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CHAPTER IV.

OF Moods.—THE SUBJUNCTIVE.-CONDI

TIONAL.

The manner in which a state, or action is enunciated is called the MODE or Mood of the Verb. Thus, a simple affirmation is termed the Indicative Moon, and a dependent one is the SubJUNCTIVE. If it is in the form of a command, it is the IMPERATIVE;-if expressed as a wish, it is the OPTATIVE. The verb itself,—the mere name of the state, or act, is the INFINITIVE MOOD, which we have already examined. It is, however, only when any mode of expression is represented by a change in the orthography of the verb that it has properly, in a grammatical sense, the name of Mood, otherwise the Moods, would be as numerous as the passions of the mind. The mood of the speaker's thought is, generally, better indicated by tone and gesture than by any means that written characters can convey.

The Indicative Mood is common to all languages. The Latin has the Subjunctive and Imperative, and the Greek, in addition, has an Optative Mood. The French, Spanish, German, and, we believe, most modern languages, have

also a Subjunctive Mood, under which form other modes of expression are arranged; but the English Verb has no changes of orthography different from the few formerly mentioned; and all the modifications of mind are left to be expressed by the auxiliaries can, could, may, might, &c. already explained, Nevertheless, although the principal verb remains unaltered, there are certain arrangements of these auxiliaries which have rendered it a matter of doubt, in attending to the practice of our best writers, whether or not the English tongue possesses a Subjunctive Mood. To have an unsettled Syntax is derogatory to the character of a language; and, as our grammarians have hitherto failed to produce uniformity on this subject, we cannot pass it over without particular notice.

A subjunctive (or subjoined) clause, is the part of a sentence which is dependent on what either precedes, or follows, it. Thus: “I did these things, that he might understand

me.I have written him a letter, lest he should

forget." The clauses in these sentences might be reversed: “That he might understand me, I did these

things."

“Lest he should forget, I have written him a

letter.” But, however they may be arranged, the verbs to understand and to forget would, in some languages, have a different termination from what they have in the Indicative, or independent, state; and such termination would incorporate (though imperfectly) the meanings which we have here expressed by the separate words might and should. We say imperfectly, because the Subjunctive affix only denotes dependency in general,—the shades of which are distinguished by means of the auxiliaries might, should, would, and could.

The Subjunctive Future, of English grammarians, refers solely to contingencies; for it declares that a state, or action, will follow, provided another, which is also named, shall take place. Thus:

“ I shall be glad to see him, if he will call

upon me.”

The latter member of this sentence is said to be in the Subjunctive, or CONDITIONAL Mood, because it is on this subjoined condition that the prediction “I shall be glad to see him” depends. It is not, however, necessary that the condition should be literally subjoined; for it may precede, in the present example, with equal propriety, as: “ If he will call upon me, I shall be glad to In languages that have a regular change of termination of the verb, in the several tenses and persons of this mood, words corresponding with will call have, as before-mentioned, another form, whereas this does not differ from the Indicative “ You will call;" but it is a general practice in English to dismiss the Auxiliary from the Subjunctive Verb, leaving the Infinitive only. Thus: “ If he call upon me, I shall be glad to see

see him.”

him.” Where no doubt is implied, the Subjunctive form is laid aside, aud the sentence is put in the Indicative, as simple declaratory. As:

“ When he calls on me, I shall be glad to see

him.” It is here taken for granted that he is to call; and it is at the when, or time, at which he calls that “ I shall be glad to see him.” Again:

“When the sky falls we shall catch larks,” is in the Indicative Mood, and in the present tense; for we transport ourselves, in imagination, to a future period, when the falling of the sky and the catching of the larks will be present and simultaneous actions: but were we to consider the event of this supposed phenomenon to be uncertain the sentence would be Subjunctive.

As:

“ If the sky fall we shall catch larks.” In this case there are two futures: the first

being uncertain, the Infinitive, to fall, is written without any preceding auxiliary,--but the latter, though provisional, is a direct assertion, and is, therefore, put in the Indicative, “We shall catch."

“ Whether he run east or west he will certainly be overtaken.” That is, “ Though he run east he will be overtaken” and “ Though he run west he will be overtaken.” The direction in which he will run is uncertain, and has, on that account, the Subjunctive form, the Infinitive run not being preceded by any other verb. This elision of the auxiliary is not however necessary. be inserted if we choose, and the only reason why it is not always so (and it is the case with every elision) is that the idea can be equally well understood without it. The following are examples in both ways:

It may

If, in some future year, the foe shall land

His hostile legions on Britannia's strand,
May she not, then, the alarum sound in vain,
Nor miss her banish'd thousands from the plain."

Hon. H. Erskine.

6. Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call;

She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all.
But, if the purchase cost so dear a price
As soothing Folly, or exalting Vice;

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