting, clear, and
definite ideas, which are your own and which may be expressed in familiar
language, it furnishes better material for training in expression than
does either imagination or reading.

+4. Essentials of Expression.+–The proper expression of ideas depends
upon the observance of two essentials: first, you should say what you
mean; and second, you should say it clearly. Without these, what you say
may be not only valueless, but positively misleading. If you wish your
hearer to understand what occurred at a certain time and place, you must
first of all know yourself exactly what did occur. Then you must express
it in language that shall make him understand it as clearly as you do. You
will learn much about clearness, later; but even now you can tell whether
you know what is meant by each sentence which you hear or read. It is not
so easy to tell whether what you say will convey clearly to another the
meaning you intend to convey, but you will be helped in this if you ask
yourself the questions: “Do I know exactly what happened?” “Have I said
what I intended to say?” “Have I said it so that it will be clear to the

+Oral Composition 1.+–_Report orally on one of the following:_–

1. Were you so interested in anything yesterday that you told it to your
parents or friends? Tell the class about it.

2. Tell about something that you have done this week, so that the class
may know exactly what you did.

3. Name some things in which you have been interested within the last two
or three months. Tell the class about one of them.

4. Tell the class about something that happened during vacation. Have you
told the event exactly as it occurred?

+5. Interest.+–In order to enjoy listening to a story we must take an
interest in it, and the story should be so told as to arouse and maintain
this interest. As you have listened to the reports of your classmates you
have been more pleased with some than with others. Even though the meaning
of each was clear, yet the interest aroused was in each case different.
Since the purpose of a story is to entertain, any story falls short of its
purpose when it ceases to be interesting. We must at all times say what we
mean and say it clearly; but in story telling especially we must also take
care that what we say shall arouse and maintain interest.

+6. The Introduction.+–The story of an event should be introduced in such
a manner as to enable the hearer to understand the circumstances that are
related. Such an introduction contributes to clearness and has an
important bearing upon the interest of the entire composition. In order to
render our account of an event clear and interesting it is usually
desirable to tell the hearers _when_ and _where_ the event occurred and
_who_ were present. Their understanding of it may be helped further by
telling such of the attendant circumstances as will answer the question,
_Why_? If I begin my story by saying, “Last summer John Anderson and I
were on a camping trip in the Adirondacks,” I have told when, where, and
who; and the addition of the words “on a camping trip” tells why we were
in the Adirondacks, and may serve to explain some of the events that are
to follow. Even the statement of the place indicates in some degree the
trend of the story, for many things that might occur “in the Adirondacks”
could not occur in a country where there are no mountains. Certainly the
story that would follow such an introduction would be expected to differ
from one beginning with the words, “Last summer John Anderson and I went
to visit a friend in New York.”

It is not always necessary to tell when, where, who, and why in the
introduction, but it is desirable to do so in most cases of oral story
telling. These four elements may not always be stated in incidents taken
from books, for the reader may be already familiar with them from the
preceding portions of the book. The title of a printed or written story
may serve as an introduction and give us all needed information. In
relating personal incidents the time element is seldom omitted, though it
may be stated indirectly or indefinitely by such expressions as “once” or
‘lately.’ In many stories the interest depends upon the plot, and the time
is not definitely stated.


Notice what elements are included in each of the following

1. Saturday last at Mount Holly, about eight miles from this place, nearly
three hundred people were gathered together to see an experiment or two
tried on some persons accused of witchcraft.

2. On the morning of the 10th instant at sunrise, they were discovered
from Put-in-Bay, where I lay at anchor with the squadron under my command.

3. It was on Sunday when I awoke to the realization that I had quitted
civilization and was afloat on an unfamiliar body of water in an open

4. Up and down the long corn rows Pap Overholt guided the old mule and the
small, rickety, inefficient plow, whose low handles bowed his tall, broad
shoulders beneath the mild heat of a mountain June sun. As he went–ever
with a furtive eye upon the cabin–he muttered to himself, shaking his

5. After breakfast, I went down to the Saponey Indian town, which is about
a musket shot from the fort.

6. The lonely stretch of uphill road, upon whose yellow clay the midsummer
sun beat vertically down, would have represented a toilsome climb to a
grown and unencumbered man. To the boy staggering under the burden of a
brimful carpet bag, it seemed fairly unscalable; wherefore he stopped at
its base and looked up in dismay to its far-off, red-hot summit.

7. One afternoon last summer, three or four people from New York, two from
Boston, and a young man from the Middle West were lunching at one of the
country clubs on the south shore of Long Island, and there came about a
mild discussion of the American universities.

8. “But where is the station?” inquired the Judge.

“Ain’t none, boss. Dis heah is jes a crossing. Train’s about due now, sah;
you-all won’t hab long fer to wait. Thanky, sah; good-by; sorry you-all
didn’t find no birds.”

The Judge picked up his gun case and grip and walked toward his two
companions waiting on the platform a few yards away. Silhouetted against
the moonlight they made him think of the figure 10, for Mr. Appleton was
tall and erect, and the little Doctor short and circular.

9. I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
“Good speed!” cried the watch, as the gate bolts undrew,
“Speed!” echoed the wall to us galloping through.
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

+Oral Composition II.+–_Relate orally to the class some incident in which
you were personally concerned._

The following may suggest a subject:–
1. How I made friends with the squirrels.
2. A trick of a tame crow.
3. Why I missed the train.
4. How a horse was rescued.
5. Lost and found.
6. My visit to a menagerie.

(When preparing to relate this incident ask yourself first whether you
know exactly what happened. Consider then how to begin the story so that
your hearer will know when and where it happened and who were there.
Include in the beginning any statement that will assist the reader in
understanding the events which follow.)

+7. The Point of a Story.+–It is not necessary that a story be concerned
with a thrilling event in order to be interesting. Even a most commonplace
occurrence may be so told that it is worth listening to. It is more
important that a story have a point and be so told that this point will be
readily appreciated than that it deal with important or thrilling events.
The story should lead easily and rapidly to its point, and when this is
reached the end of the story should not be far distant. The beginning of a
story will contain statements that will assist us in appreciating the
point when we come to it, but if the point is plainly stated near the
beginning, or even if it is too strongly suggested, our story will drag.

At what point in the following selection is the interest greatest?

During the Civil War, I lived in that portion of Tennessee which was
alternately held by the conflicting armies. My father and brothers were
away, as were all the other men in the neighborhood, except a few very old
ones and some half-grown boys. Mother and I were in constant fear of
injury from stragglers from both armies. We had never been disturbed,
for our farm was a mile or more back from the road along which such
detachments usually moved. We had periods of comparative quiet in which we
felt at ease, and then would come reports of depredation near at hand, or
rumors of the presence of marauding bands in neighboring settlements.

One evening such a rumor came to us, and we were consequently anxious.
Early next morning, before the fog had lifted, I caught sight of two men
crossing the road at the far end of the orchard. They jumped over the
fence into the orchard and disappeared among the trees. I had but a brief
glimpse of them, but it was sufficient to show me that one had a gun over
his shoulder, while the other carried a saber.

“Quick, Mother, quick!” I cried. “Come to the window. There are soldiers
in the orchard.”

Keeping out of sight, we watched the progress of the men through the
orchard. Our brief glimpses of them through the trees showed that they
were not coming directly to the house, but were headed for the barn and
sheds, and in order to keep out of sight, were following a slight ravine
which ran across the orchard and led to the back of the barns.

Mother and I were very much excited and hardly knew what to do. Finally it
was determined to hide upstairs in hopes that the men were bent on
stealing chickens or pigs, and might leave without disturbing the house.
We locked the doors and went upstairs, taking with us the old musket and
the butcher knife. We could hear the men about the barn, and after what
seemed an interminable time we heard them coming towards the house.

Though shaking all over, I summoned courage enough to go to the window and
look out of a hole in the shade. As the men came into sight around the
corner, I screamed outright, but from relief rather than fear, for the men
were not soldiers, but Grandpa Smith and his fourteen-year-old grandson.
They stopped at the well to get a drink, and when we opened the window,
the old man said, “We’re just on our way to mow the back lot and stopped
to grind the scythe on your stone. We broke ours yesterday.”

Then he picked up the scythe which in the fog I had taken for a saber,
while the grandson again shouldered his pitchfork musket.

What effect would it have on the interest aroused by the preceding story
to begin it as follows?

“One morning during the Civil War, I saw two of my neighbors, Grandpa
Smith and his grandson, crossing our orchard, one carrying a scythe and
the other a pitchfork.”

Why is the expression, “before the fog had lifted,” used near the
beginning of the story? Would a description of the appearance of the
house, the barn, or the persons add to the interest aroused by the story?
Is it necessary to add anything to the story?


In each of the following selections decide where the interest reaches its
climax. Has anything been said in the beginning of any of them which
suggests what the point will be, or which helps you to appreciate it when
you come to it?

1. The next evening our travelers encamped on a sand bar, or rather a
great bank of sand, that ran for miles along one side of the river. They
kept watch as usual, Leon taking the first turn. He seated himself on a
pile of sand and did his best to keep awake; but in about an hour after
the rest were asleep, he felt very drowsy and fell into a nap that lasted
nearly half an hour, and might have continued longer had he not slid down
the sand hill and tumbled over on his side. This awoke him. Feeling vexed
with himself, he rubbed his eyes and looked about to see if any creature
had ventured near. He first looked towards the woods, for of course that
was the direction from which the tigers would come; but he had scarcely
turned himself when he perceived a pair of eyes glancing at him from the
other side of the fire. Close to them another pair, then another and
another, until, having looked on every side, he saw himself surrounded by
a complete circle of glancing eyes. It is true they were small ones, and
some of the heads which he could see by the blaze were small. They were
not jaguars, but they had an ugly look. They looked like the heads of
serpents. Was it possible that a hundred serpents could have surrounded
the camp?

Brought suddenly to his feet, Leon stood for some moments uncertain what
to do. He believed that the eyes belonged to snakes which had just crept
out of the river; and he feared that any movement on his part would lead
them to attack him. Having risen to his feet, his eyes were above the
level of the blaze, and he was able in a little while to see more clearly.

He now saw that the snakelike heads belonged to creatures with large oval
bodies, and that, besides the fifty or more which had come up to look at
the fire, there were whole droves of them upon the sandy beach beyond. As
far as he could see on all sides, the bank was covered with them. A
strange sight it was, and most fearful. For his life he could not make out
what it meant, or by what sort of wild animals he was surrounded.

He could see that their bodies were not larger than those of small sheep;
and, from the way in which they glistened in the moonlight, he was sure
they had come out of the river. He called to the Indian guide, who awoke
and started to his feet in alarm. The movement frightened the creatures
round the fire; they rushed to the shore, and were heard plunging by
hundreds into the water.

The Indian’s ear caught the sounds, and his eye took in the whole thing at
a glance.

“Turtles,” he said.

“Oh,” said the lad; “turtles, are they?”

“Yes, master,” answered the guide. “I suppose this is one of their great
hatching places. They are going to lay their eggs in the sand.”

–Captain Mayne Reid.

Would the preceding incident be interesting if we were told at the
beginning that the boy and the Indian had encamped near a hatching place
of turtles?

2. Not every story that reads like fiction is fact, but the _Brooklyn
Eagle_ assures its readers that the one here quoted is quite true. The man
who told it was for many years an officer of the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy Railroad Company in Illinois, and had annual passes over all the
important railroads in the country. His duties took him to Springfield,
the state capital, and as he generally went by the Chicago, Alton & St.
Louis road, the conductors on that line knew him so well that they never
asked to see his pass.

“One day I received a telegram summoning me to meet one of the officers of
my company at Aurora the next morning. I had only a short time to catch my
train to Chicago, and in my haste left my passbook behind. I did not find
this out until I reached Chicago, and was about to take the last train for
Aurora that night. Then I saw that the conductor, a man brought over from
the Iowa division, was a stranger, and the fact that I would need my pass
reminded me that I did not have it.

“I told the conductor the situation, but he said he could not carry me on
my mere representation that I had a pass.

“Why, man,” said I, “I am an officer of the company, going to Aurora on
company business, and this is the last train that will get me there in
time. You must take me.”

“He was polite, but firm. He said he was a new man on this division, and
could not afford to make any mistakes.

“When I saw that he was determined, I rushed off to the telegraph office;
but it was too late to catch anybody authorized to issue passes, so I
settled it in my mind that I must go by carriage, and the prospect of an
all-night ride over bad roads through the dark was anything but inviting.
Indeed, it was so forbidding that I resolved to make one more appeal to
the conductor.

“You simply must take me to Aurora!” I said, with intense earnestness.

“I can’t do it,” he answered. “But I believe you are what you represent
yourself to be, and I will lend you the money personally. It is only one
dollar and twelve cents.”

“Well, sir, you could have knocked me down with the flat side of a
palm-leaf fan. I had more than two thousand dollars in currency in my
pocket, but it had never for an instant occurred to me that I could pay my
fare and ride on that train. I showed the conductor a wad of money that
made his eyes stick out.

“I thought it was funny,” said he, “that a man in your position couldn’t
raise one dollar and twelve cents. It was that that made me believe you
were playing a trick to see if I would violate the rule.”

“The simple truth was, I had ridden everywhere on passes so many years,
that it did not occur to me that I could ride in any other way.”

+Oral Composition III.+[Footnote: Oral compositions should be continued
throughout the course. A few minutes may be profitably used once or twice
each week in having each member of the class stand before the class and
relate briefly some incident which he has witnessed since the last meeting
of the class. Exercises like those on page 53 also will furnish
opportunities for oral work.]–_Relate to the class some personal
incident suggested by one of the following subjects_:–

1. A day with my cousin.
2. Caught in the act.
3. A joke on me.
4. My peculiar mistake.
5. My experience on a farm.
6. My experience in a strange Sunday school.
7. What I saw when I was coming to school.

(In preparation for this exercise, consider the point of your story. What
must you tell first in order to enable the hearers to understand the
point? Can you say anything that will make them want to know what the
point is without really telling them? Can you lead up to it without too
long a delay? Can you stop when the point has been made?)

+8. Theme Writing and Correcting.+–Any written exercise, whether long or
short, is called a theme throughout this book. Just as one learns to skate
by skating, so one learns to write by writing; therefore many themes will
be required. Since the clear expression of thought is one of the essential
characteristics of every theme, theme correction should be primarily
directed to improvement in clearness. The teacher will need to assist in
this correction, but the really valuable part is that which you do for
yourself. After you leave school you will need to decide for yourself what
is right and what is best, and it is essential that you now learn how to
make such decisions.

To aid you in acquiring a habit of self-correction, questions or
suggestions follow the directions for writing each theme. In Theme I you
are to express clearly to others something that is already clear to you.

+Theme I.+-_Write a short theme on one of the subjects that you have used
for an oral composition._

(After writing this theme, read it aloud to yourself. Does it read
smoothly? Have you told what actually happened? Have you told it so that
the hearers will understand you? Have you said what you meant to say?
Consider the introduction. Has the story a point?)

+9. The Conclusion.+–Since the point of a story marks the climax of
interest, it is evident that the conclusion must not be long delayed after
the point has been reached. If the story has been well told, the point
marks the natural conclusion, and a sentence or two will serve to bring
the story to a satisfactory end. If a suitable ending does not suggest
itself, it is better to omit the conclusion altogether than to construct a
forced or flowery one. Notice the conclusion of the incident of the Civil
War related on page 18.

+Theme II.+-_Write a short theme suggested by one of the following

1. A school picnic.
2. A race.
3. The largest fire I have seen.
4. A skating accident.
5. A queer mistake.
6. An experience with a tramp.

(Correct with reference to meaning and clearness. Consider the
introduction; the point; the conclusion.)

+10. Observation of Actions.+–Many of our most interesting experiences
arise from observing the actions of others. A written description of what
we have observed will gain in interest to the reader, if, in addition to
telling what was done, we give some indication of the way in which it was
done. A list of tools a carpenter uses and the operations he performs
during the half hour we watch him, may be dull and uninteresting; but our
description may have an added value if it shows his manner of working so
that the reader can determine whether the carpenter is an orderly,
methodical, and rapid worker or a mere putterer who is careless,
haphazard, and slow. Two persons will perform similar actions in very
different ways. Our description should be so worded as to show what the
differences are.

+Theme III.+–_Write a theme relating actions._

Suggested subjects:–
1. A mason, blacksmith, painter, or other mechanic at work.
2. How my neighbor mows his lawn.
3. What a man does when his automobile breaks down.
4. Describe the actions of a cat, dog, rabbit, squirrel, or other
5. Watch the push-cart man a half-hour and report what he did.

(Have you told exactly what was done? Can you by the choice of suitable
words show more plainly the way in which it was done? Does this theme need
to have an introduction? A point? A conclusion?)

+11. Selection of Details.+–You are at present concerned with telling
events that actually happen; but this does not mean that you need to
include everything that occurs. If you wish to tell a friend about some
interesting or exciting incident at a picnic, he will not care to hear
everything that took place during the day. He may listen politely to a
statement of what train you took and what you had in your lunch basket,
but he will be little interested in such details. In order to maintain
interest, the point of your story must not be too long delayed. Brevity is
desirable, and details that bear little relation to the main point, and
that do not prepare the listener to understand and appreciate this point,
are better omitted.

+Theme IV.+–_Write about something that you have done. Use any of the
following subjects, or one suggested by them:_–

1. My first hunt.
2. Why I was tardy.
3. My first fishing trip.
4. My narrow escape.
5. A runaway.
6. What I did last Saturday.

(Read the theme aloud to yourself. Does it read smoothly? Have you said
what you meant to say? Have you expressed it clearly? Consider the
introduction; the point; the conclusion. Reject unnecessary details.)

+12. Order of Events.+–The order in which events occur will assist in
establishing the order in which to relate them. If you are telling about
only one person, you can follow the time order of the events as they
actually happened; but if you are telling about two or more persons who
were doing different things at the same time, you will need to tell first
what one did and then what another did. You must, however, make it clear
to the reader that, though you have told one event after the other, they
really happened at the same time.

In the selection below notice how the italicized portions indicate the
relation in time that the different events bear to one another.

At the beach yesterday a fat woman and her three children caused a great
commotion. They had rigged themselves out in hired suits which might be
described as an average fit, for that of the mother was as much too small
as those of the children were too large. They trotted gingerly out into
the surf, wholly unconscious that the crowd of beach loungers had, for the
time, turned their attention from each other to the quartet in the water.
By degrees the four worked out farther and farther until a wave larger
than usual washed the smallest child entirely off his feet, and caused the
mother to scream lustily for help. The people on the beach started up, and
two or three men hastened to the rescue, but their progress was impeded by
the crowd of frightened girls and women _who were scrambling and splashing
towards the shore_. The mother’s frantic efforts to reach the little boy
were rendered ineffectual by the two girls, _who at the moment of the
first alarm had been strangled_ by the salt water and _were now clinging_
desperately to her arms and _attempting_ to climb up to her shoulders.
_Meanwhile_, the lifeboat man was rowing rapidly towards the scene, but it
seemed to the onlookers _who had rushed to the platform railing_ that he
would never arrive. _At the same time_ a young man, _who had started from
the diving raft some time before_, was swimming towards shore with
powerful strokes. He _now_ reached the spot, caught hold of the boy, and
lifted him into the lifeboat, which had _at last_ arrived.

Such expressions as _meanwhile, in the meantime, during, at last, while_,
etc., are regularly used to denote the kind of time relations now under
discussion. They should be used when they avoid confusion, but often a
direct transition from one set of actions to another can be made without
their use. Notice also the use of the relative clause to indicate time

+Theme V.+-_Write a short theme, using some one of the subjects named
under the preceding themes or one suggested by them. Select one which you
have not already used._

(Have you told enough to enable the reader to follow easily the thread of
the story and to understand what you meant to tell? If your theme is
concerned with more than one set of activities, have you made the
transition from one to another in such a way as to be clear to the reader?
Have you expressed the transitions with the proper time relations? What
other questions should you ask yourself while correcting this theme?)


1. There is a pleasure to be derived from the expression of ideas.

2. There are three sources of ideas: experience, imagination, language.

3. Ideas gained from experience may be advantageously used for
composition purposes because–
_a._ They are interesting.
_b._ They are your own.
_c._ They are likely to be clear and definite.
_d._ They offer free choice of language.

4. The two essentials of expression are–
_a._ To say what you mean.
_b._ To say it clearly.
5. A story should be told so as to arouse and maintain interest.
_a._ The introduction usually tells when, where, who, and why.
_b._ Every story worth telling has a point.
_c._ Only such details are included as are essential to the
of the point.
_d._ The conclusion is brief. The story comes to an end shortly
after the point is told.

6. Care must be taken to indicate the time order, especially when two or
more events occur at the same time.

7. The correction of one’s own theme is the most valuable form of


+13. Relation of Imagination to Experience.+–All ideas are based upon and
spring from experience, and the imagination merely places them in new
combinations. For the purpose of this book, however, it is convenient to
distinguish those themes that relate real events as they actually occurred
from those themes that relate events that did not happen. That body of
writing which we call literature is largely composed of works of an
imaginative character, and for this reason it has sometimes been
carelessly assumed that in order to write one must be possessed of an
excellent imagination. Such an assumption loses sight of the fact that
imaginative writings cover but one small part of the whole field. The
production of literature is the business of a few, while every one has
occasion every day to express ideas. It is evident that by far the greater
part of the ideas we are called upon to express do not require the use of
the imagination, but exercises in writing themes of an imaginative
character are given here because there is pleasure in writing such themes
and because practice in writing them will aid us in stating clearly and
effectively the many ideas arising from our daily experiences.

+14. Advantages and Disadvantages of Imaginative Theme Writing.+–Ideas
furnished by the imagination are no less your own than are those furnished
by experience, and the same freedom in the choice of language prevails.
Such ideas are, however, not likely to be so clear and definite. At the
time of their occurrence they do not make so deep and vital an impression
upon you. If not recorded as they occur, they can seldom be recalled in
the original form. Even though you attempt to write these imaginary ideas
as you think them, you can and do change and modify them as you go along.
This lack of clearness and permanent form, while it seems to give greater
freedom, carries with it disadvantages. In the first place the ideas are
less likely to be worth recording, and in the second place it is more
difficult to give them a unity and directness of statement that will hold
the attention and interest of the reader until the chief point is reached.

+15. Probability.+–Not everything that the imagination may furnish is
equally worth expressing. If you choose to write about something for which
imagination supplies the ideas, you may create for yourself such ideas as
you wish. Their order of occurrence and their time and place are not
determined by outward events, but solely by the mind itself. The events
are no longer real and actual, but may be changed and rearranged without
limit. An imaginative series of events may conform closely to the real and
probable, or it may be manifestly improbable. Which will be of greater
interest will depend upon the reader, but it will be found that the story
which comes nearest to reality is most satisfactory. In relating fairy
tales we confessedly attempt to tell events not possible in the real
world, but in relating tales of real life, however imaginary, we should
tell the events so that everything seems both possible and probable. An
imaginative story, in which the persons seem to be real persons who do and
say the things that real persons do and say, will be found much more
satisfactory than a story that depends for its outcome on something
manifestly impossible. He who really does the best in imaginative writing
is the one who has most closely observed the real events of everyday life,
and states his imaginary events so that they seem real.

+Theme VI.+–_Write a short theme, using one of the subjects below. You
need not tell something that actually happened, but what you tell should
be so told that your readers will think it might have happened._

1. A trip in a sailboat.
2. The travels of a penny.
3. How I was lost.
4. A cat’s account of a mouse hunt.
5. The mouse’s account of the same hunt.
6. My experience with a burglar.
7. The burglar’s story.

+16. Euphony.+–Besides clearness in a composition there are other
desirable qualities. To one of these, various names have been applied, as
“euphony,” “ease,” “elegance,” “beauty,” etc. Of two selections equally
clear in meaning one may be more pleasing than the other. One may seem
harsh and rough, while the other flows along with a satisfying ease and
smoothness. If the thought that is in our mind fails to clothe itself in
suitable language and appropriate figures, we can do little by conscious
effort toward improving the beauty of the language; but by avoiding choppy
sentences and inharmonious combinations of words and phrases, we may
remove from our compositions much that is harsh and rough. That quality
which we call ease or euphony is better detected by the ear than by the
eye, and for this reason it has been suggested that you read each theme
aloud to yourself before presenting it to the class. Such a reading will
assist you to determine whether you have made your meaning clear and to
eliminate some of the more disagreeable combinations.

+17. Variety.+–Of the many elements which affect the euphony of a theme
none is more essential than variety. The constant repetition of the same
thing grows monotonous and distasteful, while a pleasing variety maintains
interest and improves the story. For the sake of this variety we avoid the
continual use of the same words and phrases, substituting synonyms and
equivalent expressions if we have need to repeat the same idea many times.

Most children begin every sentence of a story with “and,” or perhaps it is
better to say that they conclude many sentences with “and-uh,” leaving the
thought in suspense while they are trying to think of what to say next.
High school pupils are not wholly free from this habit, and it is
sometimes retained in their written work. This excessive use of _and_
needs to be corrected. An examination of our language habits will show
that nearly every one has one or more words which he uses to excess. A
professor of rhetoric, after years of correcting others, discovered by
underscoring the word _that_ each time it occurred in his own writing that
he was using it twice as often as necessary. _Got_ is one of the words
used too frequently, and often incorrectly.


1. In the following selection notice how each sentence begins. Compare it
with one of your own themes.

I was witness to events of a less peaceful character. One day when I went
out to my woodpile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large
ants, the one red, and the other much larger, nearly half an inch long,
and black, fiercely contending with each other. Having once got hold, they
never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips
incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were
covered with such combatants; that it was not a _duellum_, but a
_bellum_,–a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against
the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these
Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my woodyard, and the ground
was already strewn with the dead and the dying, both red and black.

It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed–the only battlefield I
ever trod while the battle was raging…. On every side they were engaged
in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human
soldiers never fought so resolutely.–Thoreau.

2. Examine one of your own themes. If some word occurs frequently,
underscore it each time, and then substitute words or expressions for it
in as many places as you can. If necessary, reconstruct the sentences so
as to avoid using the word in some cases. Notice how these substitutions
give a variety to your expression and improve the euphony of your

Theme VII.–_Write a short story suggested by one of the following

1. The trout’s revenge.
2. A sparrow’s mistake.
3. A fortunate shot.
4. The freshman and the professor.
5. What the bookcase thought about it.

(Correct with reference to meaning and clearness. Cross out unnecessary
_ands_. Consider the beginnings of the sentences. Can you improve the
euphony by a different choice of words?)

18. Sentence Length.–Euphony is aided by securing a variety in the length
of sentences. In endeavoring to avoid the excessive use of _and_, some
pupils obtain results illustrated by the following example:–

Jean passed through the door of the church. He saw a child sitting on one
of the stone steps. She was fast asleep in the midst of the snow. The
child was thinly clad. Her feet, cold as it was, were bare.

A theme composed wholly of such a succession of short sentences is
tedious. Especially when read aloud does its monotony become apparent.
Though the thought in each sentence is complete, the effect is not
satisfactory to the reader, because the thought of the whole does not come
to him as fast as his mind can act. Such an arrangement of sentences might
be satisfactory to young children, because it would agree with their
habits of thought; but as one grows in ability to think more rapidly, he
finds that longer and more complicated sentences best express his thoughts
and are best understood by those for whom he writes. We introduce
sentences of different length and different structure, because they more
clearly express the thought of the whole and state it in a form more in
accordance with the mental activity of the hearer. When we have done this,
we at the same time secure a variety that avoids monotony.

In attempting to avoid a series of short sentences, care should be taken
not to go to the other extreme. Sentences should not be overloaded. Too
many adjectives or participles or subordinate clauses will render the
meaning obscure. The number of phrases and clauses that may safely be
introduced will be determined by the ability of the mind to grasp the
meaning readily and accurately. It is sometimes quite as important to
separate a long sentence into shorter ones as it is to combine short ones
into those of greater length.

Notice in the following selection the different ways in which several
ideas have been brought into the same sentence without rendering the
meaning obscure:–

Loki made his way across a vast desert moorland, and came, after three
days, into the barren hill country and among the rugged mountains of the
South. There an earthquake had split the rocks asunder, and opened dark
and bottomless gorges, and hollowed out many a low-walled cavern, where
the light of day was never seen. Along deep, winding ways, Loki went,
squeezing through narrow crevices, creeping under huge rocks, and gliding
through crooked clefts, until he came at last into a great underground
hall, where his eyes were dazzled by a light that was stronger and
brighter than the day; for on every side were glowing fires, roaring in
wonderful little gorges, and blown by wonderful little bellows.

+Theme VIII.+–_Write a story suggested by one of the following

1. School in the year 2000.
2. The lost door key.
3. Our big bonfire.
4. Kidnapped.
5. A bear hunt.
6. A mistake in the telegram.
7. How Fido rescued his master.

(Can you render the meaning more clear by uniting short sentences into
longer ones, or by separating long sentences into shorter ones? Can you
omit any _ands_? How many of the sentences begin with the same word? Can
you change any of those words? Pick out the words which show the
subordinate relation of some parts to others. Do all of the incidents in
your story seem probable?)

+19. Conversation.+–It must not be inferred from the preceding section
that short sentences are never to be used. They are quite as necessary as
long ones, and in some cases, such as the portraying of strong emotion,
are more effective. Even a succession of short sentences may be used with
good results to describe rapid action. In conversation, also, sentences
are generally short, and often grammatically incomplete, though they may
be understood by the hearer. Sometimes this incompleteness is justified by
the idiom of the language, but more often it is the result of carelessness
on the part of the speaker. The hearer understands what is said either
because he knows about what to expect, or because the expression is a
familiar one. Such carelessness not only causes the omission of words
grammatically necessary, but brings about the incorrect pronunciation of
words and their faulty combination into sentences.

You speak much more often than you write. Your habits of speech are likely
to become permanent and your errors of speech will creep into your written
work. It is important therefore that you watch your spoken language.
Occasions will arise when the slang expressions that you so freely use
will seem inappropriate, and it will be unfortunate indeed if you find
that you have used the slang so long that you have no other words to take
their place. An abbreviated form of _gymnasium_ or of _mathematics_ may
not attract attention among your schoolmates, but there are circles where
such abbreviations are not used. By watching your own speech you will find
that some incorrect forms are very common. Improvement can be made by
giving your attention to one of them, such as the use of _guess_, or of
_got_, or of _don’t_ and _doesn’t_.

In making a written report of conversation you should remember that short
sentences predominate. A conversation composed of long sentences would
seem stilted and made to order. What each person says, however short, is
put into a separate division and indented. Explanatory matter accompanying
the conversation is placed with the spoken part to which it most closely
relates. Notice the indentations and the use of quotation marks in several
printed reports of conversation.

+20. Ideas from Pictures.+–If you look at a picture and then attempt to
tell some one else what you see, you will express ideas gained by
experience. A picture may, however, cause a very different set of ideas to
arise. Look at the picture on page 38. Can you imagine the circumstances
that preceded the situation shown by the picture? Or again, can you not
begin with that situation and imagine what would be done next? If you
write out either of the series of events, the theme, though suggested by
the picture, will be composed of ideas furnished by the imagination. In
the writing of a story suggested by a picture, the situation given in the
picture should be made the point of greatest interest, and should be
accounted for by relating a series of events supposed to have preceded it.

+Theme IX.+–_Write a story that will account for the condition shown in
the picture on page 38._

(Correct with reference to clearness and meaning. Do you need to change
the sentence length either for the sake of clearness or for the sake of
variety? Cross out unnecessary _ands_. Underscore _got_ and _then_ each
time you have used them. Can the reader follow the thread of your story to
its chief point?)


+21. Vocabulary.+–A word is the symbol of an idea, and the addition of a
word to one’s vocabulary usually means that a new idea has been acquired.
The more we see and hear and read, the greater our stock of ideas becomes.
As our life experiences increase, so should our supply of words increase.
We may have ideas without having the words with which to express them, and
we may meet with words whose meanings we do not know. In either case there
is chance for improvement. When you have a new idea, find out how best to
express it, and when you meet with a new word, add it to your vocabulary.

It is necessary to distinguish between our reading vocabulary and our
writing vocabulary. There are many words that belong only to the first. We
know what they mean when we meet them in our reading, but we do not use
them in our writing. Our speaking vocabulary also differs from that which
we employ in writing. We use words and phrases on paper that seldom appear
in our speech, and, on the other hand, many of the words that we speak do
not appear in our writing. There is, however, a constant shifting of words
from one to another of these three groups. When we meet an unknown word,
it usually becomes a part of our reading vocabulary. Later it may appear
in our written work, and finally we may use it in speaking. We add a word
to our reading vocabulary when we determine its meaning, but _we must use
it_ in order to add it to our writing and speaking vocabulary. A conscious
effort to aid in this acquisition of words is highly desirable.

A limited vocabulary indicates limited ideas. If one is limited to
_awfully_ in order to express a superlative; if his use of adjectives is
restricted to _nice, jolly, lovely_, and _elegant;_ if he must always
_abominate_ and never _abhor_, _detest, dislike_, or _loathe;_ if he can
only _adore_ and not _admire, respect, revere_, or _venerate_,–then he
has failed, indeed, to know the possibilities and beauties of English.
Such a language habit shows a mind that has failed to distinguish between
ideas. The best way to study the shades of meaning and the choice of words
is in the actual production of a theme wherein there is need to bring out
these differences in meaning by the use of words; but some help may be
gained from a formal study of synonyms and antonyms and of the distinction
in use and meaning between words which are commonly confused with each
other. For this purpose such exercises are given in the Appendix.

+22. Choice of Words.+–Even though our words may express the proper
meaning, the effect may not be a desirable one unless we use words suited
to the occasion described and to the person writing. Pupils of high school
age know the meaning of many words which are too “bookish” for daily use
by them. Edward Everett Hale might use expressions which would not be
suitable for a freshman’s composition. Taste and good judgment will help
you to avoid the unsuitable or grandiloquent.

The proper selection of words not only implies that we shall avoid the
wrong word, but also that we shall choose the right one. A suitable
adjective may give a clearer image than is expressed by a whole sentence;
a single verb may tell better how some one acted than can be told by a
lengthy explanation. Since narration has to do with action, we need in
story telling to be especially careful in our choice of verbs.

What can you say of the suitability of the words in the following
selection, taken from an old school reader?

_Mrs. Lismore._ You are quite breathless, Charles; where have you been
running so violently?

_Charles._ From the poultry yard, mamma, where I have been diverting
myself with the bravado of the old gander. I did not observe him till he
came toward me very fiercely, when, to induce him to pursue me, I ran from
him. He followed, till, supposing he had beaten me, he returned to the
geese, who appeared to receive him with acclamations of joy, cackling very
loud, and seeming actually to laugh, and to enjoy the triumph of their
gallant chief.

_Emma._ I wish I had been with you, Charles; I have often admired the
gambols of these beautiful birds, and wondered how they came by the
appellation of _silly_, which is generally bestowed on them. I remember
Martha, our nursery maid, used often to call me a _silly goose_. How came
they to deserve that term, mamma? they appear to me to have as much
intelligence as any of the feathered tribe.

_Mrs. Lismore._ I have often thought with you, Emma, and supposed that
term, like many others, misapplied, for want of examining into the justice
of so degrading an epithet.

+23. Improbability.+–Up to this point we have been concerned with
relating events that _could_ exist, though we knew that they _did_ not. We
may, however, imagine a series of events that are manifestly impossible.
There is a pleasure in inventing improbable stories, and if we know from
the beginning that they are to be so, we enjoy listening to them. Such
tales are more satisfactory to young persons than to older ones, as is
shown by our declining interest in fairy stories as we grow older.

By limiting the improbability to a part of the story, it is possible to
give an air of reality to the whole. Though the conditions described in a
story about a trip to the moon might be wholly impossible, yet the reader
for the time being might feel that the events were actually happening if
the characters in the story were acting as real men would act under
similar circumstances. In stories such as those of Thompson-Seton, where
the animals are personified, the impossibilities are forgotten, because
the actions and situations are so real. In fairy stories and similar tales
neither characters nor actions are in any way limited by probability.

+Theme X.+–_Write a short story suggested by one of the subjects below.
Make either the characters or their surroundings seem real._

1. A week in Mars.
2. Exploring the lake bottom.
3. The cat’s defense of her kittens.
(_a_) As told by the cat.
(_b_) As told by the dog.
4. How the fox fooled the hound.
5. Diary of a donkey.
6. A biography of Jack Frost.

(Correct with reference to meaning and clearness and two other points to
be assigned by the teacher.)

+24. How to Increase One’s Vocabulary.+–In your daily work do what you
can to add words to your reading vocabulary, and especially to increase
your writing vocabulary. In the conversation of others and in reading you
will meet with many new words, and you should attempt to make them your
own. To do this, four things must be attended to:–

1. _Spelling._ Definite attention should be given to each new word until
its form both as written and as printed is indelibly stamped upon the
mind. In your general reading and in each of the subjects that you will
study in the high school you will meet unfamiliar words. It is only by
mastering the spelling of each new word _when you first meet it_ that you
can insure yourself against future chagrin from bad spelling. A part of
the time in each high school subject may well be devoted to the mastering
of the words peculiar to that subject.

2. _Pronunciation._ The complete acquisition of a word includes its
pronunciation. In reading aloud and in speaking, we have need to know it,
and faulty pronunciation is considered an indication of lack of culture.

3. _Meaning._ This includes more than the ability to give the definition
as found in the dictionary. It is possible to recite such definitions
glibly without in reality knowing the meaning of the word defined. It is
necessary to connect the word definitely and permanently in our mind with
the idea for which it is the symbol and to be able to distinguish the idea
clearly from others closely related to it.

4. _Use._ The actual use of a word is very important. If a word is to come
into our speaking and writing vocabulary, we must use it. It is important
that the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning be determined when you
_first_ meet the word, and it is equally important that the word be _used_
soon and often.

+Theme XI.+–_Write a short story suggested by one of the following
subjects. It may be wholly improbable, if you choose._

1. The good fairy.
2. Mary’s luck.
3. The man in the moon.
4. The golden apple.
5. A wonderful fountain pen.
6. The goobergoo and the kantan.

(Correct with reference to meaning and clearness and two other points to
be assigned by the teacher.)


1. The clear expression of the ideas connected with our daily experiences
is of greater importance to most of us than is the production of

2. Ideas furnished by imagination may be advantageously used for
composition purposes, because–
_a._ They are your own.
_b._ They offer free choice of language.
They are less desirable than those gained from experience, because–
_a._ They generally lack clearness and permanency.
_b._ They are less likely to be worth recording.
_c._ It is more difficult to give them that unity and directness of
statement that will keep the interest of the reader.

3. An imaginative series of events may seem probable or improbable. He who
most closely observes real life and states his imaginary events so
that they seem real will succeed best in imaginative writing.

4. Euphony is a desirable quality in a composition.

5. Variety aids euphony. It is gained by–
_a._ Avoiding the repetition of the same words and phrases.
_b._ Beginning our sentences in various ways.
_c._ Using sentences of different lengths.

6. Conversation is usually composed of short sentences.

7. Pictures may suggest ideas suitable for use in compositions.

8. Our reading, writing, and speaking vocabularies differ.
Each should be increased. With each new word
attention should be given to–
_a._ Spelling.
_b._ Pronunciation.
_c._ Meaning.
_d._ Use.


+25. Language as a Medium through Which Ideas are Acquired.+–We have
been considering language as a means of expression, an instrument by which
we can convey to others the ideas which come to us from experience and
imagination. We shall now consider it from a different point of view.
Language is not merely a means of expressing ideas, but it is also a
medium through which ideas are acquired. It has a double use: the writer
must put thought into language; the reader must get it out. A large part
of your schooling has been devoted to acquiring ideas from language, and
these ideas may be used for purposes of composition. _Since it is
absolutely necessary to have ideas before you can express them_, it will
be worth while to consider for a time how to get them from language.

+26. Image Making.+–Read the following selection from Hawthorne and form
a clear mental image of each scene:–

At first, my fancy saw only the stern hills, lonely lakes, and venerable
woods. Not a tree, since their seeds were first scattered over the infant
soil, had felt the ax, but had grown up and flourished through its long
generation, had fallen beneath the weight of years, been buried in green
moss, and nourished the roots of others as gigantic. Hark! A light paddle
dips into the lake, a birch canoe glides around the point, and an Indian
chief has passed, painted and feather-crested, armed with a bow of
hickory, a stone tomahawk, and flint-headed arrows. But the ripple had
hardly vanished from the water, when a white flag caught the breeze, over
a castle in the wilderness, with frowning ramparts and a hundred
cannon…. A war party of French and Indians were issuing from the gate to
lay waste some village of New England. Near the fortress there was a group
of dancers. The merry soldiers footing it with the swart savage maids;
deeper in the wood, some red men were growing frantic around a keg of the
fire-water; and elsewhere a Jesuit preached the faith of high cathedrals
beneath a canopy of forest boughs.

Did you form clear mental images? Can you picture them all at the same
time, or must you turn your attention from one image to another? The
formation of the proper mental images will be aided by making a persistent
effort to create them.

Many words do not cause us to form images; for example, _goodness,
innocence, position, insurance_; but when the purpose of a word is to set
forth an image, we should take care to get the correct one. In this the
dictionary will not always help us. We must distinguish between the
ability to repeat a definition and the power to form an accurate image of
the thing defined. The difficulty of forming correct images by the use of
dictionary definitions is so great that the definitions are frequently
accompanied by pictures.


Notice the different mental images that come to you as you read each of
the following selections. Distinguish words that cause images to arise
from those that do not.

1. Before these fields were shorn and tilled,
Full to the brim our rivers flowed;
The melody of waters filled
The fresh and boundless wood;
And torrents dashed, and rivulets played,
And fountains spouted in the shade.

–Bryant: _An Indian at the Burial Place of his Fathers_.

2. At that moment the woods were filled with another burst of cries, and
at the signal four savages sprang from the cover of the driftwood. Heyward
felt a burning desire to rush forward to meet them, so intense was the
delirious anxiety of the moment; but he was restrained by the deliberate
examples of the scout and Uncas. When their foes, who leaped over the
black rocks that divided them, with long bounds, uttering the wildest
yells, were within a few rods, the rifle of Hawkeye slowly rose among the
shrubs and poured out its fatal contents. The foremost Indian bounded like
a stricken deer and fell headlong among the clefts of the island.

–Cooper: _Last of the Mohicans_.

3. The towering flames had now surmounted every obstruction, and rose to
the evening skies, one huge and burning beacon, seen far and wide through
the adjacent country. Tower after tower crashed down, with blazing roof
and rafter; and the combatants were driven from the courtyard. The
vanquished of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped into the
neighboring wood. The victors, assembling in large bands, gazed with
wonder, not unmixed with fear, upon the flames, in which their own ranks
and arms glanced dusky red. The maniac figure of the Saxon Ulrica was for
a long time visible on the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her arms
abroad with wild exaltation as if she reigned empress of the conflagration
which she had raised. At length, with a terrific crash, the whole turret
gave way and she perished in the flames which had consumed her tyrant.

–Scott: _Ivanhoe_.

4. Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

–Longfellow: _The Village Blacksmith_.

5. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore–
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door;
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door–
Only this, and nothing more.”

–Edgar A. Poe: _The Raven_.

6. Where with black cliffs the torrents toil,
He watch’d the wheeling eddies boil,
Till, from their foam, his dazzled eyes
Beheld the River Demon rise;
The mountain mist took form and limb
Of noontide hag or goblin grim.

–Scott: _Lady of the Lake_.

7. On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the singularity of
the stranger’s appearance. He was a short, square-built old fellow, with
thick, bushy hair and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch
fashion–a cloth jerkin strapped around the waist–several pairs of
breeches, the outer ones of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons
down the sides and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulder a stout
keg that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and
assist him with his load.

–Washington Irving: _Rip Van Winkle_.

+27. Complete and Incomplete Images.+–Some sentences have for their
purpose the presentation of an image, but in order to form that image
correctly and completely, we must be familiar with the words used. If an
unfamiliar word is introduced, the mind may omit entirely the image
represented, or may substitute some other for it. Notice the image
presented by this sentence from Henry James: “Her dress was dark and rich;
she had pearls around her neck and an old rococo fan in her hand.” If the
meaning of _rococo_ is unknown to you, the image which you form will not
be exactly the one that Mr. James had in mind. The pearls and the dress
may stand out clearly in your image, but the fan will be lacking or
indistinct. The whole may be compared to a photograph of which a part is
blurred. If your attention is directed to the fan, you may recall the word
_rococo_, but not the image represented by it. If your attention is not
called to the fan, the mind is satisfied with the indistinct image, or
substitutes for it an image of some other fan. Such an image is therefore
either incomplete or inaccurate.

An oath in court provides that we shall “tell the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth,” but, in forming images, it is not always
possible to hold our minds to such exactness. We are prone to picture more
or less than the words convey. In fact, in some forms of prose, and often
in poetry, the author purposely takes advantage of this habit of the mind
and wishes us to enlarge with creations of our own imagination the bare
image that his words convey. Such writing, however, aims to give pleasure
or to arouse our emotions. It calls out something in the reader even more
strongly than it sets forth something in the writer. This suggestiveness
in writing will be considered later, but for the present it will be well
for you to bear in mind that most language has for its purpose the exact
expression of a definite idea. Much of the failure in school work arises
from the careless substitution of one image for another, and from the
formation of incomplete and inaccurate images.


_A._ Make a list of the words in the following selections whose meanings
you need to look up in order to make the images exact and complete. Do not
attempt to memorize the language of the definition, but to form a correct

1. The sun stared brazenly down on a gray farmhouse, on ranges of
whitewashed outbuildings, and on a goodly array of dark-thatched ricks.

2. In his shabby frieze jacket and mud-laden brogans, he was scarcely an
attractive object.

3. In a sunlit corner of an old coquina fort they came suddenly face to
face with a familiar figure.

4. Somewhat back from the village street
Stands the old-fashioned country seat.
Across its antique portico
Tall poplar trees their shadows throw,
And from its station in the hall
An ancient timepiece says to all:

–Longfellow: _The Old Clock on the Stairs_.

5. There was a room which bore the appearance of a vault. Four spandrels
from the corners ran up to join a sharp cup-shaped roof. The architecture
was rough, but very strong. It was evidently part of a great building.

6. The officer proceeded, without affecting to hear the words which
escaped the sentinel in his surprise; nor did he again pause, until he had
reached the low strand, and in a somewhat dangerous vicinity to the
western water bastion of the fort.

7. She stood on the top step under the _porte-cochère_, on the extreme
edge, so that the toes of her small slippers extended a little over it.
She bent forward, and then tipped back on the high, exiguous heels again.

8. Before the caryatides of the fireplace, under the ancestral portraits, a
valet moves noiselessly about, arranging the glistening silver service on
the long table and putting in order the fruits, sweets, and ices.

9. No sooner is the heavy gate of the portal passed than one sees from
afar among the leafage the court of honor, to which one comes along an
alley decorated uniformly with upright square shafts like classic termae
in stone and bronze. The impression of the antique lines is striking: it
springs at once to the eyes, at first in this portico with columns and a
heavy entablature, but lacking a pediment.

_B._ Read again the selections beginning on page 46. Do you form complete
images in every case?

_C._ Notice in each of your lessons for to-day what images are incomplete.
Bring to class a list of the words you would need to look up in order to
form complete images. Do not include all the words whose meanings are not
clear, but only those that assist in forming images.

+Theme XII.+–_Form a clear mental image of some incident, person, or
place. Write about it, using such words as will give your classmates
complete and accurate images. The following may suggest a subject:_–

1. A party dress I should like.
2. My room.
3. A cozy glen.
4. In the apple orchard.
5. Going to the fire.
6. The hand-organ man.
7. A hornets’ nest.
8. The last inning.
9. An exciting race.

(Consider what you have written with reference to the images which the
_reader_ will form. Do you think that when the members of the class hear
your theme, each will form the same images that you had in mind when
writing? Notice how many of your sentences begin in the same way. Can you
rewrite them so as to give variety?)

+28. Reproduction of Images.+–If we were asked to tell about an accident
which we had seen, we could recall the various incidents in the order of
their occurrence. If the accident had occurred recently, or had made a
vivid impression upon us, we could easily form mental images of each
scene. If we had only read a description of the accident, it would be more
difficult to recall the image; because that which we gain through language
is less vitally a part of ourselves than is that which comes to us through

When called upon to reproduce the images suggested to us by language, our
memory is apt to concern itself with the words that suggested the image,
and our expression is hampered rather than aided by this remembrance. The
author has made, or should have made, the best possible selection of words
and phrases. If we repeat his language, we have but memory drill or copy
work; and if we do not, we are limited to such second-class language as we
may be able to find.

Word memory has its uses, but it is less valuable than image memory. It is
necessary to distinguish carefully between the images that a writer
presents and the words that he uses. If a botany lesson should consist of
a description of fifteen different leaves, a pupil deficient in image
memory will attempt to memorize the language of the book. A better-trained
pupil, on meeting such a term as _serrated_, will ask himself: “Have I
ever seen such a leaf? Can I form an image of it?” If so, his only task
will be to give the new name, _serrated_, to the idea that he already has.
In a similar way he will form images for each of the fifteen leaves
described in the lesson. The language of the book may help him form these
images, but he will make no attempt to commit the language to memory. With
him, “getting the lesson” means forming images and naming them, and
reciting the lesson will be but talking about an image that he has clearly
in mind. Try this in your own lessons.

If we are called upon to reproduce the incidents and scenes of some story
that has been read to us, our success will depend upon the clearness of
the images that we have formed. Our efforts should be directed to making
the images as definite and vivid as possible, and our memory will be
concerned with the recalling of these images in their proper order, and
not with the language that first caused them to appear.


1. Report orally some interesting incident taken from a book which you
have recently read. Do not reread the story. Use such language as will
cause the class to form clear mental images.

2. Report orally upon some chapter selected from Cooper’s _Last of the
Mohicans_ or Scott’s _Ivanhoe_.

3. Read a portion of Scott’s _Lady of the Lake_, and report orally what

4. Report orally some incident that you have read about in a magazine.
Select one that caused you to form images, and tell it so that the hearers
will form like images.

+Theme XIII.+–_Reproduce a story read to you by the teacher._

(Before writing, picture to yourself the scenes and recall the order of
their occurrence. If it is necessary to condense, omit events of the least

+29. Comparison.+–Writing which contains unfamiliar words fails to call
up complete and definite images. It is often difficult to form the correct
mental picture, even though the words in themselves are familiar.
Definitions, explanations, and descriptions may cause us to understand
correctly, but our understanding usually can be improved by means of a
comparison. We can form an image of an object as soon as we know what it
is like.

If I wished you to form an image of an okapi, a lengthy description would
give you a less vivid picture than the statement that it was a horselike
animal, having stripes similar to those of a zebra. If an okapi were as
well known to you as is a horse, the name alone would call up the proper
image, and no comparison would be necessary. By means of it we are enabled
to picture the unfamiliar. In this case the comparison is literal.

If the comparison is imaginative rather than literal, our language becomes
figurative, and usually takes the form of a simile or metaphor. Similes
and metaphors are of great value in rendering thought clear. They make
language forceful and effective, and they may add much to the beauty of

We may speak of an object as being like another, or as acting like
another. If the comparison is imaginative rather than literal, and is
directly stated, the expression is a simile. Similes are introduced by
_like, as_, etc.

He fought like a lion.
The river wound like a serpent around the mountains.

If two things are essentially different, but yet have a common quality,
their _implied comparison_ is a metaphor. A metaphor takes the form of a
statement that one is the other.

“He was a lion in the fight.”
“The river wound its serpent course.”

Sometimes inanimate objects, abstract ideas, or the lower animals
are given the attributes of human beings. Such a figure is called
personification, and is in fact a modified metaphor, since it is based
upon some resemblance of the lower to the higher.

This music crept by me upon the waters.

Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more than he is worth to
Nay, he’s a thief, too; have you not heard men say,
That time comes stealing on by night and day?


+30. Use of Figures of Speech.+–The three figures of speech, simile,
metaphor, and personification, are more frequently used than are the
others. Figures of speech are treated in a later chapter, but some
suggestions as to their use will be of value to beginners.

1. Never write for the purpose of using figures of speech. Nearly
everything that we need to say can be well expressed in plain, bare
English, and the ability to express our thoughts in this way is the
essential thing. If a figure that adds to the force and clearness of your
expression occurs to you, use it without hesitation. A figure may also add
to the beauty of our expression. The examples to be found in literature
are largely of this character. If well used, they are effective, but the
beginner should beware of a figure that is introduced for decorative
purposes only. An attempt to find figures of speech in ordinary prose
writing will show how rarely they are used.

2. The figures should fit the subject in hand. Some comparisons are
appropriate and some are not. If the writer is familiar with his subject
and deeply in earnest, the appropriate figures will rise spontaneously in
his mind. If they do not, little is gained by seeking for them.

3. The effectiveness of a comparison, whether literal or figurative,
depends upon the familiarity of the reader with one of the two things
compared. To say that a petrel resembled a kite would be of no value to
one who knew nothing of either bird. Similarly a figure is defective if
neither element of the comparison is familiar to the readers.

4. Suitable figures give picturesqueness and vivacity to language, but
hackneyed figures are worse than none.

5. Elaborate and long-drawn-out figures, or an overabundance of short
ones, should be avoided.

6. A figure must be consistent throughout. A comparison once begun must be
carried through without change; mixing figures often produces results
which are ridiculous. The “mixed metaphor” is a common blunder of
beginners. This fault may arise either from confusing different metaphors
in the same sentence, or from blending literal language with metaphorical.
The following will serve to illustrate:–

1. [Confused metaphor.] Let us pin our faith to the rock of perseverance
and honest toil, where it may sail on to success on the wings of hope.

2. [Literal and figurative blended.] Washington was the father of his
country and a surveyor of ability.

3. When the last awful moment came, the star of liberty went down with all
on board.

4. The glorious work will never be accomplished until the good ship
“Temperance” shall sail from one end of the land to the other, and with a
cry of “Victory!” at each step she takes, shall plant her banner in every
city, town, and village in the United States.

5. All along the untrodden paths of the future we see the hidden
footprints of an unseen hand.

6. The British lion, whether it is roaming the deserts of India, or
climbing the forests of Canada, will never draw in its horns nor retire
into its shell.

7. Young man, if you have the spark of genius in you, water it.


Are the images which you form made more vivid by
the use of the figures in the following selections?

1. She began to screech as wild as ocean birds.

2. And when its force expended,
The harmless storm was ended;
And as the sunrise splendid
Came blushing o’er the sea–

3. As a demon is hurled by an angel’s spear,
Heels over head, to his proper sphere–
Heels over head and head over heels,–
Dizzily down the abyss he wheels,–
So fell Darius.

–J.T. Trowbridge.

4. In this republican country, amid the fluctuating waves of our social
life, somebody is always at the drowning point.


5. Poverty, treading close at her heels for a lifetime, has come up with
her at last.


6. Friendships begin with liking or gratitude–roots that can be pulled

–George Eliot.

7. Nearing the end of the narrative, Ben paced up and down the narrow
limits of the tent in great excitement, running his fingers through his
hair, and barking out a question now and then.

8. A sky above,
Where one white cloud like a stray lamb doth move.


9. In days of public commotion every faction, like an Oriental army, is
attended by a crowd of camp followers, a useless and heartless rabble, who
prowl round its line of march in the hope of picking up something under
its protection, but desert it in the day of battle, and often join to
exterminate it after a defeat.


10. It is to be regretted that the prose writings of Milton should, in our
time, be so little read. As compositions, they deserve the attention of
every man who wishes to become acquainted with the full power of the
English language. They abound with passages compared with which the finest
declamations of Burke sink into insignificance. They are a perfect field
of cloth of gold. The style is stiff with gorgeous embroidery.


11. And close behind her stood
Eight daughters of the plow, stronger than men,
Huge women blowzed with health, and wind, and rain,
And labor. Each was like a Druid rock,
Or like a spire of land that stands apart
Cleft from the main and wall’d about with mews.


12. But bland the smile that, like a wrinkling wind
On glassy water, drove his cheek in lines.


13. The rush of affairs drifts words from their original meanings, as
ships drag their anchors in a gale, but terms sheltered from common use
hold to their moorings forever.


+Theme XIV.+–_Write a story suggested by the picture on page 59 or by one
of the following subjects:_–

1. A modern fable.
2. The willow whistle.
3. How I baked a cake.
4. The delayed picnic.
5. The missing slipper.
6. A misdirected letter.
7. A ride on a raft.
8. The rescue of Ezekiel.
9. A railway experience.
10. A soldier’s soldier.

(Do you think the reader will form the images you wish him to form?
Consider what you have written with reference to climax. (See Section 7.)
Have you needed to use figures? If so, have you used them in accordance
with the suggestions on page 55? If you have used the word _only_, is it
placed so as to give the correct meaning?)

+31. Determination of Meaning Requires More than Image Making.+–The
emphasis laid upon image making should not lead to the belief that this is
all that is necessary in order to determine what is meant by the language
we hear or read. Image making is important, but much of our language is
concerned with presenting ideas of which no mental pictures can be formed.


This very paragraph will serve as an illustration of such language. Our
understanding of language of this kind depends upon our knowledge of the
meanings of words, upon our understanding of the relations between word
groups, or parts of sentences, and especially upon our appreciation of the
relations in thought that sentences bear to one another. Each of these
will be discussed in the following pages. Later it will be necessary to
consider the relations in thought existing among paragraphs.

+32. Word Relations.+–In order to get the thought of a sentence, we must
understand the relations that exist between the words and word groups
(phrases and clauses) that compose it. If the thought is simple, and
expressed in straightforward terms, we grasp it readily and without any
conscious effort to determine these relations. If the thought is complex,
the relations become more complicated, and before we are sure that we know
what the writer intends to say it may be necessary to note with care which
is the main clause and which are the subordinate clauses. In either case
our acquiring the thought depends upon our understanding the relations
between words and word groups. We may understand them without any
knowledge of the names that have been applied to them in grammar, but a
knowledge of the names will assist somewhat. These relations are treated
in the grammar review in the Appendix and need not be repeated here.

+33. Incomplete Thoughts.+–We have learned (Section 27) that the
introduction of unfamiliar words may cause us to form incomplete images.
When the language is not designed to present images, we may, in a similar
way, fail to get its real meaning if we are unfamiliar with the words
used. If you do not know the meaning of _fluent_ and _viscous_, you will
fail to understand correctly the statement, “Fluids range from the
peculiarly fluent to the peculiarly viscous.” If we wish to think
precisely what the writer intended us to think, we must know the meanings
of the words he uses. Many of us are inclined to substitute other ideas
than those properly conveyed by the words of the writer, and so get
confused or incomplete or inaccurate ideas. The ability to determine
exactly what images the writer suggests, and what ideas his language
expresses, is the first requisite of scholarship and an important element
of success in life.


_A._ The first step in acquiring knowledge is to determine what it is that
we do not know. Just which word or words in each of the following
sentences keep you from understanding the full meaning of the sentence?
Notice that a dictionary definition will not always make the meaning

1. It is really more scientific to repeat a quotation from a political
speech correctly, or to pass on a story undistorted, than it is to know of
the rings of Saturn or the striation of diatoms.

2. The process of testing a hypothesis requires great caution in order to
prevent mistakes.

3. The aërial foliage stem is the most favorable for studying stem

4. Taken collectively, isotherms indicate the distribution of mean
temperature over the region embraced in the map.

5. Vibrations of the membrane of the tympanum are “damped” by the ossicles
of the middle ear, which also receive and pass on the auditory tremors to
the membrane closing the oval window.

6. In the battle which followed, the mobile Roman legion, arranged in open
order three ranks deep, proved its superiority over the massive Macedonian

7. The narrow and dissected forms have been attributed to the scarcity of
carbon dioxide and oxygen in the water.

_B._ Make a list of words in your lessons in other subjects for to-day
that you need to look up in order to understand the lessons. This should
be done daily, whether assigned or not.

34. +Choice of Words Adapted to the Reader.+–Words familiar to the reader
should be used. Since the reader’s ability to understand the thought of a
paragraph depends to some extent upon his understanding of the words
employed, it is necessary for the writer to choose words that will be
understood by those whom he addresses. Of course we cannot tell whether a
particular word will be understood by our readers, but, in case there is
doubt, it is well to substitute one that is more likely to be understood.
When you have written anything, it is well to ask yourself the question,
Have I used words with which _the reader_ is probably familiar?

+Theme XV.+—_Write a theme about one of the following subjects, using
words that you think will be understood by your readers:_–

1. How we breathe.
2. How to make a kite.
3. The causes of the seasons.
4. Why wood floats on water.
5. The use of baking powder.
6. The difference between arithmetic and algebra.

(Have you said what you meant to say? Have you used words that your reader
will understand? Find your longest sentence. Is its meaning clear? Notice
the short sentences. Should some of them be united into a longer one?)

+35. Word Selection.+–There are many shades of meaning which differ but
little, and a careful writer will select just the word that best conveys
his thought. The reader needs to be no less careful in determining the
exact meaning that the writer intends to convey. Exercises in synonyms are
thus of double importance (Section 21).

Another source of error, both in acquiring and expressing thought, arises
from the confusion of similar words. Some similarity of spelling causes
one word to be substituted for another. There are many words and
expressions that are so often interchanged that some time may be spent
with profit upon exercises in determining their correct usage. These
usually consist of brief reports to the class that set forth the meanings
of the words, show their uses, and illustrate their differences.

In preparing such reports, determine the meaning of the words from as many
sources as are available. The usual meaning can be determined from the
dictionary. A fuller treatment is given in some dictionaries in a chapter
on faulty diction. Additional material may be found in many of the
text-books on rhetoric, and in special books treating of word usage. After
you are sure that you know the correct use, prepare a report for the class
that shall make that use clear to others. In the simplest form this will
consist of definitions and sentences in which the words are correctly
used. The following examples, handed in by pupils, will serve to
illustrate such reports:–

1. A _council_ is an assembly of persons convened for consultation or
deliberation. _Counsel_ is used to indicate either (1) an opinion as the
result of consultation or (2) a lawyer engaged to give advice or to act as
advocate in court. Lewis furnishes the following example of the use of
these two words: “The plaintiff’s _counsel_ held a _council_ with his
partners in law, and finally gave him as his best _counsel_ the advice
that he should drop the suit; but, as Swift says, ‘No man will take
_counsel_, but every man will take money,’ and the plaintiff refused to
accept the advice unless the _counsel_ could persuade the defendant to
settle the case out of court by paying a large sum.”

2. The correct meaning of _transpire_ may perhaps be best understood by
considering its derivations. It comes from _trans_, through, and _spiro_,
to breathe, from which it gets its meaning, to escape gradually from
secrecy. It is frequently used incorrectly in the sense of to happen, but
both Webster and the Standard dictionary condemn this use of the word. The
latter says that it is often so misused especially in carelessly edited
newspapers, as in “Comments on the heart-rending disaster which transpired
yesterday are unnecessary, but,” etc. When _transpire_ is correctly used,
it is not a synonym of _happen_. A thing that happened a year ago may
transpire to-day, that is, it may “become known through unnoticed
channels, exhale, as it were, through invisible pores like a vapor or a
gas disengaging itself.” Many things which happen in school, thus become
known by being passed along in a semi-secret manner until nearly all know
of them though few can tell just how the information was spread.
_Transpire_ may properly be applied to such a diffusion of knowledge.

+Theme XVI.+–_Report as suggested above on any one of the following
groups of words:_–

1. Allude, mention.
2. Beside, besides.
3. Character, reputation.
4. Degrade, demean, debase.
5. Last, latest, preceding.
6. Couple, pair.
7. Balance, rest, remainder.

(Have you made clear the correct use of the words under discussion? Can
you give examples which do not follow the dictionaries so closely as do
the illustrative reports above?)

NOTE.–Lists of words suitable for exercises similar to the above are
given in the Appendix. The teacher will assign them to such an extent and
at such times as seems desirable. One such lesson a week will be found

+36. Sentence Relations.+–What we read or hear usually consists of
several sentences written or spoken together. The meaning of any
particular sentence may depend upon the sentence or sentences preceding.
In order to determine accurately the meaning of the whole, we must
understand the relation in thought that each sentence bears to the others.
Notice the two sentences: “Guns are dangerous. Boys should not use them.”
Though the last sentence is independent, it gets its meaning from the

In the following selection consider each sentence apart from the others.
Notice that the meaning of the whole becomes intelligible only when the
sentences are considered in their relations to each other.

Once upon a time, a notion was started, that if all the people in the
world would shout at once, it might be heard in the moon. So the
projectors agreed it should be done in just ten years. Some thousand
shiploads of chronometers were distributed to the selectmen and other
great folks of all the different nations. For a year beforehand, nothing
else was talked about but the awful noise that was to be made on the great
occasion. When the time came, everybody had his ears so wide open, to hear
the universal ejaculation of Boo,–the word agreed upon,–that nobody
spoke except a deaf man in one of the Fiji Islands, and a woman in Pekin,
so that the world was never so still since the creation.–Holmes.

Gutenberg did a great deal of his work in secret, for he thought it was
much better that his neighbors should know nothing of what he was doing.
So he looked for a workshop where no one would be likely to find him. He
was now living in Strasburg, and there was in that city a ruined old
building where, long before his time, a number of monks had lived. There
was one room in the building which needed only a little repairing to make
it fit to be used. So he got the right to repair the room and use it as
his workshop.

In all good writing we find a similar dependence in thought. Each sentence
takes a meaning because of its relation to some other. The personal
pronouns and pronominal adjectives, adverbial phrases indicating time or
place, conjunctions, and such expressions as _certainly, however, on the
other hand_, etc., are used to indicate more or less directly a relation
in thought between the phrase or sentence in which they occur and some
preceding one. If the reader cannot readily determine to what they refer,
the meaning becomes obscure or ambiguous. The pronominal adjectives and
the personal pronouns are especially likely to be used in such a way as to
cause ambiguity. Care must be taken to use them so as to keep the meaning
clear, and your own good sense will help you in this more than rules.
Notice in your reading how frequently expressions similar to those
mentioned above are used.

+Theme XVII.+–_Write a theme suggested by one of the following

1. The last quarter.
2. An excursion with the physical geography class.
3. What I saw while riding to town.
4. The broken bicycle.
5. An hour in the study hall.
6. Seen from my study window.

(Are your sentences so arranged that the relation in thought is clear? Are
the personal pronouns and pronominal adjectives used so as to avoid
ambiguity? Does your story relate real events or imaginary ones? If
imaginary events are related, have you made them seem probable?)

+37. Getting the Main Thought.+–In many cases the relation in thought is
not directly indicated, and we are left to determine it from the context,
just as we decide upon the meaning of a word because of what precedes or
follows it. In this case the meaning of a particular sentence may be made
clear if we have in mind the main topic under discussion. Many pupils fail
in recitations because they do not distinguish that which is more
important from that which is less so. If a dozen pages of history are
assigned, they cannot master the lesson because it is too long to be
memorized, and they are not able to select the three or four things of
importance with which it is really concerned. Thirty or forty minor
details are jumbled together without any clear knowledge of the relations
that they bear either to one another or to the main thoughts of the

In the following selection but three things are discussed. Determine what
they are, but not what is said about them.

In all the ages the extent and value of flood plains have been increased
by artificial means. Dikes or levees are built to regulate the spread and
flow of the water and to protect the land from destructive floods. Dams
and reservoirs are constructed for the storage of water, which is led by a
system of canals and ditches to irrigate large tracts of land which would
be otherwise worthless. By means of irrigation, the farmer has control of
his water supply and is able to get larger returns than are possible where
he depends upon the irregular and uncertain rainfall. It is estimated that
in the arid regions of western United States there are 150,000 square
miles of land which may be made available for agriculture by irrigation.
Perhaps in the future the valley of the lower Colorado may become as
productive as that of the Nile.

Streams are the easiest routes of travel and commerce. A river usually
furnishes from its mouth well up toward its source a smooth, graded
highway, upon which a cargo may be transported with much less effort than
overland. If obstructions occur in the form of rapids or falls, boat and
cargo are carried around them. It is often easy to pass by a short portage
or “carry” from one stream system across the divide to another. In regions
which are not very level the easiest grades in every direction are found
along the streams, and the main routes of land travel follow the stream
valleys. In traversing a mountainous region, a railroad follows the
windings of some river up to the crest of the divide, which it crosses
through a pass, or often by a tunnel, and descends the valley of some
stream on the other side.

Man is largely indebted to streams for the variety and beauty of scenery.
Running water itself is attractive to young and old. A landscape without
water lacks its chief charm. A child instinctively finds its way to the
brook, and the man seeks beside the river the pleasure and recreation
which no other place affords. Streams have carved the surface of the land
into an endless variety of beautiful forms, and a land where stream
valleys are few or shallow is monotonous and tiresome. The most common as
well as the most celebrated beauty of scenery in the world, from the tiny
meanders of a meadow brook to the unequaled grandeur of the Colorado
canyons, is largely due to the presence and action of streams.

–Dryer: _Lessons in Physical Geography_.

In the above selection we find that each group of sentences is related to
some main topic. A more extended observation of good writing will give the
same result. Men naturally think in sentence groups. A group of sentences
related to each other and to the central idea is called a +paragraph.+

+38. Topic Statement.+–In the three paragraphs of the selection on page
67, notice that the first sentence in each tells what the paragraph is
about. In a well-written paragraph it is possible to select the phrase or
sentence that states the main thought. If such a sentence does not occur
in the paragraph itself, one can be framed that will express clearly and
concisely the chief idea of the paragraph. This brief, comprehensive
summary of the contents of a paragraph is called the topic statement.

In order to master the thought of what we read we must be able to select
or to make the successive topic statements, and in order to express our
own thoughts clearly we must write our paragraphs so that our readers may
easily grasp the topic statement of each.

When expressed in the paragraph, the topic statement may be a part of a
sentence, a whole sentence, or it may extend through two sentences. It is
usual to place the topic statement first, but it may be preceded by one or
more introductory sentences, or even withheld until the end of the
paragraph. For emphasis it may be repeated, though usually in a slightly
different form.


Determine the topic statements of the following paragraphs. If one is not
expressed, make one.

1. No less valuable is the mental stimulus of play. The child is
trained by it to quick perception, rapid judgment, prompt decision. His
imagination cunningly suggests a thousand things to be done, and then
trains the will and every power of body and mind in the effort to do them.
The sports of childhood are admirably adapted to quicken the senses and
sharpen the wits. Nature has effective ways in her school of securing the
exercise which is needed to develop every mental and every bodily power.
She fills the activity brimful of enjoyment, and then gives her children
freedom, assured that they will be their own best teachers.


2. Our Common Law comes from England, and originated there in custom. It
is often called the unwritten law, because unwritten in origin, though
there are now many books describing it. Its principles originated as
habits of the people, five hundred, eight hundred, years ago, perhaps some
of them back in the time when the half-savage Saxons landed on the shores
of England. When the time came that the government, through its courts,
punished the breach of a custom, from that time the custom was a law. And
so the English people acquired these laws, one after another, just as they
were acquiring at the same time the habits of making roads, using forks at
table, manufacturing, meeting in Parliament, using firearms, and all the
other habits of civilization. When the colonists came to America, they
brought the English Common Law with them, not in a book, but in their
minds, a part of their life, like their religion.

–Clark: _The Government_.

