Pronouns and Verbs
© 20 Jun 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Proper usage of “‍Thee‍”s and “‍Thou‍”s.


On Friday I mentioned my preference for the archaic second-person pronouns. Today I thought I’d explain them for the under-initiated.

Pronouns consider person, plurality, and part of speech. An example of part of speech is “‍he had his hopes for him‍”; rather than label each of the “‍he‍”, “‍his‍”, and “‍him‍” I’m not confident I know the correct labels myself… my knowledge is a practical (and limited) rather than theoretical. I’ll simply use this example sentence for every case. The verb also changes to match person and plurality, as well as tense.

We have present-tense singular:

I have my hopes for me
thou hast thy hopes for thee
it hath its hopes for it
she hath her hopes for her
he hath his hopes for him

Present-tense plural:

we have our hopes for us
ye have your hopes for you
they have their hopes for them

Past-tense singular:

I had my hopes for me
thou hadst thy hopes for thee
it had its hopes for it

And past-tense plural:
we had our hopes for us
ye had your hopes for you
they had their hopes for them

For the most part, the other tenses (future, progressive, participles, etc.) are still used correctly today.

As for verbs other than “‍have‍”, I frankly don’t know consciously what exceptions or rules there may be. It seems from surveying a random set of verbs in my head that the for the general case you add “‍t‍”, “‍st‍”, or “‍est‍” to the end of verbs used with second-person subjects: “‍thou runest‍”, though I’m not always clear on details (past tense second for “‍run‍”: is it “‍ranest‍”, “‍ran‍”, other?).

That is the problem with archaic usage. Limited exposure means it is hard to know the corner cases.

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