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A Grammar of the English Tongue

Samuel Johnson

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .R has the same rough snarling sound as in the other tongues.

The Saxons used often to put h before it, as before l at the beginning of words.

Rh is used in words derived from the Greek, as myrrh, myrrhine, catarrhous, rheum, rheumatick, rhyme.

Re, at the end of some words derived from the Latin or French, is pronounced like a weak er, as theatre, sepulchre.

S.

S has a hissing sound, as sibilation, sister.

A single s seldom ends any word, except in the third person of verbs, as loves, grows; and the plurals of nouns, as trees, bushes, distresses; the pronouns this, his, ours, yours, us; the adverb thus; and words derived from Latin, as rebus, surplus; the close being always either in se, as house, horse, or in ss, as grass, dress, bliss, less, anciently grasse, dresse.

S, single at the end of words, has a grosser sound, like that of z, as trees, eyes, exce. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Dry, but informative.

For the past few weeks I have been borderline anal with regard to English grammar. Mere peccadilloes seem to incur my wrath. As I reflected on my thoughts, I've grown to realize that my anger was uncalled for. To remind myself of my fallibility, I have decided to brush up on my English grammar. T...more

I found this amazing! It really helped me to understand English better, and to see the common roots with my native language German. And it doesn't take more than a couple of hours of reading.

"... poets, who, in the exultation of genius, think themselves perhaps entitled to trample on grammarians."

Three and a half star. I have realised how difficult it is to read an 18th century academic work and have ascertained how grateful I should be as academic books in the 21st century are much, much easier to read.