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MEssRs. Editors, HFRE has lately crept into our language a very uncouth and inaccurate form of speech, which ought, before this time, to have been made the subject of some authoritative critical censure. Thus far, however, it has escaped, I believe, all public animadversion; and it is a matter of no little surprise, that some of the professed literati, both in Great Britain and this country, are contributing to its currency by their own example. Indeed, from an inherent propensity, in our language, to that particular combination of words, or mode of expression, in which the fault in question always originates, it is now becoming a characteristic blemish in many of the most respectable written compositions and public speeches of the day. There is certainly no extravagance in saying, that it disgraces a great proportion of both.
The inaccuracy to which I refer, consists in improperly using a noun in the nominative or objective case, instead of the possessive, where the clause itself, in which the noun is used, or some other noun, stands, in sense, and ought to stand, in grammatical construction, as the nominative or objective. To illustrate my meaning, I subjoin a list of examples, selected at random, from a few hours' miscellaneous reading, and generally from a class of compositions in which one might reasonably expect to find, at least, “proper words in proper places.” The examples are numbered, for the purpose of fa
cilitating particular references to them,
1. “The possession of the goods was altered, by the owner taking them into his own custody.” [Marshall on Insurance. 2. “In consequence of the king of Prussia invading Saxony and Bohemia, the Aulic council voted his conduct to be a breach of the public peace.” [Edinb. Encylop. 3. “The secretary wearing a sword and uniform, was a circumstance which added greatly to his natural awkwardness.” [Notices of Mr. Hume. 4. “Many valuable lives are lost, by reason of studious men indulging too much in sedentary habits.” [Anon. 5. “I rise in consequence of the hon. gentleman having alluded to a remark of mine.” [Congr. Debates. 6. “The fact of an appointment having been made, would not prevent its being recalled.” [Lord Castlereagh. 7. “How will this idea consist with the Sabbath having been a ritual appointment to Israel?” [Christ. Observ. 8. “Instead of Asia Minor having received them from Greece, a directly contrary process took place.” [Quart. Rev. 9. “The gentleman having advanced a doctrine, which I regard as unconstitutional, is my apology for troubling the house,” &c. [Congr. Debates. 10. “In New England, there is no test to preventchurchmen holding offices.” [Edinb. Rev. 11. “Observers—who reject all idea of their elevation being owing to volcanic eruptions.” [Quart, Rey. `-