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EMPHASIS is that expressive force of utterance, applied to certain significant words, by which they are distinguished from others in a sentence.

Ordinary emphasis may be considered as an extension of accent; and, as such, is most commonly produced by pronouncing the accented syllable with such additional loudness and quantity of voice as to give the whole word a peculiar and marked distinction.

Sometimes, however, it may be noted with the greatest effect by a low or whispered utterance.

Emphatic words are usually denoted in type by italic letters; those more emphatic by SMALL CAPITALS; those more emphatic by LARGE CAPITALS, &c.

Emphasis is termed absolute, when it gives expressive force to a thought or feeling, solely or singly considered; relative, when applied to words in contrast; and cumulative, when the force of utterance is accumulated on several successive words; and when these words form an entire clause, it is called an emphatic phrase.

Upon the right management of emphasis depends, in a great degree, the life and beauty of reading and speaking. If it be entirely omitted, discourse is not only uninteresting and dead, but obscure in its meaning. But when rightly used, every idea stands out in its proper relief, and thus produces a suitable impression upon the mind of the hearer.

The most common errors in emphasis are,

1. Want of force. This defect, which never fails to produce a disagreeable monotony, may be easily remedied by distinctness and


2. Too much force. The effect of this, especially when the stress is all laid upon one word, is to leave little or no power of giving a just force to other words, which, though not equally, are in a certain degree emphatic.

3. Placing stress upon too many words. This fault tends to destroy all regard for emphasis. For if it be much multiplied, it amounts to little less than no such distinction of words.


1. Every word or phrase expressive of any new or important idea in discourse, requires to be marked by some emphasis.

2. Interjections, and all exclamatory words, are generally strongly emphatic.

3. All correspondent and antithetic words, and such as mark discrimination of ideas, are emphatic.

What is emphasis? How may ordinary emphasis be considered? How are emphatic words denoted? When is emphasis termed absolute? When relative? When cumulative? Mention some of the most common errors in emphasis. What is rule first? Rule second? Rule third?

4. Repetition of words and phrases, and any succession of particulars, generally require force of utterance increasing with the repetition or emphasis of the cumulative kind.


1. New or Important Ideas.

The whole summit of the hill, which commanded the city, blazed like a volcano.

Not a breeze whispered, not a bird flapped its wings.

The horrors of war were the burden of his song. Christianity bears all the marks of a divine original.

2. Interjections and Exclamations.

OH! SACRED TRUTH! thy triumph ceased a while.

How dear to this heart are the scenes of

O CALEDONIA! stern and wild,

Meet nurse for a poetic child.



SWEET TEVIOT! on thy silver tide

The glaring bale-fires blaze no more.

O FOOLS! and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written concerning me!


3. Antithesis and Contrast.

This is the main point, not universal progress, but human progress not progress everywhere, but progress somewhere. Crafty men contemn studies; simple men admire them. Contemporaries appreciate the man, rather than the merit; but posterity will regard the merit, rather than the man.

We are not to inquire into the justice or injustice, the * honor or dishonor,* of the deed; nor whether it was lawful or unlawful,* wise or unwise.*

4. Cumulative Emphasis.

It is pleasant to grow better, because that is to excel ourselves; it is pleasant to subdue sins, because that is VICTORY; it is pleasant to govern our appetites and passions, because that is EMPIRE.

He prayed but for life—for life he would have given all he

What is rule fourth? Show the application of the rules by the illustrations. What is meant by antithesis? What by contrast?

* Emphasis often changes the seat of the accent.

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had in the world; it was but for LIFE he asked-LIFE, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations.

My first argument for the adoption of this measure is, the people demand it. My second argument is, THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT. My third argument is, THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT.


To any suspension of the voice in discourse, longer than a momentary rest, the term pause is applied.

The pauses required in order clearly to display the sentiment and thought are called rhetorical, to distinguish them from the grammatical points, which relate simply to the grammatical construction of words and sentences.

The pauses peculiar to poetry, and designed to increase the beauty and melody of verse, are termed harmonic. These are usually considered as two; the one being called the casural, and the other the final harmonic pause.

