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For the past months, I've been trying to add thou, thee, thy, thine, and other archaic words in my everyday vocabulary; I just love archaic English words — and the Early Modern English grammar for a bit, but I don't use that grammar. But as I use "thou" and "thee" in some of my school activities in English, I get confuse between the twain. Because after I use the two in one sentence — without adding any commas or periods — I'm not sure if I should use "thou" or "thee" again.

Say I typed: "Do you know what you're doing you stunted son of a scoundrel?!"

Now when I translate it with some archaic pronouns in it:

"Do thou know what thee are doing -(thou or thee?)- stunted son of a scoundrel?!"

————

Another scenario: "We will believe You as the awesome God You are."

"We will believe Thee as the awesome God -(Thou or Thee?)- are."

I've been looking around the internet for some answers to my question, but, alas, I wasn't able to find my answer. I don't even have any works of Shakespeare with me. (Because it's not taught in the Philippine Curriculum!) I do have the King James Version of the Bible, but, alas, I couldn't understand it that well — albeit I do understand some words in it.

So, once I've finished using thou and thee, should I use thou or thee again — before I end the sentence above with a comma or a period? Is there a pattern whenever these are used — or nay?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, tchrist Mar 16 '18 at 13:10

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  • I doubt this is a fax or anything. That question's all about the difference between "thou" and "thee." Whereas in my question, it's about whether I should use thou or thee AGAIN when I'm about to ADD A THIRD 2nd-singular pronoun — which in this case, thou or thee — in a sentence that's addressing to a person, and that it isn't ending with neither a comma or a period yet. – Daemon Jones Mar 16 '18 at 11:36
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    You cannot just swap the pronouns. You have to fix the verbs. Dost thou and thou art and all the rest. – tchrist Mar 16 '18 at 12:07
  • Start reading the King James bible. Then when when that language starts to feel natural, try it yourself. Before that point you will only come off as foolish. – Jim Mar 16 '18 at 12:42
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    Not an answer, but using modern verb conjugations combined with thou seems strange. Thou art seems morel natural than thou are. Similarly I would expect Dost thou know what thou art doing. – oerkelens Mar 16 '18 at 13:17
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    @Jim If you are experimenting with weird things, that's fine. But not appropriate to discuss on ELU. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 16 '18 at 15:28
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Here's an explanation of the difference between thou, thee, thy and thine.

An easy way to remember the difference is to think of the equivalents if you were using the first person (I/my/me/mine):

Thou = subject (i.e. you). Equivalent to the first-person "I".

e.g. Thou art a scoundrel.

Thee = object (i.e. you). Equivalent to the first-person "me" (easy to remember because it rhymes!)

e.g. I will smite thee.

Thy = possessive pronoun (used as adjective, i.e. your). Equivalent to the first-person "my" (again, it rhymes)*

e.g. I spit in thy face.

* There's an exception to this. "Thy" becomes "thine" before a noun beginning with a vowel sound. e.g. "thine eyes", "thine honour".

Thine = possessive pronoun (used as noun, i.e. yours). Equivalent to the first-person "mine" (and it rhymes again!)

e.g. Is this my codpiece, or thine?

A couple of other important points about using thou/thee/thy/thine:

  • Verb conjugations - Most verbs have special conjugations when used with "thou", often ending in "st". For example, "thou hast" (you have), "thou lovest" (you love), "thou art" (you are).[2]
  • Second-person singular - These are the second-person singular pronouns. If you were referring to multiple people, you would use "you", just like in modern English.[1]
  • Informal - "Thou" etc are informal. If you are talking to someone of a higher status than yourself, you would use "you", even in the singular.[3]

So, to give the answers to your examples:

"Do thou know what thee are doing -(thou or thee?)- stunted son of a scoundrel?!"

Dost thou know what thou doest, stunted son of a scoundrel?!

Interestingly, the conjugation of "do" is different depending on whether it's used as an auxiliary (e.g. "thou dost know" [you do know]) or not (e.g. "thou doest" [you do])

"We will believe thee as the awesome God -(Thou or Thee?)- are."

We will believe Thee as the awesome God Thou art.

I've capitalised the pronouns because we're talking about God. Interestingly, the way you address God varies depending on translations of the bible and your particular religious denomination. Some would use the formal "you", to pay reverence to God, while others would use "thou", to emphasise his closeness and accessibility to every person.

Sources:

  1. Samuel Johnson's A Grammar of the English Tongue (1812) - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15097/15097-h/15097-h.htm
  2. Wiktionary - https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thou
  3. Shakespeare Resource Center - http://www.bardweb.net/content/thou.html
  • Nice, Tom, but the parts relevant to OP's question have already been given at the duplicate. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 16 '18 at 12:14
  • @EdwinAshworth, ah sorry - I missed that comment when I was writing! – Tom Mar 16 '18 at 12:29
  • I always capitalize Thou, Thee, or You (when I'm not using the archaic pronouns) whenever I address God through writing or typing. But I forgot to capitalise Thee hehe :P Now thine answer in the first sentence is intriguing. Because why was -(thou or thee?)- replaced with a comma instead? Was there something wrong with the structure of the sentence? And can I still use those archaic pronouns even without adding -st or -est in some of the words whenever I wanna address a single person? – Daemon Jones Mar 16 '18 at 12:56
  • Oh, sorry - I didn't realise the dash was a space for the pronoun! That's an interesting case, because "you" is being used as a determiner here (in the same way that "a", "the", "this", etc.are determiners) In this case, "thou" would be correct. See this example in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: "Thou crusty batch of nature, what’s the news?"- bartleby.com/70/3551.html – Tom Mar 16 '18 at 14:13
  • Regarding "thine", that practice would need to be accompanied by the corresponding use of "mine" for "my" in front of a vowel. "Mine eyes have seen the glory ...". – Green Grasso Holm Mar 16 '18 at 16:11

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