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si muove,' "the cup that cheers but not inebriates," "tripping the light fantastic toe," "a work of supererogation," "the irony of fate," "Sturm und Drang," "curiosa felicitas," "hinc illae lacrimae," "small by degrees and beautifully less." Shun allusions to Macaulay's New Zealander, Triton among the minnows, the sword of Damocles, Pelion and Ossa, the ears of Midas, Daedalus and Icarus, Columbus and the egg, the Phoenix, the Hegira, Mecca, Valhalla, etc.

The indiscriminate employment of periphrases is neither appropriate nor intelligible; as "the English Opium-eater" for De Quincey, "the seer of Chelsea" for Carlyle, "the Great Lexicographer" for Dr Johnson, "the Ayrshire Bard" for Burns, "the wisest fool in Christendom" for James I. When Ben Jonson, in his ode To the Memory of my beloved Master William Shakespeare, wrote

"Sweet Swan of Avon! What a sight it were

To see thee in our waters yet appear,

And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,"

the circumlocution "Swan of Avon" was fresh, apt, and clear; but, as commonly used now, it is hackneyed and inappropriate. In the following sentence, the periphrases for Sir Walter Scott are necessary because the existence of similar qualities in the works mentioned proves the identity of authorship. "Competent critics speedily decided that the author of Waverley was one with the compiler of Tales of My Landlord, and that the only writer capable of both was the editor of The Minstrelsy and the poet of Marmion."

ARRANGEMEnt of Words.

In languages where inflexions are numerous, the forms help to indicate what a word refers to, and which words go together. Consequently a free arrangement of words is possible. In English, however, the almost entire absence of inflexions restricts freedom of arrangement. So we find passages like the following:

"When Thebes Epaminondas rears again."

"And thus the son the fervent sire addressed."

Here order alone does not show the construction: we must have

"Arthur came

recourse to the context. Again, if we are told, with Henry to say good-bye, because he leaves tomorrow for India," does he refer to Arthur or Henry?

To secure perspicuity, then, words, phrases and clauses should be so placed that both construction and reference are perfectly clear. Words expressing things intended to be thought of together should be placed near each other. Near does not necessarily mean close together, but so placed that their connexion cannot be mistaken. "I agreed to this" is good order and clear.

But note the following: "He proposed that we should charter a vessel to convey our goods across the strait. To this I agreed." Here to this is removed from its natural place after agreed in order to refer back to the previous sentence. The construction is not obscured and the reference of this is rendered clearer. Inversion, however, should not be employed unless it brings some such advantage.

The adjective usually precedes its noun, but if the adjective has a long phrase modifying it, it follows the noun; as "Select a clever man," but "Select a man clever at mechanical contrivances." "He forgot his breakfast in a for him most unusual way" is unidiomatic. Change to most unusual way for him," or "a way most unusual for him.”

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Adverbs, adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses may precede or follow what they modify. Sometimes one order is correct, sometimes another. Often, in the same sentence, one modifier goes before, the other goes after. The order is confusing in "Godfrey waited before he spoke again until the door closed." Both adverbial clauses modify waited, and perspicuity is gained by making one of the adverbials precede; e.g. "Before speaking again, Godfrey waited till the door closed."

When there are two words either of which the adverbial might modify, the arrangement should show which is the word. "It depends on who does it altogether" is confusing: read "It altogether depends."

THE "SPLIT" INFINITIVE. The adverb is frequently placed by some writers between to and the verbal part of the infinitive; as "I wish to clearly announce." But the connexion between

the preposition and the verb is so close that only exceptional circumstances entitle us to break the connexion by inserting an adverb. It can very rarely be urged that no other position is equally clear. When the adverbial expression is long and clumsy, this construction should not be used.

ONLY AT LEAST. These and similar words and phrases are often misplaced; only most of all. If only is inserted in a sentence like "John passed in Latin," its position is very important for the meaning. "Only John passed" means John alone. "John only passed" means John alone, or John made a bare pass. "Passed only in Latin" means in no other subject; while "in Latin only" may suggest surprise that he failed in other subjects.

"I

"I only received your letter yesterday" is most likely for " received your letter only yesterday."