3. Accuracy is always to be striven for but it can never be attained. This
fact is only fully realized by scientific workers. The banker can be
accurate because he only counts or weighs masses of metal which he assumes
to be exactly equal. The Master of the Mint knows that two coins are never
exactly equal in weight, although he strives by improving machinery and
processes to make the differences as small as possible. When the utmost
care is taken, the finest balances which have been constructed can weigh 1
lb. of a metal with an uncertainty less than the hundredth part of a
grain. In other words, the weight is not accurate, but the inaccuracy is
very small. No person is so stupid as not to feel sure that the height of
a man he sees is between 3 ft. and 9 ft.; some are able by the eye to
estimate the height as between 5 ft. 6 in. and 5 ft. 8 in.; measurement
may show it to be between 5 ft. 6 in. and 5 ft. 7 in., but to go closer
than that requires many precautions. Training in observation and the use
of delicate instruments thus narrow the limits of approximation. Similarly
with regard to space and time, there are instruments with which one
millionth of an inch, or of a second, can be measured, but even this
approximation, although far closer than is ever practically necessary, is
not accuracy. In the statement of measurements there is no meaning in more
than six significant figures, and only the most careful observations can
be trusted so far. The height of Mount Everest is given as 29,002 feet;
but here the fifth figure is meaningless, the height of that mountain not
being known so accurately that two feet more or less would be detected.
Similarly, the radius of the earth is sometimes given as 3963.295833
miles, whereas no observation can get nearer the truth than 3963.30 miles.

–Mill: _The Realm of Nature_. (Copyright, 1892, by Charles Scribner’s

4. The chief cause which made the fusion of the different elements of
society so imperfect was the extreme difficulty which our ancestors found
in passing from place to place. Of all the inventions, the alphabet and
the printing press alone excepted, those inventions which abridge distance
have done most for the civilization of our species. Every improvement of
the means of locomotion benefits mankind morally and intellectually as
well as materially, and not only facilitates the interchange of the
various productions of nature and art, but tends to remove national and
provincial prejudices, and to bind together all the branches of the great
human family. In the seventeenth century the inhabitants of London were
for almost every practical purpose farther from Reading than they are now
from Edinburgh, and farther from Edinburgh than they are now from Vienna.

–Macaulay: _History of England_.

5. He touched New England at every point. He was born a frontiersman. He
was bred a farmer. He was a fisherman in the mountain brooks and off the
shore. He never forgot his origin, and he never was ashamed of it. Amid
all the care and honor of his great place here he was homesick for the
company of his old neighbors and friends. Whether he stood in Washington,
the unchallenged prince and chief in the Senate, or in foreign lands, the
kingliest man of his time in the presence of kings, his heart was in New
England. When the spring came, he heard far off the fife bird and the
bobolink calling him to his New Hampshire mountains, or of the
waves on the shore at Marshfield alluring him with a sweeter than siren’s
voice to his home by the summer sea.

–George F. Hoar: _Daniel Webster_.

6. Nor must I forget the suddenly changing seasons of the northern clime.
There is no long and lingering spring, unfolding leaf and blossom one by
one; no long and lingering autumn, pompous with many-colored leaves and
the glow of Indian summer. But winter and summer are wonderful, and pass
into each other. The quail has hardly ceased piping in the corn when
winter, from the folds of trailing clouds, sows broadcast over the land
snow, icicles, and rattling hail. The days wane apace. Erelong the sun
hardly rises above the horizon, or does not rise at all. The moon and the
stars shine through the day; only at noon they are pale and wan, and in
the southern sky a red, fiery glow, as of a sunset, burns along the
horizon and then goes out. And pleasantly under the silver moon, and under
the silent, solemn stars, ring the steel shoes of the skaters on the
frozen sea, and voices, and the sound of bells.

–Longfellow: _Rural Life in Sweden_.

7. Extreme _busyness_, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a
symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a
catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity. There is a sort
of dead-alive, hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of
living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation. Bring these
fellows into the country, or set them aboard ship, and you will see how
they pine for their desk or their study. They have no curiosity; they
cannot give themselves over to random provocations; they do not take
pleasure in the exercise of their faculties for its own sake; and unless
Necessity lays about them with a stick, they will even stand still. It is
no good speaking to such folk: they _cannot_ be idle, their nature is not
generous enough; and they pass those hours in a sort of coma, which are
not dedicated to furious moiling in the gold mill. When they do not
require to go to the office, when they are not hungry and have no mind to
drink, the whole breathing world is a blank to them. If they have to wait
an hour or so for a train, they fall into a stupid trance, with their eyes
open. To see them, you would suppose there was nothing to look at and no
one to speak with; you would imagine they were paralyzed or alienated; and
yet very possibly they are hard workers in their own way, and have good
eyesight for a flaw in a deed or a turn of the market. They have been to
school and college, but all the time they had their eye on the medal; they
have gone about in the world and mixed with clever people, but all the
time they were thinking of their own affairs. As if a man’s soul were not
too small to begin with, they have dwarfed and narrowed theirs by a life
of all work and no play; until here they are at forty, with a listless
attention, a mind vacant of all material amusement, and not one thought to
rub against another while they wait for the train. Before he was breeched,
he might have clambered on the boxes; when he was twenty, he would have
stared at the girls; but now the pipe is smoked out, the snuffbox is
empty, and my gentleman sits bolt upright on a bench, with lamentable
eyes. This does not appeal to me as being Success in Life.

–Robert Louis Stevenson. (Copyright, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

_B._ Examine the themes which you have written. Does each paragraph have a
topic statement? Have you introduced sentences which do not bear upon this
topic statement? Are the paragraphs real ones treating of a single topic,
or are they merely groups of sentences written together without any close
connection in thought?

+Theme XVIII.+–_State two or three advantages of public high schools over
private boarding schools. Use each as a topic statement and develop it
into a short paragraph._

(Add to each topic statement such sentences as will prove to a pupil of
your own age that the topic statement states a real advantage. Include in
each paragraph only that which bears upon the topic statement. Consider
the definition of a paragraph on page 68. Does this definition apply to
your paragraphs?)

+39. Reproduction of the Thought of a Paragraph.+–Our ability to
reproduce the thought of what we read will depend largely upon our ability
to select the topic statements. In preparing a lesson for recitation it is
evident that we must first determine definitely the topic statement of
each paragraph. These may bear upon one general subject or upon different
subjects. The three paragraphs on page 67 are all concerned with one
subject, the uses of rivers. A pupil preparing to recite them would have
in mind, when he went to class, an outline about as follows:–

General subject: The uses of rivers.
First topic statement: The fertility of flood plains is improved by
Second topic statement: Streams are the easiest routes of travel and
Third topic statement: Man is indebted to streams for beauty of scenery.

While such a clear statement is the first step toward a proper
understanding of the lesson, it is not enough. In order to understand
thoroughly a topic statement, we need explanation or illustration. The
idea is not really our own until we have thought about it in its relations
to other knowledge already in our possession. In order to know whether you
understand the topic statements, the teacher will ask you to discuss them.
This may be done by telling what the writer said about them, or by giving
thoughts and illustrations of your own, but best of all, by doing both. It
is necessary, then, to know in what way the writer develops each topic

Read the following paragraph:–

The most productive lands in the world are flood plains. At every period
of high water, a stream brings down mantle rock from the higher grounds,
and deposits it as a layer of fine sediment over its flood plain. A soil
thus frequently enriched and renewed is literally inexhaustible. In a
rough, hilly, or mountainous country the finest farms and the densest
population are found on the “bottom lands” along the streams. The flood
plain most famous in history is that of the river Nile in Egypt. For a
distance of 1500 miles above its mouth this river flows through a rainless
desert, and has no tributary. The heavy spring rains which fall upon the
highlands about its sources produce in summer a rise of the water, which
overflows the valley on either side. Thus the lower Nile valley became one
of the earliest centers of civilization, and has supported a dense
population for 7000 years. The conditions in Mesopotamia, along the Tigris
and Euphrates rivers, are similar to those along the lower Nile, and in
ancient times this region was the seat of a civilization perhaps older
than that of Egypt. The flood plains of the Ganges in India, and the Hoang
in China, are the most extensive in the world, and in modern times the
most populous. The alluvial valley of the Mississippi is extremely
productive of corn, cotton, and sugar cane.

–Dryer: _Lessons in Physical Geography_.

Notice that the first sentence gives the topic statement, flood plains are
productive. The second and third sentences tell why this is so, and the
rest of the paragraph is given up to illustrations.

In preparing this paragraph for recitation the pupil should have in mind
an outline about as follows:–

Topic statement: Flood plains are the most productive lands in the world.

1. Reasons.
2. Examples: (_a_) Bottom lands.
(_b_) Nile.
(_c_) Tigris and Euphrates.
(_d_) Ganges.
(_e_) Hoang.
(_f_) Mississippi.

In order to make such an outline, the relative importance of the ideas in
the paragraph must be mastered. A recitation that omitted the topic
statement or the reasons would be defective, while one that omitted one or
more of the examples might be perfect, especially if the pupil could
furnish other examples from his own knowledge. The illustration about
bottom lands is a general one, and should suggest specific cases that
could be included in the recitation. The details in regard to the Nile
might be included if they happened to be recalled at the time of the
recitation, but even the omission of all mention of the Nile might not
materially detract from the value of the recitation. The effort to
remember minor details hinders real thought-getting power.

It is better not to write this outline. The use of notes or written
outlines at the time of the recitation soon establishes a habit of
dependence that renders real scholarship an impossibility. With such an
analysis of the thought clearly in mind, the pupil need not attempt to
remember the language of the writer.


_A._ Complete the partial outline given for the paragraph below. Which of
the illustrations might be omitted from a recitation? For which can you
furnish different illustrations?

Mountain ranges have great influence upon climate, political geography,
and commerce. Many of them form climatic boundaries. The Cordilleras of
western America and the Scandinavian mountains arrest the warm, moist,
western winds which rise along those great rock barriers to cooler
altitudes, where their water vapor is condensed and falls as rain, so that
the country on the windward side of the mountains is wet and that on the
leeward side is dry. Mountain chains stretching east and west across
central Asia protect the southern part of the continent from frigid arctic
winds. The large winter tourist traffic of the Riviera is due to the
mountains that shield this favored French-Italian coast from the north and
northeast continental winds, giving it a considerably warmer winter’s
temperature than that of Rome, two and a half degrees farther south. As
North America has no mountain barriers across the pathway of polar winds,
they sweep southward even to the Gulf of Mexico and have twice destroyed
Florida’s orange groves within a decade. Mountain ranges are conspicuous
in political geography because they are the natural boundary between many
nations and languages, as the Pyrenees between France and Spain, the Alps
between Austria and Italy, and the Himalayas between Tibet and India.
Mountains sometimes guard nations from attack by the isolation they give,
and therefore promote national unity. Thus the Swiss are among the few
peoples in Europe who have maintained the integrity of their state.
Commercially, mountains are of great importance as a source of water,
which they store in snow, glaciers, and lakes. Snow and ice, melting
slowly on the mountains, are an unfailing source of supply for perennial
rivers, and thus promote navigation. Mountains are the largest source of
water-power, which is more valuable than ever now that electricity is
employed to transmit it to convenient centers for use in the industries. A
large part of the mining machinery in the United States is run by water
power. Switzerland, which has no coal, turns the wheels of its mills with
water. Mountains supply most of the metals and minerals, and are therefore
the scene of the largest mining industry. They are also among the greatest
sources of forest wealth. Though the slopes are not favorable for
agriculture they afford good pasturage, and the débris of the rocks washed
into the valleys and plains by mountain torrents supplies good soil. Thus
the Appalachians have been worn down to a comparatively low level, and the
soil formed from their rock particles is the basis of large husbandry.
The scenic attractions of many mountain regions is a source of large
revenue. The Alps attract crowds of tourists, who spend about twenty
million dollars a year in Switzerland and Austria, and give to many
thousands of persons.

–Adams: _Commercial Geography_.

OUTLINE (to be completed)

Mountain ranges have great influence upon–
I. Climate.
_a, b,_ etc.
II. Political geography.
_a, b,_ etc.
III. Commerce.
_a, b,_ etc.

_B._ Make an outline of the following paragraph:–

1. The armor of the different classes was also accurately ordered by the
law. The first class was ordered to wear for the defense of the body,
brazen helmets, shields, and coats of mail, and to bear spears and swords,
excepting the mechanics, who were to carry the necessary military engines
and to serve without arms. The members of the second class, excepting that
they had bucklers instead of shields and wore no coats of mail, were
permitted to bear the same armor and to carry the sword and spear. The
third class had the same armor as the second, excepting that they could
not wear greaves for the protection of their legs. The fourth had no arms
excepting a spear and a long javelin. The fifth merely carried slings and
stones for use in them. To this class belonged the trumpeters and horn

–Gilman: _Story of Rome_.

_C._ In preparing your other lessons for to-day, make outlines of the

+Theme XIX.+–_Reproduce the thought of some paragraph read to you by the

(Do not attempt to remember the language. Try to get the main thought of
what is read and then write a paragraph which sets forth that same idea.
Use different illustrations if you can.)

NOTE.–This theme may be repeated as many times as seems desirable.

+40. Importance of the Paragraph.+–Emphasis needs to be laid upon the
importance of the paragraph. Our ability to express our thoughts clearly
depends, to a large extent, upon our skill in constructing paragraphs. The
writing of correct sentences is not sufficient. Though each of a series of
sentences may be correct, they may, as a whole, say but little, and that
very poorly; while another set of sentences, which cluster around some
central idea, may set it forth most effectively. It is only by giving our
sentence groups that unity of thought which combines them into paragraphs
that we make them most effective. A well-constructed paragraph will make
clear some idea, and a series of such paragraphs, related to each other
and properly arranged, will set forth the sum of our thoughts on any

+41. Paragraph Length.+–The proper length of a paragraph cannot be
determined by rule. Sometimes the thought to be presented will require
several sentences; sometimes two or three will be sufficient. A single
illustration may make a topic statement clear, or several illustrations
may be required. The writer must judge when he has included enough to make
his meaning understood, and must avoid including so much that the reader
will become weary. Usually a paragraph that exceeds three hundred words
will be found too long, or else it will contain more than one main idea,
each of which could have been presented more effectively in a separate

+42. Indentation.+–In written and printed matter the beginning of a
paragraph is indicated by an indentation. Indentation does not make a
paragraph, but we indent because we are beginning a new paragraph.
Indentation thus serves the same purpose as punctuation. It helps the
reader to determine when we have finished one main thought and are about
to begin another. Beginners are apt to use indentations too frequently.
There are some special uses of indentation in letter writing, printed
conversation, and other forms, but for ordinary paragraph division the
indentation is determined by the thought, and its correct use depends upon
clear thinking. Can the following selection be improved by reparagraphing?

Outside in the darkness, gray with whirling snowflakes, he saw the wet
lamps of cabs shining, and he darted along the line of hansoms and coupés
in frantic search for his own.

“Oh, there you are,” he panted, flinging his suit case up to a
snow-covered driver. “Do your best now; we’re late!” And he leaped into
the dark coupé, slammed the door, and sank back on the cushions,
turning up the collar of his heavy overcoat.

There was a young lady in the farther corner of the cab, buried to her
nose in a fur coat. At intervals she shivered and pressed a fluffy muff
against her face. A glimmer from the sleet-smeared lamps fell across her

Down town flew the cab, swaying around icy corners, bumping over car
tracks, lurching, rattling, jouncing, while its silent occupants, huddled
in separate corners, brooded moodily at their respective windows.

Snow blotted the glass, melting and running down; and over the watery
panes yellow light from shop windows played fantastically, distorting

Presently the young man pulled out his watch, fumbled for a match box,
struck a light, and groaned as he read the time.

At the sound of the match striking, the young lady turned her head. Then,
as the bright flame illuminated the young man’s face, she sat bolt
upright, dropping the muff to her lap with a cry of dismay.

He looked up at her. The match burned his fingers; he dropped it and
hurriedly lighted another; and the flickering radiance brightened upon the
face of a girl whom he had never before laid eyes on.

“Good heavens!” he said, “where’s my sister?”

The young lady was startled but resolute. “You have made a dreadful
mistake,” she said; “you are in the wrong cab–”

+Theme XX.+–_Write a theme using one of the subjects below:_–

1. A personal incident.
2. The advantages and disadvantages of recesses.
3. Complete the story commenced in the selection just

(Make a note of the different ideas you may discuss. Which are important
enough to become topic statements? Which may be grouped together in one
paragraph? In what order shall they occur? After your theme is written,
consider the paragraphs. Does the definition apply to them? Are any of
them too short or too long?)

+43. Reasons for Studying Paragraph Structure.+–A knowledge of the way in
which a paragraph is constructed will aid us in determining the thought it
contains. There are several methods of developing paragraphs, and usually
one of these is better suited than another to the expression of our
thought. Attention given to the methods used by others will enable us both
to understand better what we read, and to employ more effectively in our
own writing that kind of paragraph which best expresses our thought. Hence
we shall give attention to the more common forms of paragraph development.

+44. Development by Giving Specific Instances.+–If you hear a general
statement, such as, “Dogs are useful animals,” you naturally think at once
of some of the ways in which they are useful, or of some particular
occasion on which a dog was of use. If a friend should say, “My dog, Fido,
knows many amusing tricks,” you would expect the friend to tell you some
of them. A large part of our thinking consists of furnishing specific
instances to illustrate general ideas which arise. Since the language we
use is but the expression of the thoughts we have, it happens that many of
our paragraphs are made up of general statements and the specific
instances used to illustrate these statements. When the topic sentence is
a general statement, we naturally seek to supply specific instances, and
the writer will most readily make his meaning clear by furnishing such
illustrations. Either one or many instances may be used. The object is to
explain the topic statement or to prove its truth, and a good writer will
use that number of instances which best accomplishes his purpose.

In the following selection notice how the topic statement, set forth and
repeated in the first part of the paragraph, is illustrated in the last
part by means of several specific instances:–

Nine tenths of all that goes wrong in this world is because some one does
not mind his business. When a terrible accident occurs, the first cry is
that the means of prevention were not sufficient. Everybody declares we
must have a new patent fire escape, an automatic engine switch, or a
high-proof non-combustible sort of lamp oil. But a little investigation
will usually show that all the contrivances were on hand and in good
working order; the real trouble was that somebody didn’t mind his
business; he didn’t obey orders; he thought he knew a better way than the
way he was told; he said, “Just this once I’ll take the risk,” and in so
doing, he made other people take the risk too; and the risk was too great.
At Toronto, Canada, not long ago, a conductor, against orders, ran his
train on a certain siding, which resulted in the death of thirty or forty
people. The engineer of a mill, at Rochester, N.Y., thought the engine
would stand a higher pressure than the safety valve indicated, so he tied
a few bricks to the valve to hold it down; result–four workmen killed, a
number wounded, and a mill blown to pieces. The _City of Columbus_, an iron
vessel fitted out with all the means of preservation and escape in use on
shipboard, was wrecked on the best-known portion of the Atlantic coast, on
a moonlight night, at the cost of one hundred lives, because the officer
in command took it into his head to save a few ship-lengths in distance by
hugging the shore, in direct disobedience to the captain’s parting orders.
The best-ventilated mine in Colorado was turned into a death trap for half
a hundred miners because one of the number entered with a lighted lamp the
gallery he had been warned against. Nobody survived to explain the
explosion of the dynamite-cartridge factory in Pennsylvania, but as that
type of disaster almost always is due to heedlessness, it is probable that
this instance is not an exception to the rule.

–Wolstan Dixey: _Mind Your Business_.


_A._ Which sentences make the general statements, and which furnish
specific instances, in the following paragraphs?

My contemplations were often interrupted by strangers who came down
from Forsyth’s to take their first view of the falls. A short, ruddy,
middle-aged gentleman, fresh from Old England, peeped over the rock, and
evinced his approbation by a broad grin. His spouse, a very robust lady,
afforded a sweet example of maternal solicitude, being so intent on the
safety of her little boy that she did not even glance at Niagara. As for
the child, he gave himself wholly to the enjoyment of a stick of candy.
Another traveler, a native American, and no rare character among us,
produced a volume of Captain Hall’s tour, and labored earnestly to adjust
Niagara to the captain’s description, departing, at last, without one new
idea or sensation of his own. The next comer was provided, not with a
printed book, but with a blank sheet of foolscap, from top to bottom of
which, by means of an ever pointed pencil, the cataract was made
to thunder. In a little talk which we had together, he awarded his
approbation to the general view, but censured the position of Goat Island,
observing that it should have been thrown farther to the right, so as to
widen the American falls, and contract those of the Horseshoe. Next
appeared two traders of Michigan, who declared that, upon the whole, the
sight was worth looking at; there certainly was an immense water power
here; but that, after all, they would go twice as far to see the noble
stone works of Lockport, where the Grand Canal is locked down a descent of
sixty feet. They were succeeded by a young fellow, in a homespun cotton
dress, with a staff in his hand, and a pack over his shoulders. He
advanced close to the edge of the rock, where his attention, at first
wavering among the different components of the scene, finally became fixed
in the angle of the Horseshoe falls, which is, indeed, the central point
of interest. His whole soul seemed to go forth and be transported thither,
till the staff slipped from his relaxed grasp, and falling down–down–
down–struck upon the fragment of the Table Rock.

–Hawthorne: _My Visit to Niagara_.

No wonder he learned English quickly, for he was ever on the alert–no
strange word escaped him, no unusual term. He would say it over and over
till he met a friend, and then demand its meaning. One day he came to me
with a very troubled face. “Madame,” he said, “please tell me why shall a
man, like me, like any man, be a ‘bluenose’?”

“A what?” I asked.

“A ‘bluenose.’ So he was called in the restaurant, but he seemed not
offended about it. I have looked in my books; I can’t find any disease of
that name.”

With ill-suppressed laughter I asked, “Do you know Nova Scotia and

“I hear the laugh in your voice,” he said; then added, “Yes, I know both
these places.”

“They are very cold and foggy and wet,” I explained.

But with brightening eyes he caught up the sentence and continued:

“And the people have blue noses, eh? Ha! ha! Excuse me, then, but is a
milksop a man from some state, or some country, too?”

At tea some one used the word “claptrap.” “What’s that?” quickly demanded
the student in our midst. “‘Claptrap’–‘clap’ is so (he struck his hands
together); ‘trap’ is for rats–what is, then, ‘claptrap’?”

“It is a vulgar or unworthy bid for applause,” I explained.

“Bah!” he contemptuously exclaimed. “I know him,–that cheap actor who
plays at the gallery. He is, then, in English a ‘clap-trapper,’ is he not?”

It was hardly possible to meet him without having a word or a term offered
thus for explanation.

–Clara Morris: _Alessandro Salvini_ (“McClure’s”).

_B._ Write six sentences which might be developed into paragraphs by
giving specific instances.

+Theme XXI.+–_Write a paragraph by furnishing specific instances for one
of the following topic statements:_–

1. Nine tenths of all that goes wrong in this world is because some one
does not mind his business.

2. It requires a man of courage and perseverance to become a pioneer.

3. Even the wisest teacher does not always punish the boy who is most at

4. It is impossible to teach a dog many amusing tricks.

5. Even so stupid a creature as a chicken may sometimes exhibit much

6. Carelessness often leads into difficulty.

7. Our school clock must see many interesting things.

8. Our first impressions are not always our best ones.

9. I am a very busy lead pencil, for my duties are numerous.

10. Dickens’s characters are taken from the lower classes of

11. Some portions of the book I am reading are very interesting.

(Do your specific instances really illustrate the topic
statement? Have you said what you intended to say?
Can you omit any words or sentences? Have you used
_and_ or _got_ unnecessarily?).

+45. Development by Giving Details.+–Many general statements lead to a
desire to know the details, and the writer may make his idea clearer by
giving them. The statement, “The wedding ceremony was impressive,” at once
arouses a desire to know the details. If a friend should say, “I enjoyed
my trip to the city,” we wish him to relate that which pleased him. These
details assist us in understanding the topic statement, and increase our
interest in it. Notice in the paragraphs below how much is added to our
understanding of the topic statement by the sentences that give the

1. I left my garden for a week, just at the close of a dry spell. A season
of rain immediately set in, and when I returned the transformation was
wonderful. In one week every vegetable had fairly jumped forward. The
tomatoes, which I left slender plants, eaten of bugs and debating whether
they would go backward or forward, had become stout and lusty, with thick
stems and dark leaves, and some of them had blossomed. The corn waved like
that which grows so rank out of the French-English mixture at Waterloo.
The squashes–I will not speak of the squashes. The most remarkable growth
was the asparagus. There was not a spear above ground when I went away;
and now it had sprung up, and gone to seed, and there were stalks higher
than my head.

–Warner: _My Summer in a Garden_.

2. The wedding ceremony was solemn and beautiful, in the church on the
estate. At the door of the palace stood the mother of the bride, to greet
her return from the ceremony with the blessing, “May you always have bread
and salt,” as she served her from a loaf of black bread, with a salt
cellar in the center, as is the Russian custom for prince and peasant.
Just at this dramatic moment a courier dashed up with a telegram from the
Czar and Czarina, and their gifts for the bride,–a magnificent tiara and
necklace of diamonds. The other presents were already displayed in a
magnificent room; but we saw their splendor through the glass of locked
cases,–a precaution surprising to an Englishwoman. The large swan of
forcemeat was the only reminder of boyar customs at the rather Parisian
feast. Wine was served between the courses, with a toast; while guests in
turn left their seats to express their sentiments to bride and groom, who
stood to receive them.

–Mary Louise Dunbar: _The Household of a Russian Prince_
(“Atlantic Monthly “).

+Theme XXII.+–_Write a paragraph by giving details for one of the
following topic statements:_–

1. There were many interesting things on the farm where I spent my summer

2. The sounds heard in the forest at night are somewhat alarming to one
who is not used to the language of the woods.

3. I am always much amused when the Sewing Circle meets at my mother’s

4. Good roads are of advantage to farmers in many ways.

5. A baseball game furnishes abundant opportunity to exercise good

6. I remember well the first time that I visited a large city.

7. I shall never forget my first attempt at milking a cow.

8. The haunted house is a square, old-fashioned one of the colonial type.

9. A mouse suddenly entering the class room caused much disturbance.

10. A freshman’s trials are numerous.

(Do the details bear upon the main idea? If the paragraph is long and
rambling, condense by omitting the least important parts. By changing the
order of the sentences, can you improve the paragraph?)

+46. Details Related in Time-Order.+–The experiences of daily life follow
each other in time, and when we read of a series of events we at once
think of them as having occurred in a certain time-order. To assist in
establishing the correct time-order, the writer should generally state the
details of his story in the order in which they occurred. The method of
showing time relations for simultaneous events has been discussed in
Section 11.

If the narrative is of considerable length, it may be divided into
paragraphs, each dealing with some particular stage of its progress. The
time relations among the sentences within the paragraph and among the
paragraphs themselves should be such that the reader may readily follow
the thread of the story to its main point. Narrative paragraphs often do
not have topic sentences.

In the following selection from _Black Beauty_ notice how the time
relations give unity of thought both to the paragraphs and to the whole

He hung my rein on one of the iron spikes, and was soon hidden among the
trees. Lizzie was standing quietly by the side of the road, a few paces
off, with her back to me. My young mistress was sitting easily, with a
loose rein, humming a little song. I listened to my rider’s footsteps
until he reached the house, and heard him knock at the door.

There was a meadow on the opposite side of the road, the gate of which
stood open. As I looked, some cart horses and several young colts came
trotting out in a very disorderly manner, while a boy behind was cracking
a great whip. The colts were wild and frolicsome. One of them bolted
across the road and blundered up against Lizzie. Whether it was the stupid
colt or the loud cracking of the whip, or both together, I cannot say, but
she gave a violent kick and dashed off into a headlong gallop. It was so
sudden that Lady Anne was nearly unseated, but she soon recovered herself.

I gave a long, shrill neigh for help. Again and again I neighed, pawing
the ground impatiently, and tossing my head to get the rein loose. I had
not long to wait. Blantyre came running to the gate. He looked anxiously
about, and just caught sight of the flying figure now far away on the
road. In an instant he sprang to the saddle. I needed no whip, no spur,
for I was as eager as my rider. He saw it; and giving me a free rein, and
leaning a little forward, we dashed after them.

For about a mile and a half the road ran straight, then bent to the right;
after this it divided into two roads. Long before we came to the bend my
mistress was out of sight. Which way had she turned? A woman was standing
at her garden gate, shading her eyes with her hand, and looking eagerly up
the road. Scarcely drawing rein, Lord Blantyre shouted, “Which way?” “To
the right!” cried the woman, pointing with her hand, and away we went up
the right-hand road. For a moment we caught sight of Lady Anne; another
bend, and she was hidden again. Several times we caught glimpses of the
flying rider, only to lose her again. We scarcely seemed to gain ground
upon her at all.

An old road mender was standing near a heap of stones, his shovel dropped
and his hands raised. As we came near he made a sign to speak. Lord
Blantyre drew the rein a little. “To the common, to the common, sir! She
has turned off there.”

I knew this common very well. It was, for the most part, very uneven
ground, covered with heather and dark-green bushes, with here and there a
scrubby thorn tree. There were also open spaces of fine, short grass, with
ant-hills and mole turns everywhere–the worst place I ever knew for a
headlong gallop.

We had just turned on to the common, when we caught sight again of the
green habit flying on before us. My mistress’s hat was gone, and her long
brown hair was streaming behind her. Her head and body were thrown back,
as if she were pulling with all her remaining strength, and as if that
strength were nearly exhausted. It was clear that the roughness of the
ground had very much lessened Lizzie’s speed, and there seemed a chance
that we might overtake her.

While we were on the highroad, Lord Blantyre had given me my head; but
now, with a light hand and a practiced eye, he guided me over the ground
in such a masterly manner that my pace was scarcely slackened, and we
gained on them every moment.

About halfway across the common a wide dike had recently been cut and the
earth from the cutting cast up roughly on the other side. Surely this
would stop them! But no; scarcely pausing, Lizzie took the leap, stumbled
among the rough clods, and fell.

–Anne Sewell: _Black Beauty_.

+Theme XXIII.+–_Write a brief narrative giving unity to the paragraphs by
means of the time relations._

Suggested subjects:–

1. An adventure on horseback.
2. A trip with the engineer.
3. A day on the river.
4. Fido’s mishaps.
5. An inquisitive crow.
6. The unfortunate letter carrier.
7. Teaching a calf to drink.
8. The story of a silver dollar.
9. A narrow escape.
10.An afternoon at the circus.
11.A story accounting for the situation shown in the
picture on page 90.

(Do you need more than one paragraph? If so, is each a group of sentences
treating of a single topic? Can the reader follow the thread of your
story? Leave out details not essential to the main point.)

+47. Order of Details Determined by Position in Space.+–The order of
presentation of details may be determined by the position that the details
themselves occupy in space. In description we wish both to give a correct
general impression of the thing described, and to make certain details
clear. The general impression should be given in the first sentence or two
and the details should follow. The effectiveness of the details will
depend upon their order of presentation. When one looks at a scene the eye
passes from one object to another near it; similarly when one is recalling
the scene the image of one thing naturally recalls that of an adjoining
one. A skillful writer takes advantage of this habit of thinking, and
states the details in his description in the order in which we would
naturally see them if we were actually looking at them. By so doing he
most easily presents to our minds the image he wishes to convey.


In the following paragraphs notice that we get first an impression of the
general appearance, to which we are enabled to add new details as the
description proceeds.

The companion of the church dignitary was a man past forty, thin, strong,
tall, and muscular; an athletic figure, which long fatigue and constant
exercise seemed to have left none of the softer part of the human form,
having reduced the whole to brawn, bones, and sinews, which had sustained
a thousand toils, and were ready to dare a thousand more. His head was
covered with a scarlet cap, faced with fur, of that kind which the French
call _mortier_, from its resemblance to the shape of an inverted mortar.
His countenance was therefore fully displayed, and its expression was
calculated to impress a degree of awe, if not of fear, upon strangers.
High features, naturally strong and powerfully expressive, had been burnt
almost into negro blackness by constant exposure to the tropical sun, and
might, in their ordinary state, be said to slumber after the storm of
passion had passed away; but the projection of the veins of the forehead,
the readiness with which the upper lip and its thick black mustache
quivered upon the slightest emotion, plainly intimated that the tempest
might be again and easily awakened. His keen, piercing, dark eyes told in
every glance a history of difficulties subdued and dangers dared, and
seemed to challenge opposition to his wishes, for the pleasure of sweeping
it from his road by a determined exertion of courage and of will; a deep
scar on his brow gave additional sternness to his countenance and a
sinister expression to one of his eyes, which had been slightly injured on
the same occasion, and of which the vision, though perfect, was in a slight
and partial degree distorted.

The upper dress of this personage resembled that of his companion in
shape, being a long monastic mantle; but the color, being scarlet, showed
that he did not belong to any of the four regular orders of monks. On the
right shoulder of the mantle there was cut, in white cloth, a cross of a
peculiar form. This upper robe concealed what at first view seemed rather
inconsistent with its form, a shirt, namely, of linked mail, with sleeves
and gloves of the same, curiously plaited and interwoven, as flexible to
the body as those which are now wrought in the stocking loom out of less
obdurate materials. The fore part of his thighs, where the folds of his
mantle permitted them to be seen, were also covered with linked mail; the
knees and feet were defended by splints, or thin plates of steel,
ingeniously jointed upon each other; and mail hose, reaching from the
ankle to the knee, effectually protected the legs, and completed the
rider’s defensive armor. In his girdle he wore a long and double-edged
dagger, which was the only offensive weapon about his person.

He rode, not a mule, like his companion, but a strong hackney for the
road, to save his gallant war horse, which a squire led behind, fully
accoutered for battle, with a chamfron or plaited headpiece upon his head,
having a short spike projecting from the front. On one side of the saddle
hung a short battle-ax, richly inlaid with Damascene carving; on the other
the rider’s plumed headpiece and hood of mail, with a long two-handed
sword, used by the chivalry of the period. A second squire held aloft his
master’s lance, from the extremity of which fluttered a small banderole,
or streamer, bearing a cross of the same form with that embroidered upon
his cloak. He also carried his small triangular shield, broad enough at
the top to protect the breast, and from thence diminishing to a point. It
was covered with a scarlet cloth, which prevented the device from being

–Scott: _Ivanhoe_.

Notice also how the description proceeds in an orderly way from one thing
to another, placing together in the description those which occur together
in the person described. Just as we turn our eyes naturally from one thing
to another near it in space, so in a paragraph should our attention be
called from one thing to that which naturally accompanies it. If the first
sentence describes a man’s eyes, the second his feet, and a third his
forehead, our mental image is likely to become confused. If a description
covers several paragraphs, each may be given a unity by placing in it
those things which are associated in space.


_A._ If you were to write three paragraphs describing a man, which of the
following details should be included in each paragraph?

(_a_) eyes, (_b_) shoes, (_c_) size, (_d_) complexion, (_e_) general
appearance, (_f_) hair, (_g_) carriage, (_h_) trousers,(_i_) mouth, (_j_)
coat, (_k_) nose.

_B._ Make a list of the details which might be mentioned in describing the
outside of a church. Arrange them in appropriate groups.

_C._ In the following paragraphs which sentences give the general outline
and which give details? Are the details arranged with reference to their
position in space? Can the paragraph be improved by rearranging them?

1. We came finally to a brook more wild and mysterious than the others.
There were a half dozen stepping-stones between the path we were on and
the place where it began again on the opposite side. After a few missteps
and much laughter we were landed at last, but several of the party had wet
feet to remember the experience by. We found ourselves in a space that had
once been a clearing. A tumbledown chimney overgrown with brambles and
vines told of an abandoned hearthstone. The blackened remnants of many a
picnic camp fire strewed the ground. A slight turn brought us to the spot
where the Indian Spring welled out of the hillside. The setting was all
that we could have hoped for,–great moss-grown rocks wet and slippery,
deep shade which almost made us doubt the existence of the hot August
sunshine at the edge of the forest, cool water dripping and tinkling. A
half-dozen great trees had been so undermined by the action of the water
long ago that they had tumbled headlong into the stream bed. There they
lay, heads down, crisscross–one completely spanning the brook just below
the spring–their tangled roots like great dragons twisting and thrusting
at the shadows. The water trickled slowly over the smooth rocky bottom as
if reluctant to leave a spot enchanted. A few yards below, the overflow
from Indian Spring joined the main stream, and their waters mingled in a
pretty little cataract. We went below and looked back at it. How it
wrinkled and paused over the level spaces, played with the bubbles in the
eddies, and ran laughing and turning somersaults wherever the ledges were

–Mary Rodgers Miller: _The Brook Book_. (Copyright, 1902, by Doubleday,
Page & Co.)

2. Rowena was tall in stature, yet not so much so as to attract
observation on account of superior height. Her complexion was exquisitely
fair, but the noble cast of her head and features prevented the insipidity
which sometimes attaches to fair beauties. Her clear blue eyes, which sat
enshrined beneath a graceful eyebrow of brown, sufficiently marked to give
expression to the forehead, seemed capable to kindle as well as to melt,
to command as well as to beseech. Her profuse hair, of a color betwixt
brown and flaxen, was arranged in a fanciful and graceful manner in
numerous ringlets, to form which art had probably been aided by nature.
These locks were braided with gems, and being worn at full length,
intimated the noble birth and free-born condition of the maiden. A golden
chain, to which was attached a small reliquary of the same metal, hung
around her neck. She wore bracelets on her arms, which were bare. Her
dress was an under gown and kirtle of pale sea-green silk, over which hung
a long loose robe, which reached to the ground, having very wide sleeves,
which came down, however, very little below the elbow. This robe was
crimson, and manufactured out of the very finest wool. A veil of silk,
interwoven with gold, was attached to the upper part of it, which could
be, at the wearer’s pleasure, either drawn over the face and bosom after
the Spanish fashion, or disposed as a sort of drapery round the shoulders.

–Scott: _Ivanhoe_.

+Theme XXIV.+–_Write a paragraph and arrange the details with reference
to their association in space._

Suggested subjects:–

1. Ichabod Crane.
2. Rip Van Winkle.
3. The man who lives near us.
4. A minister I met yesterday.
5. Our family doctor.
6. The gymnasium.
7. A fire engine.
8. The old church.
9. The shoe factory.
10. Some character in the book you are reading.

(Which sentence gives the general impression and which sentences give the
details? Are the details arranged with reference to their real space
order? Should others be added? Can any be omitted? Will the reader form
the mental image you wish him to form?)

+48. Development by Comparison.+–In Section 29 we found that comparison,
whether literal or figurative, aided us in forming mental images of
objects. In a similar way events and general principles may be explained
by making suitable comparisons. We are continually comparing one thing
with another. Every idea tends to recall other ideas that are similar to
it or in contrast with it. When an unfamiliar idea is presented to us we
at once seek to associate it with similar ideas already known to us. A
writer, therefore, will make his meaning clear by furnishing, the desired
comparisons. If these are familiar to us, they enable us to understand
the new ideas presented. Even when both ideas in the comparison are
unfamiliar, each may gain in clearness by comparison with the other.

In comparing two objects, events, or principles we may point out that they
are _not_ alike in certain respects. A comparison that thus emphasizes
differences, rather than likenesses, becomes a contrast. The contrast may
be given in a single sentence or in a single paragraph, but often a
paragraph or more may be required for each of the two ideas contrasted.


Notice how comparisons and contrasts are used in the following

1. Niagara is the largest cataract in the world, while Yosemite is the
highest; it is the volume that impresses you at Niagara, and it is the
height of Yosemite and the grand surroundings that make its beauty.
Niagara is as wide as Yosemite is high, and if it had no more water than
Yosemite has, it would not be of much consequence. The sound of the two
falls is quite different: Niagara makes a steady roar, deep and strong,
though not oppressive, while Yosemite is a crash and rattle, owing to the
force of the water as it strikes the solid rock after its immense leap.

2. It is not only in appearance that London and New York differ widely.
They also speak with different accents, for cities have distinctive
accents as well as people. Tennyson wrote about “streaming London’s
central roar”; the roar is a gentle hum compared with the din which
tingles the ears of visitors to New York. The accent of New York is harsh,
grating, jarring. The rattle of the elevated railroad, the whir of the
cable cars, the ringing of electric-car bells, the rumble of vehicles over
the hard stones, the roar of the traffic as it reëchoes through the narrow
canyons of down-town streets, produce an appalling combination of
discords. The streets of New York are not more crowded than those of
London, but the noise in London is subdued. It is more regular, less
jarring and piercing. The muffled sounds in London are due partly to the
wooden and asphalt pavements, which deaden the sounds. London must be
soothing to the New Yorker, as the noise of New York is at first
disconcerting to the Londoner.–_Outlook._

3. Now their separate characters are briefly these. The man’s power is
active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the
discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation and invention;
his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest wherever war is just,
wherever conquest necessary. But the woman’s power is for rule, not for
battle, and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet
ordering, arrangement, and decision. She sees the qualities of things,
their claims, and their places.

–Ruskin: _Sesame and Lilies_.

+Theme XXV.+–_Write a paragraph using comparison or contrast._

Suggested topics:–

1. The school, a beehive.
2. The body, a steam engine.
3. Two generals about whom you have read.
4. Girls, boys.
5. Two of your studies.
6. Graded school work, high school work.
7. Animal life, plant life.
8. Two of your classmates.

(Have you used comparison or contrast? Have you introduced any of the
other methods of development? Have you developed the paragraph so that the
reader will understand fully your topic statement? Omit sentences not
really needed.)

+49. Development by Stating Cause and Effect.+–We are better satisfied
with our understanding of a thing if we know the causes which have
produced it or the effects which follow it. Likewise we feel that another
has mastered the topic statement of a paragraph if he can answer the
question, Why is this so? or, What will result from this? When either is
stated, we naturally begin to think about the other. The idea of a topic
statement may, therefore, be satisfactorily developed by stating its
causes or its effects. A cause may be stated and the effects given or the
effects may be made the topic statement for which we account by giving its

The importance of the relation of cause and effect to scientific study is
discussed in the following paragraph from Mill:–

The relation of cause and effect is the fundamental law of nature. There
is no recorded instance of an effect appearing without a previous cause,
or of a cause acting without producing its full effect. Every change in
nature is the effect of some previous change and the cause of some change
to follow; just as the movement of each carriage near the middle of a long
train is a result of the movement of the one in front and a precursor
of the movement of the one behind. Facts or effects are to be seen
everywhere, but causes have usually to be sought for. It is the function
of science or organized knowledge to observe all effects, or phenomena,
and to seek for their causes. This twofold purpose gives richness and
dignity to science. The observation and classifying of facts soon become
wearisome to all but the specialist actually engaged in the work. But when
reasons are assigned, and classification explained, when the number of
causes is reduced and the effects begin to crystallize into essential and
clearly related parts of one whole, every intelligent student finds
interest, and many, more fortunate, even fascination in the study.

–Mill: _The Realm of Nature_. (Copyright, 1892, by Charles Scribner’s


_A._ In your reading, notice how often the effects are indicated by the
use of some one of the following expressions: _as a result, accordingly,
consequently, for, hence, so, so that, thus._

_B._ Which sentences state causes and which state effects in the following

1. The power of water to dissolve most minerals increases with its
temperature and the amount of gases it contains. Percolating water at
great depths, therefore, generally dissolves more mineral matter than it
can hold in solution when it reaches the surface, where it cools, and,
being relieved of pressure, much of its carbonic acid gas escapes to the
atmosphere or is absorbed by aquatic plants or mosses. Hence, deep-seated
springs are usually surrounded by a deposit of the minerals with which the
water is impregnated. Sometimes this deposit may even form large hills;
sometimes it forms a mound around the spring, over the sides of which the
water falls, while the spray, evaporating from surrounding objects, leaves
them also incrusted with a mineral deposit. Percolating water evaporating
on the sides and roof of limestone caverns, leaves the walls incrusted
with carbonate of lime in beautiful masses of crystals. Water slowly
evaporating as it drips from the roof of caverns to the floor beneath
leaves a deposit on both places, which gradually grows downward from the
roof as a _stalactite_, and upward from the floor as a _stalagmite_, until
these meet and form one continuous column of stone.

–Hinman: _Eclectic Physical Geography_.

2. The frequent use of cigars or cigarettes by the young seriously affects
the quality of the blood. The red blood corpuscles are not fully developed
and charged with their normal supply of life-giving oxygen. This causes
paleness of the skin, often noticed in the face of the young smoker.
Palpitation of the heart is also a common result, followed by permanent
weakness, so that the whole system is enfeebled, and mental vigor is
impaired as well as physical strength. Observant teachers can usually tell
which of the boys under their care are addicted to smoking, simply by the
comparative inferiority of their appearance, and by their intellectual and
bodily indolence and feebleness. After full maturity is attained the evil
effects of commencing the use of tobacco are less apparent; but competent
physicians assert that it cannot be safely used by those under the age of

–Macy-Norris: _Physiology for High Schools_.

3. In many other ways, too, the Norman Conquest affected England. For
example, before long all the best places in the Church were filled with
foreigners. But most of the new bishops and abbots were far superior in
morals and education to the Englishmen whom they succeeded. They were also
devoted to the Pope of Rome, and soon made the English National Church a
part of the Roman Catholic Church. But William, while willing to bow to
the Pope as his chief in religious matters, refused to give way to him in
things which concerned only this world. No former English king had done
that, he knew, and no more would he. This union with the Roman Catholic
Church was of the greatest benefit to England, as it brought her once more
into connection with the educated men of Europe. Indeed, Lanfranc, the
Conqueror’s Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of the best and wisest men
of his day.

–Higginson and Channing: _English History for American Readers_.

+Theme XXVI.+–_Develop one of the following topic statements into
paragraphs by stating causes or effects:_–

1. A government which had no soldiers to call upon in an emergency would
not last long.

2. One of the first needs of a new country is roads.

3. The number of people receiving public support is smaller in this
country than in Europe.

4. An efficient postal system is a great aid to civilization.

5. A straight stream is an impossibility in nature.

6. Mountain ranges have great influence upon climate.

7. The United States holds first place as a manufacturing nation.

8. There are many swift rivers in New England.

9. Towns or cities are located at the mouths of navigable rivers.

(Which sentences state causes and which state effects? Would the effects
which you have stated really follow the given causes?)

+50. Development by Repetition.+–The repetition of a thought in different
form will often make plain that which we do not at first understand. This
is especially true if the repetitions are accompanied by new comparisons.
In every school the teacher makes daily use of repetition in her efforts
to explain to the pupils that which they do not understand. In a similar
way a writer makes use of this tendency of ours, and develops the idea of
the topic sentence by repetition. Each sentence should, however, do more
than merely repeat. It should add something to the central idea, making
this idea clearer, more definite, or more emphatic. If repetition is
excessive and purposeless, it becomes a fault.

Repetition may extend through the whole paragraph, or it may be used to
explain any sentence or any part of a sentence. It may tell what the thing
is or what it is not, and in effect becomes a definition setting limits to
the original idea.


Notice how the idea in the topic statement of each of the following
paragraphs is repeated in those which follow:–

1. No man ever made a complete new system of law and gave it to a people.
No monarch, however absolute or powerful, ever had the power to change the
habits of a people to that extent. Revolution generally means, not a
change of law, but merely a change of government officials; even when it
is a change from monarchy to democracy. Our Revolution made practically no
changes in the criminal and civil laws of the colonies.

–Clark: _The Government_.

2. People talk of liberty as if it meant the liberty to do just what a man
likes. I call that man free who fears doing wrong, but fears nothing else.
I call that man free who has learned the most blessed of all truths,–that
liberty consists in obedience to the power, and to the will, and to the
law that his higher soul reverences and approves. He is not free because
he does what he likes; but he is free because he does what he ought, and
there is no protest in his soul against the doing.

–Frederick William Robertson.

3. This dense forest was to the Indians a home in which they had lived
from childhood, and where they were as much at ease as a farmer on his own
acres. To their keen eyes, trained for generations to more than a wild
beast’s watchfulness, the wilderness was an open book. Nothing at rest or
in motion escaped them. They had begun to track game as soon as they could
walk; a scrape on a tree trunk, a bruised leaf, a faint indentation of the
soil, which no white man could see, all told them a tale as plainly as if
it had been shouted in their ears.

–Theodore Roosevelt: _The Winning of the West_.

4. Public enterprises, whether conducted by the municipality or committed
to the public service corporation, exist to render public services.
Streets are public highways. They exist for the people’s use. Nothing
should be placed in them unless required to facilitate their use by or for
the people. Only the general need of water, gas, electricity, and
transportation justifies the placing of pipes and wires and tracks in the
streets. The public need is the sole test and measure of such occupation.
To look upon the streets as a source of private gain, or even municipal
revenue, except as incidents of their public use, is to disregard their
public character. Adequate service at the lowest practicable rates, not
gain or revenue, is the test. The question is, not how much the public
service corporation may gain, but what can be saved to the people by its

–Edwin Burrett Smith: _The Next Step in Municipal Reform_
(“Atlantic Monthly”).

+Theme XXVII.+–_Develop one of the following topic statements into a
paragraph, using the method, of repetition as far as possible:_–

1. It is difficult to become angry with one who is always good-natured.

2. It is gloomy in the woods on a rainy day.

3. The government is always in need of honest men.

4. Rural free delivery of mail will have a great effect on country life.

5. Not every boy in school uses his time to the best advantage.

6. Haste is waste.

7. Regular exercise is one of the essentials of good health.

(Have the repetitions really made the idea of the topic sentence clearer
or more emphatic or more definite? What other methods of development have
you used?)

+51. Development by a Combination of Methods.+–A paragraph should have
unity of thought, and, so long as this unity of thought is kept, it does
not matter what methods of development are used. A dozen paragraphs taken
at random will show that combinations are very frequent. Often it will be
difficult to determine just how a paragraph has been developed. In
general, however, it may be said that an indiscriminate mixture of methods
is confusing and interferes with unity of thought. If more than one is
used, it requires skillful handling to maintain such a relation between
them that both contribute to the clear and emphatic statement of the main

The paragraph from Dryer, page 74, shows a combination of cause and effect
with specific illustrations; that from Wolstan Dixey, page 81, shows a
combination of repetition with specific instances.


What methods of paragraph development, or what combinations of methods,
are used in the following selections?

1. I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not
mean, by humility, doubt of his power, or hesitation in speaking of his
opinions; but a right understanding of the relation between what he can do
and say and the rest of the world’s sayings and doings. All great men not
only know their business, but usually know that they know it; and are not
only right in their main opinions, but they usually know that they are
right in them; only they do not think much of themselves on that account.
Arnolfo knows he can build a good dome at Florence; Albert Dürer writes
calmly to one who had found fault with his work, “It cannot be better
done”; Sir Isaac Newton knows that he has worked out a problem or two
that would have puzzled anybody else; only they do not expect their
fellow-men therefore to fall down and worship them; they have a curious
undersense of powerlessness, feeling that the greatness is not _in_ them,
but _through_ them; that they could not do or be anything else than God
made them. And they see something divine and God-made in every other man
they meet, and are endlessly, foolishly, and incredibly merciful.


2. The first thing to be noted about the dress of the Romans is that its
prevalent material was always woolen. Sheep raising for wool was practiced
among them on an extensive scale, from the earliest historic times, and
the choice breeds of that animal, originally imported from Greece or Asia
Minor, took so kindly to the soil and climate of Italy that home-grown
wool came even to be preferred to the foreign for fineness and softness of
quality. Foreign wools were, however, always imported more or less, partly
because the supply of native wools seems never to have been quite
sufficient, partly because the natural colors of wools from different
parts varied so considerably as to render the art of the dyer to some
extent unnecessary. Thus, the wools of Canusium were brown or reddish,
those of Pollentia in Liguria were black, those from the Spanish Baetica,
which comprised Andalusia and a part of Granada, had either a golden brown
or a grayish hue; the wools of Asia were almost red; and there was a
Grecian fleece, called the crow colored, of which the natural tint was a
peculiarly deep and brilliant black.

–Preston and Dodge: _’The Private Life of the Romans_.

3. Art has done everything for Munich. It lies on a large flat plain
sixteen hundred feet above the sea and continually exposed to the cold
winds from the Alps. At the beginning of the present century it was but a
third-rate city, and was rarely visited by foreigners; since that time its
population and limits have been doubled, and magnificent edifices in every
style of architecture erected, rendering it scarcely secondary in this
respect to any capital in Europe. Every art that wealth or taste could
devise seems to have been spent in its decoration. Broad, spacious streets
and squares have been laid out; churches, halls, and colleges erected, and
schools of painting and sculpture established which drew artists from all
parts of the world.

–Taylor: _Views Afoot_.

4. In all excursions to the woods or to the shore the student of
ornithology has an advantage over his companions. He has one more, avenue
of delight. He, indeed, kills two birds with one stone and sometimes
three. If others wander, he can never get out of his way. His game is
everywhere. The cawing of a crow makes him feel at home, while a new note
or a new song drowns all care. Audubon, on the desolate coast of Labrador,
is happier than any king ever was; and on shipboard is nearly cured of his
seasickness when a new gull appears in sight.

–Burroughs: _Wake Robin_.

+Theme XXVIII.+–_Write a paragraph, using any method or combination of
methods which best suits your thought. Use any of the subjects hitherto
suggested that you have not already used._

(Is every sentence related to the topic statement so that your paragraph
possesses unity? What methods of development have you used?)

+52. The Topical Recitation.+–In conducting a recitation the teacher may
ask direct questions about each part of a paragraph or she may ask a pupil
to discuss some topic. Such a topical recitation should be an exercise in
clear thinking rather than in word memory, and in order to prepare for it,
the pupil should have made a careful analysis of the thought in each
paragraph similar to that discussed on page 74. When this analysis has
been made he will have clearly in mind the topic statement and the way it
has been developed, and will be able to distinguish the essential from the
non-essential elements.

A topical recitation demands that the pupil know the main idea and be able
to develop it in one of the following methods, or by a combination of
them: (1) by giving specific instances, (2) by giving details, (3) by
giving comparisons or contrasts, (4) by giving causes or effects, and (5)
by repetition.

Thoughts so mastered are our own. We understand them and believe them; and
consequently we can explain them, or describe them, or prove them to
others. We can furnish details or instances, originate comparisons, or
state causes and effects. _When ideas gained from language have thus
become our own, we do not need to remember the language in which they were
expressed, and not until then do they become proper material for
composition purposes._

+53. Outlining Paragraphs.+–Making an outline of a paragraph that we have
read brings the thought clearly before our mind. In a similar way we may
make our own thoughts clear and definite by attempting to prepare in
advance an outline of a paragraph that we are about to write. Arranging
the material that we have in mind and deciding upon the order in which we
shall present it, will both help us to understand the thought ourselves,
and enable us to present it more effectively to others.


_A._ Prepare for recitation the following selection from Newcomer’s
introduction to Macaulay’s _Milton and Addison:_–

There were two faculties of Macaulay’s mind that set his work far apart
from other work in the same field,–the faculties of organization and
illustration. He saw things in their right relation and he knew how to
make others see them thus. If he was describing, he never thrust minor
details into the foreground. If he was narrating, he never “got ahead of
his story.” The importance of this is not sufficiently recognized. Many
writers do not know what organization means. They do not know that in all
great and successful literary work it is nine tenths of the labor. Yet
consider a moment. History is a very complex thing: divers events may be
simultaneous in their occurrence; or one crisis may be slowly evolving
from many causes in many places. It is no light task to tell these things
one after another and yet leave a unified impression, to take up a dozen
new threads in succession without tangling them and without losing the old
ones, and to lay them all down at the right moment and without confusion.
Such is the narrator’s task, and it was at this task that Macaulay proved
himself a past master. He could dispose of a number of trivial events in a
single sentence. Thus, for example, runs his account of the dramatist
Wycherley’s naval career: “He embarked, was present at a battle, and
celebrated it, on his return, in a copy of verses too bad for the
bellman.” On the other hand, when it is a question of a great crisis, like
the impeachment of Warren Hastings, he knew how to prepare for it with
elaborate ceremony and to portray it in a scene of the highest dramatic

This faculty of organization shows itself in what we technically name
structure; and logical and rhetorical structure may be studied at their
very best in his work. His essays are perfect units, made up of many
parts, systems within systems, that play together without clog or
friction. You can take them apart like a watch and put them together
again. But try to rearrange the parts and the mechanism is spoiled. Each
essay has its subdivisions, which in turn are groups of paragraphs. And
each paragraph is a unit. Take the first paragraph of the essay on Milton:
the word _manuscript_ appears in the first sentence, and it reappears in
the last; clearly the paragraph deals with a single very definite topic.
And so with all. Of course the unity manifests itself in a hundred ways,
but it is rarely wanting. Most frequently it takes the form of an
expansion of a topic given in the first sentence, or a preparation for a
topic to be announced only in the last. These initial and final sentences–
often in themselves both aphoristic and memorable–serve to mark with the
utmost clearness the different stages in the progress of the essay.

Illustration is of more incidental service, but as used by Macaulay
becomes highly organic. For his illustrations are not farfetched or
laboriously worked out. They seem to be of one piece with his story or his
argument. His mind was quick to detect resemblances and analogies. He was
ready with a comparison for everything, sometimes with half a dozen. For
example, Addison’s essays, he has occasion to say, were different every
day of the week, and yet, to his mind, each day like something–like
Horace, like Lucian, like the “Tales of Scheherezade.” He draws long
comparisons between Walpole and Townshend, between Congreve and Wycherley,
between Essex and Villiers, between the fall of the Carlovingians and the
fall of the Moguls. He follows up a general statement with swarms of
instances. Have historians been given to exaggerating the villainy of
Machiavelli? Macaulay can name you half a dozen who did so. Did the
writers of Charles’s faction delight in making their opponents appear
contemptible? “They have told us that Pym broke down in a speech, that
Ireton had his nose pulled by Hollis, that the Earl of Northumberland
cudgeled Henry Marten, that St. John’s manners were sullen, that Vane had
an ugly face, that Cromwell had a red nose.” Do men fail when they quit
their own province for another? Newton failed thus; Bentley failed; Inigo
Jones failed; Wilkie failed. In the same way he was ready with quotations.
He writes in one of his letters: “It is a dangerous thing for a man with a
very strong memory to read very much. I could give you three or four
quotations this moment in support of that proposition; but I will bring
the vicious propensity under subjection, if I can.” Thus we see his mind
doing instantly and involuntarily what other minds do with infinite pains,
bringing together all things that have a likeness or a common bearing.

It is precisely these talents that set Macaulay among the simplest and
clearest of writers, and that accounts for much of his popularity. People
found that in taking up one of his articles they simply read on and on,
never puzzling over the meaning of a sentence, getting the exact force of
every statement, and following the trend of thought with scarcely a mental
effort. And his natural gift of making things plain he took pains to
support by various devices. He constructed his sentences after the
simplest normal fashion, subject and verb and object, sometimes inverting
for emphasis, but rarely complicating, and always reducing expression to
the barest terms. He could write, for example, “One advantage the chaplain
had,” but it is impossible to conceive of his writing, “Now, amid all the
discomforts and disadvantages with which the unfortunate chaplain was
surrounded, there was one thing which served to offset them, and which, if
he chose to take the opportunity of enjoying it, might well be regarded as
a positive advantage.” One will search his pages in vain for loose,
trailing clauses and involved constructions. His vocabulary was of the
same simple nature. He had a complete command of ordinary English and
contented himself with that. He rarely ventured beyond the most abridged
dictionary. An occasional technical term might be required, but he was shy
of the unfamiliar. He would coin no words and he would use no archaisms.
Foreign words, when fairly naturalized, he employed sparingly. “We shall
have no disputes about diction,” he wrote to Napier, Jeffrey’s successor;
“the English language is not so poor but that I may very well find in it
the means of contenting both you and myself.”

_B._ Recite upon some topic taken from your other lessons for the day. Let
the class tell what method of development you have used.

_C._ Make a collection of well-written paragraphs illustrating each of the
methods of development.

+Theme XXIX.+–_Write two paragraphs using the same topic statement, but
developing each by a different method._

Suggested topic statements:–

1. The principal tools of government are buildings, guns, and money.

2. The civilized world was never so orderly as now.

3. Law suits take time, especially in cities; sometimes they take years.

4. There is a difference between law and justice.

5. We cry for a multitude of reasons of surprising variety.

6. In the growth of a child nothing is more surprising than his ceaseless

7. Education for the children of a nation is a benefit to the whole

(Have you said what you intended to say? What methods of development have
you used? Is the main thought of the two paragraphs the same even though
they begin with the same sentence?)


1. Language is (1) a means of expressing ideas, and (2) a medium through
which ideas are acquired.

2. The acquisition of ideas by means of language requires:–
_a._ That we know the meanings of words, and so avoid forming
incomplete images (Section 27) and incomplete thoughts (Section
_b._ That we understand the relations in thought existing among words,
phrases, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs (Section 32).

3. Ideas acquired through language may be used for composition purposes–
_a._ Provided we form complete and accurate images and do not confuse
the image with the language that suggested it (Section 28).
_b._ Provided we make the main thoughts so thoroughly our own that we
can furnish details and instances, originate comparisons, or
state causes and effects, and thus become able to describe them
or explain them, or prove them to others (Section 52).
Until both _a_ and _b_ as stated above are done, ideas acquired
through language are undesirable for composition purposes.

4. Comparisons aid in the forming of correct images. They may be literal
or imaginative. If imaginative, they become figures of speech.

5. Figures of speech. (Complete list in the Appendix.)
_a._ A simile is a direct comparison.
_b._ A metaphor is an implied comparison.
_c._ Personification is a modified metaphor, assigning human
attributes to objects, abstract ideas, or the lower animals.

6. Suggestions as to the use of figures of speech.
_a._ Never write for the purpose of using them.
_b._ They should be appropriate to the subject.
_c._ One of the two things compared must be familiar to the reader.
_d._ Avoid hackneyed figures.
_e._ Avoid long figures.
_f._ Avoid mixed metaphors.

7. Choice of words.
_a._ Use words presumably familiar to the reader.
_b._ Use words that express your exact meaning. Do not confuse similar
_e._ Avoid the frequent use of the same word (Section 17).

8. Ambiguity of thought must be avoided. Care must be exercised in the
use of the forms which show relations in thought between sentences,
especially with pronouns and pronominal adjectives (Section 36).

9. A paragraph is a group of sentences related to each other and to one
central idea.
10. The topic statement of a paragraph is a brief comprehensive summary of
the contents of the paragraph.

11. Methods of paragraph development. A paragraph may be developed–
_a._ By giving specific instances (Section 44).
_b._ By giving details (Section 45). The order in which the details
are told may be determined by–
(1) The order of their occurrence in time (Section 46).
(2) Their position in space (Section 47).
_c._ By comparison or contrast (Section 48).
_d._ By stating cause and effect (Section 49).
_e._ By repetition (Section 50).
_f._ By any suitable combination of the methods stated above.

12. The topical recitation demands–
_a._ That the pupil get the central idea of the paragraph and be able
to make the topic statement.
_b._ That he be able to determine the relative importance of the
remaining ideas in the paragraph.
_c._ That he know by which of the five methods named above the
paragraph has been developed.
_d._ That he be able to furnish details, instances, and comparisons of
his own. (See Sections 37, 38, 39, 52, 53.)


+54. Kinds of Composition.+–When considered with reference to the
purpose in the mind of the writer, there are two general classes of
writing,–that which informs, and that which entertains. The language that
we use should make our meaning clear, arouse interest, and give vividness.
Writing that informs will lay greatest emphasis on clearness, though it
may at the same time be interesting and vivid. We do not add to the value
of an explanation by making it dull. On the other hand, writing that
entertains, though it must be clear, will lay greater emphasis on interest
and vividness. That language is best which combines all three of these
characteristics. The writer’s purpose will determine to which the emphasis
shall be given.

Composition is also divided into description, narration, exposition, and
argument (including persuasion). These are called forms of discourse. It
will be found that this division is also based upon the purpose for which
the composition is written. You have occasion to use each of these forms
of discourse daily; you describe, you narrate, you explain, you argue, you
persuade. You have used language for these purposes from your infancy, and
you are now studying composition in order to acquire facility and
effectiveness in that use. When this chapter is completed, you will have
considered each of the four forms of discourse in an elementary way. A
more extended treatment is given in later chapters.


_A._ To which of the two general classes of composition would each of the
following belong?

1. A business letter.

2. The story of a runaway.

3. A description of a lake written by a geologist.

4. A description of a lake written by a boy who was camping near it.

5. A letter to a friend describing a trip.

6. A text-book on algebra.

7. An application for a position as stenographer.

8. A recipe for making cake.

9. How I made a cake.

10. How to make a kite.

11. A political speech.

12. A debate.

_B._ Could a description be written for the purpose of entertaining? Could
the same object be described for the purpose of giving information?

_C._ To which general class do narratives belong? Explanations? Arguments?

+55. Discourse Presupposes an Audience.+–The object of composition is
communication, and communication is not concerned with one’s self alone.
It always involves two,–the one who gives and the one who receives. If
its purpose is to inform, it must inform _somebody_; if to entertain, it
must entertain _somebody_. To be sure, discourse may be a pleasure to us,
because it is a means of self-expression, but it is _useful_ to us because
it conveys ideas to that other somebody who hears or reads it. We describe
in order that another may picture that which we have experienced; we
narrate, events for the entertainment of others; we explain to others that
which we understand; and we argue in order to prove to some one the truth
of a proposition or to persuade him to action. Thus all discourse, to be
useful, demands an audience. Its effective use requires that the writer
shall give quite as much attention to the way in which that reader will
receive his ideas as he gives to the ideas themselves. “Speaking or
writing is, therefore, a double-ended process. It springs from me, it
penetrates him; and both of these ends need watching. Is what I say
precisely what I mean? That is an important question. Is what I say so
shaped that it can readily be assimilated by him who hears? This is a
question of quite as great consequence and much more likely to be
forgotten…. As I write I must unceasingly study what is the line of
least intellectual resistance along which my thought may enter the
differently constituted mind; and to that line I must subtly adjust,
without enfeebling my meaning. Will this combination of words or that make
the meaning clear? Will this order of presentation facilitate swiftness of
apprehension or will it clog the movement?”[Footnote: Professor George
Herbert Palmer: _Self-cultivation in English_.]

In the preceding chapters emphasis has been laid upon the care that a
writer must give to saying exactly what he means. This must never be
neglected, but we need to add to it a consideration of how best to adapt
what we say to the interest and intelligence of our readers. It will
become clear in writing the following theme that the discussion of
paragraph development in Chapter III was in reality a discussion of
methods of adapting our discourse to the mental habits of our readers.

+Theme XXX.+–_Write a theme showing which one of the five methods of
paragraph development proceeds most nearly in accordance with the way the
mind usually acts._

(This theme will furnish a review of the methods of paragraph development
treated in Chapter III. If possible, write your theme without consulting
the chapter. “Think it out” for yourself. After the theme has been
written, review paragraph development treated in Chapter III. Can you
improve your theme? What methods of development have you used?)

+56. Selecting a Subject.+–Sometimes our theme subjects are chosen for
us, but usually we shall need to choose our own subjects. What we should
choose depends both upon ourselves and upon those for whom we write. The
elements which make a subject suitable for the reader will be considered
later. In so far as the writer is concerned, two things determine the
suitableness of a subject:–

First, the writer’s knowledge of the subject. We cannot make ideas clear
to others unless they are clear to us. Our information must be clearly and
definitely our own before we can hope to present it effectively. This is
one of the advantages possessed by subjects arising from experience. Any
subject about which we know little or nothing, should be rejected. We must
not, however, reject a subject too soon. When it is first thought of we
may find that we have but few ideas about it, but by thinking we may
discover that our information is greater than it at first seemed. We may
be able to assign reasons or to give instances or to originate comparisons
or to add details, and by these processes to amplify our knowledge. Even
if we find that we know but little about the subject from our own
experience, we may still be able to use it for a composition subject by
getting our information from others. We may from conversation or from
reading gain ideas that we can make our own and consequently be able to
write intelligently. Care must be taken that this “reading up” on a
subject does not fill our minds with smatterings of ideas that we think we
understand because we can remember the language in which they were
expressed; but reading, _supplemented by thinking_, may enable us to write
well about a subject concerning which on first thought we seem to know but

Second, the writer’s interest in the subject. It will be found difficult
for the writer to present vividly a subject in which he himself has no
special interest. Enthusiasm is contagious, and if the writer has a real
interest in his subject, he is likely to present his material in such a
manner as to arouse interest in others. In our earlier years we are more
interested in the material presented by experience and imagination than in
that presented by reading, but as we grow older our interest in thoughts
conveyed to us by language increases. As we enlarge our knowledge of a
subject by reading and by conversation, so we are likely to increase our
interest in that subject. A boy may know but little about Napoleon, but
the effort to inform himself may cause him to become greatly interested.
This interest will lead him to a further search for information about
Napoleon, and will at the same time aid in making what he writes
entertaining to others.


_A._ About which of the following subjects do you now possess a sufficient
knowledge to enable you to write a paragraph? In which of them are you
interested? Which would you need to “read up” about?

1. Golf.
2. Examinations.
3. Warships.
4. Wireless telegraphy.
5. Radium.
6. Tennis.
7. Automobiles.
8. Picnics.
9. Printing.
10. Bees.
11. Birds.
12. Pyrography.
13. Photography.
14. Beavers.
15. Making calls.
16. Stamp collecting.
17. The manufacture of tacks.
18. The manufacture of cotton.
19. The smelting of zinc.
20. The silver-plating process.

_B._ Make a list of thirty things about which you know something.

_C._ Bring to class a list of five subjects in which you are interested.

_D._ Make a list of five subjects about which you now possess a sufficient
knowledge to enable you to write a paragraph.

+Theme XXXI.+–_Write a short theme: Select a suitable subject from the
lists in the preceding exercise._

(What method or methods of paragraph development have you used? Have your
paragraphs unity of thought?)

+57. Subject Adapted to Reader.+–We may be interested in a subject and
possess sufficient knowledge to enable us to treat it successfully, but it
may still be unsuitable because it is not adapted to the reader. Some
knowledge of a subject and some interest in it are quite as necessary on
the part of the reader as on that of the writer, though in the beginning
this knowledge and interest may be meager. The possibility of developing
both knowledge and interest must exist, however, or the writing will be a
failure. It would be difficult to make “Imperialism” interesting to third
grade pupils, or “Kant’s Philosophy” to high school pupils. Even if you
know enough to write a valuable “Criticism” of _Silas Marner_, or a real
“Review” of the _Vicar of Wakefield_, the work is time wasted if your
readers do not have a breadth of knowledge sufficient to insure a vital
and appreciative interest in the subject. You must take care to select a
subject that is of present, vital interest to your readers.

+58. Sources of Subjects.+–Thought goes everywhere, and human interest
touches everything. The sources of subjects are therefore unlimited; for
anything about which we think and in which we are interested may become a
suitable subject for a paragraph, an essay, or a book. Such subjects are
everywhere–in what we see and do, in what we think and feel, in what we
hear and read. We relate to our parents what a neighbor said; we discuss
for the teacher an event in history, or a character in literature; we show
a companion how to make a kite or work a problem in algebra; we consider
the advantages of a commercial course or relate the pleasures of a day’s
outing,–in each case we are interested, we think, we express our
thoughts, and so are practicing oral composition with _subjects that may
be used for written exercises_.

