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PARTICIPLES AND VERBALS: Participial verbal

The Verbal differs in Elizabethan usage from its modern use. (a) We do not employ the verbal as a noun followed by "of," unless the verbal be preceded by "the," or some other defining adjective. But such phrases as the following are of constant occurrence in Elizabethan English: “To disswade the people from making of league.” N. P. 170. “He was the onely cause of murdering of the poor Melians.” Ib. 171. “By winning only of Sicilia.” N. P. 171. “Enter Clorin the Shepherdess, sorting of herbs.” B. and F. F. Sh. ii. 1. i.e. "a-sorting, or in sorting of herbs."

For instances from Shakespeare, see 178 and 93.

b) On the other hand, when the verbal is constituted a noun by the dependence of "the," or any other adjective (except a possessive adjective) upon it, we cannot omit the of. The Elizabethans can.

“To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.

We should prefer now to omit the "thy" as well as "foul," though we have not rejected such phrases as “Upon his leaving our house.” Goldsmith.

For instances of "of" omitted when "the" precedes the verbal, see Article, 93. In this matter modern usage has recurred to E. E.

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