Is it technically incorrect grammar to make a hybrid of the well known statements: "Thou shalt not pass" and "You shall not pass"––this hybrid being: "You shalt not pass"?

From what I understand from not 100% trustworthy sources (Wikipedia), "Thou shalt not" is used by the KJV (Ten Commandments, etc.) and is Shakespearean English, whereas "Thou shall not" is the modern equivalent.

My question is (a) if the hybrid statement is grammatically correct, and (b) if "Thou shall not" truly is the grammatically correct equivalent of "Thou shalt not".

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    Yes. "You shalt not pass" and "Thou shall not pass" are as technically grammatically incorrect as sentences like "They is happy" or "It are good" would be. That said, most people don't know how to use the grammar of "thou/thee," "-(e)st" and "-(e)th" anyway. The "modern" equivalent of Thou shalt not is You shall not (actually, shall is also old-fashioned, so really You will not or You must not). But people know Thou shalt not fine, so why even bother changing it? – herisson Dec 1 '15 at 0:28
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    I don't imagine this would have anything to do with an impasse between flames of Anor and Udûn? – tchrist Dec 1 '15 at 0:48
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    @tchrist , I was actually going to mention that in my title, but thought against it : ) – Daniel Dec 1 '15 at 0:55
  • For what its worth, the original Moses construction is "No (verbing-thou)." So you could mimic it by " No passing, Thou ! " – Hugh Dec 1 '15 at 0:57
  • Then it would be ugly; but not wrong. – Hugh Dec 1 '15 at 0:59

“You shalt” is not ‘correct’, nor is “Thou shall not”

Putting aside the question of whether conjugation of verbs is a technically a grammatical rule or has some other status, in English, like many other languages, different pronouns call for different verb forms, and mixing them up often produces jarring and unnatural-sounding sentences that most would not consider correct.

For instance the verb 'to be' conjugates as follows in the present indicative:

  • I am
  • Thou art (obsolete in modern English and replaced by 'you' form)
  • He/She/It is
  • We are
  • You are
  • They are

These are sometimes referred to as the first, second, and third person singular and plural forms respectively.

Most verbs now only have two forms in the present tense: the form which is the same as the infinitive, and a he/she/it form (3rd person singular) which has an -s or -es on the end: work/works, pass/passes. A few verbs only have the one form (e.g. can).

However, when the 'thou' pronoun was in common use, many verbs also had a 'thou' form ending in -t, -st, or -est: e.g. shalt, wilt, canst.

Over time the 'you' form supplanted 'thou', and the 'thou' forms also all disappeared. They are recognised largely because they feature in older texts such as the KJV.

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