Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Michael W Guest

    Default personal pronoun 'I'

    Does anyone know why the personal pronoun 'I' is always written 'I' and not 'i' ?
    Michael W

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: personal pronoun 'I'

    Because I'm very important???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: personal pronoun 'I'

    I've been searching for the answer for the last half an hour, without much success. :?

    "I" existed in middle English, before 1200 A.D. originating from old English, "ic". So, it's quite old.

    Iain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    103
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: personal pronoun 'I'

    I remember reading somewhere (although it may have been just someone's opinion) that 'i' is such a small word, so somewhere along the way someone decided to capitalise it. And it stayed that way.

  5. #5
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    3,393
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: personal pronoun 'I'

    The use of uppercase for the first person singular is aa manuscript convention that appears in Middle English to differentiate the first person singular from an ordinary lowercase letter; otherwise the first person singular often appears to be part of the preceding word. It's pretty easy to be confused this way, especially since word spacing isn't always optimal in manuscripts, and in very early mss., there is no word spacing.

    I can't give you an exact date for capital "I" becoming formal practice. I can tell you that "I" isn't capitalized in the Cotten manuscript of Layamon's Brut, which is roughly 1208, (where I is still often "ich") but it is capitalized by the late fourteenth century Auchinleck manuscript. These are the two extremes that I have readily at hand.

    From: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight...es/002611.html
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: personal pronoun 'I'

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael W
    Does anyone know why the personal pronoun 'I' is always written 'I' and not 'i' ?
    Michael W
    The information in Red's posting agrees with what I have read. The personal pronoun I was capitalized so it could more easily be seen in a written document.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I vaguely remember reading that it was because of the style of handwriting used by monks, etc, but I can't really remember any more. ;-(

Similar Threads

  1. "Hu," from "human," as a pronoun
    By Mike Epstein in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 26-Nov-2007, 07:49
  2. Personal Pronoun "I"
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 24-Aug-2004, 12:13
  3. correct personal pronoun usage
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 14-Jun-2004, 22:07
  4. Personal Statement
    By blacky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2003, 12:25
  5. (I) as an object pronoun!
    By ESL-lover in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-Jun-2003, 18:52

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •