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Title: Grammar
Original Title: Grammaire
Volume and Page: Vol. 7 (1757), pp. 841–847
Authors : Nicolas Beauzée (biography), Jacques Philippe Augustin Douchet (biography)
Translator: Julia Wallhager [Macalester College,]
Original Version (ARTFL): Link

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Citation (MLA): Beauzée, Nicolas, and Jacques Philippe Augustin Douchet. "Grammar." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Julia Wallhager. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2015. Web. [fill in today's date in the form 18 Apr. 2009 and remove square brackets]. <>. Trans. of "Grammaire," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 7. Paris, 1757.
Citation (Chicago): Beauzée, Nicolas, and Jacques Philippe Augustin Douchet. "Grammar." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Julia Wallhager. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2015. (accessed [fill in today's date in the form April 18, 2009 and remove square brackets]). Originally published as "Grammaire," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 7:841–847 (Paris, 1757).

Grammar, abstract term. R. Γράμμα,  littera , letter; the Romans sometimes called it Litteratura . It is the science of spoken or written speech. Speech is a kind of painting whose object is thought. It must be an accurate imitation of it, to the extent that such accuracy can be found in a material representation of what is a purely intellectual thing. With the help of abstraction logic somehow manages to analyze thought, despite its indivisibility, by considering separately the different ideas that it takes up and the relation that the mind perceives among them. This analysis is the immediate object of speech and it explains why the art of analyzing thought is the principal foundation of the art of speech, or, in other words, why sound logic is the foundation of Grammar .

Indeed, whatever the terms that it suits the different peoples of the earth to make use of, whatever the way that they decide to modify them, and whatever particular color they give them, they will always need to represent perceptions, judgments and reasonings. They will need words to express the substance of their ideas, their modifications and their correlations; they will need to convey the different points of view through which they have considered all these things. Moreover, this need will often require them to use appellative and general terms even with respect to individual things; and, as a result, they will not be able to do without determiners to restrict the excessively vague meaning of these terms. In all languages one will find clauses that have subjects and predicates, and terms whose incomplete meaning requires a complement or object. In a word, all languages without exception will subordinate their functioning to the laws of the logical analysis of thought, and these laws are invariably the same in every place and in every time since nature and the human mind’s way of processing are essentially immutable. Without this uniformity and this absolute immutability there could be no communication between men of different times or places – not even between any two individuals – since there would be no common rule for comparing their respective ways of processing.

Fundamental principles that are common to all languages must therefore exist, whose indestructible truth is prior to all the arbitrary or fortuitous conventions that have given rise to the different idioms that divide mankind.

Yet it is clear that no word can be the essential form of any particular idea; it only becomes its sign through a tacit, albeit free convention and could have been given an altogether opposite meaning. There is an identical freedom of choice concerning the means that one can use to express the correlation among words in the order of a statement and that of their ideas in the analytic order of thought. But once the conventions have been adopted, there is an indispensable obligation to follow them in all similar cases. It is no longer permitted to depart from them other than to conform to some other convention that is equally authentic and that departs from the first on some particular feature or that entirely abrogates it. Hence the possibility and origin of the different languages that have been, that are and that will be spoken on Earth.

Grammar thus admits of two kinds of principles. The first are immutable truths of universal usage that stem from the nature of thought itself and are derived from its analysis, of which they are but the result. The second are only conditional truths dependent on free and changeable conventions and are used only among the peoples who freely adopted them and who retain the right to change or abandon them as they please. The first comprise General Grammar ; the second are the object of the various Particular Grammars .

General Grammar is thus the rational science of the immutable and general principles of the spoken or written word in all languages.

A Particular Grammar is the art of applying the common arbitrary conventions of a particular language to the immutable general principles of the spoken or written word.

General Grammar is a science because its only object is the rational reflection on the immutable general principles of speech; a Particular Grammar is an art because it considers the practical application of the common arbitrary conventions of a particular language to the general principles of speech ( See Art). The science of grammar precedes all languages since its principles are eternal truths and suppose only the possibility of languages; the art of grammar, on the contrary, follows after particular languages since linguistic usages must exist before they can be artificially linked back to general principles. Despite this distinction between the science and the art of grammar, we do not claim to insinuate that one should, or that it is even possible to study them separately. Art cannot give any certainty to practice if it is not enlightened and directed by the insights of speculation, while science cannot give any consistency to theory if it does not observe comparative usages and different practices in order to gradually rise to the generalization of principles. Nonetheless, it is no less reasonable to distinguish one from the other, to assign to each its proper subject, to stipulate their respective limits and to determine their differences.