The punctuation marks denote only incidentally the places of either the rhetorical or harmonic rests of the voice; being together by much the most numerous, while the former, especially the comma, occurs sometimes where there should be no pause in reading or speaking. Nor can the length of any required stop be inferred with much certainty from the common stop mark used. At the same stop mark in different situations, though in near connection, the intervals of rest may materially vary.

The length of pauses is not fixed and invariable, and so cannot be brought under precise rules. There are, however, a few general principles which may be safely observed as far as they have appli


1. One is, that pause should be proportioned to the rate of utterthe intervals of rest being comparatively long when the rate is slow, and short when it is quick.


2. Another is, that the relative length of pause must be modified by the degree of connection in the thought, and by the completeness of the sense. Thus the pause at the end of a sentence must usually be two or three times longer than those separating its parts; and that at the end of a paragraph, several times longer than those between its sentences. So, also, the closer the connection of sense between clauses, sentences, or paragraphs, the shorter comparatively must be their intervening pauses.

3. A third principle is, that a pause may be lengthened in proportion to the degree of emphasis which may happen to accompany it.

What is meant by pause? Which are rhetorical pauses? To what do the grammatical points relate? Name the pauses peculiar to poetry. Can the length of a pause be told by the stop mark? Is there any fixed length for pauses? To what should the length of pauses be proportioned? By what


1. A pause is required after the nominative case, when it consists of more than one word, or is emphatic.

2. An adjective, placed after its noun, should be separated from it by a short pause.

3. Before the relative pronouns, who, which, that and what, a pause is generally necessary.

4. There should be a pause before a verb in the infinitive mode, depending upon another verb.

5. Before conjunctions, prepositions, or adverbs of time and similitude, a pause is usually required.

6. Before and after an intervening phrase, there should be a short pause.

7. A pause is required between the parts of a sentence which may be transposed.

8. After words placed in opposition to each other, there should be a pause.

9. A slight pause should mark an ellipsis, or an omission of a word.

10. A long pause may be made before or after a word or clause expressive of intense feeling or solemn emotion.

11. The casural pause occurs at or near the middle, and the final pause at the end, of a poetic line.


1. The Nominative Long or Emphatic.

A remarkable affair | happened yesterday.
To be devoid of sense | is a terrible misfortune.
Industry is the guardian of innocence.

2. Adjective after its Noun.

He was a man contented, virtuous, and happy.
I behold its summit | noble and sublime.

3. Relative Pronouns.

Let us look forward to the end of that century | which has commenced.

Spirit that breathest through my lattice, thou |

That cool'st the twilight of the sultry day.

His natural instinct discovers | what knowledge can perform.

What is rule first? Rule second? fifth? Rule sixth? Rule seventh? tenth? Rule eleventh ?

Rule third? Rule fourth? Rule Rule eighth ? Rule ninth? Rule



There is not a great author here | who did not write for us; not a man of science | who did not investigate for us. We have received advantages from every hour of toil | that ever made these good and great men weary.

4. Verb in the Infinitive.

He daily strove | to elevate their condition.

Do not dare to lay your hands on the constitution.

I had hoped to have had an opportunity of obliging so good a friend.

5. A Conjunction, Preposition, or Adverb.

I have watched their pastimes | and their labors.
We must not yield | to their foolish entreaties.
He continued steadfast | like the spring-time.

6. Intervening Phrase.

He exhibits now and then | remarkable genius.
Trials in this state of being | are the lot of man.
Talents without industry | cannot accomplish much.
7. Transposition of Phrases.

With famine and death | the destroying angel came.
To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied.
The pangs of memory are | to madness wrought.

8. Words in Opposition.

The morn was bright, but the eve | was clouded and dark.

Some place the bliss in action, some in ease;
Those call it pleasure, and contentment | these.

9. An Ellipsis.

Their palaces were houses not made with hands; their diadems crowns of glory.

To our faith we should add virtue; and to virtue | knowledge; and to knowledge | temperance; and to temperance | patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness | brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness | charity.

10. Word or Clause.

BANISHED from Rome! What 's banished, but set free? And their young voices rose | A VENGEANCE CRY TO GOD! And made me a poor orphan boy.

What is meant by an intervening phrase? What by transposition of

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