SUPERIOR emphasis is distinguished from Inferior, by the degree of stress; the former having a greater degree than the latter, to mark the relative importance of emphatic words.

These two kinds or degrees of emphasis are illustrated in antithetic sentences where two words are emphatic, whether the contrast is expressed or implied, and in all other sentences which contain two or more emphatic words.


1. The GOOD man is honored, but the EVIL man is despised.

In this sentence, the superior emphasis falls on good and evil, and the inferior, on honored and despised.

2. Whatever PURIFIES, also fortifies the heart.

In the above sentence, the implied contrast is, that whatever does not purify, does not fortify the heart.

3. ADVERSITY may make a man WISE, but not rich.
4. RELIGION is an excellent ARMOR, but a bad cloak.
5. PATIENCE is a bitter SEED, but it yields sweet fruit.
6. PROVIDE for the worst, but HOPE for the best.

7. TRUTH may LANGUISH, but it never dies.

8. OCCASIONAL mirth is not incompatible with wisdom. 9. WISE men commonly provide for the future.

10. By PRUDENCE, many evils and dangers are SHUNNED. 11. RASHNESS and FOLLY involve many men in trouble. 12. A good NAME must be gained by upright conduct.

NOTE 1. When emphasis falls on one word only in a sentence, it is called Simple Emphasis.

QUESTIONS. How are superior and inferior emphasis distinguished? Give exampies of each. What is simple emphasis?


1. You wrong yourSELF to write in such a case.

2. The Declaration of Independence is a masterly production.

3. America has produced some eminent orators.

4. The winter of 1852 was remarkably cold.

NOTE 2. When the emphasis falls on two or more words in the same sentence, or a succession of such words, it is called Compound Emphasis.


1. Never begin things and leave them unfinished.

2. He has done the mischief, and I bear the blame.
3. When the heart is past hope, the face is past shame.

4. The Bible has truth for its subject, the mind for its object, and the Father of mind for its Author.

NOTE 3. What is commonly denominated compound, double, treble, and quadruple emphasis, is nothing more than a succession of emphatic words, to mark the significant import of the entire sentence.


1. To be wise in our own eyes, to be wise in the opinion of the world, and to be wise in the sight of our Creator, are three things so very different, as rarely to coincide.

2. No station is so high, no power so great, no character so unblemished, as to exempt man from the attacks of rashness, malice, or envy.



ABSOLUTE emphasis is that stress of voice which is placed upon some word or words expressing an important idea, where no contrast is expressed, or necessarily implied.

QUESTIONS. What is compound emphasis? Give an example. note third of compound, double, treble, and quadruple emphasis? lute emphasis ?

What is said in

What is abso

It is contended, by some authors, that in all cases where words are emphatic, there is contrast, either expressed or understood. By others, and much the larger number, it is maintained that there are many instances in which the emphatic force laid upon a word is absolute, in the most literal sense of the term; because the thought expressed by it is forcible in itself, without any aid from comparison or contrast.

We incline to the latter opinion, and subjoin the following example as a strong case of absolute emphasis.


Whence and what art thou, execrable shape.

In this sentence, there is no contrast expressed, nor is it easy to conceive how it can be implied, or in what it could consist. Hence, we shall explain this class of words, together with those in which contrast is not expressed or obviously implied, under the head of Absolute Emphasis.

RULE 1. All words important in meaning, or peculiarly significant, are emphatic.


1. To be moderate in our views, and to proceed temperately in the pursuit of them, is the best way to insure success.

2. The voice of pity soothed and melted her; and, when the prince bade her be comforted, a feeble smile passed slowly over her pale countenance, like moonlight on a marble statue.

3. Geography comprises a general description of the earth, and especially of the locality and extent of the several countries; their climate, soil, and productions; the manners, customs, language, laws, religion, arts, and literature of the people; and the mountains, rivers, lakes, and physical resources of each locality.

QUESTIONS. What opinion is maintained, by some authors, in regard to emphasis? What by others? What example illustrates the latter opinion? What class of words, in this work, is marked under the head of absolute emphasis ? What is the rule for absolute emphasis?




1. The exquisite beauty and sublimity of this country, almost make a pen move of itself. Never did I pass so beautiful a day as this at the lakes. I shall sing the praises of October, as the loveliest of months. This morning, at six o'clock, I was walking on the banks of Winandermere,* to catch a sunrise.

2. I had every thing I could wish, and observed the progress of the day with delight. The mysterious rolling of clouds across the hills, announced the first influence of the sun. Tints, the most beauteous, skirted the eastern clouds; those on the west caught them as by sympathy. Various patches of mountains soon gleamed with the reflection of the yet unseen luminary; and such innumerable vicissitudes of light and shade filled the scene, as no tongue can describe.

• Win-an-der-mere', the name of a beautiful lake.

3. The lake, in all its length of thirteen miles, lay beneath me with its thirty islands. I heard the early lowing of the cows, the bleating of the sheep, the neighing of the horses, the twittering of the birds, the rustling of the breeze, the rippling of the water, and the dashing of the oar, in a gentle kind of harmony. The sun advanced, and threw a blaze of magnificent luster over this landscape.

4. I crossed over the lake, and passed through rich scenes of wonder and loveliness. Clusters of mountains and lesser hills, clothed with crags, brown fern, red lichens, green grass, purple heath, barren gulleys, cascades, wild streaks, rolling mists, and bright sunshine, presented incessant variety. Hill towered above hill; Alpine peaks reared their heads; groves filled the valleys; and cottages were sprinkled in wild profusion..

5. While standing on an eminence, and looking down on the exquisitely lovely lake of Grasmere, environed by its amphitheater of mountains, a momentary shower produced a rainbow. It extended from hill to hill over the valley, and seemed like a bridge for angels to pass over from one district of paradise to another.


RULE 2. A succession of emphatic words or particulars, usually requires a gradual increase of emphatic force on each succeeding word or particular.


1. His hope, his HAPPINESS, his very LIFE, hung on the next words from those lips.

2. Disease, poverty, DISAPPOINTMENT, and even SHAME, are far from being, in all instances, the unavoidable doom of man.

3. A day, an HOUR, of virtuous liberty, is worth a whole ETERNITY in bondage.

4. Since concord was lost, friendship was lost, FIDELITY was lost, LIBERTY was lost, ALL was lost.

NOTE. The specification of particulars, such as counting, enumerating, and the like, requires sufficient emphatic utterance to mark the several distinctions.


1. One, two, three, four, etc. First, second, third, fourth, etc. 2. Units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, etc.

3. Second epistle of Peter, fourth chapter, and ninth and tenth


QUESTIONS. What is the rule for a succession of emphatic words or particulars! Give an example. What is said of the specification of particulars, such as counting, etc?

« 上一页继续 »