“He at least appreciates their silence." Does that mean that he, if nobody else, appreciates, or that he appreciates, if he does not imitate, etc.?

NEVER NOT...BECAUSE. "I never remember to bring my pen," is right: i.e. "I always forget." But "I never remember seeing it" is wrong, because the negative belongs to remember, ever belongs to seeing. Change to "I do not remember ever seeing it."

"They do not stay because we are here." Does not negative stay, or the clause of reason? If it negatives stay, read “Because we are here, they do not stay," or "they are going away because we are here." But if the clause of reason is negatived, read, "They do not stay merely because we are here," or "It is not because we are here that they stay."

"All the fields are not reaped," is often put where the clearer order is "The fields are not all reaped."

When a prepositional phrase might be in function either adjectival or adverbial, it should be placed so as not to produce either ambiguity or absurdity. "Wanted a boy to open oysters with a reference," sounds absurd, because the adjectival attribute of boy is put so as to appear an adverbial modifier of open.

CO-RELATIVE EXPRESSIONS. Not...but, not only...but also, both...and, either...or, neither...nor, etc. must be arranged so as to balance the words that are co-related. "They not only gave him food but also clothing," should be "not only food but also clothing." "They will either come today or tomorrow," should be "either today or tomorrow."

PRONOUNS. No greater cause of confusion exists than carelessness in the reference of pronouns—especially the relative and the 3rd personal pronouns.

The relative clause should be as near its antecedent as possible: it need not follow immediately, but there should be no doubt about the reference. "He had saved sixty pounds during the year which he spent in London." What was spentyear or money? If the former, say "During the year which he spent in London, he" etc. If the latter, say "During the year he had saved sixty pounds, which he spent in London." "He offers a prize of £1000 for this poem, which surpasses all others." If the antecedent is poem, it will be clearer to say "For this poem, which surpasses all others, he offers etc. If the antecedent is prize, "For this poem he offers a prize of £1000, which surpasses" etc.; or keep the original order and repeat a prize before which.

Personal pronouns may refer either to the most prominent words, or to the nearest. It is often difficult to decide which the writer meant. "The wind blew down the chimney-stalk: it was very high." Does it refer to wind, the most prominent word, or to chimney-stalk, the nearest word? Say either, "The wind was very high and blew " etc., or "The wind blew down the chimneystalk, which was" etc. "The horses in the wagon were running so fast that in passing the post they smashed it." If they smashed the wagon, repeat the noun. In such sentences, an equivalent noun will often do.

English lacks the variety of personal pronouns possessed by some other languages, and on that account our reported speech is often ambiguous. This is manifest in the sentence, "The pedant assured his patron that although he could not divest the boy of

the knowledge he had already imbibed, unless he would empower him to disable his fingers, he should endeavour to prevent his future improvement." He, his, him have three references.

In such sentences, writers sometimes try to make the reference clear by inserting-with or without brackets-a noun after the pronoun, which seems a confession of obscurity. It is better to discard the pronoun and employ the noun alone, if that can be done without clumsiness; or use direct speech.

The sentence quoted above, when turned into direct speech, is perfectly clear. "I assure you,' said the pedant to his patron, 'that, altough I cannot divest the boy of the knowledge he has already imbibed, unless you will empower me to disable his fingers, I shall endeavour to prevent his future improvement."

Another version has been suggested: "The pedant assured his patron that, although he could not divest the boy of the knowledge already imbibed, unless he were empowered to disable the little trickster's fingers, he should endeavour to prevent his pupil's future improvement." He and his have now only one reference.

"In England foxes are common. They hunt them with dogs." They refers awkwardly to some unexpressed word or phrase.

"In his new volume of lyrics, which was lately published and is now in a second edition, the poet returns to old themes." The introduction of his long before the word to which it refers, is often confusing.

PRECISION OF MEANING. When words with a variety of meanings are used without precision, it is often impossible to know what the writer intends. This ambiguity of meaning is essential to punning but it destroys perspicuity. Even when it does not cause obscurity, it should be avoided. Use the word in such a way that no meaning but the right one will suggest itself.

Note the possible ambiguities in the following. "Collapse of a bank" may mean a river-bank or a money bank. "A bad subject" may mean a disloyal subject or an unsuitable theme.

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