History of England
History of England

Writing and Printing.

Before I begin to lay down rules for reading, it will be necessary to take notice of the several points or marks used in printing or writing, for resting or stopping the voice, which are four in number, called
1. The Comma    (,) 
3. Colon      (:)         
2. Semicolon       (;) 4. Period     (.)

These points are to give a proper time for breathing when you read, and to prevent confusion of sense in joining words together in a sentence. The Comma stops the reader's voice till he can tell one, and divides the lesser parts of a sentence.  The Semicolon divides the greater parts of a sentence, and requires the


reader to pause while he can count two.  The Colon is used where the sense is complete, and not the sentence, and rests the voice of the reader till he can count three.   The Period is put when the sentence is ended, and requires a pause while he can tell four.

But we must here remark, that the Colon and Semicolon are frequently used promiscuously, especially in our bibles.

There are two other points, which may be called marks of affection; the one of which is termed an Interrogation, which signifies a question being asked, and expressed thus (?); the other called an Admiration or Exclamation, and marked thus (!).  These two points require a pause as long as a period.

We have twelve other marks to be met with in reading, namely,

1. Apostrophe  (’)             
7. Section       (§  )             
2. Hyphen        (-)
8. Ellipsis        (―)
3. Parenthesis   ( )
9. Index          (☞)
4. Brackets      [  ]
10. Asterisk     (*)
5. Paragraph    (¶ )
11. Obelisk      (†)
6. Quotation     (“)
12. Caret         (^)

Apostrophe is set over a word where some letter is wanting, as in lov'dHyphen joins syllables and words together, as in pan-cakeParenthesis includes something not necessary to the sense, as, I know that in me (that is in my flesh) liveth, &c.   Brackets include a word or words mentioned as a matter of discourse,


as, The little word [man] makes a great noise, &c.  They are also used to enclose a cited sentence, or what is to be explained, and sometimes the explanation itself.  Brackets and Parenthesis are often used for each other without distinction.  Paragraph is chiefly used in the bible, and denotes the beginning of a new subject.  Quotation is used to distinguish what is taken from an author in his own words.  Section shews the division of a chapter.  Ellipsis is used when part of a word or sentence is omitted, as p―ce.  Index denotes some remarkable passage.  Asterisk refers to some note in the margin, or remarks at the bottom of the page;  and when many stand together, thus ***, they imply that something is wanting, or not fit to be read, in the author.  The Obelisk or Dagger, and also parallel lines marked thus (||), refer to something in the margin.  The Caret, marked thus (^), is made use of in writing, when any line or word is left out, and wrote over where it is to come in, as thus,
A certain man two sons:

Here the word had was left out, wrote over, and marked by the Caret where to come in.

It may also in this place be proper to mention the crooked lines or Braces, which couple two or three words or lines together that tend to the same thing; for instance,


                                                       braces example
This is often used in poetry, where three lines have the same rhyme.

The other marks relate to single words, as Dialysis or Diæresis, placed over vowels to shew they must be pronounced in distinct syllables, as Raphaël.  The Circumflex is set over a vowel to carry a long sound, as Euphrâtes.  An Accent is marked thus (á), to shew where the emphasis must be placed, as negléct;  or to shew that the consonant following must be pronounced double, as hómage.  To these may be added the long ( ¯) and short ( ˘) marks, which denote the quantity of syllables, as wātĕr.


When you have gained a perfect knowledge of the sounds of the letters, never guess at a word on sight, lest you get a habit of reading falsely.  Pronounce every word distinctly.  Let the tone of your voice be the same in reading as in speaking.  Never read in a hurry, lest you learn to stammer.  Read no louder than to be heard by those about you.  Observe to make your pauses  regular, and make not any where the sense will admit of none.   Suit your voice to the subject.  Be attentive to those who read well, and remember to imitate their pronun-


ciation.  Read often before good judges, and thank them for correcting you.  Consider well the place of emphasis, and pronounce it accordingly:  For the stress of voice is the same with regard to sentences as in words.  The emphasis or force of voice is for the most part laid upon the accented syllable; but if there is a particular opposition between two words in a sentence, one whereof differs from the other in parts, the accent must be removed from its place:  for instance, The sun shines upon the just and upon the unjust.  Here the emphasis is laid upon the first syllable in unjust, because it is opposed to just in the same sentence, without which opposition it would lie in its proper place, that is, on the last syllable, as we must not imitate the unjust practices of others.

