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RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION
PRACTICAL EXERCISES IN ENGLISH
ADAMS SHERMAN HILL
BOYLSTON PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC AND ORATORY
NEW YORK.:. CINCINNATI .:. CHICAGO
WHILE I have been at work on this book, I have had constantly in mind the needs of pupils in secondary schools who are learning to express themselves with the pen. Toward supplying these needs, little can, in my judgment, be contributed by treatises on the theory or the science of rhetoric, by cut-and-dried methods of instruction, or by diagrams, skeleton essays, or other mechanical devices. A young writer will not do so well when he is helped along a smooth and well-travelled highway of commonplace as when he is encouraged to strike out a path for himself.
The best teacher of English composition is he who stimulates his pupils to put their natural selves into all that they write. With this object in view, he will provide for them, or will tell them how to provide for themselves, subjects which are closely connected with their work or their play and in which they take a living interest; he will give them freedom in the treatment of their material; and he will help them to remove obstacles, small or great, that lie between what they think and what they write.
In the removal of obstacles between thought and expression, this book will, I hope, be of service; for it aims to show a young writer how to present what he has to say in the best English within his reach, and in a form adapted to his purpose.
The "Beginnings of Rhetoric and Composition" has many points of resemblance to "The Foundations of
Rhetoric," as those who are familiar with the earlier volume will not fail to perceive. Both books are intended to aid in a practical way those who are traversing the ground between elementary grammar and advanced rhetoric; both lay stress on correct rather than on incorrect forms, and on better rather than on worse modes of expression. The "Beginnings" is, however, notwithstanding the omission of the Introduction, the section entitled “Additional Examples," and the Appendix, which together fill more than sixty pages of the "Foundations," much larger than that book: it contains some new material, as, for instance, a chapter on punctuation and one on letterwriting; it dwells at greater length on important questions, as in the section "Shall or Will?"; it explains matters which in the "Foundations" had been left to the teacher, as distinctions between words that are often confounded with one another; and it contains exercises on every important point, -exercises so numerous as to satisfy the requirements of the most painstaking teacher, and so varied as to leave ample room for selection.
With Mr. H. G. Buehler's permission, I have taken from his book of exercises (published for use with my "Foundations of Rhetoric") whatever suited my purpose, including some examples drawn from his experience in the class-room, and some forms of exercises originated by him which enable teachers to drill their pupils in good English without harming them by bad.
For valuable assistance in various ways I am indebted to Miss E. A. Withey, Miss A. F. Rowe, and my colleagues Professor L. B. R. Briggs, Professor F. N. Robinson, Mr. Pierre la Rose, Mr. G. H. Maynadier, and Mr. Thomas Hall, Jr.
A. S. H.