Thee vs Thou vs Thine
Thee, thou, and thine are pronouns that are not used in modern English as they are confined to Shakespearean language only nowadays. Everyone who reads English to some level has to go through Shakespeare stories where he finds the generous usage of these archaic pronouns. Thee, thou, and thine are archaic forms of you, thus creating confusion for the students of English language as to which one of the three forms to use in a given context. This article takes a closer look at thee, thou, and thine to come up with their differences.
Thee, thou, and thine are examples of how people addressed others stressing their identity to the exclusion of others. These are forms of the second person singular pronoun that have been rejected in favor of single you in modern English. There were actually three forms of you in archaic Shakespearean language that derived heavily from Greek and Hebrew languages. Thee is the nominative form of you, whereas thou is accusative or oblique form of you. Another form of you that was used commonly in Shakespearean language was possessive that was represented by thine.
Thou is analogous to the use of he and I in modern English, whereas thee is analogous to he and me. You can still use thou and thee while speaking or writing. Make sure to use thou as a subject as in the following examples. Thus, thou is singular subjective case.
• Thou hurt me
• Thou are respected by the masses.
• Thou are a beast.
On the other hand, use thee as the object in the sentence. It covers situations where you are the object and not the subject.
• I want to offer thee my friendship for life.
• He does not care for thee.
• I thee wed with this ring.
You in modern language covers all situations and contexts. You can use it as singular as well as for plural and also as subjective as well as objective. But this was not the case in earlier times. In old and middle English, there were other forms of you that were prevalent. Thee and thou were forms of you that served different functions.
Thine and thy are analogous to your and yours of today. Thine is to be used before a vowel while thy is used before a consonant. Thus, you see thy servant in a bible which means your servant. Take a look at the following Chinese proverb.
If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum.
It becomes clear that thine is used to indicate your.
What is the difference between Thee, Thou, and Thine?
• Thou and thee are obsolete forms of the pronoun you.
• Both are the second person singular pronouns, but whereas thou is subject case, thee is object case pronoun.
• Though both these forms were on their way out even in the times of Shakespeare, they can still be seen in devotional literature and prayers.
• Thee is not used as a subject, whereas thou is used as a subject.
• Thine is used before a vowel.