+59. Subjects should be Definite.+–Both the writer and the reader are
more interested in definite and concrete subjects than in the general and
abstract ones, and we shall make our writing more interesting by
recognizing this fact. One might write about “Birds,” or “The Intelligence
of Birds,” or “How Birds Protect their Young,” or “A Family of Robins.”
The last is a specific subject, while the other three are general
subjects. Of these, the first includes more than the second; and the
second, more than the third. A person with sufficient knowledge might
write about any one of these general subjects, but it would be difficult
to give such a subject adequate treatment in a short theme. Though a
general subject may suggest more lines of thought, our knowledge about a
specific subject is less vague, and consequently more usable. We really
know more about the specific subject, and we have a greater interest in
it. The subject, “A Family of Robins,” indicates that the writer knows
something interesting that he intends to tell. Such a subject compels
expectant attention from the reader and aids in arousing an appreciative
interest on his part.

On first thought, it would seem easier to write about a general subject
than about a specific one, but this is not the case. A general subject
presents so many lines of thought that the writer is confused, rather than
aided, by the abundance of material. A skilled and experienced writer
possessing a large fund of information may treat general subjects
successfully, but for the beginner safety lies only in selecting definite
subjects and in keeping within the limits prescribed. The “Women of
Shakespeare” might be an interesting subject for a book by a Shakespearean
scholar, but it is scarcely suitable for a high school pupil’s theme.

+60. Narrowing the Subject.+–It is often necessary to narrow a subject in
order to bring it within the range of the knowledge and interest of
ourselves and of our readers. A description of the transportation
of milk on the electric roads around Toledo would probably be more
interesting than an essay on “Freight Transportation by Electricity,” or
on “Transportation.” The purpose that the writer has in mind, and the
length of the article he intends to write, will affect the selection of a
subject. “Transportation” might be the subject of a book in which a
chapter was given to each important subdivision of it; but it would be
quite as difficult to treat such a subject in three hundred words as it
would be to make use of three hundred pages for “The Transportation of
Milk at Toledo.”

A general subject may suggest many lines of thought. It is the task of the
writer to select one about which he knows something or can learn
something, in which both he and his readers are interested, or can become
interested, and for which the time and space at his disposal are adequate.


_A._ Arrange the subjects in each of the following groups so that the most
general ones shall come first:–

1. The intelligence of wild animals.
How a fox escaped from the hounds.
How animals escape destruction by their enemies.

2. The benefits that arise from war.
The defeat of the Cimbri and Teutons by Marius.
The value of military strength to the Romans.

3. Pleasure.
A summer outing in the Adirondacks.
Value of vacations.
Catching bass.

_B._ Narrow ten of the following subjects until the resulting subject may
be treated in a single paragraph:–

1. Fishing.
2. Engines.
3. Literature.
4. Heroes of fiction.
5. Cooking.
6. Houses.
7. Games.
8. Basketball.
9. Cats.
10. Canaries.
11. Sympathy.
12. Sailboats.
13. Baseball.
14. Rivers.
15. Trees.

C. A general subject may suggest several narrower subjects, each of which
would be of interest to a different class of persons; for example–

General subject,–Education.
Specific subjects,–
1. Methods of conducting recitations. (Teachers.)
2. School taxes. (Farmers.)
3. Ventilation of school buildings. (Architects.)

In a similar way, narrow each of the following subjects
so that the resulting subjects will be of interest to two or
more classes of persons:–

Subjects Classes
1. Vacations. 1. Farmers.
2. Mathematics. 2. High School Pupils.
3. Picnics. 3. Ministers.
4. Civil service. 4. Merchants.
5. Elections. 5. Sailors.
6. Botany. 6. Girls.
7. Fish. 7. Boys.

+Theme XXXII.+–_Write a paragraph about one of narrowed subjects._

(Does your paragraph have unity of thought? What methods of development
have you used? Have you selected a subject which will be of interest to
your readers?)

+61. Selecting a Title.+–The subject and the title may be the same, but
not necessarily so. The statement of the subject may require a sentence of
considerable length, while a title is best if short. In selecting this
brief title, it is well to get one which will attract the attention and
arouse the curiosity of a reader without appearing obviously to do so. A
peculiar or unusual title is not at all necessary, though if properly
selected such a title may be of value. Care must be taken not to have the
title make a promise that the theme cannot fulfill. If it does, the effect
is unsatisfactory.


_A._ Discuss the appropriateness of the titles for the subjects in the

1. Title: “My Kingdom for a Horse.”
Subject: An account of a breakdown of an automobile at an inconvenient

2. Title: A Blaze of Brilliance.
Subject: Description of a coaching parade.

3. Title: A Brave Defense.
Subject: An account of how a pair of birds drove a snake away from
their nest.

4. Title: The Banquet Book.
Subject: Quotations designed for general reference, and also as an
aid in the preparation of the toast list, the after-dinner
speech, and the occasional address.

5. Title: Dragons of the Air.
Subject: An account of extinct flying reptiles.

6. Title: Rugs and Rags.
Subject: A comparison of the rich and the poor, from a socialistic
point of view.

7. Title: Lives of the Hunted.
Subject: A true account of the doings of five quadrupeds and three

8. Title: The Children of the Nations.
Subject: A discussion of colonies and the problems of colonization.

_B._ Supply an appropriate title for a story read by the teacher.

_C._ Suggest a title, other than the one given it, for each magazine
article you have read this month.

+62. Language Adapted to the Reader.+–A writer may select a subject with
reference to the knowledge and interest of his readers; he may develop his
paragraphs in accordance with the methods studied in Chapter III, and yet
he may fail to make his meaning clear, because he has not used language
suited to the reader. Fortunately, the language that we understand and use
is that which is most easily understood by those of equal attainments with
ourselves. It therefore happens that when writing for those of our own age
and attainments, or for those of higher attainments, we usually best
express for them that which we make most clear and pleasing to ourselves.
But if we write for younger people, or for those of different interests in
life, we must give much attention to adapting what we write to our
readers. Before writing it is well to ask, For whom am I writing? Then, if
necessary, you should modify your language so that it will be adapted to
your readers. Can you tell for what kind of an audience each of the
following is intended?

In the field both teams played faultless ball, not the semblance of an
error being made. Besides backing up their pitchers in this fashion, both
local and visiting athletes turned sensational plays.

The element of luck figured largely in the result. In the first inning
Dougherty walked and Collins singled. Dougherty had third base sure on the
drive, but stumbled and fell down between second and third, and he was an
easy out.

Boston got its only run in the second. Parent sent the ball to extreme
left for two bases. He stole third nattily when catcher Sugden tried to
catch him napping at the middle station. Ferris scored him with a drive to
left. St. Louis promptly tied the score in its half. Wallace opened with a
screeching triple to the bulletin board. At that he would not have scored
if J. Stahl had not contributed a passed ball, Heidrick, Friel, and
Sugden, the next three batters, expiring on weak infield taps. The Browns
got the winning run in the sixth on Martin’s triple and Hill’s swift cut
back of first. Lachance knocked the ball down and got his man at the
initial sack, but could not prevent the tally.

–_Boston Herald._

His name was Riley, and although his parents had called him Thomas, to the
boys he had always been “Dennis,” and by the time he had reached his
senior year in college he was quite ready to admit that his “name was
Dennis,” with all that slang implied. He had tried for several things,
athletics particularly, and had been substitute on the ball nine, one of
the immortal second eleven backs of the football squad, and at one time
had been looked upon as promising material for a mile runner on the track

But it was always his luck not quite to make anything. He couldn’t bat up
to ‘varsity standard, he wasn’t quite heavy enough for a Varsity back, and
in the mile run he always came in fresh enough but could not seem to get
his speed up so as to run himself out, and the result was that, although
he finished strong and with lots of running in him, the other fellows
always reached the tape first, even though just barely getting over and
thoroughly exhausted.

Now “Dennis” had made up his mind at Christmas time that he actually would
have one more trial on the track, and that his family, consisting of his
mother and a younger brother, both of them great believers in and very
proud of Thomas, should yet see him possessed of a long-coveted “Y.”

So he went out with the first candidates in the spring, and the addition
of the two-mile event to the programme of track contests gave him a
distance better suited to his endurance. There were a half-dozen other men
running in his squad, and Dennis, from his former failures, was not looked
upon with much favor, or as a very likely man. But he kept at it. When the
first reduction of the squad was made, some one said, “Denny’s kept on
just to pound the track.” With the middle of March came some class games,
and Dennis was among the “also rans,” getting no better than fourth place
in the two-mile. The worst of it was that he knew he could have run it
faster, for he felt strong at the finish, but had no burst of speed when
the others went up on the last lap. But in April he did better, and it
soon developed that he was improving. The week before the Yale-Harvard
games he was notified that he was to run in the two-mile as pace maker to
Lang and Early, the two best distance men on the squad. Nobody believed
that Yale would win this event, although it was understood that Lang stood
a fair chance if Dennis and Early could carry the Harvard crack, Richards,
along at a fast gait for the first mile.

So it was all arranged that Early should set the pace for the first half
mile, and Dennis should then go up and carry the field along for a fast
second half. Then, after the first mile was over, Early and Dennis should
go out as fast as they could, and stay as long as they could in the
attempt to force the Harvard man and exhaust him so that Lang could come
up, and, having run the race more to his liking, be strong enough to
finish first.

The day of the games came, and with it a drenching rain, making the track
heavy and everybody uncomfortable. But as the inter-collegiates were
the next week, it was almost impossible to postpone the games, and
consequently it was decided to run them off. As the contest progressed, it
developed that the issue would hang on the two-mile event, and interest
grew intense. When the call for starters came, Dennis felt the usual
trepidation of a man who is before the public for the first time in a
really important position. But the feeling did not last long, and by the
time he went to his mark he had made up his mind that that Harvard runner
should go the mile and a half fast at any rate, or else be a long way

At the crack of the pistol the six men went off, and, according to orders,
during the first mile Early and Dennis set the pace well up. Richards, the
Harvard man, let them open up a gap on him in the first half-mile, and,
being more or less bothered by the conditions of the wet track, he seemed
uncertain whether the Yale runners were setting the pace too high or not,
and in the second half commenced to move up. In doing this his team mates
gradually fell back until they were out of it, and the order was Dennis,
Early, Richards, and Lang. At the beginning of the second mile, Early,
whose duty it was to have gone up and helped Dennis make the pace at the
third half-mile, had manifestly had enough of it, and, after two or three
desperate struggles to keep up, was passed by Richards. When, therefore,
they came to the mile and a half, Dennis was leading Richards by some
fifteen yards, and those who knew the game expected to see the Harvard man
try to overtake Dennis, and in so doing exhaust himself, so that Lang, who
was running easily in the rear, could come up and in the last quarter
finish out strong. Dennis, too, was expecting to hear the Harvard man come
up with him pretty soon, and knew that this would be the signal for him to
make his dying effort in behalf of his comrade, Lang. As they straightened
out into the back stretch Richards did quicken up somewhat, and Dennis let
himself out. In fact, he did this so well that as they entered upon the
last quarter Richards had not decreased the distance, and indeed it had
opened up a little wider. But where was Lang? Dennis was beginning to
expect one or the other of these two men to come up, and, as he turned
into the back stretch for the last time, it began to dawn upon him, as it
was dawning upon the crowd, that the pace had been too hot for Lang, and,
moreover, that Yale’s chance depended on the despised Dennis, and that the
Harvard runner was finding it a big contract to overhaul the sturdy
pounder on the wet track. But Richards was game, and commenced to cut the
gap down. As they turned into the straight, he was within eight yards of
Dennis. But Dennis knew it, and he ran as he had never run before. He
could fairly feel the springing tread of Richards behind him, and knew it
was coming nearer every second. But into the straight they came, and the
crowd sprang to its feet with wild yells for Dennis. Twenty yards from
home Richards, who had picked up all but two yards of the lead, began to
stagger and waver, while Dennis hung to it true and steady, and breasted
the tape three yards in advance, winning his “Y” at last!

–Walter Camp: _Winning a “Y”_ (“Outlook”)

In which of the preceding accounts were you more interested? Which made
the more vivid impression? Which would be better suited for a school class
composed of boys and girls? Which for a newspaper report?

In attempting to relate a contest it is essential that the writer know
what really happened, and in what order it happened, but his successful
presentation will depend to some extent upon the consideration given to
adapting the story to the audience. A person thoroughly conversant with
the game will understand the technical terms, and may prefer the first
account to the second, but those to whom the game is not familiar would
need to have so much explanation of the terms used that the narration
would become tedious to those already familiar with the terms. In order
to make an account of a game interesting to persons unfamiliar with that
game, we must introduce enough of explanation to make clear the meaning
of the terms we use.

+Theme XXXIII.+–_Write a theme telling some one who does not understand
the game about some contest which you have seen_.

Suggested subjects:–

1. A basket ball game.
2. A football game.
3. A tennis match.
4. A baseball game.
5. A croquet match.
6. A golf tournament.
7. A yacht race.
8. A relay race.

(Have you introduced technical terms without making the necessary
explanations? Have you explained so many terms that your narrative is
rendered tedious? Have you related what really happened, and in the proper
time order? Have your paragraphs unity? Can you shorten the theme without
affecting the clearness or interest? Does _then_ occur too frequently?)

+Theme XXXIV.+–_Write a theme, using the same subject that you used for
Theme XXXIII. Assume that the reader understands the game._

(Will the reader get the whole contest clearly in mind? Can you shorten
the account? Compare this theme with Theme XXXIII.)

+63. Explanation of Terms.+–Any word that alone or with its modifiers
calls to mind a single idea, is a term. When applied to a particular
object, quality, or action, it is a specific term; but when applied to any
one of a class of objects, qualities, or actions, it is a general term.
For example: _The Lake_, referring to a lake near at hand, is a specific
term; but _a lake_, referring to any lake, is a general term. In Theme
XXXIII you had occasion to explain some of the terms used. If, in telling
about a baseball game, you mentioned a particular “fly,” your statement
was description or narration; but if some one should ask what you meant by
“a fly,” your answer would be general in character; that is, it would
apply to all “flies,” and would belong to that division of composition
called exposition. Exposition is but another name for explanation. It is
always concerned with that which is general, while description and
narration deal with particular cases. We may describe a particular lake;
but if we answer the question, What is a lake? the answer would apply to
any lake, and would be exposition. Explanation of the meaning of general
terms is one form of exposition.

+64. Definition by Synonyms.+–If we are asked to explain the meaning of a
general term, our reply in many cases will be a brief definition. Often it
is sufficient to give a synonym. For example, in answer to the question,
What is exposition? we make its meaning clearer by saying, Exposition is

Definition by synonym is frequently used because of its brevity. In the
smaller dictionaries the definitions are largely of this kind. For
example: to desert, _to abandon_; despot, _tyrant_; contemptible, _mean or
vile_; to fuse, _to blend_; inviolable, _sacred_. Synonyms are, however,
seldom exact, but a fair understanding of a term may be gained by
comparing it with its synonyms and discussing the different shades of
meaning. Such a discussion, especially if supplemented by examples showing
the correct use of each term, is a profitable exercise in exposition. For

Both _discovery_ and _invention_ denote generally something new that is
found out in the arts and sciences. But the term _discovery_ involves in
the thing discovered not merely novelty, but curiosity, utility,
difficulty, and consequently some degree of importance. All this is less
strongly involved in invention. But there are yet wider differences. One
can only discover what has in its integrity existed before the discovery,
while invention brings a thing into existence. America was discovered.
Printing was invented. Fresh discoveries in science often lead to new
inventions in the industrial arts. Indeed, discovery belongs more to
science; invention, to art. Invention increases the store of our practical
resources, and is the fruit of search. Discovery extends the sphere of our
knowledge, and has often been made by accident.

–Smith: _Synonyms Discriminated_.

If exactness is desired, this is obtained by means of the logical
definition, which will be discussed in a later chapter.

+Theme XXXV.+–Explain the meaning of the words in one of the following

1. Caustic, satirical, biting.
2. Imply, signify, involve.
3. Martial, warlike, military, soldierlike.
4. Wander, deviate, err, stray, swerve, diverge.
5. Abate, decrease, diminish, lessen, moderate.
6. Emancipation, freedom, independence, liberty.
7. Old, ancient, antique, antiquated, obsolete.
8. Adorn, beautify, bedeck, decorate, ornament,
9. Active, alert, brisk, lively, spry.

+65. Use of Simpler Words.+–In defining terms by giving a synonym we must
be careful to choose a synonym which will be most likely to be understood
by our listeners, or our explanation will be of no avail. For instance, in
explaining the term _abate_ to a child, if we say it means _to diminish_,
and he is unfamiliar with that word, he is made none the wiser by our
explanation. If we tell him that it means _to grow less_, he will, in all
probability, understand our explanation. Very many words in our language
have equivalents that may be substituted, the one for the other. Much of
our explanation to children and to those whose attainments are less than
our own consists in substituting common, everyday words for less familiar


Give familiar equivalents for the following words:–

1. emancipate.
2. procure.
3. opportunity.
4. peruse.
5. elapsed.
6. approximately.
7. abbreviate.
8. constitute.
9. simultaneous.
10. familiar.
11. deceased.
12. oral.
13. adhere.
14. edifice.
15. collide.
16. suburban.
17. repugnance.
18. grotesque.
19. equipage.
20. exaggerate.
21. ascend.
22. financial.
23. nocturnal.
24. maternal.
25. vision.
26. affinity.
27. cohere.
28. athwart.
29. clavicle.
30. omnipotent.
31. enumerate.
32. eradicate.
33. application.
34. constitute.
35. employer.
36. rendezvous.
37. obscure.
38. indicate.
39. prevaricate.

+66. Definitions Need to be Supplemented.+–The purpose of exposition is
to make clear to others that which we understand ourselves. If the mere
statement of a definition does not accomplish this result, we may often
make our meaning clear by supplementing the definition with suitable
comparisons and examples. In making use of comparisons and examples we
must choose those with which our readers are familiar, and we must be sure
that they fairly represent the term that we wish to illustrate.

+Theme XXXVI.+–_Explain any one of the following terms. Begin with as
exact a definition as you can frame._

1. A “fly” in baseball.
2. A “foul” in basket ball.
3. A “sneak.”
4. A hero.
5. A “spitfire.”
6. A laborer.
7. A capitalist.
8. A coward.
9. A freshman.
10. A “header.”

(Is your definition exact, or only approximately so? How have you made its
meaning clear? Can you think of a better comparison or a better example?
Can your meaning be made clearer, or be more effectively presented, by
arranging your material in a different order?)

+67. General Description.+–We may often make clear the meaning of a term
by giving details. In describing a New England village we might enumerate
the streets, the houses, the town pump, the church, and other features.
This would be specific description if the purpose was to have the reader
picture some particular village; but if the purpose was to give the reader
a clear conception of the general characteristics of all New England
villages, the paragraph would become a general description.

Such a general description would include all the characteristics common
to all the members of the class under discussion, but would omit
any characteristic peculiar to some of them. For example, a general
description of a windmill includes the things common to all windmills. If
an object is described more for the purpose of giving a clear conception
of the class of which it is a type than for the purpose of picturing the
object described, we have a general description. Such a description is in
effect an enlarged definition, and is exposition rather than description.
It is sometimes called scientific description because it is so commonly
employed by writers of scientific books.

Notice the following examples of general description:–

1. Around every house in Broeck are buckets, benches, rakes, hoes, and
stakes, all colored red, blue, white, or yellow. The brilliancy and
variety of colors and the cleanliness, brightness, and miniature pomp of
the place are wonderful. At the windows there are embroidered curtains
with rose-colored ribbons. The blades, bands, and nails of the gayly
painted windmills shine like silver. The houses are brightly varnished and
surrounded with red and white railings and fences.

The panes of glass in the windows are bordered by many lines of different
hues. The trunks of all the trees are painted gray from root to branch.
Across the streams are many little wooden bridges, each painted as white
as snow. The gutters are ornamented with a sort of wooden festoon
perforated like lace. The pointed façades are surmounted with a small
weathercock, a little lance, or something resembling a bunch of flowers.
Nearly every house has two doors, one in front and one behind, the last
for everyday entrance and exit, the former opened only on great occasions,
such as births, deaths, and marriages. The gardens are as peculiar as the
houses. The paths are hardly wide enough to walk in. One could put his
arms around the flower beds. The dainty arbors would barely hold two
persons sitting close together. The little myrtle hedges would scarcely
reach to the knees of a four-year-old child.

2. Ginseng has a thick, soft, whitish, bulbous root, from one to three
inches long,–generally two or three roots to a stalk,–with wrinkles
running around it, and a few small fibers attached. It has a peculiar,
pleasant, sweetish, slightly bitter, and aromatic taste. The stem or stalk
grows about a foot high, is smooth, round, of a reddish green color,
divided at the top into three short branches, with three to five leaves to
each branch, and a flower stem in the center of the branches. The flower
is small and white, followed by a large, red berry. It is found growing in
most of the states in rich, shady soils.

3. As a general proposition, the Scottish hotel is kept by a
benevolent-looking old lady, who knows absolutely nothing about the
trains, nothing about the town, nothing about anything outside of
the hotel, and is non-committal regarding matters even within her
jurisdiction. Upon arrival you do not register, but stand up at the desk
and submit to a cross-examination, much as if you were being sentenced in
an American police court.

Your hostess always wants twelve hours’ notice of your departure, so that
she can make out your bill–a very arduous, formidable undertaking. The
bill is of prodigious dimensions, about the size of a sheet of foolscap
paper, lined and cross-lined for a multitude of entries. When the account
finally reaches you, it closely resembles a design for a cobweb factory.
Any attempt to decipher the various hieroglyphics is useless–it can’t be
done. The only thing that can be done is to read the total at the foot of
the page and pay it.

–_Hotels in Scotland_ (“Kansas City Star”).

+Theme XXXVII.+–_Write a general description of one of the following:_–

1. A bicycle.
2. A country hay barn.
3. A dog.
4. A summer cottage.
5. An Indian wigwam.
6. A Dutch windmill.
7. A muskrat’s house.
8. A robin’s nest.
9. A blacksmith’s shop.
10. A chipmunk.
11. A threshing machine.
12. A sewing circle.

(The purpose is not to picture a particular object, but to give a general
notion of a class of objects. Cross out everything in your theme that
applies only to some particular object. Have you included enough to make
your meaning clear?)

+Theme XXXVIII.+–_Using the same title as for Theme XXXVII, write a
specific description of some particular object._

(How does it differ from the general description? What elements have you
introduced which you did not have in the other? Which sentence gives the
general outline? Are your details arranged with regard to their proper
position in space? Will the reader form a vivid picture–just the one you
mean him to have?)

+68. General Narration.+–Explanations of a process of manufacture,
methods of playing a game, and the like, often take the form of
generalized narration. Just as we gain a notion of the appearance of a sod
house from a general description, so may we gain a notion of a series of
events from a general narration. Such a narration will not tell what some
one actually did, but will relate the things that are characteristic of
the process or action under discussion whenever it happens. Such general
narration is really exposition.


_A._ Notice that the selection below is a generalized narration, showing
what a hare does when hunted. In it no incident peculiar to some special
occasion is introduced.

She [the hare] generally returns to the beat from which she was put up,
running, as all the worlds knows, in a circle, or sometimes something
like it, we had better say, that we may keep on good terms with the
mathematical. At starting, she tears away at her utmost speed for a mile
or more, and distances the dogs halfway; she then turns, diverging a
little to the right or left, that she may not run into the mouths of her
enemies–a necessity which accounts for what we call the circularity of
her course. Her flight from home is direct and precipitate; but on her way
back, when she has gained a little time for consideration and stratagem,
she describes a curious labyrinth of short turnings and windings as if to
perplex the dogs by the intricacy of her track.

–Richard Atton.

_B_. The selection below narrates an actual hunt. Notice in what respects
it differs from the preceding selection.

Sir Roger is so keen at this sport that he has been out almost every day
since I came down; and upon the chaplain’s offering to lend me his easy
pad, I was prevailed on yesterday morning to make one of the company. I
was extremely pleased, as we rid along, to observe the general benevolence
of all the neighborhood towards my friend. The farmers’ sons thought
themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old knight as he
passed by; which he generally requited with a nod or a smile, and a kind
inquiry after their fathers and uncles.

After we had rid about a mile from home, we came upon a large heath, and
the sportsmen began to beat. They had done so for some time, when, as I
was at a little distance from the rest of the company, I saw a hare pop
out from a small furze brake almost under my horse’s feet. I marked the
way she took, which I endeavored to make the company sensible of by
extending my arm; but to no purpose, till Sir Roger, who knows that none
of my extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up to me and asked me
if puss was gone that way? Upon my answering “Yes,” he immediately called
in the dogs, and put them upon the scent. As they were going off, I heard
one of the country fellows muttering to his companion, that ’twas a wonder
they had not lost all their sport, for want of the silent gentleman’s
crying, “Stole away.”

This, with my aversion to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a rising
ground, from whence I could have the pleasure of the whole chase, without
the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds. The hare immediately threw them
above a mile behind her; but I was pleased to find, that instead of
running straight forwards, or, in hunter’s language, “flying the country,”
as I was afraid she might have done, she wheeled about, and described a
sort of circle round the hill, where I had taken my station, in such
manner as gave me a very distinct view of the sport. I could see her first
pass by, and the dogs some time afterwards, unraveling the whole track she
had made, and following her through all her doubles. I was at the same
time delighted in observing that deference which the rest of the pack paid
to each particular hound, according to the character he had acquired among
them: if they were at a fault, and an old hound of reputation opened but
once, he was immediately followed by the whole cry; while a raw dog, or
one who was a noted liar, might have yelped his heart out without being
taken notice of.

The hare now, after having squatted two or three times, and been put up
again as often, came still nearer to the place where she was at first
started. The dogs pursued her, and these were followed by the jolly
knight, who rode upon a white gelding, encompassed by his tenants and
servants, and cheering his hounds with all the gayety of five and twenty.
One of the sportsmen rode up to me, and told me that he was sure the chase
was almost at an end, because the old dogs, which had hitherto lain
behind, now headed the pack. The fellow was in the right. Our hare took a
large field just under us, followed by the full cry in view. I must
confess the brightness of the weather, the cheerfulness of everything
around me, the chiding of the hounds, which was returned upon us in a
double echo from two neighboring hills, with the hallooing of the
sportsmen, and the sounding of the horn, lifted my spirits into a most
lively pleasure, which I freely indulged because I was sure it was
innocent. If I was under any concern, it was on account of the poor hare,
that was now quite spent, and almost within the reach of her enemies; when
the huntsman getting forward, threw down his pole before the dogs. They
were now within eight yards of that game which they had been pursuing for
almost as many hours; yet on the signal before mentioned they all made a
sudden stand, and though they continued opening as much as before, durst
not once attempt to pass beyond the pole. At the same time Sir Roger rode
forward, and alighting, took up the hare in his arms; which he soon after
delivered up to one of his servants with an order, if she could be kept
alive, to let her go in his great orchard; where it seems he has several
of these prisoners of war, who live together in a very comfortable
captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the
good nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a
creature that had given him so much diversion.

–Budgell: _Sir Roger de Coverley Papers_.

+Theme XXXIX.+–_Explain one of the following by the use of general

1. Baking bread.
2. How paper is made.
3. How to play tennis (or some other game).
4. Catching trout.
5. Life at school.
6. How to pitch curves.

(Have you arranged your details with reference to their proper time-order?
Have you introduced unnecessary details? Have your paragraphs unity?
Underscore _then_ each time you have used it.)

+69. Argument.+–Especially in argument is it evident that language
presupposes an audience. The fact that we argue implies that some one does
not agree with us. The purpose of our argument is to convince some one
else of the truth of a proposition which we ourselves believe, and he who
wishes to succeed in this must give careful attention to his audience. The
question which must always be in the mind of the writer is, What facts
shall I select and in what order shall I present them in order to convince
my reader? The various ways of arguing are more fully treated in a later
chapter, but a few of them are given here.

+70. The Use of Explanation in Argument.+–In preparing an argument we
must consider first the amount of explanation that it will be necessary to
make. We cannot expect one to believe a proposition the meaning of which
he does not understand. Often the explanation alone is sufficient to
convince the hearer. Suppose you are trying to gain your parents’ consent
to take some course of study. They ask for an explanation of the different
courses, and when they know what each contains they are already convinced
as to which is best for you.

If you are trying to convince a member of your school board that it would
be well to introduce domestic science into the high school, and he already
understands what is meant by the term “domestic science,” you not only
waste time in explaining it, but you make him appear ignorant of what he
already understands. With him you should proceed at once to give your
reasons for the advisability of the introduction of this branch into your
school. On the other hand, if you are talking with a member who does not
understand the term, an explanation will be the first thing necessary. It
is evident, therefore, that the amount of explanation that we shall make
depends upon the previous knowledge of the audience addressed. If we
explain too much, we prejudice our case; and if we explain too little, the
reader may fail to appreciate the arguments that follow.

The point of the whole matter, then, is that explanation is the first step
in argument, and that in order to determine the amount necessary we must
consider carefully the audience for which our argument is intended.

+71. Statement of Advantages and Disadvantages.+ An argument is often
concerned with determining whether it is expedient to do one thing or
another. Such an argument frequently takes the form of a statement of the
advantages that will follow the adoption of the course we recommend, or of
the disadvantages that the following of the opposite course will cause.

If a corporation should ask for a franchise for a street railway, the city
officials might hold the opinion that a double track should be laid. In
support of this opinion they would name the advantageous results that
would follow from the use of a double track, such as the avoidance of
delays on turnouts, the lessening of the liability of accidents, the
greater rapidity in transportation, etc. On the other hand, the persons
seeking the franchise might reply that a double track would occupy too
much of the street and become a hindrance to teams, or that the advantages
were not sufficient to warrant the extra expense.

Concerning such a question there can be no absolute decision. We are not
discussing what is right, but what is expedient, and the determination of
what is expedient is based upon a consideration of advantages or
disadvantages. In deciding, we must balance the advantages against the
disadvantages and determine which has the greater weight. If called upon
to take one side or the other, we must consider carefully the value of the
facts counting both for and against the proposition before we can make up
our mind which side we favor.

You must bear in mind that a thing may not be an advantage because you
believe it to be. That which seems to you to be the reason why you should
take some high school subject, may seem to your father or your teacher to
be the very reason why you should not. In writing arguments of this kind
you must take care to select facts that will appeal to your readers as

Notice the following editorial which appeared in the _Boston Latin School
Register_ shortly after a change was made whereby the pupils instead of
the teachers moved from room to room for their various recitations:–

The new system of having the classes move about from room to room to their
recitations has been in use for nearly a month, and there has been
sufficient opportunity for testing its practicability and its advantages.
There is no doubt that the new system alters the old form of recesses,
shortening the two regular ones, but giving three minutes between
recitations as a compensation for this loss. Although theoretically we
have more recess time than formerly, in the practical working out of the
system we find that the three minutes between recitations is occupied in
gathering up one’s books, and reaching the next recitation room; besides
this, that there is often some confusion in reaching the various
classrooms, and that there are many little inconveniences which would not
occur were we sitting at our own desks. On the other hand, as an offset to
these disadvantages, there is the advantage of a change of position, and a
respite from close attention, with a breathing spell in which to get the
mind as well as the books ready for another lesson. The masters have in
every recitation their own maps and reference books, with which they can
often make their instruction much more forceful and interesting. Besides
that, they have entire control of their own blackboards, and can leave
work there without fear of its being erased to make room for that of some
other master. The confusion will doubtless be lessened as time goes on and
we become more used to the system. Even the first disadvantage is more or
less offset by the fact that the short three-minute periods, although they
cannot be used like ordinary recesses, yet serve to give us breathing
space between recitations and to lessen the strain of continuous
application; so that, on the whole, the advantages seem to counterbalance
the disadvantages.


What advantages and disadvantages can you think of for each of the
following propositions? State them orally.

1. All telephone and telegraph wires in cities should be put under ground.

2. The speed of bicycles and automobiles should be limited to eight miles
per hour.

3. High school football teams should not play match games on regular
school days.

4. High school pupils should not attend evening parties excepting on
Fridays and Saturdays.

5. Monday would be a better day than Saturday for a school holiday.

6. The school session should be lengthened.

+Theme XL.+–_Write two paragraphs, one of which shall give the advantages
and the other the disadvantages that would arise from the adoption of any
one of the following:_

1. This school should have a longer recess.

2. This school should have two hours for the noon recess.

3. This school should be in session from eight o’clock until one o’clock.

4. All the pupils in this school should be seated in one room.

5. The public library should be in the high school building.

6. The football team should be excused early in order to practice.

7. This school should have a greater number of public entertainments.

+72. Explanation and Argument by Specific Instances.+–Often we may make
the meaning of a general proposition clear by citing specific instances.
If these instances are given for the purpose of explanation merely, the
paragraph is exposition. If, however, the aim is not merely to cause the
reader to understand the proposition, but also to believe that it is true,
we have argument. In either case we have a paragraph developed by specific
instances as discussed in Section 44. Notice how in the following
paragraph the author brings forward specific cases in order to prove the

Nearly everything that an animal does is the result of an inborn instinct
acted upon by an outward stimulus. The margin wherein intelligent choice
plays a part is very small…. Instinct is undoubtedly often modified by
intelligence, and intelligence is as often guided or prompted by instinct,
but one need not hesitate long as to which side of the line any given act
of man or beast belongs. When the fox resorts to various tricks to outwit
and delay the hound (if he ever consciously does so), he exercises a kind
of intelligence–the lower form of which we call cunning–and he is
prompted to this by an instinct of self-preservation. When the birds set
up a hue and cry about a hawk, or an owl, or boldly attack him, they show
intelligence in its simpler form, the intelligence that recognizes its
enemies, prompted again by the instinct of self-preservation. When a hawk
does not know a man on horseback from a horse, it shows a want of
intelligence. When a crow is kept away from a corn-field by a string
stretched around it, the fact shows how masterful is its fear and how
shallow its wit. When a cat or a dog or a horse or a cow learns to open a
gate or a door, it shows a degree of intelligence–power to imitate, to
profit by experience. A machine could not learn to do it. If the animal
were to close the door or gate behind it, that would be another step in
intelligence. But its direct wants have no relation to the closing of
the door, only to the opening of it. To close the door involves an
afterthought that an animal is not capable of. A horse will hesitate to go
upon thin ice or frail bridges. This, no doubt, is an inherited instinct
which has arisen in its ancestors from their fund of general experience
with the world. How much with them has depended upon a secure footing! A
pair of house-wrens had a nest in my well-curb; when the young were partly
grown and heard any one enter the curb, they would set up a clamorous
calling for food. When I scratched against the sides of the curb beneath
them like some animal trying to climb up, their voices instantly hushed;
the instinct of fear promptly overcame the instinct of hunger! Instinct is
intelligence, but it is not the same as acquired individual intelligence;
it is untaught.

John Burroughs: _Some Natural History Doubts_ (“Harper’s”).


What facts or instances do you know which would lead you to believe either
the following propositions or their opposites?

1. Dogs are intelligent.

2. Only excellent pupils can pass the seventh grade examination.

3. Some teachers do not ask fair questions on examination.

4. Oak trees grow to be larger than maples.

5. Strikes increase the cost to the consumer.

6. A college education pays.

7. Department stores injure the trade of smaller stores.

8. Advertising pays.

+Theme XLI.+–_Write a paragraph, proving by one or more examples one of
the propositions in the preceding exercise:_

(Do your examples really illustrate what you are trying to prove? Do they
show that the proposition is always true or merely that it is true
for certain cases? Would your argument cause another to believe the

+73. The Value of Debate.+–Participation in oral debate furnishes
excellent practice in accurate and rapid thinking. We may choose one side
of a question and may write out an argument which, considered alone, and
from our point of view, seems convincing, but when this is submitted to
the criticism of some one of opposite views, or when the arguments in
favor of the other side of the question are brought forward, we are not so
sure that we have chosen the side which represents the truth. The ability
to think “on one’s feet,” to present arguments concisely and effectively,
and to reply to opposing arguments, giving due weight to those that are
true, and detecting and pointing out those that are false, is an
accomplishment of great practical value. Such ability comes only from
practice, and the best preparation for it is the careful writing out of

+74. Statement of the Question.+–The subject of debate may be stated in
the form of a resolution, a declarative sentence, or a question; as,
“Resolved that the recess should be lengthened,” or “The recess should be
lengthened,” or, “Should the recess be lengthened?” In any case, the
affirmative must show why the recess should be lengthened, and the
negative why it should not be lengthened.

In a formal debate the statement of the question and its meaning should be
definitely determined in advance. Care must be taken to state it so that
no mere quibbling over the meanings of terms can take the place of real
arguments. Even if the subject of debate is so stated that this is
possible, any self-respecting debater will meet the question at issue
fairly and squarely, preferring defeat to a victory won by juggling with
the meanings of terms.

+75. Is Belief Necessary in Debate?+–If we are really arguing for a
purpose, we should believe in the truth of the proposition which
we support. If the members of the school board were discussing the
desirability of building a new schoolhouse, each would speak in accordance
with his belief. But if a class in school should debate such a question,
having in mind not the determination of the question, but merely the
selection and arrangement of the arguments for and against the proposition
in the most effective way, each pupil might present the side in which he
did not really believe.


Consider each of the following propositions. Do you believe the
affirmative or the negative?

1. This city needs a new high school building.

2. All the pupils in the high school should be members of the athletic

3. The school board should purchase an inclosed athletic field.

4. The street railway should carry pupils to and from school for half

5. There should be a lunch room in this school.

6. Fairy stories should not be told to children.

+Theme XLII.+–_Write a paragraph telling why you believe one of the
propositions in the preceding exercise:_

(What questions should you ask yourself while correcting your theme?)

+76. Order of Presentation.+–If you were preparing to debate one of the
propositions in the preceding exercise, you would need to have in mind
both the reasons for and against it. Next you would consider the order in
which these reasons should be discussed. This will be determined by the
circumstances of each debate, but generally the emphatic positions, that
is, the first and the last, will be given to those arguments that seem to
you to have the greatest weight, while those of less importance will
occupy the central portion of your theme.

+77. The Brief.+–If, after making a note of the various advantages,
examples, and other arguments that you wish to use in support of one of
the propositions in Section 75, you arrange these in the order in which
you think they can be most effectively presented, the outline so formed is
called a brief. Its preparation requires clear thinking, but when it is
made, the task of writing out the argument is not difficult. When the
debate is to be spoken, not read, the brief, if kept in mind, will serve
to suggest the arguments we wish to make in the order in which we wish to
present them. The brief differs from the ordinary outline in that it is
composed of complete sentences. Notice the following brief:–

Manual Training should be substituted for school athletics.


1. The exercise furnished by manual training is better adapted to the
developing of the whole being both physical and mental; for–
_a._ It requires the mind to act in order to determine what to do
and how to do it.
_b._ It trains the muscles to carry out the ideal of the mind.

2. The effect of manual training on health is better; for–
_a._ Excessive exercise, harmful to growing children, is avoided.
_b._ Dangerous contests are avoided.

3. The final results of manual training are more valuable; for–
_a._ The objects made are valuable.
_b._ The skill of hand and eye may become of great practical value
in after life.

4. The moral effect of manual training is better; for–
_a._ Athletics develops the “anything to win” spirit, while manual
training creates a wholesome desire to excel in the creation
of something useful or beautiful.
_b._ Dishonesty in games may escape notice, but dishonesty in
workmanship cannot be concealed.
_c._ Athletics fosters slovenliness of dress and manners, while
manual training cultivates the love of the beautiful.

5. The beneficial results of manual training have a wider effect upon the
school; for–
_a._ But comparatively few pupils “make the team” and receive the
maximum athletic drill, while all pupils can take manual

+78. Refutation or Indirect Argument.+–In debate we need to consider not
only the arguments in favor of our own side, but also those presented by
our opponents. That part of our theme which states our own arguments is
called direct argument, and that part in which we reply to our opponents
is called indirect argument or refutation. It is often very important to
show that the opposing argument is false or, if true, has been given an
exaggerated importance that it does not really possess. If, however, the
argument is true and of weight, the fact should be frankly acknowledged.
Our desire for victory should not cause us to disregard the truth. If the
argument of our opponent has been so strong that it seems to have taken
possession of the audience, we must reply to it in the beginning. If it is
of less weight, each separate point may be discussed as we take up related
points in our own argument. Often it will be found best to give the
refutation a place just preceding our own last and strongest argument.

From the foregoing it will be seen that each case cannot be determined by
rule, but must be determined for itself, and it is because of the exercise
of judgment required, that practice in debating is so valuable. A dozen
boys or girls may, with much pleasure and profit, spend an evening a week
as a debating club.

+Theme XLIII.+–_Prepare a written argument for or against one of the
propositions in Section 75._

(Make a brief. Re-arrange the arguments that you intend to use until they
have what seems to you the best order. Consider the probable arguments on
the other side and what reply can be made. Answer one or two of the
strongest ones. If you have any trivial arguments for your own side,
either omit them or make their discussion very brief.)

+79. Cautions in Debating.+–When we have made a further study of argument
we shall need to consider again the subject of debating. In the meantime a
few cautions will be helpful.

1. Be fair. A debate is in the nature of a contest, and is quite as
interesting as any other contest. The desire to win should never lead you
to take any unfair advantage or to descend to mere quibbling over the
statement of the proposition or the meanings of the terms. Win fairly or
not at all.

2. Be honest with yourself. Do not present arguments which you know to be
false, in the hope that your opponent cannot prove their falsity. This
does not mean that you cannot present arguments in favor of a proposition
unless you believe it to be true, but that those you do present should be
real arguments for the side that you uphold, even though you believe that
there are weightier ones on the other side. Do not use an example that
seems to apply if you know that it does not. You are to “tell the truth
and nothing but the truth,” but in debate you may tell only that part of
the “whole truth” which favors your side of the proposition.

3. Do not allow your desire for victory to overcome your desire for truth.
Do not argue for the sake of winning, nor develop the habit of arguing in
season and out. In the school and outside there are persons who, like Will
Carleton’s Uncle Sammy, “were born for arguing.” They use their own time
in an unprofitable way, and what is worse, they waste the time of others.
They are not seeking for truth, but for controversy. It is quite as bad to
doubt everything you hear as it is to believe everything.

4. Remember that mere statement is not argument. The fact that you believe
a proposition does not make it true. In order to carry weight, a statement
must be based on principles and theories that _the audience_ believes.

5. Remember that exhortation is not argument. Entreaty may persuade one to
action, but in debate you should aim to convince the intellect. Clear,
accurate thinking on your own part, so that you may present sound, logical
arguments, is the first essential.

+Theme XLIV.+–_Prepare a written argument for or against one of the
following propositions:_–

1. Boys who cannot go to college should take a commercial course in the
high school.

2. Novel reading is a waste of time.

3. Asphalt paving is more satisfactory than brick.

4. Foreign skilled labor should be kept out of the United States.

5. Our own town should be lighted by electricity.

6. Athletic contests between high schools should be prohibited.

(Consider your argument with reference to the cautions given in Section


1. The purpose of discourse may be to inform or to entertain.

2. The forms of discourse are–
_a._ Description.
_b._ Narration.
_c._ Exposition.
_d._ Argument (Persuasion).

3. Discourse presupposes an audience, and we must select a subject and use
language adapted to that audience.

4. The suitableness of a subject is determined–
_a._ By the writer’s knowledge of the subject.
(1) This may be based on experience, or
(2) It may be gained from others through conversation and
_b._ By the writer’s interest in the subject.
(1) This may exist from the first, or
(2) It may be aroused by our search for information.
_c._ By adaptability of the subject to the reader. It should be of
present, vital interest to him.

5. Subjects.
_a._ The sources of subjects are unlimited.
_b._ Subjects should be definite. They often need to be narrowed in
order to be made definite.
_c._ The title should be brief and should be worded so as to arouse
a desire to hear the theme.

6. Exposition is explanation.

7. We may make clear the meaning of a term–
_a._ By using synonyms.
_b._ By using simpler words.
_c._ By supplementing our definitions with examples or comparisons.

8. General description includes the characteristics common to all members
of a class of objects.

9. General narration is one form of exposition. It relates the things that
characterize a process or action whenever it occurs.

10. Argument.
_a._ Explanation is the first step in argument.
_b._ A statement of advantages and disadvantages may assist us to
determine which side of a question we believe.
_c._ Specific instances may be used either for explanation or

11. Debate.
_a._ The subject of the debate may be stated in the form of a
resolution, a declarative sentence, or a question.
_b._ The most important arguments should be given the first and last
_c._ A brief will assist us in arranging our arguments in the most
effective order.
_d._ The refutation of opposing arguments should usually be placed
just before our own last and strongest argument.
_e._ Cautions in debating.
(1) Be fair.
(2) Be honest with yourself.
(3) Do not allow your desire for victory to overcome your
desire for truth.
(4) Remember that mere statement is not argument.
(5) Remember that exhortation is not argument.


+80. General Principles of Composition.+–There are three important
principles to be considered in every composition: unity, coherence, and
emphasis. Though not always named, each of these has been considered and
used in our writing of paragraphs. The consideration of methods of
securing unity, coherence, and emphasis in the composition as a whole is
the purpose of this chapter. It will serve also as a review and especially
as an enlarged view of paragraph development as treated in Chapter III,
for the methods discussed with regard to the whole composition are the
same that are used in applying the three principles to single paragraphs.

+81. Unity.+–A composition possesses unity if all that it contains bears
directly upon the subject. It is evident that the title of the theme
determines in a large degree the matter that should be included. Much that
is appropriate to a theme on “Bass Fishing” will be found unnecessary in a
theme entitled “How I caught a Bass.” It is easier to secure unity in a
theme treating of a narrow, limited subject than in one treating of a
broad, general subject. The first step toward unity is, therefore, the
selection of a limited subject and a suitable title (see Sections 58-61);
the second is the collection of all facts, illustrations, and other
material which may appropriately be used in a theme having the chosen

+82. Coherence.+–A composition is given coherence by placing the ideas in
such an order that each naturally suggests the one which follows. If the
last paragraph is more closely related in thought to the first paragraph
than it is to the intervening ones, the composition lacks coherence.
Similarly, that paragraph is coherent in which the thought moves forward
in an orderly way with each sentence growing out of the preceding one.

In describing the capture of a large trout a boy might state that he broke
his pole. Then he might tell what kind of pole he had, why he did not have
a better one, what poles are best adapted to trout fishing, etc. Though
each of these ideas is suggested by the preceding, the story still lacks
coherence because the boy will need later to go back and tell us what
happened to him or to the trout when the pole broke. If a description of
the kind of pole is necessary in order to make the point of the story
clear, it should have been introduced earlier. Stopping at the moment of
vital interest to discuss fishing poles, spoils the effect of the story.
Good writers are very skillful in the early introducing of details that
will enable the reader to appreciate the events as they happen, and they
are equally skillful in omitting unnecessary details. The proper selection
of these details gives unity, and their introduction at the proper place
gives coherence to a narrative. By saying, “I am getting ahead of my
story,” the narrator confesses that coherence is lacking. Read again the
selection on page 106.

+83. Emphasis.+–If we desire to make one part of a theme more emphatic
than another, we may do so by giving a prominent position to that part. In
debating we give the first place and the last to the strongest arguments.
In simple narration the order in which incidents must be related is fixed
by the time-order of their occurrence, but even in a story the point gains
in force if it is near the close. Because these two positions are the ones
of greatest emphasis, a poor beginning or a bad ending will ruin an
otherwise good story.

Emphasis may also be affected by the proportional amount of attention and
space given to the different parts of a theme. The extent to which any
division of a theme should be developed depends upon the purpose and the
total length of the theme. A biography of Grant might appropriately devote
two or three chapters to his boyhood, while a short sketch of his life
would treat his boyhood in a single paragraph. In determining the amount
of space to be given to the different parts of a composition, care must be
taken that the space assigned to each shall be proportional to its
importance, the largest amount of space being devoted to the part which is
of greatest worth.

Emphasis is sometimes given by making a single sentence into a paragraph.
This method should be used with care, for such a paragraph may be too
short for unity because it does not include all that should be said about
the topic statement, and though it makes that statement emphatic, fails to
make its meaning clear.

Clearness, unity, and coherence are of more importance
than emphasis, and usually, if a theme possesses the first
three qualities, it will possess the fourth in sufficient

+84. The Outline.+–An outline will assist us in securing unity,
coherence, and emphasis.

1. The first step in making an outline has relation to unity. Unity
requires that a theme include only that which pertains to the subject.
There are always many more ideas that seem to bear upon a subject than can
be included in the theme. We may therefore jot down brief notes that will
suggest our ideas on the subject, and then we should reject from this list
all that seem irrelevant or trivial. We should also reject the less
important ideas which pertain directly to the subject if without them we
have all that are needed in order to fulfill the purpose of the theme.

Which items in the following should be omitted as not necessary to the
complete treatment of the subject indicated by the title? Should anything
be added?

_My First Partridge_

Where I lived ten years ago.
Kinds of game: partridge, quail, squirrels.
Partridge drumming.
My father went hunting often.
How he was injured.
Birch brush near hemlock; partridge often found in such localities.
Loading the gun.
Going to the woods.
Why partridge live near birch brush.
Fall season.
Hunting for partridge allowed from September to December.
Tramping through the woods.
Something moving.
Creeping up.
How I felt; excited; hand shook.
Partridge on log.
Gun failed to go off; cocking it properly.
The shot; the recoil.
The flurry of the bird.
How partridges fly.
How they taste when cooked.
Getting the bird.
Going home.
Partridges are found in the woods; quail in the fields.
What my sister said.
My brother’s interest.
My father’s story about shooting three partridges with one shot.
What mother did.

2. The second step in outline making has relation to coherence. After we
have rejected from our notes all items which would interfere with the
unity of our theme, we next arrange the remaining items in a coherent
order. One method of securing coherence is illustrated by a simple
narrative which follows the time-order. We naturally group together in our
memory those events which occurred at a given time, and in recalling a
series of events we pass in order from one such group to another. These
groups form natural paragraph units, and the placing of them in their
actual time-order gives coherence to the composition.

After rejecting the unnecessary items in the preceding list, re-arrange
the remaining ones in a coherent order. How many paragraphs would you make
and what would you include in each?

3. The third step in making an outline has relation to emphasis. In some
outlines emphasis is secured by placing the more important points first,
in others by placing them last. In this particular outline we have a
natural time-order to follow, and emphasis will be determined mainly by
the relative proportion to be given to different paragraphs. Do not give
unimportant paragraphs too much space. Be sure that the introduction and
the conclusion are short.

+Theme XLV.+–_Write a personal narrative at least three paragraphs in

Suggested subjects:–
1. How I was saved from drowning.
2. The largest string of fish I ever caught.
3. An incident of the skating season.
4. What I did on Christmas day.
5. A Saturday with my grandmother.
6. To the city and back.

(Make an outline. Keep in mind unity, coherence, and
emphasis. Consider each paragraph with reference to
unity, coherence, and emphasis.)

+85. Development of a Composition with Reference to the Time-Order.+–
Of the several methods of developing a composition let us consider first
that of giving details in the natural time-order. (See Section 46.) If a
composition composed of a series of paragraphs possesses coherence, each
paragraph is so related to the preceding ones that the thought goes
steadily forward from one to another. Often the connection in thought is
so evident that no special indication needs to be made, but if the
paragraphs are arranged with reference to a time-order, this time-order
is usually indicated.

Notice how the relation in time of each paragraph to the preceding is
shown by the following sentences of parts of sentences taken in order from
a magazine article entitled “Yachting at Kiel,” by James B. Connolly:–

1. It was slow waiting in Travemunde. The long-enduring twilight of a
summer’s day at fifty-four north began to settle down…

2. The dusk comes on, and on the ships of war they seem to be getting

3. The dusk deepens…

4. It is getting chilly in the night air, with the rations running low,
and the charterers of some of the fishing boats decide to go home…

5. It is eleven o’clock–dark night–and the breeze is freshening, when
the first of the fleet heaves in sight…

6. After that they arrive rapidly…

7. At midnight there is still no _Meteor_…

8. Through the entire night they keep coming…

9. Next morning…

+Theme XLVI.+–_Write a narrative, four or more paragraphs in length,
showing the time-order._

Suggested subjects:–
1. The race up the river.
2. The life of some well-known man.
3. The cake that fell.
4. Retell some incident that you have recently read.
5. Relate some personal experience.
6. A story suggested by the picture on page 160.

(Make an outline. Consider the unity, coherence, and emphasis of each
paragraph separately. Then consider the unity, coherence, and emphasis of
the whole composition. Notice what expressions you have used to indicate
the relations in time. Have you used the same expression too often?)

+86. Development of a Composition with Reference to Position in Space.+–
A second method of development is to relate details with reference to
their position in space.


Just as we may give either a paragraph or a whole theme coherence by
following a given time-order, so may we make a paragraph or a whole theme
coherent by arranging the parts in an order determined by their position
in space. In developing a theme by this method we simply apply to the
whole theme the principles discussed for the development of a paragraph
(Section 47).

In a description composed of several paragraphs, each paragraph should
contain a group of details closely related to one another in space. The
paragraphs should be constructed so that each shall possess unity and
coherence within itself, and they should be so arranged that we may pass
most easily from the group of images presented by one paragraph to the
images presented by the next. In narration, the space arrangement may
supplement time-order in giving coherence.

If the most attractive features of an art room are its
wall decorations, five paragraphs describing the room may
be as follows:–

1. Point of view: general impression.
2. The north wall: general impression; details.
3. The east wall: general impression; details.
4. The south wall: general impression; details.
5. The west wall: general impression; details.

It is easy to imagine a room in the description of which the following
paragraphs would be appropriate:–

1. Point of view.
2. The fireplace.
3. The easy-chair.
4. The table.
5. The bookcase.
6. The cozy nook.

Such an arrangement of paragraphs would give coherence. Unity would be
secured by including in each only that which properly belonged to it.

There are many words and expressions which indicate the relative position
of objects. The paragraph below is an illustration of the method of
development described in Section 47. Notice the words which indicate the
location of the different details in the scene. If each of these details
should be developed into a paragraph the italicized expressions would
serve to introduce these paragraphs and would show the relative positions
of the objects described.

The beauty of the sea and shore was almost indescribable: _on one side_
rose Point Loma, grim, gloomy as a fortress wall; _before_ me stretched
away to the horizon the ocean with its miles of breakers curling into
foam; _between_ the surf and the city, wrapped in its dark blue mantle,
lay the sleeping bay; _eastward_ the mingled yellow, red, and white of San
Diego’s buildings glistened in the sunlight like a bed of coleus; _beyond_
the city heaved the rolling plains rich in their garb of golden brown,
_from which_ rose the distant mountains, tier on tier, wearing the purple
veil which Nature here loves oftenest to weave for them; while _in the
foreground_, like a jewel in a brilliant setting, stood the Coronado.

–Stoddard: _California_.

+Theme XLVII.+–_Write a description three or more paragraphs in length._

Suggested subjects:–
1. Some well-known building (exterior).
2. A prominent person.
3. An attractive room.
4. The interior of a church.

(Consider your outline with reference to unity, coherence, and proportion
of parts. When the theme is completed, consider the unity, coherence, and
emphasis of each paragraph and of the composition as a whole.)

+87. Paragraph Relations.+–Relations in thought other than those of time
and space may be indicated by the use of certain words and phrases. Such
expressions as, _however, nevertheless, consequently, indeed, moreover, at
all events_, etc., are often used to indicate a relation in thought
between paragraphs. Notice how _nevertheless_, at the beginning of the
selection below, serves to connect it in thought with a preceding
paragraph not printed here. Notice also the relations in thought shown by
the italicized words. These and similar words are used to make the
transition from one paragraph to the next.

_Nevertheless_, Howe was at last in possession of Philadelphia, the object
of his campaign, and with his communications by water open. He had
consumed four months in this business since he left New York, three months
since he landed near the Elk River. His prize, now that he had got it, was
worth less than nothing in a military point of view, and he had been made
to pay a high price for it, not merely in men, but in precious time, for
while he was struggling sluggishly for Philadelphia, Burgoyne, who really
meant something very serious, had gone to wreck and sunk out of sight in
the northern forests. _Indeed_, Howe did not even hold his dearly bought
town in peace. After the fall of the forts, Greene, aided by Lafayette,
who had joined the army on its way to the Brandywine, made a sharp
dash and broke up an outlying party of Hessians. _Such things_ were
intolerable, they interfered with personal comfort, and they emanated from
the American army which Washington had now established in strong lines at
Whitemarsh. _So_ Howe announced that in order to have a quiet winter, he
would drive Washington beyond the mountains. Howe did not often display
military intelligence, but that he was profoundly right in this particular
intention must be admitted. In pursuit of his plan, _therefore_, he
marched out of Philadelphia on December 4th, drove off some Pennsylvania
militia on the 5th, considered the American position for four days, did
not dare to attack, could not draw his opponent out, returned to the city,
and left Washington to go into winter quarters at Valley Forge, whence he
could easily strike if any move was made by the British army.

–Henry Cabot Lodge.

+88. The Transition Paragraph.+–Just as a word or phrase may serve to
denote the relation in thought between paragraphs, so may a whole
paragraph be used to carry over the thought from one group of paragraphs
to another in the same theme. Such a paragraph makes a transition from one
general topic or method of treating the subject of the theme to some other
general topic or to the consideration of the subject from a different
point of view. This transitional paragraph may summarize the thought of
the preceding paragraph in addition to announcing a change of topic; or it
may mark the transition to the new topic and set it forth in general

+89. The Summarizing Paragraph.+–Frequently we give emphasis to our
thought by a final paragraph summarizing the main points of the theme.
Such a summary is in effect a restatement of the topic sentences of our
paragraphs. If our theme has been coherent, these sentences stated in
order will need but little changing to make a coherent paragraph. In a
similar way, it is of advantage to close a long paragraph with a sentence
which repeats the topic statement or summarizes the thought of the
paragraph. See the last sentence in Section 57.

+90. Development of a Composition by Comparison or Contrast.+–The third
method of development is that of comparison or contrast. Nearly every idea
which we have suggests one that is similar to it or in contrast with it.
We are thus led to make comparisons or to state contrasts. When these are
few and brief, they may make a single paragraph (Section 48). If our
comparisons or contrasts are extended, they may make several paragraphs,
and thus a whole theme may be developed by this method.

In such a theme no fixed order of presentation is determined by the actual
occurrence in time or space of that which we present. Consequently, in
outlining a theme of this kind, we must devote special attention to
arranging our paragraphs in an order that shall give coherence and

+Theme XLVIII.+–_Write a theme of three or more paragraphs developed by

Suggested subjects:–
1. Compare men with verbs (active, passive, transitive, intransitive,
defective, redundant, auxiliary, copulative, etc.).
2. Show that the body resembles a machine.
3. In what way is the school like a factory?
4. How do two books that you have read differ?
5. Compare Lincoln and McKinley. How alike? How different?
6. How can you tell an oak tree from an elm tree?
7. Without naming them, compare two of your friends with each other.
8. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of public high schools
with those of private academies.

+91. Development of a Composition by Use of Generalization and Facts.+–
Using the fourth method of development, we may give an entire composition
to the explanation of the meaning of a general proposition or to the
demonstration of the truth of such a proposition. To accomplish this
purpose we state facts or instances that illustrate the meaning of the
proposition or that show it to be true. In such a composition each
important fact or instance may be given a separate paragraph, while
several minor facts or illustrations may be properly combined in the same
paragraph. (See Section 44.) Greater emphasis may also be given the more
important facts by assigning them to the emphatic positions.

Notice how by specific instances the following selection illustrates the
truth of the generalization set forth in the second sentence and restated
in the last sentence.


While parasitism is the principal cause of degeneration among animals, yet
it is not the sole cause. It is evident that if for any other reason
animals should become fixed, and live inactive lives, they would
degenerate. There are not a few instances of degeneration due simply to a
quiescent life, unaccompanied by parasitism.

The Tunicata, or sea squirts, are animals which have become simple through
degeneration, due to the adoption of a sedentary life, the withdrawal from
the crowd of animals and from the struggle which it necessitates. The
young tunicate is a free-swimming, active, tadpolelike, or fishlike
creature, which possesses organs very like those of the adult of the
simplest fishes or fishlike forms. That is, the sea squirt begins life as
a primitively simple vertebrate. It possesses in its larval stage a
notochord, the delicate structure which precedes the formation of a
backbone, extending along the upper part of the body below the spinal
cord. The other organs of the young tunicate are all of vertebral type.
But the young sea squirt passes a period of active and free life as a
little fish, after which it settles down and attaches itself to a shell or
wooden pier by means of suckers, and remains for the rest of its life
fixed. Instead of going on and developing into a fishlike creature, it
loses its notochord, its special sense organs, and other organs; it loses
its complexity and high organization, and becomes a “mere rooted bag with
a double neck,” a thoroughly degenerate animal.

A barnacle is another example of degeneration through quiescence. The
barnacles are crustaceans related most nearly to the crabs and shrimps.
The young barnacle just from the egg is a six-legged, free-swimming
nauplius, very like a young prawn or crab, with a single eye. In its next
larval stage it has six pairs of swimming feet, two compound eyes, and two
antennae or feelers, and still lives an independent free-swimming life.
When it makes its final change to the adult condition, it attaches itself
to some stone, or shell, or pile, or ship’s bottom, loses its compound
eyes and feelers, develops a protecting shell, and gives up all power of
locomotion. Its swimming feet become changed into grasping organs, and it
loses most of its outward resemblance to the other members of its class.

Certain insects live sedentary or fixed lives. All the members of the
family of scale insects (Coccidae), in one sex at least, show degeneration
that has been caused by quiescence. One of these coccids, called the red
orange scale, is very abundant in Florida and California and in other
fruit-growing regions. The male is a beautiful, tiny, two-winged midge,
but the female is a wingless, footless, little sack, without eyes or other
organs of special sense, which lies motionless under a flat, thin,
circular, reddish scale composed of wax and two or three cast skins of the
insect itself. The insect has a long, slender, flexible, sucking beak,
which is thrust into the leaf or stem or fruit of the orange on which the
“scale bug” lives, and through which the insect sucks the orange sap,
which is its only food. It lays eggs under its body, and thus also under
the protecting wax scale, and dies. From the eggs hatch active little
larval “scale bugs,” with eyes and feelers, and six legs. They crawl from
under the wax scale and roam about over the orange tree. Finally, they
settle down, thrusting their sucking beak into the plant tissue, and cast
their skin. The females lose at this molt their legs and eyes and feelers.
Each becomes a mere motionless sack capable only of sucking up sap and
laying eggs. The young males, however, lose their sucking beak and can no
longer take food, but they gain a pair of wings and an additional pair of
eyes. They fly about and fertilize the sacklike females, which then molt
again and secrete the thin wax scale over them.

Throughout the animal kingdom loss of the need of movement is followed by
the loss of the power to move and of all structures related
to it.

–Jordon and Kellogg: _Animal Life_.

Has the principle of unity been observed in the above selection; that is,
of the many things that might be told about a sea squirt, a barnacle, or a
scale bug, have the authors selected only those which serve to illustrate
degeneration through quiescence?

Instead of one generalization supported by a series of facts to
each of which a paragraph is given, we may have several subordinate
generalizations relating to the subject of the theme. Each of these
subordinate generalizations may become the topic statement of a paragraph
which is further developed by giving specific instances or by some other
method of paragraph development. Such an order, that is, generalization
followed by the facts which illustrate it, is coherent; but care must be
taken to give each fact under the generalization to which it is most
closely related. On the other hand, our theme may be made coherent by
giving the facts first, and then the generalization that they establish.

+Theme XLIX.+–_Write a theme of three or more paragraphs illustrating or
proving some general statement by means of facts or specific instances._

Suggested subjects:–
1. Young persons should not drink coffee.
2. Reasons for the curfew bell.
3. Girls wear their hair in a variety of ways.
4. There are several kinds of boys in this school.
5. Civilization increases as the facilities for transportation
6. Trolley roads are of great benefit to the country.
7. Presence of mind often averts danger.

+92. Development of a Composition by Stating Cause and Effect.+–The
statement of the causes of an event or condition may be used as a fifth
method of development. The principle, however, is not different from that
applied to the development of a paragraph by stating cause and effect
(Section 49). If several causes contribute to the same effect, each may be
given a separate paragraph, or several minor ones may be combined in one
paragraph. For the sake of unity we must include each fact, principle, or
statement in the paragraph to which it really belongs. The coherent order
is usually that which proceeds from causes to effects rather than that
which traces events backward from effects to causes.

+Theme L.+–_Write a theme of three or more paragraphs, stating causes and

Suggested subjects:–
1. Why hospitals are necessary.
2. Why cigarette smoking is dangerous.
3. Why girls should take music lessons.
4. The effect of climate upon health.
5. The effect of rainfall upon the productivity and industries of a
6. The effect of mountains, lakes, or rivers upon exploration and
7. What connection is there between occupation and height above the
sea level, and why?
8. Why our city is located where it is.
9. Why I came late to school.

+93. Combination of Methods of Development.+–Frequently the presentation
of our thought is made most effective by using some combination of the
methods of development discussed in this chapter. Time and place are often
interwoven, comparisons and contrasts flash into mind, general statements
need specific illustration, or results demand immediate explanation–all
in the same theme. Sometimes the order of coherence will be in doubt, for
cause and effect demand a different order of statement from that which
would be given were we to follow either time-order or position in space.
In such cases we must choose whether it is most important to tell first
_why_ or _when_ or _where_. The only rule that can be suggested is to do
that which will make our meaning most clear, because it is for the sake of
the clear presentation of our thought that we seek unity, coherence, and

+Theme LI.+–_Write a theme of several paragraphs. Use any method of
development or any combination of methods._

(Choose your own subject. After the theme is written make a list of all
the questions you should ask yourself about it. Correct the theme with
reference to each point in your list of questions.)


1. General principles of composition.
_a._ Unity.
_b._ Coherence.
_c._ Emphasis.
(1) By position.
(2) By proportion of parts.

2. An outline assists in securing unity, coherence, and emphasis.

3. Methods of composition development: A composition may be developed–
_a._ With reference to time-order.
_b._ With reference to position in space.
_c._ By use of comparison and contrast.
_d._ By stating generalization and facts.
_e._ By stating cause and effect.
_f._ By any suitable combination of the above methods.

4. Transition and summary paragraphs may occur in compositions.


+94. Importance of Good Letter Writing.+–Letter writing is the form of
written language used by most of us more frequently than any other form.
The importance of good letter writing is therefore obvious. Business,
personal, and social relations necessitate the writing of letters. We
are judged by those letters; and in order that we may be considered
businesslike, educated, and cultured, it is necessary that we should be
able to write good letters, not only as regards the form but also as
regards the subject-matter. The writing of good letters is often the means
of securing desirable positions and of keeping up pleasant and helpful
friendships. Since this form of composition plays so important a part in
our lives and the lives of those about us, it is worthy of careful study.

The subject-matter is the most important part of the letter, but adherence
to usages generally adopted is essential to successful letter writing.
Some of these usages may seem trivial in themselves, but a lack of
attention to them shows either ignorance or carelessness on the part of
the writer, and the consequences resulting from this inattention are often
anything but trivial. Applicants for good positions have been rejected
either because they did not know the correct usages of letter writing, or
because they did not heed them. In no other form of composition are
the rules concerning form so rigid; hence the need of knowledge and
carefulness concerning them.

+95. Paper.+–The nature of the letter determines to some extent our
choice of paper. Business letters are usually written on large paper,
about ten by eight inches in size, while letters of friendship and notes
of various kinds are written on paper of smaller size. White or delicately
tinted paper is always in good taste for all kinds of letters. The use of
highly tinted paper is occasionally in vogue with some people, but failure
to use it is never an offense against the laws of good taste. It is
customary now to use unruled paper for all kinds of letters as well as for
other forms of compositions. For letters of friendship four-page paper is
preferred to that in tablet form. The order in which the pages are used
may vary; but whatever the order is, it should not be confusing to the

Black ink should always be used. The writing should be neat and legible.
Attention should be paid to margin, paragraphs, and indentation. In fact,
all the rules of theme writing apply to letter writing, and to these are
added several others.

+96. The Beginning of a Letter.+–Certain forms for the
beginning of letters have been agreed upon, and these
forms should be followed. The beginning of a letter
usually includes the heading, the address of the person or
persons to whom the letter is sent, and the salutation.

Notice the following examples:–

| |
| 171 Miles Ave., |
| Cleveland, Ohio. |
| Oct. 21, 1905. |
| Marshall Field & Co., |
| State St., Chicago, Ill. |
| |
| Gentlemen: |
| |

| |
| Ottawa, Ill. |
| Nov. 9, 1905. |
| Dear Harold, |
| |

| |
| 1028 Jackson Boulevard, |
| Chicago Ill. |
| Nov. 10, 1905. |
| Messrs. Johnson & Foote, |
| 120 Main St., |
| Pittsfield, Mass. |
| |
| Dear Sirs, |
| |

| |
| 120 P Street, |
| Lincoln, Neb. |
| Oct. 17, 1905. |
| My dear Mrs. Scott, |
| |

| |
| Boston, Mass., Nov. 23, 1905. |
| |
| Dear Mother, |
| |

| |
| 33 Front St., |
| Adrian, Mich. |
| Nov. 30, 1905. |
| Miss Gertrude Brown, |
| 228 Warren Ave., Chicago, Ill. |
| |
| Dear Madam: |
| |

| |
| New Hartford, Conn. |
| Nov. 3, 1905. |
| My dear Henry, |
| |

The heading of a letter includes the address of the writer and the date of
the writing. When numerous letters are sent from one place to another, the
street and number may after a time be omitted from the heading. Example
(5) illustrates this. A son living in Boston has written to his mother
frequently and no longer considers it necessary to write the street and
number in every letter. If there is any doubt in the writer’s mind as to
whether his address will be remembered or not, he should include it in the
letter. If the writer lives in a small place where the street and number
will not be needed in a reply sent to him, it is unnecessary for him to
make use of it in his letter. When the street and number are omitted, the
heading may be written on one line, as in example (5), but the use of two
lines is preferable.

Custom has decreed that the proper place for the heading is in the
right-hand upper corner of the first page. Sometimes, especially in
business letters, we find the writer’s address at the close of the letter,
but for the sake of convenience it is preferably placed at the beginning.
The first line should be about one inch and a half from the top of the
page. The second line should begin a little to the right of the first
line, and the third line, a little to the right of the second line.
Attention should be paid to proper punctuation in each line.

In a comparatively few cases we may find that the omission of the date of
the letter will make no difference to the recipient, but in most cases it
will cause annoyance at least, and in many cases result in serious trouble
both to ourselves and to those who receive our letters. We should not
allow ourselves to neglect the date even in letters of apparently no great
importance. If we allow the careless habit of omitting dates to develop,
we may some day omit a date when the omission will affect affairs of great
importance. This date should include the day, month, and year. It is
better to write out the entire year, as 1905, not ’05.

In business letters it is customary to write the address of the person or
persons addressed at the left side of the page. Either two or three lines
may be used. The first line of this address should be one line lower than
the last line of the heading. Notice examples (1), (3), and (6). When the
address is thus written, the salutation is commonly written one line below
it. Sometimes the salutation is commenced at the margin, and sometimes a
little to the right of the address. Where there is no address, the
salutation is written a line below the date and begins with the margin, as
in examples (2), (4), (5), and (7).