It is because he has confused them both that P. Buffier ( Gramm. fr. n. 9. & suiv. ) considers it an abuse introduced by various grammarians to say: in this regard usage is opposed to Grammar. ‘Because Grammar,' he says, 'only exists to supply rules or reflections instructing us how to speak as is commonly spoken, if one of these rules or reflections does not agree with the manner of common speech it is evident that it is false and must be changed.’ It is very clear that our grammarian is only thinking here of the particular Grammar of a language, of the one that teaches us to speak as commonly spoken, of the one, finally, that we designate by the word usage in the expression that is being censored. But this usage always has a connection to the immutable laws of General Grammar , as P. Buffier himself concedes in another passage. ‘In all languages can essentially be found,' he says, 'that which philosophy also observes in them when it treats them as the natural expression of our thoughts, because just as nature has assigned a necessary order to our thoughts, she has assigned by an inevitable consequence a necessary order to language.’ It is in fact for this reason that the same kinds of words are found in all languages; that these words are subject to more or less the same kinds of modifications; and that speech is subordinated to the three types of syntactic rules concerning agreement, case and word order, etc. Should not a body of doctrine result from all this that is independent of the arbitrary decisions of usage and whose principles are laws that are both universal and immutable?

Now the particular usages of languages may prove to conform or not to conform to the letter of these laws of General Grammar , but they actually always necessarily follow their spirit. If one then finds that the usage of a language permits an expression that contradicts one of these fundamental principles, it is not an error to remarked upon it, or rather, not to note it clearly would be an error, and nothing is less an error than the words of Cicero ( orat. n. 47. ) ‘ Impetratum est à consuetudine ut peccare suavitatis causâ liceret’. [1] The errors he mentions are ascribed to usage, ‘impetratum est à consuetudine’; and consequently, he recognizes a rule that is independent of usage and superior to it; it is nature herself, whose decisions concerning the art of speech shape the body of the science of grammar. By examining these decisions in good faith and comparing everyday uses to them without prejudice, we will before long be in a position to correctly appraise the opinion of P. Buffier. Idiomatic expressions would be sufficient to undermine the very foundations of this opinion, if we wanted to indulge in a digression that we have elsewhere condemned ( See Gallicism and Idiom). Yet we only need one example to prove our point, and we will take it from writing. What is the meaning of the complaints that we hear every day regarding the irregularities of our alphabet, multiple uses of the same letter to represent different elements of speech, or inversely, the use of many different letters to represent the same element and the abuse of using several letters to represent a single element, etc.? It is the secret comparison of everyday usage with natural principles that gives rise to these complaints. Whatever can be said about it, we see that usage introduces real errors with respect to the immutable principles dictated by nature.

But in any case, how could it be that linguistic usage always agreed with the general and simple ways of nature? Usage is the product of fortuitous interactions between many different circumstances which are sometimes also very much in conflict with each other. Climatic variations, the different political constitutions of States and the revolutions that change them; the state of the sciences, the arts, and business; religion and the stronger or weaker attachments that we have to it and the opposing aspirations of nations, provinces, cities, and even families – all these contribute to the fact that things are perceived here from one point of view and there from another, or today in one way and tomorrow in another that is completely different; and this is the origin of the diverse spirit of particular languages. The different results of the infinite combinations of these circumstances produce the prodigious differences that one observes between the words of various languages expressing the same idea, the means that they adopt to designate the enunciative relationship between these words, and in the turns of phrase and in the liberties that they permit. The influence of these circumstances is striking if one takes very distant points of comparison, for example in space like East and West, or in time like the reign of Charlemagne and that of Louis XV. The influence will be less striking if the points of comparison are closer, like Italy and France or the age of François I and that of Louis XIV. In short, the more the compared terms approach each other the more their differences will seem to diminish, but they will never completely disappear and will still remain perceptible even between two adjoining nations, two bordering provinces, two neighboring cities, two districts of the same city, and two families of the same district. What is more, the same person varies his way of speaking in the course of his life and even from day to day. Hence the diversity of dialects within the same language, a natural consequence of the shared freedom and the different locations of peoples and regions that constitute the same nation. Hence also this mobility, this succession of nuances that perpetually modifies languages and gradually transforms them into completely different ones – it is even one of the principal causes of the difficulties that can be found in the study of a Particular Grammar.

