Modern English was used from the late 15th century to the mid to late 17th century.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
33 views

What is the grammatical designation of “that” in “…that she may have…”?

The following sentence is the Modern English translation of a line from the Old English poem Judith: He (God) advanced a gracious favour to her, that she may have a steadfast faith. My question ...
6
votes
3answers
864 views

Recent grammar additions

A lot of questions have been dedicated to how evolution of English got many constructs of the old either fall out of use, merge, or evolve into different forms but still with 1:1 relation to original. ...
2
votes
3answers
531 views

What does the word 'Joll' mean in 18th century English?

What does joll mean in the following sentence? ... give him the upper or right hand, and walk not just even with him cheek be joll, but a little behind him, yet not so distant as that it shall be ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

Is English considered easier to learn than most of the other languages in the world? [closed]

In comparison to the other languages, I think English is much more simpler. For example, compared to French, English nouns have no gender, adjectives have only one form and verbs have extremely simple ...
1
vote
0answers
102 views

Early Modern English second person present tense when verb ends with st

In EModE you normally would add -st or -est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end in -st or -est? ...
13
votes
2answers
773 views

“I must to England” in Hamlet: What does “must” mean without an infinitive?

What did "must" mean when used as a non-modal verb (sorry, I don't know the technical term) in Early Modern English? For example: I must to England; you know that? (Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV) ...
3
votes
3answers
156 views

Where can I find a modern English version of King James’s “Counterblaste to Tobacco”?

I find A Counterblaste to Tobacco by James I very interesting. Many people are under the impression that anti-tobacco sentiment began in the last century, and this document pretty thoroughly refutes ...
6
votes
3answers
436 views

Explanation of a sentence in “Adam lay ybounden”

In the carol "Adam lay ybounden", there's a line that goes: As clerkes finden, written in their book Is "finden" the infinitive form of "find"? I thought it should be "found" or maybe "would ...
24
votes
5answers
16k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
3
votes
5answers
99 views

No direct object in 'give thee faithfully to follow' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington)

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington If the Lord would show thee but this one thing, -- that to use "thee" and "thou" to a particular person is proper ...
2
votes
4answers
235 views

What would be the modern equivalent for “a curtain lecture”?

I chanced on this expression while reading a book by David Crystal. In a chapter dedicated to words that have disappeared from the English language, he mentions this gem in Samuel Johnson's ...
2
votes
2answers
33 views

What's the subject of 'mind not so much to know' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington) [duplicate]

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington The Lord so guide thee, manifest himself to thee, help thee, and lead thee by his Holy Spirit and power, as that thou ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

What is the early modern equivalent of ' I think ' [closed]

Would the term 'I think' be used in this era? I'm looking at translation for a piece of art, I'm wanting to translate flippant/meaningless language from today (things people say drunk, tweets etc.) ...
-1
votes
1answer
924 views

Differences between servant, maid, page, and attendant [closed]

In an airplane, the lady attending you is known as the attendant, besides sometimes being called a stewardess or air hostess. What does she do? Just serve you. Then what is that my maid does? ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Figurative meaning of 'suit' - 1615 UK?

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
4
votes
4answers
303 views

Why did the KJV use “thou” toward God?

The word "thou" (and similar variations of the Latin tu in other languages) was used between people for informal speech, and talking to people of lower standing. So why did people use it (most ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

What does Abigail Adams mean by 'Score of misfortune' (1778 November, US)?

Original Source. Google Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a Heart too ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Grammaticality - 'what care I then for the Ridicule' (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Google Source: p 169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] In vain do I strive to through of [throw off] in the company of my ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Which does 'your affection in the least diminished by…' mean? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] 1 cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this perticular as I have ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Why did Abigail Adams write 'all' twice? (1778 November, US)

Original Source. Source: pp 168-169, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I will not finish the sentence, my Heart denies the justice of the ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

When did Indo-European descendants stop speaking Old English? What were the influencing factors in the shift from Old English to Modern English? [closed]

There is Old English, and there is the English we speak now. When did exactly did the British (or Americans) change from speaking Old English to speaking the current form of English?
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Archaic meaning of 'procure' - 1615 UK

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
4
votes
3answers
24k views

Does “'tis” means “this is” or “it is”?

I have found much trouble identifying the old word 'tis. Does it mean "this is" or "it is?" I have done some research and found that the dictionaries conflict. One said 'tis :An old English word ...
48
votes
3answers
2k views

What animal is a “weefil”?

What animal is depicted in this image labelled “weefil”?
2
votes
3answers
289 views

What is the grammatical construction in “Be but sworn”?

I have found several questions asking for the meaning, but the thing that troubles me here is the grammar actually and i haven't found anything on that. In Shakespeare's sentence "Deny thy father ...
8
votes
2answers
143 views

Odd possessive form of a proper name: Why does Dryden write “Lord Nonsuch his” instead of “Lord Nonsuch’s” but “Bibber’s” instead of “Bibber his”?

