NGD Preparatory Academy, Vol. 4.

Time to talk participles! From the Practical: (As a side note, how often do you think this male-active/female-passive paired structure crops up in this text? Frequently! It can be a little infuriating.)

Finally -- finally! -- we get explicit confirmation that Noble Butler looks upon his grammar as an attempt to scientifically classify the words of the English language.

Note how he cites Bacon, even though Origin of Species had already done its bombshell work on scientific thinking at the time of Butler's publication. Butler is non-Darwinian in his approach to taxonomy. For instance, this sentence: "To allow words to dodge from one class to an other, is not only unphilosophical, but ridiculously absurd." Butler is trying to set down the rules for the proper behavior of English -- which, as we have seen, requires a thorough philosophy of the categorical differences between men and women, animals and plants, people and animals. This refusal of allowing words to migrate form -- as though the rules of language were all thought up at once in systematic fashion -- is the product of an insecure and tyrannical mind. Butler wants to control English as a language because then he can control the beings the words represent. Reality is to be subject to philosophy, and to the common sense of the educated white Victorian male. The idea that nouns could become verbs is as anathema as the idea that primates can become people.