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Former featured article Thou is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 12, 2007.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 18, 2003 Featured article candidate Promoted
September 5, 2006 Featured article review Kept
April 13, 2010 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
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Hungarian is not an indo-european language, it is a fenno-uralic language and relative to Finnish, Estonian and others. It may be that it has a "you" form similar to thou, I don't know but it is not a relative language to new or old english. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:22, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


I seem to recall that in 'Kim (novel)' Kipling renders conversations in the indian vernacular(s) using the second-person singluar, and those in English using the plural. This creates an interesting effect and might be worth including in this article under 'More recent uses' (I haven't added it myself as I don't have a copy to hand to check). Maybe someone else could? (talk) 02:53, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Carol Ann Duffy[edit]

Contemporary poet Carol Ann Duffy makes effective use of "thou" in her love poem Rapture. Vernon White . . . Talk 20:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Problems with the article[edit]

It's a very well written article; and it's marked FA, but it achieved that in 2003, and it wasn't exactly difficult. It was reviewed in 2006, but standards weren't as high as they could have been.

One problem is that the article name is a pronoun, whereas WP:MOS says that it should be a noun or noun phrase. But that's fairly minor, it's just a guideline.

And most of the article consists of usage guide information for this word. That's worse, it's policy.

Which brings us to the central problem I see with it, WP:Wikipedia is not a dictionary says that articles are supposed to be on a concept or thing, but this is single English word. Single words as the concept are disclaimed, because that's what dictionaries are about.

So it's a dictionary article. It's a long one, and most dictionaries would cut it for length considerably, but nevertheless that's what it is.

Just making a dictionary article longer gives you a long dictionary article, it doesn't make it encyclopedic. This is simply about four letters 't' 'h' 'o' 'u' and where you can, and where it has been, put in a sentence.

It just seems that this slipped through the cracks. There aren't exactly a lot of words (truthiness is one that basically everyone IARs on) that made FA, and I think we're just looking at one where nobody joined up the dots; I don't see anything about thou that makes me want to IAR anymore than I would with ye or something.

I checked, and this question had never come up before on the talk page or the reviews. It's seems to have been a lacuna; if it had been discussed before that would have been fair enough.

It also would be fine if it was merged with something. There's no article on Personal pronouns in Early Modern English for example, and I'm sure that could be a very fine article.

Anyway, that's what I think what does anyone else think?

As I say it's well written, a well written extended dictionary entry, and it would meet the policies easily if it was merged properly, but the fact that it's one of so very few word articles is probably telling us something, and I think this is what it is.

I'm not planning to FAR or AFD it, but I wanted to put this out there as a point of view; I think that improving the wikipedia sometimes involves looking at things in a different way. I'm sure that the wordinistas from linguistics section of the wikipedia will go ballistic at the mere idea that word articles like these are not Terribly, Terribly Important (tm), but I guess that goes with their territory.

(p.s. First person to say "I think it's done enough" can do something anatomically incorrect; it's not a criteria in any policy, how would we ever be able to prove it was enough or not enough, it's just words that mean nothing except 'I like it'!)- Wolfkeeper 15:24, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

A noun phrase that reflects the contents of the article is "the pronoun thou in English"; therefore the article can be in Wikipedia, because "thou" is a good summary of that noun phrase. (talk) 15:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but you can do that with any word in the English language: "the adverb pretty in English" and then just list all the usages.- Wolfkeeper 15:58, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Saying that this is an “unencyclopedic dictionary entry” is completely missing the forest for the trees. The purpose of the restriction against dictionary entries in Wikipedia is that, if any word definition becomes encyclopedic, the scope of the encyclopedia balloons unmanageably and its focus is diluted. Including a page about thou really doesn’t have that problem, because it’s not just a definition, but also has all kinds of information which would be way out of scope for a dictionary entry but is relevant for an encyclopedia (namely, a complicated history). I think you’re right that Personal pronouns in Early Modern English would be a fascinating article; go ahead and write one. If you do, this article should still remain as the “summary style” expansion of one section of that article. –jacobolus (t) 19:00, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
That editor retired, after years of related discussion at WT:NOTDICT and an incomplete RfC.
(Currently: The policy still needs updating, but there's a fairly strong consensus that agrees with your comment above.) HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:12, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

KJV where most know it from?[edit]

"Most modern English speakers encounter "thou" only in the works of Shakespeare, in the works of other medieval and early modern writers, and in the King James Bible."

Ref 1 is dead, and ref 2 doesn't quite state this. But I'm surprised if this really the case. Are there any stats anywhere? My inkling is that hymns are a more common source of familiarity, as Christians in this day and age are more likely to read more modern Bible translations (which generally use "you" in its place). -- Smjg (talk) 00:08, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Shakespear section gets it backwards!![edit]

First, Falstaff addresses "Hal" as an intimate comrade, emphasizing "you"; then he switches to a facetiously contrasted "thou" for a future majestic but still graceless King.

