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Indefatigable as a writer and reformer on rural and political questions in his native Britain, William Cobbett (1763-1835) wrote the present work during the period he spent as a farmer in the United States. Intended for young people and especially 'soldiers, sailors, apprentices, and plough-boys' (Cobbett had himself been one of the latter), it provides concise and practical explanations of grammatical terms, touching on aspects of orthography, prosody, etymology and syntax. First published in December 1818 and used in English schools into the twentieth century, it is reissued here in the version printed in London in 1819. Cobbett demonstrates in a series of letters to his son the fundamental importance of good grammar and clarity of expression. To emphasise this point, he includes 'specimens of false grammar' in the writings of Samuel Johnson as well as 'errors and nonsense' in a speech given by George III.
A Grammar of the English Language, in a Series of Letters: Intended for the Use of Schools and of Young Persons in General; But, More Especially for the Use of Soldiers, Sailors, Apprentices, and Plou
Dedication; 1. Introduction; 2. Definition of grammar; 3. Parts of speech; 4. Etymology of articles; 5. Etymology of nouns; 6. Etymology of pronouns; 7. Etymology of adjectives; 8. Etymology of verbs; 9. Etymology of adverbs; 10. Etymology of prepositions; 11. Etymology of conjunctions; 12. Cautionary remarks; 13. Syntax generally considered; 14. Syntax; 15. Syntax, as relating to articles; 16. Syntax, as relating to pronouns; 17. Syntax, as relating to pronouns; 18. Syntax, as relating to adjectives; 19. Syntax, as relating to verbs; 20. Syntax, as relating to adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions; 21. Specimens of false grammar, taken from the writings of Dr Johnson and Dr Watts; 22. Errors and nonsense in a king's speech; 23. On putting sentences together, and on figurative language.