Nothing is easier than to make errors concerning the real usage of a language. If the language is dead, one can only speculate about it; one is reduced to a portion limited to the testimonies recorded in the works of its best age. If the language is living the perpetual variability of usage prevents us from permanently fixing it; its content only has a momentary truth. In both cases none of the resources that chance offers or that the art of teaching may provide should be neglected.

The most useful way and the one most attested by reason and experience is to divide an object under scrutiny into different main parts to which can be related the different principles and observations that concern this object. Each of these major parts can in turn be subdivided into subsections that serve to organize the subject matter relative to the major categories. However, these divisions must actually represent different parts of the whole or different points of view through which it is proposed it should be considered. There should be enough divisions to make the whole object known but few enough so as not to overburden the memory and distract the attention. This then is how we believe Grammar should be approached both in its general and particular parts.

Grammar treats speech in two different capacities, either as spoken or as written. Written speech is a copy of spoken speech and the latter is a copy of thought. These two points of view may thus be taken to represent the two principal perspectives to which we may relate all grammatical observations. All of Grammar is thus divided into two general parts; the first, which treats speech, may be called Orthology ; and the second, which treats writing, is named Orthography. The need to characterize the main aspects of our grammatical system precisely and the freedom that the usage of our language seems to have permitted with respect to the formation of technical terms have also convinced us to propose several new ones, which may be found in the table that we will present of the different parts of Grammar. We will ensure that these terms are analogous to terms commonly employed pedagogically and that they express with precision everything that they are intended to designate. We will provide an explanation of them in terms of their roots as they are introduced. Thus, the word Orthology has the roots ὀρθὸς, rectus , and λόγος, sermo, and means way of speaking well.

Orthology. To convey thought in speech we are required to use several words and to each we attach a partial meaning that analysis disentangles from the thought as a whole. Words are thus the theme of the first part of Grammar . We can consider them in isolation or together, that is to say, independently of or as part of a statement, which naturally divides the treatise on speech into two parts, Lexicology and Syntax . The term Lexicology means explanation of words; R. R. λέξις, vocabulum , and λόγος, sermo . This word has already been used by the Abbot Girard but with a different meaning than ours, which is nonetheless the one that its roots themselves seem to suggest. Duclos, however, seems to divide up the object of the study of speech as we do; he begins his remarks in the last chapter of Grammaire générale in the following way : ‘The Grammar of any language whatsoever has two foundations, Vocabulary and Syntax ’. Yet Vocabulary is only a catalog of the words of a language and every language has its own, whereas what we are calling Lexicology consists of the rational principles shared by all languages in this respect.

I. The function of Lexicology is thus to explain everything concerning the knowledge of words and to do so methodologically it must consider their materiality, value and etymology.

I. The materiality of words consists of their elements and prosody .

Sounds and articulations are the elementary parts of words and the syllables which result from their combination make up the integral and immediate parts. See Sound and Syllable.

Prosody determines decisions regarding usage with respect to accent and weight. Accent is a measure of the rise, just as weight is a measure of the length of sound in each syllable. See Prosody, Accent and Weight.

Words do not always preserve the material form that everyday usage originally gave them. Changes often occur in the elementary or integral parts that compose them without these liberties in their usage altering their meanings, as in the words relligio, amasti, amarier , instead of religio, amavisti, amari . We commonly give the name figures to the various changes that occur in the material form of words. See under the heading Figure, the article on metaplasms concerning the material form of words.

2. The value of a word consists of all of the ideas that usage has attached to it. The different types of ideas that can be connected to the meaning of a word require Lexicology to distinguish in its value three different meanings: the primary meaning, the specific meaning, and an accidental meaning.

The primary meaning derives from the primary idea that usage originally attached to the meaning of each word. This idea can be shared by several words, although this does not mean that they have the same value since in each word the mind envisages the idea from a different point of view. With respect to the original idea, its corresponding words may either be taken literally or figuratively. A word has a literal meaning when it is used to evoke in the mind the idea whose meaning it was originally intended to signify, while it has a figurative meaning when it is used to evoke another idea that is only analogous to that denoted by its literal meaning. The name tropes is commonly given to the various changes of this kind that can affect the primary meaning of words. See Meaning and Trope.

