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  1. #1
    Danae is offline Newbie
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    Unhappy Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    I recently started reading some poems written by Poe and i noticed that words like thy or thee are frequently used. I easily found out their meaning in a dictionary but i would really appreciate it, if someone could explain me their exact use. They are are soooo well-sounding. D:



    please correct me if there are any errors




    meow *_*

  2. #2
    chester_100's Avatar
    chester_100 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    They are obsolete pronouns and you may find them in religious texts today. They were used frequently in English literature.
    I think, In Greek, you use one word to cover both you and thou: ΣΎ.
    It means that you have one word in your language that covers two words in English, and that explains the difficulty.

    About their exact usage, I have to say, structurally they had the same value and position as they have today. They just carry some literary value, and they were usually used to address familiar persons.
    Here's an exceptional example; we expect your to be thine but it isn't. Maybe that's because of the structure.

    So hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath
    And sullen presage of your own decay.
    (King John)

    Feel free to ask anything you find necessary.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    "Thee" and "thy" are still used in some British English dialects, notably the Yorkshire dialect.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    Here's an exceptional example; we expect your to be thine but it isn't. Maybe that's because of the structure.
    Thine is used as a pronoun (yours) or before a vowel, thy would be used for your. You can see both in use here:
    Thine Be The Glory Hymn

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Thine is used as a pronoun (yours) or before a vowel, thy would be used for your. You can see both in use here:
    Thine Be The Glory Hymn
    That used to be my understanding too until I noticed that "thy" is also often used before a vowel. I prefer 'thine'.

    "Lift up thy eyes around, and see: " Isaiah 60:4 (A few editions)
    Isaiah 60:4 "Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.


    Also, for the OP:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou

    This gives a few charts showing how these pronouns are used, along with the verb forms, eg:
    I have/do
    Thou hast/dost
    He hath/doth
    Last edited by Raymott; 17-Jul-2010 at 13:06.

  6. #6
    chester_100's Avatar
    chester_100 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Thine is used as a pronoun (yours) or before a vowel, thy would be used for your. You can see both in use here:
    Thine Be The Glory Hymn
    Yes, I know that, but thine includes both your or yours.
    Also, in my example, your is followed by a vowel (= your own). So according to your comment, we could say: thine own... .
    -Know thine enemy. (Encatra)

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    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Danae View Post
    I recently started reading some poems written by Poe and i noticed that words like thy or thee are frequently used. I easily found out their meaning in a dictionary but i would really appreciate it, if someone could explain me their exact use. They are are soooo well-sounding. D:



    please correct me if there are any errors




    meow *_*
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Danae.

    (1) Yes, those old words sound so beautiful, don't they?

    (2) The other posters have done an excellent job in explaining them

    to you and me.

    (3) Here in the United States, about the only time that people use

    these words is in poetry or during a wedding ceremony.

    Instead of saying: I am now going to put a ring on your finger and marry

    you, one says

    With this ring I thee wed.

    Thank you

    P. S. I have read that many years ago, the people of certain parts of

    England did not use the -s form for the third person. So instead of

    saying "He comes," people said "He cometh." But the "-s" people

    won the "contest" over the "eth" people. I agree with thee that older

    English soundeth very beautiful.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    The point that has perhaps been missed is that

    thou = you (familiar -- family, friends, children, God, cf. du, tu)....

    you = you (polite, formal, strangers, elders, etc., cf. Sie, vous).

    During the English civil war, a sort of pre-socialist revolution, the Puritans made it politically correct that no servant deserved to be called 'thou' by his Lord, promoting everyone in effect to a 'you.' So the informal, familiar "thou" all but died out.

    That in any case is the way I remember the lesson.

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    The point that has perhaps been missed is that

    thou = you (familiar -- family, friends, children, God, cf. du, tu)....

    you = you (polite, formal, strangers, elders, etc., cf. Sie, vous).

    During the English civil war, a sort of pre-socialist revolution, the Puritans made it politically correct that no servant deserved to be called 'thou' by his Lord, promoting everyone in effect to a 'you.' So the informal, familiar "thou" all but died out.

    That in any case is the way I remember the lesson.
    And now since "thou" is usually only encountered in religious contexts (prayers and such), one would think "thou" was the formal word, not the familiar one!

  10. #10
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thee, Thy, Thine etc Whats their use?

    That is a contradiction to the modern mind. But to the medieval mind, God would have been too all-seeing and close for formal address. All European languages treat this topic the same way -- God is spoken to like a close family member, whereas the feudal lord is a political figure to flatter with formality. It does seem strange, doesn't it?

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