Is it proper and/acceptable to say that Contemporary English only has Oblique and Possessive noun-cases?

*To my understanding, Oblique case is a noun that functions the cases other's cannot.

In Early Modern English, we have Oblique, Nominative, and Possessive: Thou (Ye,) Thee (you,) thy (your,) and (your's,) nominative, oblique, possessive, and possessive respectively. So such statements as "Be ye holy for I am holy," are clear as to say "Because I am holy, you are holy," being a statement of imputation of being, not a command to be a certain way.

But today, in contemporary English, we only have (unless I am misunderstanding oblique-case:) Oblique and Possessive cases: You, your, and your's.

That all is focusing on one pronoun example, so, that being said, would this pronoun chart be correct:enter image description here

  • 2
    Where did you get that chart from? (Or maybe when is a better question.) Any reference from the past few centuries, like this one will tell you that ours, yours, theirs, etc. are all spelled without apostrophes. (And why does it use long S? That disappeared centuries ago.) Am I missing something?
    – Laurel
    Apr 30 '17 at 21:28
  • If this verse were talking about "imputation" of holiness, surely some English translation of the Bible since the KJV would have picked up on that. But a scan of a dozen translations does not support this view, and it might be that this question is best asked on SE: Christianity or SE: Hermeneutics, or whatever it's called. Relying on an English translation of a Hebrew text is probably not the best way to proceed. Apr 30 '17 at 21:31

I don't think it makes sense terminologically to say that "you" in sentences like "you are my friend" is in "oblique" case (or even to say something like "it is in nominative case, but it uses the oblique case form"). You would have to explain why the oblique case of you is used in this position, when for other pronouns the nominative case is required.

I think it makes more sense to say either that

  • you continues to have both nominative and oblique case forms; they just happen to be identical. This is called "case syncretism" and is extremely common, especially in European languages. (In Indo-European languages with neuter gender and case inflection, neuter gender nouns have identical forms in the nominative and accusative as a rule.) This seems to be what your chart shows: you can see that the form "you" occurs in both the nominative and oblique columns, not just in the oblique column.

  • you has a single case form used for a number of fuctions (in nominative, accusative, and other oblique contexts), but we call this case form something other than "oblique", because "oblique" is defined in terms of a contrast with some core case like "nominative". I don't know of any commonly used term for this in English, since it seems somewhat unnecessary. But there may be analyses like this that I am not aware of. In general, a case that is used in both nominative and accusative contexts and contrasts with a genitive case could be called the "direct case"; however, this might not be the best choice in a description of English because the term "direct case" may also be used to mark a contrast with "oblique case". You could just say something like " 'you' is the form used for nominative and oblique."

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