The specific meaning derives from the different perspectives through which the mind can envisage the primary idea in its analysis of thought. This explains the different kinds of words, including nouns, pronouns, adjectives, etc. ( See Word, Noun, Pronoun, etc.) One often finds words of the same kind that seem to express the same primary idea and the same analytical viewpoint. We give to these words the term synonyms to make it clear that they have precisely the same meaning and we term synonymy the feature that they share in this way. We will examine this subject matter more in depth in the articles Synonyms and Synonymy.

The accidental meaning results from the different combinations of words in the order of enunciation. These various combinations are commonly indicated by different forms determined arbitrarily in each language by linguistic usage and include gender, case, number, person, tense and mood ( See Accident and all the other terms just mentioned). The different laws of usage concerning the production of the forms which express these accidents make up declensions and conjugations. See Declension and Conjugation.

3. The Etymology of words is the source from which they are drawn. The study of etymology can have two different objectives.

The first is to examine the structure of a language in order to be able to introduce new words as the need arises. This we call formation and can take place through derivation or composition. It accounts for original words and their derivatives, as well as simple and compound words. See Formation.

Etymology’s second objective is to go back to the source of a word in order to determine its true meaning through an understanding of its generative , basic, natural or foreign roots. This is the art of etymology, whose practice requires inventive means and critical rules. See Etymology and Art of Etymology.

Such are the fundamental points of view to which the principles of Lexicology can be connected. It is the task of the dictionaries of each language to indicate proper usage with respect to these points of view for each of the words they contain. See Dictionary and the many remarks in the article Encyclopedia.

II. The task of Syntax is to explain everything concerning the interaction of words connected in order to express a thought. Whenever one wants to transmit a thought in speech, all of the words linked together to this end make up a clause and syntax examines its subject matter and form.

1. The subject matter of the clause is all the parts that make it up and these parts are of two kinds, logical and grammatical.

The logical parts are the full expression of all of the ideas that the mind necessarily perceives in its analysis of a thought, namely the subject, the attribute and the copula . The subject is the part of a clause that indicates the object in which the mind perceives the presence or absence of a change. The attribute expresses the change whose presence or absence the mind perceives in the subject. Finally, the copula is the part that expresses the presence or absence of an attribute in the subject.

The grammatical parts of a clause are the words that an enunciation and the language in question require to make up the logical parts. See Subject and Copula.

The different ways in which the grammatical parts make up the logical parts give rise to the different kinds of clauses: simple, compound, uncomplex [2] and complex, main and incidental, etc. See Clause and also what is said about this in the article Construction.

2. The form of a clause consists of the particular inflections and the respective arrangements of the different parts that make it up. The syntax of different languages varies at first glance in this respect, but the rules of syntax in any language all relate to three general themes which are Agreement, Case and Construction .

Agreement pertains to the inflections that are common to several words, such as with respect to gender, number, case, etc. The rules that syntax imposes in this respect are based on a relationship of identity among the words that it puts in agreement since they jointly express the same unique object. Thus agreement occurs ordinarily between a modifier and a subject, since the modification of a subject is nothing other than a modified subject. The modifier is connected to the noun either by apposition or by attribution. It is connected by apposition when they are linked to express one precise idea, as when one says, ‘ these knowing men,’ and by attribution when the modifier is the attribute of a clause in which the noun is the subject, as when one says, ‘ these men are knowing’. All languages that admit inflections of modifiers similar to those of nouns place these words in agreement in the case of apposition since the identity is real and necessary there. Most languages also require an agreement in the case of attribution since the identity is real there also; however, some do not and use an adverb instead of an adjective since in the analysis of a clause the subject and the attribute are considered to represent two separate and different objects. Thus to say ‘ these knowing men’ in German, on says, ‘ diese gelehrten mænner’, as in Latin, ‘ hi docti viri’; but to say ‘ these men are knowing’ in German, one says, ‘ diese mænner sind gelehrnt’, as one says in Latin ‘ hi viri sunt doctè’ , or ‘ cum doctrinâ’ instead ‘ sunt docti’ . One of these approaches is perhaps more in conformity than the other with the laws of General Grammar ; but to embark on the task of a reform of the one of the two that one believes less exact would be to break the most essential rule of General Grammar per se , i.e. that it must unconditionally leave the choice of the means of speech to usage. Quem penès arbitrium est et jus et norma loquendi. [3] See Agreement, Apposition and Usage

Case is the sign that usage has established in each language to indicate the relationship between two words. The word that is inflected serves to make the other word to which it is subordinated less vague and the latter acquires a level of precision through this particular application that it could not achieve on its own. Each language has different practices for indicating case and the different kinds of cases, whether by word order, through the use of prepositions or through endings, but it is always usage that determines these practices. See Case and Determination.

