454. The sentences given in Secs. 419 and 420 on the connecting of pronouns with different expressions may again be referred to here, as the use of the conjunction, as well as of the pronoun, should be scrutinized.
455. The most frequent mistakes in using conjunctions are in handling correlatives, especially both. .. and, neither. .. nor, either. .. or, not only. .. but, not merely. .. but(also).
The following examples illustrate the correct use of correlatives as to both choice of words and position:-
Whether at war or at peace, there we were, a standing menace to all earthly paradises of that kind. -Lowell.These idols of wood can neither hear nor feel. -Prescott.Both the common soldiery and their leaders and commanders lowered on each other as if their union had not been more essential than ever, not only to the success of their common cause, but to their own safety. -Scott.
In these examples it will be noticed that nor, not or is the proper correlative of neither; and that all correlatives in a sentence ought to have corresponding positions: that is, if the last precedes a verb, the first ought to be placed before a verb; if the second precedes a phrase, the first should also. This is necessary to make the sentence clear and symmetrical.
In the sentence, "I am neither in spirits to enjoy it, or to reply to it," both of the above requirements are violated. The word neither in such a case had better be changed tonot. .. either,-"I am not in spirits either to enjoy it, or to reply to it."
Besides neither ... or, even neither ... nor is often changed to not- either ... or with advantage, as the negation is sometimes too far from the verb to which it belongs.
A noun may be preceded by one of the correlatives, and an equivalent pronoun by the other. The sentence, "This loose and inaccurate manner of speaking has misled us bothin the theory of taste and of morals," may be changed to "This loose ... misled us bothin the theory of taste and in that of morals."
Correct the following sentences:-
1. An ordinary man would neither have incurred the danger of succoring Essex, nor the disgrace of assailing him. -Macaulay.2. Those ogres will stab about and kill not only strangers, but they will outrage, murder, and chop up their own kin. -Thackeray.3. In the course of his reading (which was neither pursued with that seriousness or that devout mind which such a study requires) the youth found himself, etc.- Id.4. I could neither bear walking nor riding in a carriage over its pebbled streets. -Franklin.5. Some exceptions, that can neither be dissembled nor eluded, render this mode of reasoning as indiscreet as it is superfluous. -Gibbon.6. They will, too, not merely interest children, but grown-up persons.-Westminster Review.7. I had even the satisfaction to see her lavish some kind looks upon my unfortunate son, which the other could neither extort by his fortune nor assiduity. -Goldsmith.8. This was done probably to show that he was neither ashamed of his name or family. -Addison.
456. Occasionally there is found the expression try and instead of the better authorizedtry to; as,-
We will try and avoid personalities altogether. -Thackeray.Did any of you ever try and read "Blackmore's Poems"?- Id.Try and avoid the pronoun. -Bain.We will try and get a clearer notion of them. -Ruskin.
457. Instead of the subordinate conjunction that, but, or but that, or the negative relative but, we sometimes find the bulky and needless but what. Now, it is possible to use but what when what is a relative pronoun, as, "He never had any money but whathe absolutely needed;" but in the following sentences what usurps the place of a conjunction.
In the following sentences, substitute that, but, or but that for the words but what:-
1. The doctor used to say 'twas her young heart, and I don't know but what he was right.- S. O. Jewett .2. At the first stroke of the pickax it is ten to one but what you are taken up for a trespass. -Bulwer.3. There are few persons of distinction but what can hold conversation in both languages. -Swift.4. Who knows but what there might be English among those sun-browned half-naked masses of panting wretches? -Kingsley.5. No little wound of the kind ever came to him but what he disclosed it at once. -Trollope.6. They are not so distant from the camp of Saladin but what they might be in a moment surprised. -Scott.