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Letters are divided into vowels and consonants. A vowel is an articulate sound, that can be perfectly uttered by itself: as, a, e, o; which are formed without the help of any other sound.

A consonant is an articulate sound, which cannot be perfectly uttered without the help of a vowel; as, b, d, f, l; which require vowels to express them fully.

The vowels are, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w

and y.

Wand y are consonants when they begin a word or syllable; but in every other situation they are vowels.

Consonants are divided into mutes and semi


The mutes cannot be sounded at all without the aid of a vowel. They are b, p, t, d, k, and c and g hard.

The semi-vowels have an imperfect sound of themselves. They are f, l, m, n, r, s, v, x, z, and c and g soft.*

Four of the semi-vowels, namely l, m, n, r, are also distinguished by the name of liquids, from

* For the distinction between the nature and the name of a consonant, see 12mo. Grammar, Fifteenth, or any subsequent edition, p. 19.

their readily uniting with other consonants, and flowing as it were into their sounds.

A diphthong is the union of two vowels, pronounced by a single impulse of the voice; as ea in beat, ou in sound, ai in faith, oy in boy, eu in feud, oo in foot, oa in boat.

A triphthong is the union of three vowels, pronounced in like manner; as eau in beau, iew in view.

A proper diphthong is that in which both the vowels are sounded; as oi in voice, ou in ounce.

An improper diphthong has but one of the vowels sounded; as ea in eagle, oa in boat.


A syllable is a sound either simple or compound, pronounced by a single impulse of the voice, and constituting a word, or part of a word; as, a, an, ant, and fa in father.

Spelling is the art of rightly dividing words into their syllables; or of expressing a word by its proper letters.

Dr. Johnson's Dictionary is the best standard of Eng

lish orthography.


Words are articulate sounds, used, by common consent, as signs of our ideas.

A word of one syllable is termed a monosyllable; as, boy, good: a word of two syllables, a dissyllable; as, woman: a word of three syllables, a trisyllable; as, grandfather and a word of four or more syllables, a polysyllable; as, preferable, indubitable.

All words are either primitive or derivative.

A primitive word is that which cannot be reduced to any simpler word in the language; as, man, good, content.

Simple words are variously divided by different writers; as, pol-ish or po-lish, cov-et or co-vet, &c.

A derivative word is that which may be reduced to another word in English of greater simplicity; as, manful, goodness, contentment, Yorkshire.


THE second part of Grammar is Etymology; which treats of the different sorts of words, their various modifications, and their derivations.

There are in English nine sorts of words, or, as they are commonly called, PARTS OF SPEECH ; namely, the ARTICLE, the SUBSTANTIVE or NOUN, the ADJECTIVE, the PRONOUN, the VERB, the ADVERB, the PREPOSITION, the CONJUNCTION, and the INTERJECTION.

1. An Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to point them out, and to show how far their signification extends; as, a garden, an eagle, the woman.

2. A Substantive or noun is the name of any thing that exists, or of which we have any notion; as, London, man, virtue.

A substantive may, in general, be distinguished by its taking an article before it, or by its making sense of itself; as, a book, the sun, an apple; temperance, industry, chastity.

3. An Adjective is a word added to a substantive, to express its quality; as, an industrious man, a virtuous woman.

An adjective may be known by its making sense with the addition of the word thing; as, a good thing, a bad thing or with the addition of any substantive whatever; as, a sweet apple, a pleasant prospect.


4. A Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the same word; as, The man is happy; he is benevolent; he is useful.

5. A Verb is a word which signifies to BE, to DO, or to SUFFER; as, " I am, I rule, I am ruled."

A Verb may generally be distinguished by its making sense with any of the personal pronouns, or the word to, before it; as, I walk, he plays, they write; or, to walk, to play, to write.

6. An Adverb is a part of speech joined to a verb, an adjective, and sometimes to another adverb, to express some quality, or circumstance respecting it; as, he reads well; a truly good man; he writes very correctly.

An adverb may be generally known by its answering to the question, How? How much? When? or Where? as, in the phrase, "He reads correctly," the answer to the question, How does he read? is, correctly.

7. Prepositions serve to connect words with one another, and to show the relation between them; as, "He went from London to York;" "she is above disguise;"" they are supported by industry."

A preposition may be known by its admitting after it a personal pronoun in the objective case; as, with, for, to, &c. which will allow the objective case after them; as, with him, for her, to them, &c.

8. A Conjunction is a part of speech that is chiefly used to connect sentences; so as, out of two or more sentences, to make but one; it some

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