Construction is the arrangement of the logical and grammatical parts of the clause. One can distinguish between two kinds of construction, the analytic and the everyday.

In an analytic construction, words are ordered in the same sequence that the ideas occur to the mind in the analysis of thought. Analytic construction is part of General Grammar ; it is the invariable and universal rule that should serve as the basis for the particular constructions of any individual language. It only proceeds in one way since it only considers one object, the clear and methodical exposition of thought.

In an everyday construction, words are arranged in the order authorized by the usage of a particular language. It uses different procedures because of the diversity of objectives that it must combine and reconcile; it must not completely abandon the analytical order of ideas; it must organize its objects in a sequence that moves and interest the soul; and it must not neglect the euphonic order of expression that is most likely to please the ear. This combination of often opposing objectives is not possible without taking some liberties, without some transgressions of the analytical order – the truly fundamental order – but General Grammar approves of everything that leads to its goal, namely the faithful expression of thought. Thus however true and necessary the fundamental principles of General Grammar may be regarding the expression of thought and whatever degree of conformity the particular usages of languages may have to these principles, we nonetheless find in all languages expressions completely removed from both metaphysical principles and ordinary practices. These are deviations of usage that are justified even by reason. Everyday constructions are thus simple or figurative ; simple when they follow the ordinary procedure of language without deviation; figurative when they admit of some way of speaking that contravenes ordinary laws. These particular expressions are called rhetorical devices to distinguish them from the abovementioned ones, which are figures of speech, some relative to the subject and others to the meaning. These are the various adjustments that the usage of languages permits in the clause’s form. ( See Figure and Construction) The particular idioms of a language are commonly based on some of these figures and it is by comparing them with the analytic construction that one may fully explain them. Analysis alone can fill the gaps in an ellipsis, explain the redundancies of a pleonasm and account for the effects of an inversion. We dare add that this is the most natural and satisfying way of introducing the young to the understanding of Latin and Greek. See Construction, Idiom, Inversion and Method

By this review of Orthology we can identify the specific boundaries of Grammar in relation to this object. Grammar only treats that which concerns words in order to use them in the expression of a complete meaning in a clause. Is it necessary to link several clauses to compose a speech? Each isolated clause always falls within the domain of Grammar with respect to the meaning that one envisages in it; yet what concerns the unity of all these clauses is of another nature. It is up to Logic to choose and weigh the strength of the arguments that should be used to enlighten the mind; it is up to Rhetoric to determine the turns of phrase, the figures of speech and the style that should be used to move the heart by way of the emotions or to win it over by charm. Thus in a sense Logic teaches what should be said; Grammar how one should say it to be understood; and Rhetoric how it is advisable to say it to persuade.

Orthography. The Arts were not brought to perfection at the first attempt; they only reached it gradually and after many changes. When people thought of communicating their thoughts to absent ones or of transmitting them to their descendants, they did not at first think of the most suitable signs for achieving this end. They began by using representative symbols of things, and did not even think of representing speech itself until after having recognized through long experience the insufficiency of their first method and the worthlessness of their efforts to perfect as much it as was appropriate to their needs. See Writing, Characters, Hieroglyphs.

Symbolic script was thus replaced by orthographic writing which is the representation of speech. Only this latter kind is the object of Grammar and we only need follow the same order as we did with Orthology to methodically present its art. Now there, we initially considered words separately since they comprise the basic elements of the clause, then we considered the clause as a whole. Lexicology and Syntax are thus the two general branches of the study of speech. The study of writing can equally be divided into two parts, corresponding to what we call Lexicography and Logography. R. R. λέξις, vocabulum; λόγος, sermo; & γραφία, scriptio: as if we said orthography of words and orthography of discourse . The term Logography has another meaning but it is remote from the etymological meaning that we are employing here since it is the only one that can convey our thought.

I. The task of Lexicography is to prescribe rules appropriate for the representation of the materiality of words with the characters authorized by the usage of each language. In the materiality of words we are concerned with both. The elements and the prosody are considered; hence two kinds of characters, elementary characters and prosodic characters.