The form of salutation naturally depends upon the relations existing
between the correspondents. The forms _Dear Sir, My dear Sir, Madam, My
dear Madam, Dear Sirs, Gentlemen_, are used in formal business letters.
The forms _Dear Miss Robinson, My dear Mrs. Hobart, Dear Mr. Fraser, My
dear Mr. Scott_, are used in business letters when the correspondents are
acquainted with each other. The same forms are also used in letters of
friendship when the correspondents are not well enough acquainted with
each other to warrant the use of the more familiar forms, _My dear Mary,
Dear Edmund, My dear Friend, Dear Cousin, My dear little Niece_.

There is no set rule concerning the punctuation of the salutation. The
comma, the colon, or the semicolon may be used either alone or in
connection with the dash. The comma alone seems to be the least formal of
all, and the colon the most so. Hence the former is used more frequently
in letters of friendship, and the latter more frequently in business

+97. Body of the Letter.+–The body of the letter is the important part;
in fact, it is the letter itself, since it contains the subject-matter. It
will be discussed under another head later, and is only mentioned here in
order to show its place in connection with the beginning of a letter. As a
rule, it is best to begin the body of our letters one line below, and
either directly underneath or to the right of the salutation. It is not
improper, however, especially in business letters, to begin it on the same
line with the salutation. A few examples will be sufficient to show the
variations of the place for beginning the main part of the letter.

| |
| 1694 Cedar Ave., |
| Cleveland, Ohio. |
| June 23, 1905. |
| Messrs. Hanna, Scott & Co., |
| Aurora, Ill. |
| |
| Gentlemen:–I inclose a money order for $10.00, |
| etc. |
| |

| |
| Everett, Washington. |
| Oct. 20, 1905. |
| My dear Robert, |
| We are very glad that you have decided to make |
| us a visit, etc. |
| |

| |
| Greenwich, N.Y. |
| Sept. 19, 1905. |
| My dear Miss Russ, |
| Since I have been Miss Clark’s assistant, etc. |
| |

| |
| 2 University Ave., |
| Nashville, Tenn. |
| April 19, 1905. |
| The American Book Company, |
| 300 Pike St., |
| Cinncinnati, O. |
| |
| Dear Sirs:–Please send me by express two copies |
| of Halleck’s English Literature, etc. |
| |

+98. Conclusion of a Letter.+–The conclusion of a letter includes what is
termed the complimentary close and the signature. Certain forms have been
agreed upon, which should be closely followed.

Our choice of a complimentary close, like that of a salutation, depends
upon the relations existing between us and those to whom we are writing.
Such forms as _Your loving daughter, With love, Ever your friend, Your
affectionate mother_, should be used only when intimate relations exist
between correspondents. In letters where existing relations are not so
intimate and in some kinds of business letters the forms _Sincerely yours,
Yours very sincerely,_ may be used appropriately. The most common forms in
business letters are _Yours truly_ and _Very truly yours_. The forms
_Respectfully yours,_ or _Yours very respectfully,_ should be used only
when there is occasion for some special respect, as in writing to a person
of high rank or position.

The complimentary close should be written one line below the last line of
the main part of the letter, and toward the right-hand side of the page.
Its first word should commence with a capital, and a comma should be
placed at its close.

The signature properly belongs below and a little to the right of the
complimentary close. Except in cases of familiar relationship, the name
should be signed in full. It is difficult to determine the spelling of
unfamiliar proper names if they are carelessly written. It is therefore
important in writing to strangers that the signature should be made
plainly legible in order that they may know how to address the writer in
their reply. A lady should make it plain whether she is to be addressed as
_Miss_ or _Mrs._ This can be done either by placing the title _Miss_ or
_Mrs._ in parentheses before the name, or by writing the whole address
below and to the left of the signature. Boys and men may often avoid
confusion by signing their first name instead of using only initials.

Notice the following examples of the complimentary close and signature:–

| |
| Appleton, Wisconsin. |
| Sept. 3, 1905. |
| |
| My dear Cousin, |
| |
| |
| (Body of letter.) |
| |
| |
| Yours with love, |
| Gertrude Edmonds. |
| |

| |
| 192 Lincoln Ave., |
| Worcester, Mass. |
| Nov. 25, 1905. |
| |
| L.B. Bliss & Co., |
| 109 Summer St., |
| Boston, Mass. |
| |
| |
| Dear Sirs; |
| |
| (Body of letter.) |
| |
| |
| |
| Very truly yours, |
| Walter A. Cutler. |
| |

| |
| Paxton, Ill. |
| July 3, 1905. |
| |
| American Typewriter Co., |
| 263 Broadway, New York. |
| |
| |
| Gentlemen: |
| |
| |
| (Body of letter.) |
| |
| |
| |
| Very truly yours, |
| (Miss) Jennie R. McAllister. |
| |

| |
| May 5, 1905. |
| |
| Daniel Low & Co., |
| 232 Essex St., Salem, Mass. |
| |
| |
| Dear Sirs; |
| |
| |
| (Body of letter.) |
| |
| |
| |
| Mary E. Ball |
| |
| Mrs. George W. Ball, |
| 415 Fourth St., |
| La Salle, Ill. |
| |

| |
| Marshalltown, Iowa. |
| Oct. 3, 1905. |
| |
| My dear Miss Meyer, |
| |
| |
| (Body of letter.) |
| |
| |
| Sincerely yours, |
| Dorothy Doddridge. |
| |


Write suitable headings, salutations, complimentary endings, and
signatures for the following letters:–

1. To Spaulding & Co., Wabash Ave., Chicago, Ill., ordering their rules
for basket ball.

2. To your older brother.

3. To the school board, asking for a gymnasium.

4. To some business house, making application for a position.

5. To the governor of your state.

6. From one stranger to another.

7. From an older brother to his little sister.

8. From a boy living in New Orleans to the father of his most intimate

+99. The Envelope.+–The direction on the envelope, commonly called the
superscription, consists of the name and address of the person or persons
to whom the letter is sent. This direction should be written in a careful
and _courteous manner_, and should include all that is necessary to insure
the prompt delivery of the letter to the proper destination.

The superscription may be arranged in three or four lines, each line
beginning a little to the right of the preceding line. The name should be
written about midway between the upper and lower edges of the envelope,
and there should be nearly an equal amount of space left at each side. If
there is any difference, there should be less space at the right than at
the left. The street and number may be written below the name, and the
city or town and state below. The street and number may be properly
written in the lower left-hand corner. This is also the place for any
special direction that may be necessary for the speedy transmission of the
letter; for example, “In care of Mr. Charles R. Brown.”

Women should be addressed as _Miss_ or _Mrs._ In case the woman is
married, her husband’s first name and middle initial are commonly used,
unless it is known that she prefers to have her own first name used. Men
should be addressed as _Mr._, and a firm may in many cases be addressed as
_Messrs._ It is considered proper to use the titles _Dr._, _Rev._, etc.,
in directing an envelope to a man bearing such a title, but it would be
entirely out of place to address the wife of a physician or clergyman as
_Mrs. Dr._ or _Mrs. Rev._

The names of states may be abbreviated, but care should be taken that
these abbreviations be plainly written, especially when there are other
similar abbreviations. In compound names, as North Dakota and West
Virginia, do not abbreviate one part of the compound and write out the
other. Either abbreviate both or write out both. If any punctuation
besides the period after abbreviations is used, it consists of a comma
after each line. It is the custom now to omit such punctuation. Either
form is in good taste, but whichever form is adopted, it should be
employed throughout the entire superscription. The comma should not be
used in one line and omitted in another.

Notice the following forms of correct superscriptions:–

| Mr. Milo R. Maltbie
| 85 West 118th St.
| New York.

| Mr. John D. Clark
| New York
| N.Y.
| Teachers College
| Columbia University.

| Mrs. Edgar N. Foster
| South Haven
| Mich.
| Avery Beach Hotel.
| ______________________________________________________

| Miss Louise M. Baker
| Nottingham
| Ohio.
| Box 129.

| Dr. James M. Postle
| De Kalb
| Ill.

| Miss Ida Morrison
| Chicago
| Ill.
| 1048 Warren Ave.


Write proper superscriptions to letters written to the following:–

1. Thaddeus Bolton, living at 524 Q Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.

2. The wife of a physician of your acquaintance.

3. James B. Angell, President of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,

4. Your mother, visiting some relative or friend.

5. The publishers Allyn and Bacon, 878 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Ill.

6. Edward Harrington, living at 1962 Seventh Avenue, New York.

7. To a friend at a seaside resort.

8. To a friend visiting your uncle in Oakland, California.

+100. The Great Rule of Letter Writing.+–The great rule of letter writing
is, Never write a letter which you would not be willing to see in print
over your own signature. That which you _say_ in anger may be discourteous
and of little credit to you, but it may in time be forgotten; that which
you _write_, however, may be in existence an untold number of years.
Thousands of letters are now on exhibition whose authors never had such a
use of them in mind. If you ever feel like writing at the end of a letter,
“Burn this as soon as you read it,” do not send it, but burn the letter
yourself. Before you sign your name to any letter read it over and ask
yourself, “Is this letter in form and contents one which would do me
credit if it should be published?”

+101. Business Letters.+–Since the purpose of business letters is to
inform, they should, first of all, be characterized by clearness. In
asking for information, be sure that you state your questions so that
there shall be no doubt in the mind of the recipient concerning the
information that you desire. In giving information, be equally sure to
state facts so clearly that there can be no possibility of a mistake.

Brevity is the soul of business letters as well as of wit. Business men
are busy men. They have no time to waste in reading long letters, but wish
to gain their information quickly. Hence we should aim to state the
desired facts in as concise a manner as possible, and we should give only
pertinent facts. Short explanations may sometimes be necessary, but
nothing foreign to the subject-matter should ever be introduced. While we
should aim to make our letters short, they should not be so brief as to
appear abrupt and discourteous. It shows lack of courtesy to omit
important words or to make too frequent use of abbreviations.

We should answer a business letter as soon as possible. This answer,
besides giving the desired information, should include a reference to the
letter received and an acknowledgment of inclosures, if there were any.
All questions should receive courteous replies. The facts should be
arranged in a form that will be convenient for the recipient. As a rule it
is best to follow the order which the writer has used in his letter, but
in some cases we may be able to state our facts more definitely and
concisely if we follow some other order.

What has been said in general about attention to forms in letter writing
might well be emphasized here, for business men are keen critics
concerning letters received. Be careful to use the correct forms already
suggested. Also pay attention to punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Write
only on one side of the paper and fold the letter correctly. In fact, be
businesslike in everything connected with the writing of business letters.

A few examples are here given for your notice:–

| |
| Ypsilanti, Mich. |
| April 4, 1905. |
| |
| Mr. William Wylie, |
| 807 Linn St., Peoria, Ill. |
| |
| Dear Mr. Wylie; |
| Inclosed is a letter from Superintendent Rogers |
| of Rockford, Ill. The position of teacher of |
| mathematics is vacant. The salary may not be so |
| much as you now receive, but in many respects the |
| position is a desirable one. I advise you to apply |
| for it. |
| Sincerely yours, |
| Charles M. Gates. |
| |

| |
| 586 State St., |
| Chicago, Ill. |
| July 20,1905. |
| |
| Mrs. Charles H. McNett, |
| 2345 Franklin St., |
| Denver, Colorado. |
| |
| Dear Madam:–Your card of July 9th is at hand. We |
| beg to say that we sent you the books by express, |
| prepaid, July 9th, and they have probably reached |
| you by this time. If you have not received them, |
| please notify us, and we will send a tracer after |
| them. |
| Very truly yours, |
| Brown and Sherman. |
| |
| |

| |
| Elgin High School, |
| Elgin, Ill. |
| Sept. 4, 1905. |
| |
| |
| Miss Ella B. Walker, |
| Herkimer, New York. |
| |
| My dear Miss Walker: |
| I am very sorry to have to trouble you, |
| but I am desirous of obtaining some information |
| concerning the High School Library. Will you kindly |
| let me know whether the card catalogue was kept up |
| to date prior to your departure and also whether the |
| accession book was in use up to that time? |
| I shall be greatly indebted to you if you will |
| give me this information. |
| Very sincerely yours, |
| Edward J. Taylor. |
| |


Write at least three of the following suggested letters, paying attention
to the rules for writing business letters:–

1. Write to a dry goods firm, asking them to send you one of their

2. Write to the manager of a football team of some town near yours,
proposing a game.

3. Write the reply.

4. In reply to an advertisement, write an application for the position of
clerk or bookkeeper.

5. Write to the publishers of some magazine, asking them to change your
address from 27 K Street, Toledo, Ohio, to 2011 Prospect Avenue,
Beatrice, Nebraska.

6. Suppose yourself doing postgraduate work in your high school. Write to
the president of some college, asking him concerning advanced credit.

+102. Letters of Friendship.+–While a great deal of information may be
obtained from some letters of friendship, the real purpose of such letters
is, usually, not to give information, but to entertain. You will notice
that the information derived from letters of friendship differs from that
found in business letters. Its nature is such that of itself it gives
pleasure. Our letters to our relatives, friends, and acquaintances are but
visits on paper, and it should be our purpose to make these visits as
enjoyable as possible.

So much depends upon the circumstances attendant upon the writing of
letters of friendship, that it is impossible to make any definite
statement as to what they should contain. We may say in general that they
should contain matter interesting to the recipient, and that they should
be characterized by vividness and naturalness. Interesting material is a
requisite, but that of itself is not sufficient to make an entertaining
letter. Interesting material may be presented in so unattractive and
lifeless a manner that much of its power to please is lost. Let your
letters be full of life and spirit. In your descriptions, narrations, and
explanations, express yourself so clearly and so vividly that those who
read your letters will be able to understand exactly what you mean.


1. Write a letter to a classmate who has moved to another town, telling
him of the school of which he was once a member.

2. Write to a friend, describing your visit to the World’s Fair at St.

3. Suppose yourself away from home. Write a letter to your little brother
or sister at home.

4. If you have ever been abroad, describe in a letter some place of
interest that you have visited.

5. Write to a friend who is fond of camping, about your camping

6. Suppose your mother is away from home on a visit. Write her about the
home life.

7. Write to a friend, describing a party that you recently attended.

8. Suppose you have moved from one town to another. In a letter compare
the two towns.

+103. Adaptation to the Reader.+–The golden rule of letter writing is,
Adapt the letter to the reader. Although the letter is an expression of
yourself, yet it should be that kind of expression which shall most
interest and please your correspondent. In business letters the necessity
of brevity and clearness forces attention to the selection and arrangement
of details. In letters to members of the family or to intimate friends
we must include many very minor things, because we know that our
correspondent will be interested in them, but a rambling, disjointed
jumble of poorly selected and ill-arranged details becomes tedious. What
we should mention is determined by the interests of the readers, and the
successful letter writer will endeavor to know what they wish to have
mentioned. In writing letters to our friends we ought to show that
sympathetic interest in them and their affairs which we should have if we
were visiting with them. On occasion, our congratulations should be prompt
and sincere.

In reading letters we must not be hasty to take offense. Many good
friendships have been broken because some statement in a letter was
misconstrued. The written words convey a meaning very different from that
which would have been given by the spoken word, the tone of voice, the
smile, and the personal presence. So in our writing we must avoid
all that which even borders on complaint, or which may seem critical or
fault-finding to the most sensitive.

+104. Notes.+–Notes may be divided in a general way into two classes,
formal and informal. Formal notes include formal invitations, replies,
requests, and announcements. Informal notes include informal invitations
and replies, and also other short communications of a personal nature on
almost every possible subject.

+105. Formal Notes.+–A formal invitation is always written in the third
person. The lines may be of the same length, or they may be so arranged
that the lines shall be of different lengths, thus giving the page a
somewhat more pleasing appearance. The heading, salutation, complimentary
close, and signature are all omitted. The address of the sender may be
written below the body of the letter. Many prefer it a little to the left,
and the date is sometimes written below it. Others, however, prefer it
directly below or a little to the right.

Replies to formal invitations should always be written in the third
person, and should in general follow the style of the invitation. The date
and the hour of the invitation should be repeated in the reply, and this
reply should be sent immediately after receiving the invitation.

A few examples are here given to show the correct forms of both
invitations and replies:–

| |
| Mr. and Mrs. Frederick William Thompson |
| request the pleasure of your company |
| on Monday evening, December thirtieth, |
| at half-past eight o’clock. |
| |

| |
| Miss Barrows accepts with pleasure Mr. and |
| Mrs. Thompson’s invitation for Monday evening, |
| December thirtieth, at half-past eight o’clock. |
| |

| |
| Mr. Morris regrets that a previous engagement |
| prevents his accepting Mr. and Mrs. Thompson’s |
| kind invitation for Monday evening, December |
| the thirtieth. |
| |

| |
| Mr. and Mrs. Albert W. Elliott request the |
| pleasure of Mr. John Barker’s company at dinner |
| on Wednesday, December sixth, at seven o’clock. |
| |
| 1068 Euclid Ave. |
| |

| |
| Mr. Barker regrets his inability to accept |
| Mr. and Mrs. Albert W. Elliott’s invitation to |
| dinner at seven o’clock, Wednesday, December |
| sixth. |
| |


1. Write an invitation to a golden wedding.

2. Mrs. Homer A. Payne invites Miss Eva Milton to dine with her next week
Thursday at eight o’clock. Write out a formal invitation.

3. Write regrets to Mrs. Payne’s invitation.

4. Write an acceptance of the same invitation.

5. Write a formal invitation to a party to be given in honor of your
guest, Miss Grace Mason.

+106. Informal Notes.+–Informal invitations and replies may contain the
same subject-matter as formal invitations and replies. The only difference
is in the form in which they are written. The informal invitation is in
form similar to a letter except that the same exactness about the heading
is not required. Sometimes the heading is written and sometimes it is
omitted entirely. The address of the one sending the invitation and the
date may be written below the body of the note to the left of the
signature. The reply to an informal invitation should always be informal,
but the date and hour should be repeated as in replies to formal

A great many informal notes not included in invitations and replies are
constantly written. These are simply brief letters of friendship, and the
purposes for which they are written are exceedingly varied. When we write
congratulations or words of condolence, when we introduce one friend to
another, when we thank some one for a gift, and when we give words of
advice, and in many other instances, we make use of informal notes. They
should be simple, personal, and as a rule confined to but one subject.

Notice the following examples of informal notes:–

| |
| My dear Mrs. Lathrop, |
| |
| Will you not give us the pleasure of your company |
| at dinner, on next Friday evening at seven o’clock? Miss Todd |
| of Philadelphia is visiting us, and we wish our friends to meet |
| her. |
| |
| Very sincerely yours, |
| Ethel M. Trainor. |
| 840 Forest Avenue, |
| Dec. 5, 1905. |
| |

| |
| Dec. 6, 1905. |
| |
| My dear Mrs. Trainor, |
| |
| I sincerely regret that I cannot accept your invitation |
| to dinner next Friday evening, for I have made a previous |
| engagement which it will be impossible for me to break. |
| |
| Yours most sincerely, |
| Emma Lathrop. |
| |

| |
| My dear Blanche, |
| |
| Mr. Gilmore and I are planning for a little party |
| Thursday evening of this week. I hope you have no other |
| engagement for that evening, as we shall be pleased to have |
| you with us. |
| Very cordially yours, |
| Margaret Gilmore. |
| |

| |
| My dear Margaret, |
| |
| Fortunately I have no other engagement for this |
| week Thursday evening, and I shall be delighted to spend an |
| evening with you and your friends. |
| |
| Very sincerely yours, |
| Blanche A. Church. |
| |


Write the following informal notes:–

1. Write to a friend, asking him or her to lend you a book.

2. Write an invitation to an informal trolley, tennis, or golf party.

3. Write the reply.

4. Invite one of your friends to spend his or her vacation with you.

5. Write a note to your sister, asking her to send you your theme that you
left at home this morning.

6. Mrs. Edgar A. Snow invites Miss Mabel Minard to dine with her. Write
out the invitation.

7. Write the acceptance.


[Footnote: _To the Teacher._–Since the expression of ideas in metrical
form is seldom the one best suited to the conditions of modern life, it
has not seemed desirable to continue the themes throughout this chapter.
The study of this chapter, with suitable illustrations from the poems to
which the pupils have access, may serve to aid them in their appreciation
of poetry. This appreciation of poetry will be increased if the pupils
attempt some constructive work. It is recommended, therefore, that one or
more of the simpler kinds of metrical composition be tried. For example,
one or two good ballads may be read and the pupils asked to write similar
ones. Some pupils may be able to write blank verse.]

+107. Purpose of Poetry.+–All writing aims to give information or to
furnish entertainment (Section 54). Often the same theme may both inform
and entertain, though one of these purposes may be more prominent than the
other. Prose may merely entertain, or it may so distinctly attempt to set
forth ideas clearly that the giving of pleasure is entirely neglected. In
poetry the entertainment side is never thus subordinated. Poetry always
aims to please by the presentation of that which is beautiful. All real
poetry produces an aesthetic effect by appealing to our aesthetic sense;
that is, to our love of the beautiful.

In making this appeal to our love of the beautiful, poetry depends both
upon the ideas it contains and upon the forms it uses. Like prose, it
may increase its aesthetic effect by appropriate phrasing, effective
arrangement, and subtle suggestiveness, but it also makes use of certain
devices of language such as rhythm, rhyme, etc., which, though they may
occur in writings that would be classed as prose, are characteristic of
poetry. Much depends upon the ideas that poetry contains; for mere
nonsense, though in perfect rhyme and rhythm, is not poetry. But it is not
the idea alone which makes a poem beautiful; it is the form as well. The
merely trivial cannot be made beautiful by giving it poetical form, but
there are many poems containing ideas of small importance which please us
because of the perfection of form. We enjoy them as we do the singing of
the birds or the murmuring of the brooks. In fact, poetry is inseparable
from its characteristic forms. To sort out, re-arrange, and paraphrase
into second-class prose the ideas which a poem contains is a profitless
and harmful exercise, because it emphasizes the intellectual side of a
work which was created for the purpose of appealing to our aesthetic

+108. Rhythm.+–There are several forms characteristic of poetry, by the
use of which its beauty and effectiveness are enhanced. Of these, rhythm
is the most prominent one, without which no poetry is possible. In its
widest sense, rhythm indicates a regular succession of motions, impulses,
sounds, accents, etc., producing an agreeable effect. Rhythm in poetry
consists of the recurrence of accented and unaccented syllables in regular
succession. In poetry, care must be taken to make the accented syllable of
a word come at the place where the rhythm demands an accent. The regular
recurrence of accented and unaccented syllables produces a harmony which
appeals to our aesthetic sense and thus enhances for us the beauty of
poetry. Read the following selections so as to show the rhythm:–


We were crowded in the cabin;
Not a soul would dare to speak;
It was midnight on the waters
And a storm was on the deep.

–James T. Fields.


Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.



Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor



Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!

Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps.



Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage.



Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink,
Snug and safe is this nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers.
Chee, chee, chee.



Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”


+109. Feet.+–The metrical effect of the preceding selections is produced
by the regular recurrence of accented and unaccented syllables. A group of
accented and unaccented syllables is called a foot. There are four regular
feet in English verse, the iambus, the anapest, the trochee, and the
dactyl. Three irregular feet, the pyrrhic, the spondee, the amphibrach,
are occasionally found in lines, but not in entire poems, and are often
considered merely as substitutes for regular feet. For the sake of
convenience the accented syllables are indicated thus: _, and the
unaccented syllables thus: U.

_An iambus_ is a foot consisting of two syllables with the accent on the

U _| U _| U _| U _| U _|
Let not ambition mock their useful toil.


U _|U _| U _|U _|
He prayeth best who loveth best

U _| U _| U _|
All things both great and small;

_ U | U _| U _|U _|
For the dear God who loveth us,

U _| U _|U _|
He made and loveth all.


_An anapest_ is a foot consisting of three syllables with the accent on
the last.

U U _| U U _|U U _|
I am monarch of all I survey.
U U _ | U U _ | U U _ |
I would hide with the beasts of the chase.

_A trochee_ is a foot consisting of two syllables with the accent on the

_ U | _ U | _ U | _ U|
Double, double, toil and trouble.


_ U | _ U |_ U |_ U |
Let us then be up and doing,
_ U| _ U | _U | _ |
With a heart for any fate,
_ U |_ U | _ U|_ U |
Still achieving, still pursuing,
_ U | _ U |_ U | _ |
Learn to labor and to wait.


_A dactyl_ is a foot consisting of three syllables with the accent on the

_ U U | _ U U |
Cannon to right of them,
_ U U | _ U U |
Cannon to left of them,
_ U U | _ U U |
Cannon in front of them,
_ U U |_ U |
Volleyed and thundered.


It will be convenient to remember that two of these, the iambus and the
anapest, have the accent on the last syllable, and that two, the trochee
and the dactyl, have the accent on the first syllable.

_A spondee_ is a foot consisting of two syllables, both of which are
accented about equally. It is an unusual foot in English poetry.

U _ | _ _ | U _| U _ |
Come now, blow, Wind, and waft us o’er.

_A pyrrhic_ is a foot consisting of two syllables both of which are
unaccented. It is frequently found at the end of a line.

U _ | U _ | U _|U U
Life is so full of misery.

_An amphibrach_ is a foot consisting of three syllables, with
the accent on the second.

U _ U U _ U| U _ U| U _ |
Creator, Preserver, Redeemer and friend.

+110. Names of Verse.+–A single line of poetry is called a verse. A
stanza is composed of several verses. When a verse consists of one foot,
it is called a monometer; of two feet, a dimeter; of three feet, a
trimeter; of four feet, a tetrameter; of five feet, a pentameter; and of
six feet, a hexameter.

_ U
Monometer. Slowly.

_ U U| _ U U |
Dimeter. Emblem of happiness.

_ U| _U| _ U |
Trimeter. Like a poet hidden.

_ U| _ U| _ U | _ U |
Tetrameter. Tell me not in mournful numbers.

U _ |U _ |U _| U _ | U _ |
Pentameter. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath.

_ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U
Hexameter. This is the forest primeval; the murmuring pines and
U | _ U |
the hemlocks.

When we say that a verse is of any particular kind, we do not mean that
every foot in that line is necessarily of the same kind. Verse is named by
stating first the prevailing foot which composes it, and second the number
of feet in a line. A verse having four iambic feet is called iambic
tetrameter. So we have dactylic hexameter, trochaic pentameter, iambic
trimeter, anapestic dimeter, etc.


_A._ Mark the accented and unaccented syllables in the following
selections, and name the kind of verse:–


Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel
That shall laugh at all disaster
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle.



I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air,
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.



For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.



Chanting of labor and craft, and of Wealth in the pot and the
Chanting of valor and fame, and the man who can, fall with the
Fighting for children and wife, and the field which his father
bequeathed him,
Sweetly and solemnly sang she, and planned new lessons for



Have you read in the Talmud of old,
In the Legends the Rabbins have told,
Of the limitless realms of the air,
Have you read it,–the marvelous story
Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,
Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer?


_B._ 1. Find three poems written in iambic verse, and three written in
trochaic verse.

2. Write at least one stanza, using iambic verse.

3. Write at least one stanza, using the same kind of verse that you find
in Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

4. Write two anapestic lines.

+111. Variation in Rhythm.+–The name given to a verse is determined by
the foot which prevails, but not every foot in the line needs to be of the
same kind. Just as in music we may substitute a quarter for two eighth
notes, so may we in poetry substitute one foot for another, provided it is
given the same amount of time.

Notice in the following that the rhythm is perfect and the beat regular,
although a three-syllable anapest has been substituted in the second line
for a two-syllable iambus:–

U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ |
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew tree’s shade,
U _ | U _ | U _| U U _ | U _ |
Where heaves the turf in many a moldring heap,
_ U | U _ | U _ | U _ |U _ |
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ |
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The following from _Evangeline_ illustrates the substitution of trochees
for dactyls:–

_ U U | _ U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U |
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed.

_ U U | _ U | _ U U | _ U | _ U U|_ U
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October

_ U U | _ U U |_ U | _ U U | _ U U |_ U |
Seize them and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o’er the ocean.

_ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ U
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pre.

It is evident that one foot can be substituted for another if the accent
is not changed. Since both the iambus and the anapest are accented on the
last syllable, they may be interchanged. The trochee and the dactyl are
both accented on the first syllable and may, therefore, be interchanged.

There are some exceptions to the general rule that in substituting one
foot for another the accented syllable must be kept in the same part of
the foot. Occasionally a poem in which the prevailing foot is iambic has a
trochee for the first foot of a line in order that it may begin with an
accented syllable. At the beginning of a line the change of accent is
scarcely noticeable.

_ U | U _ | U _ |U _ |
Over the rail my hand I trail.

_ U | U _ | U _ | U _ |
Silent the crumbling bridge we cross!

But if the reader has once fallen into the swing of iambic verse, the
substitution of a trochee will bring the accent at an unexpected place,
interrupt the smooth flow of the rhythm, and produce a harsh and jarring
effect. Such a change of accent is justified only when the sense of the
verse leads the reader to expect the changed accent, or when the emphasis
thus given to the sense of the poem more than compensates for the break in
the rhythm produced by the change of accent.

Another form of metrical variation is that in which there are too few or
too many syllables in a foot. This generally occurs at the end of a line,
but may occur at the beginning. If a syllable is added or omitted
skillfully, the rhythm will be unbroken.

When the feet are accented on the last syllable,–that is, when the verse
is iambic or anapestic,–an extra syllable may be added at the end of a

U _ |U U _ |U _ | U
I stood on the bridge at midnight,

U U _ | U _ |U U _ |
As the clocks were striking the hour;

U U _ | U _ | U _|U
And the Moon rose o’er the city,

U _ | U _ | U _ |
Behind the dark church tower.


U _ | U _ |U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ |
Girt round with rugged moun[tains], the fair Lake Constance lies,

U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ |U _ |
In her blue heart reflect[ed] shine back the starry skies;

U _ | U _ | U _ | U _ |U _ | U _ |
And watching each white cloud[let] float silently and slow,

U _ | U _ | U _ | U _| U _ | U _|
You think a piece of heav[en] lies on our earth below.

–Adelaide A. Procter.

In the second illustration the extra syllables have the same relative
position in the metrical scheme as in the first, though they appear to be
in the middle of the line. The pauses fill in the time and preserve the
rhythm unbroken.

When the feet are accented on the first syllable–as in trochaic or
dactylic verse–a syllable may be omitted from the end of a line as in the
second and fourth below.

_ U U | _ U U | _ U U| _ U |
Up with the lark in the first flush of morning,

_ U U | _ U U | _ U U | _ |
Ere the world wakes to its work or its play;

_ U U| _ U U | _ U U | _ U |
Off for a spin to the wide-stretching country,

_ U U | _ U U | _ U U|_ |
Far from the close, stifling city away.

Sometimes we find it necessary to suppress a syllable in order to make the
rhythm more nearly perfect. Syllables may be suppressed in two ways: by
suppressing a vowel at the end of a word when the next word commences with
a vowel; by suppressing a vowel within a word. The former method is termed
elision, and the latter, slurring.

U _ | U _ |U _ | U _ | U _ |
Thou glorious mirror where the Almighty’s form

_ U |U _| U _ | U
Glasses itself in tempests.


An accented syllable often takes the place of an entire foot. This occurs
most frequently at the end of a line, but it is sometimes found at the
beginning. Occasionally whole lines are formed in this way. If a pause or
rest is made, the rhythm will be unbroken.

u _ | u _ | u _ |
Break, break, break,

U U _ | U _ | U _ |
On thy cold gray stones, O sea!

U U _ | U U _ | U _|U
And I would that my tongue could utter

U _ | U U _ |U _|
The thoughts that arise in me.


We frequently find verses in which a syllable is lacking at the close of
the line; we also find many verses in which an extra syllable is added.
Verse that contains the number of syllables required by its meter is said
to be acatalectic; if it contains more than the required number of
syllables, it is said to be hypercatalectic; and if it lacks a syllable,
it is termed catalectic. It is difficult to tell whether a line has the
required number of syllables or not when it is taken by itself; but by
comparing it with the line prevailing in the rest of the stanza we are
enabled to tell whether it is complete or not. Shakespeare’s _Julius
Caesar_ is written in iambic pentameter verse. Knowing this, we can detect
the hypercatalectic and catalectic lines.

U _| U _ | U _| U _| U _ |
You all did see that on the Lupercal

U _ | U _| U _ |U _| U _|
I thrice presented him a kingly crown

U _| U _ |U _ | U _ | U _| U
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

U _| U _ | U _ | U _ | U
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious.


+112. Cesura.+–Besides the pauses caused by rests or silences there is
the cesural pause which needs to be considered in reading verse. A cesura
is a pause determined by the sense. It coincides with some break in the
sense. It is found in different parts of the verse and may be entirely
lacking. Its observance does not noticeably interfere with the rhythm. In
the following selection it is marked thus: ||.

U _ | U _ | U _| U _ |
The sun came up || upon the left,

_ U| U _ | U _ |
Out of the sea || came he;

U _| U _ | U _| U _|
And he shone bright, || and on the right

U _ | U_ | U _ |
Went down || into the sea


Lives of great men || all remind us
We can make our lives || sublime,
And, departing, || leave behind us,
Footprints || on the sands of time.


Read the selections on page 197 so as to indicate the position of the
cesural pauses.

+113. Scansion.+–Scansion is the separation of a line into the feet which
compose it. In order to scan a line we must determine the rhythmic
movement of it. The rhythmic movement determines the accented syllables.
Sometimes in scanning, merely the accented syllables are marked. Usually
the whole metrical scheme is indicated, as in the examples on page 199.


Scan the following selections. Note substitutions and


The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is gone.

–Francis W. Bourdillon.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

–Ella Wheeler Wilcox.


Hear the robin in the rain,
Not a note does he complain.
But he fills the storm refrain
With music of his own.

–Charles Coke Woode.


The mistletoe hung in the castle hall,
The holly branch shone on the old back wall
And the baron’s retainers are blithe and gay,
And keeping their Christmas holiday.

–Thomas Haynes Bagley.

+114. Rhyme.+–Rhyme is a regular recurrence of similar sounds. In a broad
sense, it may include sounds either terminal or not, but as here used it
refers to terminal sounds.

Just as we expect a recurrence of accent in a line, so may we expect a
recurrence of similar sounds at the end of certain lines of poetry. The
interval between the rhymes may be of different lengths in different
poems, but when the interval is once established, it should be followed
throughout the poem. A rhyme out of place jars upon the rhythmic
perfection of a stanza just as an accent out of place interferes with the
rhythm of the verse.

Not only should the rhymes occur at expected places, but they should be
the expected rhymes; that is, real rhymes. If we are expecting a word
which will rhyme with _blossom_ and find _bosom_, or if we are expecting a
rhyme for _breath_ and find _beneath_, the effect is unpleasant. The
rhymes named above are based on spelling, while a real rhyme is based on
sound. A correct rhyme should have precisely the same vowel sounds and the
final consonants should be the same, but the initial consonant should be
different. For example: _death, breath; home, roam; tongue, young;
debating, relating_.

Notice the arrangement of the rhymes in the following selections:–


My soul to-day is far away,
Sailing the Vesuvian Bay;
My winged boat, a bird afloat,
Swims round the purple peaks remote.

–T. Buchanan Read.


I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down the valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.



I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!



The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying;
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.



Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering in a foreign strand!
If such there be, go mark him well:
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim:
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.


+115. Blank Verse.+–When rhyme is omitted, we have blank verse. This is
the most dignified of all kinds of verse, and is, therefore, appropriate
for epic and dramatic poetry, where it is chiefly found. Most blank verse
makes use of the iambic pentameter measure, but we find many exceptions.
Read the following examples of blank verse so as to show the rhythm:–


So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not like the quarry slave at night
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach the grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.



I stood upon the steps–
The last who left the door–and there I found
The lady and her friend. The elder turned
And with a cordial greeting took my hand,
And rallied me on my forgetfulness.
Her eyes, her smile, her manner, and her voice.
Touched the quick springs of memory, and I spoke
Her name. She was my mother’s early friend
Whose face I had not seen in all the years
That had flown over us, since, from her door,
I chased her lamb to where I found–myself.


+116. The Stanza.+–Some of our verse is continuous like Milton’s
_Paradise Lost_ or Shakespeare’s plays, but much of it is divided into
groups called stanzas. The lines or verses composing a stanza are bound
together by definite principles of rhythm and rhyme. Usually stanzas of
the same poem have the same structure, but stanzas of different poems show
a variety of structure.

Two of the most simple forms are the couplet and the triplet. They often
form a part of a continuous poem, but they are occasionally found in
divided poems.


The western waves of ebbing day
Roll’d o’er the glen their level way.



A chieftain’s daughter seemed the maid;
Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch such birth betray’d.


A stanza of four lines is called a quatrain. The lines of quatrains show a
variety in the arrangement of their rhymes. The first two lines may rhyme
with each other and the last two with each other; the first and fourth may
rhyme and the second and third; or the rhymes may alternate. Notice the
example on page 208, and also the following:–


I ask not wealth, but power to take
And use the things I have aright.
Not years, but wisdom that shall make
My life a profit and delight.

–Phoebe Cary.


I count this thing to be grandly true:
That a noble deed is a step toward God,–
Lifting the soul from the common sod
To a purer air and a broader view.


A quatrain consisting of iambic pentameter verse with alternate rhymes is
called an elegiac stanza.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.


The Tennysonian stanza consists of four iambic tetrameter lines in which
the first line rhymes with the fourth, and the second with the third.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before.


Five and six line stanzas are found in a great variety. The following are


We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.



And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring.
Let them smile as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.



The upper air burst into life;
And a hundred fire flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about;
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.


The Spenserian stanza consists of nine lines: the first eight are iambic
pentameters, and the last line is an iambic hexameter or Alexandrine.
Burns makes use of this stanza in _The Cotter’s Saturday Night._ The
following stanza from that poem shows the plan of the rhymes:–

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent!
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And oh! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury’s contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe’er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much beloved isle.


_A._ Scan the following:–

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.


Into the sunshine,
Full of light,
Leaping and flashing
From morn to night!


_B._ Name each verse in the following stanza:–

Hear the sledges with the bells–
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight–
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells–
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


+117. Kinds of Poetry.+-There are three general classes of poetry:
narrative, lyric, and dramatic.

_A. Narrative poetry_, as may be inferred from its name, relates events
which may be either real or imaginary. Its chief varieties are the epic,
the metrical romance or lesser epic, the tale, and the ballad.

_An epic_ poem is an extended narrative of an elevated character that
deals with heroic exploits which are frequently under supernatural
control. This kind of poetry is characterized by the intricacy of plot, by
the delineation of noble types of character, by its descriptive effects,
by its elevated language, and by its seriousness of tone. The epic is
considered as the highest effort of man’s poetic genius. It is so
difficult to produce an epic that but few literatures contain more than
one. Homer’s _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_, Virgil’s _Aeneid_, the German
_Nibelungenlied_, the Spanish _Cid_, Dante’s _Divine Comedy_, and Milton’s
_Paradise Lost_ are important epics found in different literatures.

A _metrical romance_ or lesser epic is a narrative poem, shorter and less
dignified than the epic. Longfellow’s _Evangeline_ and Scott’s _Marmion_
and _Lady of the Lake_ are examples of this kind of poetry.

_A metrical tale is_ a narrative poem somewhat simpler and shorter than
the metrical romance, but more complex than the ballad. Longfellow’s
_Tales of a Wayside Inn_, Tennyson’s _Enoch Arden_, and Lowell’s _Vision
of Sir Launfal_ are examples of the tale.

_A ballad_ is the shortest and most simple of all narrative poems. It
relates but a single incident and has a very simple structure. In this
kind of poetry the interest centers upon the incident rather than upon any
beauty or elegance of language. Many of the Robin Hood Ballads are well
known. Macaulay’s _Lays of Ancient Rome_ and Longfellow’s _Wreck of the
Hesperus_ are other examples of the ballad. It may be well to note here
that it is not always possible to draw definite lines between two
different kinds of narrative poetry. In fact, there will sometimes be a
difference of opinion as regards the classification.

_B. Lyric poetry_ was the name originally applied to poetry that was to be
sung to the accompaniment of the lyre, but now the name is often applied
to poems that are not intended to be sung at all. Lyric poetry deals
primarily with the feelings and emotions. Love, hate, jealousy, grief,
hope, and praise are emotions that may be expressed in lyric poetry. Its
chief varieties are the song, the ode, the elegy, and the sonnet.

A _song_ is a short poem intended to be sung. Songs may be divided into
sacred and secular. _Jerusalem, the Golden_, and _Lead, Kindly Light_, are
examples of sacred songs. Secular songs may be patriotic, convivial, or

An _ode_ expresses exalted emotion and is more complex in structure than
the song. Some of the best odes in our language are Dryden’s _Ode to St.
Cecilia_, Wordsworth’s _Ode on Intimations of Immortality_, Keats’s _Ode
on a Grecian Urn_, Shelley’s _Ode to a Skylark_, and Lowell’s
_Commemoration Ode_.

An _elegy_ is a lyric pervaded by the feeling of grief or melancholy.
Milton’s _Lycidas_, Tennyson’s _In Memoriam_, and Gray’s _Elegy in a
Country Churchyard_ are all noted elegies.

A _sonnet_ is a lyric poem of fourteen lines which deals with a single
idea or sentiment. It is not a stanza taken from a poem, but is a complete
poem itself. In the Italian sonnet and those modeled after it, the
emotional feeling rises through the first two quatrains, reaching its
climax at or near the end of the eighth line, and then subsides through
the two tercets which make up the remaining six lines. If the sentiment
expressed does not adjust itself to this ebb and flow, it is not suitable
for a sonnet. Milton’s sonnet on his blindness is one of the best. Notice
the emotional transition in the middle of the eighth line. This sonnet
will also illustrate the fixed rhyme scheme:–

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent, which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide;
Doth God exact day labor, light denied?
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need,
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

There is a form of sonnet called the Shakespearean which differs in its
arrangement from the Italian sonnet.

_C. Dramatic poetry_ relates the occurrence of human events, and is
designed to be spoken on the stage. If the drama has an unhappy ending, it
is _a tragedy_. As is becoming in such a theme, the language is dignified
and impressive, and the whole appeals to our deeper emotions. If the drama
has a happy conclusion, it is _a comedy_. Here the movement is quicker,
the language less dignified, and the effort is to make the whole light and


Description, Narration, Exposition, and Argument have been treated in an
elementary way in Part I. A more extensive treatment of each is given in
Part II. It has been deemed undesirable to repeat in Part II many things
which have been previously treated. The treatment of any one of the forms
of discourse as given in Part II is not complete. By reference to the
index all the sections treating of any phase of any one subject may be

[Illustration: See page 224, _C._]


+118. Description Defined.+–By means of our senses we gain a knowledge of
the world. We see, hear, taste, smell, and feel; and the ideas so acquired
are the fundamental elements of our knowledge, without which thinking
would be impossible. It, therefore, happens that much of the language that
we use has for its purpose the transmission to others of such ideas. Such
writing is called description. We may, therefore, define description as
that form of discourse which has for its purpose the formation of an

As here used, the term _image_ applies to any idea presented by the
senses. In a more limited sense it means the mental picture which is
formed by aid of sight. It is for the purpose of presenting images of this
kind that description is most often employed. It is most frequently
concerned with images of objects seen, less frequently with sounds, and
seldom with ideas arising through touch, taste, and smell. In this
chapter, therefore, we shall consider chiefly the methods of using
language for the purpose of arousing images of objects seen.

+119. Order of Observation.+–In description we shall find it of advantage
to use such language that the reader will form the image in the same way
as he would form an image from actual observation. There is a customary
and natural order of observation, and if we present our material in that
same order, the mind more easily forms the desired image. Our first need
in the study of description is to determine what this natural order of
observation is.

Look at the building across the street. Your _first_ impression is that of
size, shape, and color. Almost instantly, but nevertheless _secondly_, you
add certain details as to roof, door, windows, and surroundings. Further
observation adds to the number of details, such as the size of the window
panes or the pattern of the lattice work. Our first glance may assure us
that we see a train, our second will tell us how many cars, our third will
show us that each car is marked Michigan Central. The oftener we look or
the longer we look, the greater is the number of details of which we
become conscious. Any number of illustrations will show that we first see
the general outline, and after that the details. We do not observe the
details one by one and then combine them into an object, but we first see
the object as a whole, and our first impression becomes more vivid as we
add detail after detail.

Following this natural order of observation a description should begin
with a sentence that will give the reader a general impression of the
whole. Notice the beginnings of the following selections. After reading
the italicized sentence in each, consider the image that it has caused you
to form.

The door opened upon the main or living room. _It was a long apartment
with low ceiling and walls of hewn logs chinked and plastered and all
beautifully whitewashed and clean._ The tables, chairs, and benches were
all homemade. On the floor were magnificent skins of wolf, bear, musk ox,
and mountain goat. The walls were decorated with heads and horns of deer
and mountain sheep, eagle’s wings, and a beautiful breast of a loon, which
Gwen had shot and of which she was very proud. At one end of the room a
huge stone fireplace stood radiant in its summer decorations of ferns and
grasses and wildflowers. At the other end a door opened into another room,
smaller, and richly furnished with relics of former grandeur.

–Connor: _The Sky Pilot_.

_The stranger was of middle height, loosely knit and thin, with a cunning,
brutal face._ He had a bullet-shaped head, with fine, soft, reddish brown
hair; a round, stubbly beard shot with gray; and small, beady eyes set
close together. He was clothed in an old, black, grotesquely fitting
cutaway coat, with coarse trousers tucked into his boot tops. A worn
visored cloth cap was on his head. In his right hand he carried an old
muzzle-loading shotgun.

–George Kibbe Turner: _Across the State_ (“McClure’s”).

+120. The Fundamental Image.+–The first impression of the object as a
whole is called the fundamental image. The beginning of a description
should cause the reader to form a correct general outline, which will
include the main characteristics of the object described. While the
fundamental image lacks definiteness and exactness, yet it must be such
that it shall not need to be revised as we add the details. If one should
begin a description by saying, “Opposite the church there is a large
two-story, brick house with a conservatory on the left,” the reader would
form at once a mental picture including the essential features of the
house. Further statements about the roof, the windows, the doors, the
porch, the yard, and the fence, would each add something to the picture
until it was complete. The impression with which the reader started would
be added to, but not otherwise changed. But if we should conclude the
description with the statement, “This house was distinguished from its
neighbors by the fact that it was not of the usual rectangular form, but
was octagonal in shape,” the reader would find that the image which he
had formed would need to be entirely changed. It is evident that if the
word _octagonal_ is to appear at all, it must be at the beginning. Care
must be taken to place all the words that affect the fundamental image in
the sentence that gives the general characteristics of that which we are

Hawthorne begins _The House of the Seven Gables_ as follows:–

Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty
wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various
points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The
street is Pyncheon street; the house is the old Pyncheon house; and an elm
tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every
town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon elm. On my occasional visits
to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon street, for
the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities,–the
great elm tree and the weather-beaten edifice.

Later he gives a detailed description of the house on the morning of its
completion as follows:–

Maule’s lane, or Pyncheon street, as it were now more decorous to call it,
was thronged, at the appointed hour, as with a congregation on its way to
church. All, as they approached, looked upward at the imposing edifice,
which was henceforth to assume its rank among the habitations of mankind.
There it rose, a little withdrawn from the line of the street, but in
pride, not modesty. Its whole visible exterior was ornamented with quaint
figures, conceived in the grotesqueness of a Gothic fancy, and drawn or
stamped in the glittering plaster, composed of lime, pebbles, and bits of
glass, with which the woodwork of the walls was overspread. On every side
the seven gables pointed sharply towards the sky, and presented the aspect
of a whole sisterhood of edifices, breathing through the spiracles of one
great chimney. The many lattices, with their small, diamond-shaped panes,
admitted the sunlight into hall and chamber, while, nevertheless, the
second story, projecting far over the base, and itself retiring beneath
the third, threw a shadowy and thoughtful gloom into the lower rooms.
Carved globes of wood were affixed under the jutting stories. Little
spiral rods of iron beautified each of the seven peaks. On the triangular
portion of the gable, that fronted next the street, was a dial, put up
that very morning, and on which the sun was still marking the passage of
the first bright hour in a history that was not destined to be all so
bright. All around were scattered shavings, chips, shingles, and broken
halves of bricks; these, together with the lately turned earth, on which
the grass had not begun to grow, contributed to the impression of
strangeness and novelty proper to a house that had yet its place to make
among men’s daily interests.


_A._ Select the sentence or part of a sentence which gives the fundamental
image in each of the following selections:–

1. It was a big, smooth-stone-faced house, product of the ‘Seventies,
frowning under an outrageously insistent Mansard, capped by a cupola, and
staring out of long windows overtopped with “ornamental” slabs. Two
cast-iron deer, painted death-gray, twins of the same mold, stood on
opposite sides of the front walk, their backs toward it and each other,
their bodies in profile to the street, their necks bent, however, so that
they gazed upon the passer-by–yet gazed without emotion. Two large, calm
dogs guarded the top of the steps leading to the front door; they also
were twins and of the same interesting metal, though honored beyond the
deer by coats of black paint and shellac.

–Booth Tarkington: _The Conquest of Canaan_ (“Harper’s”).

2. At the first glance, Phoebe saw an elderly personage, in an
old-fashioned dressing gown of faded damask, and wearing his gray or
almost white hair of an unusual length. It quite overshadowed his
forehead, except when he thrust it back, and stared vaguely about the
room. After a very brief inspection of his face, it was easy to conceive
that his footstep must necessarily be such an one as that which, slowly,
and with as indefinite an aim as a child’s first journey across a floor,
had just brought him hitherward. Yet there were no tokens that his
physical strength might not have sufficed for a free and determined gait.
It was the spirit of a man that could not walk. The expression of his
countenance–while, notwithstanding, it had the light of reason in it–
seemed to waver, and glimmer, and nearly to die away, and feebly to
recover itself again. It was like a flame which we see twinkling among
half-extinguished embers; we gaze at it more intently than if it were a
positive blaze, gushing vividly upward–more intently, but with a certain
impatience, as if it ought either to kindle itself into satisfactory
splendor, or be at once extinguished.

–Hawthorne: _The House of the Seven Gables_.

3. One of the best known of the flycatchers all over the country is the
kingbird. He is a little smaller than a robin, and all in brownish black,
with white breast. He has also white tips to his tail feathers, which look
very fine when he spreads it out wide in flying. Among the head feathers
of the kingbird is a small spot of orange color. This is called in the
books a “concealed patch,” because it is seldom seen, it is so hidden by
the dark feathers.

–Mary Rogers Miller: _The Brook Book_.
(Copyright, 1902, by Doubleday, Page and Co.)

Notice the use of a comparison in establishing a correct fundamental image
in example 3.

_B._ Select five buildings with which the members of the class are
familiar. Write a single sentence for each, giving the fundamental image.
Read these sentences to the class. Let them determine for which building
each is written.

_C._ Notice the pictures on page 218. Write a single sentence for each,
giving the fundamental image.

+Theme LII.+–_Write a paragraph, describing something with which you are

Suggested subjects:–
1. The county court house.
2. The new church.
3. My neighbor’s house.
4. Where we go fishing.
5. A neighboring lake.
6. A cozy nook.

(Underscore the sentence that gives the fundamental image. Will the
reader get from it at once a correct general outline of the object to
be described? Will he need to change the fundamental image as your
description proceeds?)

+121. Point of View.+–What we shall see first depends upon the point of
view. Seen from one position, an object or a landscape will present a
different appearance from that which it will present when viewed from
another position. A careful writer will give that fundamental image that
would come from actual observation if the reader were looking at the scene
described from the point of view chosen by the writer. He will not include
details that cannot be seen from that position even though he knows that
they exist.

Notice that the following descriptions include only that which can be seen
from the place indicated in the italicized phrases:–

_Forward from the bridge_ he beheld a landscape of wide valleys and
irregular heights, with groves and lakes and fanciful houses linked
together by white paths and shining streams. The valleys were spread
below, that the river might be poured upon them for refreshment in day of
drought, and they were as green carpets figured with beds and fields of
flowers and flecked with flocks of sheep white as balls of snow; and the
voices of shepherds following the flocks were heard afar. As if to tell
him of the pious inscription of all he beheld, the altars out under the
open sky seemed countless, each with a white-gowned figure attending it,
while processions in white went slowly hither and thither between them;
and the smoke of the altars half risen hung collected in pale clouds over
the devoted places.

Wallace: _Ben-Hur_.
(Copyright, 1880. Harper and Bros.)

The house stood unusually near the river, facing eastward, and standing
four-square, with an immense veranda about its sides, and a flight of
steps in front, spreading broadly downward, as we open our arms to a
child. _From the veranda_ nine miles of river were seen; and in their
compass near at hand, the shady garden full of rare and beautiful flowers;
farther away broad fields of cane and rice, and the distant quarters of
the slaves, and on the horizon everywhere a dark belt of cypress forest.

–Cable: _Old Creole Days_.

+122. Selection of Details Affected by Point of View.+–A skillful writer
will not ask his reader to perform impossible feats. We cannot see the
leaves upon a tree a mile away, and so should not describe them. The finer
effects and more minute details should be included only when our chosen
point of view brings us near enough to appreciate them. In the selection
below, Stevenson tells only as much about Swanston cottage as can be seen
at a distance of six miles.

So saying she carried me around the battlements _towards the opposite or
southern side of the fortress and indeed to a bastion_ almost immediately
overlooking the place of our projected flight. Thence we had a view of
some foreshortened suburbs at our feet, and beyond of a green, open, and
irregular country rising towards the Pentland Hills. The face of one of
these summits (say two leagues from where we stood) is marked with a
procession of white scars. And to this she directed my attention.

“You see those marks?” she said. “We call them the Seven Sisters. Follow a
little lower with your eye, and you will see a fold of the hill, the tops
of some trees, and a tail of smoke out of the midst of them. That is
Swanston cottage, where my brother and I are living.”

–Stevenson: _St. Ives_.
(Copyright, 1897. Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

Notice in the selection below that for objects _near at hand_ details so
small as the lizard’s eye are given, but that these details are not given,
when we are asked to observe things far away.

Slow though their march had been, by this time _they had come to the end
of the avenue, and were in the wide circular sweep before the castle._
They stopped here and stood looking off over the garden, with its somber
cypresses and bright beds of geranium, down upon the valley, dim and
luminous in a mist of gold. Great, heavy, fantastic-shaped clouds,
pearl-white with pearl-gray shadows, piled themselves up against the
scintillant dark blue of the sky. In and out among the rose trees _near at
hand_, where the sun was hottest, heavily flew, with a loud bourdonnement,
the cockchafers promised by Annunziata,–big, blundering, clumsy, the
scorn of their light-winged and businesslike competitors, the bees.
Lizards lay immobile as lizards cast in bronze, only their little
glittering, watchful pin heads of eyes giving sign of life. And of course
the blackcaps never for a moment left off singing.

–Henry Habland: _My Friend Prospero_ (“McClure’s”).

_We round a corner of the valley, and beyond, far below us, looms the town
of Sorata. From this distance_ the red tile roofs, the soft blue, green,
and yellow of its stuccoed walls, look indescribably fresh and grateful. A
closer inspection will probably dissipate this impression; it will be
squalid and dirty, the river-stone paving of its street will be deep in
the accumulation of filth, dirty Indian children will swarm in them with
mangy dogs and bedraggled ducks, the gay frescoes of its walls will peel
in ragged patches, revealing the ‘dobe of their base, and the tile roofs
will be cracked and broken. But from the heights at this distance and in
the warm glow of the afternoon sun it looks like a dainty fairy village
glistening in a magic splendor against the Titanic setting of the Andes.

–Charles Johnson Post: _Across the Highlands of the World_

Come on, sir; here’s the place. Stand still. How fearful
And dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles. Halfway down
Hangs one that gathers sampire, dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk upon the beach
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark
Diminish’d to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge
That on the unnumber’d idle pebble chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I’ll look no more,
Lest my brain turn and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.

–Shakespear: _King Lear_

+123. Implied Point of View.+–Often the point of view is not specifically
stated, but the language of the description shows where the observer is
located. Often such an implied point of view gives a delicate touch to a
description that could not be obtained by direct statements.

In which of the following selections is the point of view merely implied?

1. Thus pondering and dreaming, he came by the road down a gentle hill
with close woods on either hand; and so into the valley with a swift river
flowing through it; and on the river a mill. So white it stood among the
trees, and so merrily whirred the wheel as the water turned it, and so
bright blossomed the flowers in the garden, that Martimor had joy of the
sight, for it reminded him of his own country.

–Henry Van Dyke: _The Blue Flower_. (Copyright, 1902. Charles Scribner’s

2. There is an island off a certain part of the coast of Maine,–a little
rocky island, heaped and tumbled together as if Dame Nature had shaken
down a heap of stones at random from her apron, when she had finished
making the larger islands, which lie between it and the mainland. At one
end, the shoreward end, there is a tiny cove, and a bit of silver sand
beach, with a green meadow beyond it, and a single great pine; but all the
rest is rocks, rocks. At the farther end the rocks are piled high, like a
castle wall, making a brave barrier against the Atlantic waves; and on top
of this cairn rises the lighthouse, rugged and sturdy as the rocks
themselves; but painted white, and with its windows shining like great,
smooth diamonds. This is Light Island.

–Laura E. Richards: _Captain January_.

+124. Changing Point of View.+–We cannot see the four sides of a house
from the same place, though we may wish to have our reader know how each
side looks. It is, therefore, necessary to change our point of view. It is
immaterial whether the successive points of view are named or merely
implied, providing the reader has due notice that we have changed from one
to the other, and that for each we describe only what can be seen from
that position. A description of a cottage that by its wording leads us to
think ourselves inside of the building and then tells about the yard would
be defective.

Notice the changing point of view in the following:–

At long distance, looking over the blue waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence
in clear weather, you might think that you saw a lonely sea gull,
snow-white, perching motionless on a cobble of gray rock. Then, as your
boat drifted in, following the languid tide and the soft southern breeze,
you would perceive that the cobble of rock was a rugged hill with a few
bushes and stunted trees growing in the crevices, and that the gleaming
speck near the summit must be some kind of a building,–if you were on the
coast of Italy or Spain you would say a villa or a farmhouse. Then as you
floated still farther north and drew nearer to the coast, the desolate
hill would detach itself from the mainland and become a little mountain
isle, with a flock of smaller islets clustering around it as a brood of
wild ducks keep close to their mother, and with deep water, nearly two
miles wide, flowing between it and the shore; while the shining speck on
the seaward side stood clearly as a low, whitewashed dwelling with a
sturdy, round tower at one end, crowned with a big eight-sided lantern–a
solitary lighthouse.

–Henry Van Dyke: _The Keeper of the Light_.
(Copyright, 1905. Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

+125. Place of Point of View in Paragraph.+–The point of view may be
expressed or only implied or wholly omitted, but in any case the reader
must assume one in order to form a clear and accurate image. Beginners
will find that they can best cause their readers to form the desired
images by stating a point of view. When the point of view is stated it
must of necessity come early in the paragraph. We have already learned
that the beginning of a description should present the fundamental image.
For this reason the first sentence of a description frequently includes
both the point of view and the fundamental image.


_A._ Consider the following selections with reference to–
(_a_) The point of view.
(_b_) The fundamental image.
(_c_) The completeness of the images which you have formed (see
Sections 26, 27).

1. The Lunardi [balloon], mounting through a stagnant calm in a line
almost vertical, had pierced the morning mists, and now swam emancipated
in a heaven of exquisite blue. Below us by some trick of eyesight, the
country had grown concave, its horizon curving up like the rim of a
shallow bowl–a bowl heaped, in point of fact, with sea fog, but to our
eyes with a froth delicate and dazzling as a whipped syllabub of snow.
Upon it the traveling shadow of the balloon became no shadow, but a stain;
an amethyst (you might call it) purged of all grosser properties than
color and lucency. At times thrilled by no perceptible wind, rather by the
pulse of the sun’s rays, the froth shook and parted; and then behold, deep
in the crevasses vignetted and shining, an acre or two of the earth of
man’s business and fret–tilled slopes of the Lothians, ships dotted on
the Firth, the capital like a hive that some child had smoked–the ear of
fancy could almost hear it buzzing.

–Stevenson: _St. Ives_.
(Copyright, 1897. Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

2. When Aswald and Corinne had gained the top of the Capitol, she showed
him the Seven Hills and the city, bound first by Mount Palatinus, then by
the walls of Servius Tullius, which inclose the hills, and by those of
Aurelian, which still surround the greatest part of Rome. Mount Palatinus
once contained all Rome, but soon did the imperial palace fill the space
that had sufficed for a nation. The Seven Hills are far less lofty now
than when they deserted the title of steep mountains, modern Rome being
forty feet higher than its predecessor, and the valleys which separated
them almost filled up by ruins; but what is still more strange, two heaps
of shattered vases have formed new hills, Cestario and Testacio. Thus, in
time, the very refuse of civilization levels the rock with the plain,
effacing in the moral, as in the material world, all the pleasing
inequalities of nature.

–Madame De Sta√´l: _Corinne: Italy_.

_B._–Select five descriptions from the following books and note whether
each has a point of view expressed or implied:–

Cooper: Last of the Mohicans.
Scott: Ivanhoe.
Scott: Lady of the Lake.
Irving: Sketch Book.
Burroughs: Wake Robin.
Van Dyke: The Blue Flower.
Howells: The Rise of Silas Lapham.
Muir: Our National Parks.
Kate Douglas Wiggin: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

+Theme LIII.+–_Write a descriptive paragraph beginning with a point of
view and a fundamental image._

Suggested subjects:–
1. The crossroads inn.
2. A historical building.
3. The shoe factory.
4. The gristmill.
5. The largest store in town.
6. The union station.

(In your description underscore the sentence giving the point of view. Can
you improve the description by using a different point of view? Will the
reader form at once a correct general outline? Will the entire description
enable the reader to form a clear and accurate image?)

+126. Clear Seeing.+-Clear statement depends upon clear seeing. Not only
must we choose an advantageous point of view, but we must be able to
reproduce what can be seen from that location. We may write a description
while we are looking at the object, but it is frequently convenient to do
the writing when the object is not visible. Oral descriptions are nearly
always made without having the object at hand. When we attempt to describe
we examine not the object itself, but our mental image of it. It is
evident that at least the essential features of this mental picture must
stand out clearly and definitely, or we shall be unable to make our
description accurate.

The habit of accurate observation is a desirable acquisition, and our
ability in this direction can be improved by effort. It is not the
province of this book to provide a series of exercises which shall
strengthen habits of accurate observation. Many of your studies,
particularly the sciences, devote much attention to training the observing
powers, and will furnish many suitable exercises. A few have been
suggested below merely to emphasize the point that every successful effort
in description must be preceded by a definite exercise in clear seeing.


1. Walk rapidly past a building. Form a mental picture of it. Write down
as many of the details as you can. Now look at the building again and
determine what you have left out.

2. Call to mind some building with which you are familiar. Write a list of
the details that you recall. Now visit the building and see what important
ones you have omitted.

3. While looking at some scene make a note of the important details. Lay
this list away for a day. Then recall the scene. After picturing the scene
as vividly as you can, read your notes. Do they add anything to your

4. Make a list of the things on some desk that you cannot see but with
which you are familiar; for example, the teacher’s desk. At the first
opportunity notice how accurate your list is.

5. Look for some time at the stained glass windows of a church or at the
wall paper of the room. What patterns do you notice that you did not see
at first? What colors?

6. Make a list of the objects visible from your bedroom window. When you
go home notice what you have omitted.

7. Practice observation contests similar to the following: Let two or more
persons pass a store window. Each shall then make a list of what the
window contains. Compare lists with one another.

+Theme LIV.+–_Write a description of some dwelling._

(Select a house that you can see on the way home. Choose a point of view
and notice carefully what can be seen from it. When you are ready to
write, form as vivid a mental picture of the house as you can. Write the
sentence that gives the fundamental image. Add such of the details as will
enable the reader to form an accurate image.)

+127. Selection of Essential Details.+–After deciding upon a point of
view and such general characteristics as are essential to the forming of a
correct outline of the object to be described, we must next give our
attention to the selection of the details. If our description has been
properly begun, this general outline will not be changed, but each
succeeding phrase or sentence will add to the clearness and distinctness
of the picture. Our first impression of a house may include windows, but
the mention of them later will bring them out clearly on our mental
picture much as the details appear when one is developing a negative in

If the peculiarities of an object are such as to effect its general form,
they need to be stated in the opening sentence; but when the peculiar or
distinguishing characteristic does not affect the form, it may be
introduced later. If we say, “On the corner across the street from the
post office there is a large, two-story, red brick store,” the reader can
form at once a general picture of such a store. Only those things which
give a general outline have been included. As yet nothing has been
mentioned to distinguish the store from any other similar one. If some
following sentence should be, “Though not wider, it yet presents a more
imposing appearance than its neighbors, because the door is placed at one
side, thus making room for a single wide display window instead of two
stuffy, narrow ones,” a detail has been added which, though not changing
the general outline, makes the picture clearer and at the same time
emphasizes the distinguishing feature of this particular store.


1. Observe your neighbor’s barn. What would you select as its
characteristic feature?

2. Take a rapid glance at some stranger whom you meet. What did you notice
most vividly?

3. In what respect does the Methodist church in your city differ from the
other church buildings?

4. Does your pet dog differ from others of the same breed in appearance?
In actions?

+Theme LV.+–_Write a descriptive paragraph, using one of the following

1. A mountain view.
2. An omnibus.
3. A fort.
4. A lighthouse.
5. A Dutch windmill.
6. A bend in the river.
7. A peculiar structure.
8. The picture on this page.

(Underscore the sentence that pictures the details most essential to the
description. Consider the unity of your paragraph. Section 81.)


+128. Selection and Subordination of Minor Details.+–In many descriptions
the minor details are wholly omitted, and in all descriptions many that
might have been included have been omitted. A proper number of such
details adds interest and clearness to the images; too many but serve to
render the whole obscure. If properly selected and effectively presented,
minor details add much to the beauty or usefulness of a description, but
if strung together in short sentences, the effect may be both tiresome and
confusing. A mere catalogue of facts is not a good description. They must
be arranged so that those which are the more important shall have the
greater prominence, while those of less importance shall be properly

Often minor details may be stated in a word or phrase inserted in the
sentence which gives the general view. Notice the italicized portion of
the following: “Opposite the church, _and partly screened by the scraggly
evergreens of a broad, unkempt lawn_, there is a large, octagonal, brick
house, with a conservatory on the left.” This arrangement adds to the
general view and gives a better result than would be obtained by
describing the lawn in a separate sentence. Often a single adjective adds
some element to a description more effectively than can be done with a
whole sentence. Notice how much is added by the use of _scraggly_ and


Make a careful study of the following selections with reference to the way
in which the minor details are presented. Can any of them be improved by
re-arranging them?

1. At night, as I look from my windows over Kassim Pasha, I never tire of
that dull, soft coloring, green and brown, in which the brown of roofs and
walls is hardly more than a shading of the green of the trees. There is
the lonely curve of the hollow, with its small, square, flat houses of
wood; and above, a sharp line of blue-black cypresses on the spine of the
hill; then the long desert plain, with its sandy road, shutting in the
horizon. Mists thicken over the valley, and wipe out its colors before the
lights begin to glimmer out of it. Below, under my windows, are the
cypresses of the Little Field of the Dead, vast, motionless, different
every night. Last night each stood clear, tall, apart; to-night they
huddle together in the mist, and seem to shudder. The sunset was brief,
and the water has grown dull, like slate. Stamboul fades to a level mass
of smoky purple, out of which a few minarets rise black against a gray sky
with bands of orange fire. Last night, after a golden sunset, a fog of
rusty iron came down, and hung poised over the jagged level of the hill.
The whole mass of Stamboul was like black smoke; the water dim gray, a
little flushed, and then like pure light, lucid, transparent, every ship
and every boat sharply outlined in black on its surface; the boats seemed
to crawl like flies on a lighted pane.

–Arthur Symons: _Constantinople: An Impression_ (“Harper’s”).

2. The boy was advancing up the road, carrying a half-filled pail of milk.
He was a child of perhaps ten years, exceedingly frail and thin, with a
drawn, waxen face, and sick, colorless lips and ears. On his head he wore
a thick plush cap, and coarse, heavy shoes upon his feet. A faded coat,
too long in the arms, drooped from his shoulders, and long, loose overalls
of gray jeans broke and wrinkled about his slender ankles.

–George Kibbe Turner: _Across the State_ (“McClure’s”).

3. They met few people abroad, even on passing from the retired
neighborhood of the House of the Seven Gables into what was ordinarily the
more thronged and busier portion of the town. Glistening sidewalks, with
little pools of rain, here and there, along their unequal surface;
umbrellas displayed ostentatiously in the shop windows, as if the life of
trade had concentered itself in that one article; wet leaves of the
horse-chestnut or elm trees, torn off untimely by the blast, and scattered
along the public way; an unsightly accumulation of mud in the middle of
the street, which perversely grew the more unclean for its long and
laborious washing;–these were the more definable points of a very somber
picture. In the way of movement, and human life, there was the hasty
rattle of a cab or coach, its driver protected by a water-proof cap over
his head and shoulders; the forlorn figure of an old man, who seemed to
have crept out of some subterranean sewer, and was stooping along the
kennel, and poking the wet rubbish with a stick, in quest of rusty nails;
a merchant or two, at the door of the post office, together with an
editor, and a miscellaneous politician, awaiting a dilatory mail; a few
visages of retired sea captains at the window of an insurance office,
looking out vacantly at the vacant street, blaspheming at the weather, and
fretting at the dearth as well of public news as local gossip. What a
treasure trove to these venerable quidnuncs, could they have guessed the
secret which Hepzibah and Clifford were carrying along with them!

–Hawthorne: _The House of the Seven Gables_.

+Theme LVI.+–_Write a description of one of the following:_–

1. A steamboat.
2. An orchard.
3. A colonial mansion.
4. A wharf.
5. A stone quarry.
6. A shop.

(Consider what you have written with reference to the point of view,
fundamental image, and essential details. After these have been arranged
to suit you, notice the way in which the minor details have been
introduced. Have you given undue prominence to any? Can a single adjective
or phrase be substituted for a whole sentence? Think of the image which
your words will produce in the mind of the reader. Consider your theme
with reference to unity. Section 81.)

