Art thou interested in “thee,” “thou,” “thy,” and “thine”?

A belated birthday tribute to the Bard of Avon


Last week (on April 23, to be exact), most of the world celebrated William Shakespeare’s “birthday.”

We missed a golden opportunity to write this post last Monday, but rather than wait another 360 days for a chance to redeem ourselves, we’re going to take courage from Petruchio’s words from The Taming of the Shrew—that it’s “Better once than never.” (5.1.150).

Without further ado, this post will explain thou, thee, thy, and thine—words that we Yanks particularly struggle to use properly. Many of our American friends find these pronouns “poetic,” yet they abstain from using them—not because the terms are archaic, but because they’re afraid of using them incorrectly. Our friends don’t have to live in fear anymore.

We would be remiss in not mentioning that thou is a singular pronoun. For “you guys,” we would use ye (e.g., O come, all ye faithful).

That leaves us with the possessive pronouns.

That was pretty simple, right? Mayst thou no longer use these pronouns haphazardly.

Adieu, adieu, adieu.