The general rule for knowing which is the emphatical word in a sentence, is, to consider the design of the whole; for particular directions cannot be easily given, excepting only where words evidently oppose one another in a sentence, and those are always emphatical.  So frequently is the word that asks a question, as, who, what, when, &c. but not always.  Nor must the emphasis be always laid upon the same words in the same sentence, but varied according to the principal meaning of the speaker.  Thus, suppose I enquire, Did my father walk abroad yesterday?  If I lay the emphasis on the word father, it is evident I


want to know whether it was he, or somebody else.   If I lay it upon walk, the person I speak to will know, that I want to be informed whether he went on foot or rode on horseback.   If I put the emphasis upon yesterday, it denotes, that I am satisfied that my father went abroad, and on foot, though I want to be informed whether it was yesterday, or some time before.


There are two ways of writing on a subject, namely, in prose and verseProse is the common way of writing, without being confined to a certain number of syllables, or having the trouble of disposing of the words in any particular form.  Verse requires words to be ranged so, as the accents may naturally fall on particular syllables, and make a sort of harmony to the ear:  This is termed metre or measure, to which rhyme is generally added, that is, to make two or more verses, near to each other, and with the same sound; but this practice is not absolutely necessary; for that which has no rhyme is called blank verse.

In metre the words must be so disposed, as that the accent may fall on every second, fourth, and sixth syllable, and also on the eighth, tenth, and twelfth, if the lines run to that length.  The following verse of ten syllables may serve for an example:


The mónarch spóke, and stráit a múrmur róse.

But English poetry allows of frequent variations from this rule, especially in the first and second syllables in the line, as in the verse which rhymes with the former, where the accent is laid upon the first syllable.

Lóud as the súrges, whén the témpest blóws.

But there are two sorts of metre, which vary from this rule; one of which is when the verse contains but seven syllables, and the accent lies upon the first, third, fifth, and seventh, as below:

                                                           Cóuld we, whích we néver cán,
                                                           Strétch our líves beyónd their spán;
                                                           Beáuty líke a shádow flíes,
                                                           Ánd our yóuth befóre us díes.

The other sort has a hasty sound, and requires an accent upon every third syllable; as,

           'Tis the vóice of the slúggard, I heár him compláin,
           You have wák'd me too soón, I must slúmber agáin.

You must always observe to pronounce a verse as you do prose, giving each word and syllable its natural accent, with these two restrictions:  First, If there is no point at the end of the line, make a short pause before you begin the next.  Secondly, If any word in a


line has two sounds, give it that which agrees best with the rhyme and metre; for example the word glittering must sometimes be pronounced as of three syllables, and sometimes glitt'ring, as of two.

The USE of CAPITALS, and the different LETTERS used in PRINTING.

The names of the letters made use of in printed books are distinguished thus:  The round, full, and upright, are called Roman;  the long, leaning, narrow letters are called Italic; and the ancient black character is called English.  You have a specimen as follows, viz.

The Old English is seldom used but in acts of parliament, proclamations, &c.  The Roman is chiefly in vogue for books and pamphlets, intermixed with Italic, to distinguish proper names, chapters, arguments, words in any foreign language, texts of scripture, citations from authors, speeches or sayings of any person, emphatical words, and whatever is strongly significant.

The use of capitals, or great letters, is to begin every name of the Supreme Being, as


God, Lord, Almighty, Father, Son, &c.  All proper names of men and things, titles of distinction, as King, Duke, Lord, Knight, &c. must also begin with a capital.  So ought every book, chapter, verse, paragraph, and sentence after a period.  A saying, or quotation from any author, should begin with a capital; as ought every line in a poem.  I and O, when they stand single, must always be capitals; any words, particularly names or substantives, may begin with a capital; but the common way of beginning every substantive with a capital is not commendable, and is now much disused. 

Capitals are likewise often used for ornament, as in the title of books; and also to express numbers, and abbreviations.

History of England
History of England
A Museum for Young Gentlemen and Ladies - late 1790s