+129. Arrangement of Details.+–The quality of a description depends as
much upon the arrangement of the material as upon the selection. Under
paragraph development we have discussed the necessity of arranging the
details with reference to their natural position in space (see Sections 47
and 86). Such an arrangement is the most desirable one and should be
departed from only with good reason. Such departures may, however, be
made, as shown in the following selection:–

A pretty picture the lad made as he lay there dreaming over his earthly
possessions–a pretty picture in the shade of the great elm, that sultry
morning of August, three quarters of a century ago. The presence of the
crutch showed there was something sad about it; and so there was; for if
you had glanced at the little bare brown foot, set toes upward on the
curbstone, you would have discovered that the fellow to it was missing–
cut off about two inches above the ankle. And if this had caused you to
throw a look of sympathy at his face, something yet sadder must long
have held your attention. Set jauntily on the back of his head was a
weather-beaten dark blue cloth cap, the patent leather frontlet of which
was gone; and beneath the ragged edge of this there fell down over his
forehead and temples and ears a tangled mass of soft yellow hair, slightly
curling. His eyes were large and of a blue to match the depths of a calm
sky above the treetops: the long lashes which curtained them were brown;
his lips were red, his nose delicate and fine, and his cheek tanned to the
color of ripe peaches. It was a singularly winning face, intelligent,
frank, not describable. On it now rested a smile, half joyous, half sad,
as though his mind was full of bright hopes, the realization of which was
far away. From the neck fell the wide collar of a white cotton shirt,
clean but frayed at the elbows, and open and buttonless down to his bosom.
Over this he wore an old-fashioned satin waistcoat of a man, also frayed
and buttonless. His dress was completed by a pair of baggy tow breeches,
held up by a single tow suspender fastened to big brown horn buttons.

–James Lane Allen: _Flute and Violin_.
(Copyright, 1892, Harper and Brothers.)

The details are not stated with reference to their natural position in
space, but they are given in the probable order of observation. If we were
to look upon such a boy, the crutch would attract our attention and would
lead us to look at once for the reason why a crutch was needed. The writer
skillfully uses the sympathy thus aroused as a means of transition to the
face. In the remainder of the description the natural position in space is
closely followed.

+Theme LVII.+-_Write a description of one of the following:_–

1. The bayou.
2. Looking down the mountain.
3. Looking up the mountain.
4. The floorwalker.
5. An old-fashioned rig.
6. A house said to be haunted.
7. The deacon.

(Consider the arrangement of details with reference to their position in
space. Consider your paragraphs with reference to coherence and emphasis.
Sections 82 and 83.)

+130. Effectiveness in Description.+–Every part of a description should
aid in rendering it effective, and this effectiveness is as much
the purpose of the principles previously discussed as it is of those
which follow. This paragraph is inserted here to separate more or less
definitely those things which can be done under direction from those which
cannot be determined by rule. Up to this point emphasis has been laid upon
the clear presentation of a mental image as the object of description.
But the clear presentation of mental images is not all there is to
description. A point of view, a fundamental image, a judicious selection
of essential and minor details and the relating of them with reference to
their natural position in space, may set forth an image clearly and yet
fail to be satisfactory as a description.

For the practical affairs of life it may be sufficient to limit ourselves
to clear images set forth barely and sparely, but there is a pleasure
and a profit in using the subtler arts of language, in placing a word
here or a phrase there that shall give a touch of beauty or a flash of
suggestiveness and so save our descriptions from the commonplace. It is to
these less easily demonstrated methods of giving strength and beauty that
we wish now to turn our attention.

+131. Word Selection.+–The effectiveness of our description will depend
largely upon our right choice of words. If our range of vocabulary is
limited, the possibility of effective description is correspondingly
limited. Only when our working vocabulary contains many words may we hope
to choose with ease the one most suitable for the effective expression of
the idea we wish to convey. To prepare a list of words that may apply and
then attempt to write a theme that shall make use of them is a mechanical
process of little value. The idea we wish to express should call up the
word that exactly expresses it. If our ideas are not clear or our
vocabulary is limited, we may be satisfied with the trite and commonplace;
but if our experience has been broad or our reading extended, we may have
at command the word which, because it is just the right one, gives
individuality and force to our phrasing. Every one is familiar with dogs,
and has in his vocabulary many words which he applies to them, but a
reading of one or two good dog stories, such as _Bob, Son of Battle_, or
_The Call of the Wild_, will show how wide is the range of such words and
how much the description is enhanced by their careful use.


Consider the following selections with reference to the choice of words
which add to the effectiveness of the descriptions:–

1. She was a little, brown, thin, almost skinny woman with big, rolling,
violet-blue eyes and the sweetest manners in the world.

2. The sounds and the straits and the sea with its plump, sleepy islands
lay north and east and south.

3. The mists of the Cuchullins are not fat, dull, and still, like lowland
and inland mists, but haggard, and streaming from the black peaks, and
full of gusty lines. We saw them first from the top of Beimna-Caillach, a
red, round-headed mountain hard by Bradford, in the isle of Skye.

Shortly after noon the rain came up from the sea and drew long delicate
gray lines against the cliffs. It came up licking and lisping over the
surface of Cornisk, and drove us to the lee of rocks and the shelter of
our ponchos, to watch the mists drifting, to listen to the swell and lull
of the wind and the patter of the cold rain. There were glimpses now and
then of the inner Cuchullins, a fragment of ragged sky line, the sudden
jab of a black pinnacle through the mist, the open mouth of a gorge
steaming with mist.

We climbed the great ridge, at length, of rock and wet heath that
separates Cornisk from Glen Sligachan, slowly through the fitful rain and
driving cloud, and saw Sgurr-nan-Gillian, sharp, black, and pitiless, the
northernmost peak and sentinel of the Cuchullins. The yellow trail could
be seen twisting along the flat, empty glen. Seven miles away was a white
spot, the Sligachan Hotel.

I think it must be the dreariest glen in Scotland. The trail twists in a
futile manner, and, after all, is mainly bog holes and rolling rocks. The
Red Hills are on the right, rusty, reddish, of the color of dried blood,
and gashed with sliding bowlders. Their heads seem beaten down, a Helot
population, and the Cuchullins stand back like an army of iron conquerors.
The Red Hills will be a vanished race one day, and the Cuchullins remain.

Arthur Colton: _The Mists o’ Skye_ (“Harper’s”).

+132. Additional Aids to Effectiveness.+–Comparison and figures of speech
not only aid in making our picture clear and vivid, but they may add
a spice and flavor to our language, which counts for much in the
effectiveness and beauty of our description. Notice the following

He was a mongoose, rather like a little cat in his fur and his tail, but
quite like a weasel in his head and his habits. His eyes and the end of
his restless nose were pink; he could scratch himself anywhere he pleased,
with any leg, front or back, that he chose to use; he could fluff up his
tail till it looked like a bottle brush, and his war cry as he scuttled
through the long grass was Rikk-tikk-tikki-tikki-tikk.

–Kipling: _Jungle Book_.

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with short
stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of his saddle;
his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers’ legs; he carried his whip
perpendicularly in his hand, like a scepter, and, as his horse jogged on,
the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A
small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of
forehead might be called; and the skirts of his black coat fluttered out
almost to the horse’s tail. Such was the appearance of Ichabod and his
steed, as they shambled out of the gate of Hans Van Ripper, and it was
altogether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with in broad

–Irving: _Legend of Sleepy Hollow_.

+Theme LVIII.+–_Write a description of one of the following:_–

1. My cat.
2. The pony at the farm.
3. The glen.
4. The prairie.
5. The milldam.
6. The motorman.
7. The picture on this page.


(Consider the effectiveness of your description. Can you improve your
choice of words? Have you used comparisons or figures, and if so, do they
improve your description? Consider your theme with reference to euphony.
Section 16.)

+133. Classes of Objects Frequently Described.+–There is no limit to the
things that we may wish to describe, but there are certain general classes
of objects that are described more frequently than others. We have greater
occasion to describe men or places than we have to describe pictures or
trees. A person may be an accurate observer having a large vocabulary
applicable to one class of objects, and thus be able to describe objects
of that class clearly and effectively; though at the same time, on account
of limited experience and small vocabulary, he cannot well describe
objects belonging to some other class. The ability to observe accurately
the classes of objects named below, and to appreciate descriptions of such
objects when made by others, is a desirable acquisition. Every effort
should be made to master as many as possible of the words applicable to
each class of objects. A slight investigation will show how great is the
number of such words with which we are unfamiliar.

1. _Descriptions of buildings or portions of buildings._

In most buildings the basement story is heaviest, and each succeeding
story increases in lightness; in the Ducal palace this is reversed, making
it unique amongst buildings. The outer walls rest upon the pillars of open
colonnades, which have a more stumpy appearance than was intended, owing
to the raising of the pavement in the piazza. They had, however, no base,
but were supported by a continuous stylobate. The chief decorations of the
palace were employed upon the capitals of these thirty-six pillars, and it
was felt that the peculiar prominence and importance given to its angles
rendered it necessary that they should be enriched and softened by
sculpture, which is interesting and often most beautiful. The throned
figure of Venice above bears a scroll inscribed: _Fortis, justa, trono
furias, mare sub pede, pono_. (Strong and just, I put the furies beneath
my throne, and the sea beneath my foot.) One of the corners of the palace
joined the irregular buildings connected with St. Mark’s, and is not
generally seen. There remained, therefore, only three angles to be
decorated. The first main sculpture may be called the “Fig-tree angle,”
and its subject is the “Fall of Man.” The second is “the Vine angle,” and
represents the “Drunkenness of Noah.” The third sculpture is “the Judgment
angle,” and portrays the “Judgment of Solomon.”

–Hare: _Venice_.

+Theme LIX.+–_Write a description of the exterior of some building._

+Theme LX.+–_Write a description of some room._

+Theme LXI.+–_Write a description of some portion of a building, such as
an entrance, spire, window, or stairway._

(Consider each description with reference to–
_a._ Point of view.
_b._ Fundamental image.
_c._ Selection of essential details.
_d._ Selection and subordination of minor details.
_e._ Arrangement of details with reference to their natural positions in
_f._ Effective choice of words and comparisons.)

2. _Natural features: valleys, rivers, mountains, etc._

Beyond the great prairies and in the shadow of the Rockies lie
the Foothills. For nine hundred miles the prairies spread themselves
out in vast level reaches, and then begin to climb over softly
rounded mounds that ever grow higher and sharper, till here and
there, they break into jagged points and at last rest upon the great
bases of the mighty mountains. These rounded hills that join the
prairies to the mountains form the Foothill Country. They extend
for about a hundred miles only, but no other hundred miles of the
great West are so full of interest and romance. The natural features
of the country combine the beauties of prairie and of mountain
scenery. There are valleys so wide that the farther side melts into
the horizon, and uplands so vast as to suggest the unbroken prairie.
Nearer the mountains the valleys dip deep and ever deeper till they
narrow into canyons through which mountain torrents pour their
blue-gray waters from glaciers that lie glistening between the white
peaks far away.

–Connor: _The Sky Pilot_.

Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm;
And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands;
Beyond, red roofs about a narrow wharf
In cluster; then a molder’d church; and higher
A long street climbs to one tall tower’d mill;
And high in heaven behind it a gray down
With Danish barrows, and a hazelwood,
By autumn nutters haunted, flourishes
Green in a cuplike hollow of the down.

–Tennyson: _Enoch Arden_.

+Theme LXII.+–_Write a description of some valley, mountain, field,
woods, or prairie._

+Theme LXIII.+–_Write a description of some stream, pond, lake, dam, or

(Consider especially your choice of words.)

3. _Sounds or the use of sounds._

And the noise of Niagara? Alarming things have been said about it, but
they are not true. It is a great and mighty noise, but it is not, as
Hennepin thought, an “outrageous noise.” It is not a roar. It does not
drown the voice or stun the ear. Even at the actual foot of the falls it
is not oppressive. It is much less rough than the sound of heavy surf–
steadier, more homogeneous, less metallic, very deep and strong, yet
mellow and soft; soft, I mean, in its quality. As to the noise of the
rapids, there is none more musical. It is neither rumbling nor sharp. It
is clear, plangent, silvery. It is so like the voice of a steep brook–
much magnified, but not made coarser or more harsh–that, after we have
known it, each liquid call from a forest hillside will seem, like the odor
of grapevines, a greeting from Niagara. It is an inspiriting, an
exhilarating sound, like freshness, coolness, vitality itself made
audible. And yet it is a lulling sound. When we have looked out upon the
American rapids for many days, it is hard to remember contented life amid
motionless surroundings; and so, when we have slept beside them for many
nights, it is hard to think of happy sleep in an empty silence.

–Mrs. Van Rensselaer: _Niagara_ (“Century”).

Yell’d on the view the opening pack;
Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
The awaken’d mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bay’d deep and strong,
Clatter’d a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rung out,
A hundred voices join’d the shout;
With hark, and whoop, and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich’s echoes knew.
Far from the tumult fled the roe,
Close in her covert cower’d the doe;
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Return’d from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.

–SCOTT: _Lady of the Lake_.

+Theme LXIV.+–_Describe some sound or combination of sounds, or write a
description introducing sounds._

Suggested subjects:–
1. Alone in the house.
2. In the woods at night.
3. Beside the brook.
4. In the factory.
5. A day at the beach.
6. Before the Fourth.
7. On the seashore.

(Notice especially the words that indicate sound.)

4. _Color or the use of color._

A gray day! soft gray sky, like the breast of a dove; sheeny gray sea with
gleams of steel running across; trailing skirts of mist shutting off the
mainland, leaving Light Island alone with the ocean; the white tower
gleaming spectral among the folding mists; the dark pine tree pointing a
somber finger to heaven; the wet, black rocks, from which the tide had
gone down, huddling together in fantastic groups as if to hide their

–Laura E. Richards: _Captain January_.

The large branch of the Po we crossed came down from the mountains which
we were approaching. As we reached the post road again they were glowing
in the last rays of the sun, and the evening vapors that settled over the
plain concealed the distant Alps, although the snowy top of the Jungfrau
and her companions the Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn rose above it like the
hills of another world. A castle or church of brilliant white marble
glittered on the summit of one of the mountains near us, and, as the sun
went down without a cloud, the distant summits changed in hue to a glowing
purple, mounting almost to crimson, which afterwards darkened into a deep
violet. The western half of the sky was of a pale orange and the eastern a
dark red, which blended together in the blue of the zenith, that deepened
as twilight came on.

–Taylor: _Views Afoot_.

+Theme LXV.+–_Write a description in which the color element enters

5. _Animals, birds, fishes, etc._

The Tailless Tyke had now grown into an immense dog, heavy of muscle and
huge of bone. A great bull head; undershot jaw, square and lengthy and
terrible; vicious yellow gleaming eyes; cropped ears; and an expression
incomparably savage. His coat was a tawny lionlike yellow, short, harsh,
dense; and his back running up from shoulder to loins ended abruptly in a
knoblike tail. He looked like the devil of a dog’s hell, and his
reputation was as bad as his looks. He never attacked unprovoked; but a
challenge was never ignored and he was greedy of insults.

–Alfred Ollivant: _Bob, Son of Battle_.
(Copyright, Doubleday and McClure.)

Read the description of the kingbird (page 224), and of the mongoose (page

+Theme LXVI.+–_Write a description of some animal, bird, or fish._

(What questions should you ask yourself about each description you write?)

6. _Trees and plants._

How shall kinnikinnick be told to them who know it not? To a New Englander
it might be said that a whortleberry bush changed its mind one day and
decided to be a vine, with leaves as glossy as laurel, bells pink-striped
and sweet like the arbutus, and berries in clusters and of scarlet instead
of black. The Indians call it kinnikinnick, and smoke it in their pipes.
White men call it bearberry, I believe; and there is a Latin name for it,
no doubt, in the books. But kinnikinnick is the best,–dainty, sturdy,
indefatigable kinnikinnick, green and glossy all the year round, lovely at
Christmas and lovely among flowers at midsummer, as content and thrifty on
bare, rocky hillsides as in grassy nooks, growing in long, trailing
wreaths, five feet long, or in tangled mats, five feet across, as the rock
or the valley may need, and living bravely many weeks without water, to
make a house beautiful. I doubt if there be in the world a vine I should
hold so precious, indoors and out.

–Helen Hunt Jackson: _Bits of Travel at Home_.

A mango tree is beautiful and attractive. It grows as large as the oak,
and has a rich and glossy foliage. The fruit is shaped something like a
short, thick cucumber, and is as large as a large pear. It has a thick,
tough skin, and a delicious, juicy pulp. When ripe it is a golden color. A
tree often bears a hundred bushels of mangoes.

–Marian M. George.

+Theme LXVII.+–_Write a description of some tree that you have seen._

(Consider your theme with reference to the general principles of
composition treated in Chapter V.)

+134. Description of Persons: Character Sketches.+–The general principles
of description are applicable to the description of a person, and should
be followed for the purpose of presenting a clear and vivid image. Our
interest, however, so naturally runs beyond the appearance and is
concerned with the character, that most descriptions of persons become
character sketches. Even the commonest terms of description, such as _keen
gray eyes, square chin, rugged countenance_, are interpreted as showing
character, and depart to some degree from pure description. Often the sole
purpose of description is to show character, and only those details are
introduced which accomplish this purpose.

In life we judge a man’s character by his actions, and so in the character
sketch we are led to infer his character from what he does. The character
indicated by his appearance is corroborated by a statement of his actions
and especially by showing how he acts. (See Section 10.) Sometimes no
descriptive matter is given, but we are left to make our own picture to
fit the character indicated by the actions. In many books the descriptive
elements which would enable us to form an image of some person are
distributed over several pages, each being introduced where it supplements
and emphasizes the character shown by the actions.

Notice the following examples:–

The Rev. Daniel True stood beside the holy table. For such a scene,
perhaps for any scene, he was a memorable figure. He had the dignity of
early middle life, but none of its signs of advancing age. His hair was
quite black, and curled on his temples boyishly; his mustache, not without
a worldly cut, was as dark as his hair, and concealed a mouth so clean and
fine that it was an ethical mistake to cover it. He had sturdy shoulders,
although not quite straight; they had the scholar’s stoop; his hands were
thin, with long fingers; his gestures were sparing and significant; his
expression was so sincere that its evident devoutness commanded respect;
so did his voice, which was authoritative enough to be a little priestly
and lacking somewhat in elocutionary finish as the voices of ministers are
apt to be, but genuine, musical, persuasive, at moments vibrant with
oratorical power. He had a warm eye and a lovable smile. He was every inch
a minister, but he was every nerve a man.

–Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: _A Sacrament_ (“Harper’s”).

She was not more than fifteen. Her form, voice, and manner belonged to the
period of transition from girlhood. Her face was perfectly oval, her
complexion more pale than fair. The nose was faultless; the lips, slightly
parted, were full and ripe, giving to the lines of the mouth warmth,
tenderness, and trust; the eyes were blue and large, and shaded by
drooping lids and long lashes; and, in harmony with all, a flood of golden
hair, in the style permitted to Jewish brides, fell unconfined down her
back to the pillion on which she sat. The throat and neck had the downy
softness sometimes seen which leaves the artist in doubt whether it is an
effect of contour or color. To these charms of feature and person were
added others more–an indefinable air of purity which only the soul can
impart, and of abstraction natural to such as think much of things
impalpable. Often, with trembling lips, she raised her eyes to heaven,
itself not more deeply blue; often she crossed her hands upon her breast,
as in adoration and prayer; often she raised her head like one listening
eagerly for a calling voice. Now and then midst his slow utterance, Joseph
turned to look at her, and, catching the expression kindling her face as
with light, forgot his theme, and with bowed head, wondering, plodded on.

–Lew Wallace: _Ben-Hur_.
(Copyright, 1880, Harper and Bros.)

When Washington was elected general of the army he was forty-three years
of age. In stature he a little exceeded six feet; his limbs were sinewy
and well proportioned; his chest broad, his figure stately, blending
dignity of presence with ease of manner. His robust constitution had been
tried and invigorated by his early life in the wilderness, his habit of
occupation out of doors, and his rigid temperance, so that few equalled
him in strength of arm or power of endurance. His complexion was florid,
his hair dark brown, his head in shape perfectly round. His broad nostrils
seemed formed to give expression and escape to scornful anger. His dark
blue eyes, which were deeply set, had an expression of resignation and an
earnestness that was almost sad.


There were many Englishmen of great distinction there, and Tennyson was
the most conspicuous among the guests. Tennyson’s appearance was very
striking and his figure might have been taken as a living illustration of
romantic poetry. He was tall and stately, wore a great mass of thick, long
hair–long hair was then still worn even by men who did not affect
originality; his frame was slightly stooping, his shoulders were bent as
if with the weight of thought; there was something entirely out of the
common and very commanding in his whole presence, and a stranger meeting
him in whatever crowd would probably have assumed at once that he must be
a literary king.

–Justin McCarthy: _Literary Portraits from the Sixties_ (“Harper’s”).

The door opened and there appeared to these two a visitor. He was a young
man, and tall,–so tall that, even with his hat off, his head barely
cleared the ceiling of the low-studded room. He was slim and fair-haired
and round-shouldered. He had the pink and white complexion of a girl;
soft, fair hair; dark, serious eyes; the high, white brow of a thinker;
the nose of an aristocrat; and he was in clerical garb.

–Sewall Ford: _The Renunciation of Petruo_ (“Harper’s”).


Notice the pictures on page 253. Can you determine from the picture
anything about the character of the person? Just what feature in each
helps you in this?

+Theme LXVIII.+–_Describe some person known to most of the class._

(Do not name the person, but combine description and character sketching
so that the class may be able to tell whom you mean.)


+135. Impression of a Description.+–Often the effectiveness of a
description is determined more by the impression which it makes upon our
feelings than by the vividness of the picture which it presents. Read the
following description of the Battery in New York by Howells. Notice how
the details which have been selected emphasize the “impression of
forlornness.” The sickly trees, the decrepit shade, the mangy grass plots,
hungry-eyed and hollow children, the jaded women, silent and hopeless, the
shameless houses, the hard-looking men, unite to give the one impression.
Even the fresh blue water of the bay, which laughs and dances beyond, by
its very contrast gives greater emphasis to the melancholy and forlorn
appearance of the Battery.

All places that fashion has once loved and abandoned are very melancholy;
but of all such places, I think the Battery is the most forlorn. Are there
some sickly locust trees there that cast a tremulous and decrepit shade
upon the mangy grass plots? I believe so, but I do not make sure; I am
certain only of the mangy grass plots, or rather the spaces between the
paths, thinly overgrown with some kind of refuse and opprobrious weed, a
stunted and pauper vegetation proper solely to the New York Battery. At
that hour of the summer morning when our friends, with the aimlessness of
strangers who are waiting to do something else, saw the ancient promenade,
a few scant and hungry-eyed little boys and girls were wandering over this
weedy growth, not playing, but moving listlessly to and fro, fantastic in
the wild inaptness of their costumes. One of these little creatures wore,
with an odd, involuntary jauntiness, the cast-off best dress of some
happier child, a gay little garment cut low in the neck and short in the
sleeves, which gave her the grotesque effect of having been at a party the
night before. Presently came two jaded women, a mother and a grandmother,
that appeared, when they crawled out of their beds, to have put on only so
much clothing as the law compelled. They abandoned themselves upon the
green stuff, whatever it was, and, with their lean hands clasped outside
their knees, sat and stared, silent and hopeless, at the eastern sky, at
the heart of the terrible furnace, into which in those days the world
seemed cast to be burnt up, while the child which the younger woman had
brought with her feebly wailed unheeded at her side. On one side of the
women were the shameless houses out of which they might have crept, and
which somehow suggested riotous maritime dissipation; on the other side
were those houses in which had once dwelt rich and famous folk, but which
were now dropping down to the boarding-house scale through various
unhomelike occupations to final dishonor and despair. Down nearer the
water, and not far from the castle that was once a playhouse and is now
the depot of emigration, stood certain express wagons, and about these
lounged a few hard-looking men. Beyond laughed and danced the fresh blue
water of the bay, dotted with sails and smokestacks.

–Howells: _Their Wedding Journey_.

The successive images of the preceding selection are clear enough, but
they are bound together by a common purpose, which is the creation of a
single impression. Often, however, a description may present, not a single
impression, but a series of such impressions, to which a unity is given by
the fact that they are all connected with one event, or occur at the same
time, or in the same place. Such a series of impressions is illustrated in
the following:–

It is a phenomenon whose commonness alone prevents it from being most
impressive, that departure of the night-express. The two hundred miles it
is to travel stretch before it, traced by those slender clews, to lose
which is ruin, and about which hang so many dangers. The drawbridges that
gape upon the way, the trains that stand smoking and steaming on the
track, the rail that has borne the wear so long that it must soon snap
under it, the deep cut where the overhanging mass of rocks trembles to its
fall, the obstruction that a pitiless malice may have placed in your path,
you think of these after the journey is done, but they seldom haunt
your fancy while it lasts. The knowledge of your helplessness in any
circumstances is so perfect that it begets a sense of irresponsibility,
almost of security; and as you drowse upon the pallet of the sleeping car
and feel yourself hurled forward through the obscurity, you are almost
thankful that you can do nothing, for it is upon this condition only that
you can endure it; and some such condition as this, I suppose, accounts
for many heroic acts in the world. To the fantastic mood which possesses
you equally, sleeping or waking, the stoppages of the train have a weird
character, and Worcester, Springfield, New Haven, and Stamford are rather
points in dreamland than well-known towns of New England. As the train
stops you drowse if you have been waking, and wake if you have been in a
doze; but in any case you are aware of the locomotive hissing and coughing
beyond the station, of flaring gas-jets, of clattering feet of passengers
getting on and off; then of some one, conductor or station master, walking
the whole length of the train; and then you are aware of an insane
satisfaction in renewed flight through the darkness. You think hazily of
the folk in their beds in the town left behind, who stir uneasily at the
sound of your train’s departing whistle; and so all is blank vigil or a
blank slumber.

–Howells: _Their Wedding Journey_.

+136. Impression as the Purpose of Description.+–The impression that it
gives may become the central purpose of a description. It is evident in
Howells’s description of the Battery that the purpose was the creating of
an impression of forlornness, and that the author kept this purpose in
mind when choosing the details. If his aim had been to enable us to form a
clear picture of the Battery in its physical outlines, he would have
chosen different details and would have presented them in different

The same scene or object may present a different appearance to two
different observers because each may discover a different set of
likenesses or resemblances and so select different essential
characteristics. An artist will paint a picture that centers around some
one feature. Each added detail seems but to set forth and increase the
effect of this central element of the picture. Similarly the observer will
in his description lay emphasis on the central point and will select
details that bear a helpful relation to it. If he wishes to present the
picture of a valley, he will lay emphasis on its fundamental image and
essential details with reference to its appearance; but if his desire is
to present the impression of fertility or of rural simplicity and quiet,
the elements that are important for the producing of the desired
impression may not be at all the ones essential to his former picture.

When the presentation of a picture is our central purpose, we attempt to
present it as it appears to us, and select details that will enable others
to form the desired image; but if we desire to set forth how a scene
affected us, we must choose details that will make our reader feel as we

+137. Necessity of Observing our Impressions.+–In order to write a
description which shall give our impression of an object or scene, we must
know definitely what that impression is. Just as clear seeing is necessary
for the reproduction of definite images, so is the clear perception of our
impressions necessary to their reproduction. Furthermore, we may know what
our impressions are without being able to select those elements in a scene
that have produced them; but in order to write a description that shall
affect others as the scene itself affected us, we must know what these
elements are and emphasize them in the description. Thus it becomes
necessary to pay attention both to our impression and to the selection of
those details which create that impression. One glance at a room may cause
us to believe that the housekeeper is untidy. If we wish to convey this
impression to our reader, our description must include the details that
give that impression of untidiness to us.

Nor are we limited to sight alone, for our impressions may be made
stronger by the aid of the other senses. Sound and smell and taste may
supplement the sight, and though they add little to the clearness, yet
they add much to the impression which we get.

Within the cabin, through which Basil and Isabel now slowly moved, there
were numbers of people lounging about on the sofas, in various attitudes
of talk or vacancy; and at the tables there were others reading _Lothair_,
a new book in the remote epoch of which I write, and a very fashionable
book indeed. There was in the air that odor of paint and carpet which
prevails on steamboats; the glass drops of the chandeliers ticked softly
against each other, as the vessel shook with her respiration, like a
comfortable sleeper, and imparted a delicious feeling of coziness and
security to our travelers.

–Howells: _Their Wedding Journey_.

+138. Impression Limited to Experience.+–If we attempt to write a
description for the sake of giving an impression, it must be an impression
that we have ourselves experienced. If the sight of the gorge of Niagara
has filled us with a feeling of sublimity and awe, we shall find it hard
to write a humorous account of it. If we see the humorous elements of a
situation, we cannot easily make our description give the impression of
grief. Neither can we successfully imitate the impressions of others. No
two persons are affected in the same way by the same thing. Our age, our
temperament, our emotional attitude, and all of our past experiences
affect our way of looking at things and modify the impressions which we
get. The successful presentation of our impression will depend largely
upon the definite perception of our feelings.

+139. Impression Affected by Mood.+–Not only is our impression affected
by details in the scene observed, but it is even more largely influenced
by our mood at the time of the observation. The same landscape may cheer
at one time and dishearten at another. To-day we see the ridiculous;
to-morrow, the sad and sorrowful. A thousand things may change our mood,
but under certain general conditions, certain impressions are likely to
arise. There is something in the air of spring, or the heat of summer,
which affects us all. The weather, too, has its effect. Sunshine and
shadow find answering attitudes in our feelings, and the skillful writer
takes advantage of these emotional tendencies.

Not far we fared–
The river left behind–when, looking back,
I saw the mountain in the searching light
Of the low sun. Surcharged with youthful pride
In my adventure, I can ne’er forget
The disappointment and chagrin which fell
Upon me; for a change had passed. The steep
Which in the morning sprang to kiss the sun,
Had left the scene; and in its place I saw
A shrunken pile, whose paths my steps had climbed,
Whose proudest height my humble feet had trod.
Its grand impossibilities and all
Its store of marvels and of mysteries
Were flown away, and would not be recalled.

–Holland: _Katrina_.

+140. Union of Image and Impression.+–Because we have discussed image
making and impression giving separately, it must not be judged that they
necessarily occur separately. They are in fact always united. No image,
however clear, can fail to make some impression, and no description,
however strong the impression it gives, fails to create some image. It is
rather the placing of the emphasis that counts. Some descriptions have for
their purpose the giving of an image, and the impression is of little
moment. Other descriptions aim at producing impressions, and the images
are of less importance. In the description of the Battery (page 254) the
images are clear enough, but they are subordinate to the impression. This
subordination may even go farther. Often the impression is made prominent
and we are led by suggestion to form images which fit it, while in reality
few definite images have been set. Notice in the following selection that
the impression of desolation is given without attempting to picture
exactly what was seen:–

The country at the foot of Vesuvius is the most fertile and best
cultivated of the kingdom, most favored by Heaven in all Europe. The
celebrated _Lacrymæ Christi_ vine flourishes beside land totally
devastated by lava, as if nature here made a last effort, and resolved to
perish in her richest array. As you ascend, you turn to gaze on Naples,
and on the fair laud around it–the sea sparkles in the sun as if strewn
with jewels; but all the splendors of creation are extinguished by
degrees, as you enter the region of ashes and smoke, that announces your
approach to the volcano. The iron waves of other years have traced their
large black furrows in the soil. At a certain height birds are no longer
seen; further on, plants become very scarce; then even insects find no
nourishment. At last all life disappears. You enter the realm of death and
the slain earth’s dust alone sleeps beneath your unassured feet.

–Madame De Sta√´l: _Corinne: Italy_.


Discuss the following selections with reference to the impression given by

The third of the flower vines is Wood-Magic. It bears neither flowers nor
fruit. Its leaves are hardly to be distinguished from the leaves of the
other vines. Perhaps they are a little rounder than the Snowberry’s, a
little more pointed than the Partridge-berry’s; sometimes you might
mistake them for the one, sometimes for the other. No marks of warning
have been written upon them. If you find them, it is your fortune; if you
taste them, it is your fate. For as you browse your way through the
forest, nipping here and there a rosy leaf of young wintergreen, a
fragrant emerald tip of balsam fir, a twig of spicy birch, if by chance
you pluck the leaves of Wood-Magic and eat them, you will not know what
you have done, but the enchantment of the treeland will enter your heart
and the charm of the wildwood will flow through your veins. You will never
get away from it. The sighing of the wind through the pine trees and the
laughter of the stream in its rapids will sound through all your dreams.
On beds of silken softness you will long for the sleep-song of whispering
leaves above your head, and the smell of a couch of balsam boughs. At
tables spread with dainty fare you will be hungry for the joy of the hunt,
and for the angler’s sylvan feast. In proud cities you will weary for the
sight of a mountain trail; in great cathedrals you will think of the long,
arching aisles of the woodland: and in the noisy solitude of crowded
streets you will hone after the friendly forest.

–Henry Van Dyke: _The Blue Flower_.
(Copyright, 1902, Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

Running your eye across the map of the State, you see two slowly
converging lines of railroad writhing out between the hills to the
sea-coast. Three other lines come down from north to south by the river
valleys and the jagged shore. Along these, huddled in the corners of the
hills and the sea line, lie the cities and the larger towns. A great
majority of mankind, swarming in these little spots, or scuttling to and
fro along the valleys on those slender lines, fondly dream they are
acquainted with the land in which they live. But beyond and around all
this rises the wide, bare face of the country, which they will never know–
the great patches of second-growth woods, the mountain pastures sown
thick with stones, the barren acres of the hillside farmer–a desolate
land, latticed with gray New England roads, dotted with commonplace or
neglected houses, and pitted with the staring cellars of the abandoned
homes of disheartened and defeated men.

Out here in this semi-obscurity, where the regulating forces of society
grow tardy and weak, strange and dangerous beings move to and fro,
avoiding the apprehension of the law. Occasionally we hear of them–of
some shrewd and desperate city fugitives brought to bay in a corner of the
woods, or some brutal farmhouse murderer still lurking uncaptured among
the hills. Often they pass through the country and out beyond, where they
are never seen again.

In the extreme southwestern corner of the State the railroads do not come;
the vacant spaces grow between the country roads, and the cities dwindle
down to half-deserted crossroads hamlets. Here the surface of the map is
covered up with the tortuous wrinkles of the hills. It is a beautiful but
useless place. As far as you can see, low, unformed lumps of mountains lie
jumbled aimlessly together between the ragged sky lines, or little silent
cups of valleys stare up between them at their solitary patch of sky. It
seems a sort of waste yard of creation, flung full of the remnants of the
making of the earth.

–George Kibbe Turner: _Across the State_ (“McClure’s”).

When once the shrinking dizzy spell was gone,
I saw below me, like a jeweled cup,
The valley hollowed to its heaven-kissed lip–
The serrate green against the serrate blue–
Brimming with beauty’s essence; palpitant
With a divine elixir–lucent floods
Poured from the golden chalice of the sun,
At which my spirit drank with conscious growth,
And drank again with still expanding scope
Of comprehension and of faculty.

I felt the bud of being in me burst
With full, unfolding petals to a rose,
And fragrant breath that flooded all the scene.
By sudden insight of myself I knew
That I was greater than the scene,–that deep
Within my nature was a wondrous world,
Broader than that I gazed on, and informed
With a diviner beauty,–that the things
I saw were but the types of those I held,
And that above them both, High Priest and King,
I stood supreme, to choose and to combine,
And build from that within me and without
New forms of life, with meaning of my own,
And then alone upon the mountain top,
Kneeling beside the lamb, I bowed my head
Beneath the chrismal light and felt my soul
Baptized and set apart for poetry.

–Holland: _Katrina_.

+Theme LXIX.+–_Write a description the purpose of which is to give an
impression that you have experienced._


1. Description is that form of discourse which has for its
purpose the creation of an image.

2. The essential characteristics of a description are:–
_a._ A point of view,
(1) It may be fixed or changing.
(2) It may be expressed or implied.
(3) Only those details should be included that can be seen
from the point of view chosen.
_b._ A correct fundamental image.
_c._ A few characteristic and essential details
(1) Close observation on the part of the writer is necessary
in order to select the essential details.
_d._ A proper selection and subordination of minor details.
_e._ A suitable arrangement of details with reference to their
natural position in space.
_f._ That additional effectiveness which comes from
(1) Proper choice of words.
(2) Suitable comparisons and figures.
(3) Variety of sentence structures.

3. The foregoing principles of description apply in the describing of many
classes of objects. A description of a person usually gives some
indication of his character and so becomes to some extent a character

4. A description may also have for its purpose the giving of an
_a._ The writer must select details which will aid in conveying
the impression he desires his readers to receive.
_b._ The writer must observe his own impressions accurately,
because he cannot convey to others that which he has not
himself experienced.
_c._ The impression received is affected by the mood of the person.
_d._ Impression and image are never entirely separated.


+141. Kinds of Narration.+–Narration consists of an account of
happenings, and, for this reason, it is, without doubt, the most
interesting of all forms of discourse. It is natural for us all to be
interested in life, movement, action; hence we enjoy reading and talking
about them. To be convinced that there is everywhere a great interest in
narration we need only to listen to conversations, notice what constitutes
the subject-matter of letters of friendship, read newspapers and
magazines, and observe what classes of books are most frequently drawn
from our libraries.

Narration assumes a variety of forms. Since it relates happenings, it must
include anecdotes, incidents, short stories, letters, novels, dramas,
histories, biographies, and stories of travel and exploration. It also
includes many newspaper articles such as those that give accounts of
accidents and games and reports of various kinds of meetings. Evidently
the field of narration is a broad one, for wherever life or action may be
found or imagined, a subject for a narrative exists.


1. Name four different events that have actually taken place in your
school in which you think your classmates are interested.

2. Name three events that have taken place in other schools that may be of
interest to members of your school.

3. Name four events of general interest that have occurred in your city
during the last two or three years.

4. From a daily paper, pick out a narrative that is interesting to you.

5. Select one that you think ought to interest the most of your

6. Name three national events of recent occurrence.

7. Name three or four strange or mysterious events of which you have

8. Name an actual occurrence that interested you because you wanted to see
how it turned out.

9. Would an ordinary account of a bicycle or automobile trip be
interesting? If not, why not?

+Theme LXX.+–._Write a letter to a pupil in a neighboring high school,
telling about something interesting that has happened in your own school_.

(Review forms of letter writing. Consider your use of paragraphs.)

+142. Plot.+–By plot we mean the outline of the story told in a few
words. All narratives consist of accounts of connected happenings, in
which action on the part of the characters is naturally implied. The
principal action briefly told constitutes the plot. The simple plot of
Tennyson’s _Princess_ is as follows:–

A prince of the North, after being affianced as a child to a princess of
the South, has fallen in love with her portrait and a lock of her hair.
When, however, the embassy appears to fetch home the bride, she sends back
the message that she is not disposed to be married. Upon receipt of this
word the Prince and two friends, Florian and Cyril, steal away to seek
the Princess, and learn on reaching her father’s court that she has
established a Woman’s College on a distant estate. Having got letters
authorizing them to visit the Princess, they ride into her domain, where
they determine to go dressed like girls and apply for admission as
students in the College. They arrive in disguise, and are admitted. On the
first day the young men enroll themselves as students of Lady Psyche, who
recognizes Florian as her brother and agrees not to expose them, since–by
a law of the College inscribed above the gates, which darkness has kept
them from seeing–the penalty of their discovery would be death. Melissa,
a student, overhears them, and is bound over to keep the secret. Lady
Blanche, mother of Melissa and rival to Lady Psyche, also learns of the
alarming invasion, and remains silent for sinister reasons of her own. On
the second day the principal personages picnic in a wood. At dinner Cyril
sings a song that is better fit for the smoking room than for the ears of
ladies; the Prince, in his anger, betrays his sex by a too masculine
reproof; and dire confusion is the result. The Princess in her flight
falls into the river, from which she is rescued by the Prince. Cyril and
Lady Psyche escape together, but the Prince and Florian are brought before
the Princess. At this important moment despatches are brought from her
father saying that the Prince’s father has surrounded her palace with
soldiers, taken him prisoner, and holds him as a hostage. The Prince,
after pleading to deaf ears, is sent away at dawn with Florian, and goes
with him to the camp. Meantime during the night, the Princess’s three
brothers have come to her aid with an army. An agreement is reached to
decide the case and end the war by a tournament between the brothers, with
fifty men, on one side; the Prince and his two friends, with fifty men, on
the other. This happens on the third day. The Prince and his men are
vanquished, and he himself is badly wounded.

But the Princess is now gradually to discover that she has “overthrown
more than her enemy,”–that she has defeated yet saved herself. She has
said of Lady Psyche’s little child:–

“I took it for an hour in mine own bed
This morning: there the tender orphan hands
Felt at my heart, and seem’d to charm from thence
The wrath I nursed against the world.”

When Cyril pleads with her to give the child back to its mother, she
kisses it and feels that “her heart is barren.” When she passes near the
wounded Prince, and is shown by his father–his beard wet with his son’s
blood–her hair and picture on her lover’s heart,

Her iron will was broken in her mind,
Her noble heart was broken in her breast.

From the Princess’s cry then, “Grant me your son to nurse,” it is but a
natural result that she should bring the Prince’s wounded men with him
into the College, now a hospital. Through ministering to her lover, she
comes to love him; and theories yield to “the lord of all.”

–Copeland-Rideout: _Introduction to Tennyson’s Princess_.

+Theme LXXI.+–_Write the plot of one of the following_:–

1. _Lochinvar_, Scott.
2. _Rip Van Winkle_, Irving.
3. One story from _A Tale of Two Cities_, Dickens.
4. _Silas Marner_, George Eliot.
5. The last magazine story you have read.
6. Some story assigned by the teacher.

+Theme LXXII.+–_Write three brief plots. Have the class choose the one
that will make the most interesting story._

+Theme LXXIII.+–_Write a story, using the plot selected by the class in
the preceding theme._

(Are the events related in your story probable or improbable?)

+143. The Introduction.+–Our pleasure in a story depends upon our clear
understanding of the various situations, and this understanding may often
be best given by an introduction that states something of the time, place,
characters, and circumstances as shown in Section 6. The purpose of the
introduction is to make the story more effective, and what it shall
contain is determined by the needs of the story itself. The last half of a
well-written story will not be interesting to one who has not read the
first half, because the first half will contain much that is essential to
the complete understanding of the main point of the story. A story begun
with conversation at once arouses interest, but care must be taken to see
that the reader gets sufficient descriptive and explanatory matter to
enable him to understand the story as the plot develops, or the interest
will begin to lag.

+Theme LXXIV.+–_Write a narrative._

Suggested subjects:–
1. The Christmas surprise.
2. How the mortgage was paid.
3. The race between the steam roller and the traction engine.
4. The new girl in the boarding school.
5. The Boss, and how he won his title.

(Be sure that your introduction is such that the entire situation is
understood. Name different points in the story that led you to say what
you have in the introduction. Have you mentioned any unnecessary points?)

+144. The Incentive Moment.+–The chief business of a story-teller is to
arouse the interest of his readers, and the sooner he succeeds, the
better. Usually he tries to arouse interest from the very beginning of his
story. He therefore places in the introduction or near it a statement
designed to stimulate the curiosity of his readers. The point at which
interest begins has been termed the incentive moment. In the following
selection notice that the first sentence tells who, when, and where.
(Section 6.) The second sentence causes us to ask, what was it? and by the
time that is answered we are curious to know what happened and how the
adventure ended.

On a mellow moonlight evening a cyclist was riding along a lonely road in
the northern part of Mashonaland. As he rode, enjoying the somber beauty
of the African evening, he suddenly became conscious of a soft, stealthy,
heavy tread on the road behind him. It seemed like the jog trot of some
heavy, cushion-footed animal following him. Turning round, he was scared
very badly to find himself looking into the glaring eyes of a large lion.
The puzzled animal acted very strangely, now raising his head, now
lowering it, and all the time sniffling the air in a most perplexed
manner. Here was a surprise for the lion. He could not make out what kind
of animal it was that could roll, walk, and sit still all at the same
time; an animal with a red eye on each side, and a brighter one in front.
He hesitated to pounce upon such an outlandish being–a being whose blood
smelled so oily.

I believe no cyclist ever “scorched” with more honesty and
single-mindedness of purpose. But although he pedaled and pedaled,
although he perspired and panted, his effort to get away did not seem to
place any more space between him and the lion; the animal kept up his
annoyingly calm jog trot, and never seemed to tire.

The poor rider was finally so exhausted from terror and exertion that he
decided to have the matter settled right away. Suddenly slowing down, he
jumped from his wheel, and, facing abruptly about, thrust the brilliant
headlight full into the face of the lion. This was too much for the beast.
The sudden glare destroyed the lion’s nerve, for at this fresh evidence of
mystery on the part of the strange rider-animal, who broke himself into
halves and then cast his big eye in any direction he pleased, the monarch
of the forest turned tail, and with a wild rush retreated in a very
hyena-like manner into the jungle, evidently thanking his stars for his
miraculous escape from that awful being. Thereupon the bicyclist, with new
strength returning and devoutly blessing his acetylene lamp, pedaled his
way back to civilization.

–P.L. Wessels.

+Theme LXXV.+–_Write a short imaginative story._

Suggested subjects:–
1. A bicycle race with an unfriendly dog.
2. An unpleasant experience.
3. A story told by the school clock.
4. Disturbing a hornet’s nest.
5. The fate of an Easter bonnet.
6. Chased by a wolf.

(Where is the incentive moment? Is it introduced naturally?)

+145. Climax.+–You have already noticed in your reading that usually
somewhere near the close of the story, there is a turning point. That
turning point is called the climax. At this point, the suspense of mind is
greatest, for the fate of the principal character is being decided. If the
story is well written as regards the plot, our interest will continually
increase from the incentive moment to the climax.

In the novel and the drama, both of which may have a complicated plot,
several minor climaxes or crises may be found. There may be a crisis to
each single event or episode, yet they should all be a part of and lead up
to the principal or final climax. Instead of detracting from, they add to
the interest of a carefully woven plot. For example, in the _Merchant of
Venice_, we have a crisis in both the casket story and the Lorenzo and
Jessica episode; but so skillfully are the stories interwoven that the
minor climaxes do not lessen our interest in the principal one.

In short stories, the turning point should come near the close. There
should be but little said after that point is reached. In novels, and
especially in dramas, we find that the climax is not right at the close,
and considerable action sometimes takes place after the climax has been


_A._ Point out the climax in each of five stories that you have read.

_B._ Where is the climax in the following selection?

We spoke, and Sohrab kindled at his taunts,
And he too drew his sword; at once they rushed
Together, as two eagles on one prey
Come rushing down together from the clouds,
One from the east, one from the west; their shields
Dashed with a clang together, and a din
Rose, such as that the sinewy woodcutters
Make often in the forest’s heart at morn,
Of hewing axes, crashing trees–such blows
Rustum and Sohrab on each other hailed.
And you would say that sun and stars took part
In that unnatural conflict; for a cloud
Grew suddenly in heaven, and darked the sun
Over the fighters’ heads; and a wind rose
Under their feet, and moaning swept the plain,
And in a sandy whirlwind wrapped the pair.
In gloom they twain were wrapped, and they alone;
For both the onlooking hosts on either hand
Stood in broad daylight, and the sky was pure,
And the sun sparkled on the Oxus stream.
But in the gloom they fought, with bloodshot eyes
And laboring breath; first Rustum struck the shield
Which Sohrab held stiff out; the steel-spiked spear
Rent the tough plates, but failed to reach the skin,
And Rustum plucked it back with angry groan.
Then Sohrab with his sword smote Rustum’s helm,
Nor clove its steel quite through; but all the crest
He shore away, and that proud horsehair plume,
Never till now denied, sank to the dust;
And Rustum bowed his head; but then the gloom
Grew blacker, thunder rumbled in the air,
And lightnings rent the cloud; and Ruksh, the horse,
Who stood at hand, uttered a dreadful cry;–
No horse’s cry was that, most like the roar
Of some pained desert lion, who all day
Hath trailed the hunter’s javelin in his side,
And comes at night to die upon the sand.
The two hosts heard that cry, and quaked for fear,
And Oxus curdled as it crossed his stream.
But Sohrab heard, and quailed not, but rushed on,
And struck again; and again Rustum bowed
His head; but this time all the blade, like glass,
Sprang in a thousand shivers on the helm,
And in the hand the hilt remained alone.
Then Rustum raised his head; his dreadful eyes
Glared, and he shook on high his menacing spear,
And shouted: “Rustum!”–Sohrab heard that shout,
And shrank amazed: back he recoiled one step,
And scanned with blinking eyes the advancing form;
And then he stood bewildered; and he dropped
His covering shield, and the spear pierced his side.
He reeled, and, staggering back, sank to the ground,
And then the gloom dispersed, and the wind fell,
And the bright sun broke forth, and melted all
The cloud; and the two armies saw the pair–
Saw Rustum standing, safe upon his feet,
And Sohrab wounded, on the bloody sand.

–Matthew Arnold: _Sohrab and Rustum_.

+Theme LXXVI.+–_Write a story and give special attention to the climax._

Suggested subjects:–
1. The immigrant’s error.
2. A critical moment.
3. An intelligent dog.
4. The lost key.
5. Catching a burglar.
6. A hard test.
7. Won by the last hit.
8. A story suggested by a picture you have seen.

(Name the incidents leading up to the climax. Is the mind held in suspense
until the climax is reached? Are any unnecessary details introduced?)

+146. Conversation in Narration.+–When introduced into narration, a
conversation is briefer than when actually spoken. It is necessary to have
the conversation move quickly, for we read with less patience than we
listen. The sentences must be for the most part short, and the changes
from one speaker to another frequent, or the dialogue will have a “made to
order” effect. Notice the conversation in as many different stories as
possible. Observe how variation is secured in indicating the speaker. How
many substitutes for “He said” can you name? In relating conversation
orally, we are less likely to secure such variety. Notice in your own
speech and that of others how often “I said” and “He said” occur.


_A_. Notice the indentation and sentence length in the following

Louden looked up calmly at the big figure towering above him.

“It won’t do, Judge,” he said; that was all, but there was a significance
in his manner and a certainty in his voice which caused the uplifted hand
to drop limply.

“Have you any business to set foot upon my property?” he demanded.

“Yes,” answered Joe. “That’s why I came.

“What business have you got with me?”

“Enough to satisfy you, I think. But there’s one thing I don’t want to
do”–Joe glanced at the open door–“and that is to talk about it here–for
your own sake and because I think Miss Tabor should be present. I called
to ask you to come to her house at eight o’clock to-night.”

“You did!” Martin Pike spoke angrily, but not in the bull bass of yore.
“My accounts with her estate are closed,” he said harshly. “If she wants
anything let her come here.”

Joe shook his head. “No. You must be there at eight o’clock.”

–Booth Tarkington: _The Conquest of Canaan_ (“Harper’s”).

_B_. Notice the conversation in the following narrative. Consider also the
incentive moment and the climax. Suggest improvements.

When Widow Perkins saw Widower Parsons coming down the road she looked as
mad as a hornet and stepped to the back door.

“William Henry,” she called to the lank youth chopping wood, “you’ve
worked hard enough for one day. Come in and rest.”

“Guess that’s the first time you ever thought I needed a rest since I was
born. I’ll keep right on chopping till you get through acceptin’ old
Hull,” he replied, whereupon the widow slammed the door and looked twice
as mad as before.

“Mornin’, widdy,” remarked the widower, stalking into the room, taking a
chair without an invitation, and hanging his hat on his knee. “Cold day,”
he added cheerfully.

The widow nodded shortly, at the same time inwardly prophesying a still
colder day for him before he struck the weather again.

“Been buyin’ a new cow,” resumed the caller, impressively.

“Have, eh?” returned the widow, with a jerk, bringing out the ironing
board and slamming it down on the table.

“An’ two hogs,” went on the widower, wishing the widow would glance at him
just once and see how affectionate he looked. “They’ll make pork enough
for all next winter and spring.”

“Will, eh?” responded the widow, with a bang of the iron that nearly
wrecked the table.

“An’ a–a–lot o’ odd things ’round the house; an’ the fact is, widdy, you
see–that is, you know–was going to say if you’ll agree”–the widower
lost his words, and in his desperation hung his hat on the other knee and
hitched a trifle nearer the ironing board.

“No, Hull Parsons, I don’t see a single mite, nor I don’t know a particle,
an’ I ain’t agreein’ the least bit,” snapped the widow, pounding the
creases out of the tablecloth.

“But say, widdy, don’t get riled so soon,” again ventured Parsons. “I was
jest goin’ to tell you that I’ve been proposing to Carpenter Brown to
build a new–”

By this time the widow was glancing at him in a way he wished she

“Is that all the proposin’ you’ve done in the last five mouths, Hull
Parsons?” she demanded stormily. “You ain’t asked every old maid for miles
around to marry you, have you, Hull Parsons? An’ you didn’t tell the last
one you proposed to that if she didn’t take you there would be only one
more chance left–that old pepper-box of a Widow Perkins? You didn’t say
that, now, did you, Hull Parsons?” and the widow’s eyes and voice snapped
fire all at once.

The caller turned several different shades of red and realized that he had
struck the biggest snag he’d ever struck in any courting career, past or
present. He laughed violently for a second or two, tried to hang his
hat on both knees at the same time, and finally sank his voice to a
confidential undertone:–

“Now, widdy, that’s the woman’s way o’ puttin’ it. They’ve been jealous o’
you all ‘long, fur they knew where my mind was sot. I wouldn’t married one
o’ them women for nothing,” added the widower, with another hitch toward
the ironing board.

“Huh!” responded the widow, losing a trifle of her warlike cast of
countenance. “S’pose all them women hadn’t refused you, Hull Parsons, what

“They didn’t refuse me, widdy,” returned the widower, trying to look
sheepish, and dropping his voice an octave lower. “S’pose I hadn’t oughter
tell on ’em, but–er–can you keep a secret, widdy?”

“I ain’t like the woman who can’t,” remarked the widow, shortly.

“Well, then, I was the one who did the refusin’–the hull gang went fer me
right heavy, guess ’cause ’twas leap year, or they was tryin’ on some o’
them new women’s ways, or somethin’ like that. But my mind was sot all
along, d’ye see, widdy?”

And the Widow Perkins invited Widower Parsons to stay to dinner, because
she thought she saw.

+Theme LXXVII.+–_Complete the story on pages 79-80,
or one of the following:_–


Soon after Fenimore Dayton became a reporter his city editor sent him to
interview James Mountain. That famous financier was then approaching the
zenith of his power over Wall Street and Lombard Street. It had just been
announced that he had “absorbed” the Great Eastern and Western Railway
System–of course, by the methods which have made some men and some
newspapers habitually speak of him as “the Royal Bandit.” The city editor
had two reasons for sending Dayton–first because he did not like him;
second, because any other man on the staff would walk about for an hour
and come back with the report that Mountain had refused to receive him,
while Dayton would make an honest effort.

Seeing Dayton saunter down Nassau Street–tall, slender, calm, and
cheerful–you would never have thought that he was on his way to interview
one of the worst-tempered men in New York, for a newspaper which that man
peculiarly detested, and on a subject which he did not care to discuss
with the public. Dayton turned in at the Equitable Building and went up to
the floor occupied by Mountain, Ranger, & Blakehill. He nodded to the
attendant at the door of Mountain’s own suite of offices, strolled
tranquilly down the aisle between the several rows of desks at which sat
Mountain’s personal clerks, and knocked at the glass door on which was
printed “Mr. Mountain” in small gilt letters.

“Come!” It was an angry voice–Mountain’s at its worst.

Dayton opened the door. Mountain glanced up from a mass of papers before
him. His red forehead became a network of wrinkles and his scant white
eyebrows bristled. “And who are you?” he snarled.

“My name is Dayton–Fenimore Dayton,” replied the reporter, with a
gracefully polite bow. “Mr. Mountain, I believe?”

It was impossible for Mr. Mountain altogether to resist the impulse to bow
in return. Dayton’s manner was compelling.

“And what the dev–what can I do for you?”

“I’m a reporter from the —-”

“What!” roared Mountain, leaping to his feet in a purple, swollen veined

–David Graham Philips (“McClure’s”).


When I took my aunt and sister to the Pequot hotel, the night before the
Yale-Harvard boat race, I found a gang of Harvard boys there. They
celebrated a good deal that night, in the usual Harvard way.

Some of the Harvard men had a room next to mine. About three a.m. things
quieted down. When I woke up next morning, it was broad daylight, and I
was utterly alone. The race was to be at eleven o’clock. I jumped out of
bed and looked at my watch–it was nearly ten! I looked for my clothes. My
valise was gone! I rang the bell, but in the excitement downstairs, I
suppose, no one answered it.

What was I to do? Those Harvard friends of mine thought it a good joke on
me to steal my clothes and take themselves off to the race without waking
me up. I don’t know what I should have done in my anguish, when, thank
goodness, I heard a tap at my door, and went to it.

“Well, do hurry!” (It was my sister’s voice.) “Aunt won’t go to the race;
we’ll have to go without her.”

“They’ve stolen my clothes, Mollie–those Harvard fellows.”

“Haven’t you anything?” she asked through the keyhole.

“Not a thing, dear.”

“Oh, well! it’s a just punishment to you after last night! That —- noise
was dreadful!”

“Perhaps it is,” I said, “but don’t preach now, sister dear–get me
something to put on. I want to see the race.”

“I haven’t anything except some dresses and one of aunt’s.”

“Get me Aunt Sarah’s black silk,” I cried. “I will wear anything rather
than not see the race, and it’s half-past ten nearly now.”

(Correct your theme with reference to the points mentioned in Section

+147. Number and Choice of Details–Unity.+–In relating experiences the
choice of details will be determined by the purpose of the narrative and
by the person or persons for whom we are writing. A brief account of an
accident for a newspaper will need to include only a clear and concise
statement of a few important facts. A traveling experience may be made
interesting and vivid if we select several facts and treat each quite
fully. This is especially true if the experience took place in a country
or part of a country not familiar to our readers. If we are writing for
those with whom we are acquainted, we can easily decide what will interest
them. If we write to different persons an account of the same event, we
find that these accounts differ from one another. We know what each person
will enjoy, and we try to adapt our writing to each individual taste. Our
narrative will be improved by adapting it to an imaginary audience in case
we do not know exactly who our readers will be. In your high school work
you know your readers and can select your facts accordingly.

To summarize: a narration should possess unity, that is, it should say all
that should be said about the subject and not more than needs to be said.
The length of the theme, the character of the audience to which it is
addressed, and the purpose for which it is written, determine what facts
are necessary and how many to choose in order to give unity. (See Section

+148. Arrangement of Details–Coherence.+–We should use an arrangement of
our facts that will give coherence to our theme. In a coherent theme each
sentence or paragraph is naturally suggested by the preceding one. It has
been pointed out in Sections 82-85 that in narration we gain coherence by
relating our facts in the order of their occurrence. When a single series
of events is set forth, we can follow the real time-order, omitting such
details as are not essential to the unity of the story.

If, however, more than one series of events are given, we cannot follow
the exact time-order, for, though two events occur at the same time, one
must be told before the other. Here, the actual time relations must be
carefully indicated by the use of expressions; as, _at the same time,
meanwhile, already_, etc. (See Section 12.) Two or more series of events
belong in the same story only if they finally come together at some time,
usually at the point of the story. They should be carried along together
so that the reader shall have in mind all that is necessary for the
understanding of the point when it is reached. In short stories the
changes from one series to another are close together. In a long book one
or more chapters may give one series of incidents, while the following
chapters may be concerned with a parallel series of incidents. Notice the
introductory paragraph of each chapter in Scott’s _Ivanhoe_ or Cooper’s
_The Last of the Mohicans_. Many of these indicate that a new series of
events is to be related.

It will be of advantage in writing a narrative to construct an outline as
indicated in Section 84. Such an outline will assist us in making our
narrative clear by giving it unity, coherence, and emphasis.


1. Name events that have occurred in your school or city which could be
related in their exact time-order. Relate one of them orally.

2. Name two accidents that could not be related in their exact time-order.
Relate one of them orally.

3. Name subjects for real narratives that would need to be written in the
first person; in the third person.

4. In telling about a runaway accident, what points would you mention if
you were writing a short account for a newspaper?

5. What points would you add if you were writing to some one who was
acquainted with the persons in the accident?

6. Consider the choice and arrangement of details in the next magazine
story that you read.

+Theme LXXVIII.+–_Write a personal narrative in which the time-order can
be carefully followed._

Suggested subjects:–

1. The irate conductor.
2. A personal adventure with a window.
3. An interrupted nap.
4. Lost in the woods.
5. In a runaway.
6. An amusing adventure.
7. A day at grandfather’s.

(Consider the unity and coherence of the theme.)

+Theme LXXIX.+–_Write in the third person a true narrative in which
different events are going on at the same time._

Suggested subjects:–
1. A skating accident.
2. The hunters hunted.
3. Capsized on the river.
4. How he won the race.
5. An experience with a balky horse.
6. The search for a lost child.
7. How they missed each other.
8. A strange adventure.
9. A tip over in a bobsleigh.

(How many series of events have you in your narrative? Are they well
connected? What words have you used to show the time-order of the
different events?)

+149. Interrelation of Plot and Character.+–Though in narration the
interest centers primarily in the action, yet in the higher types of
narration interest in character is closely interwoven with interest in
plot. In reading, our attention is held by the plot; we follow its
development, noticing the addition of incidents, their relation to one
another and to the larger elements of action in the story, and their union
in the final disentanglement of the plot; but our complete appreciation of
the story runs far beyond the plot and depends to a large extent upon our
interpretation of the character of the individuals concerned. The mere
story may be exciting and interesting, but its effect will be of little
permanent value if it does not stir within us some appreciation of
character, which we shall find reflected in our own lives or in the lives
of those about us. We may read the _Merchant of Venice_ for its story, but
a deeper study of the play sets forth and reënforces the character of
Portia, Shylock, and the others. With many of the celebrated characters of
literature this interest has grown quite apart from interest in the plot,
and they stand to-day as the embodiment of phases of human nature. Thus by
means of action does the skillful author portray his conception of human
life and human character.

On the other hand, when we write we shall need to distinguish action that
indicates character from that which is merely incidental to the plot. In
order to develop a story to its climax we may need to have the persons
concerned perform certain actions. If by skillful wording we can show not
only what was done but also to some extent the way in which it was done,
we may give our readers some notion of the character of the individuals in
our story. (See Section 10.) This portrayal of character may be aided by
the use of description. (See Section 134.)

Notice that the purpose of the following selection is to indicate the
character of Pitkin rather than to relate the incident. If the author were
to relate other doings of Pitkin, he would need to make the actions of
Pitkin in each case consistent with the character indicated by this

It was the day of our great football game with Harvard, and when I heard
my friend Pitkin returning to the room we shared in common, I knew that he
was mad. And when I say mad I mean it,–not angry, nor exasperated, nor
aggravated, nor provoked, but mad: not mad according to the dictionary,
that is, crazy, but mad as we common folk use the term. So I say my friend
Pitkin was mad. I thought so when I heard the angry click-clack of his
heels on the cement walk, and I carefully put all the chairs against the
wall; I was sure of it when the door slammed, and I set the coal scuttle
in the corner behind the stove. There was no doubt of it when he mounted
the stairs three steps at a time, and I hastily cleared his side of the
desk. You may wonder why I did all these things, but you have never seen
Pitkin mad.

Why was Pitkin mad? I did not then know. I had not seen him yet, for I was
so busy–so very, very busy–that I did not look up when he slammed his
books on the desk with a resounding whack which caused the ink bottle to
tremble and the lampshade to clatter as though chattering its teeth with
fear, while the pens and pencils, tumbling from the holder, scurried away
to hide themselves under the desk.

I was still busily engaged with my books while he threw his wet overcoat
and dripping hat on the white bedspread and kicked his rubbers under the
stove, the smell of which soon warned me to rescue them before they
melted. Pitkin must be very mad this time. He was taking off his collar
and even his shoes. Pitkin always took off his collar when very mad, and
if especially so, put on his slippers, even if he had to change them again
in fifteen minutes.

“What are you doing? Why don’t you say something? You are a pretty fellow
not to speak or even look up.” Such was Pitkin’s first remark. Sometimes
he was talkative and would insist on giving his opinion of things in
general. At other times he preferred to be left alone to bury himself and
his wrath in his books. Since he had failed to poke the fire, though the
room was very warm, I had decided that he would dive into his books and be
heard no more until a half hour past his suppertime, but I had made a
mistake. Today he was in a talkative mood, and knowing that work was
impossible, I devoted the next half hour to listening to a dissertation on
the general perverseness of human nature, and to an elaborate description
of my friend Pitkin’s scheme for endowing a rival institution with a
hundred million, and making things so cheap and attractive that our
university would have to go out of business. When Pitkin reached this
point, I knew that I could safely ask the special reason of his anger and
that, having answered, he would settle down to his regular work. I gently
insinuated that I was still ignorant of the matter, and received the reply
quite in keeping with Pitkin’s nature, “I bet on Harvard and won.”


1. Read one of Dickens’s books and bring to class selections that will
show how Dickens portrays character by use of action.

2. What kind of man is Silas Marner? What leads you to think as you do?

3. Select three persons from _Ivanhoe_ and state your opinion of their

4. Notice the relative importance of plot and character in three magazine

5. Select some person from a magazine story. Tell the class what makes you
form the estimate of his character that you do. To what extent does the
descriptive matter help you determine his character?

+Theme LXXX.+–_Write a character sketch or a story which shows character
by means of action._

Suggested subjects:–
1. The girl from Texas.
2. The Chinese cook.
3. Taking care of the baby.
4. Nathan’s temptation.
5. The small boy’s triumph.
6. A village character.
7. The meanest man I ever knew.

(Consider the development of the plot. To what extent have you shown
character by action? Can you make the impression of character stronger by
adding some description?)

+150. History and Biography.+–Historical and biographical narratives may
be highly entertaining and at the same time furnish us with much valuable
information. Such writings often contain much that is not pure narration.
A historian may set forth merely the program of events, but most histories
contain besides a large amount of description and explanation. Frequently,
too, all of this is but the basis of either a direct or an implied
argument. Likewise a biographer may be chiefly concerned with the acts of
a man, but he usually finds that the introduction of description and
explanation aids him in making clear the life purpose of the man about
whom he writes. In shorter histories and biographies, the expository and
descriptive matter often displaces the narrative matter to such an extent
that the story ceases to be interesting.

The actual time-order of events need not be followed. It will often make
our account clearer to discuss the literary works of a man at one time,
his education at another, and his practical achievements at a third.
Certain portions of his life may need to be emphasized while others are
neglected. What we include in a biography and what we emphasize will be
determined by the purpose for which it is written. For pure information, a
short account is desirable, but a long account is of greater interest. If
a man is really great, the most insignificant events in his life will be
read with interest, but a good biographer will select such events with
good taste and then will present them so that they will have a bearing
upon the more important phases of the man’s life and character. Hundreds
of the stories told about Lincoln would be trivial but for the fact that
they help us better to understand the real character of the man.


1. Select some topic briefly mentioned in the history text you study. Look
up a more extended account of it and come to the class prepared to recite
the topic orally. Make your report clear, concise, and interesting. Decide
beforehand just what facts you will relate and in what order. (See
Sections 39, 52, 53.)

+Theme LXXXI.+–_Come to class prepared to write upon some topic assigned
by the teacher, or upon one of the following_:–

1. Pontiac’s conspiracy.
2. The battle of Marathon.
3. The Boston tea party.
4. The battle of Bannockburn.
5. Sherman’s march to the sea.
6. Passage of the Alps by Napoleon.

(Is your narrative told in an interesting way? Are any facts necessary to
the clear understanding of it omitted?)


1. Name an English orator, an English statesman, and an English writer
about each of whom an interesting biography might be written.

2. With the same purpose in view name two American orators, two American
writers, and two American statesmen.

+Theme LXXXII.+–_Write a short biography of some prominent person.
Include only well-known and important facts, but do not give his name.
Read the biography before the class and have them tell whose biography it

+151. Description in Narration.+–The descriptive elements, of narration
should always have for their purpose something more than the mere creating
of images. If a house is described, the description should enable us to
bring to mind more vividly the events that take place within or around it.
If the description aids us in understanding how or why the events occur,
it is helpful; but if it fails to do this, it has no place in the
narrative. Description when thus used serves as a background for the
actions told in the story, and has for its purpose the explanation of how
or why they occur.

Sometimes the descriptions are given before the incident and sometimes the
two are intermixed. In the following incident from the _Legend of Sleepy
Hollow_, notice how the description prepares the mind for the action that
follows. We are told that the brook which Ichabod must cross runs into a
marshy and thickly wooded glen; that the oaks and chestnuts matted with
grapevines throw a gloom over the place, and already we feel that it is a
dreadful spot after dark. The fact that André was captured here adds to
the feeling. We are prepared to have some exciting action take place, and
had Ichabod ridden quietly across the bridge, we should have been

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road, and
ran into a marshy and thickly wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley’s
swamp. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this
stream. On that side of the road where the brook entered the woods, a
group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grapevines, threw a
cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. It
was at this identical spot that the unfortunate André was captured, and
under covert of those vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised
him. This has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are
the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he summoned up,
however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the
ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of
starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran
broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the
delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the
contrary foot. It was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it
was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of
brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and
heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward,
snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a
suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at
this moment a plashy tramp, by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive
ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the
brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black, and towering. It
stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom like some gigantic
monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

–Irving: _Legend of Sleepy Hollow_.

The most important use of description in connection with narration is that
of portraying character. Though it is by their actions that the character
of persons is most strongly brought out, yet the descriptive matter may do
much to strengthen the impression of character which we form. (Section
134.) Much of the description found in literature is of this nature.
Stripped of its context such a description may fail to satisfy our ideals
as judged by the principles of description discussed in Chapter VIII.
Nevertheless, in its place it may be perfectly adapted to its purpose and
give just the impression the author wished to give. Such descriptions must
be judged in their settings, and the sole standard of judgment is not
their beauty or completeness as descriptions, but how well they give the
desired impressions.

+Theme LXXXIII.+–_Write a short personal narrative containing some
description which explains how or why events occur._

(Is there anything in the descriptive part that does not bear on the

+Theme LXXXIV.+–_Write a narrative containing description that aids in
giving an impression of character._

Suggested subjects:–
1. Holding the fort.
2. A steamer trip.
3. How I played truant.
4. Kidnapped.
5. The misfortunes of our circus.
6. Account for the situation shown in a picture that you have seen.

(Will the reader form the impression of character which you wish him to
form? Consider your theme with reference to its introduction, incentive
moment, selection and arrangement of details, and climax.)


1. Narration assumes a variety of forms,–incidents, anecdotes, stories,
letters, novels, histories, biographies, etc.,–all concerned with the
relation of events.

2. The essential characteristics of a narration are,–
_a._ An introduction which tells the characters, the time, the place,
and enough of the attendant circumstances to make clear the
point of the narrative.
_b._ The early introduction of an incentive moment.
_c._ A climax presented in such a way as to maintain the interest of
the reader.
_d._ The selection of details essential to the climax in accordance
with the principle of unity.
_e._ The arrangement of these details in a coherent order.
_f._ The skillful introduction of minor details which will assist in
the appreciation of the point.
_g._ The introduction of all necessary description and explanation.
_h._ That additional effectiveness which comes from
(1) Proper choice of words.
(2) Suitable comparisons and figures.
(3) Variety of sentence structure.
_i._ A brief conclusion.


+152. Purpose of Exposition.+–It is the purpose of exposition to make
clear to others that which we ourselves understand. Its primary object is
to give information. Herein lies one of the chief differences between the
two forms of discourse just studied and the one that we are about to
study. The primary object of most description and narration is to please,
while that of exposition is to inform. Exposition answers such questions
as how? why? what does it mean? what is it used for? and by these answers
attempts to satisfy demands for knowledge.

