The Nature of English Grammar, and its First Records

  • Basil Cottle


This book is written in the passionate belief that English grammar matters, and in the serene confidence that it is pretty easy. I shall try to exhibit the faded but real ‘inflexional’ system of English to a generation that is largely ignorant of its definitions though, for the most part, intuitively aware of its application. Our inflexional system is that inherited method by which we add a letter, or letters, to the end of a word (-s will spring to mind at once, and -ed and -en, and then the elaborate -ing) to modify its function — to make a noun possess, to make an adjective more so or most so, to make a verb past instead of present, to turn an adjective into an adverb by adding -ly. At once, I must add that terminations of this kind are merely the most obvious form of inflexion; but another method is the changing of the vowel of an irregular verb or noun — the kind of change seen in I drink, I drank, I have drunk and foot, feet —, and Welsh changes the beginnings of words as well.


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© Basil Cottle 1985

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  • Basil Cottle

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