No, no, was the other way 'round in Shakespear's day, as stated elsewhere several times in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Quite right. And I have changed it. But that whole Shakespeare section seems of doubtful value to me. Mcewan (talk) 04:46, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Author hardik (talk) 12:54, 3 September 2011 (UTC) Thee,Thy,Thou and ye : Meanings and Usage brief[edit]

Author hardik (talk) 12:54, 3 September 2011 (UTC) thee: a word meaning 'you', used when talking to only one person who is the OBJECT of the verb.(we beseech thee,o lord.)

thy: a word meaning 'your', used when talking to only one person. (honour thy father and thy mother)

thou: a word meaning 'you',used when talking to only one person who is the SUBJECT of the verb.(thou art indeed just,lord)

ye: a word meaning 'you' , used when talking to more than one person.(gather ye rosebuds while ye may)

I think the "ye" part is wrong. Professor Seth Lehrer in his history of the English Language has a completely different explanation for ye. He asserts that when English was first written the latin alphabet was phonetic, with one letter for each sound, and there was no letter for our "th" sound, since it didn't exist in latinate tongues. And there were no diphthongs. Early English writers therefore borrowed a "th" rune from Norwegian. It resembled the greek lower case phi. So the word that we spell "the" was spelled in early English as φe. When printing came along, the rune was replaced with a lower case y, but the pronunciation was still "the." When ye is a pronoun, it was a phonetic spelling of "thee," so not a different word from thee, just a different transcription.pagnol (talk) 01:08, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

and also ye means 'the', used in the names of pubs,shops,ect. to make them seem old.(ye olde starre inn) (See Thorn (letter) for the origin of this) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for explaining what I came to the article to find; when to choose thee over thou. The official offering Thou is the nominative form; the oblique/objective form is thee (functioning as both accusative and dative), just doesn't cut it. It's meaningless jargon to those who benefited from an education system that removed English Grammar from the curriculum for the sake of whatever education fashions were going at the time. :-/ (talk) 04:49, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Isn't the Genetive also the same thing as the possessive?[edit]

Earlier in the article, reference is made to the accusative and dative case. However, in this table of declension [or whatever such things are called for pronouns under specific cases], the accusative is not mentioned at all, the objective is substituted for the dative and the genitive case is mentioned in a separate column from the possessive case. For the sake of consistency, I would recommend: 1. either substituting the objective with the dative or including both as the heading; 2. deciding which column really describes the possessive. Is it the genitive, or is it the possessive? Consider adding both headings to the same column, as I suspect some readers understand one concept better than the other.

Please note that I am assuming that these four cases are similar to those in German: Nominative / Nominativ refers to the subject; Accusative / Akkusativ refers to the direct object; Dative / Dativ refers to the indirect object; and Genetive / Genetiv refers to the possessive case.

I have not made these changes because I am too busy.

Cheers, JSB — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 6 October 2011 (UTC)


The article currently says While the Hungarian and Finnish "te" may seem like cognates (their spellings are identical, but the Hungarian is singular and the Finnish is plural), they are in fact not, as these languages are Uralic in origin and not from Indo-European stock..

I wonder why the article makes such bold conclusion if modern linguistics places Uralic as the sister family to Indo-European under Eurasiatic (and/or Nostratic), being the closest family to it. The similarity is especially strong in pronouns, as they change at slowest rate. This is true not only for second person pronouns but also for the first person and interrogatives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:50, 10 February 2013‎

Thanks for the good question. There is a closely related question on StackExchange: Are the Finnish pronouns related to their Indo-European counterparts?. This suggests that in Finnish we should (also?) look at the first person singular pronoun sinä as there is supposedly a law that transformed Proto-Uralic ti to si. And in fact, the article Proto-Uralic gives tun as the reconstructed second person pronoun (number not specified). I am not a linguist, but this seems to be compatible with Proto-Indo-European pronouns.
Here is what happened with the article: In early 2012, someone mistakenly added Hungarian te to the list of Indo-European cognates. Then in May, an anonymous user from California removed it and instead wrote the text that you have found. [1]
Rather than just remove it as unsourced and at least controversial, I will replace it by a sentence stating the obvious: That similar personal pronouns exist in Uralic languages. This should prevent a repetition. Wikipedia's lists of cognates always get longer until someone cuts them down or something like this happens. Hans Adler 11:34, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Consistency of genitive and possessive[edit]

The first paragraph in the article says the both 'thy' and 'thine' are used for the possessive case, whereas in the declension table, it separates the genitive and possessive forms ('thy' is shown to be in the genitive case alone). I do realize that the possessive case can also be called the genitive but if this distinction is made in the table, I feel, for the sake of consistency, that it should be reflected throughout the article (i.e. in the first paragraph). SundaLives 13:51, 2 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SundaLives (talkcontribs)