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NOTE 2. The meaning of a word is sometimes changed by changing the place of accent.

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The harmony of discourse depends very much upon accent; and however perfect the articulation may be, if the accent is misplaced, an unpleasant harshness is produced, which detracts from the beauty of expression. It is recommended to the pupil to make himself familiar with this subject, by carefully consulting those works in which it is critically treated, and by observing the usage of the best readers and speakers.






EMPHASIS is a forcible stress* of voice on some word or words in a sentence, to distinguish them from others.

Emphasis is ranked among the most important principles of elocution, and consequently should be most carefully observed. In many instances it directs and governs other principles of correct speaking, giving animation, strength, and power to delivery,

When words are emphatic, they are commonly printed in italics; if very emphatic, in CAPITALS.

* The power or energy with which words are uttered.

QUESTIONS. What syllables in the examples have the primary accent?

What the secondary, and how marked? What is Note Second? What does the noun sometimes become by changing the accent? What is emphasis? How does it rank in elocution 1 What is its influence? How are emphatic words usually printed?

NOTE 1. EMPHASIS frequently changes the meaning of a



1. Brutus hath told you that Cæsar was ambitious. 2. Brutus hath told you that Cæsar was ambitious. 3. Brutus hath told you that Cæsar was ambitious. 4. Brutus hath told you that Cæsar was ambitious.

It will be observed, that the meaning of the above sentence is changed whenever a change is made in the emphatic word. Thus : Brutus told you that Cæsar was ambitious; not some other man. Again: Brutus told you that Cæsar was ambitious; he did not tell


NOTE 2. The particles of a sentence are not usually emphatic, but are made so when they become peculiarly significant or important in sense; and when thus emphasized, the meaning of the sentence is frequently changed.


He determined to sail by New York to Boston.

With a strong emphasis on New York, the reader will readily see that the meaning is, he intended to stop there on his way to Boston. But with the emphasis on by, the meaning is entirely changed, and implies that he did not intend to touch at New York at all.

NOTE 3. EMPHASIS frequently changes the accent of words.


He must increase, but I must decrease.

There is a difference between giving and forgiving.

He that descended is the same also that ascended.

This corruptible must put on incorruption.
What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?

The subject of Emphasis has been considered by different authors under various divisions, viz., Absolute, Antithetic, Superior and Inferior, Single and Double Emphasis, and Emphatic Clause. As Superior and Inferior Emphasis are distinguished only by the degree of

QUESTIONS. What is Note First? Read the examples. What is Note Second? What is Note Third? Will you explain it by examples? Under what divisions has emphasis been considered by some authors? How are superior and inferior emphasis distinguished?

stress, the former being greater than the latter; and as Single and Double Emphasis refer only to the number of words which are opposed to each other in different clauses of a sentence, it is not thought that it would be of any practical importance to distinguish them in this elementary work.

It is therefore proposed to consider the subject under three heads: Absolute Emphasis, Antithetic Emphasis, and Emphatic Clause.

Absolute Emphasis.

ABSOLUTE EMPHASIS is that stress of voice which is placed upon some word or words, unconnected with contrast, or where the contrast is not expressed or plainly implied.

By some authors it is contended, that in all cases where words are emphatic there is contrast, either expressed or understood. By others, and much the larger number, it is maintained that there are many instances in which the emphatic force laid upon a word is absolute, in the most literal sense of the term, because the thought expressed by it is forcible in itself, without any aid from comparison

or contrast.

From this diversity of opinion, the extreme awkwardness, and, in many instances, great difficulty, of supplying the antithetic word or words, we shall explain this last class of words, together with those in which contrast is not expressed or obviously implied, under the head of absolute emphasis.

RULE 1. All words important in meaning, or peculiarly significant, or which express some incident, object, or subject of discourse, are generally emphatic.


True politeness is based upon sincerity; it flows from the heart; is equally fascinating in the cottage, the court, and the camp; and is capable of softening even an enemy.

The waters swept over the drowning wretches, and hushed their gurgling cry.

Wide and deep chasms also met the eye, both on the summit and

QUESTIONS. How are single and double emphasis distinguished? Under what three heads is emphasis considered in this work? What is absolute emphasis? What opin ion is maintained by some authors in regard to emphasis? What by others? What class of emphatic words is marked under the head of absolute emphasis? What is Rule First? How are the emphatic words represented in the examples ?

sides; and strongly impressed the imagination with the thought, that the hand of immeasurable power had rent asunder the solid rocks, and tumbled them into the subjacent valley.

The power of faith was the subject of the preacher's discourse. Temperance promotes clearness and vigor of intellect.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now approaching. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne.

RULE 2. Words used as exclamations and interjections, when attended with strong feeling or emotion, are generally emphatic.


Up! let us to the fields away!

AWAKE! ARISE! or be forever fallen!

'T is HORRIBLE! 't is HIDEOUS, as 't is HATEFUL!
But what have I to do with this?

Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thine hands clutched as many millions, in
Thy lying tongue both numbers; I would say
Thou LIEST unto thee, with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.

RULE 3. In the utterance of successive particulars, and words which are repeated, the emphasis generally increases with the repetition.


I may be rebuked; I may be persecuted; I may be impeached; nay, IMPRISONED, CONDEMNED, and put to the RACK; yet NOTHING shall tear me from my firm hold on virtue.

Oh! save me, Hubert, SAVE me! my eyes are out,
Even with the fierce LOOKS of these bloody men!

Woe! WOE! to the riders that trample them down.

QUESTIONS. What is Rule Second? How are the words which are very emphatic represented in the examples? What is Rule Third?

For HEAVEN's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!

While a single foreign troop remained on my native shore, I would never lay down my arms. Never, NEVER, NEVER.

Antithetic Emphasis.

ANTITHETIC EMPHASIS is the stress of voice placed upon words and sentences when in contrast.

This emphasis, in some instances, appears to result more from the antithetic relation of the words to each other than from any very prominent importance attached to their meaning.

RULE 4. Two or more words opposed to each other in meaning are emphatic by contrast.


We ask advice, but we mean approbation.

He that cannot bear a jest should not make one.

We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

I fear not death, and shall I, then, fear thee?

Justice appropriates rewards to merit, and punishment to crime.

Business sweetens pleasure, as labor sweetens rest.

'T is with our judgments as our watches; none

Go just alike, yet each believes his own.

Many persons mistake the love for the practice of virtue.

A friend exaggerates a man's virtues; an enemy his crimes.

The Egyptians are men, and not gods; their horses are flesh, and not spirit.

The wise man is happy when he gains his own approbation; the fool when he gains that of others.

If his principles are false, no apology from himself can make them right; if founded in truth, no censure from others can make them


Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong, without rage; without o'erflowing, full.

Emphatic Clause.

EMPHATIC CLAUSE signifies that several words in succession are emphatic, forming a clause or phrase.

QUESTIONS. What is antithetic emphasis? What is the rule? What is emphatic clause ?

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