While researching a question posed on EL&U, I came across this list of the characters in John Dryden’s The Wild Gallant (1663), from a 1735 collection of Dryden’s works: DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ...
11
votes
3answers
492 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
-3
votes
1answer
140 views

Are the following old English examples grammatically correct? [closed]

I have a question about two sentences I use. I would like to know if they are grammatically correct. I'm not particularly interested in hearing that they are old fashioned, out of date, or awkard. ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and 20thC 'conscription'?

In Patrick O'Brians epic Albury-Maturin series, they describe the men on the ship as being "pressed from their chosen profession". My question is: Is there a difference between 18thC 'pressing' and ...
4
votes
3answers
107 views

News lacks plural but what about TIDINGS?

News is used only in the singular (being one of the uncountable nouns). There is an old-fashioned word meaning pretty much the same - tidings, so my question is: Is this expression used only in ...
0
votes
2answers
148 views

Etymology of “Sort”

Did the English word sort originate from the French word sort? e.g., sortie. Whereas, in French its meaning derives to out, exit, going out. How did it end up in English to mean category, ...
6
votes
1answer
156 views

Help with older English couplet

I was translating a text, but then the author quoted an old poem by an author named John Ball. I have seen it written in two different forms: "Be war or ye be wo; Knoweth your frend from your foo" ...
5
votes
2answers
584 views

English Typography in the 17th Century

I was browsing through some very old English texts when I came across this page from The memoires of Sir James Melvil of Hal-hill, by George Scot (1683). The first thing that struck me was the anatomy ...
0
votes
0answers
57 views

1610 Meaning of 'occasion'

Source: Journals of the House of Lords (1610) That whereas the House of Commons have already, among their Grievances, preferred a Petition to His Majesty, as of Right and Justice, That the Four ...
3
votes
4answers
409 views

Meaning of Early Modern English “iuie”

I found this phrase in Featherstone's Dedication at the front of an English translation of the Commentary on John by John Calvin: It is an old saying, (Right Honorable,) and no lesse true then ...
4
votes
2answers
278 views

“If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon…”

There is an old quotation attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho' he build his house in the ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What part of speech is “methinks”?

Dictionaries call this word a verb, but it doesn't seem to behave like any other verb in the English language. Another question on this site calls it a “conjoined pronoun-verb combination”, which ...
19
votes
7answers
48k views

What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?
1
vote
0answers
50 views

1607 writ by Edward Coke - Relative pronouns? [duplicate]

(Sir Edward) Coke further noted that legal disputes about such matters as inheritance of goods: are not to be decided by natural reason but by the artificial reason and judgment of ...
-3
votes
1answer
544 views

Modern English to Early Modern English [closed]

What will be a proper translation from modern english to Shakespearean english of this line: The Demon I have faced, is the Demon I have become.
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Meaning - Conversation

(Source) And now Nineteen persons having been hang'd, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of ...
3
votes
3answers
977 views

Why is the Elizabethan English incorrect in this quote?

I saw a Geico commercial with Elizabethan verb forms that bothered me because they were being misused: Trick Number 1. Lookest over there! Servant looks Haha! Madest thou look! So endest the ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Why did the personal pronoun “you” “survive” and not the others?

I was just wondering, since we started talking about the Early Modern English Period, for England the period of Renaissance, Shakespeare .... There were four cases in EMEnglish, thou (Subject case) ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

What were nightmares called before “nightmare” was used in that sense?

Apparently the word "nightmare" has only been used in the sense of "bad dream" since c. 1829. Before then the term referred to the agent causing the dreams—a mare < mera, mære 'goblin, ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “zounds?”

I came across the sentence "Fortunately their are a variety of different offerings out there with zounds of features." Disregarding the misuse of "zounds," how would Elizabeth I have pronounced the ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Shouldn’t “art” be “is” in “Our Father who art in heaven”?

The Lord’s Prayer begins in English: Our Father who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Shouldn’t it be who is there, not who art? ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How and why have some words changed to a complete opposite?

One example that comes to mind is terrific which originally denoted something quite terrorising while now it has positive connotations... How and why did these changes occur?
16
votes
4answers
42k views

Difference between Thee and thou?

What is the difference between thee and thou and how are they used?
2
votes
2answers
219 views

Is there any extant movement for the revival of elements of Early-Modern English in regular, or academic usage?

I love Early-Modern English. It seems to me that words in Early-Modern English encode more information than their counterparts in Modern English. I know of a few English reform movements, but none ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

Thee or thou in these sentences: [duplicate]

Think thee that I would desert thee? Think thee that I don't care? or: Think thou that I would desert thee? Think thou that I don't care? Which one is right?