In the following selections notice that the first tells us _how_ to
burnish a photograph; the second, _how_ to split a sheet of paper:–

1. When the prints are almost dry they can be burnished. The burnishing
iron should be heated and kept hot during the burnishing, about the same
heat as a flatiron in ironing clothes. Care must be taken to keep the
polished surface of the burnisher bright and clean. When the iron is hot
enough the prints should be rubbed with a glacé polish, which is sold for
this purpose, and is applied with a small wad of flannel. Then the prints
should be passed through the burnisher two or three times, the burnisher
being so adjusted that the pressure on the prints is rather light; the
degree of pressure will be quickly learned by experience, more pressure
being required if the prints have been allowed to become dry before being
polished. White castile soap will do very well as a lubricator for the
prints before burnishing, and is applied in the same manner as above.

–_The Amateur Photographer’s Handbook_.

2. Paper can be split into two or even three parts, however thin the
sheet. It may be convenient to know how to do this sometimes; as, for
instance, when one wishes to paste in a scrapbook an article printed on
both sides of the paper.

Get a piece of plate glass and place it on a sheet of paper. Then let the
paper be thoroughly soaked. With care and a little skill the sheet can be
split by the top surface being removed.

The best plan, however, is to paste a piece of cloth or strong paper to
each side of the sheet to be split. When dry, quickly, and without
hesitation, pull the two pieces asunder, when one part of the sheet will
be found to have adhered to one, and part to the other. Soften the paste
in water, and the two pieces can easily be removed from the cloth.


A. Explain orally any two of the following:–
1. How to fly a kite.
2. How a robin builds her nest.
3. How oats are harvested.
4. How tacks are made.
5. How to make a popgun.
6. How fishes breathe.
7. How to swim.
8. How to hemstitch a handkerchief.
9. How to play golf.
10. How salt is obtained.

B. Name several subjects with the explanation of which you are unfamiliar.

+Theme LXXXV.+–_Select for a subject something that you know how to do.
Write a theme on the subject chosen._

(Have you made use of either general description or general narration? See
Sections 67 and 68.)

Very frequently explanations of _how_ and _why_ anything is done are
combined, as in the following:–

In cases of sunstroke, place the person attacked in a cool, airy place. Do
not allow a crowd to collect closely about him. Remove his clothing, and
lay him flat upon his back. Dash him all over with cold water–ice-water,
if it can be obtained–and rub the entire body with pieces of ice. This
treatment is used to reduce the heat of the body, for in all cases of
sunstroke the temperature of the body is greatly increased. When the body
has become cooler, wipe it dry and remove the person to a dry locality. If
respiration ceases, or becomes exceedingly slow, practice artificial
respiration. After the patient has apparently recovered, he should be kept
quiet in bed for some time.

–Baldwin: _Essential Lessons in Human Physiology and Hygiene_.

Notice that the following selection answers neither the question _how_?
nor _why_? but explains what journalism is:–


What is a journal? What is a journalist? What is journalism? Is it a
trade, a commercial business, or a profession? Our word _journal_ comes
from the French. It has different forms in the several Romantic languages,
and all go back to the Latin _diurnalis_, daily, from _dies_, a day.
Diurnal and diary are derived from the same source. The first journals
were in fact diaries, daily records of happenings, compiled often for the
pleasure and use of the compiler alone, sometimes for monarchs or
statesmen or friends; later to be circulated for the information of a
circle of readers, or distributed in copies to subscribers among the
public at large. These were the first newspapers. While we still in a
specific sense speak of daily newspapers as journals, the term is often
enlarged to comprise nearly all publications that are issued periodically
and distributed to subscribers.

A journalist is one whose business is publishing a journal (or more than
one), or editing a journal, or writing for journals, especially a person
who is regularly employed in some responsible directing or creative work
on a journal, as a publisher, editor, writer, reporter, critic, etc. This
use of the word is comparatively modern, and it is commonly restricted to
persons connected with daily or weekly newspapers. Many older newspaper
men scout it, preferring to be known as publishers, editors, writers, or
contributors. Journalism, however, is a word that is needed for its
comprehensiveness. It includes the theory, the business, and the art of
producing newspapers in all departments of the work. Hence, any school of
professional journalism must be presumed to comprise in its scope and
detail of instruction the knowledge that is essential to the making and
conduct of newspapers. It must have for its aim the ideal newspaper which
is ideally perfect in every department.

Journalism, so far as it is more than mere reporting and mere money
making, so far as it undertakes to frame and guide opinion, to educate the
thought and instruct the conscience of the community, by editorial
comment, interpretation and homily, based on the news, is under obligation
to the community to be truthful, sincere, and uncorrupted; to enlighten
the understanding, not to darken counsel; to uphold justice and honor with
unfailing resolution, to champion morality and the public welfare with
intelligent zeal, to expose wrong and antagonize it with unflinching
courage. If journalism has any mission in the world besides and beyond the
dissemination of news, it is a mission of maintaining a high standard of
thought and life in the community it serves, strengthening all its forces
that make for righteousness and beauty and fair growth.

This is not solely, nor peculiarly, the office of what is called the
editorial page. To be most influential, it must be a consistent expression
in all departments, giving the newspaper a totality of power in such aim.
This is the right ideal of journalism whenever it is considered as
more than a form of commercialism. No newspaper attains its ideal in
completeness. If it steadfastly works toward attainment, it gives proof of
its right to be. The advancing newspaper, going on from good to better in
the substance of its character and the ability of its endeavor, is the
type of journalism which affords hope for the future. And one strong
encouragement to fidelity in a high motive is public appreciation.

–_The Boston Herald._


Give as complete an answer as possible to any two of the following

1. Why do fish bite better on a cloudy day than on a bright one?

2. Why should we study history?

3. Why does a baseball curve?

4. Why did the American colonies revolt against England?

5. Why did the early settlers of New England persecute the Quakers?

6. Why should trees be planted either in early spring or late autumn?

7. Why do we lose a day in going from America to China?

8. In laying a railroad track, why is there a space left between the ends
of the rails?

+Theme LXXXVI.+–_Choose one of the above or a similar question as a
subject for a theme. Write out as complete and exact an explanation as


Write out a list of subjects the explanation of which would not answer the
questions _why_? or _how_? How many of them can you explain?

+Theme LXXXVII.+–_Write out the explanation of one of the subjects in the
above list._

(Read what you have written and consider it with reference to clearness,
unity, and coherence.)

+153. Importance of Exposition.+–This form of discourse is important
because it deals so extensively with important subjects, such as questions
of government, facts in science, points in history, methods in education,
and processes of manufacture. It enters vitally into our lives, no matter
what our occupation may be. Business men make constant use of this kind of
discourse. In fact, it would be impossible for business to be transacted
with any degree of success without explanations. Loans of money would not
be made if men did not understand how they could have security for the
sums loaned. A manufacturer cannot expect to have good articles produced
if he is unable to give needful explanations concerning their manufacture.
In order that a merchant be successful he must be able to explain the
relative merits of his goods to his customers.

Very much of the work done in our schools is of an expository nature.
The text-books used are expositions. When they of themselves are not
sufficient for the clear understanding of the subject, it is necessary
to consult reference books. Then, if the subject is still lacking in
clearness, the teacher is called upon for additional explanation. On the
other hand, the greater part of the pupil’s recitations consists simply in
explaining the subjects under discussion. Much of the class-room work in
our schools consists of either receiving or giving explanations.


1. Name anything outside of school work that you have been called upon to
explain during the last week or two.

2. Name anything outside of school work that you have recently learned
through explanation.

3. Name three topics in each of your studies for to-day that call for

4. Name some topic in which the text-book did not seem to make the
explanation clear.

+Theme LXXXVIII.+–_Write out one of the topics mentioned in number three
of the preceding exercise._

(Have you included everything that is necessary to make your explanation
clear? Can anything be omitted without affecting the clearness?)

+154. Clear Understanding.+–The first requisite of a good explanation
is a clear understanding on the part of the one who is giving the
explanation. It is evident that if we do not understand a subject
ourselves we cannot make our explanations clear to others. If the ideas in
our mind are in a confused state, our explanation will be equally
confused. If you do not understand a problem in algebra, your attempt to
explain it to others will prove a failure. If you attempt to explain how a
canal boat is taken through a lock without thoroughly understanding the
process yourself, you will give your listeners only a confused idea of how
it is done.

The principal reason why pupils fail in their recitations and examinations
is that in preparing their lessons, they do not make themselves thoroughly
acquainted with the topics that they are studying. They often go over the
lessons hurriedly and carelessly and come to class with confused ideas.
Consequently when the pupils attempt to recite, there is, if anything, an
additional confusion of ideas, and the recitation proves a failure.
Carelessness in the preparation of daily recitations, negligence in asking
for additional explanations, and inattention to the explanations that are
given, inevitably cause failure when tests or examinations are called for.


1. Name five subjects about which you know so little that it would be
useless to attempt an explanation.

2. Name five about which you know something, but not enough to give clear
explanations of them.

3. Name four about which you know but little, but concerning which you
feel sure that you can obtain information.

4. Name six that you think you clearly understand. Report orally on one of

+Theme LXXXIV.+–_Write out an explanation of one of the subjects named in
number four of the preceding exercise._

(Read your theme and criticise it as to clearness. In listening to the
themes read by other members of the class consider them as to clearness.
Call for further explanation of any part not perfectly clear to you.)

+155. Selection of Facts–Unity.+–After we have been given a subject for
explanation or have chosen one for ourselves, we must decide concerning
the facts to be presented. In some kinds of exposition this selection is
rather difficult. Since the purpose is to make our meaning clear to the
person addressed, we secure unity by including all that is necessary to
that purpose and by omitting all that is not necessary. It is evident that
selection of facts to secure unity depends to some extent upon the
audience. If a child asks us to explain what a trust is, our explanation
will differ very much from that which we would give if we were addressing
a body of men who were familiar with the term _trusts_, but do not
understand the advantages and disadvantages arising from their existence.

Examine the following as to selection of facts. For what class of people
do you think it was written? What seems to be the purpose of it?


This connection of king as sovereign, with his princes and great men as
vassals, must be attended to and understood, in order that you may
comprehend the history which follows. A great king, or sovereign prince,
gave large provinces, or grants of land, to his dukes, earls, and
noblemen; and each of these possessed nearly as much power, within his own
district, as the king did in the rest of his dominions. But then the
vassal, whether duke, earl, or lord, or whatever he was, was obliged to
come with a certain number of men to assist the sovereign, when he was
engaged in war; and in time of peace, he was bound to attend on his court
when summoned, and do homage to him, that is, acknowledge that he was his
master and liege lord. In like manner, the vassals of the crown, as they
were called, divided the lands which the king had given them into estates,
which they bestowed on knights, and gentlemen, whom they thought fitted to
follow them in war, and to attend them in peace; for they, too, held
courts, and administered justice, each in his own province. Then the
knights and gentlemen, who had these estates from the great nobles,
distributed the property among an inferior class of proprietors, some of
whom cultivated the land themselves, and others by means of husbandmen and
peasants, who were treated as a sort of slaves, being bought and sold like
brute beasts, along with the farms which they labored.

Thus, when a great king, like that of France or England, went to war, he
summoned all his crown vassals to attend him, with the number of armed men
corresponding to his fief, as it was called, that is, territory which had
been granted to each of them. The prince, duke, or earl, in order to obey
the summons, called upon all the gentlemen to whom he had given estates,
to attend his standard with their followers in arms. The gentlemen, in
their turn, called on the franklins, a lower order of gentry, and upon the
peasants; and thus the whole force of the kingdom was assembled in one
array. This system of holding lands for military service, that is, for
fighting for the sovereign when called upon, was called the _feudal
system_. It was general throughout all Europe for a great many ages.

–Scott: _Tales of a Grandfather_.

+Theme LXXXV.+–_Write a theme on one of the following:_–

1. Tell your younger brother how to make a whistle.

2. Explain some game to a friend of your own age.

3. Give an explanation of the heating system of your school to a member of
the school board of an adjoining city.

4. Explain to a city girl how butter is made.

5. Explain to a city boy how hay is cured.

6. Explain to a friend how to run an automobile.

(Consider the selection of facts as determined by the person addressed.)

+156. Arrangement–Coherence.+–Some expositions are of such a nature that
there is but little question concerning the proper arrangement of the
topics composing them. In order to be coherent, all we do is to follow the
natural order of occurrence in time and place. This is especially true of
general narrations and of some general descriptions. In explaining the
circulation of the blood, for instance, it is most natural for us to
follow the course which the blood takes in circulating through the body.
In explaining the manufacture of articles we naturally begin with the
material as it comes to the factory, and trace the process of manufacture
in order through its successive stages.

In other kinds of exposition a coherent arrangement is somewhat difficult.
We should not, however, fail to pay attention to it. A clear understanding
of the subject, on the part of the listener, depends largely upon the
proper arrangement of topics. As you study examples of expositions of some
length, you will notice that there are topics which naturally belong
together. These topics form groups, and the groups are treated separately.
If the expositions are good ones, the related facts will not only be
united into groups, but the groups will also be so arranged and the
transition from one group to another be so naturally made that it will
cause no confusion.

In brief explanations of but one paragraph there should be but one group
of facts. Even these facts need to be so arranged as to make the whole
idea clear. The writer may have a clear understanding of the whole idea,
but in order to give the reader the same clear understanding, certain
facts must be presented before others are. In order to make an explanation
clear, the facts must be so arranged that those which are necessary to the
understanding of others shall come first.

Examine the following expositions as to the grouping of related facts and
the arrangement of those groups:–

Fresh, pure air at all times is essential to bodily comfort and good
health. Air may become impure from many causes. Poisonous gases may be
mixed with it; sewer gas is especially to be guarded against; coal gas
which is used for illuminating purposes is very poisonous and dangerous if
inhaled; the air arising from decaying substances, foul cellars, or
stagnant pools, is impure and unhealthy, and breeds diseases; the foul and
poisonous air which has been expelled from the lungs, if breathed again,
will cause many distressing symptoms. Ventilation has for its object the
removal of impure air and the supplying of fresh, wholesome air in its
place. Proper ventilation should be secured in all rooms and buildings,
and its importance cannot be overestimated.

In the summer time and in climates which permit of it with comfort,
ventilation may be secured by having the doors and windows open, thus
allowing the fresh air to circulate freely through the house. In stormy
and cold weather, however, some other means of ventilation must be
supplied. If open fires or grates are used for heating purposes, good
ventilation exists, for under such circumstances, the foul and impure air
is drawn out of the rooms through the chimneys, and the fresh air enters
through the cracks of the doors and windows.

Where open fireplaces are not used, several plans of ventilation
may be used, as they all operate on the same principle. Two openings
should be in the room, one of them near the floor, through which
the fresh air may enter, the other higher up, and connected with a
shaft or chimney, which producing a draft, may serve to free the room
from impure air. The size of these openings may be regulated according
to the size of the room.

–Baldwin: _Essential Lessons in Human Physiology_.


It is a singular fact, also, that the queen is made, not born. If the
entire population of Spain or Great Britain were the offspring of one
mother, it might be found necessary to hit upon some device by which a
royal baby could be manufactured out of an ordinary one, or else give up
the fashion of royalty. All the bees in the hive have a common parentage,
and the queen and the worker are the same in the egg and in the chick; the
patent of royalty is in the cell and in the food; the cell being much
larger, and the food a peculiar stimulating kind of jelly. In certain
contingencies, such as the loss of the queen with no eggs in the royal
cells, the workers take the larva of an ordinary bee, enlarge the cell by
taking in the two adjoining ones, and nurse it and stuff it and coddle it,
till at the end of sixteen days it comes out a queen. But ordinarily, in
the natural course of events, the young queen is kept a prisoner in her
cell till the old queen has left with the swarm. Not only kept, but
guarded against the mother queen, who only wants an opportunity to murder
every royal scion in the hive. Both the queens, the one a prisoner and the
other at large, pipe defiance at each other at this time, a shrill, fine,
trumpetlike note that any ear will at once recognize. This challenge, not
being allowed to be accepted by either party, is followed, in a day or
two, by the abdication of the old queen; she leads out the swarm, and her
successor is liberated by her keepers, who, in her turn, abdicates in
favor of the next younger. When the bees have decided that no more swarms
can issue, the reigning queen is allowed to use her stiletto upon her
unhatched sisters. Cases have been known where two queens issued at the
same time, when a mortal combat ensued, encouraged by the workers, who
formed a ring about them, but showed no preference, and recognized the
victor as the lawful sovereign. For these and many other curious facts we
are indebted to the blind Huber.

It is worthy of note that the position of the queen cells is always
vertical, while that of the drones and workers is horizontal; majesty
stands on its head, which fact may be a part of the secret.

The notion has always very generally prevailed that the queen of the bees
is an absolute ruler, and issues her royal orders to willing subjects.
Hence Napoleon the First sprinkled the symbolic bees over the imperial
mantle that bore the arms of his dynasty; and in the country of the
Pharaohs the bee was used as the emblem of a people sweetly submissive to
the orders of its king. But the fact is, a swarm of bees is an absolute
democracy, and kings and despots can find no warrant in their example. The
power and authority are entirely vested in the great mass, the workers.
They furnish all the brains and foresight of the colony, and administer
its affairs. Their word is law, and both king and queen must obey. They
regulate the swarming, and give the signal for the swarm to issue from the
hive; they select and make ready the tree in the woods and conduct the
queen to it.

The peculiar office and sacredness of the queen consists in the fact that
she is the mother of the swarm, and the bees love and cherish her as a
mother and not as a sovereign. She is the sole female bee in the hive, and
the swarm clings to her because she is their life. Deprived of their
queen, and of all brood from which to rear one, the swarm loses all heart
and soon dies, though there be an abundance of honey.

The common bees will never use their sting upon the queen,–if she is to
be disposed of they starve her to death; and the queen herself will sting
nothing but royalty–nothing but a rival queen.

–John Burroughs: _Birds and Bees_.

+Theme LXXXVI.+–_Write an expository theme._

Suggested subjects:–
1. Duties of the sheriff.
2. How a motor works.
3. How wheat is harvested.
4. Why the tide exists.
5. How our schoolhouse is ventilated.
6. What is meant by the theory of evolution.
7. The manufacture of —-.
8. How to make a —-.

(Consider the arrangement of your statements.)

+157. Use of an Outline.+–Before beginning to write an explanation we
need to consider what we know about the subject and what our purpose is;
we need to select facts that will make our explanations clear to our
readers; and we need to decide what arrangement of these facts will best
show their relation to each other. We shall find it of advantage,
especially in lengthy explanations, to express our thoughts in the form of
an outline. An outline helps us to see clearly whether our facts are well
chosen, and it also helps us to see whether the arrangement is orderly or
not. Clearness is above all the essential of exposition, and outlines aid
clearness by giving unity and coherence.


Select three of the following subjects and make lists of facts that you
know about them. From these select those which would be necessary in
making a clear explanation of each. After making out these lists of facts,
arrange them in what seems to you the best possible order for making the
explanation clear to your classmates.

1. The value of a school library.
2. Sponges.
3. The manufacture of clocks.
4. Drawing.
5. Athletics in the high school.
6. Examinations.
7. Debating societies.

+Theme LXXXVII.+–_Following the outline, write an exposition on one of
the subjects chosen._

(Notice the transition from one paragraph to another. See Section 87.)

+158. Exposition of Terms–Definition.+–Explanation of the meaning of
general terms is one form of exposition (Section 63). The first step in
the exposition of a term is the giving of a definition. This may be
accomplished by the use of a synonym (Section 64). We make a term
intelligible to the reader by the use of a synonym with which he is
familiar; and though such a definition is inexact, it gives a rough idea
of the meaning of the term in question, and so serves a useful purpose.
If, however, we wish exactness, we shall need to make use of the logical

+159. The Logical Definition.+–The logical definition sets exact limits
to the meaning of a term. An exact definition must include all the members
of a class indicated by the term defined, and it must exclude everything
that does not belong to that class. A logical definition is composed of
two parts. It first names the class to which the term to be defined
belongs, and then it names the characteristic that distinguishes that term
from all other members of the same class. The class is termed the _genus_,
and the distinguishing characteristics of the different members of the
class are termed the _differentia_. Notice the following division into
genus and differentia.

| | _(Differentia)_
| |
A parallelogram | is a quadrilateral | whose opposite sides
| | are parallel
| |
Exposition | is that form of | which seeks to explain
| discourse | the meaning of a term.
| |

Each definition includes three elements: the term to be defined, the
genus, and the differentia; but these are not necessarily arranged in the
order named.


Select the three elements (the term to be defined, the genus, and the
differentia) in each of the following:–

1. A polygon of three sides is called a triangle.

2. A square is an equilateral rectangle.

3. A rectangle whose sides are equal is a square.

4. Description is that form of discourse which aims to present a picture.

5. The characters composing written words are called letters.

6. The olfactory nerves are the first pair of cranial nerves.

7. Person is that modification of a noun or pronoun which denotes the
speaker, the person spoken to, or the person or things spoken of.

8. The diptera, or true flies, are readily distinguishable from other
insects by their having a single pair of wings instead of two pairs, the
hind wings being transformed into small knob-headed pedicles called
balancers or halters.

+160. Difficulty of Framing Exact Definitions.+–In order to frame a
logical definition, exactness of thought is essential. Even when the
thought is exact, it will be found difficult and often impossible to frame
a satisfactory definition. Usually there is little difficulty in selecting
the genus, still care should be taken to select one that includes the term
to be defined. We might begin the definition of iron by saying, “Iron is a
metal,” since all iron is metal, but it would be incorrect to begin the
definition of rodent by saying, “A rodent is a beaver,” because the term
beaver does not include all rodents. We must also take care to choose for
the genus some term familiar to the reader, because the object of the
definition is to make the meaning clear to him.

The chief difficulty of framing logical definitions arises in the
selection of differentia. In many cases it is not easy to decide just what
characteristics distinguish one member of a class from all other members
of that class. We all know that iron is a metal, but most of us would
find it difficult to add to the definition just those things which
distinguish iron from other metals. We may say, “A flute is a musical
instrument”; so much of the definition is easily given. The difficulty
lies in distinguishing it from all other musical instruments.


_A._ Select proper differentia for the following:–

| | _(Differentia)_
| |
1. Narration | is that form of discourse | ?
| |
2. A circle | is a portion of a plane | ?
| |
3. A dog | is an animal | ?
| |
4. A hawk | is a bird | ?
| |
5. Physiography | is the science | ?
| |
6. A sneak | is a person | ?
| |
7. A quadrilateral | is a plane figure | ?
| |
8. A barn | is a building | ?
| |
9. A bicycle | is a machine | ?
| |
10. A lady | is a woman | ?

_B._ Give logical definitions for at least four words in the list below.

1. Telephone.

2. Square.

3. Hammer.

4. Novel

5. Curiosity.

6. Door.

7. Camera.

8. Brick.

9. Microscope.

+161. Inexact Definitions.+–If the distinguishing characteristics are not
properly selected, the definition though logical in form may be inexact,
because the differentia do not exclude all but the term to be defined. If
we say, “Exposition is that form of discourse which gives information,”
the definition is inexact because there are other forms of discourse that
give information. Many definitions given in text-books are inexact. Care
should be taken to distinguish them from those which are logically exact.


Which of the following are exact?

1. A sheep is a gregarious animal that produces wool.

2. A squash is a garden plant much liked by striped bugs.

3. A pronoun is a word used for a noun.

4. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle and tendon, convex on its upper
side, and attached by bands of striped muscle to the lower ribs at the
side, to the sternum, and to the cartilage of the ribs which join it in
front, and at the back by very strong bands to the lumbar vertebrae.

5. A man is a two-legged animal without feathers.

6. Argument is that form of discourse which has for its object the proof
of the truth or falsity of a proposition.

7. The base of an isosceles triangle is that side which is equal to no

8. Zinc is a metal used under stoves.

9. The epidermis of a leaf is a delicate, transparent skin which covers
the whole leaf.

+Theme LXXXVIII.+–_Write an expository paragraph about one of the

Suggested subjects:–
1. Household science and arts.
2. Architecture.
3. Aesthetics.
4. Poetry.
5. Fiction.
6. Half tones.
7. Steam fitting.
8. Swimming.

(Consider the definitions you have used.)

+162. Division.+–The second step in the exposition of a term is division.
Definition establishes the limits of the term. Division separates into its
parts that which is included by the term. By definition we distinguish
triangles from squares, circles, and other plane figures. By division we
may separate them into scalene, isosceles, and equilateral, or if we
divide them according to a different principle into right and oblique
triangles. In either case the division is complete and exact. By
completeness is meant that every object denoted by the term explained is
included in the division given, thus making the sum of these divisions
equal to the whole. By exactness is meant that but a single principle has
been used, and so no object denoted by the term explained will be included
in more than one of the divisions made. There are no triangles which are
neither right nor oblique, so the division is complete; and no triangle
can be both right and oblique, so the division is exact. Such a complete
and exact division is called _classification_.

Nearly every term may be divided according to more than one principle. We
may divide the term _books_ into ancient and modern, or into religious and
secular, or in any one of a dozen other ways. Which principle of division
we shall choose will depend upon our purpose. If we wish to discuss
_sponges_ with reference to their shapes, our division will be different
from what it would be if we were to discuss them with reference to their
uses. When a principle of division has once been chosen it is essential
that it be followed throughout. The use of two principles causes an
overlapping of divisions, thus producing what is called cross division.
Using the principle of use, a tailor may sort his bolts of cloth into
cloth for overcoats, cloth for suits, and cloth for trousers; using the
principle of weight, into heavy weight and light weight; or he may sort
them with reference to color or price. In any case but a single principle
is used. It would not do to divide them into cloth for suits, light weight
goods, and brown cloth. Such a division would be neither complete nor
exact; for some of the cloth would belong to none of the classes while
other pieces might properly be placed in all three.

In the exact sciences complete exposition is the aim, and classification
is necessary; but in other writing the purpose in hand is often better
accomplished by omitting minor divisions. A writer of history might
consider the political growth, the wars, and the religion of a nation and
omit its domestic life and educational progress, especially if these did
not greatly influence the result that he wishes to make plain. If we
wished to explain the plan of the organization of a high school, it would
be satisfactory to divide the pupils into freshmen, sophomores, juniors,
and seniors, even though, in any particular school, there might be a few
special and irregular pupils who belonged to none of these classes.
An exposition of the use of hammers would omit many occasional and
unimportant uses. Such a classification though exact is incomplete and is
called _partition_.


_A._ Can you tell which of the following are classifications? Which are
partitions? Which are defective?

1. The inhabitants of the United States are Americans, Indians, and

2. Lines are straight, curved, and crooked.

3. Literature is composed of prose, poetry, and fiction.

4. The political parties in the last campaign were Republican and

5. The United States Government has control of states and territories

6. Plants are divided into two groups: (1) the phanerogams, or flowering
plants, and (2) cryptogams, or flowerless plants.

7. All phanerogamous plants consist of (1) root and (2) shoot; the shoot
consisting of (_a_) stem and (_b_) leaf. It is true that some exceptional
plants, in maturity, lack leaves, or lack root. These exceptions are few.

8. We may divide the activities of the government into: keeping order,
making law, protecting individual rights, providing public schools,
providing and mending roads, caring for the destitute, carrying the mail,
managing foreign relations, making war, and collecting taxes.

_B_. Notice the following paragraphs, State briefly the divisions made.

+1. Plan of the Book.+–What is government? Who is the government? We
shall begin by considering the American answers to these questions.

What does The Government do? That will be our next inquiry. And with
regard to the ordinary practical work of government, we shall see that
government in the United States is not very different from government in
the other civilized countries of the world.

Then we shall inquire how government officials are chosen in the United
States, and how the work of government is parceled out among them. This
part of the book will show what is meant by self-government and local
self-government, and will show that our system differs from European
systems chiefly in these very matters of self-government and local

Coming then to the details of our subject, we shall consider the names and
duties of the principal officials in the United States; first, those of
the township, county, and city, then those of the state, and then those of
the federal government.

Finally, we shall examine certain operations in the American system, such
as a trial in court, and nominations for office, and conclude with an
outline of international relations, and a summary of the commonest laws of
business and property.

–Clark: _The Government_.

2. +Zo√∂logy and its Divisions.+–What things we do know about the dog,
however, and about its relatives, and what things others know can be
classified into several groups; namely, things or facts about what a dog
does or its behavior, things about the make-up of its body, things about
its growth and development, things about the kind of dog it is and the
kinds of relatives it has, and things about its relations to the outer
world and its special fitness for life.

All that is known of these different kinds of facts about the dog
constitutes our knowledge of the dog and its life. All that is known by
scientific men and others of these different kinds of facts about all the
500,000 or more kinds of living animals, constitutes our knowledge of
animals and is the science _zoölogy_. Names have been given to these
different groups of facts about animals. The facts about the bodily
make-up or structure of animals constitute that part of zoölogy called
animal _anatomy_ or _morphology;_ the facts about the things animals do,
or the functions of animals, compose animal _physiology;_ the facts about
the development of animals from young to adult condition are the facts of
animal _development;_ the knowledge of the different kinds of animals and
their relationships to each other is called _systematic_ zoölogy or animal
_classification;_ and finally the knowledge of the relations of animals to
their external surroundings, including the inorganic world, plants and
other animals, is called animal _ecology_.

Any study of animals and their life, that is, of zoölogy, may include all
or any of these parts of zoölogy.

–Kellogg: _Elementary Zo√∂logy_.

3. Are not these outlines of American destiny in the near-by future
rational? In these papers an attempt has been made:–

First, to picture the physical situation and equipment of the American in
the modern world.

Second, to outline the large and fundamental elements of American
character, which are:–

(_a_) Conservatism–moderation, thoughtfulness, and poise.
(_b_) Thoroughness–conscientious performance, to the minutest detail,
of any work which we as individuals or people may have in hand.
(_c_) Justice–that spirit which weighs with the scales of righteousness
our conduct toward each other and our conduct as a nation toward
the world.
(_d_) Religion–the sense of dependence upon and responsibility to the
Higher Power; the profound American belief that our destiny is in
His hands.
(_e_) The minor elements of American character–such as the tendency to
organize, the element of humor, impatience with frauds, and the
movement in American life toward the simple and sincere.

–Beveridge: _Americans of To-day and To-morrow_.

_C._ Consult the table of contents or opening chapters of any text-book
and notice the main divisions.

_D._ Find in text-books five examples of classification or division.

_E._ Make one or more divisions of each of the following:–

1. The pupils in your school.
2. Your neighbors.
3. The books in the school library.
4. The buildings you see on the way to school.
5. The games you know how to play.
6. Dogs.
7. Results of competition.

+Theme LXXXIX.+–_Write an introductory paragraph showing what divisions
you, would make if called upon, to write about one of the following

1. Mathematics.

2. The school system of our city.

3. The churches of our town.

4. Methods of transportation.

5. Our manufacturing interests.

6. Games that girls like.

7. The inhabitants of the United States.

(Have you mentioned all important divisions of your subject? Have you
included any minor and unimportant divisions? Consider other possible
principles of division of your subject. Have you chosen the one best
suited to your purpose?)

+163. Exposition of a Proposition.+–Two terms united into a sentence so
that one is affirmed of the other become a proposition. Propositions, like
terms, may be either specific or general. “Napoleon was ambitious” is a
specific proposition; “Politicians are ambitious” is a general one.

When a proposition is presented to the mind, its meaning may not at once
be clear. The obscurity may arise from the fact that some of the terms in
the proposition are unfamiliar, or are obscure, or misleading. In this
case the first step, and often the only step necessary, is the explanation
of the terms in the proposition. The following selection taken from
Dewey’s _Psychology_ illustrates the exposition of a proposition by
explaining its terms:–

The habitual act thus occurs automatically and mechanically. When we say
that it occurs automatically, we mean that it takes place, as it were, of
itself, spontaneously, without the intervention of the will. By saying
that it is mechanical, we mean that there exists no consciousness of the
process involved, nor of the relation of the means, the various muscular
adjustments, to the end, locomotion.

It is possible for our listeners or readers to understand each term in a
proposition and yet not be able to understand the meaning of the
proposition as a whole. When this is the case, we shall find it necessary
to make use of methods of exposition discussed later.


Explain orally the following propositions by explaining any of the terms
likely to be unfamiliar or misunderstood:

1. The purpose of muscular contraction is the production of motion.

2. Ping-pong is lawn tennis in miniature, with a few modifications.

3. An inevitable dualism bisects nature.

4. Never inflict corporal chastisement for intellectual faults.

5. Children should be led to make their own investigations and to draw
their own inferences.

6. The black willow is an excellent tonic as well as a powerful

7. Give the Anglo-Saxon equivalent for “nocturnal.”

8. A negative exponent signifies the reciprocal of what the expression
would be if the exponent were positive.

+Theme XC.+–_Write an explanation of one of the following:_

1. Birds of a feather flock together.

2. Truths and roses have thorns about them.

3. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

4. Who keeps company with a wolf will learn to howl.

5. He gives nothing but worthless gold, who gives from a sense of duty.

6. All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoyed.

7. Be not simply good–be good for something.

8. He that hath light within his own clear breast, May sit i’ the center,
and enjoy bright day; But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the midday sun; Himself is his own dungeon.

(Select the sentence that seems most difficult to you, determine what it
means, and then attempt to make an explanation that will show that you
thoroughly understand its meaning.)

+164. Exposition by Repetition.+–In discussing paragraph development
(Section 50) we have already learned that the meaning of a proposition may
be made clearer by the repetition of the topic statement. This repetition
may be used to supplement the definition of terms, or it may by itself
make clear both the meaning of the terms and of the proposition. Each
repetition of the proposition presents it to the reader in a new light or
in a stronger light. Each time the idea is presented it seems more
definite, more familiar, more clear. Such statements of a proposition take
advantage of the fact that the reader is thinking, and we merely attempt
to direct his thought in such a way that he will turn the proposition over
and over in his mind until it is understood.

Notice how the following propositions are explained largely by means of
repetitions, each of which adds a little to the original statement.

How to live?–that is the essential question for us. Not how to live in
the mere material sense only, but in the widest sense. The general
problem, which comprehends every special problem, is the right ruling of
conduct in all directions under all circumstances. In what way to treat
the body; in what way to treat the mind; in what way to manage our
affairs; in what way to bring up a family; in what way to behave as a
citizen; in what way to utilize all those sources of happiness which
nature supplies–how to use all our faculties to the greatest advantage of
ourselves and others–how to live completely? And this being the great
thing needful for us to learn, is, by consequence, the great thing which
education has to teach. To prepare us for complete living is the function
which education has to discharge: and the only radical mode of judging of
any educational course, is, to judge in what degree it discharges such

–Herbert Spencer: _Education_.

The gray squirrel is remarkably graceful in all his movements. It seems as
though some subtle curve was always produced by the line of the back and
tail at every light bound of the athletic little creature. He never moves
abruptly or jerks himself impatiently, as the red squirrel is continually
doing. On the contrary, all his movements are measured and deliberate, but
swift and sure. He never makes a bungling leap, and his course is marked
by a number of sinuous curves almost equal to those of a snake. He is here
one minute, and the next he has slipped away almost beyond the ability of
our eyes to follow.

–F. Schuyler Matthews: _American Nut Gatherers_.

+Theme XCI.+–_Write a paragraph explaining one of the propositions below
by means of repetition._

1. Physical training should be made compulsory in the high school.

2. Some people who seem to be selfish are not really so.

3. The dangers of athletic contests are overestimated.

4. The Monroe Doctrine is a warning to European powers to keep their hands
off territory in North and South America.

5. By the “treadmill of life” we mean the daily routine of duties.

6. The thirst for novelty is one of the most powerful incentives that take
a man to distant countries.

7. There are unquestionably increasing opportunities for an honorable and
useful career in the civil service of the United States.

(Have you used any method besides that of repetition? Does your paragraph
really explain the proposition?)

+165. Exposition by Use of Examples.+–Exposition treats of general
subjects, and the topic statement of a paragraph is, therefore, a general
statement. In order to understand what such a general statement means, the
reader may need to think of a concrete case. The writer may develop his
paragraph by furnishing concrete cases. (See Section 44.) In many cases no
further explanation is necessary.

The following paragraph illustrates this method of explanation:–

The lower portions of stream valleys which have sunk below sea level are
called _drowned valleys_. The lower St. Lawrence is perhaps the greatest
example of a drowned valley in the world, but many other rivers are in the
same condition. The old channel of the Hudson River may be traced upon the
sea bottom about 125 miles beyond its present mouth, and its valley is
drowned as far up as Troy, 150 miles. The sea extends up the Delaware
River to Trenton, and Chesapeake Bay with its many arms is the drowned
valleys of the Susquehanna and its former tributaries. Many of the most
famous harbors in the world, as San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, the
estuaries of the Thames and the Mersey, and the Scottish firths, are
drowned valleys.

–Dryer: _Lessons in Physical Geography_.

+Theme XCII.+–_Develop one of the following topic statements into an
expository paragraph by use of examples:_–

1. Weather depends to a great extent upon winds.

2. Progress in civilization has been materially aided by the use of nails.

3. Habit is formed by the repetition of the same act.

4. Men become criminals by a gradual process.

5. Men’s lives are affected by small things.

6. Defeat often proves to be real success.

(Have you made your meaning clear? Does your example really illustrate the
topic statement? Can you think of other illustrations?)

+166. Exposition by Comparison or Contrast.+–We can frequently make our
explanations clear by comparing the subject under discussion with
something that is already familiar to the reader. In such a case we shall
need to show in what respect the subject we are explaining is similar to
or differs from that with which it is compared. (Section 48.) Though
customary it is not necessary to compare the term under discussion with
some well-known term. In the example below the term _socialism_ is
probably no more familiar than the term _anarchism_. Both are explained in
the selection, and the explanations are made clearer by contrasting the
one with the other.

Socialism, which is curiously confounded by the indiscriminating with
Anarchism, is its exact opposite. Anarchy is the doctrine that there
should be no government control; Socialism–that is, State Socialism–is
the doctrine that government should control everything. State Socialism
affirms that the state–that is, the government–should own all the tools
and implements of industry, should direct all occupations, and should give
to every man according to his need and require from every man according to
his ability. State Socialism points to the evils of overproduction in some
fields and insufficient production in others, under our competitive
system, and proposes to remedy these evils by assigning to government the
duty of determining what shall be produced and what each worker shall
produce. If there are too many preachers and too few shoemakers, the
preacher will be taken from the pulpit and assigned to the bench; if there
are too many shoemakers and too few preachers, the shoemaker will be taken
from the bench and assigned to the pulpit. Anarchy says, no government;
Socialism says, all government; Anarchy leaves the will of the individual
absolutely unfettered, Socialism leaves nothing to the individual will;
Anarchism would have no social organism which is not dependent on the
entirely voluntary assent of each individual member of the organism at
every instant of its history; Socialism would have every individual of the
social organism wholly subordinate in all his lifework to the authority of
the whole body expressed through its properly constituted officers. It is
true that there are some writers who endeavor to unite these two
antagonistic doctrines by teaching that society should be organized wholly
for industry, not at all for government. But how a coöperative industry
can be carried on without a government which controls as well as counsels,
no writer, so far as I have been able to discover, has ever even

–Lyman Abbott: _Anarchism: Its Cause and Cure_.

+Theme XCIII.+–_Write an exposition that makes use of comparison:_–

Suggested subjects:–
1. A bad habit is a tyrant.
2. Typewritten letters.
3. The muskrat’s house.
4. Compare Shylock with Barabas in Marlowe’s _Jew of Malta_.
5. Methods of reading.
6. All the world’s a stage.
7. Compare life to a flower.

(Can you suggest any other comparisons which you might have used? Have you
been careful in your selection of facts and arrangement?)

+167. Exposition by Obverse Statements.+–In explaining an idea it is
necessary to distinguish it from any related or similar idea with which it
may be confused in the minds of our readers. Clearness is added by the
statement that one is _not_ the other. To say that socialism is not
anarchy is a good preparation for the explanation of what socialism really
is. In the following selection Burke excludes different kinds of peace and
by this exclusion emphasizes the kind of peace which he has in mind.

The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war; not peace
to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations;
not peace to arise out of universal discord, fomented from principle,
in all parts of the empire; not peace to depend on the juridical
determination of perplexing questions, or the precise marking the shadowy
boundaries of a complex government. It is simple peace; sought in its
natural course, and in its ordinary haunts.–It is peace sought in the
spirit of peace; and laid in principles purely pacific. I propose, by
removing the ground of the difference, and by restoring the _former
unsuspecting confidence of the colonies in the Mother Country_, to give
permanent satisfaction to your people; and (far from a scheme of ruling by
discord) to reconcile them to each other in the same act, and by the bond
of the very same interest which reconciles them to British government.

+168. Exposition by Giving Particulars or Details.+–One of the most
natural methods of explaining is to give particulars or details. After a
general statement has been made, our minds naturally look for details to
make the meaning of that statement clearer. (See Sections 45-47.) This
method is used very largely in generalized descriptions and narrations.

Notice the use of particulars or details in the following examples:–

Happy the boy who knows the secret of making a willow whistle! He must
know the best kind of willow for the purpose, and the exact time of year
when the bark will slip. The country boy seems to know these things by
instinct. When the day for whistles arrives he puts away marbles and hunts
the whetstone. His jackknife must be in good shape, for the making of a
whistle is a delicate piece of handicraft. The knife has seen service in
mumblepeg and as nut pick since whistle-making time last year. Surrounded
by a crowd of spectators, some admiring, some skeptical, the boy selects
his branch. There is an air of mystery about the proceeding. With a
patient indulgent smile he rejects all offers of assistance. He does not
attempt to explain why this or that branch will not do. When finally he
raises his shining knife and cuts the branch on which his choice has
fallen, all crowd round and watch. From the large end between two twigs he
takes a section about six inches long. Its bark is light green and smooth.
He trims one end neatly and passes his thumb thoughtfully over it to be
sure it is finished to his taste. He then cuts the other end of the stick
at an angle of about 45°, making a clean single cut. The sharp edge of
this is now cut off to make a mouthpiece. This is a delicate operation,
for the bark is apt to crush or split if the knife is dull, or the hand is
unskillful. The boy holds it up, inspecting his own work critically.
Sometimes he is dissatisfied and cuts again. If he makes a third cut and
is still unsuccessful he tosses the spoiled piece away. It is too short
now. A half dozen eager hands reach for the discarded stick, and the one
who gets it fondles it lovingly. I once had such a treasure and cherished
it until I learned the secret of the whistle-maker’s art. He next places
the knife edge about half an inch back from the end of the mouthpiece and
cuts straight towards the center of the branch about one-fourth the way
through. A three-cornered piece is now cut out, and the chip falls to the
ground unheeded.

When this is finished the boy’s eye runs along the stick with a
calculating squint. The knife edge is placed at the middle, then moved a
short distance towards the mouthpiece. With skillful hand he cuts through
the bark in a perfect circle round the stick. While we watch in fascinated
silence, he takes the knife by the blade and resting the unfinished
whistle on his knees he strikes firmly but gently the part of the stick
between the ring and the mouthpiece. Only the wooden part of the handle
touches the bark. He goes over and over it until every spot on its surface
has felt his light blow. Now he lays the knife aside, and grasping the
stick with a firm hand below the ring in the bark, with the right hand he
holds the pounded end. He tries it with a careful twist. It sticks. Back
to his knees it goes and the tap, tap, begins again. When he twists it
again it slips, and the bark comes off smoothly in one piece, while we
breathe a sigh of relief. How white the stick is under the bark! It shines
and looks slippery. Now the boy takes his knife again. He cuts towards the
straight jog where the chip was taken out, paring the wood away, sloping
up to within an inch of the end of the bark. Now he cuts a thin slice of
the wood between the edge of the vertical cut and the mouthpiece.

The whistle is nearly finished. We have all seen him make them before and
know what comes next. Our tongues seek over moist lips sympathetically,
for we know the taste of peeled willow. He puts the end of the stick into
his mouth and draws it in and out until it is thoroughly wet. Then he
lifts the carefully guarded section of bark and slips it back into place,
fitting the parts nicely together.

The willow whistle is finished. There remains but to try it. Will it go?
Does he dare blow into it and risk our jeers if it is dumb?

With all the fine certainty of the Pied Piper the boy lifts the humble
instrument to his lips. His eyes have a far-off look, his face changes;
while we strain eyes and ears, he takes his own time. The silence is
broken by a note, so soft, so tender, yet so weird and unlike other
sounds! Our hands quiver, our hearts beat faster. It is as if the spirit
of the willow tree had joined with the spirit of childhood in the natural
song of earth.

It goes!

–Mary Rogers Miller: _The Brook Book_.
(Copyright, 1902, Doubleday, Page and Co.)

+Theme XCIV.+–_Write an exposition on one of the following
subjects, making use of particulars or details:_–

1. How ice cream is made.
2. The cultivation of rice.
3. Greek architecture.
4. How paper is made.
5. A tornado.
6. Description of a steam engine.
7. The circulatory system of a frog.
8. A western ranch.
9. Street furniture.
10. A street fair.

(Have you used particulars sufficient to make your meaning clear? Have you
used any unnecessary particulars? Why is the arrangement of your topics
easy in this theme?)

+169. Exposition by Cause and Effect.+–When our general statement is in
the form of a cause or causes, the question naturally arises in our mind
as to the effects resulting from those causes. In like manner, when the
general statement takes the form of an effect, we want to know what the
causes are that produce such an effect. From the very nature of exposition
we may expect to find much of this kind of discourse relating to causes
and effects. (See Section 49.)

Notice the following example:–

The effect of the polar whirls may be seen in the rapid rotation of water
in a pan or bowl. The centrifugal force throws the water away from the
center, where the surface becomes depressed, and piles it up around the
sides, where the surface becomes elevated. The water being deeper at the
sides than at the center, its pressure upon the bottom is proportionately
greater. A similar effect is produced by the whirl of the air around the
polar regions. It is thrown away from the polar regions and piled up
around the circumference of the whirl. There is less air above the polar
regions than above latitude 30°-40°, and the atmospheric pressure is
correspondingly low at one place and high at the other. Thus the
centrifugal force of the polar whirl makes the pressure low in spite of
the low temperature. The position of the tropical belts of high pressure
is a resultant of the high temperature of the equatorial regions on one
side and the polar whirls on the other.

–Dryer: _Lessons in Physical Geography_.

+Theme XCV.+–_Write an expository theme using cause or effect._

Suggested subjects:–

1. The causes of the French Revolution.
2. How ravines are formed.
3. Irrigation.
4. Effects of smoking.
5. Lack of exercise.
6. Volcanic eruptions.

(Did you find it necessary to make use of any other method of explanation?
Did you make use of description in any place?)


1. Exposition is that form of discourse the purpose of which is to

2. The essential characteristics of an exposition are–
_a._ That it possess unity because it contains only those facts
essential to its purpose.
_b._ That the facts used be arranged in a coherent order.

3. Exposition is concerned with (_a_) general terms or (_b_) general

4. The steps in the exposition of a term are–
_a._ Definition. This may be–
(1) By synonym (inexact).
(2) By use of the logical definition (exact).
_b._ Division. This may be–
(1) Complete (classification).
(2) Incomplete (partition).
The same principle of division should be followed throughout.

5. Exposition of a proposition may use any one of the
following methods–
_a._ By repetition.
_b._ By giving examples.
_c._ By stating comparisons and contrasts.
_d._ By making obverse statements.
_e._ By relating particulars or details.
_f._ By stating cause or effect.
_g._ By any suitable combination of these methods.


+170. Difference between Argument and Exposition.+–Argument differs from
exposition in its purpose. By exposition we endeavor to make clear the
meaning of a proposition; by argument we attempt to prove its truth. If a
person does not understand what we mean, we explain; if, after he does
understand, he does not believe, we argue.

Often a simple explanation is sufficient to convince. As soon as the
reader understands the real meaning of a proposition, he accepts our view
of the case. A heated discussion may end with the statement, “Oh, if that
is what you mean, I agree with you.” In Section 70, we have learned that
the first step in argument is explanation, by which we make clear the
meaning of the proposition the truth of which we wish to establish.
This explanation may include both the expounding of the terms in the
proposition and the explanation of the proposition as a whole.

There is another difference between exposition and argument. We cannot
argue about single terms, though we may explain them. We may explain what
is meant by the term _elective studies_, or _civil service;_ but an
argument requires a proposition such as, Pupils should be allowed to
choose their own studies, or, Civil Service should be established. Even
with such a topic as Expansion or Restricted Immigration, which seems to
be a subject of argument, there is really an implied proposition under
discussion; as, The United States should acquire control of territory
outside of its present boundaries; or, It should be the policy of our
government to restrict immigration. We may explain the meaning of
single terms or of propositions, but in order to argue, we must have a
proposition either expressed or implied.

+171. Proposition of Fact and Proposition of Theory.+–Some propositions
state facts and some propositions state theories. Every argument therefore
aims either to prove the occurrence of a fact or the truth of a theory.
The first would attempt to show the actual or probable truth of a specific
proposition; for example:–

Nero was guilty of burning Rome.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
Barbara Frietchie actually existed.
Sheridan never made the ride from Winchester.
Homer was born at Chios.

The second would try to establish the probable truth of a general theory;
for example:–

A college education is a profitable investment.
Light is caused by a wave motion of ether.

+172. Statement of the Proposition.+–The subject about which we argue may
be stated in any one of the three forms discussed in Section 74; that is,
as a declarative sentence, a resolution, or a question. The statement does
not necessarily appear first in the argument, but it must be clearly
formulated in the mind of the writer before he attempts to argue. Before
trying to convince others he must know exactly what he himself believes,
and the attempt to state his belief in the form of a proposition will
assist in making his own thought clear and definite.

If we are going to argue concerning elective studies, we should first of
all be sure that we understand the meaning of the term ourselves. Then
we must consider carefully what we believe about it, and state our
proposition so that it shall express exactly this belief. On first thought
we may believe the proposition that pupils should be allowed to choose
their own studies. But is this proposition true of pupils in the grades as
well as in the high schools? Or is it true only of the upper classes
in the high school or only of college students? Can you state this
proposition so that it will express your own belief on the subject?


_A_. Use the following terms in expressed propositions:–

1. Immigration.
2. Elevated railways.
3. American history.
4. Military training.
5. Single session.
6. Athletics.

_B_. Explain the following propositions:–

1. The United States should adopt a free-trade policy.
2. Is vivisection justifiable?
3. The author has greater influence than the orator.
4. The civil service system should be abolished.
5. The best is always cheapest.

_C_. Can you restate the following propositions so that
the meaning of each will be made more definite?

1. Athletics should be abolished. (Should _all_ athletic exercises be

2. Latin is better than algebra. (_Better_ for what purpose? _Better_ for

3. Training in domestic arts and sciences should be provided for high
school pupils. (Define domestic arts and sciences. Should they be
taught to _all_ high school pupils?)

4. Punctuality is more important than efficiency.

5. The commercial course is better than the classical course.

6. A city should control the transportation facilities within its limits.

+Theme XCVI.+–_Write out an argument favoring one of the propositions as
restated in Exercise C above._

(Before writing, make a brief as indicated in Section 77. Consider the
arrangement of your argument.)

+173. Clear Thinking Essential to Argument.+–Having clearly in mind the
proposition which we wish to prove, we next proceed to give arguments in
its support. The very fact that we argue at all assumes that there are two
sides to the question. If we hope to have another accept our view we must
present good reasons. We cannot convince another that a proposition is
true unless we can tell him why it is true; and certainly we cannot tell
him why until we know definitely our own reasons for believing the
statement. In order to present a good argument we must be clear logical
thinkers ourselves; that is, we must be able to state definite reasons for
our beliefs and to draw the correct conclusions.

+174. Inductive Reasoning.+–One of the best preparations for trying to
convince others is for us to consider carefully our own reasons for
believing as we do. Minds act in a similar manner, and what leads you and
me to believe certain truths will be likely to cause others to believe
them also. A brief consideration of how our belief in the truth of a
proposition has been established will indicate the way in which we should
present our material in order to cause others to believe the same
proposition. If you ask yourself the question, What leads me to believe as
I do? the answer will undoubtedly be effective in convincing others.

Are the following propositions true or false? Why do
you believe or refuse to believe each?

1. Maple trees shed their leaves in winter.
2. Dogs bark.
3. Kettles are made of iron.
4. Grasshoppers jump.
5. Giraffes have long necks.
6. Raccoons sleep in the daytime.
7. The sun will rise to-morrow.
8. Examinations are not fair tests of a pupil’s knowledge.
9. Honest people are respected.
10. Water freezes at 32° Fahrenheit.
11. Boys get higher standings in mathematics than girls do.

It is at once evident that we believe a proposition such as one of
these, because we have known of many examples. If we reject any of the
propositions it is because we know of exceptions (we have seen kettles not
made of iron), or because we do not know of instances (we may never have
seen a raccoon, and so not know what he does in the daytime). The greater
the number of cases which have occurred without presenting an exception,
the stronger our belief in the truth of the proposition (we expect the sun
to rise because it has never failed).

The process by which, from many individual cases, we establish the truth
of a proposition is called +inductive reasoning+.

+175. Establishing a General Theory.+–A general theory is established by
showing that for all known particular cases it will offer an acceptable
explanation. By investigation or experiment we note that a certain fact is
true in one particular instance, and, after a large number of individual
cases have been noted, and the same fact found to be true in each, we
assume that such is true of all like cases, and a general law is
established. This is the natural scientific method and is constantly being
made use of in pursuing scientific studies. By experiment, it was found
that one particular kind of acid turned blue litmus red. This, of course,
was not sufficient proof to establish a general law, but when, upon
further investigation, it was found to be true of all known acids,
scientists felt justified in stating the general law that acids turn blue
litmus red.

In establishing a new theory in science it is necessary to bring forward
many facts which seem to establish it, and the argument will consist in
pointing out these facts. Frequently the general principle is assumed to
be true, and the argument then consists in showing that it will apply to
and account for all the facts of a given kind. Theories which have been
for a time believed have, as the world progressed in learning, been found
unable to account for all of a given class of conditions. They have been
replaced, therefore, by other theories, just as the Copernican theory of
astronomy has displaced the Ptolemaic theory.

Our belief may be based upon the absence of facts proving the contrary as
well as upon the presence of facts proving the proposition. If A has never
told an untruth, that fact is an argument in favor of his truthfulness on
the present occasion. A man who has never been dishonest may point to this
as an argument in favor of placing him in a position of trust. Often the
strongest evidence that we can offer in favor of a proposition is the
absence of any fact that would support the negative conclusion.

The point of the whole matter is that from the observation of a large
number of cases, we may establish the _probable_ truth of a proposition,
but emphasis needs to be laid upon the probability. We cannot be sure. Not
all crows are black, though you may never have seen a white one. The sun
may not rise to-morrow, though it has never failed up to this time. Still
it is by this observation of many individual cases that the truth of the
propositions that men do believe has been established. We realize that our
inductions are often imperfect, but the general truths so established will
be found to underlie every process of reasoning, and will be either
directly or indirectly the basis upon which we build up all argument.

We may then redefine inductive reasoning as the process by which from
many individual cases we establish the _probable_ truth of a general


Notice in the following selections that the truth of the conclusion is
shown by giving particular examples:–

1. It is curious enough that _we always remember people by their worst
points_, and still more curious that _we always suppose that we ourselves
are remembered by our best_. I once knew a hunchback who had a well-shaped
hand, and was continually showing it. He never believed that anybody
noticed his hump, but lived and died in the conviction that the whole town
spoke of him no otherwise than as the man with the beautiful hand,
whereas, in fact, they only looked at his hump, and never so much as
noticed whether he had a hand at all. This young lady, so pretty and so
clever, is simply the girl who had that awkward history with So-and-so;
that man, who has some of the very greatest qualities, is nothing more
than the one who behaved so badly on such an occasion. It is a terrible
thing to think that we are all always at watch one upon the other, to
catch the false step in order that we may have the grateful satisfaction
of holding our neighbor for one who cannot walk straight. No regard is
paid to the better qualities and acts, however numerous; all the attention
is fixed upon the worst, however slight. If St. Peter were alive he would
be known as the man who denied his Master; St. Paul would be the man who
stoned Stephen; and St. Thomas would never be mentioned in any decent
society without allusions to that unfortunate request for further
evidence. Probably this may be the reason why we all have so much greater
a contempt for and distrust of each other than would be warranted by a
correct balance between the good and the evil that are in each.

–Thomas Gibson Bowles: _Flotsam and Jetsam_.

2. In the first place, 227 withered leaves of various kinds, mostly of
English plants, were pulled out of worm burrows in several places. Of
these, 181 had been drawn into the burrows by or near their tips, so that
the footstalk projected nearly upright from the mouth of the burrow; 20
had been drawn in by their bases, and in this case the tips projected from
the burrows; and 26 had been seized near the middle, so that these had
been drawn in transversely and were much crumpled. Therefore 80 per cent
(always using the nearest whole number) had been drawn in by the tip, 9
per cent by the base or footstalk, and 11 per cent transversely or by the
middle. This alone is almost sufficient to show that _chance does not
determine the manner in which leaves are dragged into the burrows_.

–Darwin: _Vegetable Mold and Earthworms_.

3. _The catastrophe of every play is caused always by the folly or fault
of a man; the redemption, if there be any, is by the wisdom and virtue of
a woman, and, failing that, there is none_. The catastrophe of King
Lear is owing to his own want of judgment, his impatient vanity, his
misunderstanding of his children; the virtue of his one true daughter
would have saved him from all the injuries of the others, unless he had
cast her away from him; as it is, she all but saves him. Of Othello, I
need not trace the tale; nor the one weakness of his so mighty love; nor
the inferiority of his perceptive intellect to that even of the second
woman character in the play, the Emilia who dies in wild testimony against
his error:–

“Oh, murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool
Do with so good a wife?”

In _Romeo and Juliet_, the wise and brave stratagem of the wife is brought
to ruinous issue by the reckless impatience of her husband. In _The
Winter’s Tale_, and in _Cymbeline_, the happiness and existence of two
princely households, lost through long years, and imperiled to the death
by the folly and obstinacy of the husbands, are redeemed at last by the
queenly patience and wisdom of the wives. In _Measure for Measure_, the
foul injustice of the judge, and the foul cowardice of the brother, are
opposed to the victorious truth and adamantine purity of a woman. In
_Coriolanus_, the mother’s counsel, acted upon in time, would have saved
her son from all evil; his momentary forgetfulness of it is his ruin; her
prayer, at last, granted, saves him–not, indeed, from death, but from the
curse of living as the destroyer of his country.

–Ruskin: _Sesame and Lilies_.


_Bas. _So may the outward shows be least themselves;
_The world is still deceived with ornament_.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But, being season’d with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,
Who, inward search’d, have livers white as milk;
And these assume but valor’s excrement
To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
And you shall see ’tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulcher.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
‘Tween man and man: but thou, though meager lead,
Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
And here choose I: joy be the consequence!

–Shakespeare: _The Merchant of Venice_.

+Theme XCVII.+–_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
following statements:_–

1. It is a distinct advantage to a large town to be connected with the
smaller towns by electric car lines.

2. Vertical penmanship should be taught in all elementary schools.

3. Examinations develop dishonesty.

4. Novel reading is a waste of time.

5. Tramps ought not to be fed.

(Make a brief. Consider the arrangement of your arguments. Read Section

+176. Errors of Induction.+–A common error is that of too hasty
generalization. We conclude that something is always so because it
happened to be so in the few cases that have come under our observation. A
broader experience frequently shows that the hastily made generalization
will not hold.

Some people are led to lose faith in all humanity because one or two of
their acquaintances have shown themselves unworthy of their trust. Others
are ready to pronounce a merchant dishonest because some article purchased
at his store has not proved to be so good as it was expected to be. There
are those who are superstitious concerning the wearing of opals, claiming
that these jewels bring the wearer ill luck, because they have heard of
some instances where misfortune seemed to follow the wearing of that
particular stone. What may seem to be causes and effects at first may,
upon further investigation or inquiry, prove to be merely chance
coincidences. In your work in argument, whether for the class room or
outside, be careful about this point. Remember that your induction will be
weak or even worthless if you draw conclusions from too few examples.

Often one example seems sufficient to cause belief. We might believe that
all giraffes have long necks, even though we had seen but one; but such a
belief would exist because, by many examples of other animals, we have
learned that a single specimen will fairly represent all other specimens
of the same class. On the other hand, if this one giraffe should possess
one brown eye and one white eye, we should not expect all other giraffes
to have such eyes, for our observation of many hundreds of animals teaches
us that the eyes of an animal are usually alike in color. In order to
establish a true generalization, the _essential_ characteristics must be
selected, and these cannot be determined by rule, but rather by common

+177. Deductive Reasoning.+–When once a general principle has been
established, we may demonstrate the truth of a specific proposition by
showing that the general principle applies to it. We see a gold ring and
say, “This ring is valuable,” because we believe the general proposition,
“All articles made of gold are valuable.” Expressed in full, the process
of reasoning would be–

_A._ All articles made of gold are valuable.
_B._ This ring is made of gold.
_C._ Therefore this ring is valuable.

A series of statements such as the above is called a syllogism. It
consists of a major premise (_A_), a minor premise (_B_), and a conclusion

Of course we shall not be called upon to prove so simple a proposition as
the one given, but with more difficult ones the method of reasoning is the
same. The process which applies a general proposition (_A_) to a specific
instance (_C_), is called deductive reasoning.

+178. Relation between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning.+–Deductive
reasoning is shorter and seems more convincing than inductive reasoning,
for if the premises are true and the statement is made in correct form,
the conclusions are irresistible. Each conclusion carries with it,
however, the weakness of the premises on which it is based, and as these
premises are general principles that have been themselves established by
inductive reasoning, the conclusions of deductive reasoning can be no more
_sure_ than those of inductive reasoning. Each may prove only that the
proposition is probably true rather than that it is surely true, though in
many cases this probability becomes almost a certainty.

+179. The Enthymeme.+–We seldom need to state our argument in the
syllogistic form. One of the premises is usually omitted, and we pass
directly from one premise to the conclusion. If we say, “Henry will not
succeed as an engineer,” and when asked why he will not, we reply,
“Because he is not good in mathematics,” we have omitted the premise, “A
knowledge of mathematics is necessary for success in engineering.” A
shortened syllogism, that is, a syllogism with one premise omitted, is
called an enthymeme.

Thus in ordinary matters our thought turns at once to the conclusion in
connection with but one premise. We make a thousand statements which a
moment’s thought will show that we believe because we believe some
unexpressed general principle. If I should say of my dog, “Fido will die
sometime,” no sensible person would doubt the truth of the statement. If
asked to prove it, I would say, “Because he is a dog, and all dogs die
sometime.” Thus I apply to a specific proposition, Fido will die, the
general one, All dogs die, a proposition about which there is no doubt.

Frequently the suppressed premise is not so well established as in this
case, and the belief or nonbelief of the proposition will be determined by
the individuals addressed, each in accordance with his experience. Suppose
that in reading we find the statement, “A boy of fourteen ought not to be
allowed to choose his own subjects of study, because he will choose all
the easy ones and avoid the more difficult though more valuable ones.” The
omitted premise that all boys will choose easy studies, needs to be
established by induction. If a high school principal had noticed that out
of five hundred boys, four hundred elected the easy studies, he would
admit the truth of the omitted premise, and so of the conclusion. But if
only one hundred had chosen the easy subjects, he would reject the major
premise and likewise the conclusion.

It is evident that in order to be sure of the truth of a proposition we
must determine the truth of the premises upon which it is based. An
argument therefore is frequently given over wholly to establishing the
premises. If their truth can be demonstrated, the conclusion inevitably


_A._ Supply the missing premise for the following:–

1. John will succeed because he has a college education.
2. Henry is happy because he has plenty of money.
3. Candy is nutritious because it is made of sugar.
4. These biscuits will make me ill because they are heavy.
5. This dog must be angry because he is growling.
6. This fish can swim.
7. The plural of the German noun _der Garten_ is _die Gärten_.
8. It will hurt to have this tooth filled.

_B._ Supply the reasons and complete the syllogism for each of the

1. This book should not be read.
2. This hammer is useful.
3. That dog will bite.
4. This greyhound can run rapidly.
5. The leaves have fallen from the trees.
6. That boy ought to be punished.
7. It is too early to go nutting.
8. This boy should not study.
9. You ought not to vote for this man for mayor.

+Theme XCVIII.+–_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
following propositions:_–

1. Labor-saving machinery is of permanent advantage to mankind.

2. New Orleans will some day be a greater shipping port than New York.

3. Poetry has a greater influence on the morals of a nation than prose

4. Boycotting injures innocent persons and should never be employed.

5. Ireland should have Home Rule.

6. The President of the United States should be elected by the direct vote
of the people.

(Consider your argument with reference to the suppressed premises.)

+180. Errors of Deduction.+–The deductive method of reasoning, if
properly used, is effective, but much care needs to be taken to avoid
false conclusions. A complete exposition of the variations of the
syllogism is not necessary here, but it will be of value to consider
briefly three chief errors.

If the terms are not used with the same meaning throughout, the conclusion
is valueless. A person might agree with you that domestic arts should be
taught to girls in school, but if you continued by saying that scrubbing
the floor is a form of domestic art, therefore the girls should be taught
to scrub the floor, he would reject your conclusion because the meaning of
the term _domestic art_ as he understood it in the first statement, is not
that used in the second.

It will be noticed that each syllogism includes three terms. For example,
the syllogism,–

All hawks eat flesh;
This bird is a hawk;
Therefore this bird eats flesh,–

contains the three terms, _hawk, eats flesh, this bird_; of these but two
appear in the conclusion. The one which does not (in this case _hawk_) is
called the middle term. If the major premise does not make a statement
about every member of the class denoted by the middle term, the conclusion
may not be valid even though the premises are true. For example:–

All hawks are birds;
This chicken is a bird;
Therefore this chicken is a hawk.

In this case the middle term is _birds_, and the major premise, _All hawks
are birds_, does not make a statement which applies to all birds. The
conclusion is therefore untrue. Such an argument is a fallacy.

The validity of the conclusion is impaired if either premise is false. In
the enthymeme, “Henry is a coward; he dare not run away from school,” the
suppressed premise, “All persons who will not run away from school, are
cowards,” is not true, and so invalidates the conclusion. It is well to
test the validity of your own argument and that of your opponent by
seeking for the suppressed premise and stating it, for this may reveal a
fatal weakness in the thought.


Which of the following are incorrect?

1. The government should pay for the education of its people;
Travel is a form of education;
Therefore the government should pay the traveling expenses of the

2. All horses are useful;
This animal is useful;
Therefore this animal is a horse.

3. I ought not to study algebra because it is a very difficult subject.

4. Pupils ought not to write notes because note writing interferes with
the rights of others.

5. All fish can swim;
Charles can swim;
Therefore Charles is a fish.

6. Henry is a fool because he wears a white necktie.

7. All dogs bark;
This animal barks;
Therefore this animal is a dog.

+Theme XCIX.+–_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
following propositions:_–

1. The government should establish a parcels post.

2. The laws of mind determine the forms of composition.

3. Training for citizenship should be given greater attention in the
public schools.

4. The members of the school board should be appointed by the mayor of the

5. In the estimation of future ages —- will be considered the greatest
President since Lincoln.

(State your premises. Have you shown that they are true?)

+181. Evidence.+–We may reach belief in the truth of a specific statement
by means of deductive reasoning. Commonly, however, when dealing with an
actual state or occurrence, we present other facts or circumstances that
show its existence. The facts presented may be those of experience, the
testimony of witnesses, the opinion of those considered as experts in the
subject, or a combination of circumstances known to have existed. To be of
any value as arguments, they must be true, and they must be related to the
fact that we are trying to prove. These true and pertinent facts we term

Evidence may be direct or indirect. If a man sees a boy steal a bag of
apples from the orchard across the way, his evidence is direct. If
instead, he only sees him with an empty bag and later with a full one, the
evidence will be indirect. If you testify that early in the evening you
saw a tramp enter a barn which later in the evening caught fire, your
testimony as regards the cause of the fire would be indirect evidence
against the tramp. If you can testify that you saw sparks fall from his
lighted pipe and ignite a pile of hay in the barn, the evidence which you
give will be direct.

Direct evidence has more weight than indirect, but often the latter is
nearly equal to the former and is sufficient to convince us. Even the
direct testimony of eye-witnesses must be carefully considered. Several
persons may see the same thing and yet make very different reports, even
though they may all desire to tell the truth. The weight that we shall
give to a person’s testimony will depend upon his ability to observe and
to report accurately what he has experienced, and upon his desire to tell
the truth.

Notice in the following selection what facts, specific instances, and
circumstances are advanced in support of the proposition. Assuming that
they are true, are they pertinent to the proposition?

Certain species of these army ants which inhabit tropical America, Mr.
Belt considered to be the most intelligent of all the insects of that part
of the world. On one occasion he noticed a wide column of them trying to
pass along a nearly perpendicular slope of crumbling earth, on which they
found great difficulty in obtaining a foothold. A number succeeded in
retaining their positions, and further strengthened them by laying hold of
their neighbors. They then remained in this position, and allowed the
column to march securely and easily over their bodies. On another occasion
a column was crossing a stream of water by a very narrow branch of a tree,
which only permitted them to go in single file. The ants widened the
bridge by a number clinging to the sides and to each other, and this
allowed the column to pass over three or four deep. These ants, having no
permanent nests, carry their larvae and pupae with them when marching. The
prey they capture is cut up and carried to the rear of the army to be
distributed as food.

–Robert Brown: _Science for All_.

+Theme C.+–_Present all the evidence you can either to prove or disprove
one of the following propositions:_–

Select some question of local interest as:–
1. The last fire in our town was of incendiary origin.
2. The football team from —- indulged in “slugging” at the last game.
3. Our heating system is inadequate.
4. It rained last night.

If you prefer, choose one of the following subjects:–
1. The Stuart kings were arbitrary rulers.
2. The climate of our country is changing.
3. Gutenberg did not invent the printing press.
4. The American Indians have been unjustly treated by the whites.
5. Nations have their periods of rise and decay.

(Are the facts you use true? Are they pertinent? Do you know of facts
that would tend to show that your proposition is not true?)

+182. Number and Value of Reasons.+–Although a statement may be true and
pertinent it is seldom sufficient for proof. We need, as a rule, several
such statements. If you are trying to convince a friend that one kind of
automobile is superior to another, and can give only one reason for its
superiority, you no doubt will fail in your attempt. If, however, you can
give several reasons, you may succeed in convincing him. Suppose you go to
your principal and ask permission to take an extra study. You may give as
a reason the fact that your parents wish you to take it. He may not think
that is a sufficient reason for your doing so, but when he finds that with
your present studies you do not need to study evenings, that one of them
is a review, and that you have been standing well in all your studies, he
may be led to think that it will be wise for you to take the desired extra

While we must guard against insufficiency of reasons, we must not forget
that numbers alone do not convince. One good reason is more convincing
than several weak ones. Two or three good reasons, clearly and definitely
stated, will have much more weight than a large number of less important


_A._ Give a reason or two in addition to the reasons already given in each
of the following:–

1. It is better to attend a large college than a small one, because the
teachers are as a rule greater experts in their lines of work.

2. The school board ought to give us a field for athletics as the school
ground is not large enough for practice.

3. Gymnasium work ought to be made compulsory. Otherwise many who need
physical training will neglect it.

4. The game of basket ball is an injury to a school, since it detracts
from interest in studies.

5. Rudolph Horton will make a good class president because he has had

_B._ Be able to answer orally any two of the following:

1. Prove to a timid person that there is no more danger in riding in an
automobile than there is in riding in a carriage drawn by horses. Use but
one argument, but make it as strong as possible.