1. Elementary characters are those originally intended by usage to represent the basic elements of speech, that is to say sounds and articulations. Those characters established to represent sounds are named vowels ; those that are introduced to express articulations are called consonants ; together, both take the shared name letters . The list of all letters that are authorized by the usage of a language is called the alphabet and we call alphabetic the order in which we customary align them. ( See Alphabet, Letters, Vowels, Consonants). The Greeks gave the letters names analogous to those that we give them: they called them στοιχεῖα, elements , or γράμματα, letters. The terms elements , sounds and articulations only suit the elements of spoken speech, just as those of letters, vowels and consonants are only applicable to the elements of written speech. This said, it is fairly common to confuse the terms and to use one set for the other. We owe the etymology of the word Grammar to this usage, resulting from the way in which the first Grammarians envisaged the art of speech.

2. Prosodic characters are those established by usage to dictate the pronunciation of written words. Three kinds can be discerned: some regulate the expression of words themselves or of their elements, such as the cedilla , the apostrophe , the dash and the dieresis ; others indicate the accent, that is to say, the sound’s pitch, and they are the acute accent , the grave accent and the circumflex accent ; finally others determine the weight or duration of sounds and we call them long, short , and dubious like the syllables themselves whose sound they characterize. See Prosody, Accent, Weight and the words that were just mentioned.

II. The task of Logography is to prescribe appropriate rules to represent the relation of words to each clause as a whole and the relation of each clause to a speech or discourse.

1. With regard to words considered within a sentence, Logography should generally determine the use of upper and lower case letters, indicate the occasions when a character’s form should be changed and italics or Roman type be used, and establish common practice concerning the form of words relative to the whole of the clause.

2. With regard to the relationship of each clause to the whole of a speech or discourse, Logography should provide the means to distinguish different meanings and, in a way, the different degrees of their mutual dependence. This section is called Punctuation . In this respect usage only decides the form of the characters that it uses; the art of using them becomes in a way a matter of taste, although taste also follows rules even if they are harder to explicate to most people. See Punctuation.

Such is our way of envisaging Grammar. Others will perceive a different way and would without doubt have good reason to prefer the one they adopt. However, the choice is not indifferent. Despite all the roads that lead to the same destination, only one is best. We have no assurance that we have chosen it; such an assertion would be all the more presumptuous given that the principles according to which we must decide on the best didactic methods are perhaps not yet sufficiently determined. All that we can claim is that we have not neglected anything in order to present things in the most favorable and clear point of view.

One should not believe however that each of the sections that we have assigned to Grammar could be treated separately in an exhaustive way; they are all interrelated. What concerns writing must be examined more or less in parallel with what pertains to speech. It is difficult to have a good sense of the distinctive characters of different kinds of words without grasping how analysis functions in the expression of a thought; and it is impossible to precisely establish the nature of the inflections of words if one does not know the different uses that words can have in a clause. But it is no less necessary to organize all the parts of the science of grammar under some general divisions and to draw a map that can be followed at least in an elementary work. With this knowledge of its basic elements, others will be able to follow and effortlessly improve on our plan since the elementary principles we have identified can be explored through the comparison of its interrelated parts. We will now present their connections in a brief table that will serve as a recapitulation of the detailed explanation that we have provided and that will display the truly encyclopedic order of grammatical observations before the eyes of the reader.



To give to this article all its necessary perfection, it is perhaps necessary to list here all the different existing Grammars of scholarly and common languages. We would have liked to have done so and we had even insinuated such to our illustrious predecessor; but time has not permitted us to do it ourselves and our respect for our readers prevents us from presenting something rushed or copied. We will simply conclude by saying that there are few works of Grammar from which one cannot draw some profit, but also that there are few whose philosophical content leaves nothing to be desired.


1. Cicero, Orator 157. "It has been obtained/established by habit that one can err in order to achieve pleasantness." In other words, through habitual usage over time, we are permitted to violate proper linguistic usage in order to appeal to our audience more successfully.

2. "According to Littré, a 'proposition incomplexe' is a clause whose subject and predicate are simple and lack modifiers.”

3. Horace, Ars Poetica 70-72: multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque / quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus, / quem penes arbitrium est et ius et norma loquendi. "Many terms will reemerge which have already gone by the wayside, and [many] will go by the wayside which are now in held in high regard, if usage wishes it, under whose power is judgment and law and the standard of speaking." In other words, usage governs taste, propriety and normative deployment of language.