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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

The combination in other words is subdisjunctive


The

most important point connected with the powers of _that_ is the so-called _succession of tenses_.

s. 513. _The succession of tenses._--Whenever the conjunction _that_ expresses intention, and consequently connects two verbs, the second of which takes place _after_ the first, the verbs in question must be in the same tense.

I _do_ this _that_ I _may_ gain by it I _did_ this _that_ I _might_ gain by it.

In the Greek language this is expressed by a difference of mood; the subjunctive being the construction equivalent to _may_, the optative to _might_. The Latin idiom coincides with the English.

A little consideration will show that this rule is absolute. For a man _to be doing_ one action (in present time) in order that some other action may _follow_ it (in past time) is to reverse the order of cause and effect. To do anything in A.D. 1851, that something may result from it in 1850 is a contradiction; and so it is to say _I _do_ this_ that _I _might_ gain by it_.

The reasons against the converse construction are nearly, if not equally cogent. To have done anything at any _previous_ time in order that a _present_ effect may follow, is, _ipso facto_, to convert a past act into a present one, or, to speak in the language of the grammarian, to convert an aorist into a perfect. To say _I _did_ this_ that _I may

gain by it_, is to make, by the very effect of the expression, either _may_ equivalent to _might_, or _did_ equivalent to _have done_.

_I _did_ this_ that _I _might_ gain_. _I _have done_ this_ that _I _may_ gain_.

s. 514. _Disjunctives._--Disjunctives (_or_, _nor_) are of two sorts, real and nominal.

_A king or queen always rules in England_. Here the disjunction is real; _king_ or _queen_ being different names for different objects. In all _real_ disjunctions the inference is, that if one out of two (or more) individuals (or classes) do not perform a certain action, the other does.

_A sovereign or supreme ruler always rules in England_. Here the disjunction is nominal; _sovereign_ and _supreme governor_ being different names for the same object. In all nominal disjunctives the inference is, that if an agent (or agents) do not perform a certain action under one name, he does (or they do) it under another.

Nominal disjunctives are called by Harris _sub_disjunctives.

In the English language there is no separate word to distinguish the nominal from the real disjunctive. In Latin, _vel_ is considered by Harris to be disjunctive, _sive_ subdisjunctive. As a periphrasis, the combination _in other words_ is subdisjunctive.

Both nominal and real disjunctives agree in this,--whatever may be the number of nouns which they connect, the construction of the verb is the same as if there were but one--Henry, _or_ John, _or_ Thomas, _walks_ (not _walk_); the sun, _or_ solar luminary, _shines_ (not _shine_). The disjunctive _isolates_ the subject, however much it may be placed in juxtaposition with other nouns.

* * * * *

CHAPTER XXVII.

THE SYNTAX OF THE NEGATIVE.

s. 515. When the verb is in the infinitive mood, the negative precedes it.--_Not to advance is to retreat_.

When the verb is not in the infinitive mood, the negative follows it.--_He advanced not_. _I cannot_.

This rule is absolute. It only _seems_ to precede the verb in such expressions as _I do not advance_, _I cannot advance_, _I have not advanced_, &c. However, the words _do_, _can_, and _have_, are no infinitives; and it consequently follows them. The word _advance_ is an infinitive, and it consequently precedes it. Wallis's rule makes an equivalent statement, although differently. "Adverbium negandi _not_ (non) verbo postponitur (nempe auxiliari primo si adsit; aut si non adsit auxiliare, verbo principali): aliis tamen orationis partibus praefigi solet."--P. 113.


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