The advantages of a systematic study of our own language are now so generally understood that it will hardly require an apology for any attempt to promote and facilitate research in this direction. By offering my Grammar to the kind consideration of the public, I intend above all to offer the student of English a guide which may lead him through its different stages of development, and show how it arrived at its present grammatical structure. Thus then my volume may be used as an Historical Grammar of the English language.
In order to gain a clear insight into the development of the English, or any other idiom, it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to the historical course of its sister dialects, as the German, the Dutch, the Danish - to compare the different phenomena they present, and thus to arrive at the laws which directed the growth of each. I have therefore placed the Teutonic languages in their different phases of development side by side, so that they may be studied in the relation they bear to one another and to the English language in particular; and I hope I have given all the necessary data for the study of Comparative Grammar.