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INTRODUCTION Punctuation is a device by which we aid words to tell their story. Words have done this at times without such aid, and may now do so, but at constant risk of serious misunderstanding. This can be easily seen by reading the following lines printed as they would have been written in an ancient manuscript.... more...

It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the... more...

PREFACE. Almost every English boy can be taught to write clearly, so far at least as clearness depends upon the arrangement of words. Force, elegance, and variety of style are more difficult to teach, and far more difficult to learn; but clear writing can be reduced to rules. To teach the art of writing clearly is the main object of these Rules and Exercises. Ambiguity may arise, not only from bad arrangement, but also from other... more...

LEARNING TO READ Every sound and pedagogical method of teaching reading must include two basic principles. 1. Reading must begin in the life of the child, with real thought content. Whether the thought unit be a word, a sentence, or a story, it must represent some idea or image that appeals to the child's interests and adjusts itself to his experience. 2. It must proceed with a mastery of not only words, but of the sound symbols of which words... more...

ENGLISH A COMPOSITE LANGUAGE “A very slight acquaintance with the history of our own language will teach us that the speech of Chaucer’s age is not the speech of Skelton’s, that there is a great difference between the language under Elizabeth and that under Charles the First, between that under Charles the First and Charles the Second, between that under Charles the Second and Queen Anne; that considerable changes had taken... more...


CHAPTER I DIALECTS AND THEIR VALUE According to the New English Dictionary, the oldest sense, in English, of the word dialect was simply “a manner of speaking” or “phraseology,” in accordance with its derivation from the Greek dialectos, a discourse or way of speaking; from the verb dialegesthai, to discourse or converse. The modern meaning is somewhat more precise. In relation to a language such as English, it is used... more...

SPELLING The idea that there is one right way to combine the letters representing a certain sound or group of sounds, that is a word, and that all other ways are wrong and little short of shameful is a comparatively new idea among us. The English speaking folk held down to a comparatively recent time that any group of letters which approximately represented the sound was amply sufficient as a symbol of the word. This sort of phonetic spelling... more...

CHAPTER I. GERMANIC ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.—DATE. § 1. The first point to be remembered in the history of the English language, is that it was not the primitive and original tongue of any of the British Islands, nor yet of any portion of them. Indeed, of the whole of Great Britain it is not the language at the present moment. Welsh is spoken in Wales, Manks in the Isle of Man, and Scotch Gaelic in the Highlands of Scotland;... more...

INTRODUCTION The Use of Punctuation.—Punctuation is a device for marking out the arrangement of a writer's ideas. Reading is thereby made easier than it otherwise would be. A writer's ideas are expressed by a number of words arranged in groups, the words in one group being more closely connected with one another than they are with those in the next group. An example will show this grouping in its simplest form: He never convinces the... more...

Or the Cottage on the Hill. A Christmas Story. CHAPTER I. The last strain of the grand old Christmas hymn had just been warbled forth from the throats and hearts of a number of happy folks, who were seated around the blazing log one Christmas eve; and on the face of each one of that family circle the cheering light revealed the look of happiness; the young—happy in the present, and indulging in hopeful anticipations for the future; the... more...