2. Give two good reasons why the superstition concerning Friday is absurd.

3. What, in your mind, is the strongest reason why you wish to graduate
from a high school? For your wishing to go into business after leaving the
high school? For your wishing to attend college?

4. What are two or three of the strong arguments in favor of woman
suffrage? Name two or three arguments in opposition to woman suffrage.

_C._ Name all the points that you can in favor of the following. Select
the one that you consider the most important.

1. Try to convince a friend that he ought to give up the practice of
cigarette smoking.

2. Show that athletics in a high school ought to be under the management
of the faculty.

3. Show that athletics should be under the management of the pupils

4. Macbeth’s ambition and not his wife was the cause of his ruin.

5. Macbeth’s wife was the cause of his ruin.

+Theme CI.+–_Select one of the subjects in the exercise above, and write
out two or three of the strongest arguments in its favor._

(Consider the premises, especially those which are not expressed. Is
your argument deductive or inductive?)

+183. The Basis of Belief.+–If you ask yourself, Why do I believe this?
the answer will in many cases show that your belief in the particular case
under consideration arises because you believe some general principle or
theory which applies to it.

One person may believe that political economy should be taught in high
schools because he believes that it is the function of the high school to
train its pupils for citizenship, and that the study of political economy
will furnish this training. Another person may oppose the teaching of
political economy because he believes that pupils of high school age are
not sufficiently mature in judgment to discuss intelligently the
principles of political economy, and that the study of these principles at
that age does not furnish desirable training for citizenship. It is
evident that an argument between these two concerning the teaching of
political economy in any particular school would consist in a discussion
of the conflicting general theories which each believed to be true.

We have shown in Section 179 that one high school principal might believe
that boys should be allowed to choose their own studies because he
believed that they would not generally select the easy ones; while another
principal would oppose free electives because he believes that boys would
choose the less difficult studies. The proposition that “The United States
should retain its hold on the Philippines” involves conflicting theories
of the function of this government. So it will be found with many of our
beliefs that either consciously or unconsciously they are based on general
theories. It is important in argument to know what these theories are, and
especially to consider what may be the general theories of those whom we
wish to convince.

+184. Appeals to General Theory, Authority, and Maxims.+–A successful
argument in deductive form must be based upon principles and theories that
the audience believes. A minister in preaching to the members of his
church may with success proceed by deductive methods, because the members
believe the general principles upon which he bases his arguments. But in
addressing a mixed audience, many of whom are not church members, such an
argument might not be convincing, because his hearers might deny the
validity of the premises from which his conclusions were drawn. In such a
case he must either keep to general theories which his auditors do
believe, or by inductive methods seek to prove the truth of the general
principles themselves.

If in support of our view we quote the opinion of some one whom we believe
competent to speak with weight and authority upon the question, we must
remember that it will have weight with our audience only if they too look
upon the person as an authority. It proves nothing to a body of teachers
to say that some educational expert believes as you do unless they have
confidence in him as a man of sound judgment. On the other hand, it may
count against a proposition to show that it has not been endorsed by any
one of importance or prominence.

In a similar way a maxim or proverb may be quoted in support of a
proposition. If a boy associates with bad company, we may offer the maxim,
“Birds of a feather flock together,” in proof that he is probably bad too.
Such maxims or proverbs are brief statements of principles generally
believed, and the use of them in an argument is in effect the presentation
of a general theory in a form which appeals to the mind of the hearer and
causes him to believe our proposition.

+185. Argument by Inference.+–The statement of a fact may be introduced
into an argument, not because the fact itself applies directly to the
proposition we wish to prove, but because it by inference suggests a
general theory which does so apply. Though the reader may not be conscious
of it, the presence of this general theory may influence his decision even
more than the explicit statement of the general theory would.

An argument implies that there are two sides to a question. Which you
shall take depends on the way you look on it, that is, on what may be
called your mental point of view. Therefore any fact, allusion, maxim,
comparison, or other statement which may cause you to look at the question
in a different light or from a different point of view may be used as an
argument. In effect, it calls up a general theory whose presence affects
your decision. Notice how brief the argument is in the following selection
from Macaulay:–

Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a
self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are
fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old
story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery,
they may indeed wait forever.

–Macaulay: _Milton_.

+186. Summary.+–To summarize the preceding paragraphs, the authority we
quote, the maxims we state, the facts we adduce become valuable because
they appeal to general theories already believed by the reader. Success in
argument demands, therefore, that we consider carefully what theories may
probably be in the mind of our audience, and that we present our argument
in such a way as to appeal to those theories.

+Theme CII.+–_Write a short argument, using one of the following:_–

1. A young boy is urging his father to permit him to attend an
entertainment. Give his reasons as he would give them to his father.

2. Suppose the father refuses the request. Write out his reasons.

3. Try to convince a companion just entering high school to take the
college preparatory course instead of the commercial course.

(Are your reasons true and pertinent? To what general theories have you
appealed? Consider the coherence of each paragraph.)

+187. Arrangement of Arguments.+–We have learned that in arguing we need
to consider how those whom we address arrive at the belief they hold, and
that it will assist us to this knowledge of others if we consider our own
beliefs and the manner of their establishing. We must present our material
in the order that convinces. Each case may differ so from every other that
no general rule can be followed, but the consideration of some general
principles of arrangement will be of assistance. It is the purpose of the
following paragraphs to point out in so far as possible the most effective
order of arrangement.

+188. Possibility, Probability, and Actuality.+–It has been stated, in
Section 175, that reasoning leads to probable truth, and that this
probability may become so strong as to be accepted as certainty. In common
speech this difference is borne in mind, and we distinguish a fact or
event that is only possible from one that is probable; and likewise one
that is only probable from one in which the probability approaches so near
to certainty as to convince us that it actually did exist or occur. Our
arguments may therefore be directed to proving possibility, probability,
or actuality.

If we believe that an event actually occurred, the belief implies both
possibility and probability. Therefore, if we wish a person to believe in
the actual occurrence of an event, we must first be sure that he does not
question the possibility of its existence, and then we must show him that
it probably did take place. Only when we have shown that an event is
extremely probable have we the right to say that we have shown its actual

A mother finding some damage done to one of the pictures on the wall could
not justly accuse her young son unless by the presence of a chair or
stepladder it had been possible for him to reach the picture. This
possibility, reënforced by a knowledge of his tendency to mischief, and by
the fact that he was in the house at the time the damage was done, would
lead to the belief that he probably was guilty. Proof that he was actually
responsible for the damage would still be lacking, and it might later be
discovered that the injury had been done accidentally by one of the

Possibility, probability, and actuality merge into one another so
gradually that no sharply defined distinctions can be observed. It is
impossible to say that a certain argument establishes possibility, another
probability, and a third the actuality of an event. One statement may do
all three, but any proof of actuality must include arguments showing both
possibility and probability. A person accused of murder attempts to
demonstrate his innocence by proving an _alibi;_ that is, he attempts to
show that he was at some other place at the time the murder was committed
and so cannot possibly be guilty. Such an alibi, established by reliable
witnesses, is positive proof of innocence, no matter how strong the
evidence pointing to probable guilt may be.

+189. Argument from Cause.+–We have learned, in Section 49, that the
relation of cause and effect is one which is ingrained in our nature. We
accept a proposition as plausible if a cause which we consider adequate
has been assigned. Our belief in a proposition often depends upon our
belief in some other proposition which may be accepted as a cause.

Thus, in the following statements, the truth of one proposition leads to
the belief that the other is also true:–

_a._ Henry has studied hard this year; therefore he will pass his college
entrance examinations.

_b._ The man has severed an artery; therefore he will probably bleed to
death before the physician arrives.

_c._ It will soon grow warmer, because the sun has risen.

_An argument from cause_ may be of itself conclusive evidence of the fact.
But, for the most part, such arguments merely establish the possibility or
probability of the proposition and so render it ready for proof. In our
arrangement of material, we therefore place such arguments _first_.

+190. Argument from Sign.+–Cause and effect are so closely united that
when an effect is observed we assume that there has been a cause, and we
direct our argument to proving what it is. An effect is so associated with
its cause that the existence of an effect is a sign of the existence of a
cause, and such an argument is called an _argument from sign_. Reasoning
from sign is very common in our daily life. The wild geese flying south
indicate the approach of cold weather. The baby’s toys show that the baby
has been in the room. A man’s hat found beside a rifled safe will convict
the man of the crime. A dog’s track in the garden is proof that a dog has
been there.

If the effect observed is always associated with the same cause, the
argument is conclusive. If I observe as an effect that the river has
frozen over during the night, I have no doubt that it has been caused by a
lowering of the temperature.

If two or three possible causes exist, our argument becomes conclusive
only by considering them all and by showing that all but one did not
produce the observed effect. If the principal of a school knows that one
of three boys broke a window light, he may be able to prove which one did
it by finding out the two who did not. If a man is found shot to death,
the coroner’s jury may prove that he was murdered by showing that he did
not commit suicide. If there are many possible causes, the method of
elimination becomes too tedious and must be abandoned. If you find that
your horse is lame, it would be difficult to prove which of the many
possible causes actually operated to produce the lameness, though the
attendant circumstances might point to some one cause and so lead you to
assume that it was the one.

Under _arguments from sign_ should be included also those cases when we
pass directly from one effect to another that arises from the same cause;
as, “I hear the windmill turning, it will be a good day to sail;” or,
“These beans are thrifty, therefore if I plant potatoes here I shall get a
good crop.” In these sentences the wind and the fertile soil are not
mentioned, but we pass directly from one effect to another.

As used by rhetoricians, arguments from sign include also arguments from
attendant circumstances. If we have observed that two events have happened
near together in time, we accept the occurrence of one as a sign that the
other will follow. When we hear the factory whistle blow, we conclude that
in a few minutes the workmen will pass our window on their way home. Such
a conclusion is based upon a belief established by an inductive process.
The degree of probability that it gives depends upon the number of times
that it has been observed to act without failure. If we have seen two boys
frequently together, the presence of one is a sign of the probable
presence of the other. A camp fire would point to the recent presence of
some one who kindled it.

In using an argument from sign care must be taken not to confuse the
relation of cause and effect with that of contiguity in time or place. Do
not allege that which happened at the same time or near the same place as
a cause. If you do use an attendant circumstance, be sure that it adds
something to the probability.

+191. Argument from Example.+–It has been pointed out in the study of
inductive reasoning (Section 176) that a single example may suffice to
establish a general notion of a class. In dealing with objects of the
physical world, if essential and invariable qualities of the object are
considered, they may be asserted to be qualities of each member of the
class, and such an argument from an individual to all the members of the
class is convincing. They thus rank with arguments from sign as effective
in proving the certainty of a proposition.

In dealing with human actions, on the other hand, examples are seldom
proofs of fact. We cannot say that all men will act in a certain way under
given circumstances because one man has so acted. Nevertheless, arguments
by examples are frequently used and are especially powerful when we wish
not only to convince a man, but also to persuade him to action. This
persuasion to action must be based on conviction, and in such a case the
argument from sign that convinces the man of the truth of a proposition
should precede the example that urges him to action. After convincing a
friend that there are advantages to be derived from joining a society, we
may persuade him to join by naming those who have joined.

+192. Argument from Analogy.+–Analogy is very much relied upon in
practical life. Reasoning from analogy depends upon the recognition of
similarity in regard to some particulars followed by the inference that
the similarity extends to other particulars. As soon as it was known that
the atmospheric conditions of the planet Mars are similar to those of the
earth, it was argued by analogy that Mars must also, be inhabited.

An analogy is seldom conclusive and, though it is often effective in
argument, it must not be taken as proof of fact. The mind very readily
observes likenesses, and when directed toward the establishing of a
proposition easily overlooks the differences. In order to determine the
strength of an argument from analogy, attention should be given to the
differences existing between the two propositions considered. False
analogies are very common. We must guard against using them, and
especially against allowing ourselves to be convinced by them. Even when
the resemblance is so slight as to render analogy impossible, it may serve
to produce a metaphor that often has the effect of argument.

It is much easier to captivate the fancy with a pretty or striking figure
than to move the judgment with sound reason…. His (the speaker’s)
picture appeals to the mind’s visible sense, hence his power over us,
though his analogies are more apt to be false than true….

The use of metaphor, comparison, analogy, is twofold–to enliven and to
convince; to illustrate and enforce an accepted truth, and to press home
and clinch one in dispute. An apt figure may put a new face upon an old
and much worn truism, and a vital analogy may reach and move the reason.
Thus when Renan, referring to the decay of the old religious beliefs, says
that the people are no poorer for being robbed of false bank notes and
bogus shares, his comparison has a logical validity….

The accidental analogies or likenesses are limitless, and are the great
stock in trade of most writers and speakers. An ingenious mind finds types
everywhere, but real analogies are not so common. The likeness of one
thing to another may be valid and real, but the likeness of a thought with
a thing is often merely fanciful….

I recently have met with the same fallacy in a leading article in one of
the magazines. “The fact revealed by the spectroscope,” says the writer,
“that the physical elements of the earth exist also in the stars, supports
the faith that a moral nature like our own inhabits the universe.” A
tremendous leap–a leap from the physical to the moral. We know that
these earth elements are found in the stars by actual observation and
experience; but a moral nature like our own–this is assumed, and is not
supported by the analogy.

John Burroughs: _Analogy, True and False_.

Notice the use of analogy in the argument below.

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom
produces; and that cure is freedom. When a prisoner first leaves his cell
he cannot bear the light of day: he is unable to discriminate colors, or
recognize faces. But the remedy is, not to remand him into his dungeon,
but to accustom him to the rays of the sun. The blaze of truth and liberty
may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become blind in the
house of bondage. But, let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to
bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. The extreme violence of
opinions subsides. Hostile theories correct each other. The scattered
elements of truth cease to contend and begin to coalesce, and at length a
system of justice and order is educed out of the chaos.

–Macaulay: _Milton_.

+193. Summary of Arrangement.+–The necessity of argument arises because
some one does not believe the truth of a proposition. To establish in his
mind a belief, we must present our arguments in an orderly and convincing
way. The order will usually be to show him first the possibility and then
the probability, and finally to lead him as near to certainty as we can.
We may say, therefore, that we should use arguments from cause, arguments
from sign, and arguments from example in the order named.

Another principle of arrangement is that inductive argument will usually
precede deductive argument. We naturally proceed by induction to establish
general truths which, when established, we may apply. If our audience
already believe the general theories, the inductive part may be omitted.

Both of these principles of arrangement should be considered with
reference to that of a third, namely, climax. Climax means nothing more
than the orderly progression of our argument to the point where it
convinces our hearer. We call that argument which finally convinces him
the strongest, and naturally this should be the end of the argument. Of
several proofs of equal grade, one that will attract the attention of the
hearer should come first, while the most convincing one should come last.

In arranging arguments attention needs also to be given to coherence. One
proof may be so related to another that the presentation of one naturally
suggests the other. Sometimes, for the sake of climax, the coherent order
must be abandoned. More often the climax is made more effective by
following the order which gives the greatest coherence.

+Theme CII.+–_Prove one of the following propositions:_

1. The Presidential term should be extended.

2. Bookkeeping is of greater practical value than any other high school

3. In cities all buildings should be restricted to three stories in

4. Sumptuary laws are never desirable.

5. No pupil should carry more than four studies.

6. This school should have a debating society.

(Have you proved possibility, probability, or actuality? Have you used
arguments from cause, sign, or example? Consider the arrangement of your
arguments. Consider the analogies you have used, if any. Can you shorten
your theme without weakening it?)

+194. The Brief.+–Arrangement is of very great importance in argument. In
fact, it is so important that much more care and attention needs to be
given to the outline in argument, and the outline itself may be more
definitely known to the hearer than in the other forms of discourse. In
description and narration especially, it detracts from the value of the
impressions if the reader becomes aware of the plan of composition. In
exposition a view of the framework may not hinder clear understanding, but
in argument it may be of distinct advantage to have the orderly
arrangements of our arguments definitely known to him whom we seek to

The brief not only assists us in making our own thought orderly and exact,
but enables us to exclude that which is trivial or untrue. An explanation
may fail to make every point clear and yet retain some valuable elements,
but an argument fails of its purpose if it does not establish a belief. A
single false argument or even a trivial one may so appeal to a mind
prejudiced against the proposition that all the valid proofs fail to
convince. This single weakness is at once used by our opponent to show
that our other arguments are false because this one is. A committee once
endeavored to persuade the governor of a state not to sign a certain bill,
but they defeated themselves because their opponents pointed out to the
governor that two of the ten reasons which they presented were false and
that the committee presenting them knew they were false. This cast a doubt
upon the honesty of the committee and the validity of their whole
argument, and the governor signed the bill.

The brief differs from the ordinary outline in that it is composed of
complete sentences rather than of topics.

Notice the following example.

+Term examinations should be abolished.+


I. There is no necessity for such examinations.

1. The teacher knows the pupil’s standing from his daily recitations.

2. Monthly reviews or tests may be substituted if desirable.

II. The evils arising from examinations more than offset any advantages
that may be derived from them.

1. The best pupils are likely to work hardest, and to overtax their

2. Pupils often aim to pass rather than to know their subject.

3. A temptation to cheat is placed before them.

III. Examinations are not a fair test of a pupil’s ability.

1. A pupil may know his subject as a whole and yet not be able to answer
one or two of the questions given him.

2. A pupil who has done poor work during the term may cram for an
examination and pass very creditably.

3. Pupils are likely to be tired out at the end of the term and often are
not able to do themselves justice.


If the writer should choose to defend the negative of the above
proposition, the brief might be as follows:–

I. Examinations are indispensable to school work.

1. In no other way can teachers find out so well what their pupils know
about their subjects, especially in large classes.

2. They are essential as an incentive to pupils who are inclined to let
their work lag.

II. As a rule they are fair tests of a pupil’s ability.

1. Pupils who prepare the daily recitations well are almost sure to pass a
good examination.

2. Pupils who cram are likely to write a hurried, faulty examination.

3. It seldom happens that many in a class are too worn out to take a term

III. They prepare the pupils for later examinations.
(1) For college entrance examinations.
(2) For examinations at college.
(3) For civil service examinations.
(4) For examinations for teachers’ certificates.


_A._ Write out subordinate propositions proving the main subdivisions.
Also change the arrangement when you think it desirable to do so.

1. Two sessions are preferable to one in a high school.
(1) One long session is too fatiguing to both teachers and pupils.
(2) Boys and girls as a rule study better at school than they do at
(3) The time after school is long enough for recreation.

2. The pupils of this high school should be granted a holiday during the
street (county or state) fair.
(1) They will all go at least one day.
(2) It will cause less interruption in the school work if they all go
the same day.

3. Women should be allowed to vote.
(1) They are now taxed without representation.
(2) Whenever they have been allowed to take part in the affairs of the
government, it has been an advantage to that government.
(3) Many of them are much more intelligent than some men who vote.

_B._ Write out briefs for the following propositions (affirmative or

1. High school studies should be made elective in the last two years of
the course.

2. The government should own and control the railroads of our country.

3. The old building on the corner of —- Street ought to be removed.

4. Latin should not be made a compulsory study.

5. Reading newspapers is unprofitable.

6. Laws should be made to prohibit all adulteration of foods.

7. We are all selfish.

8. A system of self-government should be introduced into our school.

+Theme CIV.+–_Write out the argument for one of the
preceding propositions._

(Examine the brief carefully before beginning to write.
Can you improve it? )

+Theme CV.+–_Write a theme proving one of the following propositions:_–

1. Immigration is detrimental to the United States.

2. The descriptions in _Ivanhoe_ are better than those in the _House of
the Seven Gables_.

3. Argument is of greater practical value than exposition.

4. The Mexican Indians were a civilized race when America was discovered.

5. The standing army of the United States should be increased.

6. All police officers should be controlled by the state and not by the

(Have you used arguments from cause, sign, or example? Are they arranged
with reference to the principles of arrangement? (Section 192.) Consider
each paragraph and the whole theme with reference to unity.)

+Theme CVI.+–_Write a debate on some question assigned by the teacher._

(To what points should you give attention in correcting your theme? Read
Section 79.)

+195. Difference between Persuasion and Argument.+–Up to this point we
have considered argument as having for its aim the proof of the truth
of a proposition. If we consider the things about which we argue most
frequently, we shall find that in many cases we attempt to do more than
merely to convince the hearer. We wish to convince him in order to cause
him to act. We argue with him in order to persuade him to do something.
Such an argument tries to establish the wisdom of a course of action and
is termed _persuasion_. Persuasion differs from argument in its aim. In
argument by an appeal principally to the reason, we endeavor to convince;
in persuasion by an appeal mainly to the feelings, we endeavor to move to

+196. Importance of Persuasion.+–Persuasion deals with the practical
affairs of life, and for that reason the part that it performs is a large
and important one. All questions of advantage, privilege, and duty are
included in the sphere of persuasion. Since such questions are so directly
related to our business interests, to our happiness, and to our mode of
conduct and action, we are constantly making use of persuasion and quite
as constantly are being influenced by it. Our own welfare and happiness
depends to so great an extent upon the actions of others that our success
in life is often measured by our ability to persuade others to act in
accordance with our desires.

+197. Necessity of Persuasion.+–It is frequently not enough to convince
our hearer of the truth of a proposition. Often a person believes a
proposition, yet does not act. If we wish action, persuasion must be added
to argument. If we always acted at the time we were convinced, and in
accordance with our convictions, there would be no need of persuasion.
Strange as it seems, we often believe one thing and do just the opposite,
or we are indifferent and do nothing at all. We all know that disobedience
to the laws of health brings its punishment–yet how many of us act as if
we did not believe it at all! The indifferent pupil is positive that he
will fail if he does not study. He knows that he ought to apply himself
diligently to his work. There is no excuse for doing otherwise, yet he
neglects to act and failure is the result.

+198. Motive in Persuasion.+–The motive of persuasion depends upon the
nature of the question. The motives that we have in mind may be selfish,
or, on the other hand, they may be supremely unselfish. We may urge others
to act in order to bring about our own pleasure or profit; we may urge
them to act for their own self-interest or for the interest of others. We
may appeal to private or public interest, to social or religious duty.
When a boy urges his father to buy him a bicycle, he has his own pleasure
in mind. When we urge people to take care of their health, we have their
interest in view; and when we urge city improvements or reforms in
politics, we are thinking of the welfare of people in general.

+199. The Material of Persuasion.+–Persuasion aims to produce action and
may make use of any of the forms of discourse that will fit that purpose.
We may describe the beauty of the Adirondacks or narrate our experiences
there in order to persuade a friend to accompany us on a camping trip. We
may explain the workings of a new invention in order to persuade a
capitalist to invest money in its manufacture. Or we may by argument
demonstrate that there is a great opportunity for young men in New
Orleans, hoping to persuade an acquaintance to move there. When thus used,
description, narration, exposition, and argument may become persuasion;
but their effectiveness depends upon their appeal to some fundamental
belief or feeling in the person addressed. Our description and narration
would not bring to the Adirondacks a man who cared nothing for scenery and
who disliked camp life. The explanation of our invention would not
interest a capitalist unless he was seeking a profitable investment. Our
argument would not induce a man to move to New Orleans if his prejudice
against the South was greater than his desire for profit and position. In
each case there has been an appeal to some belief or sentiment or desire
of the person whom we seek to persuade.

+200. Appeal to the Feelings.+–Persuasion, therefore, in order to produce
action must appeal largely to the feelings. But all persons are not
affected in the same way. In order to bring about the same result we may
need to make a different appeal to different individuals. One person may
be led to act by an appeal made to his sense of justice, another by an
appeal made to his patriotism, while still another, unmoved by either of
these appeals, may be led to act by an appeal made to his pride or to his
love of power. If we would be successful in persuading others, we ought to
be able to understand what to appeal to in individual cases. Children may
be enticed by candy, and older persons may be quite as readily influenced
if we but choose the proper incentive. It is our duty to see that we are
persuaded only by the presentation of worthy motives, and that in our own
efforts to persuade others we do not appeal to envy, jealousy, religious
prejudices, race hatred, or lower motives.


Show how an appeal to the feelings could be made in the following. To what
particular feeling or feelings would you appeal in each case?

1. Try to gain your parents’ permission to attend college.

2. Urge a friend to give up card playing.

3. Try to persuade your teachers not to give so long lessons.

4. Persuade others to aid an unfortunate family living in our community.

5. Induce the school board to give you a good gymnasium.

6. Persuade a tramp to give up his mode of life.

7. Try to get some one to buy your old bicycle.

8. Urge your country to act in behalf of some oppressed people.

9. Urge a resident of your town to give something for a public park.

+Theme CVII.+–_Write out one of the preceding._

(Consider what you have written with reference to coherence and climax.)

+201. Argument with Persuasion.+–In some cases we are sure that our
hearers are already convinced as to the truth of a proposition. Then there
is no need of argument and persuasion is used alone, but more frequently
both are used. Argument naturally precedes persuasion, but with few
exceptions the two are intermixed and even so blended as to be scarcely
distinguishable, the one from the other. A good example of the use of both
forms is found in the speech of Antony over the dead body of Caesar in
Shakespeare’s _Julius Caesar_. Read the speech and note the argument and
persuasion given in it. What three arguments does Antony advance to prove
that Caesar was not ambitious? Does he draw conclusions or leave that for
his listeners to do? Where is there an appeal to their pity? To their
curiosity? To their gratitude? What is the result in each case of the
various appeals?

In the following examples note the argument and persuasion. Remember that
persuasion commences when we begin to urge to action. Notice what feelings
are appealed to in the persuasive parts of the speeches.

They tell us, Sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an
adversary. But, when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or
the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed and when a British
guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by
irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual
resistance, by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive
phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir,
we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of
nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the
holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are
invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, Sir,
we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides
over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our
battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the
vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we
were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the
contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery. Our chains
are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war
is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come!–It is
vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace–but
there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps
from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our
brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here, idle? Is life so
dear, is peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and
slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take;
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

–Patrick Henry.

The pictures in the American newspapers of the starving reconcentrados are
true. They can all be duplicated by the thousands. I never before saw,
and please God, I may never again see, so deplorable a sight as the
reconcentrados in the suburbs of Matanzas. I can never forget to my dying
day the hopeless anguish in their despairing eyes. Huddled about their
little bark huts, they raised no voice of appeal to us for alms as we went
among them…. Men, women, and children stand silent, famishing with
hunger. Their only appeal comes from their sad eyes, through which one
looks as through an open window into their agonizing souls.

The Government of Spain has not appropriated and will not appropriate one
dollar to save these people. They are now being attended and nursed and
administered to by the charity of the United States. Think of the
spectacle! We are feeding the citizens of Spain; we are nursing their
sick; we are saving such as can be saved, and yet there are those who
still say it is right for us to send food, but we must keep hands off. I
say that the time has come when muskets ought to go with the food….

The time for action has, then, come. No greater reason for it can exist
to-morrow than exists to-day. Every hour’s delay only adds another chapter
to the awful story of misery and death. Only one power can intervene–the
United States of America. Ours is the one great nation of the New World,
the mother of American republics. She holds a position of trust and
responsibility toward the peoples and the affairs of the whole Western

Mr. President, there is only one action possible, if any is taken–that
is, intervention for the independence of the island. But we cannot
intervene and save Cuba without the exercise of force, and force means
war; war means blood. The lowly Nazarene on the shores of Galilee preached
the divine doctrine of love, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” Not
peace on earth at the expense of liberty and humanity. Not good will
toward men who despoil, enslave, degrade, and starve to death their
fellow-men. I believe in the doctrine of Christ, I believe in the doctrine
of peace; but, Mr. President, men must have liberty before there can come
abiding peace.

Intervention means force. Force means war. War means blood. But it will be
God’s force. When has a battle for humanity and liberty ever been won
except by force? What barricade of wrong, injustice, and oppression has
ever been carried except by force? Force compelled the signature of
unwilling royalty to the great Magna Charta; force put life into
the Declaration of Independence and made effective the Emancipation
Proclamation; force beat with naked hands upon the iron gateway of the
Bastile and made reprisal in one awful hour for centuries of kingly crime;
force waved the flag of revolution over Bunker Hill and marked the snows
of Valley Forge with blood-stained feet; force held the broken line at
Shiloh, climbed the flame-swept hill at Chattanooga, and stormed the
clouds on Lookout heights; force marched with Sherman to the sea, rode
with Sheridan in the valley of Shenandoah, and gave Grant victory at
Appomattox; force saved the Union, kept the stars in the flag, made
“niggers” men.

Others may hesitate, others may procrastinate, others may plead for
further diplomatic negotiations, which means delay; but for me, I am ready
to act now, and for my action I am ready to answer to my conscience, my
country, and my God.

–John Mellen Thurston: _Speech in United States Senate_, March, 1898.


1. A young boy is trying to gain his father’s permission to attend an
evening entertainment with some other boys. Make a list of his appeals to
his father’s reason; to his father’s feelings. Make a list of his father’s
objections. Is there any appeal to his son’s feelings?

2. Suppose you are about to address the voters of your city on the
question of granting saloon licenses. Make a list of appeals to their
reason; to their intellect. Remember that appeals to the feelings are made
more forcible by descriptive and narrative examples than by direct general

3. Urge your classmates to vote for some member of your class for
president. What qualifications should a good class president have?

+Theme CVIII.+–_Select one of the subjects, concerning which you have
written an argument; either add persuasion to the argument or intermix

(What part of your theme is argument and what part persuasion? Does the
introduction of persuasion affect the order of arrangement?)

+Theme CIX.+–_Select one of the subjects given on page 361 of which you
have not yet made use. Write a theme appealing to both feeling and

(Are your facts true and pertinent? Consider the arrangement.)

+Theme CX.+–_Write a letter to a friend who went to work instead of
entering the high school. Urge him to come to the high school._

(What arguments have you made? To what feelings have you appealed?)

+Theme CXI.+–_Use one of the following as a subject for a persuasive

1. Induce your friends not to play ball on Memorial Day.

2. Ask permission to be excused from writing your next essay.

3. Persuade one of your friends to play golf.

4. Induce your friends not to wear birds on their hats.

5. Write an address to young children, trying to persuade them not to be
cruel to the lower animals.

+202. Questions of Right and Questions of Expediency.+–Arguments that aim
to convince us of the wisdom of an action are very common. In our home
life and in our social and religious life these questions are always
arising. They may be classified into two kinds: (1) those which answer the
question, Is it right? and (2) those which answer the question, Is it

The moral element enters into questions of right. It is always wise for us
to do that which is morally right, but sometimes we are in doubt as to
what course of action is morally right. Opinions differ concerning what is
right, and for that reason we spend much time in defending our opinions or
in trying to make others believe as we do. In answering such a question
honestly, we must lose sight of all advantage or disadvantage to
ourselves. When asked to do something we should at once ask ourselves, Is
it right? and when once that is determined one line of action should be

An argument which aims to answer the question, Is it expedient?
presupposes that there are at least two lines of action each of which is
right. It aims to prove that one course of action will bring greater
advantages than any other. Taking all classes of people into consideration
we shall find that they are arguing more questions of expediency than of
any other kind. Every one is looking for advantages either to himself or
to those in whom he is interested. A question of expediency should never
be separated from the question of right. In determining either our own
course of action or that which we attempt to persuade another to follow,
we should never forget the presupposition of a question of expediency that
either course is right.


1. Name five questions the right or wrong of which you have been called
upon to decide.

2. Name five similar questions that are likely to arise in every one’s

3. Name five questions of right concerning which opinions very often

4. Is an action that is right for one person ever wrong for another?

+Theme CXII.+–_Write out the reasons for or against one of the

1. Should two pupils ever study together?

2. Is a lie ever justifiable?

3. Was Shylock’s punishment too severe?

4. Woman’s suffrage should be established.

5. The regular party nominee should not always be supported.


Give reasons for or against the following:–

1. We should abolish class-day exercises.

2. The study of science is more beneficial than the study of language.

3. Foreign skilled laborers should be excluded from the United States.

4. Hypnotic entertainments should not be allowed.

5. The study of algebra should not be made compulsory in a high school.

6. _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_ should be excluded from school libraries.

7. Physical training should be compulsory in public schools.

8. High school secret societies should not be allowed.

+Theme CXIII.+–_Write an argument of expediency using
one of the subjects named in the preceding exercise._

(What advantages have you made most prominent?
To what feelings have you appealed?)

+Theme CXIV.+–_Write a narration in which the hero is called upon to
decide whether some course of action is right or wrong_.

(Consider the theme as a narration. Does it fulfill the requirements of
Chapter IX? (See Summary.) Consider just the arguments used. Are the
arguments sufficient to bring conviction to the reader that the hero
decided rightly?)

+203. Refutation.+–No question is worth argument unless there are two
sides to it–unless there is a chance for some doubt in the mind of the
hearer as to which side seems most reasonable. Many questions are of such
a nature that in trying to convince our hearers of some truth, we often
find it necessary to show them, not only the truth of a proposition or the
expediency of a course of action, but also the falsity of some opposing
proposition or the inexpediency of the opposite course of action. This
tearing to pieces another’s argument, is called refutation, or destructive
argument. A successful debater shows nearly if not equal skill in tearing
down his opponent’s arguments as in building up his own.

Even in arguments in which no one takes the opposite side at the given
time, we must not forget that there are points on the opposite side which
are likely to arise in the minds of our hearers. Just as the skillful
teacher must know the difficulties that will arise in the minds of the
pupils even though they are not expressed, so must the skillful debater
consider the objections that his hearer will mentally set up against his
argument. It is well, however, for the debater to avoid overemphasizing
objections. Sometimes his discussion gives the objections a weight that
they would not otherwise have. It is not wise to set up “a man of straw”
for the purpose of knocking him down.

Notice the refutation in the following argument:–

In no respect is the difference of opinion as to the methods of fishing so
pronounced and disturbing among anglers as the diverse ones of fishing
“up” and “down” stream.

“Fishing up stream” has many advocates who assert that as trout always lie
with their heads up current, they are less likely to see the fisherman or
the glint of his rod when the casts are made; that the discomfort and
fatigue accompanying wading against strong rapids is amply repaid by the
increased scores secured; that the flies deftly thrown a foot or two above
the head of a feeding trout float more life-like down the current than
those drawn against it by the line, when they are apt to exhibit a
muscular power which in the live insect would be exaggerated and

On the other hand, the “down stream” fisherman is equally assertive as to
the value of his method. He feels the charm of gurgling waters around his
limbs, a down current that aids rather than retards or fatigues him in
each successive step of enjoyment in his pastime; as he casts his fifty or
more feet of line adown the stream, he is assured that he is beyond the
ken of the most keen-sighted and wary trout; that his artificial bugs,
under the tension of the current seaming it from right to left, reaches
every square inch of the “swim,” as English rodsters term a likely water,
and coming naturally down stream, just the direction from whence a hungry
trout is awaiting it, are much more likely to be taken, than those thrown
against the current, with, doubtless, a foot or more of the leader
drooping and bagging before the nose of a trout, with a dead bug, soaked
and bedraggled, following slowly behind.

By wading “down stream” its advocates do not mean splashing and lifting
the feet above the surface, sending the water hither and yon on to the
banks, into the pools, with the soil of silt or mud or fine gravel from
the bottom, polluting the stream many yards ahead, and causing every fish
to scurry to the shelter of a hole in the bank or under a shelving rock.
They intend that the rodster shall enter the water quietly, and, after a
few preliminary casts to get the water gear in good working order to
proceed down stream by sliding rather than lifting his feet from the
bottom, noiselessly and cautiously approaching the most likely pools or
eddies behind the roots in mid stream, or still stretches close to the
banks, where the quiet reaches broaden down stream, where nine chances in
ten, on a good trout water, one or more fish will be seen lazily rising
and feeding.

Again, the down-stream angler contends that when a fish is fastened on a
hook, taking the lure in a current, that he is more likely to be well
hooked, hence more certain of capture when the line is tense, than when
rising to a floating bug at the end of a looping line and leader.
Certainly it is very difficult when casting against the current to keep
the line sufficiently taut to strike quickly and effectively a rising
trout, which as a rule ejects the artificial lure the instant he feels the
gritty impact of the steel.

In fishing down stream, the advocate of the principle that the greater the
surface commotion made by the flies used, the surer the rise and catch,
has an advantage over his brother who always fishes “fine” and with flies
that do not make a ripple. Drawing the artificial bugs across and slightly
up stream over the mirrored bosom of a pool is apt to leave a wake behind
them which may not inaptly be compared with the one created by a small
stern-wheel steamer; an unnatural condition of things, but of such is a
trout’s make-up.

–W.C. HARRIS: _Fishing Up or Down Stream_.

+Theme CXV.+–_Persuade a friend, to choose some sport from one of the
following pairs:_–

1. Canoeing or sailing.
2. Bicycling or automobiling.
3. Golf or polo.
4. Basket ball or tennis.
5. Football or baseball.

+Theme CXVI.+–_Choose one side of a proposition. Name the probable points
on the other side and write out a refutation of them_.

+Theme CXVII.+–_State a proposition and write the direct argument._

+Theme CXVIII.+–_Exchange theme CXVII for one written by a classmate and
write the refutation of the arguments in the theme you receive._

(Theme CXVII and the corresponding Theme CXVIII should be read before the


1. Argument is that form of discourse which attempts to prove the truth of
a proposition.

2. Inductive reasoning is that process by which from many individual cases
we establish the probable truth of a general proposition.

3. The establishing of a general truth by induction requires–
_a._ That there be a large number of facts, circumstances, or specific
instances supporting it.
_b._ That these facts be true.
_c._ That they be pertinent.
_d._ That there be no facts proving the truth of the contrary

4. Deductive reasoning is that process which attempts to prove the truth
of a specific proposition by showing that a general theory applies to it.

5. The establishing of the truth of a specific proposition by deductive
reasoning requires–
_a._ A major premise that makes an affirmation about _all_ the members
of a class.
_b._ A minor premise that states that the individual under consideration
belongs to the class named.
_c._ A conclusion that states that the affirmation made about the class
applies to the individual. These three statements constitute a

6. An enthymeme is a syllogism with but one premise expressed.

7. Errors of deduction arise–
_a._ If terms are not used throughout with the same meaning.
_b._ If the major premise does not make a statement about every member
of the class denoted by the middle term.
_c._ If either premise is false.

8. Belief in a specific proposition may arise–
_a._ Because of the presentation of evidence which is true and
_b._ Because of a belief in some general principle or theory which
applies to it.

In arguing therefore we–
_a._ Present true and pertinent facts, or evidence; or
_b._ Appeal directly to general theories, or by means of facts, maxims,
allusions, inferences, or the quoting of authorities, seek to call
up such theories.

9. Classes of arguments:–
_a._ Arguments from cause.
_b._ Arguments from sign and attendant circumstances.
_c._ Arguments from example and analogy.

10. Arrangement.
_a._ Arguments from cause should precede arguments from sign, and
arguments from sign should precede arguments from example.
_b._ Inductive arguments usually precede deductive arguments.
_c._ Arguments should be arranged with reference to climax.
_d._ Arguments should be arranged, when possible, in a coherent order.

11. In making a brief the above principles of arrangement should be
observed. Attention should be given to unity so that the trivial and false
may be excluded.

12. Persuasion is argument that aims to establish the wisdom of a course
of action.

13. Persuasion appeals largely to the feelings.
_a._ Those feelings of satisfaction resulting from approval,
commendation, or praise, or the desire to avoid blame, disaster,
or loss of self-esteem.
_b._ Those feelings resulting from the proper and legitimate use of
one’s powers.
_c._ Those feelings which arise from possession, either actual or

14. Persuasion is concerned with–
_a._ Questions of right.
_b._ Questions of expediency.



+1. Importance of Form.+–The suggestions which have been made for the
correction of the Themes have laid emphasis upon the thought. Though the
thought side is the more important, yet careful attention must also be
given to the form in which it is stated. If we wish to express our
thoughts so that they will be understood by others, we shall be surer to
succeed if we use the forms to which our hearers are accustomed. The great
purpose of composition is the clear expression of thought, and this is
aided by the use of the forms which are conventional and customary.

Wrong habits of speech indicate looseness and carelessness of thought, and
if not corrected show a lack of training. In speaking, our language goes
directly to the listener without revision. It is, therefore, essential
that we pay much attention to the form of the expression so that it may be
correct when we use it. Our aim should be to avoid an error rather than to
correct it.

Similarly in writing, your effort should be given to avoiding errors
rather than to correcting those already made. A misspelled word or an
incorrect grammatical form in the letter that you send to a business man
may show you to be so careless and inaccurate that he will not wish to
have you in his employ. In such a case it is only the avoidance of the
error that is of value. You must determine for yourself that the letter is
correct before you send it. This same condition should prevail with
reference to your school themes. The teacher may return these for
correction, but you must not forget that the purpose of this correction is
merely to emphasize the correct form so that you will use it in your next
theme. It will be helpful to have some one point out your individual
mistakes, but it is only by attention to them on your own part and by a
definite and long-continued effort to avoid them that you will really
accomplish much toward the establishing of correct language habits. In
this, as in other things, the most rapid progress will be made by doing
but one thing at a time.

Many matters of form are already familiar to you. A brief statement of
these is made in order to serve as a review and to secure uniformity in
class work.

1. _Neatness._–All papers should be free from blots and finger marks.
Corrections should be neatly done. Care in correcting or interlining will
often render copying unnecessary.

2. _Legibility._–Excellence of thought is not dependent upon penmanship,
and the best composition may be the most difficult to read. A poorly
written composition is, however, more likely to be considered bad than one
that is well written. A plain, legible, and rapid handwriting is so
valuable an accomplishment that it is well worth acquiring.

3. _Paper._–White, unruled paper, about 8-1/2 by 11 inches, is best for
composition purposes. The ability to write straight across the page
without the aid of lines can be acquired by practice. It is customary to
write on only one side of the paper.

4. _Margins._–Leave a margin of about one inch at the left of the sheet.
Except in formal notes and special forms there will be no margin at the
right. Care should be taken to begin the lines at the left exactly under
each other, but the varying length of words makes it impossible to end the
lines at the right at exactly the same place. A word should not be crowded
into a space too small for it, nor should part of it be put on the next
line, as is customary in printing, unless it is a compound one, such as
steam-boat. Spaces of too great length at the end of a line may be avoided
by slightly lengthening the preceding words or the spaces between them.

5. _Spacing._–Each theme should have a title. It should be placed in the
center of the line above the composition, and should have all important
words capitalized. Titles too long for a single line may be written as


With unruled paper some care must be taken to keep the lines the same
distance apart. The spaces between sentences should be somewhat greater
than those between words. Paragraphs are indicated by indentations.

6. _Corrections._–These are best made by using a sharp knife or an ink
eraser. Sometimes, if neatly done, a line may be drawn through an
incorrect word and the correct one written above it. Omitted words may be
written between the lines and the place where they belong indicated by a
caret. If a page contains many corrections, it should be copied.

7. _Inscription and Folding._–The teacher will give directions as to
inscription and folding. He will indicate what information he wishes, such
as name, class, date, etc., and where it is to be written. Each page
should be numbered. If the paper is folded, it should be done with
neatness and precision.

+2. Capitals.+–The use of capitals will serve to illustrate the value of
using conventional forms. We are so accustomed to seeing a proper name,
such as Mr. Brown, written with capitals that we should be puzzled if we
should find it written without capitals. The sentence, Ben-Hur was written
by Lew Wallace, would look unfamiliar if written without capitals. We are
so used to our present forms that beginning sentences with small letters
would hinder the ready comprehension of the thought. Everybody agrees that
capitals should be used to begin sentences, direct questions, names of
deity, days of the week, the months, each line of poetry, the pronoun I,
the interjection O, etc., and no good writer will fail to use them. Usage
varies somewhat in regard to capitals in some other places. Such
expressions as Ohio river, Lincoln school, Jackson county, state of
Illinois, once had both names capitalized. The present tendency is to
write them as above. Even titles of honor are not capitalized unless they
are used with a proper name; for example, He introduced General Grant The
general then spoke.

+3. Rules of Capitalization.+–1. Every sentence and every line of poetry
begin with capitals.

2. Every direct quotation, except brief phrases and subordinate parts of
sentences, begins with a capital.

3. Proper nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns begin with
capitals. Some adjectives, though derived from proper nouns, are no longer
capitalized; _e.g._ voltaic.

4. Titles of honor when used with the name of a person begin with

5. The first word and every important word in the titles of books, etc.,
begin with capitals.

6. The pronoun I and the interjection O are always capitalized.

7. Names applied to the Deity are capitalized and pronouns referring
thereto, especially if personal, are usually capitalized.

8. Important words are often capitalized for emphasis, especially words in
text-books indicating topics.

+4. Punctuation.+–The meaning of a sentence depends largely on the
grouping of words that are related in sense to each other. When we are
reading aloud we make the sense clear by bringing out to the hearer this
grouping. This is accomplished by the use of pauses and by emphasis and
inflection. In writing we must do for the eye what inflection and pauses
do for the ear. We therefore use punctuation marks to indicate inflection
and emphasis, and especially to show word grouping. Punctuation marks are
important because their purpose is to assist in making the sense clear.
There are many special rules more or less familiar to you, but they may
all be included under the one general statement: Use such marks and only
such marks as will assist the reader in getting the sense.

What marks we shall use and how we shall use them will be determined by
custom. In order to benefit a reader, marks must be used in ways with
which he is familiar. Punctuation changes from time to time. The present
tendency is to omit all marks not absolutely necessary to the clear
understanding of the sentence.

There are some very definite rules, but there are others that cannot be
made so definite, and the application of them requires care and
judgment on the part of the writer. Improvement will come only by
practice. Sentences should not be written for the purpose of illustrating
punctuation. The meaning of what you are writing ought to be clear to you,
and the punctuation marks should be put in _as you write_, not inserted

+5. Rules for the Use of the Comma.+–1. The comma is used to separate
words or phrases having the same construction, used in a series.

Judges, senators, and representatives were imprisoned.

The country is a good place to be born in, a good place to die in, a
good place to live in at least part of the year.

If any conjunctions are used to connect the last two members, the comma
may or may not be used in connection with the conjunction.

The cabbage palmetto affords shade, kindling, bed, and food.

2. Words or expressions in apposition should be separated by a comma.

The native Indian dress is an evolution, a survival from long years of
wild life.

3. Commas are used to separate words in direct address from the rest of
the sentence.

Bow down, dear Land, for thou hast found release.
O, Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine!

4. Introductory and parenthetical words or expressions are
set off by commas.

However, the current is narrow and very shallow here.

This, in a general way, describes the scope of the small parks or

If the parenthetical expression is long and not very closely related to
the rest of the sentence, dashes or marks of parenthesis are frequently
used. Some writers use them even when the connection is somewhat close.

5. The comma is frequently used to separate the parts of a long compound

Pine torches have no glass to break, and are within the reach of any man
who can wield an ax.

6. A comma is often used to separate a subject with several modifiers, or
with a long modifier, from the predicate verb.

One of the mistakes often made in beginning the study of birds with
small children, is in placing stress upon learning by sight and name
as many species of birds as possible.

7. Participial and adjective phrases and adverb phrases out of their
natural order should be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

A knight, clad in armor, was the most conspicuous figure of all.

To the mind of the writer, this explanation has much to commend it.

8. When negative expressions are used in order to show a contrast, they
are set off by commas.

They believed in men, not in mere workers in the great human workshop.

9. Commas are used in complex sentences to separate the dependent clause
from the rest of the sentence.

The great majority of people would be better off, if they had more money
and spent it.

While the flour is being made, samples are sent every hour to the
testing department.

If the connection is close, the comma is usually omitted, especially when
the dependent clause comes last.

I will be there when the train arrives.

10. When a relative clause furnishes an additional thought, it should be
separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma.

Hiram Watts, who has been living in New York for six years, has just
returned to England.

If the relative clause is restrictive, that is, if it restricts or
limits the meaning of the antecedent, the comma is unnecessary.

This is the best article that he ever wrote.

11. Commas are used to separate the members of a compound sentence when
they are short or closely connected.

Ireland is rich in minerals, yet there is but little mining done there.

Breathe it, exult in it,
All the day long,
Glide in it, leap in it,
Thrill it with song.

12. Short quotations should be separated from the rest of the sentence by
a comma.

“There must be a beaver dam here,” he called.

13. The omissions of important words in a sentence should be indicated by

If you can, come to-morrow; if not, come next week.

+6. Rules for the Use of the Semicolon.+–1. When the members of a
compound sentence are long or are not closely connected, semicolons should
be used to separate them.

Webster could address a bench of judges; Everett could charm a
college; Choate could delude a jury; Clay could magnetize a senate,
and Tom Corwin could hold the mob in his right hand; but no one
of these men could do more than this one thing.

–Wendell Phillips.

We might as well decide the question now; for we shall surely be
obliged to soon.

2. When the members of a compound sentence themselves contain commas, they
should be separated from one another by semicolons.

As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at
it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew


3. The semicolon should be used to precede _as, namely, i.e., e.g., viz_.

Some adjectives are compared irregularly; as, good, bad, and little.

4. When a series of distinct statements all have a common dependence on
what precedes or follows them, they may be separated from each other by

When subject to the influence of cold we eat more; we choose more
heat-producing foods, as fatty foodstuffs; we take more vigorous
exercise; we put on more clothing, especially of the non-conducting

+7. Rules for the Use of the Colon.+–1. The colon is used
before long or formal quotations, before enumerations, and before
the conclusion of a previous statement.

Old Sir Thomas Browne shrewdly observes: “Every man is not only
himself. There have been many Diogeneses and many Timons
though but few of the name. Men are lived over again. The world
is now as it was in ages past. There were none then, but there has
been one since, that parallels him, and is, as it were, revived self.”

–George Dana Boardman.

Adjectives are divided into two general classes: descriptive and
definitive adjectives.

The following members sent in their resignations: Mrs. William M.
Murphy, Mrs. Ralph B. Wiltsie, and Mrs. John C. Clark.

2. The colon is used to separate the different members of a compound
sentence, when they themselves are divided by semicolons.

It is too warm to-day; the sunshine is too bright; the shade, too
pleasant: we will wait until to-morrow or we will have some one else
do it when the busy time is over.

+8. Rules for the Use of the Period.+–1. The period is used at the close
of imperative and declarative sentences.

2. All abbreviations should be followed by a period.

+9. Rule for the Use of the Interrogation Mark.+–The interrogation mark
should be used after all direct questions.

+10. Rule for the Use of the Exclamation Mark.+–Interjections and
exclamatory words and expressions should be followed by the exclamation
mark. Sometimes the exclamatory word is only a part of the whole
exclamation. In this case, the exclamatory word should be followed by a
comma, and the entire exclamation by an exclamation mark.

See, how the lightning flashes!

+11. Rules for the Use of the Dash.+–1. The dash is used to show sudden
changes in thought or breaks in speech.

I can speak of this better when temptation comes my way–if it ever does.

2. The dash is often used in the place of commas or marks of parenthesis
to set off parenthetical expressions.

In the mountains of New York State this most valuable tree–the spruce–

3. The dash, either alone or in connection with the comma, is used to
point out that part of a sentence on which special stress is to be placed.

I saw unpruned fruit trees, broken fences, and farm implements, rusting in
the rain–all evidences of wasted time.

4. The dash is sometimes used with the colon before long quotations,
before an enumeration of things, or before a formally introduced

+12. Rules for the Use of Quotation Marks.+–1. Quotation marks are used
to inclose direct quotations.

“In all the great affairs of life one must run some risk,” she remarked.

2. A quotation within a quotation is usually indicated by single quotation

“Can you tell me where I can find ‘Rienzi’s Address’?” asked a young lady
of a clerk in Brooklyn.

3. When a quotation is interrupted by parenthetical expressions, the
different parts of the quotation should be inclosed in quotation marks.

“Bring forth,” cried the monarch, “the vessels of gold.”

4. When the quotation consists of several paragraphs, the quotation marks
are placed at the beginning of each paragraph and at the close of the last

+13. Rule for the Use of the Apostrophe.+–The apostrophe is used to
denote the possessive case, to indicate the omission of letters, and to
form the plural of signs, figures, and letters.

In the teacher’s copy book you will find several fancy A’s and 3’s which
can’t be distinguished from engravings.



+14. English grammar+ is the study of the forms of English words and their
relationship to one another as they appear in sentences. A _sentence_ is a
group of words that expresses a complete thought.

+15. Elements of a Sentence.+–The elements of a sentence, as regards the
office that they perform, are the _subject_ and the _predicate_. The
_subject_ is that about which something is asserted, and the _predicate_
is that which asserts something about the subject.

Some predicates may consist of a single word or word-group, able in itself
to complete a sentence: [The thrush _sings_. The thrush _has been
singing_]. Some require a following word or words: [William struck
_John_ (object complement, or object). Edward became _king_ (attribute
complement). The people made Edward _king_ (objective complement)].

The necessary parts of a sentence are: some name for the object of thought
(to which the general term _substantive_ may be given); some word or group
of words to make assertion concerning the substantive (general term,
_assertive_); and, in case of an incomplete assertive, one of the above
given completions of its meaning (object complement, attribute complement,
objective complement).

In addition to these necessary elements of the sentence, words or groups
of words may be added to make the meaning of any one of the elements more
exact. Such additions are known as _modifiers_. The word-groups which are
used as modifiers are the _phrase_ and the _clause_.

[The thrush, sings _in the pine woods_ (phrase). The wayfarer _who hears
the thrush_ is indeed fortunate (clause).]

Both the subject and the predicate may be unmodified:

[Bees buzz]; both may be modified: [The honey bees buzz in the clover];
one may be modified and the other unmodified: [Bees buzz in the clover].

The unmodified subject may be called the _simple subject_, or, merely, the
_subject_. If modified, it becomes the _complete subject_.

The assertive element, together with the attribute complement, if one is
present, may be called the _simple predicate_. If modified, it becomes the
_complete predicate_.

Some grammarians call the assertive element, alone, the _simple
predicate_; modified or completed, the _complete predicate_.

+16. Classification of Sentences as to Purpose.+–Sentences are classified
according to purpose into three classes: _declarative_, _interrogative_,
and _imperative_ sentences.

A _declarative_ sentence is one that makes a statement or declares
something: [Columbus crossed the Atlantic].

An _interrogative_ sentence is one that asks a question: [Who wrote
_Mother Goose_?].

An _imperative_ sentence is one that expresses a command or entreaty:
[“Fling away ambition”].

Each kind of sentence may be of an exclamatory nature, and then the
sentence is said to be an _exclamatory_ sentence: [How happy all the
children are! (exclamatory declarative). “Who so base as be a slave?”
(exclamatory interrogative). “Heap high the farmer’s wintry hoard!”
(exclamatory imperative)].

Notice that the exclamation point follows the declarative and imperative
forms, but the interrogative form is followed by the question mark.


+17. The Individual Elements+ of which every sentence is composed are
_words_. Every word is the sign of some idea. Each of the words _horse,
he, blue, speaks, merrily, at_, and _because_, has a certain naming value,
more or less definite, for the mind of the reader. Of these, _horse, blue,
he, merrily_, have a fairly vivid descriptive power. In the case of _at_
and _because_, the main office is, evidently, to express a relation
between other ideas: [“I am _at_ my post”], [“I go _because_ I must”]. The
word _speaks_ is less clearly a relational word; at first thought it would
seem to have only the office of picturing an activity. That it also fills
the office of a connective will be evident if we compare the following
sentences: He _speaks_ in public. He _is_ a public _speaker_. It is
evident that _speaks_ contains in itself the _naming_ value represented in
the word _speaker_, but also has the _connecting_ office fulfilled in the
second sentence by _is_.

All words have, therefore, a naming office, and some have in addition a
connecting or relational office.


+18. Parts of Speech.+–When we examine the different words in sentences
we find that, in spite of these fundamentally similar qualities, the words
are serving different purposes. This difference in purpose or use serves
as the basis for dividing words into eight classes, called Parts of
Speech. Use alone determines to which class a word in any given sentence
shall belong. Not only are single words so classified, but any part of
speech may be represented by a group of words. Such a group is either a
_phrase_ or a _clause_.

A _phrase_ is a group of words, containing neither subject nor predicate,
that is used as a single part of speech.

A _clause_ is a group of words, containing both subject and predicate,
that is used as part of a sentence. If used as a single part of speech, it
is called a _subordinate_, or _dependent_, clause. Some grammarians use the
word _clause_ for a subordinate statement only.

+19. Classification.+–The eight parts of speech may be classified as

I. Substantives: nouns, pronouns.
II. Assertives: verbs.
III. Modifiers: adjectives, adverbs.
IV. Connectives: prepositions, conjunctions.
V. Interjections.

+20. Definitions.+–The parts of speech may be defined as

(1) A _noun_ is a word used as a name.

(2) A _pronoun_ is a word used in place of a noun, designating a person,
place, or thing without naming it.

(3) An _adjective_ is a word that modifies a substantive.

(4) A _verb_ is a word that asserts something–action, state, or being—
concerning a substantive.

(5) An _adverb_ is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another

(6) A _preposition_ is a word that shows the relation of the substantive
that follows it to some other word or words in the sentence.

(7) A _conjunction_ is a word that connects words or groups of words used
in the same way.

(8) An _interjection_ is a cry expressing emotion, but not forming part of
the sentence.


+21. Classes of Nouns.+–Nouns are divided into two general classes:
_proper_ nouns [Esther] and _common_ nouns [girl].

Common nouns include _abstract_ nouns [happiness] and _collective_ nouns

Any word mentioned merely _as a word_ is a noun: [_And_ is a conjunction].

+22. Inflection.+–A change in the form of a word to denote a change in
its meaning is termed _inflection_.

+23. Number.+–The most common inflection of the noun is that which shows
us whether the name denotes one or more than one. The power of the noun to
denote one or more than one is termed _number_. A noun that denotes but
one object is _singular_ in number. A noun that denotes more than one
object is _plural_ in number.

The plural number of nouns is regularly formed by adding _s_ and _es_ to
the singular [bank, banks; box, boxes].

Other points to be noted concerning the plural of nouns are as follows:–

1. The irregular plural in _en_ [child, children].

2. Formation of the plural by internal change [goose, geese].

3. Fourteen nouns ending in _f_ or _fe_ change the _f_ or _fe_ into _yes_
[leaf, leaves].

4. Nouns ending in _y_, preceded by a consonant, change the _y_ to _i_ and
add _es_ [enemy, enemies].

5. Letters, figures, signs, etc., form their plural by adding ‘_s_:[You
have used too many _i_’s].

6. Nouns taken from other languages usually form their plurals according
to the laws of those languages [phenomenon, phenomena].

7. A few nouns in our language do not change their form to denote number.
(_a_) Some nouns have the same form, for both the singular and the
plural [sheep, deer].
(_b_) Some nouns are used only in the plural [scissors, thanks].
(_c_) Some nouns have no plurals [pride, flesh].
(_d_) Some nouns, plural in form, have a singular meaning [measles,
news, politics].

8. Compound nouns usually form their plural by pluralizing the noun part
of the compound [sister-in-law, sisters-in-law]. If the words of the
compound are both nouns, and are of equal importance, both are given a
plural ending [manservant, menservants]. When the compound is thought of
as a whole, the last part only is made plural [spoonful, spoonfuls].

9. Proper names usually form their plurals regularly. If they are
preceded by titles, they form their plurals either by pluralizing the
title or by pluralizing the name [The Misses Hunter or the Miss Hunters.
The Messrs. Keene or the two Mr. Keenes. The Masters Burke. The Mrs.

10. A few nouns have two plurals differing in meaning or use [cloth,
cloths, clothes; penny, pennies, pence].

+24. Case.+–Case is the relation that a noun or pronoun
bears to some other word in the sentence.

Inflection of nouns or pronouns for the purpose of denoting
case is termed _declension_. There are three cases in the English
language: the _nominative_, the _possessive_, and the _objective_; but
nouns show only two forms for each number, as the nominative and
objective cases have the same form.

+25. Formation of the Possessive.+–Nouns in the singular, and those in
the plural not already ending in _s_, form the possessive regularly by
adding ‘_s_ to the nominative [finger, finger’s; geese, geese’s].

In case the plural already ends in _s_, the possessive case adds only the
apostrophe [girls’].

A few singular nouns add only the apostrophe, when the addition of the
‘_s_ would make an unpleasant sound [Moses’].

Compound nouns form the possessive case by adding ‘_s_ to the last word.
This is also the rule when two names denoting joint ownership are used:
[Bradbury and Emery’s Algebra].

Notice that in the following expression the ‘_s_ is affixed to the second
noun only: [My sister Martha’s book].

Names of inanimate objects usually substitute prepositional phrases to
denote possession: [The hardness _of the rock_, not The rock’s hardness].

+26. Gender.+–Gender is the power of nouns and pronouns to denote sex.
Nouns or pronouns denoting males are of the _masculine_ gender; those
denoting females are of the _feminine_ gender; and those denoting things
without animal life are of the _neuter_ gender.

+27. Person.+–Person is the power of one class of pronouns to show
whether the speaker, the person spoken to, or the person or thing spoken
of is designated. According to the person denoted, the pronoun is said to
be in the _first, second_, or _third_ person. Nouns and many pronouns are
not inflected for person, but most grammarians attribute person to them
because the context of the sentence in which they are used shows what
persons they represent.

+28. Constructions of Nouns.+–The following are the usual constructions
of nouns:–

(_a_) The _possessive_ case of the noun denotes possession.

(_b_) Nouns in the _nominative_ case are used as follows:–

1. As the subject of a verb: [The western _sky_ is all aflame]

2. As an attribute complement: [Autumn is the most gorgeous _season_ of
the year].

3. In an exclamation: [Alas, poor _soul_, it could not be!].

4. In direct address: [O hush thee, my _baby_!].

5. Absolutely: [The _rain_ being over, the grass twinkled in the

6. As a noun in apposition with a nominative: [Columbus; a _native_ of
Genoa, discovered America].

(_c_) Nouns in the _objective_ case are used as follows:–

1. As the direct object of a verb, termed either the direct object or the
object complement: [I saw a _host_ of golden daffodils].

2. As the objective complement: [They crowned him _king_].

3. As the indirect object of a verb: [We gave _Ethel_ a ring].

4. As the object of a preposition: [John Smith explored the coast of _New

5. As the subject of an infinitive: [He commanded _the man_ (_him_)to go
without delay].

6. As the attribute of an expressed subject of the infinitive _to be_: [I
thought it to be _John_ (_him_)].

7. As an adverbial noun: [He came last _week_].

8. As a noun in apposition with an object: [Stanley found Livingstone,
the great _explorer_].

+29. Equivalents for Nouns.+

1. Pronoun: [John gave _his_ father a book for Christmas].

2. Adjective: [The _good_ alone are truly great].

3. Adverb: [I do not understand the _whys_ and _wherefores_ of the

4. A gerund, or infinitive in _ing_: [_Seeing_ is _believing_].

5. An infinitive or infinitive phrase: [With him, _to think_ is _to

6. Clause: [It is hard for me to believe _that she took the money_]. Noun
clauses may be used as subject, object, attribute complement, and

7. A prepositional phrase: [_Over the fence_ is out].


+30. Antecedent.+–The most common equivalent for a noun is the pronoun.
The substantive for which the pronoun is an equivalent is called the
_antecedent_, and with this antecedent the pronoun must agree in _person,
number_, and _gender_, but not necessarily in _case_.

+31. Classes of Pronouns.+–Pronouns are commonly divided into five
classes, and sometimes a sixth class is added: (1) personal pronouns, (2)
relative pronouns, (3) interrogative pronouns, (4) demonstrative pronouns,
(5) adjective pronouns,(6) indefinite pronouns (not always added).

+32. Personal Pronouns.+–Personal pronouns are so called because they
show by their form whether they refer to the first, the second, or the
third person. There are five personal pronouns in common use: _I, you, he,
she_, and _it_.

+33. Constructions of Personal Pronouns.+–The personal pronouns are used
in the same ways in which nouns are used. Besides the regular uses that the
personal pronoun has, there are some special uses that should be

1. The word _it_ is often used in an indefinite way at the beginning of a
sentence: [It snows]. When so used, it has no antecedent, and we say it is
used _impersonally_.

2. The pronoun _it_ is often used as the _grammatical_ subject of a
sentence in which the _logical_ subject is found after the predicate verb:
[_It_ is impossible for us to go]. When so used the pronoun _it_ is called
an _expletive. There_ is used in the same way.

+34. Cautions and Suggestions.+

1. Be careful not to use the apostrophe in the possessive forms _its,
yours, ours_, and _theirs_.

2. Be careful to use the nominative form of a pronoun used as an attribute
complement: [It is _I_; it is _they_].

3. Be sure that the pronoun agrees in number with its antecedent. One of
the most common violations of this rule is in using _their_ in such
sentences as the following:–Every boy and girl must arrange _his_ desk.
Who has lost _his_ book? The use of _every_ and the form _has_ obliges us
to make the possessive pronouns singular.

_His_ may be regarded as applying to females as well as males, where it is
convenient not to use the expression _his or her_.

4. The so-called subject of an infinitive is always in the objective case:
[I asked _him_ to go].

5. The attribute complement will agree in case with the subject of the
verb. Hence the attribute complement of an infinitive is in the objective
case: [I knew it (obj.) to be _him_]; but the attribute complement of the
subject of a finite verb is in the nominative case: [I knew it (nom.) was

6. Words should be so arranged in a sentence that there will be no doubt
in the mind concerning the antecedent of the pronoun.

7. Do not use the personal pronoun form _them_ for the adjective _those_:
[_Those_ books are mine].

+35. Compound Personal Pronouns.+–To the personal pronouns _my, our,
your, him, her, it_, and _them_, the syllables _self_ (singular) and
_selves_ (plural) may be added, thus forming what are termed _compound
personal_ pronouns. These pronouns have only two uses:–

1. They are used for emphasis: [He _himself_ is an authority on the

2. They are also used reflexively: [The boy injured _himself_].

+36. The Relative or Conjunctive Pronouns.+–The pronouns _who, which,
what_ (= that which), _that_, and _as_ (after _such_) are more than
equivalents for nouns, inasmuch as they serve as connectives. They are
often named _relative pronouns_ because they relate to some antecedent
either expressed or implied; they are equally well named _conjunctive
pronouns_ because they are used as connectives. They introduce subordinate
clauses only; these clauses are called _relative clauses_, and since they
modify substantives, are also called _adjective clauses_.

+37. Uses of Relative Pronouns.+–_Who_ is used to represent persons, and
objects or ideas personified; _which_ is used to represent things; _that_
and _as_ are used to represent both persons and things.

When a clause is used _for the purpose_ of pointing out some particular
person, object, or idea, it is usually introduced by _that_; but when the
clause supplies an additional thought, _who_ or _which_ is more frequently
used. The former is called a _restrictive clause_, and the latter, a
_non-restrictive clause_.

[The boy that broke his leg has fully recovered (restrictive).] Note the
omission of the comma before _that_. [My eldest brother, who is now in
England, will return by June (non-restrictive).] Note the inclosure of the
clause in commas. See Appendix 5, rule 10.

In the first sentence it is evident that the intent of the writer is to
separate, in thought, _the boy that broke his leg_ from all other boys.
Although the clause does indeed describe the boy’s condition, it does so
_for the purpose_ of _limiting_ or _restricting_ thought to one especial
boy among many. In the second sentence the especial person meant is
indicated by the word _eldest_. The clause, _who is now in England_, is
put in for the sake of giving an additional bit of information.

+38. Constructions of Relative Pronouns.+–Relative pronouns may be used
as subject, object, object of a preposition, subject of an infinitive, and
possessive modifier.

The relative pronoun is regarded as agreeing in person with its
antecedent. Its verb, therefore, takes the person of the antecedent: [_I_,
who _am_ your friend, will assist you].

The case of the relative is determined by its construction in the clause
in which it is found: [He _whom_ the president appointed was fitted for
the position].

+39. Compound Relative Pronouns.+–The compound relative pronouns are
formed by adding _ever_ and _soever_ to the relative pronouns _who,
which_, and _what_. These have the constructions of the simple relatives,
and the same rules hold about person and case: [Give it to _whoever_
wishes it. Give it to _whomever_ you see].

+40. Interrogative Pronouns.+–The pronouns _who, which_, and _what_ are
used to ask questions, and when so used, are called _interrogative_
pronouns. _Who_ refers to persons; _what_, to things; and _which_, to
persons or things. Like the relatives _who_ has three case forms; _which_
and _what_ are uninflected.

The implied question in the sentence, I know whom you saw, is, Whom did
you see? The introductory _whom_ is an interrogative pronoun, and the
clause itself is called an _indirect question_.

The words _which, what_, and _whose_ may also be used as modifiers of
substantives, and when so used they are called _interrogative adjectives_:
[“_What_ manner of man is this?” _Whose_ child is this? _Which_ book
did you choose?].

+41. Demonstrative Pronouns.+–_This_ and _that_, with their plurals
_these_ and _those_, are called _demonstrative pronouns_, because they
point out individual persons or things.

+42. Indefinite Pronouns.+–Some pronouns, as _each, either, some, any,
many, such_, etc., are indefinite in character. Many indefinites may be
used either as pronouns or adjectives. Of the indefinites only two, _one_
and _other_, are inflected.


NOM. AND OBJ. one ones other others

POSS. one’s ones’ other’s others’

+43. Adjective Pronouns or Pronominal Adjectives.+–Many words, as has
been noted already, are either pronouns or adjectives according to the
office that they perform. If the noun is expressed, the word in question
is called a _pronominal adjective_; but if the noun is omitted so that the
word in question takes its place, it is called an _adjective pronoun_.
[_That_ house is white (adjective). _That_ is the same house (pronoun).]


+44. Classes of Adjectives.+–There are two general classes of adjectives:
the _descriptive_ [blue, high, etc.], so called because they describe, and
the _limiting_ or _definitive_ adjectives [yonder, three, that, etc.], so
called because they limit or define. It is, of course, true that any
adjective which describes a noun limits its meaning; but the adjective is
named from its descriptive power, not from its limiting power. A very
large per cent of all adjectives belong to the first class,–_descriptive_
adjectives. Proper adjectives and _participial_ adjectives form a small
part of this large class: [_European_ countries. A _running_ brook].

+45. Limiting or Definitive Adjectives.+–The _limiting_ adjectives
include the various classes of _pronominal adjectives_ (all of which have
been mentioned under pronouns), the _articles_ (_a_, _an_, and _the_),
and adjectives denoting _place_ and _number_.

+46. Comparison of Adjectives.+–With the exception of the words _this_
and _that_, adjectives are not inflected for number, and none are
inflected for case. Many of them, however, change their form to express a
difference in degree. This change of form is called _comparison_. There
are three degrees of comparison: the _positive_, the _comparative_, and
the _superlative_. Adjectives are regularly compared by adding the
syllables _er_ and _est_ to the positive to form the comparative and
superlative degrees. In some cases, especially in the case of adjectives
of more than one syllable, the adverbs _more_ and _most_ are placed before
the positive degree in order to form the other two degrees [long, longer,
longest; beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful].

