A Liturgical English Guide for Eastern Orthodox Worship Services

Rules for using traditional English 2nd-person forms

Thee/Thou "Thou" is the nominative, or the form used where you would say "I" or "we" or "he" in spoken English: "I see *thee*, but *thou* seest me".
Ye/you "Ye" is the plural nominative, "you" is the plural accusative: "We see *you*, but *ye* see us".
-est The ending -est is used for the 2nd person singular: Thou giv-est.
-th The ending -eth or -th is for 3rd person singular: He giv-eth.
Many people do not realize is that we can also use the modern "-es" for the 3rd person singular and not be going against what was accepted in the 17th century. Shakespeare uses both forms; "-es" was the Southern form, "-eth" was the Northern. Eventually the southern form won out in printed books and in the spoken language, but in the North of England the "-eth" ending survived in dialects up to modern times, and perhaps a few villagers still use it. In some places "-eth" does not sound right, even in church books. Thus for example Isobel Hapgood was in the habit of writing "the deacon goeth and taketh...", but for rubrics this sounds strange. Older and more "idiomatic" English texts would have said rather, "The deacon *shall go* and and *take*..." If we say "goes and takes" we are not guilty of modernism!
Provided by Fr John Shaw

Personal Pronouns

  case First Person Second Person Third Person
Singular Nominative I Thou He,She,It
Singular Accusative Me Thee Him,Her,It
Plural Nominative We Ye They
Plural Accusative Us You Them

Possessive Pronouns


Position First Person Second Person Third Person
Before a consonant My Thy His,Hers,Its
Before a vowel Mine Thine His,Hers,Its

Verb Conjugation Sample Conjugation: Infinitive: To work

Indicative: Present
Person Singular Plural
First I work We Work
Second Thou workest Ye work
Third He worketh They work
First I worked We worked
Second Thou workedst Ye worked
Third He worked They worked
First I shall/will work We shall/will work
Second Thou wilt/shalt work Ye will/shall work
Third He will/shall work They will/shall work
First Let me work Let us work
Second Work thou Work ye
Third Let him work Let them work

Note: Subjunctive mood and the participles coincide with modern English. The following verbs are completely irregular.

Infinitive: To have

Person Singular Plural
Indicative: Present
First I have We have
Second Thou hast Ye have
Third He hath They have
First I had We had
Second Thou hadst Ye had
Third He had They had
First I shall/will have We shall/will have
Second Thou wilt/shalt have Ye will/shall have
Third He will/shall have They will/shall have
First Let me have Let us have
Second Have thou Have ye
Third Let him have Let them have

Infinitive: To be

Indicative: Present
First I am We are
Second Thou art Ye are
Third He is They are
First I was We were
Second Thou wast Ye were
Third He was They were
First I shall/will be We shall/will be
Second Thou wilt/shalt be Ye will/shall be
Third He will/shall be They will/shall be
First Let me be Let us be
Second Be thou Be ye
Third Let him be Let them be
Subjunctive: Present
First If I be If we be
Second If thou be If ye be
Third If he be If they be
First If I were If we were
Second If thou wert If ye were
Third If he were If they were

Based on William Cobbett, _Grammar of the English Language_, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1984 (first published 1819), and other sources. Provided by Stephen Shott

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