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ADVERBS After; again; all; almost

All (altogether) used adverbially:

“I will dispossess her all.

“For us to levy power is all unpossible.

In compounds all is freely thus used, "All-worthy lord;" "all-watched night;" "her all-disgraced friend," A. and C. iii. 12. 22. Sometimes it seems to mean "by all persons," as in "all-shunned." So, "this all-hating world," Rich. II. v. 5. 66, does not mean "hating all," but "hating (me) universally."

All used intensively was frequently prefixed to other adverbs of degree, as "so."

“What occasion of import
Hath all so long detain'd you from your wife?

The connection of all and "so" is perpetuated in the modern "also." Still more commonly is all prefixed to "too."

“In thy heart-blood, though being all too base
To stain the temper of my knightly sword.

“Our argument
Is all too heavy to admit much talk.

So Cymb. v. 5. 169; T. G. of V. iii. 1. 162; Sonn. 18, 61, 86; R. of L. 44, 1686.

There are two passages in Shakespeare where all-to requires explanation:

“It was not she that called him all to nought.

“The very principals (principal posts of the house) did seem to rend
And all to topple.

(1) In the first passage all-to is probably an intensive form of "to," which in Early English (see Too, below) had of itself an intensive meaning. Originally "to" belonged to the verb. Thus "to-breke" meant "break in pieces." When "all" was added, as in "all to-breke," it at first had no connection with "to," but intensified "to-breke." But "to" and "too" are written indifferently for one another by Elizabethan and earlier writers, and hence sprang a corrupt use of "all-to," caused probably by the frequent connection of all and too illustrated above. It means here "altogether."

(2) In the second passage some (a) connect "to-topple," believing that here and in M. W. of W. iv. 4. 57, "to-pinch," "to" is an intensive prefix, as in Early English. But neither of the two passages necessitates the supposition that Shakespeare used this archaism. (See M. W. of W. iv. 4. 5 below, To omitted and inserted, 350.) We can, therefore, either (b) write "all-to" (as in the Globe), and treat it as meaning "altogether," or (c) suppose that "all" means "quite," and that "to topple," like "to rend," depends upon "seem." This last is the more obvious and probable construction.1

From this use of "all too" or "all to," closely connected in the sense of "altogether," it was corruptly employed as an intensive prefix, more especially before verbs beginning with be-: "all-to-bequalify," B. J.; "all-to-bekist," ib.; and later, "he all-to be- Gullivers me," SWIFT; "all-to-be-traytor'd," NARES.

1 Or, adopting this construction, we may take all to mean "the whole house." "The principals did seem to rend, and the whole house to topple."

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