thou, thee, and thine

Shakespeare >.<   Fri May 25, 2007 2:53 am GMT
What is this and "second person"???
Josh Lalonde   Fri May 25, 2007 3:20 am GMT
The second person refers to pronouns and verbs used when directly addressing someone. In modern English, 'you' and its forms are the only 2nd person pronouns and cover both singular and plural, but in Shakespeare's time, the singular 2nd person pronoun was 'thou'. 'Thee' was the form used for the object of a verb, while 'thine' was the possessive pronoun. 'Thy' was the possessive adjective. This system was also complicated by the fact that the plural forms were often used to address one person as a sign of respect, much as in French. Some examples:
"Thou givest" -> "You give"
"I give to thee" -> "I give to you"
"It is thine" -> "It is yours"
"It is thy book" -> "It is your book
Lilly   Fri May 25, 2007 6:29 pm GMT
Are these posh forms still used?

With this ring I thee wed?
Adam   Fri May 25, 2007 6:46 pm GMT
They are archaic now. They are usually used in the Bible, or anthems or special occasions..
Shakespeare   Fri May 25, 2007 10:19 pm GMT
Thou shalt stop using "you" as a singular pronoun. 'Tis wrong. Ye in this forum use such terrible English. Singular they is okay, however, as such was used even back in my time.
furrykef   Fri May 25, 2007 10:33 pm GMT
<< Are these posh forms still used?

With this ring I thee wed? >>

"With this ring I thee wed" is a fossil phrase, and it's probably still around only because weddings are so solemn, sacred, and formal, and the words used in the ceremony have been repeated many times throughout the ages, that people still say the same things that people said hundreds of years ago. Likewise, people may still use "thou" and "thee" when praying to God, because that's how many people learn the prayer and they don't feel like changing it.

The few times that "thou" shows up in today's English, it's always either one of these fossil phrases, a quote of some kind ("From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!"), or an alteration of a quote ("Thou shalt not impose thy religion on others" -- a humorous use of the "Thou shalt not..." formula found in the King James Version of the Ten Commandments).

- Kef