I know that most regular verbs would be conjugated in Second Person Singular by adding "est" (Thou makest), and Third Person Singular by adding "eth" (She maketh), but what if the verb ends with a Y? Would it be "studyiest" or "studiest?"

I'm inclined to follow the "change the 'Y' to an 'I' and add 'es'" format that currently holds for conjugating verbs ending in a consonant and y (scurry, carry, etc), thus making it studiest/studieth, defiest/defieth, purifiest/purifieth, etc.

Is this correct?

  • 4
    This is sort of not really answerable as such. In modern orthography, it would be -iest (just like the current third singular -ies). There’s a fairly complex set of rules that determine this; I’ve laid them out in this answer. But the second singular doesn’t have an ending at all in modern orthography—and back in the day when it did, spelling was not standardised. So it could have been -yest, -iest, -yiest, -iyest, or any number of other variation they may have thought of. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


The conjugation, at least in Shakespeare, does follow the rule of replacing the 'y' with an 'i', and this can be seen in the use of "saith", at the very least.

However, the real issue is that in second-person singular sentence constructions of the time, you would most likely have a "helping" verb which would take the conjugation.

Thou dost hurry.
Thou didst hurry.

Here, however, is an example from "To the Eagle" by James G. Percival:

Thou hurriest o’er the myriad waves,
And thou leavest them all behind.

The construction is as you would expect.

  • Auxiliary do could be used, but it was not the norm. In poetry it was often inserted for metre. It might also be worth noting the past form: hurriedest.
    – Anonym
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:24

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