+47. Irregular Comparison of Adjectives.+–A few adjectives are compared
irregularly. These adjectives are in common use and we should be familiar
with the correct forms.


bad }
evil } worse worst
ill }

far farther farthest

good } better best
well }

fore former { foremost
{ first

late { later { latest
{ latter { last

little less least

many } more most
much }

near nearer { nearest
{ next

old { older { oldest
{ elder { eldest

The following words are used as adverbs or prepositions in the positive
degree, and as _adjectives_ in the other two degrees:–

(forth) further furthest

(in) inner { innermost
{ inmost

(out) { outer { outermost
{ utter { utmost
{ uttermost

(up) upper { upmost
{ uppermost

+48. Cautions concerning the Use of Adjectives.+

1. When two or more adjectives modify the same noun, the article is
placed only before the first, unless emphasis is desired: [He is an
industrious, faithful pupil].

2. If the adjectives refer to different things, the article should be
repeated before each adjective: [She has a white and a blue dress].

3. When two or more nouns are in apposition, the article is placed only
before the first: [I received a telegram from Mr. Richards, _the_ broker
and real estate agent].

4. _This, these, that_, and _those_ must agree in number with the noun
they modify: [_This kind_ of flowers; _those sorts_ of seeds].

5. When but two things are compared, the comparative degree is used:
[This is the more complete of the two].

6. When _than_ is used after a comparative, whatever is compared should
be excluded from the class with which it is compared: [I like this house
better than any other house; not, I like this house better than any

7. Do not use _a_ after _kind of, sort of_, etc.: [What kind of man is
he? (not, What kind of _a_ man)]. _One_ man does not constitute a class
consisting of many kinds.

+49. Constructions of Adjectives.+–Adjectives that merely describe or
limit are said to be _attributive_ in construction. When the adjective
limits or describes, and, at the same time, adds to the predicate, it is
called a _predicate adjective_.Predicate adjectives may be used either as
attribute or objective complements: [The sea is _rough_ to-day (attribute
complement), He painted the boat _green_ (objective complement)].

+50. Equivalents for Adjectives.+–The following are used as equivalents
for the typical adjective:–

1. A noun used in apposition: [Barrie’s story of his mother, “_Margaret
Ogilvy_,” is very beautiful].

2. A noun used as an adjective: [A _campaign_ song].

3. A prepositional phrase: [His little, nameless, unremember’d acts _of
kindness_ and _of love_].

4. Participles or participial phrases: [We saw a brook _running_ between
the alders. Soldiers _hired to serve a foreign country_ are called

5. Relative clauses: [This is the house _that Jack built_].

6. An adverb (sometimes called the _locative_ adjective): [The book _here_
is the one I want].


+51. Uses of Verbs.+–A _verb_ is the word or word-group that makes an
assertion or statement, and it is therefore the most important part of the
whole sentence. It has been already shown that such a verb as _speaks_
serves the double purpose of suggesting an activity and showing relation.
The most purely _relational_ verb is the verb _to be_, which is called the
_copula_ or _linking verb_, for the very reason that it joins predicate
words to the subject: [The lake _is_ beautiful]. _To be_, however, is not
always a pure _copula_. In such a sentence as, “He that cometh to God must
believe that He _is_,” the word _is_ means _exists_.Verbs that are like
the copula, such as, _appear, become, seem_, etc., are called _copulative_
verbs. Verbs that not only are relational but have descriptive power, such
as _sings, plays, runs_, etc., are called _attributive_ verbs. They
attribute some quality or characteristic to the subject.

+52. Classes of Verbs.+–According to their uses in a sentence verbs are
divided into two classes: _transitive_ and _intransitive_.

A _transitive_ verb is one that takes a following substantive, expressed
or implied, called the _object_, to designate the receiver or the product
of the action: [They seized the _city_. They built a _city_]. The
transitive verb may sometimes be used _absolutely_:[The horse eats]. Here
the object is implied.

An _intransitive_ verb is one that does not take an object to complete its
meaning; or, in other words, an intransitive verb is one that denotes an
action, state, or feeling that involves the subject only: [He ran away.
They were standing at the water’s edge].

A few verbs in our language are always transitive, and a few others are
always intransitive. The verbs _lie_ and _lay, rise_ and _raise, sit_ and
_set_, are so frequently misused that attention is here called to them.
The verbs _lie, rise_, and _sit_ (usually) are intransitive in meaning,
while the verbs _lay, raise_, and _set_ are transitive. The word _sit_ may
sometimes take a reflexive object: [They sat _themselves_ down to rest].

The majority of verbs in our language are either transitive or
intransitive, according to the sense in which they are used.

[The fire _burns_ merrily (intransitive).
The fire _burned_ the building (transitive).
The bird _flew_ swiftly (intransitive).
The boy _flew_ his kite (transitive).]

Some intransitive verbs take what is known as a _cognate object_: [He died
a noble _death_.] Here the object repeats the meaning of the verb.

+53. Complete and Incomplete Verbs.+–Some intransitive verbs make a
complete assertion or statement without the aid of any other words. Such
verbs are said to be of _complete predication_: [The snow melts].

All transitive verbs and some intransitive verbs require one or more words
to complete the meaning of the predicate. Such verbs are said to be
incomplete. Whatever is added to complete the meaning of the predicate is
termed a _complement_. The complement of a transitive verb is called the
_object complement_, or simply the _object_: [She found the _book_].
Some transitive verbs, from the nature of their meaning, take also an
_indirect_ object: [I gave _her_ the book]. When a word belonging to
the subject is added to an intransitive verb in order to complete the
predicate, it is termed an _attribute complement_. This complement may be
either a noun or an adjective: [He is our _treasurer_ (noun). This rose is
_fragrant_ (adjective)]. Among the incomplete intransitive verbs the most
conspicuous are the copula and the copulative verbs.

+54. Auxiliary Verbs.+–English verbs have so few changes of form to
express differences in meaning that it is often necessary to use the
so-called _auxiliary_ verbs. The most common are: _do, be, have, may,
must, might, can, shall, will, should, would, could_, and _ought_. Some of
these may be used as principal verbs. A few notes and cautions are added.

_Can_ is used to denote the ability of the subject.

_May_ is used to denote permission, possibility, purpose, or desire. Thus
the request for permission should be, “May I?” not “Can I?”

_Must_ indicates necessity.

_Ought_ expresses obligation.

_Had_ should never be used with _ought_. To express a moral obligation in
past time, combine _ought_ with the perfect infinitive: [I ought _to have
done_ it].

_Should_ sometimes expresses duty: [You should not go].

_Would_ sometimes denotes a custom: [He would sit there for hours].
Sometimes it expresses a wish: [Would he were here!]. For other uses of
_should_ and _would_, see Appendix 60.

+55. Principal Parts.+–The main forms of the verb–so important as to be
called the _principal parts_ because the other parts are formed from them–
are the _root infinitive_, the _preterite_ (_past_) _indicative_, and the
_past participle_ [move, moved, moved; sing, sang, sung; be, was, been].
The _present_ participle is sometimes given with the principal parts.

+56. Inflection.+–As is evident from the preceding paragraph, verbs have
certain changes of form to indicate change of meaning. Such a change or
_inflection_, in the case of the noun, is called _declension;_ in the
case of the verb it is called _conjugation_. Nouns are _declined_; verbs
are _conjugated_.

+57. Person and Number.+–In Latin, or any other highly inflected
language, there are many terminations to indicate differences in person
and number, but in English there is but one in common use, _s_ in the
third person singular: [_He runs_], _St_ or _est_ is used after _thou_ in
the second person singular: [_Thou lovest_].

+58. Agreement.+–Verbs must agree with their subjects in
person and number. The following suggestions concerning
agreement may be helpful:–

1. A compound subject that expresses a single idea takes a singular verb:
[Bread and milk _is_ wholesome food].

2. When the members of a compound subject, connected by _neither … nor_,
differ as regards person and number, the verb should agree with the nearer
of the two: [Neither they nor I _am_ to blame].

3. When the subject consists of singular nouns or pronouns connected by
_or, either … or, neither … nor_, the verb is singular: [Either this
book or that _is_ mine].

4. Words joined to the subject by _with, together with, as well as_, etc.,
do not affect the number of the verb. The same is true of any modifier of
the subject: [John, as well as the girls, _is_ playing house. One of my
books _is_ lying on the table. Neither of us _is_ to blame].

5. When the article _the_ precedes the word _number_, used as a subject,
the verb should be in the singular; otherwise the verb is plural: [_The_
number of pupils in our schools _is_ on the increase. _A_ number of
children _have_ been playing in the sand pile].

6. The pronoun _you_ always takes a plural verb, even if its meaning is
singular: [You _were_ here yesterday].

7. A collective noun takes a singular or plural verb, according as the
collection is thought of as a whole or as composed of individuals.

+59. Tense.+–The power of the verb to show differences of time is called
_tense_. Tense shows also the completeness or incompleteness of an act or
condition at the time of speaking. There are three _primary_ tenses:
_present, preterite_ (_past_), and _future_; and three _secondary_ tenses
for completed action:_present perfect, past perfect_ (_pluperfect_), and
_future perfect_.

English has only two simple tenses, the present and the preterite: _I
love, I loved_. All other tenses are formed by the use of the auxiliary
verbs. By combining the present and past tenses of _will, shall, have,
be_, or _do_ with those parts of the verb known as infinitives and
participles, the various tenses of the complete conjugation of the verb
are built up. The formation of the _preterite_ tense, and the consequent
division of verbs into _strong_ and _weak_, will be discussed later.

+60. The Future Tense.+–The future tense is formed by combining _shall_
or _will_ with the root infinitive, without _to_.

The correct form of the _future tense_ in assertions is here given:–


1. I shall fall 1. We shall fall
2. Thou wilt fall 2. You will fall
3. He will fall 3. They will fall

_Will_, in the _first_ person, denotes not simple futurity, but
determination: [I will (= am determined to) go].

_Shall_, in the _second_ and _third_ persons, is not simply the sign of
the future tense in declarative sentences. It is used to denote the
determination of the speaker with reference to others.


1. In clauses introduced by _that_, expressed or understood, if the noun
clause and the principal clause have _different_ subjects, the same
auxiliary is used that would be used were the subordinate clause used
independently: [I fear we _shall_ be late. My friend is determined that
her son _shall_ not be left alone].

2. In all other subordinate clauses, _shall_, for all persons, denotes
simple futurity; _will_, an expression of willingness or determination:
[He thinks that he _shall_ be there. He promises that he _will_ be there].

3. In questions, _shall_ is always used in the first person; in the second
and third persons the same auxiliary is used which is expected in the

(NOTE.–_Should_ and _would_ follow the rules for _shall_ and _will_.)

+61. Tenses for the Completed Action.+

1. To represent an action as completed at the _present_ time, the past
participle is used with _have_ (_hast, has_). This forms the _present
perfect_ tense: [I _have finished_].

2. To represent an action as completed in _past_ time, the past participle
is combined with _had_ (_hadst_). This forms the _past perfect_, or
_pluperfect_, tense: [I _had finished_].

3. To represent action that will be completed _in future_ time, _shall
have_ or _will have_ is combined with the past participle. This forms the
_future perfect_ tense: [I _shall have finished_].

+62. Sequence of Tenses.+–It is, in general, true that the tense of a
subordinate clause changes when the tense of the main verb changes. This
is known as the Law of the Sequence (or _following_) of Tenses: [I know he
means well. I knew he meant well].

The verb in the main clause and the verb in the subordinate clause are not
necessarily in the same tense.

[I think he _is_ there. I thought he was there.
I think he _was_ there. I thought he had been there.
I think he _will be_ there. I thought he would be there.]

In general, the principle may be laid down that in a complex sentence the
tense for both principal and subordinate clauses is that which the sense

General truths and present facts should be expressed in the
present tense, whatever the tense of the principal verb: [He
believed that truth _is_ unchangeable. Who did you say _is_ president
of your society?].

The _perfect infinitive_ is used to denote action completed at
the time of the main verb: [I am sorry _to have wounded_ you].

+63. Mode.+–A statement may be regarded as the expression of a fact, of a
doubt or supposition, or of a command. The power of the verb to show how
an action should be regarded is called _mode (mood_). In our language
there is but a slight change of form for this purpose. The distinction of
mode which we must make is a distinction that has regard to the thought or
attitude of mind of the speaker rather than to the form of the verb.

The _indicative_ mode is used to state a fact or to ask questions of fact:
[I shall write a letter. Shall I write a letter?].

The _subjunctive_ mode indicates uncertainty, unreality, and some forms of
condition: [If she were here, I should be glad].

The _imperative_ mode expresses a command or entreaty: [Come here].

+64. The Subjunctive Mode.+–The subjunctive is disappearing from
colloquial speech, and the indicative form is used almost entirely.

The verb _to be_ has the following indicative and subjunctive forms in the
present and preterite:–

{ I am I be { I was I were
{ Thou art Thou be { Thou wast Thou were
PRESENT { He is He be PRETERITE { He was He were
{ We are We be { We were We were
{ You are You be { You were You were
{ They are They be { They were They were

In other verbs the indicative and subjunctive forms are the same, except
that the second and third persons singular subjunctive have no personal

INDICATIVE Thou learnest He learns
SUBJUNCTIVE Thou learn He learn

The subjunctive idea is sometimes expressed by verb phrases, containing
the auxiliary verbs _may (might), would_, or _should_. _May, would_, and
_should_ are not, however, always subjunctive. In “I _may_ go” (may = am
allowed to), _may_ is indicative. In “you _should_ go” (= ought to),
_should_ is indicative.

The subjunctive mode is used most frequently to express:–

1. A wish: [The Lord be with you].

2. A condition regarded as doubtful: [If it be true, what shall we
think?], or a condition regarded as untrue: [If I were you, I should go].
When condition is expressed by the subjunctive without _if_, the verb
precedes the subject: [Were my brother here, he could go with me].

3. A purpose: [He studies that he may learn].

4. Exhortations: [Sing we the song of freedom].

5. A concession,–supposed, not given as a fact: [Though he be my enemy, I
shall pity him].

6. A possibility: [We fear lest he be too late].

The tenses of the subjunctive require especial notice. In conditional
clauses, the _present_ refers either to present or future time: [Though
the earth be removed, we shall not fear].

The _preterite_ refers to present time. It implies that the supposed case
is not a fact: [If he were here, I should be much pleased].

The _pluperfect_ subjunctive expresses a false supposition in past time:
[If you had been here, this would not have happened].

The phrases with _may, might, can, must, could, would_, and _should_ are
sometimes called the _potential mode_, but the constructions all fall
within either the indicative or the subjunctive uses, and a fourth mode is
only an incumbrance.

+65. The Imperative Mode.+–The imperative is the mode of command and
entreaty. It has but one form for both singular and plural, and but one
tense,–the present. It has but one person,–the second. The subject is
usually omitted. The case of direct address, frequently used with the
imperative, should not be confused with the subject. In, “John, hold my
books,” the subject is _you_, understood. Were _John_ the subject, the
verb must be _holds_. _John_ is, here, a compellative, or vocative.

+66. Voice.+–Verbs are said to be in the _active_ voice when they
represent the subject as acting, and in the _passive_ voice when they
represent the subject as being acted upon. Intransitive verbs, from their
very nature, have no passive voice. Transitive verbs may have both voices,
for they may represent the subject either as acting or as being acted

The direct object in the active voice generally becomes the subject in the
passive; if the subject of the active appears in the passive, it is the
object of the preposition _by_: [My dog loves me (active). I am loved by
my dog (passive)].

Verbs of calling, naming, making, and thinking may take two objects
referring to the same person or thing. The first of these is the direct
object and the second is called the objective complement: [John called him
_a coward_]. The objective complement becomes an attribute complement when
the verb is changed from the active to the passive voice: [He was called
_a coward_ by John].

Certain verbs take both a direct and an indirect object in the active:
[John paid him nine _dollars_]. If the indirect object becomes the subject
in the passive voice, the direct object is known as the _retained object:_
[He was paid nine _dollars_ by John].

+67. Infinitives.+–The infinitive form of the verb is often called a
verbal noun, because it partakes of the nature both of the verb and of the
noun. It is distinguished from the _finite_, or true, verb because it does
not make an assertion, and yet it assumes one. While it has the modifiers
and complements of a verb, it at the same time has the uses of a noun.

There are two infinitives: the _root infinitive_ (commonly preceded by
_to_, the so-called _sign_ of the infinitive), and the _gerund_, or
_infinitive in -ing_.

1. Root infinitive: [_To write_ a theme requires practice].

2. Gerund: [_Riding_ rapidly is dangerous]. In each of these sentences
the infinitive, in its capacity as noun, stands as the subject of the
sentence. In 1, _to write_ shows its verb nature by governing the object
_theme;_ in 2, _riding_ shows its verb nature by taking as a modifier the
adverb _rapidly_.

Each form of the infinitive is found as the subject of a verb, as its
object, as an attribute complement, and as the object of a preposition.
The root infinitive, together with its subject in the objective case, is
used as the object of verbs of knowing, telling, etc.: [I know _him to be
a good boy_]. See also Appendix 85 for adjective and adverbial uses.

The infinitive has two tenses: the _present_ and the _perfect_. The
_present_ tense denotes action which is not completed at the time of the
principal verb: [He tries _to write_. He tried _to write_. He will try _to
write_]. The _perfect_ infinitive denotes action complete with reference
to the time of the principal verb: [I am glad _to have known_ her].

+68. Participles.+–Participles are verbal adjectives: [The girl _playing_
the piano is my cousin]. _Playing_, as an _adjective_, modifies the noun
_girl_; it shows its _verbal_ nature by taking the object _piano_.

The _present participle_ ends in _-ing_. When the _past participle_ has an
ending, it is either _-d, -ed, -t_, or _-en_. The _perfect participle_ is
formed by combining _having_ with a past participle; as, _having gone_.

There is danger of confusing the present participle with the gerund, or
infinitive in _-ing_, unless the adjective character of the one and the
noun character of the other are clearly distinguished: [The boy, _driving_
the cows to pasture, was performing his daily task (participle). _Driving_
the cows to pasture was his daily task (gerund)].

Participles are used to form verb-phrases. The present participle is used
for the formation of the progressive conjugation; the past participle, for
the formation of the compound or perfect tenses. Participles are also used
in all the adjective constructions.

One especial construction requires notice,–the _absolute_ construction,
or the _nominative absolute_, as it is called: [_The ceremony having been
finished_, the people dispersed]. The construction here is equivalent to a
clause denoting _time_ or _cause_ or some _circumstance_ attendant on the
main action of the sentence. The participle is sometimes omitted, but the
substantive must not be, lest the participle be left apparently belonging
to the nearest substantive; as, Walking home, the rain began to fall. As
the sentence stands, _walking_ modifies _rain_.

+69. Conjugation.+–The complete and orderly arrangement of the various
forms of a verb is termed its conjugation. Complete conjugations will be
found in any text-book on English grammar.

The passive voice must not be confused with such a form as the progressive
conjugation of the verb. The passive consists of a form of _to be_ and a
_past participle_: [I am instructed]. The progressive tenses combine some
form of _to be_ with a _present_ participle: [I am instructing].

It may be well to distinguish here between the passive voice and a past
participle used as an attribute complement of the verb _be_. Both have the
same form, but there is a difference of meaning. The passive voice always
shows action received by the subject, while the participle is used only as
an adjective denoting condition: [James _was tired_ by his day’s work
(passive voice). James was _tired_ (attribute complement)].

+70. Weak and Strong Conjugations.+–Verbs are divided into two classes as
regards their conjugations. It has been the custom to call all verbs which
form the preterite and past participle by adding _-d_ or _-ed_ to the
present, _regular_ verbs [love, loved, loved], and to call all others
_irregular_. A better classification, based on more careful study of the
history of the English verb, divides verbs into those of the _weak_ and
those of the _strong_ conjugations.

The _weak verbs_ are those which form the preterite by adding _-ed, -d_,
or _-t_ to the present: _love, loved_. There is also infrequently a change
of vowel: _sell, sold_; _teach, taught_.

All verbs which form the preterite without the addition of an ending are
_strong verbs_. There is usually a change of vowel. The termination of the
past participle in _-n_ or _-en_ is a sure indication that a verb is
_strong_. Some verbs show forms of both conjugations.

A complete list of _strong_ verbs cannot be given here, but a few of the
most common will be given, together with a few _weak_ verbs, in the use of
which mistakes occur.

am was been
arise rose arisen
bear bore borne, born[1]
begin began begun
bid (command) bade bidden
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
bring brought brought
burst burst burst
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
climb climbed climbed
come came come
do did done
drink drank drunk[2]
drive drove driven
drown drowned drowned
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
fly flew flown
freeze froze frozen
get got got
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
have had had
hide hid hidden
hurt hurt hurt
know knew known
lay laid laid
lie (recline) lay lain
lead led led
read read read
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
run ran run
see saw seen
shake shook shaken
show showed shown
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
sit sat sat
slay slew slain
speak spoke spoken
spring sprang sprung
steal stole stolen
swell swell { swelled
{ swollen
swim swam swum
take took taken
tear tore torn
throw threw thrown
wear wore worn
wish wished wished
write wrote written

[Footnote 1: Used only in the passive sense of “born into the world.”]
[Footnote 2: _Drunken_ is an adjective.]

CAUTION.–Do not confuse the preterite with the past participle. Always
use the past participle form in the compound tenses.


+71. Classes of Adverbs.+–Adverbs vary much as to their use and meaning.
It is therefore impossible to make a very accurate classification, but we
may divide them, according to use, into _limiting, interrogative_, and
_conjunctive_ adverbs.

_Limiting_ adverbs modify the meaning of verbs, etc.: [He rows _well_].

_Interrogative_ adverbs are used to ask questions: [_When_ shall you come?
He asked _where_ we were going (indirect question)].

_Conjunctive_ adverbs introduce clauses: [We went to the seashore, _where_
we stayed a month]. Here _where_ is used as a connective and also as a
modifier of _stayed_.

Conjunctive adverbs introduce the following kinds of clauses:

1. Adverbial clauses: [Go _where_ duty calls].

2. Adjective clauses: [This is the very spot _where_ I put them].

3. Noun clause: [I do not know _how_ he will succeed].

Adverbs may also be classified, according to meaning, into adverbs of
_manner, time, place_, and _degree_. The classification is not, however, a
rigid one.

Adverbs of _manner_ answer the question How? Most of these terminate in
_-ly_. A few, however, are identical in form with adjectives of like
meaning: [She sang very loud].

Adverbs of _time_ answer the question When?

Adverbs of _place_ answer the question Where? This class, together with
the preceding two classes, usually modify verbs.

_Adverbs of degree_ answer the question To what extent? These adverbs
modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

+72. Phrasal Adverbs.+–Certain phrases, adverbial in character, cannot
easily be separated into parts. They have been called _phrased adverbs;_
as, arm-in-arm, now-a-days, etc.

+73. Inflection.+–Some adverbs, like adjectives, are compared for the
purpose of showing different degrees of quality or quantity.

The comparative and superlative degrees may be formed by adding the
syllables _er_ and _est_ to the positive degree. The great majority of
adverbs, however, make use of the words _more_ and _most_ or _less_
and _least_ to show a difference in degree: [Fast, faster, fastest;
skillfully, more skillfully, most skillfully; carefully, less carefully,
least carefully].

Some adverbs are compared irregularly:–

badly } worse worst
ill (evil)}
far } { farther { farthest
forth } { further { furthest
late later { latest
{ last
little less least
much more most
nigh nigher { nigher
{ next
well better best

+74. Suggestions and Cautions concerning the Use of Adverbs.+

1. Some words, as _fast, little, much, more_, and others, have the same
form for both adjective and adverb, and use alone can determine what part
of speech each is.

(Adjective) He is a fast driver. She looks well (in good health).

(Adverb) How fast he walks! I learned my lesson well.

2. Corresponding adjectives and adverbs usually have different forms which
should not be confused.

(Adjective) She is a good student.

(Adverb) He works well.

3. The adjective, and not the adverbial, form should be used after a
copulative verb, since adverbs cannot modify substantives: [I feel bad;
not, I feel badly].

4. Two negatives imply an affirmative. Hence only one should be used to
denote negation: [I have nothing to say. I have no patience with him].

+75. Equivalents for Adverbs.+

1. A phrase: [The child ran away _with great glee_].

2. A clause: [I will go canoeing _when the lake is calm_].

3. A noun: [Please come _home_. I will stay five _minutes_].


+76. Classes of Prepositions.+–The _simple_ prepositions are: _at, after,
against, but, by, down, for, from, in, of, off, over, on, since, through,
till, to, under, up_, and _with_.

Other prepositions are either derived or compound: such as, _underneath,
across, between, concerning_, and _notwithstanding_.

+77. Suggestions concerning the Use of Prepositions.+–Mistakes are
frequently made in the use of the preposition. This use cannot be fully
discussed here, but a partial list of words with the required preposition
will be given.

afraid _of_.
agree _with_ a person.
agree _to_ a proposal.
bestow _upon_.
compare _to_ (to show similarity).
compare _with_ (to show similarity or difference).
comply _with_.
conform _to_.
convenient _for_ or _to_.
correspond _to_ or _with_ (a thing).
correspond _with_ (a person).
dependent _on_.
differ _from_ (a person or thing).
differ _from_ or _with_ (an opinion).
different _from_.
disappointed _in_.
frightened _at_ or _by_.
glad _of_.
need _of_.
profit _by_.
scared _by_.
taste _of_ (food).
taste _for_ (art).
thirst _for_ or _after_.

_Like_, originally an adjective or adverb, is often, in some of its uses,
called a preposition. It governs the objective case, and should not be
used as a conjunction: [She looks like _me;_ not, She looks like I do].
The appropriate _conjunction_ here would be _as_: [She speaks _as_ I do].

The prepositions _in_ and _at_ denote rest or motion _in_ a place; _into_
denotes motion _toward_ a place: [He is _in_ the garden. He went _into_
the garden].

+78. Prepositional Phrases.+–The preposition, with its object, forms what
is termed a prepositional phrase. This phrase is _adjective_ in force when
it modifies a substantive; and _adverbial_, when it modifies a verb,
adjective, or other adverb: [In the cottage _by the sea_ (adjective). He
sat _on the bench_ (adverb)].

Some prepositions were originally adverbs; such as, _in, on, off, up_, and
_to_. Many of them are still used adverbially or as adverbial suffixes:
[The ship lay to. A storm came on].


+79. Classes of Conjunctions.+–Conjunctions are divided according to
their use into two general classes: the _coördinate_ and the _subordinate_

_Coördinate_ conjunctions are used to connect words, phrases, and clauses
of equal rank; _subordinate_ conjunctions connect clauses of unequal rank.

The principal coördinate conjunctions are _and, but, or, nor_, and _for_.
_And_ is said to be _copulative_ because it merely adds something to what
has just been said. Other conjunctions having a copulative use are _also,
besides, likewise, moreover_, and _too_; and the correlative conjunctions,
_both … and, not only … but also_, etc. These are termed _correlative_
because they occur together. _But_ is termed the _adversative_ coördinate
conjunction because it usually introduces something adverse to what has
already been said. Other words of an adversative nature are _yet, however,
nevertheless, only, notwithstanding_, and _still_. _Or_ is alternative in
its force. This conjunction implies that there is a choice to be made.

Other similar conjunctions are _either … or, neither … nor, or, else_.
_Either … or_ and _neither … nor_ are termed _correlative_
conjunctions, and they introduce alternatives. _For, because, such_, and
as are _coördinate_ conjunctions only in such a case as the following:
[She has been running, for she is out of breath].

Some of the most common conjunctions of the _subordinate_ type are those
of place and time, cause, condition, purpose, comparison, concession, and
result. _That_ introducing a subordinate clause may be called a
_substantive_ conjunction: [I knew _that_ I ought to go].

There are a number of subordinate conjunctions used in pairs which are
called _correlatives_. The principal pairs are _as … so, as … as, so
… as, if … then, though … yet_.

+80. Simple and Compound Sentences.+–In the first section of this review
the parts of a sentence were named as the _subject_ and _predicate_.

The _subject_ may itself consist of two parts joined by one of the
coördinating conjunctions: [Alice _and_ her cousin are here]. The
predicate may be formed in a similar fashion: [John played _and_ made
merry all day long]. Both subject and predicate may be so compounded:
[John _and_ Richard climbed the ladder _and_ jumped on the hay].

In all these cases the sentence, consisting as it does of but one subject
and one predicate, is said to be _simple_.

When two clauses–that is, two groups of words containing each a subject
and predicate–are united by a co√∂rdinate conjunction, the sentence is
said to be _compound_: [John wished to play Indian, _but_ Richard
preferred to play railroad].

The coördinating conjunction need not actually appear in the sentence. Its
omission is then indicated by the punctuation: [John wished to play
Indian; Richard preferred another game].

+81. Subordinate Conjunctions and Complex Sentences.+–A _subordinate_
conjunction is used to join a subordinate clause to a principal clause,
thus forming a _complex_ sentence. The test to be applied to a clause in
order to ascertain whether it is a subordinate clause, is this: if any
group of words in a sentence, containing a subject and predicate, fulfills
the office of some single part of speech, it is a _subordinate_ clause. In
the sentence, “I went because I knew that I must,” the clause, “because I
knew that I must” states the reason for the action named in the main
clause. It, therefore, stands in _adverbial_ relation to the verb “went.”
“That I must” is the object of “knew.” It, therefore, stands in a
_substantive_ relation to the verb.

Subordinate clauses are often introduced by subordinate conjunctions
(sometimes by relative pronouns or adverbs); but, whenever such a
clause appears in a sentence, otherwise simple, the sentence is _complex_.
If it appears in a sentence otherwise compound, the sentence is

The different types of subordinate clauses will be discussed later.


+82. Phrases.+–Phrases are classified both as to structure and use.

From the standpoint of structure, a phrase is classified from its
introductory word or words, as:–

1. _Prepositional_: [They were _in the temple_].

2. _Infinitive_: [He tried _to make us hear_].

3. _Participial_: [_Having finished my letter_].

Classified as to use, a phrase may be–

1. A _noun_: [_To be good is to be truly great_].

2. An _adjective_: [The horse is an animal _of much intelligence_].

3. An _adverb_: [He lives _in the city_].

+83. Clauses.+–It has been already shown that clauses may be either
principal or subordinate. A principal clause is sometimes defined as “one
that can stand alone,” and is therefore independent of the rest of the
sentence. This statement is misleading, for, although true in most cases,
it does not hold in cases like the following:–

1. As the tree falls, so it must lie.

2. That sunshine is cheering, cannot be denied.

The genuine test for the subordinate clause is the one already given in
connection with the study of the subordinate conjunction. It must serve
the purpose of some single part of speech. All other clauses are principal

+84. Classification of Subordinate Clauses.+–_A._ Subordinate clauses may
be classified into _substantive_ and _modifying_ clauses.

_Substantive clauses_ show the various substantive constructions. Thus:–

1. Subject: [“_Thou shalt not covet_,” is the tenth commandment].

2. Object: [I know _what you wish_].

3. Appositive: [The truth _that the earth is spherical_ is generally

4. Attribute complement: [The truth is _that she is not well_].

_Modifying clauses_ show adjective and adverbial constructions.


1. Adjective: [The house _which you see_ is mine].

2. Adverb: [I will go _when_ it is possible].

_B._ Subordinate clauses may also be classified according to the
introductory word.

(_a_) Clauses introduced by _relative_ or _interrogative pronouns_: _who,
which, what, that_ (= who or which), _as_ (after such), and the compound
relatives, _whoever, whichever, whatever_ (the first three are both
relative and interrogative): [The school _that stands on the hillside_ is
painted white. I know _whom you_ mean].

(_b_) Clauses introduced by a relative or interrogative adjective: [The
man _whose library is well furnished_ is rich. I see _which way I ought to

(_c_) Clauses introduced by a relative or interrogative adverb, such as
_when, whenever, since_ (referring to time), _until, before, after, where,
whence, whither, wherever, why, as, how_: [I know the house _where lie

(_d_) Clauses introduced by a subordinate conjunction, such as _because,
since_ (= because), _though, although, if, unless, that_ (= in order
that), _as, as if, as though, then_: [I will go _since you wish it_].

_C._ Subordinate clauses may also be classified according to the nature of
the thought expressed.

(_a_) General description: [The house, _which stands on the hill_, has a
fine view].

(_b_) Place: [The house _where he was born_ is torn down].

(_c_) Time: [He works _whenever he_ can].

(_d_) Cause: [_Since you wish it_, I will go].

(_e_) Concession: [_Although he is my friend_, I can see his faults].

(_f_) Purpose: [Run, _that you may obtain the prize_].

(_g_) Result: [She was so tired _that she stumbled_].

(_h_) Condition: [_If it rains_, we shall not go].

(_i_) Comparison: [You look as _if you were tired_].

Note that the subordinate clauses in the above examples are modifying

(_j_) Direct quotation: [She said, “_I will go_”].

(_k_) Indirect statement: [She said _that she would go_].

(_l_) Indirect question: [I knew _where his house_ was].

Note that the subordinate clauses in the above examples are substantive

+85. The Framework of a Sentence+ has been already described as consisting
of the _subject_, the _verb_, and, if the verb be incomplete, of some
completing element, _object_ or _attribute complement_. Occasionally an
_objective complement_ must be added. Besides these elementary parts, both
subject and predicate may have modifiers.

The usual modifiers of the subject are:–

1. Adjective: [The _golden_ bowl is broken].

2. Adjective phrase: [The house _on the hill_ is beautiful].

3. Adjective clause: [The house _which stands on the hill_ is beautiful].

4. Noun or pronoun in possessive case: [_Helen’s_ paint box is lost].

5. Noun in apposition: [Mr. Merrill, the _president_ of the club, will
open the debate].

6. Adverb used as an adjective: [My _sometime_ friend].

7. Infinitive used adjectively: [Work _to do_ is a blessing].

8. Participle: [The child, _lagging_ behind, lost her way].

The modifiers of the predicate are:–

1. Adverb: [The snow melted very _quickly_].

2. Noun used adverbially: [I walked a _mile_].

3. Infinitive used adverbially: [We were called together _to decide_ an
important question].

4. Adverbial phrase: [She ran _along the road_].

5. Adverbial clause: [Go _when you can_].

6. Nominative absolute: [The _speeches being over_, the audience

Occasionally, adverbs and phrases of adverbial character modify the entire
thought in a sentence, rather than some single word: [_To speak plainly,_
I cannot go. _Perhaps_ I may help you].


+86. Special Words.+–A list is here given of words which
appear as various parts of speech:—

+a+ (1) Adjective: _A_ book. (2) Preposition: I go a-fishing.

+about+ (1) Preposition: Walk _about_ the house. (2) Adverb: We walked
_about_ for an hour. _By, over, up_, etc., are used in the
same way.

+above+ (1) Preposition: The sun is _above_ the horizon. (2) Adverb: Go
_above_. (3) Noun: Every good gift is from _above_. (4)
Adjective: The _above_ remarks are discredited. _Below_ has
the same uses.

+after+ (1) Preposition: _After_ our sail. (2) Conjunctive adverb: He
came _after_ she went away.

+all+ (1) Pronoun: _All_ went merry as a marriage bell. (2) Noun: I
gave my _all_. (3) Adjective: _All_ hands to the rescue.
(4) Adverb: The work is _all_ right.

+as+ (1) Conjunctive pronoun: I give such _as_ I have. (2) Conjunctive
adverb: I am not so old _as_ she. (3) Adverb: What other
grief is _as_ hard to bear? (4) Conjunction: _As_ it was hot,
we did not go. (5) Preposition: I warned her _as_ a friend.
(6) Compound Conjunction: He looks _as_ if he were not well.

+before+ (1) Preposition: He stood _before_ the door. (2) Conjunctive
Adverb: I will do it _before_ I go. (3) Adverb: She has never
been here _before_.

+both+ (1) Adjective: _Both_ white and red pines are beautiful. (2)
Pronoun: _Both_ are yours. (3) Conjunction: She is _both_
good and beautiful.

+but+ (1) Conjunction: John reads _but_ Richard plays. (2) Preposition:
All _but_ him are at home. (3) Adverb: We can _but_ fail.

+either+ (1) Adjective: _Either_ dress is becoming. (2) Conjunction:
_Either_ this dress or the other is becoming. (3) Pronoun:
_Either_ is right.

+fast+ (1) Noun: A long _fast_. (2) Verb: They _fast_ often. (3) Adverb:
The rain fell _fast_. (4) Adjective: He is a _fast_ walker.

+for+ (1) Subordinate Conjunction: I must go, _for_ I promised. (2)
Coördinate Conjunction: She stayed at home, _for_ I saw her.
(3) Preposition: I have nothing _for_ you.

+hard+ (1) Adjective: _Hard_ labor. (2) Adverb: He works _hard_.

+like+ (1) Noun: We may never see her _like_ again. (2) Adjective: This
process gives _like_ results. (3) Adverb: _Like_ as a father
pitieth his children. (4) Preposition: She looks _like_ me.
(By some grammarians _like_ in this case is considered a
_adjective_ with the preposition _to_ omitted.) (5) Verb:
You _like_ your work.

+little+ (1) Adjective: A _little_ bread. (2) Noun: I wish a _little_.
(3) Adverb: He laughs _little_. _Much_ has the same uses.

+many a+ (1) Adjective: _Many a_ tree.

+notwithstanding+ (1) Preposition: _Notwithstanding_ the rain, we were
content. (2) Conjunction or Preposition: She is happy,
_notwithstanding_ (the fact that) she is an invalid.

+only+ (1) Adjective: This is the _only_ way. (2) Adverb: _Only_
experienced persons need apply. (3) Conjunction: I should
go, _only_ it is stormy.

+since+ (1) Preposition: _Since_ that day I have not seen her. (2)
Conjunction: _Since_ you lost it, you must replace it.
(3) Adverb: I have not seen her _since_. (4) Conjunctive
Adverb: You have been here _since_ I have.

+still+ (1) Adjective: The lake is _still_. (2) Adverb: The tree is
_still_ lying where it fell. (3) Conjunction: He is
entertaining; _still_ he talks too much. (4) Verb: Oil
is said to _still_ the waves. (5) Noun: In the _still_ of
noonday the song of the locust was loud.

+than+ (1) Conjunction: I am older _than_ she. (2) Preposition: _Than_
whom there is none wiser.

+that+ (1) Demonstrative Pronoun: _That_ is right. (2) Conjunctive
Pronoun: He _that_ lives nobly is happy. (3) Adjective:
_That_ book is mine. (4) Conjunction: I say this _that_ you
may understand my position. (5) Substantive Conjunction:
_That_ this is true is evident.

+the+ (1) Adjective (article): _The_ lake. (2) Adverb: _The_ more …
_the_ merrier.

+then+ (1) Adverb: I shall know _then_. (2) Conjunction: If you so
decide, _then_ we may go.

+there+ (1) Adverb: The stream runs _there_. (2) Expletive: _There_ are
many points to be considered. (3) Interjection: _There!
there!_ it makes no difference!

+what+ (1) Conjunctive Interrogative Pronoun: I heard _what_ you said.
Pronoun: _What_ shall I do? (3) Interrogative Adjective:
_What_ game do you prefer? (4) Conjunctive Adjective: I
know _what_ books he enjoys. (5) Adverb: _What_ with this
and _what_ with that, he finally got his wish. (6)
Interjection: _What! what!_

+while+ (1) Noun: A long _while_. (2) Verb: To _while_ away the time.
(3) Conjunctive Adverb: I stay in _while_ it snows.


+87. Figures of Speech.+–A figure of speech is a change from the usual
form of expression for the purpose of producing a greater effect. These
changes may be effective either because they are more pleasing to us or
because they are more forcible, or for both reasons.

While figurative language is a change from the usual mode of expression,
we are not to think of it as being unnatural. It is, in fact, as natural
as plain language, and nearly every one, from the illiterate to the most
learned, makes use of it, more or less, in his ordinary conversation. This
arises from, the fact that we all enjoy comparisons and substitutions.
When we say that we have been pegging away all day at our work, or that
the wind howls, or that the man has a heart of steel, we are making use of
figures of speech. Figurative language ranges from these very simple
expressions to the beautiful figures of speech found in so much of our
poetry. Written prose contains many beautiful and forcible examples, but
it is in poetry that we find most of them.

+88. Simile.+–A simile is an expressed comparison between objects
belonging to different classes. We must remember, however, that all
resemblances do not constitute similes. If we compare two trees, or two
beehives, or two rivers, our comparison is not a simile. If we compare a
tree to a person, a beehive to a schoolroom, or time to a river, we may
form a good simile, since the things compared do not belong to the same
class. The best similes are those in which the ideas compared have one
strong point of resemblance, and are unlike in all other respects.

1. How far that little candle throws its beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.


2. For very young he seemed, tenderly reared;
Like some young cypress, tall, and dark, and straight.

–Matthew Arnold.

3. In the primrose-tinted sky
The wan little moon
Hangs like a jewel dainty and rare.

–Francis C. Rankin.

+89. Metaphor.+–A metaphor differs from a simile in that the comparison
is implied rather than expressed. They are essentially the same as far as
the comparison is concerned, and usually the one kind may be easily
changed to the other. In a simile we say that one object _is like_
another, in a metaphor we say that one object _is_ another.


Select the metaphors in the following and change them to

1. In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
A living wall, a human wood.

–James Montgomery.

2. The familiar lines
Are footpaths for the thoughts of Italy.


3. Life is a leaf of paper white,
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.


+90. Personification.+–Personification is a special form of the metaphor
in which life is attributed to inanimate objects or the characteristics of
persons are attributed to objects, animals, or even to abstract ideas.


Explain why the following quotations are examples of personifications:–

1. The day is done; and slowly from the scene
The stooping sun upgathers his spent shafts
And puts them back into his golden quiver.


2. Time is a cunning workman and no man can detect his joints.

–Charles Pierce Burton.

3. The sun is couched, the seafowl gone to rest,
And the wild storm hath somewhere found a nest.


4. See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother.


+91. Apostrophe.+–Apostrophe is like personification, but has an
additional characteristic. When we directly address inanimate objects or
the absent as if they were present, we call the figure of speech thus
formed apostrophe.

The following are examples of apostrophe:–

1. Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!


2. Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore.

–Elizabeth Akers Allen.

+92. Metonymy.+–Metonymy consists in substituting one object for another,
the two being so closely associated that the mention of one suggests the

1. The pupils are reading George Eliot.
2. Each hamlet heard the call.
3. Strike for your altars and your fires.
4. Gray hairs should be respected.

+93. Synecdoche.+–Synecdoche consists in substituting a part of anything
for the whole or a whole for the part.

1. A babe, two summers old.
2. Give us this day our daily bread.
3. Ring out the thousand years of woe,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
4. Fifty mast are on the ocean.

+94. Other Figures of Speech.+–Sometimes, especially in older rhetorics,
the following so-called figures of speech are added to the list already
given: irony, hyperbole, antithesis, climax, and interrogation. The two
former pertain rather to style, in fact, are qualities of style, while the
last two might properly be placed along with kinds of sentences or
paragraph development. Since these so-called figures are not all mentioned
elsewhere in this text, a brief explanation and example of each will be
given here.

1. _Irony_ consists in saying just the opposite of the intended meaning,
but in such a way that it emphasizes that meaning.

What has the gray-haired prisoner done?
Has murder stained his hands with gore?
Not so; his crime is a fouler one–
God made the old man poor.


2. _Hyperbole_ is an exaggerated expression used to increase
the effectiveness of a statement.

He was a man of boundless knowledge.

3. _Antithesis_ consists merely of contrasted statements. This contrast
may be found in a single sentence or it may be extended through an entire

Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it.


4. _Climax_ consists of an ascendant arrangement of words or ideas.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

5. When a question is asked, not for the purpose of obtaining information
but in order to make speech more effective, it is called the figure of
_interrogation_. An affirmative question denies and a negative question

1. Am I my brother’s keeper?
2. Am I not free?


+95. Unity, Coherence, and Emphasis in Sentences.+–On pages 153-155 we
have considered the principles of unity, coherence, and emphasis as
applied to the whole composition. In much the same way these principles
are applicable to the sentence. A sentence possesses unity if all that it
contains makes one complete statement, and no more; and if all minor ideas
are made subordinate to one main idea. The effect must be single. A
sentence exhibits coherence when the relation of all of its parts is
perfectly clear. We secure emphasis in the sentence by placing ideas that
deserve distinction in conspicuous positions; by arranging the members of
a series in the order of climax; by using specific rather than general
terms; by expressing thoughts with directness and simplicity; and by
employing the devices of balance and contrast.

We must remember that, in the sentence as well as in the whole composition
and the paragraph, if coherence and unity are secured, emphasis is quite
likely to follow naturally. On the other hand, a violation of coherence or
unity often results in a lack of emphasis.

+96. Unity in the sentence is affected unfavorably by+–

1. _The presence of more than one main thought_. (Stonewall Jackson was a
general in the Confederate Army, and he is said to have been a very
religious man.) In this sentence two distinct thoughts are embodied, and
in such a way that their relation to each other is altogether illogical.
The effect is not that of a single thought. To possess unity the two or
more thoughts of a compound sentence should sustain some particular
relation, like cause and effect, contrast, series, details of a picture.
We can unite the two thoughts in a perfectly logical sentence, thus:
(Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate general, is said to have been a very
religious man.)

2. _The addition of too many dependent clauses_. (The boy was startled
when he awoke, for he heard the plan of his captors, who were preparing to
seize the boat, which had been left by his friends who had so mysteriously
deserted him at a time when he needed them most.) Here, the numerous
dependent clauses tacked on obscure the main thought. The sentence should
be broken up and, where possible, clauses should be reduced to phrases and
words. (The boy was startled when he awoke, for he heard the plan of his
captors. They were preparing to seize the boat left by his friends, who
had deserted him in the hour of greatest need.)

3. _The presence of incongruous ideas_. (With his hair combed and his
shoes blacked, he gave the impression of being a very strong man.) The
ideas of this sentence have no logical relation to each other. There is
little likelihood, too, of making them more congruous by any change in the
sentence. Blacking one’s shoes and combing one’s hair do not make one look
strong. The remedy for such a sentence is to separate the incongruous

4. _A needless change of construction_. (Silas was kindly received by the
men in the tavern; and when they had listened to his story and his answers
to their questions had been noted, they began to think of catching the
thief.) Confusion arises from such sudden and needless changes of the
subject. By keeping the same subject throughout, we secure unity of
impression. (The men in the tavern received Silas kindly; and when they
had listened to his story and had noted his answers to their questions,
they began to think of catching the thief.)

5. _Making the sentence too short and fragmentary to serve as a logical
unit of the paragraph_. (I went to the park yesterday. It was a pleasant
day. I saw many animals. I had a good time, etc.) Each of these sentences,
when considered in its relation to the others, and to the development of
the thought, is altogether too incomplete and unimportant in ideas
expressed to stand alone. Unity of impression and dignity of thought are
gained by combining the sentences. (Yesterday was a pleasant day; so I
went to the park, where I saw many animals, and had a good time.)

+97. Coherence in the sentence is affected unfavorably by+–

1. _The wrong placing of modifiers_. (The victorious general was
returning to his native city after many hard-fought campaigns with his
staff officers.) It is not likely that the campaigns here referred
to were waged against the staff officers. By changing the position of
phrases we express the thought that the writer had in mind. (After many
hard-fought campaigns, the victorious general, with his staff officers,
was approaching his native city.) Especial care should be taken in placing
the correlatives _either, or; neither, nor; not only, but also;_ and the
word _only_. Incoherence frequently arises through the wrong placing of
these words.

2. _The careless use of pronouns_. (Argument plays a very little part in
that work, and those that do occur are not interesting.) (He repeated to
his father what he had told him the night before when he was in his room.)
In both sentences, the relation between pronouns and antecedents is not
clear, and incoherence results. With the ambiguity in the use of the
pronouns remedied, the sentences are entirely coherent. (Argument plays a
very little part in that work, and whatever argumentative material is
found is not interesting.) (He repeated to his father what he had told
this parent the night before in his room.)

3. _Careless participial and infinitive relations_. (After carefully
preparing my lessons, a friend came in.) (Standing on Brooklyn Bridge, a
great many ferryboats can be seen.) The relation of the parts is
manifestly illogical and absurd. The sentences should read: (After I had
carefully prepared my lessons, a friend came in.) (While standing on
Brooklyn Bridge, one can see a great many ferryboats.)

4. _The use of wrong connectives_. (It rained yesterday, and I went to
school.) We assume that the pupil wishes to convey the thought that he
went to school yesterday in spite of the rain. But by his use of the
coordinating conjunction, “and,” he has failed to establish a logical
relation between the two clauses. In this case unity is violated as well
as coherence. Use different connectives and note the result, (Although it
rained yesterday, I went to school) or, (It rained yesterday, but I went
to school).

5. _Failure to observe parallelism in form_. (The stranger seemed
courteous in his conduct and to have a solicitude for my welfare.)
Although this sentence is grammatically correct, the shift in structure
from the adjective and its phrase to the infinitive phrase leads to
confusion in thought. How much clearer and smoother this rendering: (The
stranger seemed courteous in his conduct and solicitous for my welfare.)

+98. Emphasis in the sentence is affected unfavorably by+–

1. _Weak beginnings and endings_. (A fire in the city is an exciting event
to the average boy.) (It seemed that the unprincipled fellow had forged
his father’s name.) In the first sentence, the important words are
“exciting event,” and they should occupy the most conspicuous position,–
at the end of the sentence. The effectiveness is much improved by this
order: (To the average boy, a fire in the city is an exciting event.) In
the second sentence the weak place is the beginning. The subject and its
modifiers are striking enough to demand their rightful position,–as the
introductory words; in “forged his father’s name” we have ideas startling
enough for a place at the end of the sentence. “It seemed that” can be
reduced to one word, “apparently,” and this can be made parenthetical.
(The unprincipled fellow, apparently, had forged his father’s name.) This
sentence, it will be observed, illustrates the periodic or suspended
structure, a type particularly effective to employ for sustaining interest
as well as for securing emphasis.

2. _Failure to observe the order of climax_. (Dazed, broken-hearted,
hungry, the poor mother resumed her daily tasks.) Clearly, the strongest
idea is suggested by “broken-hearted.” A better order would be: (Hungry,
dazed, broken-hearted, the poor mother resumed her daily tasks.)

3. _The use of superfluous words_. (I rushed hurriedly into the burning
house and hastily snatched my few possessions.) In this sentence, “rushed”
and “snatched” lose rather than gain force by adding “hurriedly” and
“hastily.” Look up definitions of “rush” and “snatch.” When we wish to
express strong emotion or to describe action resulting from excitement, we
only weaken the impression by using unnecessary words. Simple, direct
sentences are most forceful. In aiming to secure sentence emphasis, then,
we should avoid circumlocution, redundancy, tautology, and verbosity.
(Look up these terms in the Century Dictionary.)

4. _The use of general rather than specific terms_. (He approached the
brook cautiously, and concealing himself in the bushes, began fishing.) A
consideration of the choice of words in the sentence belongs strictly to
the study of diction; however, force in the sentence is dependent in a
large measure on the words employed. Observe how forceful the following
sentence is as contrasted with the first example: (He crept noiselessly to
the fishing hole, and hiding in the willows, threw his hook into the

5. _Failure to employ balance and contrast_. (Worth makes the man; but the
fellow is made by the want of it.) (His life was spent in repenting of
past misdeeds; in doing what was wrong, while he inculcated principles of
righteousness.) Compare these with: (Worth makes the man; the want of it,
the fellow.) (His life was spent in sinning and repenting; in inculcating
what was right, and doing what was wrong.) Here the regularity of form
gives pleasure to the taste, while the position of balanced and parallel
parts adds clearness, coherence, and emphasis to the thoughts expressed.
This method of sentence structure, if employed too frequently, however,
will lead to a mannerism difficult to overcome. The caution to be heeded
in the case of this type of sentence as well as in the case of every other
is, “Nothing too much.” Observe the law of variety.


Point out the specific faults and correct:–

1. He neither gave satisfaction as butler nor as coachman.

2. Elaine deserves our sympathy from the beginning to the end of the

3. John only played once and won; and then, after watching the other
players for a time, he got up and left the room.

4. The boy had an unconquerable fear of reptiles which no reasoning could

5 The Vicar’s son Moses was a good student of the classics, but he made a
bad bargain in his purchase of the green spectacles.

6. In all of his behavior toward Lynette, Gareth was patient and
courteous, which reflected much credit on his knightly character.

7. Johnson was a man with a heroic soul, a wonderful intellect, and a kind

8. After they had all assembled and come together, Odysseus addressed

9. He had reached the age of seventy, and his death was due to a nervous

10. The boys were only injured a little.

11. George Eliot’s writings are filled with the philosophy of life, if we
are wise enough to discover it.

12. Addison was sincere and kindly in his attitude toward men, and Pope
was hypocritical and spiteful.

13. With reputation, character, and wealth gone, the poor man had little
to live for.

14. Lancelot loved Queen Guinevere dearly, and he was Arthur’s most
valorous knight.

15. We are at peace with all the world and the rest of mankind.

16. Cedric lived with two great ends in view,–the union of Athelstane and
Rowena and to see a restored Saxon monarchy.

17. James was walking backward and forward on the mountain side, which at
this place was very precipitous and from which a little silvery stream
issued to begin its rapid descent to the quiet hamlet that lay far below.

18. In our efforts to succeed in life we work hard that we may make names
for ourselves and to acquire property.

19. He is a good hunter, but his wife is a Methodist.

20. Going up the street I saw the strangest-looking man.

21. James speaks German fluently, and he did not begin to study it until
last year.

22. On returning to the deck, the sea assumed a very different aspect.


Abandon, cast off, desert, forswear, quit, renounce, withdraw from.

Abate, decrease, diminish, mitigate, moderate.

Abhor, abominate, detest, dislike, loathe.

Abiding, enduring, lasting, permanent, perpetual.

Ability, capability, capacity, competency, efficacy, power.

Abolish, annul, eradicate, exterminate, obliterate, root out, wipe out.

Abomination, curse, evil, iniquity, nuisance, shame.

Absent, absent-minded, absorbed, abstracted, oblivious, preoccupied.

Absolve, acquit, clear.

Abstemiousness, abstinence, frugality, moderation, sobriety, temperance.

Absurd, ill-advised, ill-considered, ludicrous, monstrous, paradoxical,
preposterous, unreasonable, wild.

Abundant, adequate, ample, enough, generous, lavish, plentiful.

Accomplice, ally, colleague, helper, partner.

Active, agile, alert, brisk, bustling, energetic, lively, supple.

Actual, authentic, genuine, real.

Address, adroitness, courtesy, readiness, tact.

Adept, adroit, deft, dexterous, handy, skillful.

Adequate, adjoining, bordering, near, neighboring.

Admire, adore, respect, revere, venerate.

Admit, allow, concede, grant, suffer, tolerate.

Admixture, alloy.

Adverse, disinclined, indisposed, loath, reluctant, slow, unwilling.

Aerial, airy, animated, ethereal, frolicsome.

Affectation, cant, hypocrisy, pretense, sham.

Affirm, assert, avow, declare, maintain, state.

Aged, ancient, antiquated, antique, immemorial, old, venerable.

Air, bearing, carriage, demeanor.

Akin, alike, identical.

Alert, on the alert, sleepless, wary, watchful.

Allay, appease, calm, pacify.

Alliance, coalition, compact, federation, union, fusion.

Allude, hint, imply, insinuate, intimate, suggest.

Allure, attract, cajole, coax, inveigle, lure.

Amateur, connoisseur, novice, tyro.

Amend, better, mend, reform, repair.

Amplify, develop, expand, extend, unfold, widen.

Amusement, diversion, entertainment, pastime.

Anger, exasperation, petulance, rage, resentment.

Animal, beast, brute, living creature, living organism.

Answer, rejoinder, repartee, reply, response, retort.

Anticipate, forestall, preclude, prevent.

Apiece, individually, severally, separately.

Apparent, clear, evident, obvious, tangible, unmistakable.

Apprehend, comprehend, conceive, perceive, understand.

Arraign, charge, cite, impeach, indict, prosecute, summon.

Arrogance, haughtiness, presumption, pride, self-complacency,
superciliousness, vanity.

Artist, artificer, artisan, mechanic, operative, workman.

Artless, boorish, clownish, hoidenish, rude, uncouth, unsophisticated.

Assent, agree, comply.

Assurance, effrontery, hardihood, impertinence, impudence, incivility,
insolence, officiousness, rudeness.

Atom, grain, scrap, particle, shred, whit.

Atrociousness, barbaric, barbarous, brutal, merciless.

Attack, assault, infringement, intrusion, onslaught.

Attain, accomplish, achieve, arrive at, compass, reach, secure.

Attempt, endeavor, essay, strive, try, undertake.

Attitude, pose, position, posture.

Attribute, ascribe, assign, charge, impute.

Axiom, truism.

Baffle, balk, bar, check, embarrass, foil, frustrate, hamper, hinder,
impede, retard, thwart.

Banter, burlesque, drollery, humor, jest, raillery, wit, witticism.

Beg, plead, press, urge.

Beguile, divert, enliven, entertain, occupy.

Bewilderment, confusion, distraction, embarrassment, perplexity.

Bind, fetter, oblige, restrain, restrict.

Blaze, flame, flare, flash, flicker, glare, gleam, gleaming, glimmer,
glitter, light, luster, shimmer, sparkle.

Blessed, hallowed, holy, sacred, saintly.

Boasting, display, ostentation, pomp, pompousness, show.

Brave, adventurous, bold, courageous, daring, dauntless, fearless,
gallant, heroic, undismayed.

Bravery, coolness, courage, gallantry, heroism.

Brief, concise, pithy, sententious, terse.

Bring over, convince, induce, influence, persuade, prevail upon, win over.

Calamity, disaster, misadventure, mischance, misfortune, mishap.

Candid, impartial, open, straightforward, transparent, unbiased,
unprejudiced, unreserved.

Candor, frankness, truth, veracity.

Caprice, humor, vagary, whim.

Caricature, burlesque, parody, travesty.

Catch, capture, clasp, clutch, grip, secure.

Cause, consideration, design, end, ground, motive, object, reason,

Caution, discretion, prudence.

Censure, criticism, rebuke, reproof, reprimand, reproach.

Character, constitution, disposition, reputation, temper, temperament.

Characteristic, peculiarity, property, singularity, trait.

Chattering, garrulous, loquacious, talkative.

Cheer, comfort, delight, ecstasy, gayety, gladness, gratification,
happiness, jollity, satisfaction.

Churlish, crusty, gloomy, gruff, ill-natured, morose, sour, sullen, surly.

Class, circle, clique, coterie.

Cloak, cover, gloss over, mitigate, palliate, screen.

Cloy, sate, satiate, satisfy, surfeit.

Commit, confide, consign, intrust, relegate.

Compassion, forbearance, lenience, mercy.

Compassionate, gracious, humane.

Complete, consummate, faultless, flawless, perfect.

Confirm, corroborate.

Conflicting, discordant, discrepant, incongruous, mismated.

Confused, discordant, miscellaneous, various.

Conjecture, guess, suppose, surmise.

Conscious, aware, certain.

Consequence, issue, outcome, outgrowth, result, sequel, upshot.

Continual, continuous, incessant, unbroken, uninterrupted.

Credible, conceivable, likely, presumable, probable, reasonable.

Customary, habitual, normal, prevailing, usual, wonted.

Damage, detriment, disadvantage, harm, hurt, injury, prejudice.

Dangerous, formidable, terrible.

Defame, deprecate, disparage, slander, vilify.

Defile, infect, soil, stain, sully, taint, tarnish.

Deleterious, detrimental, hurtful, harmful, mischievous, pernicious,

Delicate, fine, minute, refined, slender.

Delightful, grateful, gratifying, refreshing, satisfying.

Difficult, hard, laborious, toilsome, trying.

Digress, diverge, stray, swerve, wander.

Disown, disclaim, disavow, recall, renounce, repudiate, retract.

Dispose, draw, incline, induce, influence, move, prompt, stir.

Earlier, foregoing, previous, preliminary.

Effeminate, feminine, womanish, womanly.

Emergency, extremity, necessity.

Empty, fruitless, futile, idle, trifling, unavailing, useless, vain,

Erudition, knowledge, profundity, sagacity, sense, wisdom.

Eternal, imperishable, interminable, perennial, perpetual, unfailing.

Excuse, pretense, pretext, subterfuge.

Exemption, immunity, liberty, license, privilege.

Explicit, express.

Faint, faint-hearted, faltering, half-hearted, irresolute, languid,
listless, purposeless.

Faithful, loyal, stanch, trustworthy, trusty.

Fanciful, fantastic, grotesque, imaginative, visionary.

Fling, gibe, jeer, mock, scoff, sneer, taunt.

Flock, bevy, brood, covey, drove, herd, litter, pack.

Fluctuate, hesitate, oscillate, vacillate, waver.

Folly, imbecility, senselessness, stupidity.

Grief, melancholy, regret, sadness, sorrow.

Hale, healthful, healthy, salutary, sound, vigorous.

Ignorant, illiterate, uninformed, uninstructed, unlettered, untaught.

Impulsive, involuntary, spontaneous, unbidden, voluntary, willing.

Indispensable, inevitable, necessary, requisite, unavoidable.

Inquisitive, inquiring, intrusive, meddlesome, peeping, prying.

Intractable, perverse, petulant, ungovernable, wayward, willful.

Irritation, offense, pique, resentment.

Probably, presumably.

Reliable, trustworthy, trusty.

Remnant, trace, token, vestige.

Requite, repay, retaliate, satisfy.


Ability, capacity.

Accept, except.

Acceptance, acceptation.

Access, accession.

Accredit, credit.

Act, action.

Admire, like.

Admittance, admission.

Advance, advancement, progress, progression.

Affect, effect.

After, afterward.

Aggravating, irritating, provoking, exasperating.

Allege, maintain

Allow, guess, think.

Allusion, illusion, delusion.

Almost, most, mostly.

Alone, only.

Alternate, choice.

Among, between.

Amount, number, quantity.

Angry, mad.

Apparently, evidently.

Apt, likely, liable.

Arise, rise.

At, in.

Avocation, vocation.

Awfully, very.

Balance, rest, remainder.

Begin, commence.

Beside, besides.

Both, each, every.

Bring, fetch.

By, with.

Calculate, intend.

Carry, bring, fetch.

Casuality, casualty.

Character, reputation.

Claim, assert.

Clever, pleasant.

College, university, school.

Completeness, completion.

Compliment, complement.

Confess, admit.

Construe, construct.

Contemptible, contemptuous.

Continual, continuous.

Convince, convict.

Council, counsel.

Couple, pair.

Credible, creditable, credulous.

Custom, habit.

Deadly, deathly.

Decided, decisive.

Decimate, destroy.

Declare, assert.

Degrade, demean.

Depot, station, R.R.

Discover, invent.

Drive, ride.

Each other, any other, one another.

Emigration, immigration, migration.

Enormity, enormousness.

Estimate, esteem.

Exceptional, exceptionable.

Expect, suppose.

Falseness, falsity.

Fly, flee.

Funny, odd.

Grant, give.

Habit, practice.

Haply, happily.

Healthy, healthful, wholesome.

Human, humane.

Lady, woman.

Last, latest, preceding.

Learn, teach.

Lease, hire.

Less, fewer.

Lie, lay.

Loan, lend.

Love, like.

Mad, angry.

Majority, plurality.

Manly, mannish.

May, can.

Mutual, common.

Necessities, necessaries.

Nice, pleasant, attractive.

Noted, notorious.

Observation, observance.

Official, officious.

Oral, verbal.

Part, portion.

Partly, partially.

Persecute, prosecute.

Person, party.

Practicable, practical.

Prescribe, proscribe.

Prominent, predominant.

Purpose, propose.

Quite, very, rather.

Relation, relative.

Repair, mend.

Requirement, requisite.

Rise, raise.

Scholar, pupil, student.

Sensible of, sensitive to.

Series, succession.

Settle, locate.

Sewage, sewerage.

Shall, will.

Should, would.

Sit, set.

Splendid, elegant.

Statement, assertion.

Statue, statute, stature.

Stay, stop.

Team, carriages.

Transpire, happen.

Verdict, testimony.

Without, unless.

Womanly, womanish.


Action: observation of.
Actuality: in argument.
of expressing ideas gained from experience;
of imaginative theme writing.
Allen, Elizabeth A.
Allen, James Lane.
Analogy: argument from.
rule for;
as figure of speech.
purpose of;
use of explanation in;
by stating advantages and disadvantages;
by use of specific instances;
refutation or indirect;
differs from exposition;
clear thinking essential;
by inference;
from cause;
from sign;
from example;
from analogy;
differs from persuasion;
with persuasion.
Argumentative themes.
_see_ coherence;
in argument;
summary of.
Attendant circumstances: argument from.
Authority: appeals to in argument.
Auxiliary verbs.

necessity in debate;
establishing a general theory;
basis of.
Blank verse.

Cause and effect:
development of paragraph by use of;
development of composition by use of;
use in exposition;
use in argument.
Cautions and suggestions:
use of figures of speech;
in debating;
use of pronouns;
use of adjectives;
use of verbs;
use of adverbs;
Character sketch.
Choice of words:
adapted to reader;
as to meaning;
Clauses: restrictive and non-restrictive.
in narration;
in argument;
as figure of speech.
in outline;
in composition;
arrangement of details;
arrangement of facts in exposition;
aided by outline;
in argument;
in sentences.
Colon: rules for.
Comma: rules for.
as an aid to formation of images;
development of a paragraph by;
definitions supplemented by;
as a method of developing a composition;
as an aid in establishing fundamental image;
as an aid to effectiveness in description;
use in exposition;
of adjectives;
of adverbs.
Complete and incomplete verbs.
kinds of;
general principles of.
of nouns;
of personal pronouns;
of relative pronouns;
of adjectives.
development of a paragraph by;
development of a composition by;
use in exposition.
Correction of themes.

Dash: rules for.
value of;
statement of question;
necessity of belief;
order of presentation;
Deductive reasoning: errors of.
by synonym;
by use of simpler words;
definitions to be supplemented;
first step in exposition;
difficulty in framing;
Chapter VIII (_see also_ descriptive themes);
effectiveness in;
classes of objects frequently described:
natural features;
impression of;
impression as purpose of;
in narration;
general description.
Descriptive themes.
selection of;
paragraph developed by;
related in time-order;
related with reference to position in space;
used in general description;
in general narration;
composition developed by giving details in time-order;
by giving details with reference to position in space;
selection of, affected by point of view;
selection of essential;
selection and subordination of minor;
arrangement of;
in narration;
selection of facts in exposition;
exposition by use of.
Discourse: forms of
presupposes an audience.
Dramatic poetry.
Dunbar, Mary Louise.

Effectiveness in description
comparison and figures of speech, as aids to.
Eliot, George.
in sentences.
Equivalents: for nouns
for adjectives.
for adverbs
Essentials of expression.
Examples: use in exposition
argument from _(see also_ specific instances).
Exclamation mark: rule for.
Expediency: questions of.
Experience: ideas gained from, Chapter I; relation to imagination
impressions limited to.
Exposition: Chapter X (see _also_ expository themes); purpose of
importance of
clear understanding necessary
of terms
of propositions
by repetition
by examples
by comparison and contrast
by obverse statements
by details
by cause and effect
by general description
by general narration
by use of specific instances.
Expository themes.
Expression: essentials of.

Feelings: appeal to, in persuasion.
Figures of speech
use of
as an aid to effectiveness in description.
Form: importance of
directions as to.
Forms of discourse.
Fundamental image.

General theory: how established,
basis of
appeals to.
George, Marian M.
Grammar review.

Higginson and Channing.
History: writing of.

Ideas: from experience, Chapter I;
from imagination, Chapter II; from
language, Chapter III.
pleasure in expressing
sources of
advantages of expressing ideas gained from experience
from imagination
ideas from pictures
acquired through language.
Images: making of
complete and incomplete
reproduction of
other requirements to determine meaning
union with impression.
Imagination, Chapter II.
of description,
as purpose of description,
necessity of observing impressions,
limited to experience,
affected by mood,
union with image.
Incentive moment.
Inductive reasoning:
errors of.
Inference: use in argument.
Interrogation mark: rule for.

Jackson, Helen Hunt.
Jordan and Kellogg.


as a medium through which ideas are acquired,
adapted to reader,
Letter writing: Chapter VI;
importance of,
rule of,
business letters,
letters of friendship,
adaptation to reader,
Lyric poetry.

Madame de Stael.
Maxims: appeals to in argument.
McCarthy, Justin.
Meaning of words.
Methods of developing a composition:
with reference to time-order,
with reference to position in space,
by use of comparison or contrast,
by use of generalization and facts,
by stating cause and effect,
by a combination of methods.
Metrical romance.
Metrical tale.
Mill, J. S.
Miller, Mary Rogers.
Morris, Clara.
Motive, in persuasion.

Narration: Chapter IX _(see also_ narrative themes below);
kinds of,
use of description in,
general narration,
narrative poetry.
Narrative themes.

of actions,
order of,
accuracy in,
observation of impression.
Obverse statements.
Oral compositions.
Order of events.
of a paragraph.
the brief.
making of.
use of in exposition.

topic statement,
importance of,
reasons for studying,
methods of development–
by specific instances,
by giving details,
in time-order,
as determined by position in space,
by comparison,
by cause and effect,
by repetition,
by a combination of methods.
Parts of speech.
Period: rules for.
differs from argument,
importance and necessity of,
motive in,
material of,
appeal to feelings,
with argument.
Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart.
Philips, David Graham.
Phillips, Wendell.
interrelation with character.
Poetry: Chapter VII;
aim of,
kinds of.
Point: of a story,
_see also_ climax.
Point of view:
selection of details effected by,
place in paragraph.
Possibility: in argument.
Preston and Dodge.
Principal parts of verbs.
in narration,
in argument.
Procter, Adelaide.
Proportion of parts: for emphasis.
exposition of,
necessary to argument,
of fact and of theory,
statement of.
Proverbs: use in argument.

Quotation marks: rules for.

errors of induction,
relation between inductive and deductive,
errors of deduction.
Reasons: number and value of.
preparation for,
Reid, Captain Mayne.
developing a paragraph by,
exposition by use of.
of a story,
of the thought of a paragraph.
Restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses.
Rhythm: variation in.
Richards, Laura E.
Right: questions of.

Semicolon: rules for.
in conversation,
rhetorical features.
Sewell, Anna.
Sign: argument from.
Sources of ideas.
Specific instances:
development of a paragraph by use of,
use in argument and exposition,
development of a composition by use of,
use in exposition.
Strong verbs.
selection of,
adapted to reader,
should be definite,
Suggestions, _see_ cautions.
Summaries, at the end of the chapters.
Summarizing paragraph.

specific, general,
explanation of,
exposition of,
use in argument and exposition.
Themes: _see_ descriptive, narrative, expository, argumentative, and
reproduction themes.
Title: selecting of.
Topic statement.
Transition from one paragraph to another.
Transition paragraph.

aided by time relations,
aided by position in space,
in life;
in outline,
in composition,
in sentences,
selection of details giving,
selection of facts in exposition,
aided by outline.

Van Dyke.
Van Rensselaer (Mrs.).
Verse: names of.
how to increase,
words applicable to classes of objects.

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler.
choice of,
spelling, pronunciation, meaning, use,
relations of,
adapted to reader,
use of simpler words,
applicable to classes of objects,
offices of,
special list of.

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